Charter fishermen are rounding up a few more red snapper before our season ends Wednesday. Our federally permitted charter boats are categorized into a separate sector of recreational anglers. We are considered for-hire vessels. All federally permitted charter boats must release red snapper after this deadline, even though we have recreational anglers on board. Weekends will remain open until Labor Day for recreational anglers on private boats not for hire. It’s a bit confusing for potential clients inquiring about a weekend snapper trip. Everything they’ve been seeing and reading doesn’t really touch this topic. Hopefully the new laws will be fine-tuned to appease all recreational interests. During my 35 years in the charter business, I’ve never seen so many red snapper in our shallow depths. Their presence is even greater in the deeper waters of the gulf. Weekend recreational anglers can find larger schools west of the 50-mile mark. They’re eager to grab a baited hook. These schools have taken over certain areas, moving the grouper out of their normal residences. Several spots, once abundant with grouper, are now void, since the residence of these massive schools of snapper. I think there’s not enough food source for all, so the grouper move on.
Dave Mistretta captains Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.