Serranidae, SEA BASSES AND GROUPER
Description: brownish gray in color with dark worm-like
markings on sides; strong serrated spur at bottom margin of preopercle, less noticeable in large specimens; fins dark, with
anal and caudal having white margin. Often confused with black grouper; tail of gag is slightly concave, black is square;
gag has white margin on anal and caudal fins, black does not; under 10 pounds, gag's spur on preopercle is distinctive, where
black is gently rounded.
Similar Fish: black grouper M. bonaci.
Where found: adults OFFSHORE over rocks
and reefs; juveniles occur in seagrass beds INSHORE.
Size: common to 25 pounds.
*Florida Record: 71
lbs., 3 ozs.
Remarks: forms spawning aggregations in water no shallower than 120 feet in Middle Grounds area, January
through March; current reseach to identify similar aggregations off Atlantic coast is ongoing. Young gags are predominantly
female, transforming into males as they grow larger; feeds on fish and squid.