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Red Snapper season in full swing

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 By Capt. Brylee

Special to the Pioneer

The dog days of summer are upon us and red snapper season is in full swing. 

Capt. John Blouse with Hooked Up Charters out of Cedar Key reported having great success fishing the “middle grounds” landing their limit in red snapper as well as catching their fill of porgy, vermillion and lane snapper and a few red grouper to boot.

The middle grounds are located in the heart of the Gulf of Mexico about 75 to 100 miles out from Cedar Key. The water depths you will find there range from around 80 to 90 feet with extreme drop offs and rocky ledges that will reach depths of 130 feet or greater. The more drastic the drop off the better it is for the fish.

Fishing with 4 to 6/0 reels with 50 pound test monofilament line and 80 pound leaders, Blouse fished the bottom using live pin fish as well as frozen mackerel and threadfin herring. His overnight trip proved to be worth it as Blouse and his party caught their limit of several varieties of snapper.

 While red snapper has a bag limit of two per angler, the non-integrated snapper have a bag limit of twenty per angler. Add in the red grouper and you have coolers full of fish. The red snapper they caught all measured over 23 inches and the mangrove snapper were 5 to 8 pounds, Blouse said. 

Inshore fishing has been good as well with reports of large trout, reds and spanish mackerel being caught from the panhandle around Carrabelle all the way to Homosassa. The heat of day will tend to push the fish to deeper and cooler waters. In the early and cool parts of the day, fishing the shallower waters and then migrating into the deeper parts of the flats as the water temperature rises, has proven effective in staying on the fish for me.

July 1 is the opening day for gag grouper as well as scalloping season. So for the offshore anglers, you will be able to keep all those gags you have been throwing back, and for the inshore angler pay close attention as the waters are going to be flooded with dive flags and scallopers.

Please obey all state and local laws and remember to catch and release. Good luck catching.