Red snapper weekend is back on

Special to The Log

The on again, off again red snapper weekend is back on and set to go Oct. 27-28.

Under the umbrella of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, the Destin Charter Boat Association will be administering and coordinating the tag program with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and National Marine Fisheries to collect research data of the red snapper stock.

The rodeo was given 400 tags for red snapper to be used the last weekend of the month-long tournament. All rodeo registered boat captains will have a shot at getting their hands on at least four tags. The tags will be grouped in fours and put in a packet and tickets will be drawn lottery style for a packet, at no cost.

Boats can register via email at Destin2000@cox.net or send questions to the same address, according to DCBA president Mike Eller. Fifty percent of the tags will go to charter/party boats and 50 percent to private boats.

Boats can register from 8 a.m. Oct. 20 until 3 p.m. Oct. 25. The drawing will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 25. The drawing will take place at Fisherman's Coop. Telephone and email notifications will be sent out the night of Oct. 25. Tags may be picked up and signed for the night of drawing until 8 p.m., and again from 6 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 26

The FWC sampling of the red snapper will take place at two venues. There will be a station set up at HarborWalk on the outside dock near the Buccaneer pirate ship and the other at Fishing Fleet Marina in the two city transient slips next to the Destin Fire Boat on the west dock. Sampling hours are the same as the rodeo weigh-in times, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Only one person can use a tag per day. If a boat has two people on it, they can only land two snappers. There is no size limit on fish and the tag must be used on the first red snapper landed. Tags expire 7 p.m. on Sunday and the permits become void at that time. Unused tags must be turned in by 7 p.m. Monday at the Co-op to return to FWC.

Angler data must be turned in at time of sampling, according to Eller. All snappers must come to the sampling station otherwise the permit is in non-compliance and subject to illegal possession. Anglers can walk down their fish or come by boat to the sampling stations.

“We are asking for cooperation and patience as we work together with the FWC to put on this event,” Eller said.

The red snapper will not be weighed in at the rodeo or eligible for any prizes, but anglers will be allowed to keep their red snapper after the FWC does their sampling.