Fishermen pull the trigger

Tina Harbuck

It was a triggerfish kind of day on the docks on Monday, and rightly so.

The fishery, which just opened up March 1 is already facing a May 11 closure. The NOAA Fisheries closes a fishery when the annual catch target has been met or projected to be met. And right now they are saying it looks like it will reach that level by May 11, thus it will be closed in federal waters. It was originally scheduled to remain open until the end of May.

So in the meantime, anglers are catching their fair share. The limit is one per angler and the fish must measure 15 inches to keep, which makes for a big triggerfish.

Capt. Ken Bolden and his group of anglers from Wisconsin aboard his boat the Just-B-Cause came in from a five-hour trip with a limit of big triggerfish, along with a few mingo and white snapper on Monday.

“It was nice out today, but there was a little chop on the water. But the fish were hungry,” Bolden said.

Capt. Mike Graef on the Huntress took a group out from Chicago and they pulled in a pile of fish. They had some big triggerfish on the racks along with several mingo and white snapper, one red grouper and an amberine.

“It was gorgeous out,” Graef said. “The fish were biting … but we had to deal with flipper,” he said.

The “flipper” he was referring to is the porpoise that will steal your fish right off the line. And once they show up, they are hard to get away from.

Captain Graef said he did manage to outrun them and find another spot.

Capt. Mike Dates on the First Shot took his group from Indiana out and brought in their share of triggerfish. The young man aboard was fascinated with his catch, so much so that his dad asked if he was going to sleep with it. That question drew a quick no from his son.

Triggerfish is not the only fish showing up right now. Capt. John Tenore took his group of anglers out on the Dawn Patrol for a little trolling trip. They brought in about a dozen Spanish mackerel and released just as many he said.

“The fish are starting to show up,” Tenore said.

The Tradewinds with Capt. Larry Meyer at the helm came in Monday with a rack full of triggerfish, mingo and white snapper. One of the deckhands said they caught and released just as many as they kept, noting there was no shortage of fish.

Repeat customers from Nashville, Tenn. and Chicago had a big day on the Un Reel with Capt. Justin Destin. They pulled in a smorgasbord of triggerfish, mingo, white snapper, lane snapper, black snapper and several amberine.

“It was beautiful today … we need more days like today,” Destin said.

Indiana anglers on the Windwalker II with Capt. Bernie LeFebvre pulled in a nice catch of triggerfish, mingo and white snapper.

Anglers on a five-hour trip aboard the party boat Sweet Jody with Capt. Cliff Cox filled their stringers with some big triggerfish and mingo on Monday.

Capt. Bud Miller went out on a four-hour trip Monday morning aboard the Mighty Fine and put his anglers on mingo and triggerfish.

“The fishing is getting better every day,” Miller said.

Capt. Curt Gwin and his group aboard the Only Way filled the rack with mingo, white snapper and triggerfish. Capt. Gwin said they had to deal with the “pesky porpoise” as well.

Indiana anglers on the Lucky Lina with Capt. Steven Lathi landed their share of triggerfish, mingo and white snapper. The group said it was their first time to fish out of Destin and they “had a blast. They put us on them,” one of the guys said.

Fishing is good and, as Capt. Miller said, “getting better every day.” So don’t miss out.

See you at the docks.

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Fishing Report