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Juvi Goliath Grouper Fishing

I have caught a few in the mangroves down in the everglades as bycatch from snook fishing, but I want to try and target baby GG inshore. I have heard you just pitch swimbaits, jigs, and live baits along deeper shorelines, but is there more to it? They are great Fighters...


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    All of the rivers and passes that drain into the Gulf out of the 'Glades have them now from five to fifty pounds.  We look for corners, points, etc - places where they can hold right on the bottom and attack anything that comes their way.  Instead of tossing lures (which will work well enough as long as they're right on the bottom...) we work almost straight up and down in 8 to 12 feet of water (or more) with very simple bait rigs on at least 80lb leader with a 5/0 or 6/0 hook set up with at least a rod's length of leader and an egg sinker from one ounce on up rigged knocker style... For a sure bite use any live bait as long as it's legal size... mangrove snapper, small catfish (de-barbed), small jack crevalle, pinfish, ladyfish (my favorite), etc.  Avoid places with hard current (an area of much slower current is where they'll be as close to hard current as possible... ).  Or that same place where the current is moving hard - only pay your visit at slack or near slack tide conditions.  A spot that's hot on one tide is rarely good on the opposite tide so you end up moving around a bit until you find a spot or two (or three) that's holding fish... By the way the heaviest line we use is only 30lb mostly and 20 will do for you light tackle guys...Much better suited is one particular rod we use with 65lb line and at least a 100lb leader... 

    Make sure your angler is holding onto that rod since a live bait near a goliath will get attacked immediately... No bite after five minutes - move a few feet and try again - or simply move to another spot - shouldn't take long to get hammered.  Once you've had that first bite you can switch to fresh cutbait and get just as much action.  For lure action, simply fish the same places you've already found with lures that work right on the bottom - jig and plastic worm, heavy swim baits, or my favorite, a DOA Baitbuster... Toss your lure up current a bit and across then work it with the current bumping bottom through any area that'a holding grouper and hang on... We've also caught them on flies in those same areas with a big black fly (6-7 inches) on a slow sinking Intermediate line by counting the fly down until it's on or near the bottom then working it slowly with or across the current through areas holding goliaths - but we've never managed more than a small one (less than ten pounds....).  Bigger ones on a fly rod near their preferred bottom don't have much of a chance with all the snags those fish can cut you off on.... 

    Just nothing like the 'glades

    "Be a hero - take a kid fishing"
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Fishin' MusicianFishin' Musician Posts: 96 Deckhand
    Capt. LeMay,

    Thank you for a stellar "How to" on Goliaths in the Park. We've hooked several fishing for the usual stuff and they do love those mangos. Managed to get a few bigger ones to the boat. Quite an adventure!
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    Glad it worked for you... Now if the FWC would just open that slot limit to one fish per boat per day... with no special permit required... We might actually bring a bit of balance to that particular eco-system... But that's a dream only for now... By protecting them since 1990 they've been allowed to actually dominate many places in the interior and out on the coast... Once those "baby" goliaths move in (anything under fifty pounds is a "baby" in my book...) every other specie moves out... At least that's been my experience and the experience of quite a few skilled anglers and guides that I've talked to over the years...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
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