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Texas Red Snapper
Texas Sporting Journal - July/August 2008

By Kenny Redin
There are still places where a snapper run is possible.

Texas Sporting Journal - July/August
The 3- to 5-foot seas projected a day earlier are turning into 5-to-7s as Captain Randle Hall revs the twin 230-horsepower Yanmar diesels as we clear the Port Mansfield jetties. "It's going to take us about an hour to reach my red snapper fishing grounds," he announces.

That, we all agree, is good news-very good news. Accustomed to riding the waves at least three hours to federal waters to chase a skimpy two-red-snapper-a-day limit, we were braced a long, hard boat ride. Not this time. Hall is determined to show us bona fide state-water Texas red snapper fishing the way it's supposed to be. We are plenty excited about giving it a try.

On the deck of Hall's 31-foot Bertram are TSJ Senior Editor Steve Lightfoot, veteran outdoor television producer David West, Raymond Faulknor of Cabela's and yours truly. Less than an hour later Hall slows the sleek sportfisherman. Like a pilot on final descent Hall surveys the color-streaked screen of his Furuno depth finder, cross-references his compass and GPS unit to factor current and tracking, and places us atop a productive red snapper haunt he has recently discovered. Satisfied our drift is aligned, Hall instructs deckhand Linn Pettibone to ready the baits.

"A bunch at 50! Some more at 65," he calls out, advising that larger snapper tend to be suspended higher off the bottom. All four of us hook up with stout keeper snapper the second our baits hit the bottom. It isn't long before we have eight 20- to 25-inch snapper in the box. During the next hour or so we hoist six or seven more.

Southeast winds begin to churn the Gulf into heaving, 5- to 7-foot swells. Fishing time is running out. Faulknor manages to bring in a nice Atlantic sharpnose shark while Lightfoot pulls up an equally energetic blacktip. Hall wants to make the most of our remaining minutes. "We need one more snapper in the box to fill our state red snapper limit of 16," he says. With a small wager on the next boxed keeper we scramble to catch the last snapper of the day.

Moments later, Lightfoot sets the hook on the biggest snapper of the trip. Halfway up the side of the boat the big, crimson-red sow un-circles the circle hook and takes a nose dive for home. Two more snapper are hauled aboard, one too short and the other a little better than 18 inches. We count the fish again. Three of us count 15 fish in the box and deem it necessary to take one more snapper to fill our four-man limit. Fortunately, Pettibone can cipher. With one keeper fish still flopping on the deck he tallies 16 fish in the box. "Better let that one go," he says. No one wins the bet.

Geaux Deep Charters, Port Mansfield, Texas


I've had the pleasure of fishing aboard the 'Geaux Deep' with Captain Randle Hall and his son and look forward to chance to join'em for kite fishing for sails and dorado

congratz on the article!, Captain Hall

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