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Grouper Success Starts With the Right Gear

With Toro's TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower, maintaining your lawn becomes effortless, leaving you more time to catch grouper and prepare a delightful fish dinner feast!

Spring and early summer is a great time to make a journey to the beaches and nearby fish-rich waterways of America’s Gulf Coast and southeastern states where the Gulf Stream currents and inshore locations bring an almost endless supply of saltwater fishing opportunities.

If you plan to make a journey to Florida this year, be sure that you find a good dockside cafe or a waterfront fish house specializing in piscatorial wonders for the table.

And when you sit down to glance at the menu, look for three things—shrimp and grits to start with, key lime pie to end with, and a fried grouper sandwich in between. The latter is a staple in the Sunshine State that I discovered years ago, and no trip from my Texas home to Florida is complete without sampling one. Like the one served by TC’s Front Porch in Navarre, Fla., it's really, really, really good--trust me on this!

Of course, if you’re looking for a grouper recipe that will make your cardiologist smile a bit more, then why not give grilled grouper a try or even a fresh grouper filet served over pasta. To make that latter recipe a little more ticker friendly, try using a butter substitute or nut-butter or seed-butter spread in the sauce to help bring about the superb taste that the firm-flaked grouper is renowned for.

Outdoor Sportsman Group editor and TV personality Jeff Weakley, who resides in the Stuart, Fla. area where he serves as the executive editor for Florida Sportsman magazine, certainly agrees that grouper is one of the nation’s top fish. And that’s especially true in May and June when fresh grouper is a bit easier to catch in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean waters near Florida and the southeastern U.S. coastline.

To catch grouper, Weakley notes that you'll need some specialized gear that includes the right sinkers to get down into the shadowy recesses where they live, not to mention circle hooks that are required in some spots to stop unwanted trauma on other fish species caught other than those that are destined for the big cooler in the back of a saltwater boat. Other gear like a venting tool, or a fizzing device, can help release fish back into the briny water when they've been pulled to the surface a bit too quickly for their swim bladders to handle.

While grouper are one of the top targets for a Great American Spring ’23 day on the water, there are other piscatorial creatures to wet a line for on a day of fishing around offshore reefs and wrecks in water less than 150 feet deep. And many--maybe even most--are sporty targets on saltwater spinning tackle, fish that include a variety of grouper species, mangrove snapper, red snapper, amberjack, kingfish, and more.

So prolific is the potential under-the-sea bounty in spots like the waters off Florida's Central Gulf Coast that Game and Fish contributor David A. Brown once had a trip that resulted in 20 different species being caught during a single day of angling. As he noted, it was a highly productive fishing adventure that brought about some of the Gulf's most prized food fish being caught, grouper included. There were also other fun fish to catch, an important consideration given the strict regulations that often come with the saltwater environment’s most highly coveted species.

All in all, such saltwater fishing is a can't miss affair according to Brown and that isn’t just true for a full-time outdoors writer, either. "Similar assortments await open-minded anglers throughout offshore waters beyond Florida’s Gulf Coast,” he wrote. “Indeed, the region’s many natural and manmade bottom structures hold boundless potential with not only the highly-publicized fish, but also a talented roster of B-teamers that’ll fill in the gaps when the top-shelf targets are either tough to catch or out of season."


If there's a downside to fishing for grouper and other saltwater species in southeastern U.S. coastal waters, it might be the long rides into proper positioning, bouncing on the rolling swells as you head offshore. But as Weakley points out in OSG’s Great American Spring '23 coverage, if the lengthy ride on your ocean-going vessel is as silky smooth as the lawn cutting ride is on the 54-inch Toro TimeCutter Zero Turn Mower with MyRIDE Suspension System, then you'll hardly notice either one on a beautiful spring day.

Perfectly engineered for yards and properties of 1-3 acres, the Toro TimeCutter with MyRIDE features a Smart Speed Technology that gives you the control to mow at slower speeds in tight spots and at higher speeds in open stretches that will feature a long run of cutting grass without sacrificing blade tip speed.

But don't believe for a second that using a Toro TimeCutter with MyRIDE means you're sacrificing anything in the quality department since this mower is built with the same DNA that powers Toro's legendary landscape contractor-grade equipment. With the MyRIDE Suspension System, there are no more jarring bumps or rocky rides as you crisscross your property’s toughest terrain. As you do so, MyRIDE and its suspended, adjustable operator platform that takes the bumps saves your body from the bumps, bruises, and soreness that can potentially reduce your ability and desire to spend a profitable day on the water.

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Built with the IronForged Deck that brings years of top-flight Toro cutting performance, and you can easily adjust the height-of-cut for your lawn, as well as clear unexpected obstacles without having to stop thanks to a deck lift pedal. Maintenance is a breeze, thanks to this model’s toolless oil change along with a toolless belt cover. And when you're ready to start the mower and go after the day’s lawn cutting chores, a handcrafted high-back seat and armrest provides comfort that you’ll only wish you had on your fishing boat as you pull away from the marina or boat ramp!

When you need to hydrate with a little H2O on a warm spring or early summer day of lawn care, there's a built-in cup holder in this Toro mower. And when you don’t want contact with water, this Toro mower also features wet spray blocking fenders that keep tire spray and back splash at bay as you mow after a dew-soaked sunrise or negotiate puddles left after overnight thundershowers. Those latter two items keep you high and dry from water you don't want contact with, in addition to helping you stay dry so you can jump from the mower to the truck for a day of on-the-water fishing adventure.

And when that watery fun has a briny edge to it and harbors tasty species like Florida's fresh grouper down below, then that's the chief ingredient for an epic day of fishing fun during the Great American Spring '23, even if the lawn chore duties call first on the day's "To Do" list!

Because with a Toro mower powering your grass cutting efforts, lawn chores are a simple breeze and you’ll soon be making memories for the hammock’s late afternoon nap, as well as securing the key ingredient for a memorable evening at the dinner table!

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