Big fish: Goliath grouper have been devouring many of the fish we hook around the artificial reefs. These mammoth fish are quite opportunistic. They wait until the perfect time to attack unsuspecting fish.
Snatching up your bounty: This time of year can be frustrating for anglers fishing near these reefs. You have to learn how to reel extremely fast if you want to take home a dinner. Many keeper fish become property of the mighty goliath. Their appetites seem endless, so don't think they will leave you alone after a couple of attacks. All the commotion often lures more goliaths. We have had at least a dozen under the boat, all fighting over our fish.
Pelagics not safe: Amberjack and barracuda are also targeted while being reeled to the boat. Numerous times this summer we have had 300-pound-plus goliath groupers follow the fish to the surface before stealing it. If a goliath can fit it in its mouth, consider it dinner. We recently had a 30-pound amberjack disappear before our eyes while trying to gaff it. The jack was temporarily hiding under the boat. The goliath smacked the side of the boat with its tail as it cartwheeled at the surface, plucking the jack from the hull. We all got soaked from the splash. That's what we call "up front and close action."
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, jawstoo.com or (727) 439-2628.