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Goliath Grouper MADNESS!

By July 22, 2014 Fishing Reports No Comments

Back during the Blacktip Challenge my good friend and tournament director Josh Jorgensen insisted that I had to visit him when the big goliaths were in.  I had told him I would try my best but no promises.  He would often attempt to say the power of a goliath could be compared to the Giant Bluefins of the north but I insisted there were very little fish in existence that can live up to the speed and power of a big Bluefin.

After studying some of Josh’s videos across youtube on his Blacktiph channel I knew I was in for a challenge. I found there are a couple things that make these fish extremely difficult to catch from a boat.  To begin with you are fighting the fish directly above its home this means that not only are you going to have to fight the fish straight up and down under the boat but you will also have to stop it within 20-30 yards or it would break you off on the structure this lives in.  All of those issue coupled with these fish pulling over 100lbs of drag leads to one HELL of a  battle.

With the research done on the fish I knew that a special kind of rod would need to be made to handle the brute force of these big boys.  I was able to track down a United Composites 4′ XOS blank (I say track down as United Composites USA had closed and just a day after my trip was open again under new ownership).  These blanks are made with a dual helix composite structure at 4′ long to fit straight into a uni-butt without any cutting!  The XOS blank was given a rating of Unlimited and having felt this blank before I could barely put any bend in it.  To fight these fish when they are diving straight down a standard straight butt would not work so I opted for a bent butt.  Not doing much bent butt fishing I invested in a Winthrop Adjusta Butt.  This butt allows the fisherman to fight both straight and bent positions while fighting a fish.  This is especially helpful with Bluefin Tuna so you can fight them in a straight butt on long runs and a bent butt when they are tuna death circling under the boat.  This coupled with SiC Guides, a Strada Bay 360 degree swivel tip, and a hydraulic grip so I could rail the blank if needed under extreme pressure I was in belief I had built a monster stopper for sure.

Just days before leaving we were able to lock in what day we were fishing and Josh let me know that I was going to be on the boat with a gentleman from Sweden.  With that being my only information I was pumped to meet another avid fisherman coming all this way to battle these large fish with us. Unfortunately this would be a solo trip on the drive down from Pennsylvania but sometimes that is what it takes when you are chasing giant fish! 23 hours later and 2.5 hours of sleep I made it to the boat dock 5 minutes behind schedule. Fortunately Josh gave me a break since I had come so far on such little sleep but that break wouldnt last long as we loaded up the boat and drove a short distance to the battleground. As it turns our gentleman from Sweden, Johan Ruhe, was not just here fishing but on a collaboration project with Josh and Ben Chancey for their Youtube channels Kanalgratisdotse, Chew On This, and BlacktipH. It was time to put my pride on the line and hook into one of these monsters in stand-up gear!  Enjoy the video!

Oh boy I did not see this coming! Not only did this fish turn one of the stiffest stand-up blanks I’ve felt to date into a noodle but it broke it as well! I was able to squeeze 80lbs of drag out of my Avet 80W but that pressure straight down even with the bent butt was too much in the end.  I have thought over this for the past couple of weeks of what could’ve lead to this point of failure and I still haven’t quite put my finger on it. In no way do I blame the manufacture for this failure as this is one of the most extreme scenarios that most people wouldn’t believe existed without video proof.

Outside of the rod breaking I was very comfortable with the setup.  Once I had got behind Josh’s reel and rod I can’t quite say the same comfort was there.  A longer rod with an even longer straight uni-butt means more pressure back on me as the angler and boy did I feel it especially with the extra drag.  I had dropped the straps on my harness in an attempt to lay the rod out flatter to help the situation out a little bit although that could only do so much.  After scaling his reel the next day we bottomed out his 100lb spring scale with no line coming off at strike.  It is hard to imagine how much pressure being applied to me in the harness but I can tell you this it was immense and these fish were doing everything from straight popping 200lb mono to pulling the drag off the reel and getting back into structure. Next time it will be a better planned trip with multiple different setups being pushed beyond max.

Are these fish impressive?  I’d say so!  Josh wanted the ultimate verdict if the Goliath were as strong if not stronger then the Giant Bluefin Tuna.  I had to explain to him these fish are in opposite spectrum of what power and strength is.  A Bluefin will RIP line off of your reel despite 100lbs+ of drag for hundreds of yards at a shot and when you have him beside the boat and think you have him after doing battle he will kick back away and pull off another hundred yards of line! Where as a big 500+ Goliath will use its giant paddle tail for BRUTE force creating spurts of energy and furor to fight for every inch vertically to drag you to the depths.  They are both EXTREMELY POWERFUL fish and they can not be compared but they will both make you hold on for your life and question your sanity that is for sure!

With another amazing adventure under the belt we will have to see where we land next!
-Alex

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