Grouper Fishing Tampa, Fishing Charter for Grouper Clearwater Florida

Fishing Charters for Grouper in Clearwater Florida: Gag grouper, black grouper, red grouper and Red snapper fishing. Offshore closings.

Grouper Fishing Florida

We are fortunate enough to base our charter fishing operation in an area ,Tarpon Springs and Clearwater, that has the best grouper fishing in Florida. Before we go any further into the subject of grouper fishing in florida or grouper “catching” as we prefer to call it, let’s clarify that the way we usually fish for grouper is MUCH different than the way most fishing captains in the area do it. Without revealing too much info to our competition, suffice it to say we have a better way.....

Our operation always seeks to maximize the sport in sport fishing, regardless of weather we are inshore fishing or offshore fishing. We cater to anglers who seek more than a boat ride with a large group of people and a few fish caught on heavy tackle. During the spring and fall our boat can often be found grouper fishing near one of the hundreds of natural rock formations in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the  Pasco County coastline. This area has more of these fish attracting formations, close to shore, than anywhere else in Florida. It is these limestone outcroppings that draw large numbers of gag grouper and even a few red grouper into shallow water. During the right part of the year we can catch great numbers of big grouper, as well as other fish, within clear sight of shoreline. In fact, on most of these nearshore trips, you can clearly see the bottom all day. The key is in knowing where the best rocks are and when to fish each. Sometimes the fish are all in deeper water and we will run out as far as 50 miles out if thats where they are.

Years ago Capt Ed Walker began venturing out off the flats and studying the local grouper population and experimenting with new techniques to catch them in places that most other grouper fishermen drive by on their way offshore. For the past 6 years Capt Ed has also spent hundreds of hours freedive (no tanks) hunting underwater on untold numbers of rocks, wrecks, and ledges in search of new grouper hideouts and to learn all he could about the mannerisms and habits of this coveted gamefish. By being on the bottom and closely examining each grouper oasis, he knows these fish far better than most fishermen who only fish from the deck of a boat.

By then bringing his live bait and light tackle inshore expertise to this rich offshore arena he devised an exciting new method of catching big grouper, sometimes in less than 20 feet of water. In fact, he has secret coordinates in his extensive “black book” that produce incredible grouper fishing in depths as shallow as 6 feet water during the fall run. Here our fishing methods involve casting, sometimes even sight-casting, and live bait. Our unusual grouper fishing techniques provide amazing battles with big fish on light to medium tackle, produce good sized gag grouper even on fly-fishing tackle, and even led us to an IGFA world record gag grouper a few years ago and a very near miss world record gag grouper on fly tackle.

Since lighttacklecharters.com is open to anyone on the internet, including would-be competitors, we prefer not to describe our specialized shallow water grouper techniques in great detail here. We can say however that there are few, if any, local charter captains that catch as many big grouper in as shallow water as we do, and that keeps our clients happy. Due to the popularity of this unique experience, our regular local customers often book many of the available dates during the peak grouper fishing seasons in advance. We’d love to get you out for a day to experience the thrill for yourself. The peak months in the fall are October, November, and early December, and in the spring March and April are the best close to shore. The rest of the year we usually run out a little further. These fish fight HARD and this is the most exciting grouper fishing you will find anywhere, you’ll see.

Deep water offshore action

When the gag grouper are out deep, which is usually in late summer or mid winter, we run our 31 foot Yellowfin sportfishing boat to where the bite has been the best.  This incredible fishing machine can run 60 MPH and comfortably cruises at 40 MPH even in a 3 to 4 footers. We have custom made bean bag seating which will have you relaxing or sleeping all the way out the the fishing grounds. The boat has super advanced electronics, radar, and even email and satellite phone capability. When running offshore we generally fish from 20 to 50 miles out over natural rock formations and wrecks, many of which are top secret. Gag grouper, Red grouper, amberjack, and snapper are the target species out here but we also catch a wide variety of other fish while we're at it.

While fishing the deep wrecks we also catch a great variety of other exciting fish that keep the action practically non-stop. Some of these include kingfish also known as king mackerel, giant Spanish mackerel, sharks of all sizes, mangrove snapper, goliath grouper from 30 to 400 pounds, cobia up to 80 pounds, blackfin tuna, bonito, amberjacks, and many others. (We also catch cobia inshore on the flats. Please check out the Cobia page for more info on that fishery.)

On occasion, a school of giant breeder redfish will drift into our grouper spots and eat every bait we have out. These jumbo reds run from 12 to 45 pounds and are always a welcome bonus.


One species that is sometimes welcome and sometime not is the goliath grouper, formerly known as the jewfish. These enormous groupers can be fun to tangle with if they are not too big. Too big being over 300 pounds or so. Sometimes they will move in and steal the gag grouper or permit off our lines which is not good, but by carrying “a big stick ( 80 pound class rod and reel)” we can turn the tables on these huge grouper and haul them up. Our largest goliath grouper landed (and released) to date was a 350 pounder but many, many others bigger than that have made it back into the structures below and broken even the heaviest lines. If you want to catch and release a goliath grouper bigger than you are, just let us know. We can almost always get you a couple of those. These giant grouper populate nearly every reef and wreck today. If you want to try your hand, we'll bring out special goliath grouper gear and strap you in for the fight of your life.

If you would like to join us on a Grouper fishing experience please drop us an email or give us a Call at (727) 944-FISH (3474) today to book your guided fishing trip for Grouper.


Special: Red Snapper fishing trips- JULY only.

Due to federal restricitions our red snapper fishery is only open for a few months in the late summer. Since our offshore waters absolutley teem with these delicious fish, we have devoted the entire month of July specifically for deep offshore red snapper trips to target these incredible big snapper that we are required to release for more than 300 days a year. WE KNOW EXACTLY WHERE THE RED SNAPPER ARE. Once we secure our limit of red snapper we will target the grouper that inhabit the same areas. If you would like to come along, catch a bunch of huge fish, and bring home some of the best eating fish in the Gulf, please contact us in advance to get get a reservation for  this special limited fishing opportunity.


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