No More Snappers This Season

July 24, 2010 by Larry Pentel

 Yesterday was the last day of the shortest Red Snapper season ever, with more and bigger fish around than anyone can ever remember.


As you can see from the pics we've been catching lots of other species, even though the main target has been snappers. I'm sure the boards will soon be full of Kings, Triggers and Groupers as I change gears and aim at other targets.



A great afternoon of fishing.


Even the 2 hour trips have had good success !


A big Black Snapper to go with the Reds.


I try to keep politics out of fishing but this Snapper thing is just insane. The current head of NOAA- Jane Lubchenco, (a former vice chair of the Environmental Defense Fund) has done everything in her power to shut down fishing in the Gulf until she can get us to pay (even more and by the fish ) the government for fishing rights.

The oil spill was used as an excuse to shut down as much of the (Federal) fishing grounds as possible. Luckily Florida claims 9 miles in the Gulf so those of us who kept fishing were able to have good catches. Now, Snapper season is supposed to be based on a quota- i.e. the regulators set how many fish can be caught, project when that will occur with current effort and that is the closure date.

The past 2 years there have been several "emergency" closures where the Feds have shut done a fishery because they said the quota was reached. With two-thirds of the snapper grounds closed for the entire season by the Feds and 95% of the charter fleets working for BP rather than fishing the entire season, it is pretty obvious that the "quota" was not even half filled.

The state of Florida said they were going to try to extend the season (in state water) for a couple weeks due to the reduced effort. When a couple of us captains asked a FWC officer how that was going yesterday, he said the Feds had pretty much shut the State down from extending it.

He also said that the Feds had leaned on the State hard to shut all state waters down at the start of the season (when the Feds did thier closure) and that they pretty much said they "let" the state keep its waters open for the short season originally planned and no way were they going to extend it.

Now folks, If you like to fish and want to continue to be able to do so remember all this at election time. We need fisheries laws based on science and numbers, not on politics, taxes and how much more money can we raise for the politicians to waste. The current governor of Florida is a buddy of the president, the president appoints the head of NOAA. To get new leadership in NOAA we need a new president and keep the governor out of any other office!



Larry Pentel's picture

Captain Larry Pentel is a native of South Walton, growing up just 300 yards from the beach. Having fished the local waters for over 40 years, he is very familiar with all the different types of local fish, their habits, and most importantly - their habitats. Captain Larry is the owner of Dead Fish Charters

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