I often target them at the Sebastian inlet jetty, where they can be found in huge schools! These included mackerel, moon fish, jacks, mullet, spade fish, craters, catfish and more.
One day we had no bait we noticed a large school of cow nose rays hanging around the inlet. I have found that Goliath grouper enjoy a live meal over dead bait.
Catfish are another great Goliath bait, that I would never think another fish to consume but the Goliath love them! 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.
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.
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. Grouper put up a great fight and taste delicious if you prepare them correctly.
Video footage surfaced Friday showing the voracious nature and explosive power of Florida’s massive Goliath groupers. But what stands out in the clip (posted below) is the angler’s hysterical reaction in the moments after a grouper devoured a bonito he had reeled to the surface on light-tackle spinning gear.
In the video Jorgensen says, “The dinner bell is ringing” as his hooked bonito languished at the surface. Oh my gosh!” he exclaims, before laughing uncontrollably as the grouper vanishes into the depths with the bonito.
They’re protected in state and federal waters off Florida, and anglers must release hooked fish as quickly and carefully as possible. 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. When it comes to line and fishing Goliath Groupers, you must use monofilament instead of braid.
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.
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.
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.