What's hot: Red snapper is the hot topic around the docks. Friday, anglers will be able to legally keep those caught in the gulf. There is almost a sense of urgency because the season lasts only 40 days, closing July 10. The limit is two per day per person with a minimum of 16 inches. Typically, the best snapper fishing areas are more than 25 miles offshore. Anglers are hoping for favorable weather and sea conditions for opening day.
A closer look: Red snapper have made quite an emergence over the past few years. Fifteen years ago, they were almost unheard of in the bay area and then only as a recreational bycatch. But since the completion of the 473-mile Tampa to Mobile Bay underwater gas pipeline in the gulf, red snapper have almost overrun the bottom, displacing even big grouper. The competition for food is fierce between the species. Some fishermen get frustrated with snapper while fishing for grouper, especially when red snapper is closed for harvest. Friday, we hope the snapper bite as well as they do when the season is closed.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit CaptainLarryBlue.com.