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Discussion Starter #1
American Red Snapper Battleground
For many years the American Red Snapper has been a 'Battleground' with the American fisherman forced to face extremely short seasons and very low possession limits. Hopefully this is about to change.

But first some history.

My fishing career began in the late forties. Along the Gandy Causeway they were numerous rock piles within wading distance from shore. These rock piles were home to large schools of juvenile Mangrove Snapper. They were tricky, but could be caught. I caught them!

In the early fifties my parents introduced me to the 'far-off' Snapper Banks a mile off Port Tampa.

Our boat of choice was exactly like this:



I was HOOKED!

Finally we worked our way to off-shore boats. However, the boats of the day were still very limited. Could head boat fishing possibly be the answer? After all, the tremendous cost would be shared by many.

Decided to take a close look at Hubbard's Marina. After all, Hubbard's had been in business ever since 1928.

They must be doing something right.



Fascinating!





By the mid to late seventies I could take it no more; had to see for myself.

The Florida Fisherman l was a 90' old, rusted, fishing boat. The bunks were down stairs and very hot. The food and drinks were extremely limited:



The Gag Grouper and Mangrove Snapper fishing were excellent, but there was absolutely NO Red Snapper.

Changes were on the way when Enbridge Inc, a Canada-based company, announced the US Gulf of Mexico Big Foot Oil Pipeline. The Pipeline was to be built in five stages. The first three phases were cleared for construction and operation in February 2001.

Placement of pipe in Tampa Bay was started in July and the construction in Florida was launched in October 2001. The pipeline was commissioned for operations in June 2002.

The pipeline originates from a gas gathering system in Mississippi and terminates in Coden, a coastal fishing village in southern Mobile County, Alabama. Here the gas is compressed at compressor station (CS) 410.

The pipeline traverses the Gulf of Mexico and comes of the sea at Port Manatee, in northern Manatee County, Florida. The offshore segment that traverses the Gulf stretches 419 miles.

With the pipeline came Red Snapper. Did the American Reds follow the pipe line? Some experts say No; others YES.

Regardless, we one again have Red Snapper:





NOAA says the ARS stocks are in danger. We who fish say NO WAY! Often it's impossible to get away from them:





The Florida Fisherman l was a 90' old, rusted, fishing boat. The bunks were down stirs and very hot. The food and drinks were extremely limited.

The all aluminum Florida Fisherman ll is a lot different. Better bring a blanket even in August. The bunks are comfortable and those huge AC compressors play no games:



I take full advantage:



And the food:

 

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Discussion Starter #2
For many years the American Red Snapper has been a 'Battleground' with the American fisherman forced to face extremely short seasons and very low possession limits. Hopefully With the Great Red Snapper Count this is about to change.

The Great Red Snapper Count began in 2016 when $10 million in federal funding was made available for a study. The goal for the two-year project was to create an independent estimate of the snapper population in the Gulf.
According to a summary by Chris Oliver, assistant fisheries administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the new information comes from the Great Red Snapper Count, a survey conducted by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University. On Thursday, a team from the Harte Institute Scientists have presented findings to Congress that report there are more red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico than previously known. Preliminary results show "low-relief" areas account for two-thirds of the population.
Mobile Real Time News

To us this means two-thirds of the ARS population has not been accounted for. Hopefully this equates to much longer seasons & realistic possession limits.



Florida Fisherman ll update.

The Florida Fisherman will be out of service on dry dock until 10/23/20:



In it's place the Friendly Fisherman will be running mostly 1/2 day trips:



These trips can not only be extremely fun, but very productive:



Hopefully the new year will bring a much longer Red Snapper season with realistic possession limits for everyone.



Check out the action packed video:




 

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What this means is more fish for commercial fisherman and for charter boats. Recreational fisherman will get another 5 days.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
"What this means is more fish for commercial fisherman and for charter boats. Recreational fisherman will get another 5 days."

Let's hope it's for everyone. Even EDF's NOAA is going to be hard-pressed to 'manipulate' these findings.
 

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I gave up hope when sector separation was approved by the gulf council. Nothing I’ve seen since from the gulf council up through NOAA is a reason to have hope.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Unfortunately I must agree. Trying to think positive... it's not easy!
 

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I've always wanted to do a trip from Hubbard's but the pitiful bag limits we now have hold me back. Have you ever been on one of their deep drop trips? Other than needing to buy a Tannacom, I'd love to do that one.

My uncle used to slay the snapper and other fish in the 70s out of Destin. Bass boat, bass fishing gear and line up with shore landmarks by sight and well within sight of land.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
On the overnight trips we have a 2 day bag limit. That helps!
Fished out of Clearwater in the 60s & 70s. Caught a lot of snapper, but we targeted grouper.
Hubbard's deep drop: Went on every deep drop trip. Once you pass 600-700 feet the fish are a lot different. Still see AJs, tuna & sharks; that's about it. The grouper & snapper are a lot different.
Always had my camera with me...












 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks!
Ever see one of these?

We were fishing a deep drop spring at a depth well over 600 feet. The edges of he spring were loaded with hungry Q.... Snapper.
Name the Snapper!
 

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at 600 feet, that would probably be a queen. we don't usually catch them in less than 200-300.
jack
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
It is a Queen Snapper. Beautiful fish.
We caught over 30 on that trip:

This one is a Longtail Bass:


It can get a 'little' rough way out there:

I took all the pictures
 

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i'll take that $100 prize money you offered for naming it. thanks.
jack
 

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She's a beaut, but still makes me think of a striper that went red.

I like the look of that water!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
$100.00 on the way.
What's a striper? Love to see pictures.
Water: It was rough, but that huge catamaran took it in stride.
 

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1072782



There you go--Striped Bass (aka striper, rockfish). We used to slay them at the tailrace below Talquin. That was my best--25 pounds. Hit a Pencil Popper right at the end of the foam, and it looked like a cow had jumped in the water when she boiled.

Get em down into the 12-14 lb range and they look a lot more like the cool Queen you shared. This one was mature and superfat with shad gorging and spring spawn. If you could get one in a red model, you might be able to confuse somebody. Queenie's eyes would be the giveaway though.

Thanks much for posting on your Hubbard's adventures. You have re-ignited my desire to make that trip!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you so much. Beautiful looking fish.
The Florida Fisherman ll has been on dry dock for a few weeks. Sailing 10/23 on a 39 hour snapper, grouper, amberjack trip. No Queen Snapper this trip. Will be fishing the Florida Middle Grounds; depth around 125 feet.
Will publish a full report in the Out-of-area section.
Would be an honor to welcome you on board.
 

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They are beautiful and that was some good times. Like hooking to a freight train in that tailrace, particularly when they had all the floodgates on that old dam open trying to prevent a blowout. Talk about some Class V Water! The 1,000 cast days with nare a bump were overshadowed by the days the bucktail got nailed as soon as it hit the water. It usually was on then. I took a good friend of mine once and he got a 19 on his first cast. It was well before daylight and I was trying to get the anchor set, tie on my jig etc. I kept telling him he snagged the underwater rock I had told him to throw to at the end of a wingwall, and his excitement could not convince me otherwise. I'd lost pounds of jigs to that rock, as had plenty of others, and I was already reaching for the jigs to give him a new one. I was about to get cross with him when the fish flopped at the side of the boat in that swift water. I had to grab the gaff instead, and we high fived over his first trip, first cast striper. That mount is still in his office all these years later. While it was only a pound shy of my best at the time, I was so glad he caught it. I don't think we had another hit that day.

Biggest one I saw come out of there was 33 pounds--looked like a Trident sub. Biggest the biologists had shocked up in the lake was, I believe, a hare under 45.

Man I'd love to make that trip, but that date is today! I definitely want to do a trip though.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
"I definitely want to do a trip though." Let's make sure we take plenty of pictures of your BIG catch.
 
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