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Senior Member
227 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well this weekend marked a great accomplishment for me. It has been a goal of mine to catch a giant goliath grouper on a spinner, and on Saturday I got my chance. For those of you that may not have seen the last attempt, here was the report and the pictures.
Jewfish on a Spinner - Sport Fishing Forums

Shortly after my return from that trip, with visions of giant grouper dancing in my head:D, Nansea and I decided to book a trip down to Key West for the holidays...I could barely contain myself as I called Pepe (http://pepescharters.com/):

"Pepe, it's Dan again...um I was the guy you took out out who was looking to catch a giant jewfish on a spinner."
"Yeah bro, I remember you...no one else has ever asked me to do that, so how could I forget?"
"Cool...well....I'm coming back."
"Really. I was at a wreck today and found your fish. The water was clear so I could see it sitting in there- it had to be almost 400 or so."
"Okay...uh...great. I'll see you in two weeks...fatten him up for me."
"Believe me, he's already all you need, and he's not going anywhere. By the way, there were a couple of huge sawfish in the area too- anyone you know ever catch one of them on a spinner?"
"Not that I know of dude."
"Cool bro, if you're lucky you might get a shot at one of those."

So fast forward to Saturday. I walked down to the dock an jumped aboard Pepe's ride- a 27' Conch. Damn is it nice.

We headed out to the spot...and pulling up to the wreck we knew it was on

For this trip I was again using my Stella 20k with PE6 on a Synit 550 rod. I was also cheating again by using bait;):D

I put on a feisty little blue runner, sans sneakers, and was literally on within 30 seconds.

I had him on for a few minutes, but put too much pressure on it and parted the line. We laughed. Two minutes into trip and we had found what we were looking for.

For the next 45 minutes, those laughs turned to nervous silence as we wondered whether we spooked him from the wreck. Nothing was happening. My big bait was sitting there on the bottom...relaxing.

Twitch twitch...twitch twitch twitch...twitch twitch twitch twitch twitch twitch...

"He's baaaaaack"

I felt him on, and decided to let him enjoy his food for a bit so I was sure of a good hook set. Two minutes later and it was on.

After some really good back and forth (god these things are strong), we got some color and Pepe shouted "That thing is even bigger than I thought it was..take your time bro, he's a giant!" With that I backed off the drag a bit so I didn't pull the hook, and slowed down the fight, babying him boatside. When we finally got him there, he was huge- nearly as big around as he was in length. The problem now was that besides the hook in his maw, there was no way in hell to grab onto him...and with stories of people getting hooked by other unseen hooks that are left in their mouths and dragged back down to the wreck, I decided that reaching under the gill plate probably wasn't the wisest move. For those of you that don't know, it's against the law to remove goliath grouper from the water, so that wasn't an option. We did our best and had a loose lip gaff on him for a few seconds when he decided he'd had enough, snapped the gaff, and went back down. He was over 6' long, and Pepe estimated him at easily over 350#. As we couldn't remove him from the water, we'll never know, but suffice it to say that he was a giant, and is the king of his wreck.

After some celebration, we decided to try another wreck. At that second spot, I caught some more goliaths about the size of the ones from the last trip, and it further underscored the size of the giant- I was beating 60# fish like they were 5lb snapper.

Then I felt something strange on the line. It took the bait, but was just weight. No head shake, only weight. Then it ran off a few yards of line like a shark. Then weight. Then it turned, ran back towards the boat, and was weight again. As I was pumping and cranking, I noticed my PR knot coming to the surface...and then a shape. "What the..." My leader is 15' long, how can there be something that close to my PR knot? Pepe yelled "Sawfish!" We got him up, slipped a dock line over it's saw, took a few pics, and released him to get bigger. For a sense of perspective, look at where the dock line is tied off in the pic with me next to him, and then look at where that is in the other pics- it was giant.






It was a day to remember.


Senior Member
1,323 Posts
That was awesome bro, can't be any happier for ya. You put in your time and it paid off in a giant way.

Senior Member
2,835 Posts
That gouper was really nice, but the sawfish is awesome. They are a very interesting fish and are from the Ray family. Not many around. Endangered is true to the sawfish unlike the Red Snapper.

The most eye-catching feature of the sawfish is their saw-like rostrum. The rostrum is covered with motion- and electro-sensitive pores that allow sawfish to detect movement and even heartbeats of buried prey in the ocean floor as the sawfish hovers over the bottom. It is also used as a digging tool to unearth buried crustaceans.

When a suitable prey swims by, the normally lethargic sawfish will spring from the bottom and slash at it furiously with its saw. This generally stuns or injures the prey sufficiently for the sawfish to devour it without much resistance. Sawfishes have also been known to defend themselves with their rostrum, against predators such as sharks, and against intruding divers. The "teeth" protruding from the rostrum are not real teeth, but modified tooth-like structures called denticles.

A plate sketching of a sawfish.The body and head of a sawfish are flat, and they spend most of their time lying on the sea floor. Like rays, the mouth and nostrils of sawfishes are located on their flat undersides. The mouth is lined with small, dome-shaped teeth for eating small fish and crustaceans; though sometimes the fish swallows them whole. Sawfishes breathe with two spiracles just behind the eyes that draw water to the gills. The skin is covered with tiny dermal denticles that gives the fish a rough texture. Sawfishes are usually light grey or brown; the smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata, appears olive green.

Like other elasmobranchs, sawfishes lack a swim bladder and use a large, oil-filled liver instead to keep them buoyant. Their skeleton is made of cartilage.

The eyes of sawfish are undeveloped due to their muddy habitat. The rostrum is the main sensory device.

Senior Member
2,924 Posts
well it couldnt have happened to a better guy, glad you did it bro!!! I knew you would and I knew how much it meant to you to get that one. Sometimes things just fall right into place through great planning, time on the water and being one hell of an angler which you are.

Im really glad the rod held up great and got the job done


95 Posts
AMAZING! I've watched videos on youtube showing how hard those Goliath groupers pull...great capture with the 550 on spin gear...very nice jig rods...light with amazing backbone...:)
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