Jewfish – Fish In Key West
Jewfish are a protected species. It’s actually illegal to take them out of the water to even remove the hook, which doesn’t really make sense. These grouper were overfished and close to extinction when they were protected, and since they have bounced back. Maybe bounced back too well according to some. These groupers grow large: up to 600 pounds. They are common all around the Keys in the 100 pound range, and there are some over 200 pounds on many large structures in the Gulf and Atlantic. They are fun to catch for catch and release but can be a real nuisance when fishing for other fish. It is common for jewfish to hone in on a hooked fish and eat it, even if the hooked fish is very large, and the jewfish will follow a hooked fish to the surface. They are extremely common in the Gulf, but they appear on the reef in the Atlantic also.
They will eat live and dead bait, and you will not be able to land a larger one on regular fishing tackle.