Gag grouper have long, compressed bodies and up to 14 rays in the anal fins. Coloration is highly variable in gag’s and changes with the size of the fish. Large gag are dark brownish gray above and paler below, with traces of dark wavy markings on the sides. Gags are often confused with black grouper. Gag have deeply notched preopercles, distinguishing them from black grouper.

The gag grouper can be found from North Carolina to Brazil over hard bottom in waters depths of between 60-500 feet. It can also be found in the Gulf of Mexico. Gags are know to live up to 26 years and get to nearly 5 feet in length as a weigh of around 80 pounds. They tend to “group” near rocky ledges in small units They typically feed on scad, sardines, snappers, crabs, shrimp and squid.