Goliath Grouper Fishing Florida

James Lee
• Wednesday, 23 December, 2020
• 8 min read

The giant of the grouper family, the Goliath (formerly called Jewish) has brown or yellow mottling with small black spots on the head and fins, a large mouth with jawbones that extend well past its small eyes, and a rounded tail. The skeletal structure of large Goliath grouper cannot adequately support their weight out of the water without some type of damage.

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(Source: floridafishingreport.net)


If a large Goliath is brought on-board a vessel or out of the water, it is likely to sustain some form of internal injury and therefore be considered harvested. Goliath grouper populations declined throughout their range during the 1970s and 1980s due to increased fishing pressure from commercial and recreational fishers and divers.

At their July 2014 meeting in Key Largo, this committee reviewed the most up-to-date scientific information on goliathgrouper and recommended a new stock assessment for this species. As a result, the most recent stock assessment, conducted by the FCC was completed in June 2016 (Sedan 47).

The stock assessment indicates abundance in south Florida has greatly increased since the fishery closed in 1990. However, in the final step of the review process, the assessment was rejected by an independent panel of scientists for use in federal management due to a lack of reliable indicators of abundance outside south Florida.

Goliath are also susceptible to large scale mortality events such as cold temperatures and red tide blooms. When not feeding or spawning, adult Goliath groupers are generally solitary, sedentary and territorial.

Before the goliathgrouper reaches full-size it is preyed upon by barracuda, king mackerel and moray eels, as well as sandbar and hammerhead sharks. Calico crabs make up the majority of their diet, with other invertebrate species and fish filling in the rest.

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(Source: www.fishingislamorada.com)

Reproductive maturity first occurs in fish 5 or 6 years of age (about 36 inches in length) due to their slow growth rate. Males mature at a smaller size (about 42 inches) and slightly younger age than females.

These groups occur at consistent sites such as wrecks, rock ledges and isolated patch reefs during July, August and September. Studies have shown fish may move up to 62 miles (100 km) from inshore reefs to these spawning sites.

In southwest Florida, presumed courtship behavior has been observed during the full moons in August and September. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things on the water over the last 5 years that my clients and I will never forget.

GoliathGrouper in the Naples area are the largest of grouper family, also known as Epimetheus Tamara, or Jewish, Goliath are on endangered species, so they are not fishable. Due to overfishing, in 1990 they prohibited the harvesting and possession of these fish.

We can fish close to a wreck, ledge on or near the bottom all year long on the West Coast. Before the goliathgrouper reaches full-size it is preyed upon by king mackerel, barracudas, moray eels, and some sharks.

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(Source: www.delphfishing.com)

Once fully grown, humans and large sharks are the goliathgrouper ’s only predators. In Florida many are trying to open a season on them, but FCC still has them marked endangered.

FloridaFishing Guide Rates 4-Hour Naples Fishing Trips will focus on near-shore wrecks, live bottom and artificial reefs. Looking for bait balls and trolling is a trip favorite. 6-Hour Naples Fishing Trips allow us to stay out longer (6 hours)and hunt various wrecks, live bottom and artificial reefs.

We will be 30+ miles offshore catching large grouper, snapper, cobra, amber jack, shark, barracuda, permit, African pompano and more! The offshore reefs and wrecks offer excellent fishing year round and contain some very large fish such as the GoliathGrouper, Cobra, giant Permit, Snapper and Tarpon.

The offshore reefs and wrecks offer excellent fishing year round and contain some very large fish such as the GoliathGrouper, Cobra, giant Permit, Snapper and Tarpon. Also known as Centrosome Decimals, the common shook are also known as Sergeant fish or Royal captains call them freight trains since they are silver with a black lateral line on both sides.

Tarpon move North through to our Naples waters starting in March and head toward Coca Grande by May then June to spawn. Some Tarpon will stay in our area until we get the first cold front coming around October to December.

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(Source: www.fisheyesportfishing.com)

We have to go out about 100 miles offshore to get red snapper, but boy are they worth it. Also known as Mutants Campechanus, we can fish for them the end of May through the middle of July with 2 per angler per day.

Red snapper is the Gulf’s signature fish and very popular in restaurants and seafood markets. They can grow up to 40 inches, weigh up to 50 lbs and live up to 50 years.

They are gray or brown with wavy marking on their sides and don’t form circles or boxes which is sometimes mistaken for black grouper. Also known as Mycteroperca Microbes, gags are caught as close as 100 yards from the beach and up to 30 miles offshore depending on what time of year it is thought they move inshore during January through March.

They are in the Drum Family, known as Sciences cellars, they have a reddish, bronze top with a pale underbelly. Bull Sharks, also known as Carcharhinus Lucas or Zambezi in African are considered by some to be the most dangerous because they like to travel in most all waters including rivers and estuaries.

We will catch and release bull sharks, they are a rugged fighter with the world record being 697 lbs. We fish in and around the Gordon River, Naples Bay and Gulf of Mexico.

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(Source: magazine.fishsens.com)

We see Marco Island, the great homes of Port Royal, the backwaters where Indians used to fish and even go through some wildlife mangrove areas. Please bring: Sunscreen, brimmed hat, Extra clothing, Camera, Snacks/food you want to eat, Alcoholic beverages are allowed; beer and wine only, please.

Our busiest and best months for deep sea fishing Naples fl are March, April, May, June, and July. In the past 10 years the Clearwater area and entire gulf for that matter has seen the Goliath grouper population explode.

Usually we use large dead fish, such as Bonita, mackerel or any other oily species to entice these brutes off the wreck or reef. After getting them boat side, pictures are taken, and the hooks quickly removed, all while the fish is still in the water.

Where Found: Nearshore around docks, in deep holes, and on ledges; young often occur in estuaries, especially around oyster bars; more abundant in southern Florida than in northern waters. Remarks: Spawns over summer months; lifespan of 30 to 50 years; feeds on crustaceans and fish.

There’s a good chance angler Jay Cross has spent more time on the Skyway Fishing Piers than anyone else over the past few years. Over the past few weeks Cross has seen quite a few big gags coming over the rails of the fishing pier.

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(Source: www.fisheyesportfishing.com)

In addition to smaller grouper, Cross, and his friends who frequently fish the pier known as the Skyway Misfits Crew, enjoy playing tug of war with the bigger Goliath that now frequent the pier. He makes 400-pound wire leaders that are 10-feet long, giving the abrasiveness needed against massive sharks like bulls and hammerheads they target.

On a recent night, Cross’s friend Jake Covington borrowed one of his leaders, but found himself tangled up to another one of the bridge’s Goliath. Cross, who was working at the time, closed up the bait shop and went to assist the release of the massive goliathgrouper.

“We have a rope that we used to pull in big sharks up to 400 pounds on the bridge to release them. In a scene that looked like it was from the movie “Mission: Impossible,” Cross dangles from the rope around his waist with pliers in hand.

The fish kicks away, and Cross is pulled back to the bridge. I knew with that long heavy leader it probably would have gotten tangled up in the structure and died.

Normally, we don’t use that tackle on Goliath so it presented the problem when it ate the shark bait.” When targeting Goliath, Cross uses a 900H Diana on a broomstick-esque rod allowing him to winch them up.

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(Source: floridafishingreport.net)

He pinches the barb down on those hooks, allowing an easier release on the Goliath he’s landed up to 300 pounds. Southwest FloridaGoliathGrouper GoliathGrouper are the two words that excite true anglers of SW Florida.

Anglers are known to travel specifically to this area for just this fishing experience… or they may even be residents of Naples. As you can imagine, this requires heavy gear and Pure Naples has recently invested in the extreme fishing tackle required to catch these big guys.

Goliath's can achieve weights of over 800lbs although specimens that large are almost impossible to catch. These behemoths do not have a lot of stamina and fights are often fairly brief on the super heavy tackle they require, but the first power run they take to the bottom will strain the arms of even the strongest anglers.

If you can fish these guys with 90lbs of drag in stand-up gear without a chair or harness you should probably call ESPN about the World’s Strongest Man contest. The largest GoliathGrouper I hooked broke the boat off the anchor, towed us around, and snapped an impossibly thick rod.

They will engulf almost any reef fish you hook in certain parts of Florida, including Snappers, Permit, rays, sharks, etc. In some parts of Florida their primary food source is stealing fish that have been hooked by fishermen.

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(Source: www.fisheyesportfishing.com)

They have a lot more bulk than most groupers, and only the stoutest of tackle will keep them from reaching freedom. Some huge ones are essentially impossible to land on rod and reel, because no matter how strong your line is and how tight your drag is, they will just pull the boat backwards and break you off in the rocks.

You need a large reel capable of 90lbs of drag and loaded with 400lb+ monofilament if you want to consistently land the big ones. I highly recommend you find one of the few guides who really specializes in this type of fishing and use their gear.

That being said, I was able to land a 175lber on heavy spinning gear (100lb braid on a Died Saliva Dogfight reel) when we were fortunate enough to hook it far from a reef. Smaller Goliath's hang around docks and pilings and can be landed on lighter tackle.

Large GoliathGrouper are almost exclusively caught on live or dead bait. The key to successful GoliathGrouperfishing is anchoring close enough to the reef or wreck so that they will come out to eat your bait, but far enough away that you have a chance of pulling them away before they get back and break you off.

Because of the ban on keeping them their numbers have increased significantly, and this is one of the few places you can find a guide who specializes in them. In most of the rest of their range that I know of they are pretty fished out and not available in sufficient numbers to target successfully.

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(Source: www.youtube.com)

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1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Died_In_His_Boat
2 www.youtube.com - https://www.youtube.com/watch
3 music.apple.com - https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-man-who-died-in-his-boat/587434599
4 www.discogs.com - https://www.discogs.com/Grouper-The-Man-Who-Died-In-His-Boat/release/4243365
5 www.newsweek.com - https://www.newsweek.com/facts-about-maximillian-kolbe-saint-gave-his-life-stranger-auschwitz-1525138
6 www.freep.com - https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2020/08/18/stephen-rooney-missing-priest-robert-chiles-boat-accident/3388505001/