Grunt (Haemulidae)

Grunt

  • Size 12-15 inches
  • Food Value Good
  • Game Qualities Low
  • Habitats Inshore, Reef, Nearshore, Offshore

There are more than 130 species of Grunt, found in fresh, brackish, and saltwater all over the world. Most Grunts are common bycatches on reef fishing charters, from relatively shallow nearshore waters to the deep sea. These bottom-feeders got their name from the grunting sound they make when grinding their teeth. Grunts aren’t very large or hard-fighting, but they do make good table fare. All in all, these little guys are a nice bonus on any fishing trip!

How Big?

Many Grunts reach about 12-15 inches in size and weigh little more than a pound or two. White Grunts (also called Key West Grunts) can grow much larger. The IGFA all tackle record for this species is 6 lb 8 oz, while the Florida state record is 15 lb 8 oz.

When and Where

Anglers catch a wide variety of Grunts in the western Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. Common catches in these areas include White Grunt, Smallmouth Grunt, Bluestriped Grunt, and more. In the waters stretching from the Red Sea to northern Australia, Silvery Grunt is one of the most prevalent species (also called Silver Javelin).

Key West GruntWhite Grunt (aka Key West Grunt) caught in St Pete Beach, FL

How to Fish

These fish are commonly caught while drifting and bottom fishing over wrecks and reefs, usually as bycatch. Grunts eat just about anything and you can quickly fill your cooler with them just by dropping frozen squid on circle hooks. Small as they are, these fish make for good light tackle action, but many anglers catch them on heavy tackle while targeting larger reef fish, taking pretty much all the sport out of it.

Good to Eat?

Grunts are very good eating fish. You might be disappointed at first when you reel in one of these little guys instead of a massive Snapper or Grouper, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised come dinner time!


Top Grunt Fishing Charters