ORANGE BEACH, ALABAMA RED SNAPPER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Why And How Many People Lose Big Snapper Right At
Note: IIn the cockpit of the boat is where the rubber meets the road as
far as catching big snapper goes. The commander of the cockpit of the
"Shady Lady" based at the port of Orange Beach, Alabama, is First Mate,
Dennis Treigle. With 17 years of experience, Treigle is a master at helping
anglers catch really big snapper.
Question: Dennis, how does a customer lose a snapper
right at the boat?
Treigle: Frequently we will lose big snapper that we have right beside
the boat because of fisherman error. The two most common mistakes are:
the fisherman gives up, or he or she doesn't get out of the gut bucket.
Question: What do you mean when you say the fisherman
Treigle: When you are fighting a 20-pound-plus red snapper, you have all
the muscles in your arms, your back, your hands and even your legs working
overtime. You are totally into the fight, and you're probably working
harder, or as hard as you have ever worked before. So, when the snapper
gets close to the surface, most fishermen have pretty well spent their
energy. When the snapper is close to the boat and almost in gaffing range,
for some reason, an angler may drop his or her rod tip assuming that the
snapper is so close that all he has to do is gaff it and the snapper will
come into the boat. But when someone drops that rod tip, he gives the
snapper slack. If you are lucky, the barb on the hook will prevent the
hook from falling out of the fish's mouth. But if you aren't lucky, the
hook will fall out of the snapper's mouth, and it will swim away without
your being able to get a gaff in it. So, the secret here is to keep tension
on the snapper until the first mate has the snapper on the gaff and starts
to bring it into the boat.
Question: Why does a gut bucket cause anglers to lose
The gut bucket is a rod holder that can be tied on to the fisherman and
allows him or her to put the butt of the rod in the rod holder and fight
the fish. Now the problem we have is that once the angler gets the snapper
up close to the gaff, he'll pull that rod straight up in that gut bucket,
which allows the snapper to swim under the boat. When the snapper goes
under the boat, he'll get into the wheels, break the line and get free.
I tell all my fishermen who use a gut bucket that when the snapper gets
close to the surface, take the butt of the rod out of the gut bucket,
and put the rod under your arm. This way, with the butt of the rod under
the fisherman's arm, if the snapper starts to go under the boat, the fisherman
can lower the rod tip toward the water and pull the snapper out from under
the boat. You always want to try to keep your rod tip parallel to the
boat or at an angle between the 12:00 position and perpendicular to the
boat. You never want to get that rod tip up to the 12:00 position, because
when you do, you pull the snapper to the side of the boat where the fish
can dive under the boat. If you have your rod under your arm when the
fish is close and starts to run under the boat, you can get your rod tip
down in the water and pull the big snapper out from under the boat. But
there is no way you can do that if the butt of the rod is still in the
Question: Dennis, why do you think Orange Beach homes
so many big red snapper?
Treigle: The red snapper is a reef fish. Without a reef, there is no snapper.
The more reefs you have, the more snapper you have. The more snapper you
have, the more big snapper you can have. Because of Orange Beach's reef-building
program, Orange Beach is producing more red snapper and more big red snapper
for fishermen to catch. The Gulf of Mexico has a sand-desert bottom, so
if we don't build reefs on that bottom, snapper don't have a place to
live. The State of Alabama has done an excellent job of putting out reefs
and encouraging anglers to put out reefs so there will be more big snapper
for all the fishermen who fish here. We also catch and release all of
the little snapper, which helps to produce bigger snapper.
you want to catch a really-big red snapper, I don't know of any other
place in the world where your chances are better to catch a red snapper
that will weigh 20 pounds or more than at Orange Beach. If you fish for
big red snapper, you also will catch a lot of red snapper that weigh from
8 to 20 pounds. Many anglers who fish Orange Beach will have a 5-fish
limit of snapper that will weigh 40 pounds or more, and I have seen limits
of five fish that will weigh 70 pounds or more. Too, you can catch amberjack,
triggerfish, king mackerel, cobia and the other varieties of snapper.
If you don't make it to Orange Beach before the end of the Red Snapper
World Championship on May 20th, you still can fish until October and catch
plenty of good-eating snapper out of this port. If you plan to fish the
World Championship next year, call today, and book a captain and a boat
for the date you want to fish. Captains and boats who fish this tournament
are hard to find two or three weeks before the tournament begins.
If you like salt-water fishing, and you like to catch
plenty of fish-big fish, good-eating fish and monster-sized red snapper,
then start calling today to go to the Red Snapper Capital of the World,
Orange Beach, Alabama.
learn more about fishing and the other sites to see at Orange Beach, contact
the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 745-7263
or visit www.orangebeach.com.
For charter information, contact Zeke's Marina (800) 793-4044 or visit
To fish with Captain Butch Tucker and first mate, Dennis Treigle on the
"Shady Lady," call Captain Tucker at (850) 492-9675 or (850) 380-3321.
For more information about the World Red Snapper Championship, check out
For places to stay, contact Kaiser Realty at (251) 968-6868 or go to www.kaiserrealty.com.