Sand Perch

Sand perch or squirrelfish (Diplectrum formosum), are excellent grouper bait. They also taste good, but their small size makes cleaning them too much trouble for me. They are a very pretty fish, with electric blue cheek lines and orange and blue sides. They also have a large mouth and very sharp gill plates - so be careful when handling them. They can be caught on almost any sandy bottom and frequently on rocky bottom as well. You can usually just stop your boat and drop baits overboard and be into squirrelfish - but if you haven't caught one in the first few minutes, move on to another spot. When bottom fishing squirrelfish for grouper, just hook them through the back in front of the dorsal fin and lower them to the bottom. Then hold on tight, because grouper love to eat them. Sand perch are also good bait when filleted and used as chunks.

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