If you’re planning a charter fishing trip around Destin, Florida, it’s just possible that you’ll get to see a goliath grouper. These large fish–the largest goliath grouper on record was caught on the other side of Florida in 1961, at Fernandina Beach, and weighed 681 lbs–experienced a serious population decline through the 1990s. At that point, a harvest ban was placed on them in the United States, and there is evidence that the population is beginning to recover.
If you’re looking for a goliath grouper in the waters around Destin here are the things you need to know:
Where can I find a goliath grouper?
These very large members of the grouper family tend to favor shallow waters between 5 and 15 meters, often living in and around both coral and artificial reefs. Goliath groupers can grow to more than 8 ft long, and come close to 800 lbs.
Can I catch a goliath grouper?
No; both harvest and possession of goliath groupers are against the law. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has put together a guide on what is and is not allowed when you see a goliath grouper in the water. The main concern with these fish is that since they are so big, taking them out of the water to take pictures with them can cause them internal damage. If you catch a goliath grouper, you can take a picture with them in the water, “in the act of releasing.”
Why is the goliath grouper population struggling to recover?
Conservationists have a few different theories, mostly having to do with how the goliath grouper takes a long time to reach maturity. In the mangroves of Southwest Florida, around the Ten Thousand Island area, a number of smaller goliath groupers have been sighted, leading some conservationists to believe that this is one of their preferred spawning grounds.
Will I be able to fish for goliath grouper in the future?
Maybe. Several studies are currently reviewing the populations of these large game fish to see if the population could withstand a limited amount of fishing. For the time being, however, careful catch and release is the only responsible option.
What fish can I catch around Destin?
So glad you asked! There’s a reason some people call Destin the luckiest fishing village in the world. We know all the best fishing spots, and on our excellent charter fishing trips, we will do our best to make sure you enjoy an exciting day and come home with a stellar prize. We’ll look for local, shallow water fish, like catfish, redfish, and several species of trout and whiting. We can also head for deeper waters, where we may see cobia and mackerel. Tell us what you want to catch, and we’ll do what we can to help you find it, whether you’re looking for a great picture, or something you can grill for dinner.
Contact us today to charter your fishing trip into the exciting waters of Destin, Florida. You might get to see a goliath grouper; you might just have the time of your life!