John's Journal...

Breakdown to Success

How to Hit the Home Run on a Big Red Snapper

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Brian Bracknell of Mobile, Alabama, has fished out of Orange Beach for most of his life. Two years ago, Bracknell got a new boat, the “Crowd Pleezer,” and decided to make charter fishing his primary business. One of Bracknell’s unique characteristics is that he’s learned how to snatch victory out of defeat. In the 2006 Red Snapper World Championship, Bracknell’s never-say-die attitude earned him over $5,000 and enabled one of his anglers to catch the red snapper of a lifetime.

Click to enlarge“If I could set up the ideal scenario for how to produce a big red snapper, I’d fish an old school bus that was sunk on the bottom that no one else had found for at least 3 years,” Bracknell reveals. “Then, I’d want to hook up that big snapper on a drift line out behind the boat so that as soon as the snapper takes the bait, the angler sets the hook and starts taking out drag. I’d engage the motors and pull the boat away from the school bus and hopefully pull the snapper away from the bus, enabling my angler to fight the fish out in open water, which is the real secret to getting a big snapper. The problem with this scenario is if a tournament-winning snapper Click to enlargetakes the bait close to the bottom and starts to make a hard run into the reef while pulling off drag, there’s nothing really that the captain or angler can do to stop that fish’s run to prevent breaking the fish off or having the line cut. A 30-pound snapper can strip off 20 to 40 feet of drag almost as quickly as you can blink your eyes. So you don’t have a lot of opportunity to change what will happen once the fish takes the bait. During an average season, we’ll usually put 10 to 15 snapper on the boat in the 20- to 25-pound range. When you reach the 25- to 30-pound fish, I’d say those big fish are very few and far between. The snapper we catch each day usually weigh about 12- to 15-pounds each, and our keeper snapper generally will weigh 7- to 8-pounds each.”

Click to enlargeTo fish with Captain Brian Bracknell, you can contact him at (251) 471-2868, or (251) 379-8099. You also can write him at Captain Brian Bracknell, 2405 South Vaughan Drive, Mobile, Alabama 36605, email him at or visit his website, To learn more about the Red Snapper World Championship, check out For more information on the Orange Beach area, go to or call the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at (800) 745-7263.

Tomorrow: Not Just Big Snapper Wins

Check back each day this week for more about "Breakdown to Success"

Day 1: The Big Day
Day 2: Six Secrets to Catching Big Red Snapper
Day 3: How to Hit the Home Run on a Big Red Snapper
Day 4: Not Just Big Snapper Wins
Day 5: Catching Amberjack with Little Brother


Entry 367, Day 3