Grouper. One of the most delicious, yet least common species we have up here in the Northern Gulf when it comes to freediving. Due to their bottom-dwelling nature, they are either hiding in zero visibility murk or laying on the deep bottom just out of our reach. For us, conditions have to be just right but even then its a wild-ass guess. Earlier this year we set out on a trip with one fish in mind–Gag Grouper. Aboard this trip was Paul Miller, Nathan Snyder, Preston White and myself. We all had big hopes of finding the elusive Louisiana Gag and conditions were looking just right. When we arrived to the grouper hole, we were greeted with 60′ visibility and light current, just what we hoped for. Paul was the first one in, and on his 3rd dive he connected with a solid grouper at 70′. The fish got tangled in the structure on the bottom immediately. Working together in pairs, we were able to put a second shot in Paul’s grouper and cut it free. Hell yeah! It was the first spot of the day and we got exactly what we came for.
After moving on from there we were greeted with massive schools of red snapper and mangroves, but no more grouper. No complaints here! Toward the end of the afternoon a storm was building that would eventually push us inshore so we made the decision to stop at one more spot before calling it quits. We split into pairs and searched all around looking for more Gags but came up short. As we were getting ready to hop in the boat, Preston surfaced and hollered “Grouper!” His line was tight and we were all excited. Once he caught his breath, Preston said he shot a mangrove that was tangled in the bottom but he saw a Gag as he swam up. I made the first drop, following Preston’s shooting line down to the bottom and sure enough, there he was. In the excitement and shock that the fish was still sitting there, I missed terribly. While I was breathing up, Paul went down to see if the grouper was still there. Sure enough, Paul surfaced with a nice grouper. All I could do is yell you SOB! Tired and frustrated at this point I made one last dive down to retrieve Preston’s still-tangled mangrove snapper. As soon as I reached the mangrove I looked up and to my surprise there was yet another Gag sitting just a few feet away. Luckily I brought my gun down for the retrieval. I lined up the shot and whack! Redemption! I was pumped, as this was my first local Gag grouper. We finally freed Preston’s fish, that seemed to be attracting the grouper, and headed back to the dock. This was definitely one of my favorite Louisiana dive trips with great conditions, lots of dead fish and great friends.
This recipe is one of our favorites! It is super quick, delicious and really hard to mess up. Pair it will your favorite side for a complete meal. We hope you guys enjoy this one!
- 2-3 grouper fillets
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced then divided
- 3 or 4 drops Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons of green onion, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Place grouper fillets in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 clove of garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Creole/Cajun seasoning. Cook on low for 2 minutes to blend flavors. Brush both sides of fish fillets with the butter mixture.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets, until fish flakes easily and is no longer translucent.
- While fish is baking, combine remaining butter (softened), garlic, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, green onions, lemon juice and pepper.
- Broil until topping is golden and bubbly.