Article for post in June 2020 Coastal Angler Magazine
Written by Brian E. Smith, Captain, Big Bend Charters
I have no idea why red snapper are so heavily regulated. People, commercial, for-hire, and recreational anglers and divers, all around the state tell the same tell, red snapper are so abundant that they are actually prohibiting the catch of groupers and such, out competing other reef species and unnecessarily being dead released by fisherfolk trying their best to do no harm. Then I think, this has been in the hands of the federal government that could quickly run a combination pot-shop, liquor store, quick loan, whorehouse and tire emporium into bankruptcy within a year in downtown Las Vegas.
Wouldn’t a prolonged season, even weekends only, opening of red snapper deliver an ubiquitous economic stimulus—no $1200 wasted monies– for Florida, “Fishing Capitol of the World.” You don’t have to have a PhD in economics or ‘fishonomics’ to figure all the commonsense based benefits. We have a legitimate gold (snapper) mine within reach and there is a governmental “closed” sign on the door. I’m not just writing about this from a fisherman’s stand point, but for other peripheral businesses from lodging, restaurants on down to ice venders. Americans have been washed over by a tide of intellectual ignoramuses thinking they’re more aware about the state of affairs from their cubics than the cockpit of a fishing vessel.
Off the soapbox, June opens gag grouper and red snapper to the public. Check regional retardations in your area. Your local regulations may require the red snapper or gag to be caught and verified caught between 3:12 am and 4:37am Greenwich time.
Red snapper are so plentiful any bait or technique you have confidence in will produce. Red and gag grouper are on the bottom amongst the hoard of snapper with or above them. Use larger baits, dead or alive, to improve grouper catches. I thought trolling large plugs would cull red snapper from the equation; it proved otherwise as red snapper are fond of trolling plugs and spoons whether weighted or behind planers.
The trout and red fishing has been successful. The best bait is confidence; the bait or lure you like the best.
Sea bass and Florida snapper, aka White grunts, are all over hard live bottom taking any meat, jigs with meat or any other thing you can think of that delivers a meal.
For the love of freedom, get out and go fishing without a mask. Flip out your middle rod to tyranny. God bless America!
Local guides and offshore captains around the state have taken a huge hit, especially during prime spring season. We depend on disposable income of others to earn a living for our families. Why not get out of quarantine to learn lifelong fishing tips from professionals while helping out a fellow American. It has always been better off for all to take care of yourselves than be dependent on the government!