Reel in a Red Snapper before the season ends
Now, October is typically is one of the better months for Red Snapper because the water starts to cool with the cooler air. Another great reason is that the fishing pressure is lighter since less people are fishing because they are watching football. But the biggest news is that when the two storms blew through the Gulf, Gustov and Ike, it brought lots of Grouper to our local reefs.
So, how do you catch these Red Snapper and Grouper? First you have to get offshore to a reef. Second, if you are visiting the area or do not have access to a boat you can book a fishing charter on one of the many fine charter boats in our area. These guys are out there every day and know where the bite is on. They also have GPS to help them to the fishing spot as well as advanced bottom machines allowing them to see an image of the reef as well as fishing swimming around them.
Ok … enough with the toys and back to how to catch them. Once aboard the boat and you are hovering over the reef, drop your bait to the bottom. Keeping your finger lightly on the bail to prevent a backlash, let the line go out until it stops where it reaches the bottom. Once on the bottom, reel your line up about 4-6 cranks. Usually the deckhand will let you know at what level the fish are biting. Do not lean your rod on the rail, holding it softly and wait for the bite. When the fish bites, let them take it a little bit and start reeling. I know you're thinking what about the hook set, well now we have to use self setting circle hooks and you do not want to jerk them or you will miss the fish.
Aboard the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier the big news are slot and bull redfish. In case you don't know the lingo, a "slot redfish" is one between 18 and 27 inches. On my last visit to the pier redfish were being caught on hard tails, cut bait and cigar minnows. Everyone seems to think that the run on slot redfish is due to the dune restoration going on to the east of the pier.
As with the end of the Snapper Season so goes the King and Spanish Mackerel fishing on the pier. There is no closure for this species of fish in our area; however, they do leave the area for warmer waters once we get a cold snap or two. So, if you would like to hook a smoker you will need to get out to the pier soon. Kings are hitting cigar minnows, hard tails and other small baitfish caught at the pier. Locals use a light tackle reel with either a snatch or sabikki rig to catch their bait. For the kings you will need a good spinning reel with a wire leader and a treble hook.
So, there are the big tips for October and I hope to see you fishing!
Red Snapper Livornese
"A tangy, easy recipe for almost any firmfleshed fish fillets: red snapper, sea bass, grouper. Adaptable for sole, flounder, tilapia, and other thin fillets by adjusting cooking time. Serve with white rice or couscous, and a salad or steamed broccoli."
Original recipe yield: 4 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 whole canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives, drained
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 pound red snapper fillets
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, capers, black olives, red pepper flakes, and parsley. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in an 11x7 inch baking dish, and arrange the snapper fillets in a single layer in the dish. Drizzle lemon juice over the fillets, and then pour the remaining sauce over all.
4. Bake for 15 minutes for 1/2 inch thick fillets, or 30 minutes for 1 inch thick fillets. Baste once with the sauce while baking. Snapper is done when it flakes easily with a fork.