Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Captain's Corner

Captain's Corner: Revitalized red snapper season opens Monday

What's hot: Red snapper season opens Monday in the gulf and runs until Aug. 15 with a limit of 16 inches and two per person. For years, it was virtually impossible to target them in our waters because of their small numbers. The few that were caught were incidental while targeting grouper. Seasonal and bag limitations, the decline of offshore shrimping because of hurricane damage to the fleet and imports and the Gulfstream Natural Gas pipeline have combined to revitalize this almost extinct fishery.

We have caught and released red snapper in water as shallow as 60 feet since the closure last year while targeting gag grouper on ledges and rock piles. The population is scattered in these depths. To target them, it is necessary to fish deeper depths. The pipeline mitigation areas in at least 90 feet along with most ledges in adjacent areas all seem to be holding good quantities of fish.

Tip: Red snapper often can be seen on the fish finder suspended in the water column above structure. Switching to lighter sinkers (1-2 ounce) and 20-pound test tackle will give you more "hang time" as the bait is heading for the bottom. Red snapper are voracious feeders and will bite frozen sardines and squid. But live baits usually produce the larger fish. Small pinfish, live sardines, hardtails and threadfins are irresistible. A smaller jig head and nose hooking the live baits usually attracts the interest of the larger fish in the school.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach and can be reached at or (727) 397-8815.

Captain's Corner: Revitalized red snapper season opens Monday 05/30/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 30, 2009 6:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Snell to rejoin rotation Wednesday



  2. For starters: Rays lineup vs Orioles



  3. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  4. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  5. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.