by Capt. Tom Bailas
The Red Snapper species is just about on every angler’s wish list this month. First, let’s go over the dates for the 2019 red snapper season, as they change every year. Recreational anglers will be able to catch their bag limit from June 11th through July 12th. Federally permitted charter boats will be able to fish for their bag limit from June 1st through Aug 1st season this year.
I will start by going over the tricks and techniques for catching your limit on tasty red snapper. The best places to target them is on live bottom, ledges, and good structure areas. I like to start in at least 120 feet and work my way to 170 feet. The tackle of choice is 40-60 lbs. of conventional gear. If the weather allows drifting, then dropping your line to the bottom is a great way to fish the live bottom areas. When you are fishing a ledge or structure the best bet is to anchor up and chum. Red snapper are very curious and will rise almost to the surface. Another great bonus to catching red snapper up high in the water column is they don’t have to be vented nearly as much and the risk of them dying is reduced. Red snapper are not fussy either and will eat just about anything. You can use pinfish, cigar minnows, sardines, squid or fresh cut Bonita. All of these will work great. I personally like to fish with 40lb conventional gear with as light of a sinker that the depth and current will allow. A 50lb leader and a 7/0 circle hook works great. If you’re up to a challenge you can use a 20lb spinning gear when the fish are up in the chum slick. Make sure you properly handle the snapper that you are releasing back due to size. You should use a venting tool on the fish to release the air out of the bladder.
We just purchased our Federal Reef and Pelagic Permits and will be offering deep water and Red Snapper charters. Book now, as the dates are filling up. Remember to always follow state and federal regulations. Be courteous of other boaters and keep only what you can eat. Always be courteous to other boaters and keep your distance if fishing the same area as other boats. The gulf is a large body of water and there are many areas to fish. Happy Fishing!! Captain Tom Bailas