John's Journal...

Breakdown to Success

The Big Day

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Brian Bracknell of Mobile, Alabama, has fished out of Orange Beach for most of his life. Two years ago, Bracknell got a new boat, the “Crowd Pleezer,” and decided to make charter fishing his primary business. One of Bracknell’s unique characteristics is that he’s learned how to snatch victory out of defeat. In the 2006 Red Snapper World Championship, Bracknell’s never-say-die attitude earned him over $5,000 and enabled one of his anglers to catch the red snapper of a lifetime.

“I had a 12-hour trip scheduled on Sunday during the Red Snapper World Championship,” Bracknell says. “But on Saturday before my Sunday trip, the clutch went out on one of my main engines. I had a party of people coming in to fish during the last days of the Red Snapper World Championship, my boat was broken down and I didn’t have a spare boat, so I called Captain Patrick Ivey on the ‘Intruder.’ Since Ivey didn’t Click to enlargehave a trip that day, he agreed to let me put my captain, deck hand and charter on his boat and fish my people on Sunday. Because his boat’s slower than ours, we didn’t have the range that we’d normally have if we were fishing on the ‘Crowd Pleezer.’ However, if we hadn’t been on Captain Ivey’s boat, we wouldn’t have caught the fish that made the money. If we’d been on the ‘Crowd Pleezer,’ we would’ve gone further offshore and never been at the place where we caught the big snapper. We were fishing in close, and in the middle of the day, we found a spot that didn’t really look that good on the depth finder. I would’ve never believed a snapper this big would’ve been caught on a reef that showed that little amount of structure and fish on my depth finder. Although I can’t say for Click to enlargesure, I would bet that the spot was made of two or three chicken cages wired together or a pyramid of concrete. But whatever it was, it wasn’t a very-big structure.

“The snapper was caught on cut squid, even though we normally use bigger baits when we’re fishing for big snapper. The angler who caught the trophy snapper was Alan Perry of Chunchula, Alabama, which is north of Mobile. The fish he caught weighed just over 30 pounds and placed third in the tournament. That red snapper enabled Alan to not only bring home the biggest red snapper he’d ever caught in his life, but also a third place check worth $10,000. In the Red Snapper World Championship, the boat also receives the same amount of money as the angler who catches the big fish. So, the boat won an additional $10,000. Since we had my captain and deck hand on the boat, and we were running thClick to enlargee trip, we split the prize money of $10,000 between the ‘Intruder’ and the ‘Crowd Pleezer,’ giving each of us an additional $5,000 on that day.

To fish with Captain Brian Bracknell, you can contact him at (251) 471-2868, or (251) 379-8099. You also can write him at Captain Brian Bracknell, 2405 South Vaughan Drive, Mobile, Alabama 36605, email him at or visit his website, To learn more about the Red Snapper World Championship, check out For more information on the Orange Beach area, go to or call the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at (800) 745-7263.

Tomorrow: Six Secrets to Catching Big Red Snapper

Check back each day this week for more about "Breakdown to Success"

Day 1: The Big Day
Day 2: Six Secrets to Catching Big Red Snapper
Day 3: How to Hit the Home Run on a Big Red Snapper
Day 4: Not Just Big Snapper Wins
Day 5: Catching Amberjack with Little Brother


Entry 367, Day 1