Swimming with Goliath

Wewahitchka seventh grader Daniel Blakely slew Goliath two Sundays ago.

Well, not the actual giant, but it was a large goliath grouper.

On Sunday, March 14, Daniel and his dad Billy Blakely, and their friend Steven Pitts and sons Jason and Jesse, lit out in a private vessel about 30 miles offshore of Indian Pass, fishing the bottom with pinfish and other live bait to see what they might find deep down.

“You don’t never know what you’re going to catch,” said mom Renee Blakely.

At about 11:30 a.m., Daniel caught something, something fierce, and for 40 minutes he fought with it. “He would only give up the rod for five minutes to my husband,” said Renee Blakely.

When he finally was about to pull it in, he knew better than to keep it. Florida made it illegal to keep goliath grouper in 1990, and the species was listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered in 1994.

“My husband said ‘Get in the water and take a picture,” said mom.

Based on estimates, they think the fish may have been about 200 pounds. “You can’t really weigh them since you don’t take them out of the water,” said Renee Blakely.

After that, the fish swam away. “It went back down to the bottom,” she said. “It survived.”

This article originally appeared on The Star: Swimming with Goliath

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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