Biggest Goliath Grouper Ever Caught
The Goliath Grouper is the largest bony fish species in the ocean, truly living up to its gargantuan name. Goliath Groupers are mainly native to South Florida, though they can be found in many other places as well.
For anglers, Goliath Groupers are some of the most sought-after fish around!
Let's dive in and take a look at the largest Goliath Groupers ever caught!
Largest Goliath Groupers
#5 Takayuki Shibayama - Big Potato Grouper
On June 11, 2004, Shibayama caught this massive 171-pound, 10-ounce potato grouper while fishing off Miyako Island near Okinawa, Japan.
For bait, Shibayama used live snapper.
#4 Koji Yoshida - Humongous Convict Grouper
Yoshida broke the all-tackle record when catching this 264 pound, 8-ounce grouper off Okinawa's Yonaguni Island.
The craziest part is that Yoshida was able to fool this grouper with a shad!
#3 Shayne Keith Nelson - Tanzanian Giant Grouper
Shayne Keith Nelson probably had no idea what he was in for when he went fishing on March 4, 2012, off the coast of Latham Island, Tanzania.
This big Giant Grouper weighed 295 pounds and 11 ounces. Nelson was able to hook this Goliath Grouper using bonito.
#2 Steve Haeusler - World-Record Warsaw
To this day, Steve Haeusler holds the all-tackle world record for his Warsaw grouper catch back on December 22, 1985.
While fishing off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, Haeusler landed this 436-pound, 12-ounce grouper.
#1 The World Record Goliath Grouper -
The IGFA certified this world-record 680-pound Goliath Grouper when it was caught back on May 20, 1961.
To this day, this is the largest Goliath Grouper ever caught.
This fish, which was then known as the "jewfish," was caught using Spanish Mackerel as bait in Fernandina Beach, Florida.
As of today, this particular Grouper species is endangered and has protection under the laws of the Caribbean and the United States.
How Do Goliath Groupers Get So Big?
The reason scientists believe Goliath Groupers are so large is evolution.
The Goliath Grouper fish species was first discovered back in 1822. At this point, this giant grouper has reached the top of the food chain.
However, they don't actually get to take their seat at the top of the food chain until they reach sexual maturity. Before that, they can become the prey of moray eels, king mackerel, and barracuda. However, once they reach total maturity, the only species able to eat them are humans and large sharks.
Because the Goliath Grouper is at the top of the food chain, it can reach massive sizes without anything getting in its way.
How Long Does It Take For The Goliath Grouper To Reach Maturity?
Generally, the Goliath Grouper fish has a long lifespan, meaning it often takes several years before they reach sexual maturity. While every Goliath Grouper starts off life as a female, they become males as they mature. On average, a female Goliath Grouper can reach up to 4.6 feet.
What Does The Goliath Grouper Look Like?
Thanks to the concentrated white dots found on their heads, these giant grouper are easy to tell apart from their close cousins. Some of the biggest Goliath Groupers ever found are either brown or brownish-yellow.
When Goliath Groupers are young, they have very distinct colors with five bands that wrap around their bodies. These bands become less visible when the grouper gets old.
Another way to spot a grouper is with its beady eyes and large jawbone, which can almost extend to its fins. Though this fish has sharp teeth and an insanely strong jaw, it will usually swallow its food whole.
Where Do Goliath Groupers Live?
One of the primary reasons this fish is protected and considered endangered is its habitat being destroyed. Grouper fish love shallow reefs that don't go any deeper than 150 feet. When young, these Goliaths love mangroves, as they can easily find bottom feeders in the mud.
One unique thing about Goliaths is that they are the only species of Grouper that can live in brackish habitats.
What Does the Goliath Grouper Eat?
While these fish might look absolutely terrifying, they prefer to dine on smaller animals. And no, don't worry. They don't like eating humans!
A typical Goliath Grouper diet consists of crustaceans, calico crabs, and small to mid-sized fish.
Unfortunately, as their habitats shrink, they are not able to get the proper amount of food to maintain their size. This decline in food resources has reduced the Grouper population. Plus, since 1961, humans have hunted this grouper fish, and overfishing has majorly contributed to their dwindling population.