May 28, 2019
Just like last week’s Gag Grouper post, the FishAnywhere team is equally excited about Red Snapper season. Since FishAnywhere.com is headquartered in Central Florida, we have to wait until Florida’s Red Snapper season opens June 11 to start catching Reds in the Gulf of Mexico. *Other Gulf Coast states have different opening dates since NOAA Fisheries issued exempted fishing permits for 2018 and 2019 to each Gulf Coast state; Federal season for Red Snapper opens June 1, 2019 until August 1, 2019.
When planning your Red Snapper fishing charter, it’s important to book with a FishAnywhere Professional Fishing Guide who understands all the regulations. Before we get started on the fun part, let’s take a quick run-down of your Gulf Coast state’s Red Snapper Season regulations so you know WHEN to book your Red Snapper fishing trip:
Alabama: Weekends Only (allowed on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) from June 1-July 28 (includes Independence Day on Thursday, July 4). Daily Bag/Size Limit: 2 per person; 16” minimum length.
Florida: Open seven days a week in Gulf state and federal waters from June 11-July 12; with possible reopening in fall if quota is available. Daily Bag/Size Limit: 2 per person; 16” minimum length.
Louisiana: Weekends Only (allowed on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) starting May 24 (includes Memorial Day on Monday, May 27 and Independence Day on Thursday, July 4). The season will remain open until quota is met (19.1 percent or 816,439lbs. of the population). Daily Bag/Size Limit: 2 per person; 16” minimum length.
Mississippi: Open seven days a week from May 24-September 2 with a mid-season closure from July 8-28 to help ensure the state’s annual quota is not met before Labor Day. Daily Bag/Size Limit: 2 per person; 16” minimum length.
Texas: Open year-round in state waters. Daily Bag/Size Limit: 4 per person; 15” minimum length.
Federal Waters: Red Snapper is managed by the Gulf Coast states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas) within 3-9 miles off the coast. Anything beyond 9 miles off the coast is considered federal waters. The federal season for Red Snapper is June 1-August 2. Daily Bag/Size Limit: 2 per person; 16” minimum length.
Now that we’ve discussed when to fish for Red Snapper, let’s focus on getting them in the boat. We recommend booking with a FishAnywhere Professional Charter Captain or Fishing Guide, as they’ll know all the tips of the trade, but here’s a good start for your Red Snapper fishing trip:
First ingredient is knowing where to find the fish. Red Snappers are bottom dwellers and inhabit anywhere from 30-200ft deep. Start your Red Snapper fishing trip near reefs, wrecks, and other deep-water structures. Especially in the Florida Panhandle where there are plenty of nearshore (30 feet) structures – you don’t always need to go offshore fishing for Red Snapper. Look for them on any underwater structure: natural reefs, artificial reefs, rocks, ledges, wrecks, oil platforms – and once you find one Red Snapper, you’re sure to find another!
Second ingredient is your bait. For us, live bait works best for catching Red Snapper; such as large Sardines, Pinfish, or Mullet. Dead bait of these can also work, as well as squid. Most anglers use natural baits when fishing Red Snapper, but some artificial lures can also do the trick. These include vertical jigs and soft plastics that mimic fish and look like an injured bait fish on the bottom. The trick is in the subtlety – making the lure look as natural as dead bait would look, enticing the fish to the hook.
Third and final ingredient for a successful Red Snapper fishing charter is your gear, or tackle. Red Snapper tend to be strong fighters: they make one strong pull once the hook is set and continue with violent tugs and pulls while you reel them in. Spinning and bottom fishing are two popular techniques for anglers fishing Red Snapper. Offshore trips tend to use 60- to 80- pound test line to support the weight needed to hold your bait down, while inshore or nearshore (with shallow water) fishing trips use medium tackle of 20- to 30- pound test line. We find that heavy gear is best; but check with your FishAnywhere Professional Charter Captain or Fishing Guide for their recommendation.
Fishing for Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico is a great way to spend your day! Both novice and advanced skill anglers travel the Gulf Coast in search of this prized catch (the average Red Snapper grows to about 25 pounds). They are fun to catch and fun to eat! Whether you’re in Galveston, Texas; Gulf Shores, Alabama; or Tampa, Florida – get your Red Snapper fishing charter booked today with FishAnywhere.com!
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