Goliath Grouper Rig

Elaine Sutton
• Thursday, 22 October, 2020
• 7 min read

With the research done on the fish I knew that a special kind of rod would need to be made to handle the brute force of these big boys. Whereas a big 500+ Goliath will use its giant paddle tail for BRUTE force creating spurts of energy and furor to fight for every inch vertically to drag you to the depths.

grouper rig goliath ultimate leader heavy duty circle florida hook
(Source: forums.floridasportsman.com)


GoliathGrouper, Snapper, Shark Leader Rig 6-16 oz 14/0 – 18/0 hooks. The 400lb mono acts as a shock leader and it has superior abrasion resistance.

As an Amazon Associate when you buy through links on our site, we earn from qualifying purchases. It’s important to remember that leaders should be as long as possible without affecting casting performance.

Back during the Blacktop Challenge my good friend and tournament director Josh Jorgensen insisted that I had to visit him when the big Goliath were in. This coupled with Sic Guides, a Strata Bay 360 degree swivel tip, and a hydraulic grip, so I could rail the blank if needed under extreme pressure I was in belief I had built a monster stopper for sure.

Knowing that grouper and most other bottom fish seek comfort in structure when the feel threatened, we need to account for the fact that there will be break-offs in our decision for how we make our leader assemblies. Remember that casting this rig will be a challenge, don’t worry too much about distance, usually they’re feeding closer to the pier than you think.

Generally, groupers aren't as leader-shy as snappers, plus they're more likely to dive directly into structure and part the leader. They’re also a popular meeting place for hordes of feeding sea predators that will chew their way through a swimming smorgasbord.

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

The most manageable bottom rig to set up requires a circle hook, an egg sinker, and an abrasion-resistant leader material. However, if you want access to everything that’s weaving in and out of the pylons, aside from your regular tackle, you’re going to need a few things that you might not have.

After studying some of Josh’s videos across YouTube on his Blackish channel I knew I was in for a challenge. The main reason we recommend the long rod length is so you have a little more chance to keep them out of the pylons in the first place.

A two to four ounce sinkers should be enough and hook size will often be determined by the mouth of the fish you chase. If by chance you catch one, it’s time to panic because the world’s just turned inside out.

Peripherals Part 2: Gaffs & Other Essentials, great piers right around the US coastline, Therefore, they’re attracted to our massive piers, This one has a long handle with a hook that releases from the handle, These gaff styles/methods take a reasonable level of skill, a lot of time is saved by tossing a cast net, Best Rod and Reel Combos For Bass Fishing, Massive Tarpon (On everybody’s bucket list), Giant Jack Crevasse (Too awesome for words). With this combo you’re fishing with huge live baits and targeting absolute monsters.

Another reason I like Star Rods is the fact that they offer a lifetime warranty on their products. OK, you don’t need a fancy trolley to lug your gear out onto the pier.

goliath grouper rig ultimate
(Source: forums.floridasportsman.com)

My grouper rig is simple; it consists of a 6 to an 8-foot-long leader of 300-pound-test monofilament with a 9/0 to 11/0 circle hook. Remember, floor sinks, so make sure to shorten it if you’re casting out and fishing higher in the water column.

Basically here the angler and rod in combination's job is to stop the grouper from making it home. This creates the eddies that shape the seabed, carving troughs, and holes that these sea creatures call home or haven.

It’s pretty tough to address all the likely species because there are many great piers right around the US coastline. Back during the Blacktop Challenge my good friend and tournament director Josh Jorgensen insisted that I had to visit him when the big Goliath were in.

While there are long handle gaffs, few reach 20-plus feet, even those with multiple extension pieces. It allows me to pitch baits out without having to worry about my FG knot getting caught up in roller guides.

These fish are the largest of the Grouper family and their size has rightfully earned the name GOLIATH ! If you find a five hundred pound Grouper at the end of your line you are going to be pretty sure it is the GoliathGrouper.

grouper goliath rigging
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Knowing how to identify them will save you a lot of headache in the long run. Over the last 30 years that these fish have been under protection their populations in the Florida area have rebounded quite well.

The fish must be returned to the water immediately free, alive, and unharmed Photographs can be taken but only during the active act of release. The skeletal structure of large Goliath grouper cannot adequately support their weight out of the water without some type of damage.

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. Removing smaller Goliath groupers from the water to remove hooks is not necessarily a bad practice, but this process must be done with care, using proper fish handling techniques, and the fish must be returned to the water as expeditiously as possible.

Like any wild animal, GoliathGrouper are most dangerous when they feel threatened or when they are hungry. GoliathGrouper have huge mouths and can swallow large fish whole.

This exact scenario is actually the basis for a lot of shark encounters as well for divers and spear fisherman. If you do catch a GoliathGrouper and jump in the water with them for a picture, remember, their sheer size and strength can injure you if they were to start slashing around.

(Source: elesset.com.br)

You will find them near reefs, shipwrecks, rock ledges, old phosphate docks, etc. They live in shallow water up to around 150 feet deep and hold tight to the structure mentioned above.

The current world record for GoliathGrouper is 680 pounds and was caught off the coast of Florida at Fernanda Beach in 1961. There have been a lot of very large GoliathGrouper caught since 1961 when you were allowed to harvest and weigh the fish.

Many anglers argue new world records have been brought to the edge of their boat. Since anglers are not allowed to remove large Grouper from the ocean it is impossible to know their exact weight unfortunately.

One of the reasons GoliathGrouper populations are so threatened is because of their slow growth and re-population rates. GoliathGrouper males reach sexual maturity around the age of 4 – 6 years old.

At this age these fish are already around 4 ft long and would look like adults to many fishermen. When it is time to spawn, during the months of July, August, and September, these fish form groups of around 100 fish and all congregate at specific sites like shipwrecks, reefs, and rock ledges to spawn.

grouper goliath catch fishing
(Source: sportfishinglures.com)

Although, Scientists believe these fish live on average 50 – 100 years! Now that you are aware of the protections that surround these amazing fish, you can still go out and “catch” one.

GoliathGrouper feed mostly on crustaceans like crab and lobster, fish, rays, and even sharks around the reef. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat live or dead bait as long as it is fresh, they really aren't all that picky.

Outside the US these fish are harder to find as they taste great and are not hard to spear. They are not shy and unlike most fish, will not be in a hurry to swim away, making them an easy target.

Bouncing your rig off the bottom a little to create some commotion will help them notice your bait. Make sure you have some good leather gloves when hand lining these massive fish.

GoliathGrouper put up a strong, but short-lived fight. Rigging for GoliathGrouper isn't difficult just takes some heavy-duty line and crimps, about 16 ounces of weight and a 20/O Circle Hook.

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

For GoliathGrouper you will want 600 pound test monofilament fishing line. You can do it relatively close to shore with a live Sting Ray and a hand line if you don't have heavy-duty gear.

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1 theintrepidangler.com - http://theintrepidangler.com/100-miles-out-offshore-grouper-snapper-fishing-southwest-florida/
2 www.theguardian.com - https://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2014/aug/21/huge-fish-eats-shark-off-florida-coast-video
3 igfa.org - https://igfa.org/2020/06/16/descending-devices-required-in-south-atlantic-to-help-snapper-grouper/
4 floridasportfishing.com - https://floridasportfishing.com/beer-battered-mystic-grouper/
5 fishingstatus.com - http://fishingstatus.com/fishing/species/fish/indexid/858408
6 anglr.com - https://anglr.com/fishing-blog/tag/grouper/
7 floridasfinestfishing.com - https://floridasfinestfishing.com/tag/grouper/
8 landsendmarina.com - https://landsendmarina.com/blog/2013/08/26/catch-gag-grouper-around-tampa-bay/