GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Billy Nobles. Snapper, snapper, snapper ... man, they are everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you are fishing out of a 76-foot Sport fisher or an 8-foot canoe, they are everywhere. I am talking about mangrove, black, mangos, whatever you like to call the tasty creatures, they are here and in force. The way I like to target them is the same whether it’s fishing offshore or in the bay on the shallow water rock piles that litter the bottom. Net up plenty of the maggot baits that we all fuss about being too small. It doen’t matter if they are alive or dead, they’ll eat ’em, but the live baits seems to get them fired up a little quicker.
Anchor up ahead of the structure and chum away, keeping a close lookout as they will come up top most of the time. Free line a live or dead bait back and let it drift with the chum with an open bail, then when the line takes off, hit him. Our trips have been catching their limit in well under an hour in the bay with most fish weighing in at 2-3 pounds with the occasional 5-pounder. If you go out in the Gulf, the 5-pounders will be the smaller ones with my personal largest caught with Captain Glen Taylor at 101⁄2 pounds. On light tackle, these fish are awesome fighters and great on the table. There are also plenty of trout around, and it looks like the segue to a great fall season as we are getting plenty of fish up to 18 inches. Snook season opens up Sunday, so I guess it’s time for a snook dinner. I don’t think the snook are ready, so I’ll be putting mine back in the water. I have heard several fishermen — professional and amateur alike — say they are going to do the same thing. Catch Billy Nobles and Mike Anderson on the “Reel Animals Fishing Show” on Saturdays from 6:30-7 a.m. on WFLA, Ch. 8, and from 6-9 a.m. on 970 AM, and on Sundays from 7-9 a.m. on 620 AM. To book a charter, call 1-866-GAMEFISH or visit www.reelanimalsfishingshow.com.