When Reagan Werner left the dock for a day of deep sea fishing on May 31, she said a silent prayer that she would get a big one. Six hours later she landed her first big fish of the day, a goliathgrouper that was 83” long and had a 75” girth with a calculated weight of 583 pounds.
This 16-year-old Minnesota girl’s first large ocean fish is most likely the heaviest grouper to have ever been landed out of the Marco Island area on a rod and reel. There are stories of old commercial fishermen getting fish near this size and there are also a few of this caliber that have been hooked by hand line on the Atlantic side, but this catch was special.
Reagan, her brother Owen, their mother Kimberly and stepfather Paul Hartman had left Minneapolis on Friday and made a 29-hour drive straight down to Marco Island to buy a used 22’ Pathfinder from local Captain Ben Olsen. Kimberly landed several barracuda, so they decided to cut one up and put a couple rods out with Cuba chunks on the hooks in hopes of finding an active shark or goliathgrouper.
Paul fishes the Gulf seven to 10 days each year with Captain Ben Olsen, but this was his first time out on these waters without the guide. Kimberly quickly started backing the boat away from the structure while Paul gently towed the unsuspecting fish to smooth bottom.
Once the fish realized it was hooked it began thrashing and surging and Reagan took a seat on the cooler to keep from being pulled overboard. The reel was a big Penn International loaded with #250 Berkley Braid line the drag was locked down tight.
Paul’s friend, Mark Stock caught that fish with Captain Olsen on April 25, 2019, in the same spot with the same bait. It is so cool knowing all these fish by name, but it makes Paul nervous that if these are ever opened back up to harvest that the few Goliath groupers that are out in the Gulf waters will quickly become another story about the “good old days” as they are all killed off.
Two friends lassoed the fish; it was hoisted from the water using a wrecker from Main Beach. The Container Corporation of America (or Rainier) scale was used to weight the fish.
It is an International Game Fish Commission world record for both all tackle and 80 lb. Object ID 2009.025.001 Caption Lynn Joyner and a 680 lb.
Grouper Date 1961 Copyright All rights reserved by Aims Collection Aims Number of images 1 People Joyner, Lynn Search Terms Jewish Goliath groups bass Print size 8 × 10” Hubbard has dialed in a system to target goliathgrouper that live around bridges.
He hands lines them in a tug of war, using 400-pound cable on dock rope, a 12/0 hook and 16-ounces of lead to get big baits down in heavy current. “We waited 15 or 20 minutes and the hand line got real tight and started coming off the bridge.
Wyatt got up on the rail and started pulling the Goliath in with his hands,” Hubbard recalled. “I’ve never in my life seen a kid smile so big the way he did that day,” said Hubbard cheerfully.
This system could be implemented at many of the local bridges around Tampa Bay and intracoastal waterways. Captains who fish offshore wrecks and reefs will often let clients tug on a Goliath with a hand line and big baits as well.
Goliath grouper fishing remains catch and release with their protected status and should not be removed from the water. Viral While we were filleting squid that we had caught during our swordfish trip that day, Preston hooked a jack crevasse, and out of nowhere, a massive goliathgrouper came up from the depths and tried to eat his fish.
Garrison, who lives in Callahan near Jacksonville, remained locked up at a Monroe County jail Tuesday evening on $18,101 bond. State fish and wildlife police arrested a man they said killed a federally protected Goliath grouper while on vacation in the Florida Keys in August 2020.
In this screenshot, the man is seen with a Goliath grouper, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Garrison told police he didn’t know the big fish he filleted was a Goliath grouper, a species that has been protected in state and federal waters off Florida since 1990.
A young boy dives and grabs the nurse shark and brings it to a man on the deck, who shows it to some people. “The shark is extremely sluggish and close to near death,” the FCC report states.
After watching the nurse shark video, Dire checked out the rest of Garrison’s Keys posts and said he found evidence of the lobster and Goliath grouper violations. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
Kelly, 18, was on a charter using fresh cut Bonita as bait in a depth of about 60 feet when she hooked the giant fish. “We were fishing for that species and knew ahead of time we wouldn't be able to put them in the boat,” Kelly said.
Kelly, who will be a freshman at Middle Tennessee State this fall, said she only fishes a couple of times each year and usually when she is on vacation. She caught red snapper last month on a trip to Indian Pass, Florida, which is near Apalachicola and also on the gulf.
Tap to view if on News app. Fisherman Jon Black of Cape Coral, Fla. Squealed in both delight and fear as he caught the Atlantic goliathgrouper while fishing from a kayak in Daniel on May 26. The grouper easily broke the rod under its tremendous girth, robbing Black of what would have been a prized trophy.
The catch happened along the waters of the Perches Islands off the shores of Seychelles. Roucayrol used a kit lure to bring in the huge fish.
It's a fish that can reach the size of a grizzly bear, and it's loved by divers and despised by many fishermen. The goliathgrouper, capable of growing to 800 pounds, bobs around the reefs and swallows the occasional crab or passing fish.
As fishermen tell it, these marine blimps hover in wait of easy meals, parking themselves next to fishing boats and snatching someone else's hard-won catch off the line. They face strong opposition from environmentalists, divers and some scientists, who relish the opportunity to see these enormous, surprisingly curious fish just a few hundred yards from South Florida's condo towers.
“If you sit still, they'll come to you and see what's going on,” said Kevin Metz, owner of Underwater Explorers of Boynton Beach, whose business from August through October consists almost exclusively of taking divers to see Goliath groupers at a submerged wreck. For anglers, watching in dismay as Goliath groupers swallow their catch, the huge fish are as charming as that friend who always seems to show up around dinner time.
His eyeball was the size of a baseball, and its mouth was so big it could’ve eaten a small child.” Brian Sanders of Davie has taken famous South Floridians including former Miami Dolphins' linebacker Zach Thomas and former pro wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fishing for Goliath.
Written comments to the wildlife commission in support of allowing them to be taken again describe similar experiences. Whether to allow them to be killed, the wildlife commission has received 439 written comments so far, the majority from fishermen who blame the resurgence of Goliath groupers for a decline in the number of other fish.
“They eat massive amounts of reef fish to maintain and grow to these huge weights. Known until 2001 by the politically incorrect name “Jewish,” the goliathgrouper had sustained a sharp decline due to overfishing for its meat, the loss of coastal habitat for young fish and the inherent vulnerabilities of a long-lived species that takes years to reach sexual maturity.
The species is classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the global authority on the status of wildlife populations. “Recent stock assessment indicates abundance in South Florida has greatly increased since the fishery closed in 1990,” said Amanda Valley, spokeswoman for the wildlife commission.
“While a limited harvest of smaller-sized fish in south Florida is unlikely to harm the population, the FCC also wants to take into consideration stakeholder perspectives. Sylvia Earle, one of the world's foremost marine biologists, who was named a Hero for the Planet by Time magazine, strongly supports keeping the ban, saying that living Goliath groupers are ecological treasures that support a growing tourism industry.