Editor’s Note: Orange Beach chartersCaptain Charles “Chip” Day of the “Chippers Clipper” charter boat based out of Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, has fished almost every day of June’s red snapper season. This week, Day will tell us how he’s catching the snapper, what baits he’s using to catch them, and what size snapper he’s catching.






Question: Chip, tell us about red snapper season this year. How has it been?
Day: We’ve had really-good weather, and the snapper have been biting. We’ve caught a number of 8-pound snapper, with our average snapper weighing from 6 to 12 pounds. If we use live bait, we tend to catch bigger snapper. We’ve also fished Orange Beach charterswith light lines and single hooks. If you fish with light line, live bait and a single-hook rig, you’ll catch a keeper-sized snapper just about every time you drop-down your bait.

Question: What pound-test line do you fish?
Day: We use 40-pound-test line most of the time, a slip sinker up the line, a barrel swivel under the slip sinker, a 4-foot-long leader and a circle hook. On most trips, we use a 4-ounce lead. But if you use a 1-ounce sinker that lets the bait fall more slowly, you may catch bigger snapper.

Question: What type of bait do you use?
Day: We use squid for dead bait and ruby-lipped grunts and pinfish for live bait. But the alewives (LYs) are now starting to show-up, so we’ll start fishing with those.

Question: How quickly can you get a limit of red snapper that will weigh 8 pounds or more?
Day: We’ve run a number of 6-hour trips. After everyone onboard has caught a limit of snapper, we’ll put-down two-hook rigs to catch triggerfish and vermilion snapper. The triggerfish and the vermilion snapper are holding on the same spots as the American red snapper. BOrange Beach chartersut the triggerfish have to be at least 14-inches long to the forks of their tails, which is a good-sized triggerfish. A number of triggerfish are concentrated in the area, and we expect to catch plenty of them. When we use two-hook rigs and smaller baits, we tend to catch less snapper. We’ll use a No. 2/0 J hook to catch the triggerfish and the vermilion snapper.

Question: What size vermilion snapper do you catch?
Day: The vermilion snapper will be from 11- to 15-inches long. If we go further out than a 6-hour trip, we can get into some of the bigger vermilion snapper that will be 23-inches long. We generally catch those magnum-sized snapper on our 10- and 12-hour trips.

Question: Have you run any 10- or 12-hour trips this summer?
Day: Yes, we did some 10-hour trips just before red snapper season started and caught some big amberjacks and big vermilion snapper. On opening day of red snapper season, we also did a 10-hour trip and caught some big red snapper, a cobia, a number of triggerfish and three king mackerel, with one of those king mackerel weighing 30 pounds.

Question: Tell us about the cobia you’ve caught.
Day: Here at Orange Beach, we primarily sight-fish for cobia. However, not all the cobia are on top of the water, running near shore. Cobia also will hold out on the reefs. We stopped at an artificial reef to let-down our live baits to catch snapper. One of my fishermen had just dropped-down his live bait, when we saw the cobia. I told the angler not to let his bait all the way down, but to just let it down in front of the cobia. When the cobia saw the bait, it took it. That cobia weighed 35 to 40 pounds.

Question: What’s the biggest red snapper you’ve heard of being landed at Orange Beach so far this year?
Day: I’ve heard of a 26 pounder that came to the dock, which is a huge red snapper.

To fish with Captain Chip Day on the charter boat “Chippers Clipper,” call him at 251-952-8247, or visit www.chippersclipper.com. For more information about fishing guides and charter boats, lodging accommodations, restaurants and entertainment on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, call 800-745-SAND (7263), or visit www.orangebeach.com. To have your delicious catch prepared at area restaurants, go to www.alabamasnaturalcoast.net/dining-nightlife/restaurants, and check the box at the top of the page that says, “Will cook your catch.”

Snapper Court Bouillon

This delicious recipe is one many Alabama Gulf Coast anglers enjoy and can be used to prepare any kind of snapper.
Orange Beach charters
Ingredients:
1 pound snapper cut into small chunks
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 bell pepper, chopped (red or green)
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken or fish broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-cup flour + 2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 teaspoons Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning

Preparation:
In a cast iron pan or other skillet, sauté the onion, celery and bell pepper in 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat, until onions are soft. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour and sauté for an additional minute or two. Add the tomatoes, broth and garlic and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add more broth as necessary to keep mixture fluid. Combine the remaining flour and 2 teaspoons seasoning. Coat the fish in the flour mixture. (You can put the flour mixture in a brown grocery bag and put the fish pieces in a few at a time, giving the bag a good shake). Heat about 1/4-cup oil in a pan, and pan-fry the fish on both sides until just cooked. Place the fish in the court bouillon, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.

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