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.
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.
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.
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… One of the tastiest and most famous fish of the sea, GoliathGrouper, is the largest form of the species of Grouper.
These fishes weigh up to 900 pounds, making them very difficult to catch. It would be best if you had a lot of strength and technique to get them on the hook and pull them out of the water.
Red Grouper : These fishes are found in and around the Florida coasts. These fishes prefer to live in rocky areas where there are a lot of holes and caves.
They use these caves and holes to make it their home and hide if they sense any form of danger. These fishes are very lonely and prefer to live in very deep waters, from 20 to 200 meters.
They are massive and very strong, with some fishes being a meter in length and 300kgs in weight. They are known to have big mouths with very distinct lips and brown bodies with white spots.
They have very powerful jaws, which they used to hunt small fishes and octopuses for their food. They are territorial fishes and cover an area of about 500 square meters.
Now the thing is, due to their size and difficulty to catch them, more often than not, when you manage to catch them, the pressure created due to their size and strength of their resistance, can break their skeletal system and hence killing them. During winter, ranging from September to March is the perfect time to fish groupers.
That is because, during the summer, they usually reside deep in some cave or hole underwater. Due to their size and strength, conventional fishing techniques cannot be used to catch a GoliathGrouper.
When you go to buy a lure, you must check if it is ideal for deep trolling or not. This kind of trolling with lures like butterfly jigs, feathers, or anything which can mimic a shellfish can attract a Grouper and is very effective.
This is very effective because, once the Grouper comes out of its shelter to take a bite, they are so far off their home that once caught, and they cannot swim back in. Frozen and natural baits such as squids, sardines, pinkish, grunts, blue runners, white mullet, squirrel fish, etc.
If you use light or less strong tackles, there will be chances to break off, which will be a problem for both you and the fish. Grouper fishing is a type of fishing where you will not need a lot of lines, which is very good.
Goliath Groupers are caught using live or dead bait with an artificial lure. These fishes are very strong and are keen to hide in their homes when they sense danger.
To do that, you just anchor somewhat close to a cave, wreck, or reef where groupers usually reside. Make sure you do not anchor too far away from the reefs to prevent the Goliath Groupers from returning to their home because if you are too far, they will never come out to your lure.
Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, Chum Charlie has always had a passion for fishing. Off the water, he enjoys blogging and sharing his favorite fishing tips & tricks that he has learned over the years.
GoliathGrouper have made a major comeback over recent years after being completely decimated by commercial pressure in the 70s and 80s. Goliath's can reach weights over 600lbs and love to engulf anything they can fit in their mouths, whether that is a jack, snapper, shook or permit, they couldn't care less.
Although their aggressive personalities make them easy to hook, pulling them away from the safety of their dens is another matter entirely. Depending mainly on the depth of the water and the structure, we employ 30-80 size reels on broom sticks for stand-up rods.
The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline. The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities.
The Gulf covers most of Florida’s west coast, from Pensacola in the Panhandle to the start of the Everglades at the tip of the peninsula. This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters.
For counties of Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson (in the Panhandle area from Apalachicola to Steinhatchee) there is open season in state waters from April 1 to June 30, and again from September 1 to December 31. Black, Red, Scamp, Yellow fin and Yellow mouth Grouper all have similar regulations in the Gulf.
It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers. You can ask your charter captain if the size you have is a keeper or not; or refer to the FCC regulations to make sure you’re staying compliant.
If you’re lucky enough to catch a GoliathGrouper or Nassau Grouper, take a quick picture and release it back to the wild. Now moving east to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent opportunities for grouper fishing.
Keep in mind, the FCC considers the Everglades and Florida Keys as part of the Atlantic Ocean waters, and all fishing done in these areas must stay within Atlantic-specific regulations. From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition.
The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line. The season runs until December 31, and each angler can collect one or the other each trip within the 3 grouper aggregate.