DeSantis announces Florida's red snapper season will be a record breaker


Have your valuable fishing rods ready. It's almost red snapper season!

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the record 2024 Gulf red snapper recreational season of 103 days, breaking last year's record of 87 days.

“I am proud to announce that this snapper season will be the longest since our state adopted red snapper management in the Gulf,” DeSantis said. “Florida is proud to be the fishing and boating capital of the world.”

What is Red Snapper?

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, red snapper are “long-lived, early-maturing reef fish that are widespread in the Gulf of Mexico.” They are also found on the eastern coasts of North America, Central America and northern South America.

NOAA further states that red snapper can grow moderately, sometimes reaching 40 inches in diameter and weighing 50 pounds. Fish caught in deeper waters tend to be redder than those caught in shallower waters.

When is the 2024 red snapper season in Florida?

Those fishing from private pleasure vessels or charter vessels can participate in the 2024 Gulf red snapper season.

The 61-day summer season begins June 1st and runs through July 31st. The 42-day fall season is the longest fall season since state administration began and includes the following weekend dates:

  • 1st–2nd September (Sunday through Monday of Labor Day weekend)
  • 6th–8th September
  • 13th-15th September
  • 20-22 September
  • 27-29. September
  • 4th–6th October
  • 11th–13th October
  • 18–20 October
  • 25-27 October
  • 1st–3rd November
  • 8th–11th November (Veterans Day weekend)
  • 15th-17th November
  • 22-24 November
  • 28-30 November (Thursday through Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend)

How many red snapper can you keep per day in Florida?

In state and federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, you can keep two red snapper, according to the FWC. The same applies to the national waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

However, the limit is one red snapper per person in federal waters in the Atlantic.

Do I need a fishing license to catch red snapper?

No, unless you plan to go out alone.

If you plan to fish for red snapper in state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, you must register as a State Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal required) with, even if you are exempt from fishing license requirements.

Can I keep the red snapper I caught?

Yes, as long as it is within legal size and in accordance with the latest rules and regulations. On the Gulf, the minimum size of your red snapper catch must be 16 inches, while on the Atlantic side of Florida there is a minimum size of 20 inches.

What is the habitat of the red snapper?

Red snapper are generally found in 30 to 620 feet of water. According to NOAA, red snapper larvae swim freely in the water column, while juveniles live in shallow waters over sandy or muddy bottom habitats.

Experts explain that adult snappers live on the bottom, usually near hard structures on the continental shelf with moderate to high relief (e.g. coral reefs, artificial reefs, rocks, ledges and caves), sloping areas of soft bottom and and limestone deposits .

Where is the best place to fish for red snapper in Florida?

The Fishing Booker highlights Pensacola as the best place to catch red snapper.

“Florida is one of the best states to catch some of these beauties, and Pensacola is the best,” writes the fishing website. “The main reason is the large number of artificial reefs that attract all types of bottom dwellers. Red snapper is the most popular catch on deep-sea bottom fishing trips, where you can easily hook a 20-pounder.”

You'll also notice that the water in the area gets deep quickly, so you can even catch snapper in Pensacola Bay.

As for other locations in Florida, the website listed the following four locations:

  • The Florida Panhandle – Specifically from Perdido Key, Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach to Destin and Panama City
  • Tampa
  • Volusia County
  • Treasure Coast

Anna Harden

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