Anglers on a Florida sportfishing charter caught and released several huge goliath grouper last week, including a “monster” grouper that weighed perhaps 500 pounds.
“We all started screaming and hollering when the fish came to the surface,” Joshua Jorgensen, owner of BlacktipH Fishing, told For The Win Outdoors. “It was the largest goliath grouper that we’ve seen all year.”
Brent Fielder poses with goliath grouper. Photo: Josh Jorgensen
Jorgensen was guiding a charter last Wednesday for Brent Fielder and John White of Alabama and North Carolina, respectively, when they sonar-located a school of large grouper.
“We were fishing out of southeast Florida,” Jorgensen said. “We were using false albacore as bait. In total, we caught over 10 goliath groupers. But this fish was by far the largest, with an estimated weight of 450 to 500 pounds.”
Fielder, shown with White in the water with the colossal grouper in the top image, was credited with the catch.
For the sake of comparison, the all-tackle world record for goliath grouper stands at 680 pounds. That fish was caught off Fernandina Beach, Fla., in 1961.
Goliath grouper must be released as quickly as possible. Photo: Josh Jorgensen
Nowadays, goliath grouper are protected in state and federal waters off Florida and harvest is prohibited. Heavier fish cannot be pulled out of the water for the act of release or photographs.
Jorgensen is a seasoned grouper angler and last February he and a friend teamed to land a 294-pound Warsaw grouper, fulfilling a three-year quest to document the catch of a grouper so large that “it took four grown men to lift it over the gunnels.”
Fishing for Warsaw grouper is strictly regulated, but limited harvest is allowed.