Florida Edible Fish Grouper Grouper are typically found off Florida’s west coast in the Gulf of Mexico, but they can also be found in the Keys. Grouper have thick bodies and generally are an exciting fish draw because of the fight they put up when being reeled in. Grouper can grow as long as 7 feet and reside near the bottom of bodies of water, hence the term “bottom fishing.” Gag Grouper Gag Grouper generally swim in schools of fish numbering between 5 and 50. These fish move around rocky sea bottoms. Gag Grouper in particular are known for providing tasteful meals, which is one of the reasons why they are such a popular recreational fishing attraction. The Gag Grouper has a large, protruding lower jaw and a thick body covered in scales. The distinct, defining feature on this fish is the concave caudal fin. Red Grouper The Red Grouper is easily discernable by its color, which is a brownish red hue. This fish also has black dots circling its eyes. Like several other forms of Grouper fish, they are all born female with some Red Grouper becoming males overtime. These fish are partial to shrimp, crab, and other crustacean based baits. Sustainability Red Grouper are considered overfished, but most conservationists say that the stock of this fish is improving over time. Regulators in Florida are also doing their part—as of January 2nd, 2015, the FWC Commission’s regulations on Gulf Red Grouper fish will limit the daily limit on harvesting from 4 fish to 2 fish. Preparations – Fried, Sautéed In order to fry grouper, the fish fillets should first be peppered with spices. Afterward, the fillets should be dusted with a flour cornstarch mix so that both sides are evenly coated. Oil should then be placed in a frying pan, with both sides of the grouper being fried for a total of about 8 minutes. At the end of this time frame, the fillets should look a goldenish brown. Sautéed grouper fish fillets are also sprinkled with spices such as salt and pepper before being placed into a skillet with oil, butter, or the preferred mixture. The fillet should be cooked in this mixture, turned over several times, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Snapper Snapper are known to dwell in shallow to fair waters, but can dive as deep as 60 feet. They typically require heavy rods with durable lines since most fishing for snapper is done in strong currents at fairly significant depths. Snapper are generally small sized fish, as the average size is about 7 pounds. The largest snapper fish can weigh as many as 40 pounds. The FWC regulates snapper fishing, with the minimum size limit being 16 inches for a harvested snapper. There is also a daily bag limit of 2 snapper fish per harvester. Salmon The state of Florida doesn’t have any freshwater lakes where salmon are found. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t popular with locals. Eating salmon promotes heart health and is a great source of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon are generally harvested in colder states such as Alaska. Tuna Tuna have a wide weight range, as they can vary from a few pounds to weighing more than 200 pounds. Tuna are found throughout Florida’s tropical waters, typically near ocean dropoff points. Tuna are notorious for being strong fish that are hard to reel in. For that reason, it is advised to bring a strong rod and line along for the ride. Sea Bass In the Gulf of Mexico, there are specific regulations for Sea Bass harvesting. There is a minimum size limit, which is 10 inches, and there is a 100 pound per person daily bag limit. These fish are typically found on the northern coasts of Florida, but can be found further south during the winter months. Oftentimes, these fish are caught when harvesters are fishing for grouper or snapper. Black Sea Bass in particular are known to be aggressive and can be a fairly difficult catch.
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