Note: Gag grouper need to be 22” to keep and the recreational harvest season for them in most Gulf state waters (within nine miles from shore) is July 1 through Dec. 3. They are similar in appearance to the Gag, and have a gently rounded head with a slightly concave or flat caudal (tail) fin.
Note: Black grouper need to be 22” to keep and are open year-round in the Gulf of Mexico. Goliath grouper are marked on their sides, from head to tail, with a series of irregular dark brown vertical bars against a light brown or gray background.
Another quick way to identify them from the other grouper is by their rounded pectoral and caudal (tail) fins. Goliath grouper are prohibited to harvest, and keeping one can land you heavy fines and penalties.
Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Genus: Epimetheus Species: Binomial name Epimetheus Tamara Synonyms Promiscuous Tamara (Lichtenstein, 1822) Serra nus Tamara Lichtenstein, 1822 Serra nus Menelik Valentines, 1828 Serra nus gales J.P. Müller & Trochee, 1848 Serra nus guava Play, 1860 Promiscuous one Ehrenberg, 1915 Promiscuous ditto Roux & Collision, 1954 The Atlantic goliathgrouper or Tamara (Epimetheus Tamara), also known as the Jewish, is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths from 5 to 50 m (16 to 164 ft).
Its range includes the Florida Keys in the US, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean and most of the Brazilian coast. On some occasions, it is caught off the coasts of the US states of New England off Maine and Massachusetts.
In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it occurs from the Congo to Senegal. Young Atlantic Goliath groupers may live in brackish estuaries, oyster beds, canals, and mangrove swamps, which is unusual behavior among groupers.
They may reach extremely large sizes, growing to lengths up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and can weigh as much as 360 kg (790 lb). The world record for a hook-and-line-captured specimen is 308.44 kg (680.0 lb), caught off Fernanda Beach, Florida, in 1961.
Considered of fine food quality, Atlantic goliathgrouper were a highly sought-after quarry for fishermen. It is a relatively easy prey for spear fishermen because of the grouper's inquisitive and generally fearless nature.
They also tend to spawn in large aggregations, returning annually to the same locations. This makes them particularly vulnerable to mass harvesting while breeding.
Until a harvest ban was placed on the species, its population was in rapid decline. The fish is recognized as “vulnerable” globally and “endangered” in the Gulf of Mexico.
The species' population has been recovering since the ban; with the fish's slow growth rate, however, some time will be needed for populations to return to their previous levels. Goliath groupers are believed to be protogynous hermaphrodites, which refer to organisms that are born female and at some point in their lifespans change sex to male.
Males can be sexually mature at about 115 centimeters (45 in), and ages 4–6 years. In May 2015, the Atlantic goliathgrouper was successfully bred in captivity for the first time.
Tidal pools act as nurseries for juvenile E. Tamara. In tidal pools juvenile E.Tamara are able to utilize rocky crevices for shelter.
Besides shelter, tidal pools provide E. Tamara with plenty of prey such as lobster and porcelain crab. The Atlantic goliathgrouper has historically been referred to as the “Jewish”.
It may have referred to the fish's status as inferior leading it to be declared only suitable for Jews, or the flesh having a “clean” taste comparable to kosher food ; it has also been suggested that this name is simply a corruption of jaw fish or the Italian word for “bottom fish”, Giuseppe. In 2001, the American Fisheries Society stopped using the term because of complaints that it was culturally insensitive.
^ Lovato, Cleo nice Maria Cardozo; Soars, Bruno Clears; Begot, Tiago Octavio Buffalo; Montage, Luciano Coach de Assis (January 2016). “Tidal pools as habitat for juveniles of the Goliath grouper Epimetheus Tamara (Lichtenstein 1822) in the Amazonian coastal zone, Brazil”.
Risky, Delaney C.; Bakenhaster, Micah D.; Adams, Douglas H. (2015). “ Pseudorhabdosynochus species (Monogenoidea, Diplectanidae) parasitizing groupers (Serranidae, Epinephrine, Epinephrine) in the western Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters, with descriptions of 13 new species”.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epimetheus Tamara. 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.
Mike was fighting a fish of a lifetime Friday aboard Chew On These Charters with Capt. Ben Chance out of Cape Coral, Fla., when the crazy incident occurred.
After Mike jumped into the water to get a photo with the fish before it was released, more craziness ensued: Chance explained to USA Today/For The Win Outdoors that about 20 minutes after the fishing rod was lost, Jenny said she could see it on the bottom in the crystal clear, 40-feet deep water and asked nearby boaters for goggles.
As Mike jumped into the water for the photo, the fish made a mad dash to the bottom with Eric holding the rod. He eventually released the lever drag so line could easily exit the reel, and the rod was handed to Chance, who managed to keep both feet on the deck and bring the fish back to the surface to be released.
From monster Goliath's to delicious Scamps, these big bottom-dwellers are a favorite on most Floridian fishing trips. The average catch in Florida is around half that length, weighing between 5 and 20 pounds.
Black Grouper live around rocky bottoms and reefs on both sides of the Sunshine State. They spend their summers spawning in much shallower seas, though, as little as 30 feet deep.
Juveniles stick to these inshore spots until they’re big enough to fend for themselves. Commonly known as “Grey Grouper,” these guys are a staple of reef fishing trips around the Gulf and up the Atlantic.
They don’t grow as big as Black Grouper, usually maxing out somewhere around 50 pounds. However, younger Gags can be found in estuaries and even seagrass beds, so don’t be surprised if you hook one while you’re on the hunt for Redfish and other inshore species.
Bigger fish hunt around muddy and rocky coastal waters. Young Goliath's will head right into estuaries and look for food around oyster bars.
Their huge size and fearless curiosity made them an easy target, and they were overfished almost to extinction in the late 20th century. Luckily, GoliathGrouper are strictly protected these days, and you can only fish for them on a catch-and-release basis.
Nassau Grouper aren’t the biggest fish on this list. From teaming up with other predators to catch their dinner to reportedly fanning bait out of traps for an easy snack, they’re far brighter than most people give them credit for.
Sadly, this intelligence comes with the same natural curiosity that put GoliathGrouper in hot water. Nassau Grouper are critically endangered, and their numbers are still falling.
If you come across one, count yourself lucky for the chance to meet it and make sure it swims off unharmed. Nothing says “reef fishing in Florida” like a boastful of big, tasty Red Grouper.
These deep-water hunters are the reason people bother to go offshore when there are so many fish in the shallows. The average Red Grouper weighs somewhere in the 5–10 lb range, and anything over 2 feet long is a rare catch.
Your average fish will be well under 2 feet and anything over 5 pounds is a good catch. You won’t come across them in much less than 100 feet of water, and you can easily find them in three or four times that depth.
They also grow much bigger than Scamp, meaning you’re in for a real feast if you catch one. If you’re set on landing a “Snowier,” get ready for a long ride.
NOAA has declared Speckled Hind a Species of Concern, mainly because they have so little data on them. Add in the fact that they live several hundred feet down, where all fish taste great, and they become the dream catch of many deep dropping enthusiasts.
The change in water pressure is enough to kill them, especially when they fight and struggle on their way up. Their dappled, red body and bright yellow fins provide camouflage around the deep, rocky structure that they hunt around.
Yellow fin’s scientific name, Mycteroperca Vanessa, roughly translates to “Poisonous Grouper.” This is because they tend to have very high levels of ciguatoxin. They’re slightly smaller than Scamp on average, but many anglers say that they taste just as good.
Yellow mouth Grouper are uncommon in the Gulf of Mexico, but you can bag yourself a colorful feast all along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.