Another fish that is beautiful in his/her own way, the Goliath Grouper is the beast of all groupers, growing to 600+ pounds. Their size may have had a role in making them fearless, in that divers are able to swim up within feet of the monsters without spooking them. Unfortunately, that made them ridiculously easy targets for spear fishermen.
Spearfishing, and overfishing as they congregated on their spawning grounds decimated their population. Finally, adding to their woes, is the fact they are slow to reach sexual maturity.
The end result was the Goliath Grouper being declared as an endangered species 35 years ago.
Now, in the Keys, they can be found in wrecks and around other structure, usually encountered when they inhale your catch on the way to the boat. At that point, when fighting a large one, it’s much like trying to reel in a submarine.