Editor’s Note: Captain Butch Tucker of “Zeke’s Lady” charter boat, docked at Zeke’s Landing Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, runs a 6-hour trip in the morning and a 4-hour trip in the afternoon, during the summer months. Even if you can’t charter a boat on your own, you can go out on a head boat like “Zeke’s Lady” with other anglers and catch plenty of fish.





Question: Butch, what will snapper fishing be like in August?
Tucker: Red snapper are the easiest fish to
catch. So, when we get our limit of two snapper per person per day until the season closes on August 4, we try to catch everything but red snapper. We catch three or four species of other types of snapper, as well as grouper, scamp and amberjacks.

Question: How will you find those fish this month?
Tucker: I’ll be fishing natural bottom and large underwater wrecks.

Question: What did you catch in July?
Tucker: We caught large numbers of red snapper. In August, we’ll catch even more red snapper, but we’ll have to release them. Red snapper are taking over the Gulf of Mexico. One boat went out to 199-foot-deep water, and 20 feet under the boat, they were catching red snapper. This incident reveals how many red snapper are in the Gulf of Mexico right now. We’ve still got many-other varieties of snapper we can catch this month along with grouper, amberjacks and scamp. King mackerel will be found in Gulf waters in August as well. When we’re fishing for snapper other than red snapper, we’ll fish with two hooks instead of one and use smaller baits. When we’re fishing for grouper or scamp, we’ll use bigger live bait.

Question: When you’re fishing for grouper and scamp with live bait, how long is the leader you use?
Tucker: As short as 18 inches or as long as 8 feet. The type of wreck or reef we’re fishing usually determines the length of the leader we’ll use.

Question: How do you get the grouper off the bottom once you hook it, Butch?
Tucker: You reel the handle forward as quickly as possible to get a grouper out of its hole and toward the surface quickly.

Question: What size king mackerel will you be catching in August?
Tucker: We’ll be catching what I call “schooling kings” that will weigh from 12- to 20-pounds each. As the weather cools down, larger king mackerel will move in, and we’ll catch kings that weigh 40 pounds or more.

Question: If someone wants to catch a king mackerel on your boat, how do they do it?
Tucker: They’ll fish with a spinning reel and a hook with no lead and cast out a live bait or a whole dead cigar minnow on a drift line. King mackerel often swarm over the bigger wrecks and reefs, since there’s plenty of bait there for them to eat.

Question: What sizes of snapper are you catching right now?
Tucker: We’re catching really-big snapper. During one 4-hour afternoon trip, we caught a 22-1/2- and a 21-pound red snapper. So, there are plenty of snapper waiting to be caught. The big snapper are always on Alabama’s wrecks and reefs. The problem is getting our bait through the small snapper and down to the larger snapper. There are so many red snapper on Alabama’s reefs in August that they’re like a pack of wild dogs waiting on a biscuit. When you throw a biscuit out there, one of the snapper will grab it.

Question: How deep was the water where you caught those big, 20-pound-plus snapper?
Tucker: I was in 45 feet of water, fishing over an artificial reef. I got one report of a boat out fishing last week that stopped in 150 feet of water over an artificial reef. Before the passengers could get their baits in the water, red snapper began swimming around their boat looking for food.

Question: If someone wants to go fishing with you, how do they contact you?
Tucker: They can call me at (850) 380-3321. When snapper season closes, we’ll start running 8-hour trips in addition to our 4- and 6-hour trips. One 4-hour trip is $75-per-adult and $45 for children and riders. A 6-hour trip is $95 for adults and $65 for children and riders. This price includes your Red Snapper World Championship tournament ticket, if you’re fishing the very first of the month while the tournament continues. Out of the top-20 red snapper caught in this Championship, two of the red snapper were caught on our boat by clients on one of these trips.