Fishing through the cold

Tina Harbuck
Local anglers along with family from Iowa had a big day aboard the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef on Wednesday. They filled the nails with mingo and white snapper. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

This week has been cold by local standards, but not for our winter visitors from the north who ventured out for a day of fishing on Wednesday.

With temps dipping down into the 40s and 50s, two or three of our local charter boats as well as a party boat went out and brought back several fish.

The Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef and his group of locals with a family member visiting from Iowa had a blast hauling in mingo and white snapper.

“It was a blast,” said Bailey Hawn of Iowa.

“We caught some big red snapper and triggerfish … it was good,” Hawn said.

As a matter of fact one of the snapper they pulled over the rails weighed about 20 pounds, but of course they had to go back. The season for red snapper doesn’t open until the summer.

As for the triggerfish, anglers will be able to keep them come March 1, but until then they’ve got to go back.

Nevertheless the folks aboard the Huntress had a big time.

“It feels a little cooler than when we left this morning,” one of the anglers said as they waited for their fish to be cleaned.

And although it was in the low 50s by the time they came in, Hawn said, “It’s not bad at all compared to what I’m going home to.” He said it was minus 19 degrees at home with a couple of feet of snow on the ground.

Not long after, Capt. Eric Thrasher on the Game On came in with his group of fishermen from Kansas, Michigan and Indiana.

“It was pretty rough out today, but we managed,” Capt. Thrasher said.

Fishing about 20 miles out on a six-hour trip, his anglers pulled in mingo and white snapper.

Although it was a bit cool out, the folks didn’t mind it at all.

“We have snow on the ground everywhere we live,” one of the anglers chimed in, noting it was 3 degrees in Michigan.

The party boat Destin Princess with Capt. Chris McConnell came in from a six-hour trip with 36 folks aboard.

They pulled in mingo, white snapper, scamp, lane snapper and a few amberine.

“It was cold, windy and wet,” one of the deckhands said, noting he wasn’t prepared for that kind of weather on Wednesday, but he managed as did the anglers.

Andrew Hopkins and his son James from Canada had a big time on the boat.

“It was way warmer than up there,” Hopkins said. This was there second year to come to Destin for the holidays.

Donald Grayson, retired military who now lives in Fort Walton Beach, pulled in several mingo, white snapper and a scamp.

“It was a wonderful day of fishing,” Grayson said.

“But any day of fishing is better than any day of work,” he added.

Brett Luna of Oklahoma filled his stringer with mingo, white snapper and lane snapper.

“It’s 6 degrees back home … this is a bit better,” Luna said.

No matter the temperature, it appears the fish are biting. Grab a coat and a scarf and bait up.

See you at the docks.