Recreational red snapper summer season closes Aug. 1 in Gulf state and federal waters

Special to The Log/USA TODAY NETWORK
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The last day to harvest red snapper in Gulf state and federal waters during the summer season for private recreational anglers is July 31.

The season closes Aug. 1, reopening for five fall weekends beginning Oct. 8. 

The current season also applies to for-hire operations that do not have a federal reef fish permit but they are limited to fishing for red snapper in Gulf state waters only. 

Logan Densman, 15, of Texas shows off his huge red snapper he caught while fishing aboard the Rewind with Capt. Reid Phillips earlier this season.

The season for federally permitted for-hire vessels, which is the majority of the Destin charter boat fleet, closes at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 19. 

As for the reopening in the fall for the private recreational anglers, it begins with three weekends in October, Oct. 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23. They will also be able to fish for snapper over Veteran’s Day weekend, Nov. 11-13, and Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 25-27. 

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To learn more about the recreational red snapper season in Gulf state and federal waters, including size and bag limits, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Snappers,” which is under the “Regulations by Species – Reef Fish” tab. You can also find updated Florida saltwater fishing regulations on the Fish Rules app. Learn more at FishRulesApp.com or follow Fish Rules at Instagram.com/FishRulesApp or Facebook.com/FishRulesApp. 

If you plan to fish for red snapper in state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, even if you are exempt from fishing license requirements, you must sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal required). Sign up as a State Reef Fish Angler at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/SRFS. 

State Reef Fish Anglers could receive a questionnaire in the mail regarding their reef fish trips as part of Florida’s State Reef Fish Survey.

These surveys were developed specifically to provide more robust recreational data for management of red snapper and other important reef fish and have allowed the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) the unprecedented opportunity to manage Gulf red snapper in both state and federal waters. If you receive a survey in the mail, please respond whether you fished this season or not. 

When catching red snapper and other deep-water fish, look out for symptoms of barotrauma (injuries caused by a rapid change in pressure) such as the stomach coming out of the mouth, bloated belly, distended intestines and bulging eyes. When releasing fish with barotrauma, use a descending device or venting tool to help them survive and return to depth. Learn more at MyFWC.com/FishHandling. 

This article was provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision.