Perhaps Terry Scroggins is attracted to Grouper fishing because they show such strong resemblance to Largemouth Bass. Maybe it’s because they taste
so good on the grill. Or maybe his enjoyment comes simply from the chance to have fun with his fellow Bassmaster Elite Series buddies during a winter break from tournament bass fishing.
For Scroggins, chasing Grouper along Florida’s coast is attractive for all of those reasons. “It’s definitely a fun thing to do with my buddies in the winter during the off-season when we’re not fishing bass tournaments,” said Scroggins, whose pursuit takes place in a Triton 2690 center console boat powered by twin 225 hp Mercury Verados.
“I’ve towed the big 27-foot Triton to the ocean with my Tundra about ten times since the Bassmaster Elite Series Season ended last August. I’ve
played the role of charter captain to Peter T and Derek Remitz a few times, and this week Kelly Jordan is at my house. Kelly does a lot of
saltwater fishing in Texas, but this week, ole K.J. might try it Florida style,” said Scroggins.
“It’s a whole lot like structure fishing for Smallmouth Bass on Lake Erie. You look for irregularities on the bottom and drop a Carolina rig type
set-up down there. Actually, maybe I should say it’s like drop-shotting with 130-pound braided line,” explained Scroggins.
And what happens when one bites? “Well, they average about 15 pounds and your pulling them out of fairly deep water – so it’s a pretty dang goo
fight,” said Scroggins, who again finished in the Top 10 of the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
In Scroggins’ world every good day ends near a backyard grill. “My local buddies refer to Grouper fishing as ‘grocery grabbin’ because we eat our
legal limit every time we go. Red Grouper are pretty plentiful, so once you figure it out, it’s not hard to catch enough for dinner. I used to be
a master steak griller, but this winter I’ve turned into a grouper smoker. I smoke them over mesquite wood, and serve the fillets next to some
zucchini, squash or potatoes. If I get ambitious, I might even fix up a pasta dish to go with it,” Scroggins explained.
“The biggest challenge to Grouper fishing is cutting-up octopus legs for bait. We usually give that job to the first-timers,” laughed Scroggins.