Gulf & Intracoastal Fishing

Fishin’ Frank

Boys and Girls of Fish World-lots of great things happening-Big, Huge, things. Goliath Grouper are biting in the canals and in the passes. It was not too many years ago we first started finding/catching in our canals these small grouper looking fish, some less than 6 inches long. These fish which were brown with red or maybe yellowish and dark with spots. I took quite a while to figure out what type of grouper they were. This was just before the internet and back then you had to use dial up. Let your parents explain that. Be-boop-whirl, had to throw that in for us old timers. Finally, a book and it was the round fins of the Goliath which made the I.D. Possible. Males take 5 years or so to become able to spawn and females about 6 years and maybe goliath turn male to female or maybe not. What I do know or think I know is that they like to live, once they are about 6 or so inches, in the canals. And they stay in the canals until they are about 50 pounds, just before they get 4 feet long. These groupers seem to move out of the canals and out to the passes. Boca Grande Pass is the preferred pass as the old Phosphate dock has lots of heavy cover for them and they like having a home. Open sand bottom is not where they like to be.
I use a chunk of mullet or ladyfish with a large enough hook to hook the bait and have the point of the hook far enough out to hook the fish. I flatten the barb on the hook, as I know it is catch and release. Casting the chunk or bait under the dock as center as possible, then it’s a waiting game. Studies have shown, much to my surprise, that goliath grouper do not reduce the fish populations on the reefs, like I and many other people would have thought, because they are lazy. Most of their diet is crabs, shrimp, things that they can just gulp down without a lot of chasing. Goliath tend to meander over to the food, not run over to get it. Out by the phosphate dock at Boca Pass, the technique is a bit strange. You need a boat to get here. On the outside of the piling is where we look for these giant fish to play with or at the large round tie-up bumper. How we do it is to use a 2 or 3-pound fish with a 13/0 hook or larger, with 200-pound test leader. Sometimes I use a 10 once sinker slid onto the line before the hook. Big rod-I like the Bill fisher 80 to 130-pound class and an International reel 50 with 100-pound mono on it. The Angler/fisher person sits in the front of the boat and the operator of the boat puts the nose of the boat up to the dock. Drop the bait to the bottom and as soon as the rod person feels the fish bite, the boat is put in reverse and that helps pull the fish away and into more open water. This has to happen before the fish figures out what you are trying to do and decides to pull back. The driver of the boat never leaves the helm, as that fish is going to try and pull the boat back to the dock. So, have back up people for the person on the rod, as a 300-pound fish mad at you is going to really fight. Now at this point it is simple- you pull, the fish pulls, whoever pulls the hardest wins. If the person operating the boat and the person on the rod work together, you should be successful. Teamwork- the rod person gets the glory and the boat operator gets yelled at if the fish gets back into the pilings. Hummm So remember to congratulate the boat person as well when the fish is landed and the pictures taken. Just though I would share a little of the unusual things that are possible here in Charlotte Harbor.

Fishin’ Franks Bait & Tackle 4425-D Tamiami Trail Charlotte Harbor FL 33980  941-625-3888 – Fishin’ Franks Tackle Shop 14531 N. Cleveland Ave. Ft. Myers, 33903 239-634-1043

X