Anglers hit the trifecta on the Gulf

Tina Harbuck

It was a big day on the docks Thursday afternoon as fishermen had the chance to do something a bit different.

Thursday marked the last day to snag a red snapper and the opening of amberjack. Throw in a grouper or two and you’ve hit a trifecta of sorts.

Capt. Eric Thrasher and first mate Vinnie Garcia took a group from Texas out on a 10-hour trip aboard the Game On and made it back with some big grouper, amberjack, red snapper, scamp, amberine and Almaco Jack.

“It’s a smorgasbord,” Thrasher said.

“The bait was the biggest problem this morning,” Thrasher said. “Everything we needed wasn’t there.”

Although they struggled to get the bigger bait, the fish cooperated.

Capt. Scott Robson and his group from Smyrna, Tennessee, on the Phoenix pulled in their amberjack and red snapper.

“I almost got pulled out of the boat,” one lady said, noting she already had one foot off the ground while fighting the amberjack.

The amberjack is one of the hardest pulling fish. As a matter of fact, they have earned the name “reef donkey” because they hang around the bottom reefs and are very stubborn.

Capt. Kyle Lowe and his group aboard the Special K pulled in some big amberjack, several red snapper and a scamp or two.

Anglers on the Finest Kind with Capt. Jason Mikel hit the trifecta. They had 10 amberjack, averaging about 30 pounds each, several red snapper, scamp and a wahoo.

Texas anglers on the Huntress with Capt. Mike Graef came in with a pair of big amberjack, scamp, red snapper and mingo. Captain said they had their chance at about five more ‘jacks but it didn’t happen.

Birmingham, Alabama, and Freeport anglers on the Al-Lin with Capt. Harold Staples got their amberjack, red snapper, scamp, white snapper and some huge mingo. First mate Shawn Dahnke said a couple of the mingo were in the 3- to 4-pound range easy.

Georgia and Alabama anglers on the First Light with Capt. Steve Haeusler came in with eight big amberjack, red snapper, scamp and white snapper. However, one of the amberjack had a chunk of its back missing, thanks to Mr. Shark. It was funny to listen to the guys talk about whose amberjack was bigger. The one with the shark-bite would have been in the running, but it didn’t count.

Capt. Josh Glidden and his group aboard the Just Reel went trolling and found the king mackerel.

Capt. Jeremy Ruskowski on Backcountry Outfitters hit the trifecta. His anglers from Tennessee pulled in amberjack, red snapper, red grouper, cobia and black snapper. As a matter of fact, their red grouper was pretty big, it weighed in just under 21 pounds.

Missouri anglers on the Sure Lure with Capt. Don Dineen came in from with six amberjack, several red snapper and a pair of scamp.

Atlanta and local anglers on the Un Reel with Capt. Justin Destin had a big time. They got their red snapper and amberjack.

“It was a beautiful day, lots of people were fishing,” Destin said. “I thought the first day of snapper season was crowded, but today was c-r-o-w-d-e-d.”

When asked if it was because of it being the last day for red snapper or the first for amberjack, he said, “yes.”

Capt. Curt Gwin and his group from Miami on the Only Way came in from an overnighter with a huge haul. They easily hit the trifecta. They had their amberjack, grouper and red snapper. Plus they had scamp and mingo in the mix.

Fishing has been good this week. Although red snapper is off the catch list until next year, there are still plenty of fish in the sea.

See you at the docks.

Click to the listen: