For us very fortunate recreational fishermen in Florida, Red Snapper is open for 3 days this year. I know, that seems excessive doesn't it? I mean 3 days! That is waaaayyy to much. Although, in all fairness, two of those three days are on weekdays. Red Snapper is only open to recreational fishermen this year for one weekend day. (Saturday)
Forecast calls for rain and thunderstorms all day Saturday!
It is Thursday - forecast looks good, so I am going fishing - even if it means that I only catch two snapper by myself. I can probably do that off a dock.
Robbie said that he would drive HIS boat if I wanted to crew. I'm down with that! Robbie's boat is kick-butt! 34' Marlogo: (Doesn't even fit in the picture)
I think I'm going to LIKE not having Captain responsibilities. I head down to Panacea Wednesday night to meet up with Robbie. Unfortunately, there are only two of us on the boat. That means that we can only catch four red snapper. From Panacea, you have to go pretty far to get to Snapper because they don't really care for "brackish" water which is all we have in Panacea due to all the fresh water rivers. I say that, but they are starting to show up closer and closer to us.
Anyway, S Tower (about 50 miles) is where you really start to run into them because the water turns very blue. It would be a shame to head 50 miles away for only 4 fish. We are discussing that fact at a local Panacea restaurant when a guy named Cypress from the Panacea Gulf Specimen Marine Lab walks up to say hello to Robbie. It is Cypress's birthday. Happy Birthday Cypress!
We ask Cypress if he would like to fish tomorrow with us for his birthday. He doesn't hesitate to reply "Yes". He also brings a couple of his friends from the Marine Lab. (Robert & Josh)
Great to have you boys with us. Now we can catch 10 Red Snapper! That will make a dent in the species.
Now my wife says that it is never "smooth" out there in the Gulf. But I can assure you that it is today. In the picture above, the water looks like ice. There isn't a single ripple - anywhere - except for what the boat is making.
There isn't a single ripple in the water for 50 miles! All the way to S Tower.
Feels weird not to be driving.
We get to our first stop at S Tower. 10 minutes later, we have 9 Red Snapper in the fish box.
Sure is difficult to catch these "endangered" fish.
We move on to another spot. "Non" Red Snapper go in a different fish box:
In case you are wondering what the other types of snapper are that can be caught, they would include "Vermillion and Lane" Snapper. We catch them also, although they are not as plentiful as the Red Snapper.
Black Sea Bass add to our repertoire.
I really like this "crewing" job. I am filthy and I smell like squid. Lovin every minute of it.! Robbie said something about "doubling" my pay next time. I wonder how much he paid the girl who crewed on his boat last year?! I should ask for what she made. I look good in a bikini. Okay, I admit, she loved to fish AND she looked amazing in a bikini. Now I know why Robbie paid her 100K per year to crew for him.
Notice the calm seas behind me? In some ways, it was kind of creepy out there. Like fishing in a lake.
Josh, for some reason, felt like he also had to catch a few small sharks. Which he did. Three of them, I believe. He was the only one who caught shark. Not exactly sure why he felt he needed to do that.
The end result? A tub of tasty fish (no sharks):
Since the guys have offered to clean the fish (I suck at cleaning fish), and Cypress has offered to clean the boat, I'm not exactly sure what I am supposed to be doing at the dock. So I buy everyone beers.
That seems to work well. :-)
Beers are starting to kick in here:
Be sure to mark your calendar for my next Red Snapper blog 362 days from now!
Give me a break.
Thanks for reading.