Three miles of red snapper Gulf water

A Part Of The What's Biting Series

Last week was the end of the 44-day season for charter boats to catch red snapper in federal water. Recreational anglers had their federal red snapper season close on June 10. But don’t put away those egg weights and sow rigs just yet because red snapper season is still open in Alabama state water.

Alabama opened red snapper and triggerfish in state waters from July 1 – 31. Alabama also declared that its’ state water now extend nine nautical miles, but the federal government only acknowledges Alabama’s state water extending three miles from the beach.

That difference of opinion on where state water ends and federal begins puts Alabama anglers in a tough spot. Chris Blankenship, Director of the Marine Resources Division says anglers are fishing at their own risk when it comes to federal authorities. “In the state’s eyes, fishing in our water from three to nine miles off the beach is legal. However, since the federal authorities have not recognized our water past three miles, you could be subject to a federal citation for being in possession of red snapper or triggerfish in those waters.”

Part of the reason Blankenship pushed for the additional season was he felt Alabama recreational anglers deserved the opportunity to go snapper fishing more than just the ten days allowed during the federal season in June. He and his team are also constantly looking to gather the best real angler data to present to the federal authorities in hopes of better decision making.

“Just like the federal season, we need fisherman to report their catch with Snapper Check,” said Blankenship. “We haven’t had many reports from people taking advantage of the state season yet. We’ve also had some windy days, so hopefully we’ll have our anglers getting out more before the end of the month.”

Red snapper may only be open in state water, but Vermillion Snapper is open in federal water, and Captain Randy Boggs of Reel Surprise Charters says the Beeliner bite is as good now as it has been all year. “On the Trysler Grounds, we have been catching lots of White, Vermillion, Lane, and Black Snapper by using smaller hooks and cut bait, either squid or minnows.”

Boggs also said the typical summertime pattern of warm water is producing great catches of both King and Spanish Mackerel. “Every July as the water warms up, so does the fishing. Both are hot right now.”

Way offshore everyone has been complaining about the dirty water around the tuna rigs. “We have had a west current since early June, and it just keeps pushing green water from the Mississippi River on top of those rigs,” said Captain Casey Price on the Lady D.

Speaking of green water, sometimes it’s great when you find it, like when it is stacked up against beautiful cobalt blue water creating what’s known as a ‘River Rip.’ Check out this drone video of a friend of mine, Robert Douglas fishing on one of the most amazing rips I’ve ever seen. He hooked five blue marlin while pulling lures and got one boat side for a release.

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Jim Cox
Jim Cox (1327 Posts)
Jim Cox is an avid inshore, offshore, and big game fisherman. He has twice qualified for the prestigious IGFA Offshore Championships in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He is the past president of the Mobile…