It began with protest and turned into the one of the longest red snapper fishing season for private anglers in recent memory. It will end at 11:59 p.m. Monday.
These guys couldn’t be happier with their last snapper trip of the season, “I love to eat the snapper. I love the opportunity to catch em,” says Clark Gerken from Daphne.
That opportunity was hard fought this season after federal officials announced a three-day federal season for recreational anglers, the shortest in history. The subsequent uproar from state officials in all five Gulf states resulted in the extension of the season to 39 weekend days plus two holidays. “I’m sure a lot goes into the management of the fishery,” says Gerken, “I’m just happy to be able to have the chance to keep some.”
As the last snapper of the season are iced down for the trip home, thoughts are already about what is to come. “They’re still out there, they’re still biting. There still seems to be plenty of them out there” and the next time anglers can go catch a limit of red snapper. “This will be the last time until we get the dates for next year, hopefully.”
That is one of the questions looming over next season because of this extended season will private anglers even have a season next year? That’s something that will be decided far away from the Gulf of Mexico.