by Capt. Bill D’Antuono
Here we are in the middle of summertime and the fishing is great. The phone kept ringing and the boat kept running, which resulted in fantastic catches on both spear and rod & reel. Hopefully everyone is having a fishy summer thus far. I’m sure by now you’ve dodged the storms, jumped in that warm water, and caught a limit or two.
We just finished one of the longest American Red Snapper seasons in recent history. These trips are epic, 10-12 hours and many trophy fish were landed on recent trips. Fishing for red snapper offshore of Naples is one of the longest runs for them anywhere in the gulf coast. But once you are in the ARS grounds, you are also amongst some of the best fishing anywhere. We have caught blackfin tuna, large mutton and mangrove snapper, large kingfish, colossal porgies, and many more species while targeting ARS. I am already looking forward to next year!
Onto our next targeted species, amberjack, which just opened up in federal waters, so fire up the smoker. Usually slotted for opening January 1st, regulatory changes have pushed back the ‘AJ’ opener. The Gulf Council is reconstructing the amberjack fishery, so expect longer seasons down the road. There are plenty of spots to target amberjack. AJ’s put up one of the best fights on rod & reel and spear, it’s always a challenge to get them in the boat. I usually do a few trips at the beginning of AJ opener and once everyone gets their fill, it’s back to targeting grouper and snapper.