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How Big Do Goliath Groupers Get

author
Bob Roberts
• Sunday, 06 December, 2020
• 7 min read

The Atlantic Goliath grouper 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.

grouper goliath fishing clearwater fish mouth hook water friends shallow boat
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Contents

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 goliathgroupers 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 Goliath grouper 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.

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.

fishing goliath jawaan grouper taylor pound
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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 Goliath grouper 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 Goliath grouper 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.

grouper dix goliath haha clinton
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^ 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”.

These fish are the largest of the Grouper family and their size has rightfully earned the name GOLIATH ! Knowing how to identify them will save you a lot of headache in the long run.

Here are a few things that will make the Goliath Grouper easy to identify: Unfortunately Goliath Grouper have been protected since 1990 in both state and Federal waters.

Over the last 30 years that these fish have been under protection their populations in the Florida area have rebounded quite well. Many anglers are targeting these fish on a catch and release basis only.

grouper goliath charters fishing sanibel florida
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It is not illegal to catch them but you do have to abide by a few guidelines when releasing the fish as to protect them as much as possible: 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, Goliath Grouper are most dangerous when they feel threatened or when they are hungry.

Goliath Grouper 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 Goliath Grouper 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. You will find them near reefs, shipwrecks, rock ledges, old phosphate docks, etc.

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They live in shallow water up to around 150 feet deep and hold tight to the structure mentioned above. In the Atlantic Ocean They range from Florida, through the Gulf of Mexico, The Bahamas, through the Caribbean, and down most of the coastline of Brazil.

Well, they are believed to grow to over 8 feet in length and weigh up to 800 pounds making this the largest reef dwelling fish in the world! The current world record for Goliath Grouper is 680 pounds and was caught off the coast of Florida at Fernanda Beach in 1961.

There have been a lot of very large Goliath Grouper 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 Goliath Grouper populations are so threatened is because of their slow growth and re-population rates.

Goliath Grouper males reach sexual maturity around the age of 4 – 6 years old. 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.

goliath groupers fishing busting boatus gut quarter fight pull fish give them
(Source: www.boatus.com)

Goliath Grouper 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.

Goliath Grouper put up a strong, but short-lived fight. That first initial fight is enough to pull you right off the boat so be prepared.

Rigging for Goliath Grouper isn't difficult just takes some heavy-duty line and crimps, about 16 ounces of weight and a 20/O Circle Hook. For Goliath Grouper you will want 600 pound test monofilament fishing line.

grouper fish grow jew goliath they yoink imgur cool saw him fine his hand
(Source: rebrn.com)

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Sources
1 www.food.com - https://www.food.com/recipe/grouper-nuggets-102693
2 www.myrecipes.com - https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/grouper-nuggets
3 www.southernresidentialleasing.com - https://www.southernresidentialleasing.com/try-out-this-grouper-bites-recipe/
4 www.crecipe.com - https://www.crecipe.com/grouper+nuggets+recipes
5 fryerhouse.com - https://fryerhouse.com/deep-fried-grouper-recipe/
6 www.yummly.com - https://www.yummly.com/recipes/fried-grouper
7 www.food.com - https://www.food.com/recipe/secret-fried-halibut-303083
8 afnw.com - https://afnw.com/laura-sharrad-bodwxe/page.php
9 cullyskitchen.com - https://cullyskitchen.com/deep-fried-chicken-nuggets-recipe/
10 mylifecookbook.com - https://mylifecookbook.com/easy-beer-batter-fish-nuggets-sriracha-tarter-sauce/