It seems we all have gotten a little spoiled with the size of red snapper we catch these days. The fish are just bigger than they have ever been in the Gulf. I can’t even remember the last time I had to measure a snapper to see if it was legal. Today eight-, 10- and 12-pound snappers are commonly caught. I think sometimes we all forget that a 10-pound snapper is a really nice fish!
As important as big baits are, Captain Price says equally important is to go small on the lead weights. “Something that is overlooked is the importance to downsize your tackle. Use the smallest weight possible to get your bait down on the spot. Usually the larger fish are up on top of the reef, so you don’t want to bomb your bait past them with a big eight or ten ounce egg weight.” Price says to use just enough weight to get your bait down through the current. One, two, or three ounce weights will slowly get the bait into the feeding zone higher in the water column where the biggest fish aggregate. In this set-up, he prefers the ‘knocker rig.’ A knocker rig is where the weight slides all the way down to the hook as opposed to being tied on the main line above the swivel.
Price also likes to use a no weight rig to create a drift line behind the boat for big snapper. Pitch baits are cast out away from the boat without a weight and are left to drift in the current. Many times large snapper will hang just beyond the reef as well as other fish like king mackerel. After tossing the bait out, put the rod in the rod holder with light drag and have someone keep an eye on it.
We all know the window to catch these fish is small, but if you follow the advice of Captain Price your rewards and red snapper will be big.
Grab your rod and head to the Alabama Gulf Coast for an unforgettable fishing trip!