The opening of red snapper season on Saturday, April 21, has offshore anglers thinking about little else. They have been rewarded with plentiful catches after their long wait. Bay, surf and jetty anglers are seeing consistent catches of the usual suspects: redfish and trout.
Luci Krause from the Pier House on
Horace Caldwell Pier said just about anytime except 3 to 8 p.m. is a good time to go fishing. Anglers caught two five-foot blacktip sharks and one fivefoot spinner shark in the last week. Also, lots of whiting, speckled trout, redfish and pompano are taking the bait. And speaking of bait, the baits of choice are fresh dead shrimp, perch and squid. Wet a line from early in the morning to about mid-afternoon, then hit it again from 8 p.m. to midnight for the best catches, Krause said.
Peggy Sexton of Deep Sea Headquarters reports that anglers are limiting out on red snapper since the season opened on Saturday. Some of those snapper are in the 20-pound range. Warsaw grouper up to 40 and 50 pounds also are taking the bait. Fishing in general has been "really good," Sexton said, even on Tuesday when the wind kicked up. Six hour trips also are bringing in nice catches.
Offshore Adventures spokesman Beverly Stapleton said with the opening of red snapper fishing on Saturday anglers have been returning not only with limits of red snapper, but nice catches of every other kind of snapper: gray, vermillion and lane. Mixed in with that bag are spadefish, triggerfish, and a couple of Atlantic sharpnose shark. Private charters have brought back scamp, nice red snapper, African pompano, amberjack and dog snapper. Bay anglers are catching nice redfish and trout using live shrimp, sea lice, menhaden and croaker for bait.
Jake Mynier of Woody's Sports
Center says anglers are catching redfish and speckled trout on the south jetty, and shark, redfish and specks in the surf. The Island Queen is returning to the dock with gafftop, redfish and sandtrout. Guides are bringing limits of redfish and trout in from the bay. Offshore guides are catching limits of snapper, kingfish, and some big blacktip shark.
Martin Harris of Fisherman's Wharf reports "limits and limits" of red snapper with the opening of the season. Some sow snapper have tipped the scales up to 20 pounds. Nice amberjack up to 40 pounds, Warsaw grouper, Atlantic sharpnose shark, a few kingfish here and there, lane and vermillion snapper, triggerfish, scamp and strawberry grouper also are accepting anglers' invitations to bite hooks. Harris said the north jetty is producing some really nice speckled trout up to about 30 inches, big ling and redfish. If that's not enough, some really nice sow snapper up to 30 inches are also coming in off the north jetty. Two ling were landed on the north jetty, along with bull reds at the end up to 40 and 45 inches. "Slot" reds are taking the bait up and down the jetties, mainly on the surf side in the pocket. Other catches include black drum, lots of whiting and sandtrout. Big trout are taking baits on the surf side of the jetty about halfway out the jetties to the end. Bay guides are coming back with limits of redfish, real nice trout, some black drum and a few flounder. "If the water cleans up and goes up a degree or two, the kingfish will be at end of jetties," Harris said.
Ernest Scott at Dolphin Dock said the news is red snapper catches since the season opened Saturday. Besides that, anglers are coming back to the dock with large grouper, a few blackfin tuna, amberjack and dorado. A lot of blacktip shark, running about 85 pounds, also are being caught.