Red snapper season opens for an 82-day run

Offshore fishing has been great lately.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s a fact: The red snapper season is now open and it’s supposedly going to run for 82 days. But since we are dealing with the National Marine Fisheries Service, anything is possible.

The private recreational angler red snapper season in federal water opened June 1 for a projected 82 days. Red snapper fishing is open year-round in state waters. Bag and size limits will remain unchanged; two fish per person daily with a 16-inch minimum size limit in federal waters, and four fish per person daily with a 15-inch minimum in state waters.

Under an agreement between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the NMFS that was signed in April, TPWD can establish the opening and closing of the red snapper fishery in federal waters off the Texas coast for private recreational anglers fishing from their own vessels in 2018 and 2019.

The federally permitted for-hire sector, which allows recreational anglers to fish from charter boats or head boats, will remain in its current management structure set by the federal government. The federally permitted for-hire sector’s red snapper season will begin June 1, 2018 and last 51 days.

As part of this agreement, also known as an Exempted Fishing Permit, Texas must close the fishery when the state’s allotted poundage is reached. The red snapper season can also be closed in Texas waters if the Gulf-wide Total Allowable Catch is exceeded. TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division will be closely monitoring this fishery throughout the season and will close it when appropriate. The public will be notified of any closings through TPWD’s website, social media accounts and news releases.

You can help TPWD better manage this resource by downloading the iSnapper app on your smart phone and reporting your red snapper landings.

If you make a run for snapper, don’t forget that there are lots of king fish to be caught. Also, the new daily limit has been upped from two to three.

Capt. Bill Platt fishes out of Galveston and on over toward Sabine. He says the bite has been very good. He’s running out anywhere from 40 to 60 miles, and bump trolling live hardtails at various depths.

“We’re using Sabiki jigs to load up with hardtails from around rigs on the way out,” says Platt. “You can catch a boat load of kings on drifted dead baits like pogies and ribbon fish, but those are going to be on the small side. The heavier kings, 35 to 45 pounds, are going to be out at 40 to 60 miles. The No. 1 bait for them is definitely a live hardtail about 8 to 10 inches long. The best way to fish them is to bump troll. That’s pretty much the drill for the next few months.”

Giant snake hitches a ride in a vehicle

Game wardens got an unusual request for assistance recently when an employee at a business next to their office stopped in to ask for help removing a large snake from the engine compartment of his vehicle. The man was unsure of the species and reluctant to attempt removal. The wardens assisted in untangling a six-foot rat snake that had wrapped itself around the engine parts. The vehicle’s owner believes the snake may have hitched a ride earlier in the week while he was parked at a farm.

Drug violator with dead deer runs into game wardens

An East Texas game warden got a tip about two deer that were potentially poached out of season. The warden contacted a known drug violator at his residence. Immediately upon contact, they caught a strong odor of rotting meat coming from an ice chest in the backyard. After numerous knocks at the door, the officers got the man to come outside, and asked about the contents of the ice chest. The subject admitted he and his roommate shot two deer and had forgot about part of the meat in the ice chest. The subjects later showed the warden where they had shot the deer. Charges were filed and the case is still under investigation for possible hunting without landowner consent.

Tournament bass angler gets arrested for fraud

Game wardens investigating possible bass fishing tournament fraud in Travis and Bastrop counties discovered a unique sleight of hand while checking the potential violator after he had submitted questionable photos to a tournament on Decker Lake. The catch and release kayak fishing event used photos taken by contestants out on the water of their catches placed on a measuring board, with the angler having the most inches of bass in the aggregate declared the winner. Upon inspection of the violator’s vessel, a cut tail of a bass was found in the paddle well of the kayak. The man initially said he found the cut tail in the reeds and was taking it to shore to turn it in. Later the man said he used the tail to place over another bass, using his hand to cover the questionable area, to make the fish look longer on multiple occasions. The violator was arrested for fraud in a fishing tournament.