Red Snapper are one of the most sought after fish to target along the Gulf Coast and for good reason; they are a beautiful fish that fights hard and they are delicious! Snapper are commonly found on natural and artificial reefs throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Southern part of the Atlantic in anywhere from 30ft. to 600ft. of water. They can live to about 50 years old and are fast maturing. The larger females produce far more eggs than the smaller ones, as much as 200 times more. The females are generally larger and more round while the males will be just the opposite and have a slight brown color around the gills and under the jaw. They have large canine style teeth which is why they are called Snapper and eat primarily other fish, crabs, squid and shrimp. Snapper spawn each year between May and October, depending where they are located.
In 1988 an assessment was conducted and it was determined Snapper were overfished. This was due to years of commercial fishing and a sport fishery that gained popularity. Regulations were put into place such as seasons and shrimp trawlers had to install devices to limit their bycatch of Red Snapper. Through management the fishery is no longer considered overfished and is now classified as rebuilding.
The Gulf of Mexico Snapper season for 2022 begins June 17th and closes on July 31st. The season will be open again during the following weekends in the fall:
Oct. 8-9 (Sat. & Sun)
Oct. 15-16 (Sat. & Sun)
Oct. 22-23 (Sat. & Sun)
Nov. 11-13 (Fri., Sat. & Sun – Veterans Day weekend)
Nov. 25-27 (Fri., Sat. & Sun – Thanksgiving weekend)
The daily catch limit is 2 Snapper per person that are 16″ or larger.