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The Tiger Grouper fish identification, habitats, characteristics, Fishing methods

Tiger grouper is a species of fish in the Serranidae family. The grouper has a tapered body, often reddish, with vertical stripes on its sites. Young individuals have a yellow color. This fish lives in sheltered reef areas. The Tiger Grouper is a large beautiful lurk-and-lunge hunter who catches its prey by finding a hiding place in the reef and then waiting patiently for an unsuspecting small fish to swim nearby. Then, with a quick lunge, it opens its jaws to swallow its meal in an easy gulp. The Tiger Groupers can get quite large, up 3.5 feet in length, but most are commonly seen as 1 to 2 foot specimens. They are one of the more commonly seen grouper species in the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida. Tiger Groupers can often be found resting on the bottom or under coral heads or ledges with their gills and mouths flared open for cleaning. If they are on a cleaning station, their coloring may be a bright red.

The Tiger Grouper Fishing Tiger grouper, Mycteroperca tigris, also known as Bonaci Gato, is a marine deep water fish, widely distributed in Bermuda, south Florida, Gulf of Mexico (common on the Flower Garden Banks off Texas), West Indies, Venezuela to southern Brazil. It is more common in the Bahamas, but seen fairly often in the Florida Keys.

The Tiger Grouper has a tapered, strong and stout body; body depth contained 3.1 to 3.6 times, head length 2.5 to 2.8 times in length. They are often reddish, with vertical stripes on its sides which change angle from head to tail. Juveniles are generally yellow. The Tiger Grouper, like all groupers has a large mouth and big lips. Rear nostrils of adults are 3 to 5 times larger than front nostrils. Teeth large, canines well developed. Preopercle is without a projecting bony lobe at corner. Soft dorsal and anal fins pointed, with middle rays elongate in large adults. Caudal fin rounded in juveniles, truncate to emarginate with exserted rays in larger fish (60 to 80 cm length). Midlateral body scales are ctenoid in juveniles and smooth in adults. The most distinguishing characteristics from its other relatives are the vertical white tiger stripes that cover its body. The rest of the Tiger Grouper's body is a reddish brown. But Tiger Groupers can change their stripes. They can darken and lighten their body color dramatically, which can make the tiger stripes hard to see.

  • Dorsal fin has 11 spines and 15 to 17 soft rays.
  • Interspinous membranes are distinctly indented.
  • Anal fin has 3 spines and 11 soft rays.
  • Pectoral fins have 17 rays.
  • Lateral-line scales 82 or 83.
  • Lateral scale series 120.
  • Maximum total length is 100 cm
  • Maximum weight up to 10 kg.
  • The rear margin of tail convex or truncate with rounded corners.
  • Gill rakers on first arch are 23 to 25.
    8 on upper limb (including 5 or 6 rudiments),
    15 to 17 on lower limb (including 7 to 9 rudiments).
  • The Fish Diagram

        Adults Tiger Grouper are greenish brown to brownish grey with close-set, small, brown or orange-brown spots, the interspaces forming a pale green or whitish network. Their head and body are darker dorsally, with 9 to 11 alternating oblique pale narrow stripes and broader dark bars on the upper sides that slope downward and forward. They have irregular pale spots and stripes on median fins, pale yellow distally pectoral fins. Reddish orange or dusky orange-yellow are inside of mouth. Small juveniles (3 to 10 cm length) are yellow, with blackish brown midlateral stripe from tip of lower jaw through the eye and along body to caudal fin. They also may show the oblique dark bars of adults as a stress pattern. The stripes of the left and right sides do not meet on lower jaw, and become fainter with growth, being mostly hidden by the dark slanting dorsal bars on the body of larger species (larger than 20 cm). Tiger Grouper can change color, pale or darken; they could became bright red, especially when visiting cleaning stations.

    Tiger Grouper inhabit coral reefs and rocky bottom in 10 to 40 m depth. Although awkward in appearance, groupers can cover short distances quickly. A sedentary ambush predator that feed mainly on fish, which is drawn into their gullets by a powerful suction created when they open their large mouths. Held securely by thousands of small, rasp-like teeth that cover the jaws tongue and palate, the prey is swallowed whole.

    They are protogynous hermaphrodite, all fish smaller than 37 cm are females, and all fish larger than 45 cm are males. A spawning aggregation was observed at Puerto Rico in February 1992. Males in courtship displayed a pale yellow to bronze head, pectoral fins black with yellow tip, anal-fin base and area on body above anal fin white. Females exhibited the usual colour and pattern, but a white blotch like that of maleswas displayed at the time of spawning, when the female rose off the bottom to join a male hovering 1 to 2m above the bottom and displaying an intensely pale head and white ventral area. Gametes were released as the fish came together a few meters above the bottom. Average female 35 cm length ranged from 150.000 to 1 million eggs. Sexual maturity is estimated to be attained at 2 years (25 cm length) and a fish of 42 cm length is 9 years old.

    Fishing Methods. Heavy spinning and bait-casting outfits, along with light boat rods and lines up to 20- or 30-pound test. Best baits are small live fish and fresh cut fish or squid. Tigers will take a variety of artificials, including jigs and trolling plugs. Fishing methods are include Drifting, Still Fishing and Trolling. Caught with traps, hook-and-line, and with spears.

    Grouper Recepe The white-flaked flesh contains no intramuscular bones. The extra lean white meat is firm and moist with large flake and a sweet, mild flavor.

    Grilled Margarita Grouper
    Combine 1/3 cup Bianco, Silver or Anejo tequila, 1/2 cup of triple sec, 3/4 cup of fresh lime juice, 1 tsp of salt, and 2 tsp of vegetable oil. Place 1 1/2 lbs grouper fillets in a single layer in a flat dish. Pour tequila mixture over, and marinate for 1/2 hour at room temperature, or 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Just before serving, combine 3 medium diced tomatoes, 1 medium finely chopped onion, 1 tbsp minced jalapeņo or serrano chile, 2-4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 1 pinch of sugar, and salt to taste to make fresh tomato salsa. Remove fish from marinade (reserve it for later), and pat dry. Brush fish on both sides with oil, and grind pepper over it. Cook on greased grill over high heat until flesh is opaque (approx. 4 minutes per side). Boil sauce in a saucepan for about 2 minutes, remove and discard the garlic cloves, and spoon over fish. Serve alongside fresh tomato salsa.

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