Sarasota, Florida.. Grouper Paradise!



Sarasota, Florida (Steve with a nice Red Grouper)

We normally hop aboard our boat at Marina Jack on Sarasota Bay. The marina is located in downtown Sarasota only a couple miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Having a boat docked so close to the Gulf of Mexico contributes to lower fuel consumption and shorter travel times back and forth offshore. Once we leave the dock and hit the Gulf Waters we usually have lines in the water in approximately 45 minutes.  The wind plays a major factor in our travel time,  if under 10 knots we can be 25 miles offshore in about 1.5 hours. Although, we could get out slightly faster but choose a lower prop RPM to help conserve fuel.

Having a fellow boat club member and good fishing buddy  (Steve) who lives nearby is another advantage.  We normally ride together and split the cost of the boat, fuel, tips, ect. Steve stocks bait which he purchases in bulk  at a discount and stores in his outdoor freezer.  Octopus, Squid, and Red Herring  seem to work pretty well with us. Although, I like the squid because its seems to last longer .


We choose to go offshore  in the middle of the week because there’s less water traffic and more boats available. Also, it frees up the weekend giving you more time to do things with your lady.

We had another great day on the water last week catching three limits of Red Grouper, several Porgies and a nice Mangrove Snapper.

Steve is pictured here with his catch of the day (Red Grouper). Yours truly caught some nice ones too.


I pan seared a couple fillets the next day with a compound butter concoction  of Jalapeno, cilantro, tequila, lime and zest. Served the fillets on top a fresh roasted corn and red pepper risotto. It was awesome!!

Click on the link below for  some other great recipes from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for cooking your catch.


Recipe for the Tequila Lime Butter Compound.

  • One stick salted butter at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons minced jalapeño or serrano chiles, seeds and membranes removed
  • 1 freshly squeezed lime juice (from a medium lime)
  • lime zest of two limes
  • 2 teaspoons tequila (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • a dash of  kosher salt.
    1. Place butter in a medium bowl and, using a rubber spatula, soften until it’s very spreadable. Add remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
    2. Place compound butter on a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll into a log and twist the ends to seal. Place butter in the refrigerator to harden.

Season fish fillets with creole seasoning. Sear both sides of  fish in a light coating of olive oil but don’t over cook. Top fillets with butter compound and finish in oven. Place on top of risotto and garnish with a couple pieces of cilantro or lime peel and spoon the pan dripping on the fish.

grouper and risotto

Contributed By: Martin J. Allred



About chowjudge

Martin Allred is a professional photographer and frequent traveler. His organization Nationwide Photographers provides Professional Photography throughout the USA and Canada. Martin is a native of New Orleans and currently resides in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.
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