The long July 4 weekend, which lasted from the fourth through the seventh, produced varied results on the fishing scene. From most reports, it was evident the best action inshore took place early in the day from before daybreak until around 10 a.m.
Offshore, the time of day did not seem to matter with catches taking place all day.
As conditions improved throughout the holiday weekend, fishing picked up. Saturday and Sunday, offshore seas were typical for this time of year along with light winds and hot temperatures.
Red snapper were the only consistent catch reported for the deep sea boats, and, if anglers were having a problem catching their two-fish limit, it was not from the lack of fish caught but from the size.
In federal waters, the minimum length for a red snapper is 16 inches, which is a nice-sized fish.
Eddie Femster was one of the anglers expressing frustration over not catching any legal-sized snapper. Sunday, he was at the cleaning table at the yacht basin observing others filleting red snapper with a number of large sows in the mix.
One of the anglers cleaning fish asked him where he fished, and he said about 10 or so miles from the jetties. The other person then told him that he was too close in for the larger snapper. Most boats unloading their catch of snapper fished well beyond 10 miles, most in the 30- to 70-miles range.
Inshore anglers seemed to have better luck on speckled trout by fishing late at night under lights. Jackson Hemphill and his son fished near the Texas City Dike early Saturday and did not catch any specks. Then, Saturday night they fished a neighbor’s lighted dock from midnight until 1:30 a.m. and landed eight keeper specks along with at least that many throwbacks.