SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — The time to catch red snapper is almost over.
At least the federally-regulated catching season ends tomorrow and anglers are encouraged to get their fill from those waters before then.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced in April this year’s season based on scientific studies of the Gulf and past catches of red snapper – a highly-prized fish across the region.
The federal season began June 1, running nine days for private recreational fishing and 46 days for hired charter boats, making charters on South Padre Island main destinations for fishing.
This year, anglers were allowed to catch two per trip measuring at least 16 inches long.
However, some experienced fishermen say they don’t take anything less than 20 inches.
There is a stark difference between federal waters and state waters. In short, state waters begin at the shore and end about 9 miles out. Anything beyond that is federal water.
Angler’s red snapper requirements are different in state waters.
In Texas, fishermen catch red snapper all year long. In those state waters, anglers are allowed to catch four snapper per trip at the legal size limit.
However, Kyle Grayson with Captain Murphy’s Fishing Charters and Cruises on South Padre Island, said the fishing is better in federal waters where the fish are bigger.
“The season was a little slow in terms of people going fishing. But in terms of catching fish, it went extremely well. Our boats caught a lot of fish,” Grayson said.
To understand why the federal government has put such regulations on red snapper in federal waters, one has to understand the history.
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