Gary Finch Outdoors: Best fish to look for in the spring

Gary Finch Outdoors

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Normally springtime means cobia fishing or at least spending weekends on the water with friends.  While we are all social distancing, some of you may still be able to go out and spend quality time with your family on the boat.  Beside cobia, another great fish to look for right now is the scamp grouper.

(Gary V/O) Bottom fishermen all have favorites when seeking fish.  The red snapper reigns supreme as a species most targeted.  It is plentiful, fun to catch and delicious.  But knowledgeable fishermen will push it aside when they see that big mouth, brown mottled fish with streamers on its tail.

They know this is a diamond in the rough.  The scamp is a highly prized listing on any seafood menu and its demand will be reflected in the price. 

The scamp is most commonly found in the 14-16 inch range and weighing around five pounds.  The scamp is more prominent in the eastern Gulf, closer to Florida where they hold over the larger reef type bottoms.  Scamp are usually caught while fishing for snapper or other wreck dwelling fish.  They are part of the grouper family and their drab marking may cause them to be mistaken or incorrectly identified as a gag grouper.  Two characteristics that help identify a scamp are a predominant lobe on its middle gill plate and the ragged streamer like lobes that also extend off the tail of the fish.   

While both the gag grouper and the scamp are excellent food fish, it’s still the name scamp that gets most of the attention at the dinner table.

Hopefully we will all be back out on the water together very soon. Stay well and keep distancing! 

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