Holiday fishing can be delightful

Capt. Chris McConnell holds up a red grouper that he assisted Dave Gault (right) with catching on the Destin Princess. Gualt of Michigan also pulled in a mighty big stringer of fish as well.

The weather outside might be cold and frightful, but the fishing has been delightful.

As a matter of fact, several folks weathered the cold the day after Christmas for a day of fishing on the Gulf of Mexico.

The Surles family from Texas had a big day of fishing aboard the Fish-In-Daze with Capt. Robbie Broestler on Thursday. They loaded up on the flounder (50 fish to be exact) on just a four-hour trip, fishing about a mile off the beach.

"If they'd been any thicker, they'd be too thick," Broestler said of the flounder. He said they caught the flat fish using mullet fingerlings for bait.

This wasn't the Surles first time to fish with Capt. Broestler. "We've been several times with him and absolutely love him," said Pennye Surles. "But this is our first time to be here at Christmas."

The Surles were not the only ones taking advantage of the holidays for a little time on the water.

Capt. Jim Green had 35 folks fishing aboard the New Florida Girl's American Spirit. Fishing about 10 miles out, the crew from all over pulled in stringers and stringers of mingo, white snapper and pogey's.

Not long after the American Spirit came in, the party boat Sweet Jody with Capt. Cliff Cox at the helm backed in with 26 fishermen. However, it was a fisherwoman who had the biggest fish of the day. Dawn Smith of Indiana reeled in a 13.4-pound red grouper.

"This was my first time fishing here," Smith said. "It was pretty awesome. It took a little while to get it in. It wasn't too bad … but it was fun."

Capt. Cox said they were fishing about 19 miles out.

"We threw back a lot of fish," Cox said, noting that you can't keep red snapper and triggerfish right now.

However they did pull in and keep a lot of mingo, white snapper and amberine.

Dawn Horton and Michael Smith of Arkansas combined for a huge stringer filled with mingo and white snapper. The twosome got engaged on Christmas and spent their first outing fishing aboard the Sweet Jody.

"He was going to propose on the boat, but he didn't want to take any chances with the ring," Horton said.

While the crew on the Sweet Jody was still cleaning fish, the Destin Princess with Capt. Reid Phillips at the helm backed in with 36 anglers.

"It was nice out," Capt. Phillips said. They were fishing about 20 miles offshore.

And they like the rest of the boats brought in their share of mingo, white snapper, pogeys and a red grouper.

"This was my first time to go the day after Christmas," said Dave Gault of Michigan. "I'm usually driving down at that time, but I'll be around for a few days in January," he said hoping to catch a few triggerfish.

Fishing is fine, just be sure to bundle up.

See you at the docks.