Recreational red snapper season re-opens

Recreational red snapper season re-opens

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced that an agreement has been reached with the National Marine Fisheries Service to extend the 2017 recreational red snapper season by 39 weekend days in the Gulf of Mexico for recreational anglers.

Red snapper fishing will reopen for private recreational anglers in the Gulf out to 200 miles every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including Monday and Tuesday of the July Fourth holiday and the Monday of Labor Day. This 39-day season opened June 16. State seasons will run congruently with the federal season.

This action reverses the feds’ recent trend to shorten the federal red snapper season. Most recently, regulators limited snapper fishing to just three days. What was once a six-month season with a four-fish bag limit for recreational anglers was reduced to a historically low three-day season with a two-fish bag limit in 2017. That three-day federal season ran from June 1-3.

“The federal fisheries management system is failing recreational anglers on many levels, and the red snapper is the ‘poster fish’ of the quagmire,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing. “The temporary rule directly addresses this problem, giving recreational anglers an opportunity to enjoy America’s natural resources and giving the Gulf economy a much-needed shot in the arm.

“The new regs would not be possible without the tireless work of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Industry leaders met with Secretary Ross in March, and he listened. We also thank Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), and Congressmen Garret Graves (R-La.) and Austin Scott (R-Ga.) for beginning the conversation with the Trump administration in March regarding the mistreatment of private recreational anglers. The status quo in federal fisheries management driven by radical environmentalists is a manmade fishery management disaster.”

While private recreational anglers – those who purchased a boat, fishing gear, fishing license, fuel, ice, etc. – were limited to a three-day red snapper season in federal waters this year, charter boat operators were granted a 49-day season and commercial fishermen were granted a 365-day season.

“People profiting from our public resources were gifted more access than the American public,” says Angers. “By setting the three-day season, federal fisheries managers essentially told the public the only way they could access this public resource would be to hire a charter boat captain to take them fishing for red snapper in federal waters or to purchase red snapper at the grocery store.”

Orange angler wins Bassmaster tourney on the Sabine River

Carl Svebek started fishing tournaments on Sam Rayburn, and he went on to fish in several major series as an adult. Eight years ago, Svebek stopped fishing professionally. He had lost his title sponsor and was going through a divorce. So he decided to give up the sport and spend more time with his family.

Svebek returned to pro angling 18 months ago and here he is – the winner of a Bassmaster tournament on the Sabine River.

“This is absolutely a dream come true,” he said. “To be able to win this tournament in front of all these people from Orange is really special to me. I’ll never forget it.”

Svebek fished the marshes on the Louisiana side of the Sabine River, about a 20-minute run downriver. He eased into an extremely dense area that was loaded with submerged vegetation.

“There were a lot of lily pads, especially on the shorelines,” he said. “There was milfoil and hydrilla. I was in about a foot and a half of water, and it was clear. That was the key – getting the clean water. There was very little tidal movement in there, and that kind of helped me.”

Svebek said his key bait for the week was a bluegill colored Zoom Super Fluke rigged Texas-style with a Bass Pro Shops XPS EWG hook. He also put a swivel about 1 foot up the line to help keep his line from twisting on the long casts he was making to open pockets inside the foliage.

“I really liked the way the bait worked with the swivel,” he said. “It sounds ridiculous, but it was just enough weight that when it hit, if I paused for a minute, it would give it time to go down. I know I caught two 4-pounders this week on the initial fall. After noon, I would put on a Bass Pro Shops frog. I wouldn’t get many bites doing that, but when I got one, it was a game-changer. The 4-pounder I had today was on that frog.”

The heaviest bass of the tournament weighed 5.15 pounds.

Michael Soliz of Orange won the co-angler division with a three-day total of 19-2.