How to Catch a Goliath Grouper

How to Catch a Goliath Grouper

One of the tastiest and most famous fish of the sea, Goliath Grouper, is the largest form of the species of Grouper. They are so big that they need a different technique to catch them than any other normal fish. They are known to be pretty strong, too, albeit with very little stamina. These fishes weigh up to 900 pounds, making them very difficult to catch. It would be best if you had a lot of strength and technique to get them on the hook and pull them out of the water. In this article, we will teach you everything regarding how to catch a Goliath Grouper.

Types and Characteristics of Groupers

Before we can learn about the art of catching a Goliath Grouper, let us learn more about the species, this is because knowing about the fish we are about to hunt will always give us an edge. 

When it comes to Groupers, there are four main types of groupers:

  • Jewfish or the Atlantic Goliath Grouper: These Groupers are enormous and can weigh as much as 900 pounds.
  • Dusky Grouper: These fishes are usually found in the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Sea. 
  • Nassau Grouper: These fishes are among the most commonly found fishes in the USA and the Atlantic region. 
  • Red Grouper: These fishes are found in and around the Florida coasts. 

The groupers prefer to live in the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. These fishes prefer to live in rocky areas where there are a lot of holes and caves. They use these caves and holes to make it their home and hide if they sense any form of danger. These fishes are very lonely and prefer to live in very deep waters, from 20 to 200 meters. 

When it comes to their characteristics, the following observations are made: 

  • These fishes are very robust and have a huge head and mouth. 
  • With Big jaws, these fishes are known to be sedimentary fishes.
  • They live in tropical areas, where the climate is warm. 
  • They are massive and very strong, with some fishes being a meter in length and 300kgs in weight. 
  • They are known to have big mouths with very distinct lips and brown bodies with white spots. 
  • They have very powerful jaws, which they use to hunt small fishes and octopuses for their food. 
  • Groupers are hermaphrodites, which mean that they can change their sex. They are also known to reproduce in the summer. 
  • They are also known to live until 50 years old. 
  • They are territorial fishes and cover an area of about 500 square meters. 

Now that you know a little bit about Groupers, let us focus our attention on Goliath Groupers. Let us see the details regarding catching them. To learn more about the specifics of the Goliath Grouper, check out Oceana.

How to Catch a Goliath Grouper

Before you learn about the art of catching a Goliath Grouper, it is crucial to know when you can catch them, best bait & lures and what equipment you will need. 

Legal Aspects of Fishing for a Goliath Grouper

It must be noted that Groupers are a protected species in many places, and grouper harvesting is considered Illegal. Harvesting, it means that you cannot kill them since they are a federally protected species. Now the thing is, due to their size and difficulty to catch them, more often than not, when you manage to catch them, the pressure created due to their size and strength of their resistance, can break their skeletal system and hence killing them. Therefore harvesting groupers is illegal. 

Now the legal part out of the way, let us see how you can catch a Goliath Grouper.

Best Time to Fish for a Goliath Grouper

During the winter season, ranging from September to March is the perfect time to fish groupers. That is because the groupers prefer warmer climates, and during the winter, they tend to come near the shores in search of warmer water. Catching them during this time is much easier. That is because, during the summer, they usually reside deep in some cave or hole underwater. So baiting them can be difficult. 

Fishing Equipment Required to Catch a Goliath Grouper

Due to their size and strength, conventional fishing techniques cannot be used to catch a Goliath Grouper. On the other hand, having all the best and the right equipment will also not help you to win the battle against a grouper. You need to be smart, use the right tools and techniques to bag a grouper. Let us now see more about the right tools. 

Best Lures for Catching a Goliath Grouper

When it comes to lures, there is no such lure that always works. But there are some very effective ones. Artificial Lures are always effective. Although, it must be noted that since Groupers are live very deep undersea, the lure must be suitable for deep water trolling. When you go to buy a lure, you must check if it is ideal for deep trolling or not. This kind of trolling with lures like butterfly jigs, feathers, or anything which can mimic a shellfish can attract a Grouper and is very effective. This is very effective because, once the Grouper comes out of its shelter to take a bite, they are so far off their home that once caught, and they cannot swim back in.  

Best Baits for Catching a Goliath Grouper

Frozen and natural baits such as squids, sardines, pinfish, grunts, blue runners, white mullet, squirrelfish, etc. are excellent baits for Groupers. The stench of these baits will make the Groupers come out of their shelter and make them easier to catch. Although it must be noted that some baits are illegal in a few places where Groupers are usually found, so make sure you ask for more information from the bait shop. 

Best Tackle for Catching a Goliath Grouper

Goliath Groupers are huge and are very strong. You might even mistake them biting on your hook as your hook getting stuck to a rock as you cannot pull it back up. That is all because of the sheer strength of the Groupers. So basically, you will need a heavy tackle. If you use light or less strong tackles, there will be chances to break off, which will be a problem for both you and the fish. Grouper fishing is a type of fishing where you will not need a lot of lines, which is very good. This is because most of the battles you have with the fish will be decided with the first 25 yards of the line. You will either win with the first 25 yards or lose. There is nothing in between. When it comes to line and fishing Goliath Groupers, you must use monofilament instead of braid. This is because the stretch monofilament Line will give you is the only drag you will get while the braid line will simply tear due to the pressure. 

The best tackle to use for Goliath Groupers is conventional tackle. They are perfect for huge groupers like the Goliath Grouper. On a normal conventional tackle, the reel sits on top of the rod; hence it provides much more pressure on the rod and helps you reel in the hooked Grouper. On the other hand, on a conventional tackle, the line goes out in the same direction as the line is wound, which helps a lot in reeling and pulling up big fishes such as the Goliath Grouper. 

Best Technique to Catch a Goliath Grouper

Goliath Groupers are caught using live or dead bait with an artificial lure. These fishes are very strong and are keen to hide in their homes when they sense danger. So it is crucial to lure them away, far enough so that they cannot return once caught. To do that, you just anchor somewhat close to a cave, wreck, or reef where groupers usually reside. Now all you have to do is to bounce off your bait the bottom so that these fishes can hear the sound. 

They are not typically scared and are keen on the commotion. So they will come out of their shelters to see what the commotion is all about. Make sure you do not anchor too far away from the reefs to prevent the Goliath Groupers from returning to their home because if you are too far, they will never come out to your lure. 


Catching a Goliath Grouper is a difficult job, and you cannot catch it using bait, a tackle, and a lure. They are certainly a “Gentle Giant“. It would be best if you had the perfect bait, the ideal tackle, and the perfect lure combined with the ideal season. Many factors go into catching a Goliath grouper, but technique, equipment, and intelligence are the most important aspects. Now, what are you waiting for, go get the right equipment and take a buddy, because trust us you will need the additional strength, and go off to the nearby reef and catch a Goliath Grouper!

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