Goliath grouper attacks diver, steals his fish

Goliath grouper eyes a free meal that was just speared by diver Arif Sabir off Jupiter, Florida. Photo is a screen grab from the video
Goliath grouper eyes a free meal that was just speared by diver Arif Sabir off Jupiter, Florida. Photo is a screen grab from the video

A spearfisherman diving three miles off Jupiter, Florida, was attempting to remove an amberjack from his spear when he noticed a goliath grouper approaching him with an eye toward a free meal.

The goliath grouper, a fish known to be inquisitive and fearless, also proved to be aggressive as Arif Sabir discovered while diving in a group that included his wife. Watch as Sabir gets attacked by the goliath grouper, which ended up getting exactly what it wanted:

Sabir, who owns a motorcycle salvage yard in Winter Park, Florida, usually dives off Port Canaveral but for an anniversary dive with his wife went farther south to a new area where he encountered the goliath grouper.

“I’m not used to diving around the big ones like that,” he told GrindTV Outdoor in a phone interview. “We don’t have anything like that up here in Port Canaveral.”

Goliath grouper can grow to 10 feet and weigh up to 800 pounds, though this one was in the 300- to 400-pound range.

goliath grouper
Goliath grouper moments before he bit off the swim fin of diver Arif Sabir. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Sabir described what happened: “I just shot a lesser amberjack and I was coming back into the group and trying to get him off my spear and into my stringer. Then I saw off in the distance that this big grouper had started eyeing me up and was coming over.

“I tried my best to get [the amberjack] off my spear, but the grouper was a lot faster than me and lined himself up, first disabled me, took my fin off, and grabbed my gun and the spear with the fish and went off and on his way.

“I‘ve honestly never seen anything like that before.”

Fortunately, the goliath grouper ate the amberjack and discarded the spear and gun in the sand a quarter mile away, where Sabir retrieved them.

“Which I’m kind of glad about because I didn’t want the grouper getting stuck with that,” Sabir said. “That would’ve been bad for him, an encumbrance.”

Sabir was also glad because he got his speargun and spear back. He said he was a bit miffed at seeing them float away with the big fish. Now he can laugh about it, as most others do upon hearing—and seeing—the funny fish tale.

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