It’s “turn and burn time” as Capt. Justin Destin of the Un Reel and many others along the docks like to call this time of year.
With only 40 days left of the 49-day red snapper season in federal waters for the federally permitted boats, anglers and charter boat captains are taking advantage of every hour of every day. Many of the boats are making two trips a day, while others are doing 10 or 12 hour trips.
Capt. Destin and his group from Dallas, Texas, came in from a six-hour trip Thursday with red snapper, king mackerel, black snapper and a grouper. As soon as the deckhand could clean up the catch, the Un Reel was headed back out for an afternoon trip.
The Phoenix with Capt. Scott Robson at the helm came in just before noon with a limit of king mackerel and red snapper. His Oklahoma anglers also had a lane snapper, black snapper and Spanish mackerel on the racks.
“The kings are eating it up,” Robson said, noting the mackerel bite has been good the last few days.
Missouri anglers on the Rewind with Capt. Reid Phillips came in around noon Thursday with some big red snapper, king mackerel, lane snapper and a couple of mahi mahi.
Illinois anglers on the Backdown 2 with Capt. Gary Jarvis came in with a limit of red snapper, mingo and white snapper.
Capt. Steve Lathi on the Lucky Lina and his group from Oklahoma came in from a six-hour trip Thursday with red snapper, mingo and white snapper.
Mississippi anglers fishing aboard the Game On with Capt. Eric Thrasher came in from an eight-hour trip with a limit of red snapper and 16 king mackerel. Thrasher said they bottom fished for snapper first and then trolled for the mackerel.
“It was beautiful out today for a change … no rain and it was slick calm seas,” Thrasher said.
As soon as they could get the morning catch cleaned they were head back out.
Louisiana anglers on the Only Way with Capt. Curt Gwin pulled in a mixed bag of red snapper, amberine, lionfish and a strawberry grouper.
Capt. T.J. George on the High Cotton and his group pulled in a limit of red snapper and a couple of king mackerel. Capt. George also had a turnaround trip as well.
Anglers on the Dawn Patrol with Capt. John Tenore reeled in red snapper, black snapper, lane snapper, a couple of king mackerel and a cobia.
Capt. Larry Meyer on the Tradewinds came in a little after lunch Thursday with a red snapper, mingo, white snapper, lane snapper and a scamp.
Anglers fishing aboard the Vengeance with Capt. Nathan Putney filled the racks red snapper, scamp, king mackerel, mingo and white snapper.
Texas, Alabama and Oklahoma anglers on the Great Escape came in with five king mackerel, red snapper, black snapper, bonito, mingo, white snapper and a Spanish mackerel.
Capt. Rodney Souza on the Mighty Fine took his group from Biloxi, Mississippi, out for a big catch of red snapper, mingo, lane snapper, white snapper and bonito.
While the seas had calmed down by Thursday, several folks toughed it out on Wednesday for some fine catches.
Capt. Alex Hare on the Silver King came in from a morning trip with king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, red snapper and a bonito.
Local anglers aboard the Enterprise with Capt. Kirk Reynolds filled the nails with red snapper, mackerel and lane snapper.
“It was a little bouncy out,” said Capt. Casey Weldon of the Fish N Fool. Nevertheless, his group from Memphis, Tennessee, pulled in their limit of red snapper and four king mackerel.
Texas anglers on the Bow’d Up with Capt. Brady Bowman hauled in their limit of red snapper, while anglers fishing with Capt. Jason Taylor on Destin Inshore Charters pulled in a limit of king mackerel.
Texas anglers on the Special K with Capt. Kyle Lowe not only caught their limit of red snapper, but they hauled in three grouper.
For Eric Murff it was his first time Gulf fishing. “I spent a lot more energy than I should have,” he said hauling in the grouper.
After he got his catch in the boat, he went in the cabin and took a break. “I needed a little reality check,” Murff said.
Capt. John Geisbrecht on the Star Fire backed in with red snapper, black snapper, lane snapper, king mackerel and a scamp.
Oklahoma anglers on the Backlash with Capt. Chris Kirby pulled in a limit of red snapper and king mackerel.
“We trolled for kings, then went and got our snappers, then went and played with the ‘jacks,” Kirby said. Amberjack are off the current catch list, however, they are fun to reel in.
The Mansfield family from Arizona had a big time on the Anastasia with Capt. Tony Davis pulling in big red snapper and mingo.
Capt. Trey Windes on the Outta Line and his group of anglers pulled in a limit of red snapper and three king mackerel.
Tennessee anglers on the Striker with Capt. Bill Williams came in from a morning trip with some big red snapper, four lane snapper, black snapper, a couple of king mackerel and bonito.
Texas anglers on the Vengeance with Capt. Nathan Putney on Wednesday had king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, red snapper, Jack Crevalle and mingo.
“It was a little choppy,” Putney said, but they got their fish.
See you at the docks.