John's Journal...


What Scientists Learned in the 2004 Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: During 30 days of fishing in the spring of 2004, more than 8,000 anglers on 95 boats participated in the Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship and caught big snapper with more than 28 of them weighing over 25-pounds each. This year’s Championship will take place April 21 – May 20, 2005 with headquarters at Zeke’s Marina. Total tournament monies will be $500,000 with a $200,000 bonus if a new world ‘s record red snapper is caught, but anglers only will pay $5 per fisherman per day to enter the tournament. All proceeds from the tournament will go to support the building of public reefs and conducting red snapper research. You can buy tickets to participate at Blue Water Ships Stores in Foley, Ala., Outcast Bait and Tackle in Click to enlargePensacola, Fla., and in Orange Beach, Ala. at J&M Tackle, Orange Beach Marina, Outcast Marina, Sam’s Stop & Shop, San Roc Cay Marina, Sportsman Marina, the Rod Room, Top Gun Tackle, Trent Marina and Zeke’s Landing Marina. To learn more about the Championship, visit where you also can see a list of captains and their contact information; or call: (251) 981-8565; the Orange Beach Fishing Association at (251) 981-2300; or the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau ( at (800) 745-SAND.

“In the last 58 years, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has had only eight snapper weighing over 25 pounds in its database to Click to enlargegather information on and study their age and growth,” says Steve Heath, chief marine biologist for Alabama’s Marine Resources Division (AMRD). “In that 30-day period of the Championship, we tripled the size of NMFS’s database on big red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico.” The top-four red snapper weighed more than 30-pounds each, and the fifth-place red snapper weighed 29 pounds, 15 ounces. On the last day of the tournament, an angler took a 33-pound 9-ounce snapper that would have beaten the winning fish, which weighed 32.25 pounds. However, the angler hadn’t bought a $5 entry-fee ticket to enter the tournament and couldn’t receive the $25,000 first-place prize or win the championship.

Click to enlargeBut what tactics and tackle do you need to use to catch one of these giant red snapper? Where do you find them? What kinds of baits do they hit? To learn the answers to these questions, I have interviewed the winning captains and anglers for the 2004 Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship so that you can learn more about how these fish were taken.



Check back each day this week for more about MONSTER HAUL OF RED SNAPPER

Day 1: What Scientists Learned in the 2004 Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship
Day 2: The “Intimidator”
Day 3: The “Hog Wild”
Day 4: The “Therapy”
Day 5: We All Won



Entry 296, Day 1