Family Serranidae, Sea Basses and Grouper (Mycteroperca venenosa)
Identification & Biology: The Yellowfin Grouper has quite a pattern of color like other members of the Grouper family of fish. It can range from a greenish olive or bright red with longitudinal rows of darker black blotches over the entire fish. The outer one-third of the pectoral fins are bright yellow in color, for its name, and the lower body parts of the larger fish have small bright red spots. The yellowfin grouper is a solitary carnivore that lurks in wrecks, reef shadows, or ledges; and draws prey into its gullet by powerful suction from opening large mouth; swallows prey whole after holding it in small rasp like teeth that cover the jaws, tongue and palate. Grouper are hermaphroditic and begin life as females then change to males with maturity.
Range & Habitat: Bermuda, Florida, and southern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil. The yellowfin grouper is a coral reef fish native to the western Atlantic, Carribbean and Gulf of Mexico. It is generally a denizen of the deeper reef areas but it may venture into shallower waters, especially during the cooler seasons. It is frequently taken around coral heads with live or dead bait or artificial lures.
Market Description: One of the more popular Gulf gamefishes. The grouper fish has a mild but very unique flavor, somewhat of a cross between bass and halibut.
Flavor Profile: firm texture, medium flake, delicate flavor
Fishing Technique: hook & line, long line
Special Note: Has been confused with the snowy grouper
Suitable Sub: Scamp grouper, Gag grouper
Recommended Preparation: Grouper meat cooks up very firm, with big flakes and holds its moisture better than many other fish. Can be grilled, fried, sauteed, broiled, steamed, baked, also excellent for soups and chowders.