RED SNAPPER SEASON OPENED FOR TWO WEEKENDS IN SEPT '12
It's been one heck of a summer.
OFFSHORER Lots of BIG kingfish in the box and more big red snapper released than I like to think about. Talk about red snapper releases, we released the same fish (I marked her - a 31 inch fish and I had to vent her twice on the left side to get her to swim down) Monday and Wednesday in the same week on the same wreck using the same bait (live pogies). Unreal. I had several days with limits of kings with all fish over 20 pounds. We also caught a couple of sailfish, lots of 'cuda's, tons of bonita's (little tunny), some very nice cobia (to 54#s) and throw in some big amberjack and you have a lot of fun. I fished behind the shrimp boats for sharks and tarpon (never did catch a tarpon but no-one else did either) and had a ball with fish from 50 to 150 pounds on light tackle.
I didn't fish a lot inshore this summer because the offshore bite was off the hook. When we fished inshore the small reds, big trout, ladyfish and jacks bit well. We had one day with a very good catch of flounder (8 out of one spot and more scattered arround).
The FALL inshore bite is just starting up with the annual finger mullet run: bunches of flounder to 5-6 pounds, slot reds (between 18-27"), nice trout to 5 pounds and the jacks, ladyfish and bluefish can be a pain sometimes.
The OFFSHORE bite is still wide open with king mackeral, bonita, cobia and 'cuda's there for the asking. The shark and tarpon fishing (the tarpon are finally showing up) behind the shrimp boats is still going strong. The bottom fishing is picking up with the water cooling down and all seasons are open EXCEPT Red Snapper and Black Seabass.
The two 3 day weekends on Red Snapper season were outstanding for the 3 days we could fish. The first weekend was a blowout for the smaller boats and very iffy for the big boats. The second 3 day weekend the weather was good/very good and limits of one red snapper per person were the norm. The average fish in the box, for me, was 10 pounds with the largest being just over 15 pounds. We caught over 20 snapper per trip releasing all the smaller fish (after venting) to watch them swim away and grow. Hopefully we will get a couple more of the short seasons this year and a full open season next year.