Editor’s Note: Over 100 days a year, Captain Randy Boggs of the “Reel Surprise” charter boat (https://www.reelsurprisecharters.com/) out of SanRoc Cay Marina (http://www.sanroccay.com/marina) in Orange Beach, Alabama, is fishing for red snapper. During snapper season, his customers can keep the red snapper, and after snapper season, they can make pictures of the red snapper they catch and then release. Here are some of Randy Boggs’ red snapper catching secrets.
“Secret #7. Fish with Cigar Minnows,” Captain Randy Boggs explains. “When we cut a cigar minnow in half, this cut cigar minnow will give off more scent than a live bait will. We suggest that all of our customers use the same bait. This information may sound a little gross, but at some point, when you’re fighting a red snapper and trying to get it into the boat, that snapper usually will regurgitate what it has eaten. Once a snapper is being reeled to the surface, it starts regurgitating the cigar minnows it’s eaten, and the other fish in the school will begin feeding on those regurgitated and other cigar minnows. So, if everybody is fishing with the same bait, and the snapper are eating the same bait, all the snapper in the school are in a feeding frenzy, and that may mean you’ll catch several good-sized snapper out of the same school.
“Secret #8. Know how to land a red snapper. We land red snapper in two ways. Many people have watched a bass fisherman on television jump the bass into the boat with nothing more than the strength of the rod and the line. Most of those bass will weigh 1-1/2 to about 4 pounds each. When we have a snapper that weighs 3-4 pounds, the deck hand often will pull that fish on board. If the snapper is too small to keep, we try not to let the fish touch the deck of the boat or dip it up in a dip net. If that snapper touches the deck of the boat or the dip net, you may break its slime coat, making that fish susceptible to disease. So, we try to unhook the snapper and let it fall back into the water. If we have a big snapper that may weigh 8-20 pounds, and we know we’ll keep that fish, then we’ll use a gaff to pick the fish up out of the water and place the gaff in the snapper’s belly or at the back of its head. Then we don’t have to jerk or hit the fish with the gaff like we’re trying to penetrate an elephant’s hide. You want the gaff to go in under the scales and not hit one of the pectoral fins of the fish to pull the gaff from the tail to the head of the fish.”
“Catching a Board:” https://youtu.be/0xAq1en3_1Q
To learn more about saltwater fishing, check out “Alabama’s Inshore Saltwater Fishing: A Year-Round Guide for Catching More Than 15 Species,” “Alabama’s Offshore Saltwater Fishing: A Year-Round Guide for Catching Over 15 Species of Fish,” “Fishing Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and Visitor’s Guide,” “How to Fish Mississippi’s Gulf Coast in June” and “13 Saltwater Fish Recipes You Can’t Live Without,” available in Kindle eBooks and some print books.