Two people hold fish after deep sea fishing.

Why I’m Passionate About Deep Sea Fishing

My favorite place in the South is not on land. It is 30 miles south of Orange Beach, Alabama in the Gulf of Mexico. We leave early in the morning, and we don’t see land until the sun comes up. There is nothing like watching the sunrise while heading to our favorite fishing spots.

For me, being out in the open ocean is spiritual and relaxing. There is no cellular service, so it allows me to live in the moment and take everything in without worrying about what is happening on social media. I consider the Gulf of Mexico my happy place and my time to get away from any of my worries.

While fishing is one of my favorite things to do, I am lucky to have a dad who loves it just as much as me and knows so much about fishing. My dad is the reason I love it. He is so selfless and makes sure everyone else catches a fish before he does.

For as long as I can remember, I have been fishing with my dad. My family loves to fish, so I believe it is in our blood. My dad grew up fishing in the same places his whole life, and he has taken me fishing in those places. However, fishing laws are different now. When my dad was growing up, you could fish for snapper any time of the year and catch as many as you wanted.

A group holds their catch of the day after deep sea fishing.

Now the government has stepped in, because they believe several species of fish have been over-fished by recreational and commercial fisherman. These regulations have been implemented and increased over the last 25-30 years. We now have to report how many were caught on our boat and the size of each one. This is to help keep track of the snapper population, which will determine future regulations.

One of the big controversies is recreational fishing versus commercial fishing. It is thought that recreational fishing puts more money into the economy. However, you can’t deny the commercial fisherman’s right to make a living. Every year, we wait to see what the season is going to be.

This year, we could fish three-day weekends beginning June 1, 2019 through July 28, 2019. The 2019 season is based on the quota and size reported in 2018. There is a quota for recreational fishing and for commercial fishing, which are separate quotas. This causes controversy among both types of fishermen. Every year, this controversy is ironed out with science and politics mixed.

To prepare for the season, we get our artificial reef approved by the fishery department. Artificial reefs have to be environmentally-friendly, which includes things such as concrete and steel. After getting it approved, we can take it out in the Gulf of Mexico and mark the spot on the GPS.

Two people hold their catch after deep sea fishing.

We fish for many different species depending on what the season is. However, our favorite thing to fish for is red snapper. We are always there for the opening day of snapper season. It is something that me and my family look forward to each year.

My mom does not go with us every time. If we are going out far, she sometimes gets seasick. However, she still contributes to our fishing trips. She wakes up at the crack of dawn and helps us get everything together that we need for the long day. We load the boat with everything we need, such as tackle, fishing poles, bait, sandwiches and drinks.  

While you can use many different types of bait, we mainly use cigar minnows when fishing for red snapper. Once the boat is ready to go, we don’t waste any time, and we head South into the Gulf. We stay out there from daylight to dark or until we catch our limit.

Many of my friends have been fishing with me and my family, and it is always so much fun. We love taking people out who have never been deep sea fishing.  Deep sea fishing gives me such a high, especially when I catch a big fish. I remember one time I was reeling in a huge red snapper that put up a good fight.

It took me a while to reel it all the way up to the boat. By the time we got a visual on the snapper, we saw something chasing it. My dad started saying “reel faster, a shark is chasing it.” 

I finally got the snapper up to the boat, and I reached out to pull the snapper in. At that moment, the nine-foot bull shark that had been chasing my fish took a huge bite out the snapper, and I had to jerk my snapper out of the shark’s mouth. That day we caught 12 and a half red snappers.

We don’t ever actually fish for sharks, but we do end up catching sharks quite often. One time when a few of my friends came fishing with me, my friend Skyler was so excited about fishing for red snapper. He finally got a bite and started reeling it in.

Skyler and my dad were both holding the rod fighting to reel this fish in the boat. After an hour of reeling the fish in, we saw that it wasn’t a snapper. It was a huge bull shark. Although he was hoping for a red snapper, I think he was happy to tell everyone he caught a 400-pound bull shark. 

Another great memory was the time my dad and I went fishing around the jetties, and we caught a black tip shark. We ended up having a cookout with about 25 friends. It fed everyone, and they all loved the fish. My parents have always enjoyed our friends coming over and cooking for them.

The reason I am so passionate about deep sea fishing is because no matter what we catch, it’s always a good day. I can remember one time when my dad took me and my two best friends, Carlie and Cheldee, out fishing and none of the fish were biting because there were so many dolphins swimming around our boat.

We then decided to jump in with the wild dolphins 30 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico. That was such an amazing experience that I got to share with my favorite people. 

I am extremely lucky to have a dad that knows so much about fishing and is always willing to take me and my friends. Although times have changed over the years of what you can catch, I always look forward to the first day of snapper season. For me, it marks the beginning of summer.


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