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Tucker’s Giant Black Grouper

Tucker Hanks and his family took his uncle’s boat to a remote submerged atoll that few have even heard of. They ran for six hours out of Naples, Florida and went forty miles past the well-known Dry Tortugas to drop a line on Pulley Ridge. The structure is a series of atolls that have about a 30-foot relief from the 260-foot depths. It has been explored by scientist and they were surprised to find a high percentage of shallow water species of coral and fish. The ridge is situated on the edge of the loop current, which brings nutrients and helps this reef to flourish.

Tucker told me,

“ We were dropping pinfish and sardines on 30’s and vertical jigs on spinners. I hooked up on a dead sardine and fought this fish myself from 230ft. It never “blew up” and stopped fighting like red groupers do. It fought all the way up”

Tucker’s fish turned out to be an 85-pound true black grouper that he fought all by himself, which is a feat for anyone. The most impressive part is that Tucker is about to turn 11 years old this year.

I enjoyed talking fishing with him and he could tell a story as well as any of us. In fact, he was snook fishing on a west coast Florida beach while I interviewed him.

He said they also caught scamps, big mutton snapper, American red snapper and tons of red groupers.

Tucker said, “ Everything was big there. We had a 10-pound yellowtail snapper that got bitten in half by a barracuda. The head of this yellowtail was way bigger than most of the yellowtail they normally catch”.

I asked Tucker if he was going back to Pulley Ridge and he said they are already planning their next trip.

I wish them luck and I think they have a true fisherman on their hands.

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Capt. Scott Goodwin started fishing in the lakes of Kentucky where he grew up. A move to Florida, however, brought him into a whole new realm of fishing. After receiving a bachelor's degree in biology from Eckerd College, he decided that he liked catching fish more than studying them and thus began his career as a captain. Scott began working as a mate on a charter boat and worked his way up to captain. He has been fortunate to fish in some of the top locations on the globe, including Florida, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and the Bahamas. Scott has learned from some of the best captains in the sport and has more than 27 years experience as a professional fisherman. He openly shares his knowledge and fishing tips on BD. Scott is now the editor of BDOutdoors.