[nggallery id=842]Izzy Avramovitz, Mike Scarlett, Mulligan & I headed back into the Gulf of Mexico today. Conditions were hot & hazy at times with visibility extending only aobu 200 yds.. We again ventured about 4-miles off shore in 2-3′ rollers. When we reached the area we wanted to fish, there were only 2-boats anchoring and working it. One boat was moving out and showed us a heavy-action bottom fishing rod that was snapped in half. I think that may have been a premonition. Next, we watched the only other boat that was anchored on the reef chuck out a large 4-5 lb. fish as bait on a yellow rope. At that point I let the guys knows that they were probably looking to hook a Goliath Grouper and that the other boat had their rod snapped by one!!
I hooked the first mackerel trolling while Izzy was slowly motoring to find the best spot on the reef. The spanish mackerel hit a Blue Fox Stipple spoons fished on a Terminator Titanium leader. Our outfits of choice were again the Rapala spinning outfits loaded with Sufix 832, 10 & 15 lb. braid and equipped with 20 lb.
In an hour, seas started calming down, the haze set-in and it got really hot with little breeze. To keep Mulligan cool, I would soak a rag with freshwater and draped it over her.
As soon as we anchored up we starte bottom fishing using a 1 oz. sinker and drop-shot rig with a #6 Circle Hook. Mike started the action off with a chunky sheepshead, than Izzy and than I started hooking fish. At one point I was fighting nice sheepshead (which I later found out was about 5lb.), when something huge grabbed it. We are sure it was a Goliath Grouper. I was only using a Rapalaamedium-action spinning outfit, and pushed the fish to the limit we no avail. We lifted the anchor and as the giant started swimming away, Izzy controlled the boat so that I could have the shortest distance to it with my line as vertical as possible to avoid the grouper going into the bottom strata. I asked the guys if I should just break it off since I believed it was imposible for me to land a 200-400 lb fish on such a light outfit. They motioned to carry on and see what would happen. After about 15 min. we started to pass the rod around so they could also feel how heavy this fish felt. I was not going to give up, or break the fish off and the fight went on. After about 20 min, the Goliath must have got tired of being “teased” by my light line and released the sheepshead. I reeled the sheepshead in which was at that point dead and had puncture teeth marks all around it’s head and on both sides of it’s body. We gave a “high-five” and claimed the victory. There was no way we could fight the Goliath, but we still got our sheepshead back!