The Tampa Bay Times

Red Snapper season is back!  That’s right, this past Tuesday Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced six additional recreational red snapper fishing days for 2019. The season for private recreational anglers and state for-hire operations will be open on the following Saturdays and Sundays: October 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27. Fall Reopening: The red snapper recreational season will reopen in Gulf state and federal waters on the following Saturdays and Sundays: Oct. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, and 27. This season will apply to private recreational anglers in state and federal waters, and to state for-hire operations in state waters only.

Red Snappers are still on most spots in depths exceeding 80 feet of water and since Amberjack season is still open until the end of October, many anglers and spearfishermen will now have the added enticement of Red Snapper season to venture farther offshore looking for both the Amberjacks and Red Snappers. Of course, watch the weather closely this time of year, as the winds from the north are peeking their way this far south and bringing bigger seas!

Gag Grouper are still somewhat prevalent on the offshore ledges and potholes.  As you go farther from the shore these fish get bigger.  The cooler water temperatures have kept most of these Gags in depths exceeding 100’.  Red Grouper are bigger out in these depths as well and most spearfishermen have gotten a few of these bigger Red Groupers on the potholes and around the sink holes in the Gulf.

Capt. Bill Hardman teaches scuba classes and runs trips for Scuba, Spearfishing, Freediving and Technical diving courses at Aquatic Obsessions, 6193 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FL  33710.  You can reach Capt. Hardman at (727) 344-3483 (DIVE) or