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John's Journal... Entry 248, Day 5


Why And How Many People Lose Big Snapper Right At The Boat

Editor's 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 gives up?
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 red snapper?
Treigle: 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 gut bucket.

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.

If 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.

To 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 www.zekescharters.com. 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 www.gulffishing.net/Red%20Snapper%20Championship.htm or www.orangebeachsnapper.com/. For places to stay, contact Kaiser Realty at (251) 968-6868 or go to www.kaiserrealty.com.



Check back each day this week for more about ORANGE BEACH, ALABAMA RED SNAPPER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ...

Day 1 - Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship
Day 2 - How To Catch A Really Big Red Snapper
Day 3 - Snapper Fishing With Dennis Treigle
Day 4 - Why I Stay In The Customer's Ear
Day 5 - Why And How Many People Lose Big Snapper Right At The Boat

John's Journal