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

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: March 31, 2023
© Jonathan Churchill/
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This man was not the only one fishing in this particular section of the ocean. Three times he spears a fish 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. Scroll down to watch the full video of this remarkable event!

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 eight 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 US 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 eight 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 for some time. It then chose the best moment to pounce!

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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