Have you been lucky enough to see or catch a Goliath Grouper here in Charlotte Harbor? Fishing among the seagrass shallows and artificial reefs in and around Boca Grande pass is known for its Tarpon….. but also the Goliath Grouper!!! If you are lucky enough, they are something to see for sure! Below is some interesting information provided by Florida State University and a great picture of our friend Capt. Jesse and a Goliath he was able to catch and release.
Goliath grouper is the largest of the western north Atlantic groupers. It can reach about 455 kg (800 lbs) and over 2 m total length. The following features can easily distinguish goliath grouper: broad head, round tail, small eyes, and short dorsal spines. They tend to have a brownish-yellow or greenish-gray mottled pattern and small black spots on their fins. Fish mature at 5 or 6 years of age at about one meter in length. They are relatively long lived, with individuals at least 37 years old found in exploited populations. It is possible, however, that older fish occurred in unfished populations. This species is very vulnerable to cold temperatures and red tide.
Historically, goliath grouper were found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, both coasts of Florida, and from the Gulf of Mexico down to the coasts of Brazil and the Caribbean. Most adults are found on shallow reefs, the deepest being about 150 feet. They form spawning aggregations of about 100 individuals at consistent sites from July through September. Fish may move up to 100 km from inshore reefs to these spawning sites, which typically occur on rock ledges, isolated patch reefs, and even on ship wrecks.