Saturday, April 21, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Red snapper abundant during longer season

Red snapper weekends have proven to be the hot ticket in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to members of Congress, led by House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, we now have red snapper season Friday through Sunday until early September. Before this effort by GOP leaders, the recreational season was just three days in 2017. Ratification of this deal happened just days before Scalise was shot at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. The red snapper population is very strong in most areas of the gulf. In recent months, I spotted legal-sized red snapper under a limestone ledge in the gulf in only 50 feet. That is the closest I have ever witnessed them in the gulf. When I moved to St. Petersburg in the early 1980s, there were no red snapper to be found. The two-day Florida sportsman's lobster season is just more than a month away, July 26-27. If you want to dive on a good lobster charter, now is the time to call local dive shops and see if they have any spots on their boats. The best bets are charters in Key Biscayne and north. In these areas you're allowed up to 12 lobsters per day, not the smaller limit of six.

Bill Hardman teaches scuba, spearfishing and free diving through Aquatic Obsessions Scuba in St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 344-3483 and [email protected]

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