Despite a resurgence of the red snapper population in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government announced in late April a narrow, 9-day window, for private anglers to catch the prized reef fish.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries branch, the agency in charge of setting limits on red snappers, will give private anglers from June 1, 2016, at 12:01 a.m. to June 10, 2016, at 12:01 a.m. to reel in the popular fish.
The good news for frustrated fishermen is that the NOAA has set the red snapper season for federally permitted for-hire vessels such, as Offshore Big Game Fishing Charters, at 46 days. This means our customers can catch these sought-after deep water fighters from June 1, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. to July 17, 2016 at 12:01 a.m.
The limit for red snappers caught in federal waters, nine miles or more from shore, is two fish per day per person, with a 16-inch total length minimum. Texas and four other Gulf of Mexico states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi — have their own red snapper rules in state waters, that run the nine miles to federal waters. In Texas waters, red snappers can be caught year round with a limit of four fish per day person, and a 15-inch total length minimum. When catching snapper in Texas waters, it is against the law to use any kind of hook other than a circle hook, when using natural bait. Since these fish, however, are usually found at a depth of 120 feet, most of them can be found in the deeper federal waters.
One advantage of using Offshore Big Game Fishing Charters is that our captains have experience with the top spots to bag red snapper. Another advantage is that some of the best red snapper catching grounds are easily reached from Galveston.
According to the NOAA, red snapper has been harvested in the Gulf of Mexico since the 1840s. Interestingly, it was the booming post Word War II shrimp industry that led to a rapid decline in red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, as young red snappers were often scooped up with the shrimp in trawl nets. Red snapper populations went from a spawning rate of just under 45 percent in 1950, to 2.6 percent in 1990. Snapper might have disappeared if that spawn rate continued, but the decline has been reversed to a current spawn rate of 13 percent, half way to the target level of 26 percent.
Even with the extended red snapper season for charter boats, spots will go quickly, so call Offshore Big Game Fishing Charters at (713) 253-3699 today to book your trip.