Florida fishermen wrangle 300-pound grouper, potentially incurring wrath of Poseidon [Updated]

Lillian Stone
·3 min read
Men pose with giant grouper in boat
Men pose with giant grouper in boat

Update, March 2, 2021: The grouper has been eaten.

A trusty reader tipped us off to this video posted on February 23, in which two of the fishing bros from the original video complete what they call the “largest grouper catch-and-cook in the history of YouTube.” (The bros in question are Joshua Jorgensen and Capt. Jason Boyll, but “fishing bros” feels appropriate given the general demeanor of these two. Watch the video—you’ll see what I mean.)

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In the video, you see one of the bros fillet the massive fish while it’s still rigged up, resulting in two 70-plus-pound fillets. Then, they get to cooking. The bros coat the fish with lemon zest mayo, bread the fish with buttery garlic panko, pop it into the oven for 15 minutes, top it with Romano cheese, and serve it with orzo, roasted pine nuts, and veggies. It looks very tasty, but there are a few concerns here. First, there’s no word on what the bros did with the rest of the meat. Did they freeze it for personal consumption? Did they donate it? Or did they merely throw it away, which seems insanely wasteful?

Additionally, as some of you mentioned in the comments on the original article, large fish like Warsaw grouper can carry parasites. The bros don’t seem concerned about microscopic invaders. “I didn’t see a single worm in it,” laughs Jorgensen after tucking into his fillet. Hmm, okay. Eat up, I guess!

Oh, one more thing—several of you commented on the original article with questions about the legality of catching such a gigantic grouper. According to Jorgensen, you can catch and keep up to four grouper per day, although only one of those can be a Warsaw grouper. So everything here appears legal. Ethical? That’s another question entirely.

Original post, February 19, 2021: Humans should be way more afraid of the ocean. Would you close your eyes and laze around in a lion-infested plain, just kind of hoping they won’t eat you today? No. And yet there are entire industries devoted to lollygagging about in the ocean, where all manner of giant beasts lurk mere leagues away—like the 300-pound Warsaw grouper two Florida fishermen snagged last month.

Professional fisherman Joshua Jorgensen caught the monstrous fish in January after a three-year effort to find one, Canada’s Global News reported this week. Jorgensen and his boat captain, Jason Boyll, hooked the grouper near a coral reef in the Gulf of Mexico, at which point it took four grown men to lift the thing over the edge of the boat. Jorgensen also shared footage of the super grouper catch on his YouTube fishing channel.

The grouper measured about seven feet long feet with sharp spines of up to two feet long running along its back. In the video, you see the fishermen haul the nearly 300-pound fish off the boat with a tractor when they return to shore. And yes, you can eat Warsaw grouper, which is said to taste just like any other grouper. However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has previously cautioned against specifically hunting them. “FWC does not encourage the targeting of Warsaw grouper since the status of the population in the Gulf is unknown,” the agency said in a Facebook post.

While the Warsaw grouper are thought to be exceedingly rare, they’re actually not the largest member of the grouper troop. The Goliath grouper, also located in the Atlantic Ocean, can weigh as much as 800 pounds. They’re just out there. Swimming around. Being enormous. But sure, hop in for a refreshing dip. I’m sure they’re not... hungry.