SARASOTA, Fla. (WSVN) — A Florida teenager and his friends landed the catch of a lifetime when they pulled in a fish that weighed close to 250 pounds.
Isaac Francis, 17, was fishing at Turtle Beach in Sarasota, Florida on Saturday night when his line tightened up. That was when the fight to reel in the goliath grouper ensued.
The 17-year-old’s father, Stu, said his son credited the catch to luck, but he attributed his skill and years of fishing experience. Stu said that ever since Isaac was young, he has been an avid fisherman.
Several of Isaac’s friends were also at the beach when he caught the fish and helped reel it in. While Isaac’s catch was massive, the Florida state record for a goliath fish was set in 1961 when a 680 pounder was caught off Fernandina Beach.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the goliath grouper must be released back into the water alive, unharmed and with proper fish handling techniques. Additionally, fishermen are not permitted to pull goliath grouper from the water due to skeletal structure not being able to support its weight outside the water, causing potential fatal injuries.
Young goliath groupers have visible bands or stripes, though when they get older the bands can fade. The fish have been known to reach 800 pounds in other areas and can stretch to over 8 feet in length.
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