If you didn’t get a chance to fish for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico this summer, you have another shot this fall. The season reopened Oct. 1 in state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
In state waters, which run out to nine miles offshore, anglers can fish through Oct. 21. In federal waters, which run from nine to 200 miles, anglers can fish through Oct. 14. This supplemental red snapper season is set for 2013 only.
The minimum size limit in state and federal waters is 16 inches, and the daily bag limit is two per harvester, per day. There is a zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.
Anglers are required to use circle hooks and dehooking devices when fishing for any reef species, including red snapper, in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters. The requirement to use venting tools in federal waters was removed on Sept. 3.
Red snapper is widely viewed as a conservation success story. The species was once on the verge of collapse in the early 1990s until marine biologists discovered that millions of juvenile red snapper died each year in shrimp trawls.
Bycatch reduction devices on shrimp nets have helped rebuild the stocks, and now red snapper are common offshore, especially off the coast of Tampa Bay.