Note: Captain John Hollingshead of the “Miss Hollie” docked at Old Salt’s Dock
across the street for the Florabama Lounge in Orange Beach, Alabama, has been a
U.S. Coast Guard licensed charter-boat captainand a Professional
Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certified diver for 25 years. This
month, he’ll tell us how to catch white snapper, red snapper, vermilion
snapper, triggerfish, amberjacks, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel.
month we’re catching everything except red snapper. Well, that’s not true. We’re
catching plenty of red snapper, but we have to throw them back. We’re able to
bring in white snapper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish and amberjacks. If the
water stays warm, we’ll also catch Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. The Spanish
mackerel we catch now are 18 to 28 inches and weigh an average of 2 to 3
pounds. I fish trolling areas where I always can catch Spanish and kings, if
the mackerel are holding there. Many times, if you see birds working and diving
on baitfish, you’ll also see Spanish or king mackerel breaking the surface,
chasing the bait. If the water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico remains above
61 degrees, the mackerel will stay here. But when the water temperature drops below
61 degrees, the mackerel will leave that area.
when the Spanish mackerel move out, the redfish will move into the region. We
usually can catch redfish right off Orange Beach within the 3-mile limit in
December. At this time of year, the big bull reds will move with the cold
weather, and when we locate these fish, there generally will be a school of
them. Although we primarily catch-and-release big reds, we also try to find
schools of little reds within the slot limit. This month, you can catch the
biggest redfish of your life, and you may even catch several giant bull reds.
now, we have plenty of vermilion snapper (beeliners), white snapper and
triggerfish holding on natural bottom in this section of the Gulf. We try not to
fish the artificial reefs because they’re usually loaded-up with red snapper
that we can’t catch and keep. Unfortunately, we’re still catching red snapper
on natural bottom, even though we have to throw them back. In the past, the red
snapper didn’t hold on natural bottom. But since the National Marine Fisheries
Service reduced the bag limit, increased the length limit and shortened the season
for the red snapper, you can find them in numbers of places where they haven’t normally
concentrated in the past. So, we try to locate places we can fish where our
customers can catch fish they can keep. The vermilion snapper and the white snapper
we keep are generally 12 inches or bigger, and the triggerfish run 14 inches or
larger. In one day of December fishing, we’ll catch a pretty-good mixed bag of
fish. Luckily, we’ve been catching grouper on the natural bottoms. When we fish
for grouper, we usually go out 20 miles or more.
you go to almost any big wreck, you often can find amberjacks. To catch the
amberjacks, we fish with live bait higher up in the water than where the
snapper usually hold. We generally fish two rods at one time for amberjacks,
until we catch one amberjack per person. Amberjacks will show-up as big blobs
on your depth finder about 30 feet above the bottom. Sometimes if you’re
fishing in 120 feet of water, the amberjacks will show-up above 190 feet.
Because our electronics are more high-tech and advanced, when we pull onto a
spot, I can identify the type of fish holding there by the marks they’ve left
in the area. So, when we move over a site, I usually can tell if that section
is holding amberjacks, vermilion snapper, white snapper, triggerfish or
redfish. These new depth finders have helped the captains determine what types
of fish hold on a particular area before the fishermen even let their lines
down, which enables us to better target the species we want to catch. Fishing
is good right now in December. And, we’ve got plenty of fish anglers can catch
in a half- or a full-day fishing trip. So, come on down, and fish with us.
fish with Captain John Hollingshead, visit www.chartermisshollie.com, call (850)
554-4313, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.