Even though the short season on red snapper is over, bottom-fishing fields can continue to get their fix with big and tasty grouper out of Little River Inlet.

Capt. Ronnie Atkinson said parties aboard his 34-foot Crusader have been catching plenty of big grouper.


“Grouper have been biting real well right now offshore in 115 foot of water,” said Atkinson (843-283-7692), “and we are catching good sized-fish and good numbers too.”

Scamp grouper are congregating at 100- to 120-foot depths around ledges blanked with livebottom. They have been hitting almost exclusively life baitfish along the hard and soft corral. Atkinson said live cigar minnows fished on a 10/0 circle hook on the bottom have been the most-productive baits, and even better, the ocean has been calmer in recent days, allowing more fishermen to make the run offshore.

And, as Atkinson said, “Grouper bite better when the ocean is calmer.”

In addition to grouper, anglers can expect a variety of other legal bottomfish. Red porgies, vermillion snapper and black sea bass should all be abundant on the same livebottom areas off Little River. Also, cut squid and shrimp will produce good results throwing triggerfish in the mix.

Atkinson expects fishing to get even better as the water cools with the approach of fall. He expects gag grouper to move even closer to the beach, setting up shop in 65 to 90 feet of water.