Saltwater Experience Season 16 Episode 1

Season 16 - Episode 1: Goliaths in the Mangroves

Captains Tom Rowland and Rich Tudor act on some good reports on Juvenile Goliath Grouper activity in the Everglades and end up with an exciting and adventurous day of fishing.

The first in the series of Season 16 Saltwater Experience episodes sponsored by partner TackleDirect shows Capt. Rich Tudor and Capt. Tom Rowland pursuing goliath grouper in the backcountry of Everglades National Park in South Florida. In episode 1, Goliaths in the Mangroves, Rowland and Tudor take their 26' center console out of Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys to chase ... juvenile goliaths.

Also known as jewfish or glass grouper, goliath grouper can grow to about the size of a golf cart. The big onestypically are caught offshore. Closer in here in the calm waters of the Everglades sheltered by mangroves, Tudor and Rowland concentrate on young goliaths up to 40 or 50 pounds.

A Fishery on the Rebound

These young groupers were hard to find as little as five years ago, partly due to a cold snap. But warmer weather plus state regulation of goliath grouper as a no-take fishery has seen the numbers of juveniles bounce back. That's a good omen for the future and can make for some great catch-and-release fishing in the meantime.

You can see the proof in this Saltwater Experience fishing show. Whether you watch saltwater fishing shows online or via another medium, you'll see Rowland and Tudor catch and release numerous hard-fighting goliaths. They use artificials like jigs and live bait like pinfish to tempt the young goliaths. These "small" goliaths put up a fight worthy of their name as they attempt to snap the anglers' lines by wrapping them around mangrove roots and other obstructions.

Expert Tips

Like all the best saltwater fishing shows, this episode includes expert tips on the right tackle to use. Capt. Tudor likens fishing for juvenile goliaths to bass fishing. A fishing rig you use for bass fishing or bonefishing would work perfectly for this fishery as well, he says. Line ranging from 8 pound to 17 pound test will work fine to reel in these hard-fighting young grouper.

Saltwater Experience outfitters like TackleDirect can get you everything you need to get in on this "Group-O-Grouper" fun fishing, from jigs and sliding sinkers to a Lowrance HALO24 radar dome - except maybe for the center console and the live pinfish the captains use.