FISH SPOTLIGHT: STRAWBERRY GROUPER IN TURKS AND CAICOS
If you follow us on Facebook, you’ll see a bunch of our fun ‘Troller Thursday’ posts. These posts give us an opportunity to highlight our guest’s photos from their trip. If you stick around long enough, you’ll eventually see a recurring number of fish appear. One of the popular fish types that our captain and guests frequently catch is the strawberry grouper in Turks and Caicos.
About Strawberry Grouper
The speckled hind, also known as the calico grouper, kitty mitchell or strawberry grouper, is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a grouper from the subfamily Epinephelinae which is part of the family Serranidae. Strawberry Grouper in Turks and Caicos get their name from their red coloration and whitish or lighter red/orange spots, which cover their whole body. Some of their fins will be a darker color and some can be yellow or lighter colors. Interestingly Strawberry Grouper can change the pigmentation of their coloration from lighter to darker tones to blend in with their surroundings.
As with all grouper, strawberry grouper have a proportionally large mouth designed for swallowing their prey whole and they have a row of proportionally small teeth in the front of their mouth. They are one of the smaller grouper, and their maximum size is 30 cm in length.
Habitat & Behavior
Strawberry Groupers can be found in water with structures such as rock outcroppings or reefs. Generally, the larger the fish the deeper the water, however many do stay within coral reefs where they can blend in. Luckily, if you book our private deep sea fishing charter, our experienced captains know where they blend in and try to “hide.” They know Providenciales, Turks and Caicos like the back of their hand.
In addition to Turks and Caicos, you can also spot strawberry grouper in the western Atlantic from North Carolina to the Florida Keys, including the Gulf of Mexico and Bermuda. You can also find them scattered in other Caribbean islands like the Bahamas. Or, even on the East coast of Africa (like Zanzibar) to the mid Pacific.
The main diet of Strawberry Grouper in Turks and Caicos is small fishes and crustaceans, however given they are caught by fishermen on the hook this indicates that they will scavenge as well. They enjoy invertebrates such as crabs or shrimp, as well as cephalopods. Considering the fact that this fish swallows its meals whole, it generally will only eat what it can swallow. They ambush predators and feed in the early morning and late afternoon when their coloration gives them more camouflage. Red light is filtered out by the water after about 5 meters and their red colors provide good camouflage underwater.
Strawberry Grouper Fishing Tips
Reef fish like the grouper require anglers to use dehooking tools and venting tools to safely release the fish. When releasing keep in water, remove hook with pliers or dehooker and vent accordingly if you brought it up from a deep depth. Grouper, including strawberry grouper, all share a set of very sharp teeth and very sharp gill plates. Put fingers gently inside gill plate (just in corner, not too far inside), pinch outside of lip with thumb – easiest way to hang onto them. The best bait for grouper fishing are squid, chub mackerel, sardine, white crab, or octopus pieces, one of the favorite grouper food. But normally they bite any bait.
Ready to catch some beautiful strawberry grouper in Turks and Caicos? Let’s get you booked! You can book directly on our link here. If you have any questions, contact us here: https://gsfishing.com/contact/.