Nothing says "good catch" like cramped up hands and sore arms.
"My hands started cramping," said Carter Edmunds of Knoxville, Tenn., as he held up a 40-pound Warsaw grouper he caught Wednesday aboard the Special K with Capt. Kyle Lowe.
Edmunds, who was one of many spring breakers trying their hand at hauling in the big one, said it only took about five minutes to get it in once they pulled it off the bottom. Lowe said they were fishing in about 200 feet of water.
Edmunds and his buddies also pulled in a red grouper, several mingo, triggerfish and white snapper on the eight-hour trip.
Capt. Chuck Turbanic of the Fifth Amendment and his group from Franklin, Tenn., came in from an eight-hour trip with a huge haul. They had a pile of mingo on the docks as well as some big triggerfish, white snapper and a few amberine.
Tennessee anglers on the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef filled the racks with six big amberjack, a dozen mingo and five triggerfish.
Jacob Brandon of Illinois had his hands full aboard the Gentle Winds with Capt. Greg Marler pulling in what might be the first king mackerel of the season.
"It took me about 10 or 12 minutes to get in," Brandon said after it yanked the rod down. "My forearm was toast afterwards.”
In addition to the big king mackerel anglers aboard the Gentle Winds reeled in triggerfish, mingo, amberine and a black snapper.
Anglers from Minnesota and Oklahoma brought in a nice catch of triggerfish and white snapper while fishing on the Just-B-Cause with Capt. Ken Bolden.
"It was beautiful … slick calm," Bolden said. "We also threw back some nice gag grouper and red snapper."
Recreational season for red snapper will be 40 days this year starting June 1 and closing July 11. Gag grouper is also currently closed.
Capt. Tommy Carter on the Blue Runner II came in with 10 triggerfish and several mingo.
"We kept all the law would allow," said deckhand Pat Meyers. The limit on triggerfish is two per person and they have to measure at least 14 inches to keep.
The party boat Destiny with Capt. Chris McConnell at the helm had 54 folks aboard Wednesday. They pulled in some big triggerfish, mingo, white snapper and red snapper. The Destiny is one of three Destin party boats that are part of a pilot program that allows them to currently catch red snapper. On Wednesday, the customers aboard the Destiny pulled in 77 snappers.
Capt. Stan Phillips of the Destination and his Texas anglers pulled in a nice red grouper, some big triggerfish, white snapper and mingo.
Capt. Ricky Hayles aboard the One Mo'r and his group from Knoxville, Tenn., came in from a five-hour trip with an amberjack, triggerfish, mingo and white snapper.
The New Florida Girl's American Spirit with Capt. Jim Green at the helm pulled in from a seven-hour trip with a huge haul. They had several stringers loaded with mingo, white snapper, lane snapper, triggerfish, amberine and a black snapper.
Capt. Robert Hill on the Twilight took his crew out on a four-hour trip and came in with some big triggerfish, along with a few mingo and white snapper.
From what this reporter was seeing on the docks, there were probably a lot of folks with cramped up hands and arms at the end of the day from all the reeling and tugging.
See you on the docks.