South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Grouper, Speckled Hind

Grouper, Speckled Hind

Grouper, Speckled Hind

Epinephelus drummondhayi, Kitty Mitchell
Recreational
All areas are closed for recreational fishing.
Commercial
All areas are closed for commercial fishing.

The common names of this grouper stem from the profusion of tiny white spots that cover the deep reddish-brown head, body and fins. In addition to the normal color pattern, some juveniles undergo a yellowish phase, where white spots cover a light yellow background.

Speckled hind inhabit warm, moderately deep waters from North Carolina to Cuba, including Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico. Preferred habitats include high- and low-profile hard bottoms in depths of 25 to 183 meters, with temperatures of 60° to 85°F. They are most common between 60 and 120 meters. Off the Carolinas, the speckled hind is usually found inshore of deep-water reef fish (tilefish, snowy, warsaw and yellowedge groupers). Like other reef fish studied in the South Atlantic Bight, speckled hind seem to display a fish size-water depth relationship, smaller fish occur inshore, where larger fish are found in deeper waters. The world record is a 64-pound speckled hind, caught off North Carolina. They are protogynous hermaphrodites, with females reaching sexual maturity at 4 or 5 years of age (about 19-21 inches long). Spawning takes place offshore in July through September. Speckled hind generally engulf their prey whole. Their life span is approximately 25 years.

Regulations

NC, SC, GA, FL

  • Season is currently closed.
  • Notes: Closed to possession or harvest

    A descending device is required on board all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper and grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic. The descending device must be readily available for use and attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line. Get more information at Best Fishing Practices Webpage

    For more information, see: SAFMC Speckled Hind Regulations

  • Gear Description: Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. When fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic, the following regulations apply: (1) Use of a dehooking tool is required. (2) The use of non-stainless steel hooks is required when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. In waters North of 28-degrees N. latitude, the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper grouper species using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. (3) A descending device is required on board all vessels and must be readily available for use (attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line). See below for more details.

Upcoming meetings

Amendments in progress

  • No current items

Contact