The Red Snapper season is here! The Gulf states are announcing their 2023 Red Snapper season dates. If you’re one of the anglers ready to haul in these delicious bottom fish, you’re in for a treat.
Here’s a run-down of when to fish in both federal and state waters to make sure you fill up on fine-dining fillets this summer:
- Federal Red Snapper Season 2023: The federal Red Snapper season for 2023 in the Gulf of Mexico will start on June 1 and end on August 25.
- Florida Red Snapper Season 2023: The Red Snapper Season for 2023 will run from June 16 until July 31. The season will reopen again on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October and November and end with the Thanksgiving weekend.
- Alabama Red Snapper Season 2023: The dates are live – every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday starting May 26! The season will end on August 25.
- Mississippi Red Snapper Season 2023: This year’s Mississippi Red Snapper season will start on May 26 and end on July 7. The season will reopen on September 1 and will last until the quota is met.
- Louisiana Red Snapper Season 2023: Much like Alabama and Mississippi, Louisiana’s 2023 season will start on May 26. It’ll last until the recreational landings reach the state’s annual allocation, or until Labor Day weekend.
- Texas Red Snapper Season 2023: State waters will be open throughout the year, while federal waters will open on June 1 and close on September 1! Tight lines!
2023 Red Snapper Season in Gulf of Mexico State Waters
As you just saw, every state has different dates for when you can catch Red Snapper.
These seasons apply to private anglers and anglers fishing from licensed for-hire charters fishing in the state waters. The daily bag limit is two fish per person with a 16-inch minimum length. The only exceptions are Texas and Alabama, with a limit of three fish (Alabama) and four fish and a 15-inch minimum length requirement (Texas).
Once a state reaches the quota, the season will close. But, there is also a chance that the state will extend the season if the estimated quotas aren’t reached. Fingers crossed!
2023 Red Snapper Season in Gulf of Mexico Federal Waters
The official federal Red Snapper dates for 2023 are upon us! Anglers will be able to fish the federal waters as of June 1. Last year’s federal season for Red Snapper ran for 79 days – 16 more than in 2021! These dates applied to recreational anglers fishing from charter and head boats in Gulf waters. We are yet to see how many days in total 2023 will bring.
Only charters with a federal permit can fish federal Red Snapper fisheries, so make sure the charter you choose has this permit. Remember that when you’re going on a recreational trip, you still need to follow the bag limits of two fish per person – at least 16 inches.
State vs Federal Waters: A Quick Summary
Before we jump into planning, it’s worth quickly explaining the difference between state and federal-water seasons. In the Gulf of Mexico, every state is in charge of the first nine nautical miles of sea. After that, you hit Federal waters.
Why does this matter? Simply put, the biggest fish often live in Federal waters. On top of that, Federal reef fishing permits are in very short supply in the Gulf, so finding a captain that’s federally licensed can be tough – especially during Snapper season! Don’t worry, you can still catch your fill in State waters in many places.
All that’s left to do now is figure out where exactly you want to go. Let’s dive into some of the best spots to visit for Red Snapper fishing.
Where and How to Go Fishing for Red Snapper
Before we reveal the best Red Snapper fishing hubs, here’s a complete guide on how to fish for Red Snappers.
Now, that you know how to land them, let’s see where you should do that. If you want to snatch a tasty Snapper or two, there are some places that you simply have to visit. Our favorites are Galveston, Orange Beach, Destin, and Panama City Beach. They live all around the Gulf, though, so you can find a charter near you wherever you are!
Let’s have a closer look at each of the five US Gulf States:
If you want sunny days and great fishing, come here for a weekend. Or even better, extend your stay! There are endless fishing opportunities in the Florida Panhandle. There’s the capital of fishing, Destin, followed by Panama City Beach, Fort Walton Beach, and Pensacola.
Whether you choose Orange Beach or Gulf Shores, this stretch of coast has superb fishing. No angler can imagine Orange Beach without bags full of Red Snapper, and the fish seem to grow especially big around here.
Still boasting the Red Snapper world record (an impressive 50 pounds, 4 ounces), Louisiana has excellent Red Snapper fishing opportunities and numerous local charters to prove it. Venice is a particularly good launchpad for recreational anglers.
Like the other states overlooking the Gulf waters, Mississippi too has a pretty impressive Red Snapper track record. Head out of Biloxi or Gulfport, and you will likely come home with big Snapper and an equally big smile on your face.
Texas has already been blessed with a year-long Red Snapper season in state waters. Galveston is the place to be if you want a nice brawl, but other places, like Port Aransas and South Padre Island will certainly do the trick as well.
The Great Snapper Count
One final thing to note is the amazing project led by the Harte Research Institute (HRI) called the Great Red Snapper Count. The goal of the project that ran between 2017 and 2019 was to provide an accurate assessment of just how many Red Snapper there are in the Gulf of Mexico.
Right now, HRI estimates that there are 118 million Red Snapper swimming through the Gulf. This is triple the number of NOAA’s previous estimate that stood at 36 million. NOAA is currently analyzing the results of HRI’s research and should finish by 2023. This means the upcoming season could bring about some major changes and more Red Snapper days!
Want to find the perfect charter to help you earn bragging rights this summer? Check out hundreds of Red Snapper fishing charters on FishingBooker. We’d love to see your catches and hear your stories in the comments below.