American Oceans

What Are The Different Types of Grouper?

Grouper is a common and favorite species you’ll find when you’re along the Gulf of Mexico or in many places in the Caribbean. There’s more than one type of Grouper in the water, and they range in size, what they eat, and where they live. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of Grouper you may come across in the ocean. 

Black Grouper

black grouper in the ocean with a school of fish

Black Grouper is one of the largest Grouper types you’ll find in the Atlantic Ocean. You can find these fish deep in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, but they’re the most common in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. 

This type of Grouper can reach up to 100 pounds and be four feet in length. Most people who catch a Black Grouper catch one that’s anywhere from five to 20 pounds. The world record for a Black Grouper was 124 pounds! 

You’ll find these fish swimming in water that’s 60 to 250 feet deep and as shallow as 30 feet when they’re mating. These fish have a dark grey or olive appearance with black blotches along their body. 

Gag Grouper

isolated image of a gag grouper

Gag Groupers are commonly referred to as Grey Groupers and look very similar to a Black. While these Groupers have a similar appearance, Gag Groupers only reach a maximum weight of about 50 pounds. You can find these fish throughout Florida and the Bahamas.

The average Gag catch is the same as a black, between five and 20 pounds. You’ll find many Gag Groupers near coral reefs and ocean drop-offs in about 60 feet of water or more. 

If you’re fishing in an estuary, don’t be surprised if you reel in a Gag. You’ll find younger Gags in these areas.

Goliath Grouper

giant goliath grouper swimming next to a diver

If you can’t tell by the name, Goliath Groupers are massive. These giant fish can reach about eight feet and weigh over 800 pounds. Unlike other Grouper species, you’ll find Goliaths in more shallow water. They’ll travel to estuaries looking for food and hunt in coastal areas.

The Goliath Grouper is a protected species, and you can only fish them on a catch and release basis. They’re protected because of overfishing in the last century. If you’re out spearfishing, don’t be surprised if a Goliath tries to steal your catch. 

Snowy 

If you’re a fan of seafood, the Snowy Grouper is one of the most delicious types of Grouper. You can catch this Grouper at depths of 350 feet or greater. Snowys are brown and white and can reach up to 50 pounds, but the average catch is ten. 

The world record for a Snowy Grouper was caught off the coast of Virginia. This Grouper weighed in at 70 pounds. 

Nassau

up close photo of a nassau grouper

Nassau Groupers are often called White Grouper due to their white coloring or Bahamas Grouper since they’re commonly found there. While you can find them off the coast of the Florida Keys, it’s rare, and their numbers in that area are decreasing. 

This type of Grouper can reach up to 30 pounds, but the average size is one to ten pounds. Nassau Groupers partner with other fish to catch meals and will regularly steal food out of bait traps. Unfortunately, this fish is considered to be critically endangered. 

Red Grouper

red grouper swimming at the bottom of the ocean

You can identify a Red Grouper by a reddish tone and white speckles. This tasty Grouper can be found offshore in the waters of Florida. As with many other Groupers, the Red Grouper weighs around five to ten pounds.

You need to go offshore for the Red Grouper because they live 1,000 feet below the surface. If you hook a Red, be prepared for the fish to put up a good fight. 

Scamp 

Scamp Groupers are relatively small compared to other types of Grouper. The average Scamp is five pounds. If you catch one that’s over five pounds, that’s a great catch. 

To catch a Scamp, you’ll need to head offshore since these fish live in deep water. You may be able to find them in 100 feet of water, but they’re often found swimming much deeper. Scamp is considered to be one of the most delicious Groupers. 

Warsaw Grouper

Warsaw Groupers are another giant fish. While Goliaths can be found in shallower water, Warsaw Groupers are deep ocean fish. They can grow to seven feet and weigh around 600 pounds. 

If you plan on catching and releasing a Warsaw Grouper, you’re going to need the proper equipment and knowledgeable crew. The pressure of coming up to the surface is enough to kill the fish. 

Misty 

Also known as the Mystic Grouper, the Misty is common in South Florida and the Bahamas. You’ll find these fish swimming in depths that average about 500 feet. You’ll know a Misty by its brown body with light, vertical bars. 

Most Misty Groupers weigh between 15 and 50 pounds, but there have been reports of some reaching 100 pounds. 

Yellowfin Grouper

A Yellowfin Grouper gets its name from having vibrant yellowfins and markings. This deep color allows them to disguise themselves as they hunt in the reefs, but you won’t miss a Yellowfin if it swims towards the surface. 

This type of Grouper has high levels of ciguatoxin. The scientific name for the Yellowfin translates to poisonous Grouper, so you may not want to eat this fish if you catch one. 

Yellowmouth Grouper

yellowmouth grouper swimming in the ocean

Its lips can help you identify this deep-water Grouper. The lips boast a yellowish color and are plump. You won’t regularly find Yellowmouth in the Gulf, but they’re often caught in the Atlantic.

They’re smaller than a Scamp, averaging about two to three pounds. Those who have eaten Yellowmouth say they’re another tasty fish if you end up catching one.  

Yellowedge

Yellowedge looks similar to Yellowfin Grouper. They both have a vibrant yellow color to their scales. Yellowedge Groupers weigh anywhere from eight to 40 pounds, but the average weight that people catch is 30 pounds. 

If you’re out fishing, you’ll want to keep in mind that Yellowedge Grouper are a protected species due to overfishing. 

Speckled Hind 

While we know that there’s a type of Grouper called Speckled Hind, we don’t know much about this fish. These fish live on the rocky bottom of the ocean, down to about 400 feet. They’re grey and have several nicknames. 

The Speckled Hind Grouper is a protected species in Florida’s Atlantic waters. 

Coney 

Coney Grouper are some of the smallest of this species. These fish range in length from six to eight inches, maxing out at one foot. 

Coneys can range in color from red, yellow, brown, and a combination of the three. Due to their small size, you’ll find them in coral reefs and more inshore. 

Final Thoughts 

The different types of Grouper range from small to large. While they all have similarities, they’re all quite different. Next time you’re on the water, be sure to look out for the different types of Grouper you may catch.

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