Red snapper season is over — what a joke

For the time being, the recreational red snapper season is closed in federal wat

The recreational red snapper fishing season is closed once again after a grueling nine days – most of which were too rough for many boats to go offshore. But we did get a huge break. Out of the goodness of their heart NOAA Fisheries extended the season an extra two days because of the lack of fishing opportunity we had due to Tropical Storm Colin. They are so nice, and so out of contact with the real world.

“The private angler component's federal-water fishing season was scheduled to close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) Friday June 10, 2016,” announced Kim Amendola with NOAA. “NOAA Fisheries is extending the federal season for two additional days; the private angler red snapper federal season will close at 12:01 a.m. (local time) Sunday, June 12, 2016. This extension is in response to requests the agency received from concerned anglers.”

Based on the reports I’ve had over the past few days fishermen that made the run offshore saw more snapper than ever before. One group of fishermen said they had a huge school of snapper come up to the surface. They hand fed those. Needless to say catching a whopping two fish limit of snapper in federal waters was a no-brainer.

But thanks to NOAA the recreational season is now closed. However, the federal season for the federally permitted for-hire boats will be open for another few weeks. And the commercial red snapper season runs year-round using its privatized catch share system. Oh my gosh, what would we do without NOAA’s “expert” management of red snapper in federal waters?

Don’t forget that state waters out to 9 nautical miles remain open for snapper fishing year round with a four fish per day limit.

$1 million artificial reef will be the largest ever built in Texas

The Coastal Conservation Association is partnering with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to create the largest artificial reef ever placed in Texas waters. The 381-acre reef will be positioned six miles offshore from the Port O’Connor jetties and Matagorda Island.

The structure, which will be called the Keeping it Wild Reef, will be the largest yet permitted in Texas, about twice as big as any currently in place. It will be constructed in waters 66-70 feet deep.

 The reef will consist of 500 concrete pyramid structures. It’s expected to be under construction by the end of 2016, with placement of the structures occurring in 2017.

Artificial reefs not only enhance fishery resources but also fishing and diving opportunities off Texas.

Private dollars raised by CCA’s Building Conservation Trust and donated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation will be leveraged with state dollars from the department’s Texas Artificial Reef Program and funds from Shell Oil.

An interesting feature of the new Keeping it Wild Reef site is that two derelict petroleum platforms are within its 381-acre footprint, making them ideal candidates for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Rigs-to-Reefs program. This program re-purposes old oil rigs, creating marine habitat as well as saving significant dollars from the cost to remove them. TPWD officials are currently working with the Texas General Land Office on plans to convert the two platforms into reefs in the future, which will further enhance the site.

Baby blackbirds lead angler to Bassmaster win

 Tennessee angler Skylar Hamilton won a recent Bassmaster tourney on the Arkansas River by the slimmest margin possible.

 The 21-year-old Douglas Lake guide bested the second place angler by 1 ounce to win the contest.

 After catching a 19-pound, 4-ounce limit Friday, Hamilton found the fishing tougher in his primary area the following day.

His go-to spot was a backwater area where he flipped to reeds. The area featured baby blackbirds falling in the water and a mayfly hatch, which triggered bluegill into eating the insects and bass feeding on the sunfish.

Hamilton spent all three days flipping a Texas rigged Berkley Havoc Pit Boss in the Okeechobee craw color with a 1/4-ounce weight and a 4/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flipping Hook.