The most common fish you catch while deep sea, reef or bottom fishing in Gulf Shores, Alabama is the Red Snapper. Their scientific name is Lutjanus campechanus. Red Snapper are easily identified by their solid red body color except for their belly and throat that is white. Their anal fin is pointed and their iris of their eyes is red. Juvenile Red Snapper can easily be identified by their black spot that is located just below their dorsal fin. Just like a deer, they lose their spot as they get larger. The spot is used to confuse predators that may feed on them so they may get away. Red snapper can be caught by using light tackle fishing, fly fishing, chumming fishing, jig fishing and sight fishing.
Red Snapper grow up quickly and are commonly caught on Alabama’s artificial reefs. Their gills are armored and will cut the snot out of you if you try and slide your fingers under their gills when holding them. If you try and lip them, they will bite the peedowhakee out of you. Hence, they are called snappers for a reason. They are called the Piranha of the gulf. They devour everything that is smaller than they are. They eat reef fish like juvenile Triggerfish, Vermilion Snapper and a multitude of any live bait species that may be swimming by.
Deep Sea Fishing for Red Snapper is considered one of the best fishing charters you can have in the entire Gulf of Mexico. Red Snapper are aggressive and offer saltwater anglers the opportunity to catch a fish that pound for pound fight harder than any fish similar in size. Red Snappers weigh from 1 pound up to over 30 pounds. A 30 pound Red Snapper is from 25 to 35 years of age, according to the Alabama Department of Conservations Biologist. The average size of a Red Snapper in Alabama waters is about 18 to 20 inches and weigh between 5 and 8 pounds. They are extremely good to eat either, fried, baked or broiled. Be sure to ask us how we cook them or visit our Red Snapper fish recipes page. It will surprise you how good they taste cooked the way we do it.
Red Snapper are considered to be over exploited the Gulf of Mexico by the National Marine Fisheries Service. They have long been a staple of charter boats and recreational fishermen for many years. Alabama’s artificial reefs hold most of them. However, the Red Snapper population is rebounding and they can be found on natural reefs and in depths of over 200 to 300 feet.
The Red Snapper have to be 16 inches in length to be harvested. The current federal season for harvesting Red Snapper is begins June 1.
The other snapper species we commonly catch while deep sea reef fishing is the Vermilion (bee liner) snapper. Their Latin name is Rhomboplites aurorubens. Bee liners are a common natural bottom or reef fish. Some can be caught on mature artificial reefs. They have a deep red color on their body and have a slightly forked tail. They have a short nose and a rounded body. We call them footballs. Their iris color of their eye is yellow. They are a pretty fish. They have to be 10 inches in length to keep. The average size is 12 inches. Some of the Vermilion weigh over 4 pounds. Larger ones are becoming rare and we are having to go further offshore from Gulf Shores to catch them.
Lane Snapper is the other species of snapper caught off Alabama waters while charter deep sea fishing in Gulf Shores. Their scientific name is Lutjanus synagris. Their body is red in color but darker toward their dorsal fin. They have bright yellow horizontal lines that run the entire length of the fish. Just like Red Snapper, they have a black spot just below their dorsal fin that fades as they mature. They are much smaller than their Red Snapper cousin but very tasty. They rarely get larger than 14 inches in length. However, we have seen several snapper crossbreeds. The fish are as large as a Red Snapper but have yellow highlights on their skin.
Mangrove Snapper or Gray Snapper are another common snapper that are caught while charter fishing in the saltwater off of Alabama. They are called Lutjanus Griseus by scientists. They have a gray color but most of the have a dark rust looking color. Their backs are usually darker or almost black looking as compared to the rest of their body. They have a red tint, sometimes. The anal fin is round. Their front teeth look like canines sticking down from the roof of their mouths. They are similar to the Cubera Snapper that are not native to Alabama. Most of the Mangrove Snappers are 10 to 14 inches in length. We sometimes catch them close to 10 pounds. In 2008, we caught one that was 1 pound shy of the Alabama state record at 15.4 pounds. These black snapper are an excellent fish to catch while chumming and sight fishing while deep sea fishing in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Big Eye is also called a Big Eye Snapper here in Gulf Shores. They are not in the snapper family but since everything out in the gulf is called a snapper to please customers, I will call it a Big Eye Snapper. Scientist calls them Priacantuhus arenatus. They are extremely bright red and orange in color. They have extremely big eyes. The anal and the dorsal fins have about 12 to 15 fins. They are usually no longer than 12 inches. We caught one in 2008 that was almost 16 inches. It was a real treat.
We hope this information about snapper fishing has been helpful to you and your family. Deep sea fishing on a charter boat in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach can be extremely rewarding and a lot of fun. Saltwater fishing in Alabama is a year round outdoor sport and activity. If you would like to enjoy some great snapper fishing, visit our Alabama deep sea fishing rates and pricing page to see which trip is best for you and your group.
After you have decided on a snapper fishing trip, please visit our fishing reservations page. You will need to fill out the online form and submit it with your questions and comments. We promise to get right back with you via email. Submitting a Snapper fishing reservations request online does not lock you in to a trip. It allows us to see what type of trip you are looking for and the possible dates you can go fishing. When we see what you want, we will let you know if those dates are available.
Remember, we do not require a deposit like all other charters do. All we need is a credit card number to hold it. You may pay the day of your deep sea charter fishing trip.
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