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 #5: Fish with a circle hook for red snapper, and keep slow and steady pressure on the fish. When the fish takes the bait and starts to swim off with it, that circle hook will turn over in the fish’s mouth and moves to the corner of its mouth where it lodges or in the lips, allowing the angler to fight the fish and preventing the fish from swallowing the hook down into its stomach or gills. To accomplish this type of hook set, you must hold your rod above eye level. When you feel a bite and the snapper’s weight against the line, lower your rod tip until it comes down parallel to the water. Wait for the rod to begin to go down. The real secret to fishing the circle hook is that a snapper cannot steal your bait, if you don’t try and pull your rod to try to set the hook. So, unless you don’t pull against the snapper, it can’t steal your bait. When the rod tip starts to bend downward, start reeling, applying slow, steady pressure on the line to cause the hook to turn, and get planted where the hook needs to be for you to land the fish.
“Slow and steady pressure on the hook will help you land the fish. If you put a pound of pressure on the line, that fish’s head usually will turn around and start coming up. As it comes up, the air in its wind bladder will expand. To keep that constant pressure, we have the drags on all the reels that our customers fish with set at 1/3 of the breaking strength of the line. You will catch far more snapper if you just keep constant and even pressure on the hook, as you reel the snapper in, instead of trying to pump the rod or fight against the fish.
“Secret #6. Don’t reel against the drag. When the drag starts slipping on your reel because you’ve hooked-up to a really-big snapper, don’t turn the reel handle, while the drag is releasing the line. If your line is slipping because a big fish is on the other end, then you know that the reel is doing its job. Once the line stops slipping, start reeling again to keep the same amount of pressure on the fish and on the hook in the fish’s mouth, as if you were applying before the drag starts slipping. For instance, when we bring in a large grouper or a large wahoo, you can be sure that the drag on the angler’s reel that caught that fish let the line slip before that fish was finally boated.”
“Vanishing Snapper:” https://youtu.be/YKVVWId_b2E
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.