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John's Journal... Entry 44, Day 1

Catching Red Snapper Off Oil and Gas Rigs

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: To take the biggest fish of your life on fly tackle, fish with Captain Cliff Jones, one of only two fly-fishing guides in Orange Beach, Alabama. Or, if you want to catch speckled trout at night under the lights and experience an altogether different form of fly-fishing, head to Orange Beach now.

QUESTION: Tell me the secret to catching sneaky rig snapper.

ANSWER: You'll catch the most snapper when you have good live bait and light line like 20-, 16-, 15- or 12-pound-test and no leader.

QUESTION: You often put an egg sinker up the line. When and why do you do that?

click to enlargeANSWER: I put on an egg sinker when there's a lot of current or wind. But if I don't have to, I prefer not to put on an egg sinker at all.

QUESTION: What kind of bait do you like to use?

ANSWER: I prefer to fish with live shrimp.

QUESTION: Why are you using live shrimp?

ANSWER: I fish with live shrimp because snapper primarily eat crustaceans, and a shrimp is a crustacean. Snapper love live shrimp, and most red snapper fishermen rarely use live shrimp as bait. So the fish aren't afraid of live shrimp like they are cut bait.

click to enlargeQUESTION: With what size shrimp do you fish?

ANSWER: I buy as big a shrimp as I can.

QUESTION: How many shrimp will you usually take out for a day of fishing?

ANSWER: I'll carry four or five dozen, give or take a few, with me. Actually the number I take depends on how many people I've got on the boat.

QUESTION: What else do you take with you besides shrimp?

ANSWER: I take LY's, pinfish or any kind of minnow -- the more alive, the better.

QUESTION: What size hook are you using?

ANSWER: I'm using a No. 2/0 mostly. A lot of times I'll use a pattern 91-74 or 91-54 Eagle Claw 92 live bait hook.

QUESTION: What kind of rod do you use?

ANSWER: A Fenwick Legacy Rod.

QUESTION: Why use the Legacy?

click to enlargeANSWER: That rod is real stiff. It gives me good, firm hookset, and it has a lot of backbone. When I'm trying to pull snapper out of an oil or gas rig, I need every advantage I can get.

QUESTION: What length is that rod?

ANSWER: It's a 7-footer.

QUESTION: In other words, you can use the same kind of tackle that you use when flipping for bass.

ANSWER: Yeah, sure you can.

QUESTION: You use a baitcasting reel and/or a spinning reel, right?

ANSWER: Correct.

QUESTION: What pound test line do you like?

ANSWER: I like 12-pound-test the best.

For more information on saltwater fly-fishing, contact Captain Cliff Jones at P.O. Box 1027, Orange Beach, AL 36561, (334) 981-1827, or e-mail him˙at nautico@gulftel.com. You also can visit his website at www.offshoreflyfishing.com.

Tomorrow: Tips For Catching Rig Snapper




Check back each day this week for more about Cliff Jones ...

Day 1 -Catching Red Snapper Off Oil and Gas Rigs
Day 2 -Tips for Catching Rig Snapper
Day 3 -Saltwater Fly-Fishing
Day 4 -Night Fishing for Speckled Trout
Day 5 -Fly-Fishing for Kingfish and Cobia

John's Journal