Salt E News

Photo of the Week is SNOOK

This week we are looking for SNOOK pictures for Photo of the Week.
Submit yours to win by February 20th!

Did you know that SNOOK SEASON is just about to open back up?


Snook reopens in Gulf state waters March 1

The recreational harvest season for one of Florida’s premier fish  ̶  snook  ̶ reopens on March 1 in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state and adjacent federal waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County. The season will remain open through April 30.

In the Gulf, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 33 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license unless exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook.

It is illegal to buy or sell snook. <READ MORE>

Pan Seared Hogfish and Beet Stack Salad

Pan Seared Hogfish and Beet Stack Salad

Hog Snapper, with its delicate texture, mild flavor and slightly sweet undertones is, imho, best served with as little preparatory competition as possible. For my money, it is all too easy to lose the fish in the prep if you are not careful. Simply prepared, Hogfish pairs well with a wide range of “stouter” dishes. All that in mind, I have opted to pan sear the fish using a straightforward compound butter, pairing with a beet salad that brings extra sweetness, tang & herbs to the table.


Recipe Ingredients

The Beet Stack

1 large red beet
1 large golden beet
1 tbsp minced shallot
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 dash of teaspoon black pepper
1 tbsp walnut oil
4 oz herbed goat cheese (chevre)
2 tablespoons salted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 oz mâche rosettes (what the heck is this?) See Here

The Hog Snapper

12oz – 16oz – Hogfish Fillets
2 tbsp compound butter


Meal Preparation

We’ll start with the side dish as it is significantly more time intensive and complex than the fish itself to prepare.


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Trim and wash the beets. Double wrap the beets, separately, in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour & 20 minutes.

Prepare the dressing. Combine and whisked the minced shallot, lemon juice, pepper and walnut oil. 



Remove the beets from the oven. Let cool until they are easy to handle. Remove skin and slice, whole, in 1/2″ thick sections.

Begin each stack with the beet of your choice. apply a dollop of the chevre, spreading to cover the entire section. Add beet #2 (alternate the colors) and repeat the chevre. Also, add a sprinkle of pistachios to this section. Place the last section (again, alternate the color).



Plate the stack. Drizzle dressing on the plate and sprinkle pistachios over the dressing. Top the stack with the mache and you are ready to move onto the fish.



Let’s make a little compound butter. It’s so easy! Soften a stick of butter and add in the herbs and spices of your choice. Easy does it. A little goes a long way.



Clean up a couple of nice looking Hogfish filets.



Rub some butter (1 tbsp total) on one side of the fillets.



Heat the rest of the butter in an iron skillet, add the fish, unbuttered side down and sear for 3-4 minutes. Flip the fillets, cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through. Hogfish is a tender cut so, don’t over cook it.

Remove from the skillet, plate with the beet salad and it’s off to the dining room table. 


This meal served for Valentine’s Day Dinner at our house this year and was a big hit.

Bon appetit & tight lines.


The Hunt for Grunt is On this March


The Great American Grunt Hunt is in its sixth year! The Old Salt is proud to announce that we are once again sanctioning this event, which means it has our official seal of approval.  This crazy and fun for everyone fishing tournament is so fitting for Madeira Beach.  Every year we look forward to grabbing our rods, gear and friends to hunt down the elusive white GRUNT (Haemulon plumieri) The objective, to claim a win with the biggest overall and/or the heaviest of a 3 grunt aggregate.  

13226860_617334498420824_4624084615969475465_nLast year first place went to Brian Hansen with a 2.04 lb fish and took home $500. The aggregate winner was also Brian Hansen with 4.9 lbs total and won $750, making his fish worth $1,250!  I think that is around $255 per pound!   HOGFISH is a second species to fish for for an additional fee. Hugh Hall took 1st for this last year with a 5.94 lb fish that won him $1,412.50.

White Grunt is plentiful and usually known as a throw back fish or bait in some cases.  Their body color is a light bluish-gray, the head has horizontal blue stripes and they have a white underbelly. The average size is 1.5 lbs but we have weighed in many over 3lbs over the years. Their habitat is from the short to the outer reef edge or on offshore hard bottom to 115 feet; most abundant in water less than 80 feet deep. They are a relatively easy catch and can be caught jigging on a sabiki rig.

Early entry fee is only $30 and adding on Hogfish is $25. There is $3,500 in prizes money with up to 15 paid places for Grunt.  The hogfish division pays back based on entries with a 50 – 30 – 20% split. Hogfish is an alternate fish in this tournament. Hogfish have become extremely popular to catch, they used to be more elusive and not a common catch, especially hook and line.  Hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus) are a reef species that inhabit rocky bottoms, ledges and reefs throughout Florida’s off-shore waters. They are easily identified by their long, hog-like snout, which allows them to feed on bottom-dwelling mollusks and crustaceans. To learn more about Hogfish read our Hogfish Hacks – CLICK HERE.
This year the event is March 23rd & 25th, 2017 and will be held at the Madeira Beach Municipal Marina once again.  The staff is looking forward to another fun event.  People of all ages love this event! You can fish from land, docks, piers, inshore or offshore.  The Marina is once again making this event an community event with a fish fry.  We take all the grunt caught that day, fillet it up fresh, batter it, cook it and of course EAT IT!  Last year we packed the tent and invite the entire community to come enjoy it.So save the date for this fun event! Come on down to the Captain’s Party and the weigh in even if you aren’t fishing and enjoy a “old school” Florida style event.  For more information and to register to fish the tournament – CLICK HERE Last years results:GRUNT
1 Hansen, Brian  2.04lb  $500.00
2 Burger, Brenda 1.98lb  $400.00
3 St. Hilaire, Maxwell 1.78lb  $325.00
4 Troche, Edgar 1.78lb  $275.00
5 Robertson, Pam 1.76lb  $250.00
6 Vanhooser, Taylor 1.72lb  $200.00
7 Brvenik, David 1.72lb  $175.00
8 Stephens, Rachel 1.72lb  $150.00
9 Miller, Robert 1.70lb  $125.00
10 Wissing, Lola 1.70lb  $100.00
11 Dargie, Greg 1.68lb  $50.00
12 Drake, Caden 1.66lb  $50.00
13 Gerlach, Kip 1.66lb  $50.00
14 Bacheler, Frank 1.64lb  $50.00
15 Fraley, Sam 1.58lb  $50.00

Place Name Hogfish
1 Hall, hugh 5.94lb  $1,412.50
2 Wolf, Ron 5.80lb  $847.50
3 Burks, Branden 4.96lb  $565.00AGGREGATE
1 Hansen, Brian  4.90 total weight  $750.00*There are no ties …. If the fish weighs the same, the person who weighs first wins the high place. So be in the weigh in line early!
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