Red Snapper | Snappers | Jacks | Gray Triggerfish | Grouper
| Snappers |
RED SNAPPER: LUTJANUS CAMPECHANUS
Any discussion of fishing in the Northern Gulf of Mexico has to start with Lutjanus Campechanus, the American Red Snapper. The Red Snapper is one of the most abundant and aggressive fish in the gulf known for its fierce nature, striking red color, and delicious meat.
It inhabits deep bays, in-shore and near-shore reefs traditionally found in depths up to 300 ft but occasionally found all the way down to 500ft.
Red Snapper are most abundant in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and found off the coasts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Red Snapper like eating cut cigar minnows and squid and assorted live baits like pinfish can be deadly effective and sometimes necessary to catch big sows especially toward the end of the season.
Mangrove Snapper – Lutjanus griseus
These notorious bait stealers like to live in and around structures and can be very difficult to catch. They are wary of lures, cut, and even live bait and an exposed hook will send them scurrying back to safety.
In our area, sizeable adults live in the upper water column around oil rigs off Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana and are delicious when caught.
| Jacks | Gray Triggerfish |
Greater Amberjack (AJ) – Seriola dumerili
Greater Amberjack are the largest of the jack’s in the Northern Gulf. They commonly weigh up to 40 lbs with individuals over 80 lbs not uncommon. They are abundant on wrecks, oil rigs, and natural bottom anywhere from 80 to 500 ft. Large live baits work well. They are fierce fighters and have brought many an angler to his/her knee’s.
These drab, odd shaped fish named for its trigger action dorsal fin are found mixed with Red Snapper in the same type of habitat.
In the 50s and 60s, Triggers were considered trash fish and discarded as such.
Although a challenge to clean, Triggerfish are now widely to be considered amongst the tastiest fare in the gulf.
Unfortunately, they became so sought after by commercial fisherman that their numbers dwindled and now triggers are subject to tight bag limits and short seasons.
| Groupers |
This near-endangered grouper species is the largest in the Northern Gulf.
Warsaw groupers are classified as deep-water groupers, since they inhabit reefs on the continental shelf break in waters 180 to 1700 ft deep; juveniles are occasionally seen on jetties and shallow-water reefs.
They are the only grouper with 10 dorsal spines. They are dark reddish-brown or brownish-grey to almost black in color dorsally, and dull reddish-grey ventrally. They can very well exceed 8 ft in length.
Known for its delicious flavor, yellow lips, and broom shaped tail, the scamp is a favorite amongst anglers and can be caught throughout the gulf on natural bottom.
Scamp can get up to 20lbs but fish between 5-15lbs are more common. Scamp often are finicky eaters with a subtle strike. Small live pinfish and cigar minnows are the baits of choice.
Speckled hind derives their name from the multitude of tiny white spots that cover their reddish-brown head, body, and fins. Juvenile specimens tend to have a yellow body color with white spots.
Speckled hinds are deep-water groupers: adults inhabit offshore rocky bottoms in depths of 400 – 1300 feet. They are delicious though infrequently caught.
*at one time, The Necessity held the Alabama state record.