Watch This Massive Goliath Grouper Steal a Fisherman’s Catch and Drag Him on a Ride

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: October 20, 2023
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In the footage below, a man — not the only one fishing in this particular section of the ocean — spears a fish three times, only to have a goliath grouper appear from nowhere and try to make off with the catch. The first time, the fish is unsuccessful. The second time, a grouper makes off with the fish and bends the spear. But it is the third time that is most specular. The grouper grabs the fish and drags the fisherman along for quite some distance before the fish decides to give up and let go. Watch the footage of this remarkable event below!

Check Out the Video!

Where Do Goliath Groupers Live?

This particular footage was recorded at a wreck site in the northern Gulf of Mexico specifically off Apalachicola, Florida. As you would expect with a name like “goliath” these fish are large! They can be up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 800 pounds.

They are a native species of the shallow reefs and coastal water habitats around the western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Their numbers have been in danger, so they have been protected by a hunting ban in the U.S. since 1990. These guys are also found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.

Groupers tend to spend most of their time near the ocean. You will see them most often 100 to 200 feet below sea level.

Giant grouper

Giant groupers can measure over 8 feet in length.


What Do Goliath Groupers Normally Eat?

It’s a good idea to show these fish some respect. They are apex predators in their habitats! Hunting is a natural part of their behavior. In terms of diet, goliath groupers catch and eat a variety of small fish and invertebrates. The most common targets are snapper, grunts, moray eels, lobster, octopus, and squid. However, if food is scarce, they will eat just about anything!

Is This Normal Behavior for Goliath Groupers?

It is not unusual to see goliath groupers interacting with human divers. They are actually known for being shy and docile but have been seen approaching divers and some will allow themselves to be petted. However, when it comes to food, things are different! There are other reports of goliath groupers stealing fish.

They are ambush predators and are intelligent. It is possible that the grouper had been observing the diver in the video for some time. It then chose the best moment to pounce!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jonathan Churchill/

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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