Are There Goliath Groupers In Key West

David Lawrence
• Tuesday, 27 October, 2020
• 8 min read

Three or four irregular faint vertical bars are present of the sides of individuals less than 3 feet in length. The rear half of the caudal peduncle of these small individuals is covered by another similar bar.

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The juveniles inhabit mangroves and brackish estuaries, especially near oyster bars. This fish is solitary by nature, with the adults occupying limited home ranges.

Goliath groupers are territorial in areas of refuge such as caves, wrecks, and ledges. As a warning to intruders, the Goliath grouper will display an open mouth and even create an audible rumbling sound from their swim bladder.

The sound the grouper creates with its swim bladder is also used to locate other Goliath groupers as it can travel a great distance. Goliath grouper feed largely on crustaceans– spiny lobsters, shrimps and crabs, and fish including stingrays, parrot fish, octopus, and young sea turtles.

Though they have sharp teeth that are adapted for seizing and preventing escape, the meal is usually simply engulfed and swallowed whole. On August 26th, Joshua Anyzeski caught the prohibited species, removing it from the water to take a picture.

The picture circulated on social media, which tipped off officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The giant Goliath Grouper is king of the reef, and large mature specimens have no natural predators.

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The Goliath Grouper is the largest member of the sea bass family found in the western Atlantic, reaching weights of 800 lbs. Its body is elongated but robust, with the widest point measuring more than half the fish’s total length.

Goliath's are generally brownish yellow, gray, or olive-colored, with small dark spots on head, body, and fins. Goliath Grouper Habitat and Behavior GoliathGroupers range the shallow, inshore tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida through the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, and south along nearly the entire Brazilian coastline.

They prefer areas that have rock, coral, and mud bottoms along with high-relief features such as ledges, caves, and holes that can provide refuge. The Goliath is one of the few groupers that inhabit brackish waters, with juveniles commonly found around mangroves and in estuaries, especially near oyster bars.

GoliathGroupers are solitary fish and adults are territorial near their areas of refuge, displaying an open mouth and quivering body to intruders and sometimes producing an audible rumbling sound via muscular contractions of the swim bladder. Goliath Grouper can live a long time, with the oldest verified age on record being 37 years.

The difference with the Goliath is that specialized ultra-heavy tackle will be needed if there is to be any chance of bringing a fish boat side. GoliathGroupers are completely protected with a ban on all harvest, so most fishermen jump into the water for a picture with their trophy before cutting the leader and releasing the Goliath back to its home.

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The giant Goliath Grouper is arguably one the most dramatic fish spotted on Rawest scuba diving trips. GoliathGroupers range the shallow tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida, through the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and south along nearly the entire Brazilian coastline.

It is the largest member of the Sea Bass family found in the western Atlantic, reaching weights of 800 lbs. GoliathGroupers typically inhabit natural and artificial reefs in water depths of 16 to 160 feet, preferring areas that have rock, coral, or mud bottoms and high-relief features such as ledges, caves, and holes that can provide refuge.

I was fortunate to have some local watermen take me under their wings and show me the art and science of offshore fishing. I quickly progressed from deck hand, to mate, to captain.

In the slower season, I spend much of my time under the water studying the fish behavior and how they are affected with the tides and moon phase. May 27, 2021 Recently Added to our “fleet” is a 2000 Dolphin Super Skiff Pro.

The boat was purchased with Yamaha F70 motor, but a new Mercury Marine 60 Four stroke will be making an appearance in the very near future. It handles chop in open water very nicely and will get us to where we are going drier than a lot of other skiffs.

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Yamaha F70 Four stroke motor Garmin 541s GPS Leader non-skid Carbon Marine G3LR push pole We have good numbers of fish moving through the area along the ocean and through the backcountry.

Sight fishing strings of tarpon on the beach is an incredible way to spend the day. The fish are traveling along the shore in strings and the opportunities present themselves in good numbers.

These fish can be a little spooky and hard to feed; but when you make it happen it is awesome. A well-placed fly presented in the correct manor can yield explosive results that end with holes in the ocean and big runs.

If you prefer spinning gear, we can use artificial baits like Hogs and hard plugs. A live bait presented with the current can be very effective on channel fish.

These little guys love to jump and have big fights in their smaller bodies. Other targets this time of year include bone fish, barracudas, Permit, and sharks.

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Stalking bone fish and permit during the high sun of the midday can be very productive this time of year. February 26, 2019, April 1, 2018, Captain Brian Stella is a Florida native who has fished all over the waters of his home state.

He started Low Key Angling to provide top quality fishing charters with a focus on customer service, teaching techniques that catch fish, and providing an experience of a lifetime. Low Key Angling aims to set the standard with top of the line equipment, a new boat that is meticulously maintained, and the experience to put anglers on fish consistently.

There are numerous other species in the backcountry that can also be targeted like barracudas, snappers, sharks and many more. Captain Brian even knows about the different seabirds that call the keys home.

Captain Brian Stella is an easy-going guy that focuses on creating the best experience for his clients to provide a lifelong memory. It does not have an abundance of bells and whistles, but has exactly what you need for a successful day on the water.

At Low Key Angling, we bleed black and only trust Mercury Marine for our power. It takes rougher water as well so that we can cross over Coca Grande channel to get to the Marquesas.

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Mercury 115 Pro XS Four stroke motor Mercury 402 Vessel View Smart craft Gauge Garmin 7607xs GPS Garmin Meteor 300 Bluetooth Stereo Jr Audio marine speakers Leader non-skid Carbon Marine G3LR push pole Ameritrail custom dry launch trailer September 4, 2017, The Barracuda, also known as the water wolf, is a top tier predator of the flats and open ocean.

These fish can reach speeds of almost thirty miles per hour in two times their body length. One of the most popular methods is throwing hard plugs and reeling them back to the boat at speed.

Goliath groupers inhabit shallower waters for the most part and can be found around a lot of different types of underwater structure. These structures can be natural, like rock ledges, or man made wrecks.

They are pretty territorial and usually unafraid of people making them an easy target for divers. A good strong drag and some determinations are needed to turn these fish to the boat.

With one stroke of their huge tail the fish will start taking precious line away from you. This area is made up of shallow flats, channels, mangrove islands, basins, and beaches.

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The shallow flats provide foraging grounds for fish like permit and bone fish. The channels make a great funnel for tarpon and other larger fish to feed in.

The mangrove root systems make an excellent place for small fish to grow up without predators being able to reach them. The basins make large bowls and contain different types of structure like ledges and coral heads.

You can have a fun day of rod bending with multi species catches in the basins. August 31, 2017, The Marquesas Keys are a small island chain about 30 miles West of Rawest.

This chain is a beautiful sight and a real treasure of the Florida Keys. The main targets inshore in the Marquesas are tarpon, bone fish, and permit.

The Marquesas are built up of mangrove islands, shallow flats, and channels that run into and around the ring. Tarpon are also known as Mega lops Atlantic us, Silver King, Chrome Cow, and a hundred other nicknames.

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Average fish in the lower keys ranges from forty to sixty pounds. These fish make one of the best inshore adversaries because of the skill it takes to successfully hook and land one.

The jumps, long runs, and sheer determination that these fish display are truly a sight to see. It makes it more fun and challenging for everyone involved while giving the fish the respect it deserves.

The big migration begins sometime in March and fish continuously move through into July. While we can find tarpon most of the year, the migration brings large numbers and concentrates them for us.

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