Red Porgy is what a lot of charter boat captains in Gulf Shores, Alabama are calling a White Snapper. Red Porgy is not a snapper at all. With a lack of Red Snapper to harvest because of federal bag limits and a shortened federal snapper season, many charter boats are filling their carts with these fish so anglers will have some fish to eat. Red Porgy are called Pagrus pagrus by the marine biologist and scientists. They have a head and body that is silver with red tints to it. They have a little blue tint to their noses and that is why some of us call them blue nose snapper. Their nostril is located in front of their eyes.
Most of the Red Porgies that are caught within 25 miles of the Alabama shore line are about 10 to 12 inches in length. If you get out about 30 miles or further, where fishing pressure are less, you can catch them up to 18 inches and two pounds each on light tackle.
Red Porgy is ok fried but has a bit of an iodine taste. They are not near as tasty as Triggerfish. They have a tiny skeletal system which makes them a bit bony and you have to make sure you get all the bones out of the way before consuming. They are similar in size to a freshwater crappie but do not taste as good.
Ruby Lip is really known as a Tomtate. Scientists call them Haemulon aurolineatum. We call them Ruby Lips and they are a common bait fish and party boat fish. The food quality is ok but most people do not harvest them to eat. They are bronze in color and have a golden stripe that goes the entire length of their body. There is a second stripe that is located above the lateral line. They have 13 dorsal spines and a red to orange looking mouth. Most of them are less than 8 ounces and are 9 inches long.
Pinfish is a great bait fish that is legal to use because they are not considered a reef fish. Scientists call them Lagodon rhomboids. These small fish are excellent bait for scamp grouper fishing, Cobia Fishing andRed Snapper fishing. These fish can be caught underneath pilings and docks around Orange Beach and Gulf Shores in a pinfish trap or on a small bream hook. They look like a bream and have a shoulder spot on their lateral line. They have four very dark looking vertical crossbars that show up when they are dead. Most of them are about 3 to 4 inches or smaller. When you catch one offshore bottom fishing, they can be up to 14 inches. Pinfish are excellent scamp grouper bait if they are about the size of a half dollar.
Sheepshead is one of the best eating fish that can be caught around the jetties of Perdido Pass and the oil rigs in Mobile Bay. Sheepshead fishing gets good in the last two weeks of March every year during our spring break charter season and lasts until they are all caught. They can be caught on an incoming tide on live shrimp and fiddler crabs. Scientist calls them Archosargus probatocephalus. They have a silvery to a yellowish, bronze color on their sides with a darker olive look to a brown back. They have five or six vertical lines that run from the top of their back to their belly. The cool thing is that they have sheep looking incisor like teeth. They smile at you and it looks human like. They will bite the snot out of you if you get too close.
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