The red snapper is by far the most popular fish in the Gulf of Mexico. It is not only beautiful, with its bright red color, but also a hard fighting and great eating fish. In the past, this fish was overfished for its commercial value, but extremely strict regulations have brought the fish back to record numbers. Despite repeated request by the fishing community to reopen the fishery to allow more fishing days, NOAA has refused using flawed science to shorten the season further. The season changes every year, but it usually opens in June or July.
These fish are by far my favorite of all the bottom fish. They sit in a hole on the bottom looking up and waiting to ambush their pray. They will run out of their hole, grab the pray fish, and then go right back in their hole - surprising most unsuspecting fisherman and braking the line. I consider these, the best eating fish in the Panama City area. The season is year-round for red grouper and July 1st to December 3rd for gag grouper.
Amberjack are bar none, pound for pound, the hardest fighting fish in the gulf. This fish is often called a reef donkey because it pulls like a donkey. It's also my favorite fish to target because we can get them chummed-up with live bait right behind the boat. Then, we can pick out a specific fish to cast to - least if he is faster than the other twenty fish trying to eat your bait. This makes them easy prey for artificial lures and fly fisherman. It's also extremely exciting to see all the top-water action immediately behind the boat. As table fare, they're not bad, but there are many better.
Although smaller in size than some of the other fish we catch, these fish will provide hours of line pulling entertainment. What these fish lack in size, they make up for at the dinner table. They are some of the most plentiful and best tasting fish in the gulf. They are excellent table fair and their season is open year-round.
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