Get ready to go fishing, because Florida’s recreational harvest season for snook begins on September 1st. Snook are prized by anglers for their aggressive, go-for-broke fighting style, and their popularity is one of the many reasons Florida is a prime fishing destination. Snook fishing involves a fair amount of luck as well as a lot of hunting, and landing a big fish is truly a noteworthy achievement.
Snook are a subtropical species and very sensitive to temperature. Because snook populations in the Gulf were negatively impacted by a 2010 cold kill, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is encouraging anglers to use discretion when determining whether or not to take the popular sportfish home. Both a snook permit and a recreational saltwater license are required to catch these fish. The bag limit during open season is limited to one snook per person, which must measure between 28-32 inches in length in the Atlantic and 28-33 inches in the Gulf in order to keep it.
When releasing snook it’s crucial to handle the fish properly. By adopting a few simple habits you can easily increase the survival rate of the fish you catch. Positively influence the future of Florida’s saltwater fish populations by deciding beforehand which fish you want to keep, and release all others immediately. Snook will be closed to harvest on December 1st through the end of February 2017 as well as from May 1st through August 31st in federal and state waters.
Additionally, the 2016 recreational red snapper season will reopen September 2nd in Gulf of Mexico state waters. The season will remain open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, as well as on Labor Day. The minimum size limit for red snapper is 16 inches in length.
By Susanna Botkin, Southern Exposure