Chad Crawford: Today, I am going to show you how to go goliath grouper fishing.
Male Speaker: The goliath grouper, leviathan of the deep, a colossal creature whose dimensions dwarf everything in its habitat. They have been known to grow 8 feet long and weigh over 1,000 pounds. Once fished almost to extinction, these giant creatures are once again the undisputed kings of the Florida reefs.
Chad Crawford: Thanks to conservation efforts. The goliath grouper is making a come back, in nowhere is that more prevalent in the waters of South West Florida.
Male Speaker: Still listed as critically endangered, goliath grouper are on the rebound, since coming under federal protection in the 1990s. Caption Tom is an expert on fishing for goliaths.
Chad Crawford: So, we're going to be able to bring this fish on board which is pretty cool.
Caption Tom: Yeah, they are protected in Florida and federally, you can't take them out of the water. But, we're participating in a research program, so we bring them in, gather some data, and send them off to the scientist.
Chad Crawford: Main line.
Caption Tom: Yup, no leader.
Chad Crawford: No leader, because you will need a leader for 100 pounds, right?
Caption Tom: Yup! That's pretty much your leader and your line.
Chad Crawford: And what on hook?
Caption Tom: That's a 20.
Chad Crawford: 20 on hook and then a pound lathe?
Caption Tom: A pound lathe to get the bait down in the bottom.
Male Speaker: Finally, it was fish on. This fish is actually bending this broomstick of a rod. What a gorgeous fish, a juvenile, it's only about 100 pounds but what a fighter. On closer inspection, because this fish has won quite a few bouts.
Caption Tom: You can see all these hooks in line in here. We're going to do them a favor and clean those out while we're here.
Male Speaker: We call the goliath group on board. Again, this is illegal unless you have a research permit like Caption Tom does; a water hose inserted into the fish's mouth keeps oxygen flowing to the fish while we go to work.
Caption Tom: What I am doing is I made a little incision and inserted this tool. The air inside their belly expands on the way up. This just lets the air out so that she can start breathing again; no worse for the wear.
Chad Crawford: I work on getting the tackle out of the fish's mouth while Captain Tom tags the fish for identification purposes.
Caption Tom: As soon as they get on their belly, they are going to start to get nasty.
Chad Crawford: I have never really seen fish like this. But because the water hose provided option, this fish was kicking and ready to be thrown back into water.
Caption Tom: Nice job! That's the way to do it!
Male Speaker: Here in Florida, we're all about recreation, and conservation and today was the best of both worlds. You have seen goliath grouper in the water while diving. But, to be this close to one, to be a small part of helping preserve this magnificent species, is another great way to do Florida.