Gag Grouper Fishing Information
illustrations: Diane Rome Peebles
Description: brownish gray in color with dark worm-like
markings on sides; strong serrated spur at bottom
margin of preopercle, less noticeable in large
specimens; fins dark, with anal and caudal having
white margin; often confused with black grouper;
most noticeable differences are brassy spots on
black grouper; tail of gag is slightly concave, black
grouperís tail is square; gag has white margin on anal
and caudal fins, black does not; under 10 pounds, gagís spur
on preopercle is distinctive, where black is gently rounded.
Similar fish: black grouper, M. bonaci.
Where found: adults OFFSHORE over rocks and reefs; juveniles occur in seagrass beds INSHORE.
Size: common to 25 pounds.
Remarks: forms spawning aggregations in water no shallower than 120 feet in Middle Grounds area, January through
March; current research to identify similar aggregations off the Atlantic coast is ongoing; young gags are predominantly
female, transforming into males as they grow larger; feeds on fish and squid.