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John's Journal... Entry 6

Red Snapper

Vernon Minton, Chief of Alabama's Marine Resources for Alabama's Department of Conservation in Gulf Shores, Alabama, shows off the kind of red snapper you can catch on a trip with Captain Ricky McDuffie of Orange Beach, Alabama.
Fishing with Captain Ricky McDuffie

Ricky McDuffie of Orange Beach, Alabama, of the charter boat the Sea Hunter has captained his own fishing boat for 22 years like his daddy did before him. If anyone knows bottom fishing off Alabama's Gulf Coast, McDuffie does. In six hours of fishing, our party caught our limit of 3- to 8-pound red snapper and never got very far offshore while fishing with McDuffie.

"Snapper fishing has really been good this year," McDuffie says. "We've caught plenty of good-sized snapper, and the fishing should be good all through the rest of the year. If the federal and state officials will allow us to fish for snapper into the fall, we should have good fishing off Alabama's coast even up until cold weather."

To consistently produce good results for his charter trips, McDuffie has learned the benefits of acting like a farmer. Each year McDuffie deploys artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, and every year he harvests the fish those reefs produce. McDuffie has a book about as thick as a paperback novel full of Loran and GPS coordinates that indicate sites of artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. You won't find a more comfortable ride than in McDuffie's boat out to the artificial reefs. Even in rough seas, you don't get thrown from one side to the other in McDuffie's big and fast boat. You'll have loads of fun fishing with McDuffie, too. He works hard to catch his party a good mess of fish.

If you're planning a fishing trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast this summer, call McDuffie at (334) 981-9686, and tell him John Phillips sent you.

Like you I've heard the rumor that red-snapper season may end in August this year. If you want to catch a mess of snapper to freeze or enjoy this summer, head to Alabama's Gulf Coast before the summer ends.

However, even if red snapper season closes down in August this year, don't think fishing season has ended. You still can take a good mess of bottom feeders out in the Gulf of Mexico after August. Grouper, beeliners, triggerfish, amberjack, king mackerel and many other good-eating fish will still swim the waters of the Gulf, just waiting for you to catch them. Call the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 745-7263 to learn about accommodations, fishing captains, restaurants and area attractions. Take a look at the kind of fish we caught with McDuffie on my last trip with him.