Florida Fishermen Reel in Warsaw Grouper That Dwarfs a Grown Man: ‘It Was a Monster’

by Emily Morgan
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Blacktip Fishing founder and producer Joshua Jorgensen snagged himself an impressive catch when he reeled in a massive Warsaw Grouper.

Partnered alongside Capt. Jason Boyll of SoNar Fishing, a professional fishing charter based in Sarasota, Fla., the duo put their angling skills to the test after numerous attempts to reel in the deep-water fish.

Little did they know what they were in for.

The Warsaw Grouper, known to grow to an impressive size, was finally caught in a behemoth at Pulley Ridge, according to a statement from Jorgensen.

The coral reef system located around 140 miles offshore from Fort Myers, Fla. in the Gulf of Mexico, is home to the specific breed and other fish species.

According to Jorgensen, the trek to get to Pulley Ridge took about four hours on a 42-foot fishing boat.

Despite the journey, the anglers didn’t have to wait long once they got out there and were strapped with their Banded Rudderfish bait.

“Within five minutes of fishing, Jason got a bite on his reel. He started reeling and the line got very tight,” BlacktipH Fishing’s news release said. “A giant Warsaw had taken the bait!”

In just 10 minutes, Boyll reeled in the fish 150 feet up while Jorgensen traded places and “continued cranking the fish all the way to the surface.”

Jorgensen estimates that reeling in the fish took between 15 and 20 minutes of “fight time” and more than 400 feet of hand-cranked line.

Fishing Team Uses Tractor To Weigh Monster Warsaw Grouper

“It was a monster! The fish floated to the surface and we all started screaming,” Jorgensen explained. “We didn’t realize how difficult it would be to bring this fish in the boat. It took four grown men to lift this fish over the gunnels and into the boat.”

The grouper measured longer than seven feet and had sharp dorsal spines, which measured over two feet in length.

To give you an idea of the fish’s size, they had to use a tractor to pull the fish off the boat to weigh it.

The attached scale showed the pair’s lucky catch was heavier than their original 250-pound estimate.

“The scale read 294lbs, which means this fish was well over 300lbs when we caught him,” Jorgensen suggested. “These fish normally lose 10% of their body weight before we can get them to the dock.”

He added that their joint catch had been the biggest Warsaw Grouper he’s seen in person.

In the past, Jorgensen and Boyll attempted to catch a Warsaw Grouper together in 2019 and 2020. They finally accomplished their goal on Jan. 22, 2021.

In 2020, Boyll made headlines after he caught a 350-point Warsaw Grouper.

In response, the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute put out a statement that encouraged anglers to avoid fishing the Grouper species since its population in the Gulf of Mexico is unknown.

According to the International Game Fish Association, the world record for a caught Warsaw Grouper belongs to Steve Haeusler, who caught a 436-pounder in December 1985.

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