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What Is a Red Snapper?

Red snapper is one of the most highly sought after game fish in the Gulf of Mexico, and for good reason - they’re a blast to catch and delicious to eat (and they look awesome in pictures). Red snapper can be found greater than 50 feet deep and you’ll find them in reefs and by offshore rigs in the Gulf - every guide has their own little honey holes that they mark as having countless snapper. Red Snapper can also reach pretty substantial sizes; they can be 40 inches long and up to 50 pounds - no joke to bring up from the depths!!

Red snapper are a pleasure to catch, but this lead to overfishing from the end of World War II to the mid 1990’s due to a combination of increased commercial action and better access to boats for recreational anglers. A fishery rebuilding plan was implemented in 2005 with the goal of building the red snapper population back up by 2032 (the plan is working, by the way). This includes catch limits and specific fishing seasons, and means the red snapper season is the most limited (and sought after) of the species in the gulf.

Read on for dates, sizes, and bag limits...

What Is the Difference Between State and Federal Waters?

State waters and federal waters differ in terms of regulations (which can mean different seasons, different bag limits, and different size limits), so it can be crucial to know where you stand. Across most of the U.S., state waters extend to 3 nautical miles (just slightly over a normal mile), but in the Gulf of Mexico state waters are extended a little further, to 9 nautical miles. This means that for Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Gulf Coast of Florida, a recreational angler can head out 9 nautical miles and still fall under state regulations.

As mentioned above these boundaries will impact what an angler can catch and when, but lesser known is the impact on guides - federal guiding permits in the Gulf of Mexico can be harder to obtain (and more expensive). New permits haven’t been issues since 2003, which means the total number of guides is capped. Federal waters are better for fishing, but also will be harder to get to logistically and harder to find a guide for.

Red snapper gulf of mexico

Gulf of Mexico 2022 Federal Red Snapper Season

The 2022 for hire red snapper season in federal waters will open June 1st and run until the quota is met. Anglers must still comply with the bag limits set by state wildlife organizations. The 2021 federal red snapper season was 62 days long for chartered trips and 63 days for private trips in the summer, and then reopened for 22 days in the fall.

Alabama State 2022 Red Snapper Season

The 2022 Alabama red snapper season will open Friday, May 27th, and continue until the recreational quota is met. Fishing will only be allowed on weekends Friday through Sunday. The seasons have been running longer over the last few years with anglers taking longer to reach the annual quota.

Louisiana State 2022 Red Snapper Season

The 2022 Louisiana red snapper season will open Friday, May 27th with fishing only allowed on weekends. Daily bag limits are set at three fish per person and a minimum length of 16 inches. The season will remain open until the recreational quota is met.

Mississippi State 2022 Red Snapper Season

The 2022 Mississippi red snapper season will open Friday, May 27th and run until July 4th or until the quota is met. Fishing will be allowed seven days a week with a daily bag limit of 2 fish per person.

Florida State 2022 Red Snapper Season

The 2022 FloridaGulf recreational red snapper season will open June, 17th and run through July, 31st 2022. The daily bag limit is two fish per person with a minimum size of 16 inches. The season will also reopen for several weekends in the fall.

Texas State 2022 Red Snapper Season

The 2022 Texas red snapper season reopened on January 1st and will remain open until the annual catch quota is met for state waters. Federal waters will reopen on June 1st after a temporary regulation delayed opening the season to preserve the quota. Daily bag limits are set at 4 fish per person in state waters and 2 fish per person in federal waters.

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Gulf of Mexico 2022 Federal Red Snapper Limit

The 2021 red snapper limit in federal waters for recreational anglers was 2 per person per day over 16 inches, for a total of 7,399,000 pounds of recreational fish over the season, split between for-hire and private trips. Once those limits are reached, the season ends. If quotas aren’t reached, there is always the chance the season is extended. We can expect the 2022 red snapper limit for federal water to be similar.

Alabama State 2022 Red Snapper Limit

The 2021 Alabama daily red snapper bag limit was 2 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 16 inches minimum. We can expect the 2022 red snapper limit to be similar.

Louisiana State 2022 Red Snapper Limit

The 2021 Louisiana daily red snapper bag limit was 2 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 16 inches minimum. We can expect the 2022 red snapper limit to be similar.

Mississippi State 2022 Red Snapper Limit

The 2021 Mississippi daily red snapper bag limit was 2 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 16 inches minimum. We can expect the 2022 red snapper limit to be similar.

Florida State 2022 Red Snapper Limit

The 2021 Florida daily red snapper bag limit was 2 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 16 inches minimum. We can expect the 2022 red snapper limit to be similar.

Texas State 2022 Red Snapper Limit

The 2021 Texas daily red snapper bag limit was 4 fish per angler (not including the guide or crew) at 15 inches minimum. We can expect the 2022 red snapper limit to be similar.

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Where Can I Catch Red Snapper Near Me And What Red Snapper Guide Should I Use?

Because of catch limits and the shortened season, red snapper fishing is hard to come by - there are only a few guides licensed to head out to federal waters, there are only a few days a year to head out, and the season can be further shortened if catch limits are reached early. This means if you want to go fishing for red snapper you need to book a guide further in advance than you normally might for another fishing trip.

The Best Alabama 2022 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Alabama below, or search all red snapper trips in Alabama here.

The Best Louisiana 2022 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Louisiana below, or search all red snapper trips in Louisiana here.

The Best Mississippi 2022 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Mississippi below, or search all red snapper trips in Mississippi here.

The Best Florida 2022 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Florida below, or search all red snapper trips in Florida here.

The Best Texas 2022 Red Snapper Charters and Guides

Check out some of the top Captain Experiences red snapper charters in Texas below, or search all red snapper trips in Texas here.

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