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Cape angler lands 552-pound grouper

By Staff | May 28, 2015

Jon Black would need longer arms to stretch his whopper of a fishing tale.

The Cape Coral bait-shop owner was working the bay waters at the highest point of the Sanibel causeway when he landed a Golitah grouper estimated at some 552 pounds. Friends had been filming a spot for the Chew on This Fishing Charters video when the grouper swallowed a 10-pound jack hooked to Black’s fish pole. He was just a few minutes into the morning fish.

The May 20 video of Black’s tussle and gleeful shouting with the hooked grouper was posted to social media May 27, immediately went worldwide. Media from ESPN to newspapers in Europe raced to interview Black, the owner of the Crazy Lure Bait & Tackle store in Cape Coral.

“I wanted to do something I had never done before,” Black said of the grouper catch. His largest grouper to date had weighed about 200 pounds. “And I guess I did. Now everyone knows me as the yelling guy.”

And yell he does. Not in anger, of course, but in the joy of wrestling with a giant fish. There’s also the humor of Black balancing the expedition in a small kayak. The film crew snapped photos of Black in shallow waters of San Carlos Bay releasing the federally protected fish that measured in at 83 inches long and some 73 inches in girth. A gamefish multiplier of length and girth furnished the estimated weight that Black believes is a state record for Goliath grouper caught on rod and reel.

A native of Georgia, Black had worked in automotive assembly plants until some seven years ago, when he relocated to Florida. He opened Crazy Lure with his savings in 2012.

The record grouper was hooked in Sanibel waters noted for such catches, which is why the film crew had targeted the spot, Black said. A small kayak is used to enhance the high, he said, with the act of balance making the chore more difficult.

The goal of shark or extreme fishing is to “do something that’s different,” Black said, acknowledging a driver passing his bait shop bellowing his name and referencing the huge fish. “Something that’s fun.”

Black hooked his prize using a 480-pound wire leader, a Fin-Nor reel and a Penn Tuna Stick pole that snapped an eyelet as the harmless grouper surfaced.