Red snapper bite still strong
It's been 20-plus days since the opening of red snapper season, and from what was hitting the docks Monday there doesn't seem to be a shortage in size or numbers.
Capt. Chip Godwin and his crew on the JustinTime backed in with some huge red snapper — in the 15- to 18-pound range.
"We caught them just off the east beach. We never went past the old Crystal Beach Pier," Godwin said, noting they were so close you could see people walking on the beach.
Godwin said they caught the huge snapper using live bait.
"It's pretty good fishing," Godwin said. "And the snapper are so strong and mean … we broke off about 15 or 20.”
For his anglers from Colorado, it was their first time fishing in the Gulf. Tyler Varland and his dad Guy caught some of the biggest snapper on the JustinTime.
"We loved it," Guy said.
Tyler said fishing was the one thing he wanted to do when they came to the Emerald Coast last week, and he had a blast, posing for photos with his catch.
They weren't the only ones to haul in their limit of red snapper.
Missouri anglers on the Fifth Amendment with Capt. Chuck Turbanic brought in a limit of red snapper and a half dozen king mackerel. Turbanic said they caught the mackerel trolling live bait.
"We have a lot of people wanting to go in a short amount of time," Turbanic said of the red snapper. The last day to catch red snapper on a charter boat in federal waters is June 28.
"If you know where to look for them, there are still plenty out there," Turbanic said.
Alabama anglers on the Vengeance with Capt. Jason Hallmark pulled in some big red snapper, king mackerel and a few lane snapper.
Alabama, Arkansas and Pensacola anglers on the Dawn Patrol with Capt. John Tenore filled the racks with a limit of red snapper and a few black snapper.
Red snapper and king mackerel were the catch of the day on the Silver King with Capt. Mike Parker as well as on the Full Draw with Capt. Justin Destin.
Capt. Tommy Carter on the Blue Runner II and his anglers from Colorado hauled in a limit of red snapper, black snapper, one red grouper and a cobia. They pulled in the cobia while fishing for snapper.
"We've caught eight cobia in the last week … four in one day," Carter said. He said they snagged them on a cigar minnow 10 to 20 miles out.
Pittsburg and Dallas anglers on the Gulf Ranger with Capt. David Nettles pulled in red snapper, king mackerel and a few black snapper.
"There's still plenty around and they were chewing," Nettles said of the snapper. They caught the snapper on dead bait.
Capt. John Gibson and crew on the Gulf Breeze loaded up with red snapper, king mackerel, mingo, white snapper and amberine.
Texas anglers on the Just B Cause with Capt. Ken Bolden filled the racks with red snapper, plus one black snapper.
Capt. Dennis Kendricks and his group on the Finest Kind came in with a load of red snapper, amberine and mingo. Kendricks said they were fishing about 14 miles out.
"The bite is still good," Kendricks said, noting the snapper were biting on both live and dead bait. "It doesn't seem to matter much."
Red snapper season is about to wrap up; don't let it end with out you catching your share.
See you at the docks.