For The First Time In 30 Years, People Can Keep Goliath Grouper In Florida

For the first time since 1990, select anglers will be able to keep goliath groupers in the state of Florida. In October 2021, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved a proposal to allow the harvest of 200 goliath grouper by anglers from March to May 2022. 

Interested anglers will have to enter a lottery drawing for a chance to win a grouper tag, and harvestable fish will need to fall within a certain size limit determined by state authorities.

Grouper are known for their cartoonish appearance and gargantuan size, with some fish exceeding 800lbs. On top of the size and what some consider “beauty,” goliath grouper are beloved for their boldness, sporting ability, and never-ending appetite. 

Goliath grouper fishing doesn’t require finesse, either. Most anglers are rigging heaping chunks of cut bait onto giant circle hooks, attaching a heavy sinker, and then dangling their offering directly under the boat. In the wild, most grouper feed near the bottom on calico crab and other available forage. 

A Little Like A Bass
grouper fishing florida
Credit: Padi.com

Like largemouth bass, goliath grouper quickly open their gaping mouth while simultaneously sucking in their prey with one fell swoop. And also like largemouth, groupers are notorious for lingering around offshore structures as they hunt down their prey. Instead of docks, sunken trees, or rock piles, common areas you might find a largemouth. Grouper prefer offshore hangouts like rubble piles, bridges, shipwrecks, and oil rigs.

Until October 2021, you were allowed to legally target and catch a goliath grouper in Florida so long as the fish was immediately released. Meaning you couldn’t even bring them in the boat for a quick picture. And this “keep grouper in the water” rule resulted in goofy pictures of people bending over at the side of the boat, trying to smile with a massive fish pinned against the haul. Or, the even better version, when people (Alex Peric) would jump in the water to get a picture of themselves swimming next to their trophy fish.

Jacked Dude Fights Grouper

Josh Jorgensen, the man behind the BlackTipH, a YouTube channel with 3.5+ million subscribers, has built an enormous following by documenting himself catching incredible sportfish, including the goliath grouper.

One of Josh’s most viewed videos of all time is when he challenges a fellow YouTuber and bodybuilder named Jujimufu to battle against a giant goliath grouper. Currently, that video has over 68 million views.

Make sure to double-check the local regulations to ensure you’re fully aware of the new rules set in place. We’ll include two links below to connect you with the Florida DWC website. 

Learn More About Goliath Grouper Fishing In Florida

Goliath Grouper Florida – Fish And Wild Life

Report Your Goliath Grouper Catch In Florida

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