By Cali Hlavac
As we ease into summer and reopening our economy, vacationers are hitting the area by the droves – and we are so thankful to have them back! While fishing was deemed an essential activity, without the support of tourism, a lot of charter boat captains found themselves struggling. A lot are finally back on the water, just in time for coveted Red Snapper season.
Red Snapper season is open for Federally licensed charters from June 1-August 1, with open season for recreational fishing and state licensed charters following close behind from June 11-July 25. There is a two-per person limit, with 16” minimum size for all waters.
If you’re wondering why Red Snapper is a highly sought-after fish, we found that the taste is what draws people in. The white meat is lean and has a gentle, sweet, nutty flavor with a firm texture. Whether baked, broiled, grilled or fried, this mild-flavored fish always delivers a great taste while also being a very healthy food source. Four ounces of uncooked red snapper contain just 110 calories and 1 gram of fat.
June 1 is also the opening of Gag Grouper season, another delicious fish that anglers set out to find. Those run a two-per person limit, with 24” minimum size for all waters. Grouper are a beautiful looking fish and are a white meat fish that’s equally as tasty.
And lastly for this June fishing report, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) released news that they approved a State Reef Fish survey. According to their newsletter, “Starting July 1, 2020, if you are fishing for or harvesting popular reef fish, such as Red Snapper, on a private recreational vessel anywhere in Florida, you will be required to get the State Reef Fish Angler designation. This includes anglers who are 65 and older. Each month, a group of State Reef Fish Anglers will be mailed a short survey about their fishing trips.”
This is in hopes that it will give the FWC a better pulse on some of Florida’s most important reef fish, such as snapper, grouper, amberjack, and gray triggerfish. This program comes as an expansion from the Gulf Reef Fish survey, to better promote conservation while also meeting the needs to Captain’s and anglers. Conservation is a huge part of keeping our waters plentiful and our ecosystem intact so fishing can continue for years to come.
We encourage you to get out, enjoy the weather, and support a local fishing charter during one of the best times of year to fish the Gulf. Enjoy!