wait for the opening of snapper season,” says Captain Chip Day of “Chipper’s Clipper,” based at Orange Beach, Alabama. “One fact that many fishermen coming down to fish with us during this fall season don’t realize is that the fishing trip isn’t over when you catch your two red snapper. Triggerfish and vermilion snapper have been biting really well, so on every trip we can usually come-in with a good box of fish besides the red snapper. Let me tell you something – those triggerfish and vermilion snapper are delicious, and they’re fun to catch. I believe they should be almost as big a drawing card as the red snapper will be during October and November.
“Now on a four-hour trip, we mainly catch king mackerel and Spanish mackerel, and we’ve seen plenty of them just outside the bays. This fall, we’ve caught some really-big Spanish mackerel and some king mackerel weighing over 20 pounds. But most of the kings will average 12 to 18 pounds. On a 6-hour trip, we’ll usually catch Spanish mackerel and king mackerel, as well as vermilion snapper and triggerfish. Most of the snapper that we’re catching and keeping now will weigh 8-12 pounds. But when we’re snapper fishing, we’ll catch a lot of red snapper and release them. Most of our customers want the bigger snapper, and on
most of the spots we fish, getting as snapper bite isn’t very difficult. The vermilion snapper and triggerfish we’ve been catching this year have been bigger-sized fish than what we normally catch. I think the reason for this is there’s not a lot of fishing pressure for them, and they’ve had a chance to grow much bigger this year.
“The good news is that ever since the oil spill, there’s been an army of scientists down here checking the fish to make sure the fish are safe to eat. All reports we’ve gotten back from some of the best fisheries biologists locally, regionally, nationally and internationally say there are no problems with eating the fish. We’ve had more scientific studies done on the fish we catch in the Gulf of Mexico in the last 4-5 months than probably have been done in all the years before then. The fish that the scientists test have to meet six-different criteria to be certified as safe to eat. If the fish don’t pass even one of those criteria, then the fish won’t be considered safe to eat. None of the fish that we catch here at Orange Beach have failed any of the tests that they’ve taken. The scientists continue to check our fish, so we can say unequivocally that we have some of the safest fish in the world to eat.
“The chances right now for catching a really-big snapper are better than they’ve ever been. I expect to see quite a few 20-pound-plus red snapper coming to the doc
k during this season. The problem with catching a 20-pound snapper won’t be hooking it up, but rather getting it in the boat. Angling skills and luck will determine who brings a 20 pounder to the boat. Many of those 20 pounders won’t be caught very far from shore. Now’s the time to come to Alabama’s Gulf Coast and catch a really-good mess of fish. The fish are there. When anglers show-up, many of those fish will be riding home with them in their coolers.”
To contact Captain Chip Day, call 251-952-8247, or visit www.chippersclipper.com
. For more information about hotels, restaurants, fishing and entertainment at Alabama’s Gulf Coast, visit www.orangebeach.com
, or call 1-800-745-SAND (7263).