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Goliath Grouper Size Limit

author
Carole Stephens
• Tuesday, 20 October, 2020
• 10 min read

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.

goliath groupers caught largest
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Contents

Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.

Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles. Participation mandatory to fish for grouper in Florida waters.

Expand All | Collapse All 1 gag or black within the 3 grouper aggregate Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.

Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route.

Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides). During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish.

grouper goliath caught weight ever fishers according largest knowledge publication
(Source: www.researchgate.net)

Western boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region. Eastern boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region.

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 Gag Grouper fishing in the Gulf, it’s important to note what county you’re embarking from. 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.

grouper goliath catch 800 biggest pound they fishermen them orlando reg fl
(Source: www.sun-sentinel.com)

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.

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. Spawns over summer months; lifespan of 30 to 50 years; feeds on crustaceans and fish.

CLOSED TO HARVEST OR POSSESSION IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC EEA (FEDERAL WATERS) SINCE 1990. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has provided additional guidelines on release techniques for Goliath grouper.

grouper goliath
(Source: www.reelpursuits.com)

Note: Goliath grouper and Nassau grouper must be released by cutting the line and NOT removed from the water. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has provided additional guidelines on release techniques for Goliath grouper.

At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage. Descending Device Requirement: Requirement: A descending device is required to be on board and readily available for use on all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper- grouper species; Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet.

Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing. At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage.

Descending Device Requirement: Requirement: A descending device is required to be on board and readily available for use on all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper- grouper species; Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

Click here for helpful resources, including: best fishing practices tips information on hook types how-to videos 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.

grouper goliath fishing record gulf mexico florida key west keys charter
(Source: incolors.club)

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.

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.

grouper goliath sheepshead snapper tripletail fwc
(Source: www.news4jax.com)

Calico crabs make up the majority of their diet, with other invertebrate species and fish filling in the rest. 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.

Along all the coasts of Florida and the Bahamas, from inshore estuaries out to the deepest waters offshore Groupers are found. They are the most widely available of the game fish and also offer a great number of differing varieties.

The species have now started to make a comeback and have been renamed GoliathGrouper) are the most widely distributed. Most of the other species, Nassau, Red Hind, Black, Yellow fin and Scamp live in and around the coral reefs of the extreme south of Florida.

goliath grouper
(Source: driverlayer.com)

Groupers live close to the bottom and are always associated with some type of submerged structure i.e. reef or wreck. Adults inhabit rocky bottoms, reefs and drop-off walls in water over 60 feet deep; young occur inshore in waters around seagrass beds, mangrove forests and hard-bottom communities.

Adults inhabit rocky bottoms, reefs and drop-off walls in water over 60 feet deep; young occur inshore in waters around seagrass beds, mangrove forests and hard-bottom communities. Grouper are born as females but can later become male. Grouper spawn between January and May with some of the more tropical species spawning year-round. Grouper fishing from a boat typically involves baits fished near the bottom, with heavy tackle and heavier to bring grouper to the surface.

They feed on squid, crustaceans, and fish. The Florida record is 42lbs 4ozs caught near St. Augustine Inlet. Kevin Kelly displays a GoliathGrouper killed unfortunately by RED TIDE in 2005.

We found this 400lb monster floating on the surface at the entrance to the Segment Channel. Jewish now known as the GoliathGrouper (Epimetheus Tamara) can attain weight up to 800lbs and is more common in the south of Florida than the north.

Goliath Troopers are found nearshore often around docks, in deep holes, and on ledges. Nassau grouper form large spawning aggregations, making this species highly vulnerable to over harvest.

grouper goliath
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Red Hind Grouper (Epimetheus Gustavus) common weight 1-2lbs. The species is found in tropical and subtropical waters as deep as 400 feet, from North Carolina to Brazil, including the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

Spawning occurs from March to July, and females release an average of 90 thousand to 3 million pelagic eggs. The species may live up to 17 years or longer, and reach a length of 23 inches and a weight of 10 pounds.

Red hind feed on small fishes, crabs, shrimps and squid. Red hind will hide in holes and crevices and capture their prey by ambushWorld record 6lbs 1oz.

Adults are associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60 feet deep. Black grouper spawn between May and August, and they are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that young predominantly female who transform into males as they grow larger.

Larger individuals of this species are generally found in greater depths, and they feed on fish and squid. Undergoes sex reversal from female to male in latter part of life; specific name translates to “venomous,” alluding to the fact that this fish, perhaps more frequently than other groupers, is associated with ciguatera poisoning; feeds on fish and squid. Florida record 34lbs 6oz caught near Key Largo.

weight grouper goliath 89k g10
(Source: forums.floridasportsman.com)

Young undergo a sex transformation from female to male as they become older.Florida's record is 28lbs 6ozs. Yellow mouth Grouper (Mycteroperca interstitial is) has a color tan or brown with darker spots, or a network of spots, fused into lines; distinct yellow wash behind the jaws; yellow around the eyes; outer edges of fins yellowish.

Found OFFSHORE over reefs and rocks; not as common as scamp in the Gulf; range limited to southern Florida. Undergoes sex reversal, young individuals female, older individuals becoming male; young fish are bi-colored, dark above white below; feeds on small fish and crustaceans.

Warsaw Grouper (Epimetheus nitrites) is uniformly dark brown, with no distinct markings; dorsal fin with 10 spines; second spine very long (much longer than third); caudal fin squared-off; rear nostril larger than front nostril; young have yellow caudal fin with dark saddle on caudal peduncle; some whitish spots on body. On May 24th 2014, Cullen Greer reeled in a six-and-a-half-foot-long, 297-pound Warsaw grouper while fishing in Venice, Louisiana.

The most shocking part of this story may be that it won't go down as the largest fish ever caught in the state. If the catch does get verified by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, it would become the fifth-largest ever caught in the state.

It could also go down in the state record books as the third-largest Warsaw caught by a hand crank, according to Greer. Leaders need be substantial as these fish are usually on the large size and dive straight back into the whole in which they live.

goliath grouper
(Source: floridahillbilly.com)

As the State Regulations are in constant flux we advise anglers to refer to www.MyFWC.com/fishing for the latest information. This WEBSITE is the copyright © 2002/2020 All rights reserved.

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Sources
1 recipeforperfection.com - https://recipeforperfection.com/seared-grouper-cheeks-recipe/
2 castandspear.com - https://castandspear.com/grouper-cheeks/
3 www.myrecipes.com - https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pan-seared-grouper-balsamic-brown-butter-sauce
4 greatsouthernrestaurants.com - https://greatsouthernrestaurants.com/recipes/grouper-cheeks-with-lime-dijon-mustard-sauce/
5 seraserrestaurant.com - http://seraserrestaurant.com/recipes/recipe-of-the-week-pan-roasted-grouper-cheeks-with-radishes-and-tomatoes/
6 www.yummly.com - https://www.yummly.com/recipes/pan-seared-grouper
7 highheelstohotwheels.com - https://highheelstohotwheels.com/2015/03/pan-seared-grouper-with-lemon-white-wine-butter-sauce/
8 www.gogogogourmet.com - https://www.gogogogourmet.com/pan-seared-grouper/
9 www.allrecipes.com - https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/19517/super-grouper/