When it comes to red snapper fishing off Destin, the only problem anglers are facing is a limited number of days to reel them in.
Anglers fishing off charter boats have until June 26 to catch their share of red snapper, which boils down to two per person per trip. And from what I saw at the docks Monday, folks are having no problem hauling in their limit.
Capt. Brady Bowman and his crew aboard the Perfect Shot reeled in the max on a six hour trip Monday. "You don't have to go far at all" to find them, Bowman said. The average weight of the snapper hanging on the rack was about 13 to 15 pounds. They also had a few mingo as well.
The group on the Mary Lou with Capt. Ken Beaird reeled in some nice red snapper, triggerfish, king mackerel and a mahi mahi. Word is they only traveled out about four miles.
Capt. Larry Meyer on the Gulf Winds limited out on red snapper. They also had some black snapper, mingo and white snapper on the boards.
One of the biggest displays of red was when the New Florida Girl's American Spirit backed in with 60 students from Niceville High School. As the deckhands unloaded the day’s catch and hung it up on the racks it looked like they were building a huge red wall.
"This is not the biggest fish, but it is the biggest red snapper I've ever caught," said Harrison Krause of Destin as he held up about a 10-pound snapper he caught on the Spirit. As for Marianna Litscher of Fort Walton Beach, she said the 10-pounder she was holding was her "biggest ever."
"The snapper were everywhere; we couldn't do any wrong," Green said. The average size of the snapper hauled in by his crew of students was about 4-pounds.
Kentucky anglers on the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef and Groovy pulled in a limit of red snapper, along with some triggerfish, mahi mahi, mingo, king mackerel and amberine.
"We threw back some small ones," said Caleb Kirsch as he watched Groovy hang up their catch. "We were catching them left and right."
"It was ridiculous how easy it is" to catch the snapper, Graef said. "The snapper are abundantly plentiful."
The Sea Winder with Capt. Stan Phillips at the helm came in with a rack full of 13- to 15-pound red snapper. They also had a triggerfish and a nice scamp on the racks.
Capt. Reid Phillips on the party boat Destin Princess backed in with stringers filled with red snapper. Joe Tribur of Atlanta said he booked the trip just to go snapper fishing and he managed to pull in one of the biggest on the boat, as did 11-year-old Noah Whitham.
"It was beautiful out there today — no current and the fish were biting good," Phillips said. "We caught some big snapper. We were real fortunate."
It was "all good" on the Shamrock II with Capt. Eddie Dykes.
"Catching the limit was not a problem," Dykes said. "We're limiting out, and then finishing up trolling."
In addition to the snapper, they pulled in a few king mackerel and triggerfish. His North Carolina anglers scheduled their vacation just to go snapper fishing, and they weren't disappointed as they stood back and surveyed their catch.
Alabama anglers on the Twilight with Capt. Robert Hill reeled in a limit of red snapper, along with a few triggerfish, scamp, mingo and lane snapper.
As the old Eagles song says — "Take it to the limit one more time."
Go catch 'em guys and gals — and I'll see you at the docks.