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May Bottom Fishing for Alabama's Grouper, Scamp and All Types of Snapper with Captain Dewitt Sightler of the "C-Rose"

By: John Phillips

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Editor’s Note: Captain Dewitt Sightler of the “C-Rose,” docks at Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama.

I’d like to fish 12 months a year, but right now I’m primarily fishing about 6 months of the year through the spring, summer and early fall. Our specialty is bottom fishing. We catch numbers of snapper, grouper, scamp, vermilion snapper, yellow snapper and Orange Beach fishingmangrove snapper. Last year, we had an outstanding year for catching scamp, a type of grouper. I expect this year we’ll catch as many, if not more, scamp than we did last year. Grouper season is in now and possibly will continue through the fall.

Also, this year we should catch some really-huge red snapper, once it starts in June 1 at 12:01 a.m. and will continue through August 15 at 12:01 a.m. We caught some big red snapper last year, and this year I’m expecting the average snapper we keep will weigh 10-15 pounds. Many of the Alabama Gulf Coast boats are already filling-up with reservations for snapper season. Don’t get me wrong – we can catch all kinds of snapper all year long, and they’re delicious to eat. However, we only can keep red snapper during the season. The limit on red snapper is two per person, per day.

I’m often asked, “What’s the biggest snapper ever caught on your boat?” I had another captain running my boat one day, and he brought in a 39-pound red snapper. Here in Orange Beach, we really have some big fish, especially red snapper. One of the reasons there are so many red snapper on the Alabama Gulf Coast is because we’ve built so-many artificial reefs. Fishermen in Alabama begaOrange Beach fishingn building reefs in the 1950s and 1960s, so this area has a tradition of more than 50 years of reef building. Today, we have one of the largest artificial reef-building programs in the nation. Not only snapper, but triggerfish, amberjacks, grouper, king mackerel and a wide variety of other fish have made those reefs their homes. Last year, we only were permitted to catch and keep red snapper for 65 days. In the past, we caught snapper all year long. The number of days where anglers can keep snapper has been greatly reduced, which means the snapper live longer and grow bigger. Right now, we’ve got more snapper off Alabama’s Gulf Coast to be caught than we have days to fish for and catch them.

Some Memorable Fishing Trips:
I’ve been fishing out of Orange Beach since 1979. A couple of years ago, we had a 2-day trip I’ll never forget. Apparently all the stars had aligned, because we had one of the biggest catches ever, including amberjacks, snapper, triggerfish, grouper, scamp, wahoo and king mackerel. We caught at least one of just about every fish that swam and was legal to catch, take and eat.

On another trip, we caught a 280-pound blue marlin. A lot of visitors who come to Orange Beach don’t realize that we also have some of the finest marlin fishing in the nation, and we don’t have to run a long way to get to the blue water where the marlin swim. So, y’all come down and go fishing with us. We’ll have a good time and try to catch a wide variety of fish.

To contact Captain Dewitt Sightler, call (850) 587-4000 or (850) 572-3106, or visit www.crosecharters.com.

DoDiYos’ Connie Kanakis Snapper:

Though only a year old, DoDiYos Restaurant in Homewood, near Birmingham, Alabama, is already well-known, and this snapper dish, developed by George Sarris, Dean Robb and Connie Kanakis, three of Birmingham’s most-famous chefs and restaurateurs, represents the fine cuisine at DoDiYos.

Ingredients:Orange Beach fishing
4 (7-ounce) snapper fillets
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3-cup fine breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4-pound clarified butter
1 lemon

Preheat heavy metal pan with clarified butter until bubbling. Place snapper fillets skin-side-up into hot pan, and cook until golden brown. Preheat oven on broil. Turn over snapper fillets, and sprinkle with Parmesan-breadcrumbs mixture. Place in oven for 3-5 minutes (depending on thickness of fillets) or until breadcrumb mixture is brown. If fish is not done, heat oven to 350, degrees and return to oven until snapper is flaky and finished. Finish with a squeeze of lemon.


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