Good weather and good catches

TINA HARBUCK | Fish Flash
Birmingham, Ala. anglers on the Sunrise with Capt. Kelly Windes pulled in some big fish Thursday. They filled the racks and then some with amberjack, mingo and lane snapper.

No one can deny it has been great weather this week along the Emerald Coast. And for those who have ventured out on the Gulf, they can attest to some good fishing as well.

Not only have the catches been good, but some have been quite big.

One of those big catches came in Thursday afternoon on the Full Draw with Capt. Justin Destin. Camlin Ayers of South Carolina reeled in a 30-pound blackfin tuna. Ayers who is here celebrating her 21st birthday said the tuna put up quite a fight.

“It was hard. It took a lot of reeling. But it was definitely worth it,” she said. However, Ayers did admit there was a point in the fight when she thought about handing the rod off to her dad.

“But I’m glad I finished it up,” she said.

In addition to the big tuna, the crew on the Full Draw had three amberjack, king mackerel, mingo, white snapper and mahi mahi.

Anglers on the Special K with Capt. Kyle Lowe also had a big fish. They reeled in a 60-plus pound cobia, along with seven king mackerel, an amberjack, mingo and lane snapper.

Capt. Mike Graef and Tennessee anglers on the Huntress reeled in five scamp, amberine and some huge mingo Thursday.

Tennessee anglers on the Fish N Teem with Capt. Billy Teems got in on some of that big mingo action. They had several on the boards as well as a red grouper.

Capt. Ben Marler, who’s been off the water for several years, got the chance to play tourist Thursday and went fishing. Marler fished aboard the Destination with Capt. Stan Phillips. He and his friend pulled in king mackerel, amberjack, mingo and black snapper.

Nashville anglers on the Mary Lou with Capt. Rusty Gilbert had a big day on the water Thursday. They filled the racks with amberjack, big mingo, six king mackerel, black snapper, and a few lane snapper.

The party boat Destiny with Capt. Dennis Kendrick at the helm backed in Thursday afternoon with a huge catch. He and his 20 anglers reeled in some big red snapper along with some big mingo. Captain said it was a good day on the water. The Destiny is  one of three party boats in Destin that is part of a pilot program that can currently catch red snapper.

Alabama anglers on the Sunrise with Capt. Kelly Windes loaded the boat with big fish. They had nine amberjack and some huge mingo. The mingo were so big on the racks, they looked like red snapper.

Don’t fret, you’ll soon get the chance to catch and keep a red snapper. Red snapper season for federally permitted boats opens June 1 which will be here before you know it.

Snapper season opens in state waters for recreational fisherman the Saturday before Memorial Day (May 23) and runs through July 12. It resumes for all of Labor Day weekend (Sept. 5-7) and finishes with Saturdays and Sundays throughout the rest of September and all of October, with the last day of harvest being Sunday, Nov. 1.

But don’t forget there are more big fish to be had than just a snapper.

See you on the docks.

For a look at what hit the docks Wednesday, CLICK HERE.

For a look at Thursday's catches, CLICK HERE.