There’s goods news for out-of-state anglers headed to Florida this winter.
In the past, grouper has been off limits during the cooler months. But this year, grouper season opened Feb. 1 and will stay open through the end of March.
The two-month closure of state waters was removed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in September. The closure of shallow-water species used to apply only to black, red, yellowfin and yellowmouth groupers, as well as scamp, rock hind and red hind.
The closure, however, did not apply to gag grouper. The species has its own season, which opens April 1 and runs through June 30 in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Taylor and Jefferson counties and from July 1 through Dec. 3 in all other state waters of the Gulf (excluding Monroe County, which is managed under the Atlantic season).
The shallow shallow-water grouper season will remain closed from Feb. 1 through March 31 in waters seaward of the 20-Fathom line.