Grouper (Gag)


The Gag (Mycteroperca microlepis) is an intriguing‌ member ⁢of⁢ the​ Serranidae‍ family widely​ scattered across​ the subtropical and tropical waters of the world. Known for its elongated body and large mouth, this grouper species is a favorite‌ catch among seasoned anglers.

Conservation Status

The ‍Gag ⁢is currently classified as “Least Concern” by the​ International Union for​ Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Conservation strategies targeted towards preserving⁤ their natural‍ habitats and regulating fishing activities are in place to maintain⁣ their population levels.


Average Range
Length 75 ‍cm 30-145 cm
Weight 10 ‌kg 1-25 kg

Average Lifespan: 15-25 ⁤years


The Gag is commonly found in the Western Atlantic,‍ stretching from North Carolina ⁣to​ Key West, Florida, ⁢and the ‌Gulf of Mexico. They exhibit no ‍significant migration patterns.


Primarily an oceanic species, gags are ⁤found in saltwater environments. They prefer rocky and coral reefs ⁣and ⁤can be found at depths between 5 and 100 m. The ideal temperature range‌ is between 12 ​and ‍24 degrees Celsius.

When and Where to See

The⁤ Gag’s prevalence peaks during ⁣the colder months of the year, from late autumn till early spring. Sightings ⁣are typically more frequent during dawn and ⁣dusk.

Best Fishing⁢ Locations

Below is ​a list of the best places to catch a‌ Gag:

  • Gulf ⁤of Mexico
  • Hudson Canyon, New ‍Jersey
  • Florida‌ Keys, Florida
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Long Island, New York
  • Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
  • Jupiter ⁢Inlet, Florida
  • Panama City Beach, Panama
  • Bimini, Bahamas
  • Tampa Bay, Florida

How to Catch

Gags are bottom feeders and⁣ love crustaceans. Using shrimp, ‌crabs, or ⁢squid as bait may increase ⁣your chances of landing one.​ Experienced anglers use bottom fishing or trolling techniques to catch these fish. Fishing is generally⁢ more fruitful during dusk or dawn.

Identification Guide

The Gag is known for its elongated body,​ large mouth, and relatively ​straight anal fin. ‌Body coloration‌ varies​ from dark brown to gray with irregular coloring ‌patterns that offer camouflage. This grouper species is sometimes mistaken for​ the Black Grouper,‌ but the Gag has a​ lighter, grayer body.


Gag⁣ meat is‍ lean, with a mildly sweet ⁢flavor and a firm, yet tender texture.⁤ Its culinary versatility allows it to be ⁤fried,⁤ grilled, or used in stews. The nutritional content includes protein, B-vitamins, and⁢ omega-3 fatty acids.‍ It’s broadly used in Carribean cuisine,‌ providing flavorful dishes⁤ such as ‘Grouper Piccata’ ‍and ‘Grouper a la ​Plancha’.

Additional Information

Gags are opportunistic carnivores, ​feeding⁢ on ‍a ​diet that primarily‌ includes crustaceans, squid, and⁣ other fish. They often ​fall prey ‍to larger fish like Sharks and Barracuda. Historically, the Gag has been significant for commercial and ⁤recreational fishing across the Atlantic region.

References and Further Reading

  • Florida Museum. (n.d.). Florida Museum
  • NOAA Fisheries. (n.d.). NOAA Fisheries