Red Snapper season is almost upon us! Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas have announced their 2021 Red Snapper season dates. Anglers around the Gulf and beyond are getting ready to haul in these delicious bottom fish.
If you’re one of them, you’re in for a treat – as long as you know when to go. With that in mind, here’s a run-down of where and when to fish to make sure you fill up on fine-dining fillets this summer.
State vs Federal Waters: A Quick Summary
Before we jump into the actual dates and places to fish, 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.
2021 Red Snapper Season in Gulf of Mexico State Waters
Every state has different dates for when you can catch Red Snapper. This can be confusing, but if you time your trip right, you can still reel in these delicious fish all around the Gulf. So what are the state-water Red Snapper seasons for 2021? Here’s a state-by-state breakdown, starting in Florida and working around the Gulf.
- Florida Red Snapper Season 2021: Every day from June 4 to July 28. Applies to Florida’s state waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Alabama Red Snapper Season 2021: Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday starting May 28. The season will run until the recreational quota is met.
- Mississippi Red Snapper Season 2021: Every day from May 28 until an anticipated mid-season closure of July 5. The season may then reopen if the recreational quota has not been met.
- Louisiana Red Snapper Season 2021: Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting May 28, plus Memorial Day (May 31) and Labor Day (September 6). The season will run until the recreational quota is met.
- Texas Red Snapper Season 2021: State waters are open year-round.
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 exception is Texas, with a limit of four fish and a 15-inch minimum length requirement.
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!
2021 Red Snapper Season in Gulf of Mexico Federal Waters
The federal season for Red Snapper will run for 63 days – one more than last year. Anglers will be able to fish the federal waters from June 1, at 12:01 a.m. until August 3, at 12:01 a.m. These dates apply to recreational anglers fishing from charter and head boats in Gulf waters.
Only charters with a federal permit are allowed to 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 2 fish per person – at least 16 inches.
Where to Go Fishing for Red Snapper
If you want to snatch a tasty Snapper or two, there are some places that you simply have to try out. Our favorites are Galveston, Orange Beach, and 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, including the capital of fishing, Destin, followed by Panama City Beach, Fort Walton Beach, and Pensacola.
Alabama had a total of 27 Red Snapper days last year. 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.
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.