Best Setup For Goliath Grouper

James Lee
• Monday, 26 October, 2020
• 9 min read

I have been pier fishing for most of my life but more recently I have seen people start to target Goliath Groupers for Sport. They have bulletproof construction and great drag ratings for the size of reel.

grouper goliath bottom fishing reel rod rods torium bay tampa jigging rigs conventional shimano amberjack season wtb help snapper thehulltruth
(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)


The Avert 30 put out around 40 pounds of drag on full and 35 max at strike. The 400lb mono acts as a shock leader and it has superior abrasion resistance.

I am able to pull fish out the pilings and I don't have to worry about the rod being too flimsy. It allows me to pitch baits out without having to worry about my FG knot getting caught up in roller guides.

Another reason I like Star Rods is the fact that they offer a lifetime warranty on their products. The bait of choice is a live jack crevasse, lady fish or moon fish.

Eddie sat down on the deck and braced his foot against the rail, I figured we were into a big one. When his hat fell off, and he started to make grunting sounds, I was sure of it.

Eddie looked up at me with a twisted smile and was just hanging onto the rod for dear life. Something was living in this wreck 10 miles off southwest Florida, and whatever it was had already beaten us up several times.

grouper goliath fishing hook monster offshore teamwork charter nco skipper turned rules perrotte ken ups credit
(Source: www.militarytimes.com)

But on this day we were maxed out on gear big enough to crank one of these monsters up ... if only Capt. This started out innocently enough a few weeks earlier when a couple of fishing buddies and I dropped a live pinkish on 30# mono down on a wreck 50 feet deep looking for a grouper dinner.

Something big grabbed it, screamed out about 40 feet of drag, got into the wreck and cut the line on something sharp. Something wolfed down the pinkish and took line like the rod was tied to a dragster.

The rod bent over 180 degrees, the back of the boat went down 6 inches, and the 150# braid snapped like a rifle shot. I asked the guys in the local bait shops if they knew any captains up for the task of fishing for seemingly unwatchable monsters.

The Goliath, once called the Jewish, is the biggest member of the grouper family. Goliath's can live 50 years and grow to behemoth size.

The winds of spring kept us inshore for a couple of weeks, so we enjoyed the opportunity to fish the bridges for pompano and sea trout. Goliath's are known to inhabit bridges and even shallow water and canals, and when I watched a fisherman lower a 5-pound chunk of cut bait next to a bridge piling I knew he could only be after sharks or Goliath.

goliath grouper
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Eddie's wreck, and he pulled a big Spanish mackerel out of his cooler, the one bait he said Goliath can't refuse. It was a short, furious, and profane battle, a hard fought back-and-forth fish fight, exciting to watch with an uncertain end.

Eddie prevailed, and suddenly a giant brown fish appeared on the surface and lay at the side of the boat as exhausted as Capt. On the next calm day I returned to my wreck lying now in water so clear you could see its dark silhouette on the white sand bottom 50 feet below.

I went over the side to find an old shrimper torn apart by hurricanes and fishermen's anchors, its wheelhouse barely recognizable. And then they appeared, slowly emerging from the shadows of broken masts and rigging.

A fearless giant Goliath carries the remnants of three different rigs ripped from fishermen. Three fishing rigs hung from his mouth, one still with its sinker, medals of recent battles won, and then I recognized one of my rigs, the 150# braid to a black swivel to 200# mono, hanging out of the left side of his mouth.

There was the proof: These were the bad boys that had beat us up, and a few other fishermen, too, by the looks of it. I returned to the surface knowing those hooks will soon rust and the line will fall away, and these Goliath's will own this wreck for many years to come.

grouper goliath avet fish guy
(Source: www.youtube.com)

It's a serious one-on-one fish fight where it's wise to have somebody next to you ready to grab your belt and keep you in the boat. Many charter captains have only to take you to the nearest bridge to find a giant ready to take you on.

Deals on cruises, charters, car rentals, hotel stays and more… Some grouper grow to over 500 lbs, and can often be caught with a simple hook and sinker style rig.

By the end of this article, you’ll be extra prepared for your next grouper fishing trip. As with most predatory fish, using live bait for grouper will be your best bet as long as local regulations allow.

If you’re targeting a rock pile or wreck, anchor your boat up current and throw some old cut bait in the water. This technique works great for both bottom fishing and spearfish, as long as you have a solid pair of free diving fins.

Combine this with a 2 to 3 foot long 80 lb test monofilament leader, a 4-ounce egg sinker, and you’ll be set up for grouper success! A regular bottom fishing tackle setup is a great place to start.

kayak grouper goliath caught largest ever fishing fish another take road
(Source: bonitabob.blogspot.com)

We like using a 6 to 7-foot long heavy action rod paired with a bottom-fishing reel and 50 lb test braided line. Like we mentioned earlier, we usually fish for grouper off the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, so these are the species you’ll most likely encounter there.

They are gray and brown and love living close to coastal rock piles and underwater wreckage. Gag groupers will even hang in water only a few feet deep if there are structure and bait fish nearby.

Their massive size means you need to fish with an extra heavy-duty set up in order to stand a chance. One of the first mistakes amateur grouper fishermen make is keeping their drag at a normal level.

This is a big mistake when fishing for grouper due to their tendency to retreat back to rocky holes and tunnels after they take your bait. IF your drag is set high, it will be much harder for them to make it back to their rocky hideouts before you can reel them away.

Drifting allows you to cover more water and get your bait in front of more fish than if you anchor your boat. Since oftentimes the difference between catching a grouper and not is just finding them, drifting allows you to maximize your chances enticing them to bite.

grouper fishing goliath rigs florida rigging sport station
(Source: www.youtube.com)

As long as the current isn’t too strong and your lures aren’t down too deep, you should still be able to keep your live/dead bait right where you want it. Since they live at deeper depths than other sports fish, they still enjoy feeding when the surface bite is off.

This is why it’s always a good idea to have a bottom fishing reel and rod ready for off days. Now that you know what the proper grouper bait is and how to fish it, you’ll be prepared next time you get out on the water.

This is not your regular fishing...this can be dangerous and will punish your tackle, gear and your body. Let me rate this fish for you on a scale of 1-10 ...10 being the highest in a few areas.

Let’s start with Power ...20..... Strength 20.... Ferociousness 20... Hunger 20.... Stamina...20... Intelligence...8.ok they are not that smart but their brute force makes up for the brain department. So you get my idea these fish do not mess around and you need to be physically and mentally ready for what you get into.

I am using a Penn International 16VS 2 speed on a St Croix 6’” 6 Fiberglass rod I picked up at a garage sale. When I attach the hook to the Bull buster 3 00lb mono I like to use a Snell knot.

goliath grouper
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Snell Knots now that you have a good description of my set up I use for Goliath ’s lets get back to the fishing that day shall we. Jorge, Luis and I saw an entire squad of these Goliath under my boat...they were big and hungry.

Oh, you never heard of the Goliath Prayer...well it goes something like this.....Oh, god almighty as I embark into battle with the Goliath demon please guide my reel, fishing line, and my body to glory...and please almighty do not let the demon Goliath drag me down under straight to his underwater lair for all eternity amen. So I gabbed Doomsday and opened the live well and selected my bait...a nice Look down.

He turned and made a dash for the other side of the boat and after about 25 minutes I was wearing away...my arms and back could not hold on anymore.... DoomsDay was in danger of being sucked down into the depths with Invites. Jorge grabbed Doomsday and held it like Thor’s hammer and fought Invites hard.

Invites knew he was in trouble and made a few hard powerful runs for the rocks but Jorge held fast....soon we could see some color and Jorge raised the powerful Goliath to the surface....it was Invites! Invites the Goliath on Bull buster 100lb Mono and 300lb Grander Leader He was not happy and made another dash to try to get away but it was not his day...we had him.

Once we had Invites subdued we all took pictures with this beautiful powerful fish and then gave it a few good pats and set it free. Albert with Goliath Invites swam back to his lair knowing he was beaten this day...we tagged teamed him and brought him in.

goliath grouper
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Jorge and I were tired it is no joke fighting and landing these fish...if you have never done it you have to try it one day so you can see what it is all about. If you want to go after 300lb plus Goliath you need a different set up...minimum I would suggest would be a 50-80 wide reel with at least 200lb braid and a very good rod.

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1 www.local10.com - https://www.local10.com/news/local/2020/07/22/arrests-made-in-massacres-of-3-friends-on-florida-fishing-trip/
2 www.bassfishin.com - http://www.bassfishin.com/fishing-videos/fall-bass-fishing/