Gulf Coast: Home Slider
June 07, 2012

2012 Florida Gulf Snapper Season Best Ever

We chummed for snapper on Florida's Gulf Coast, then hooked them up on light tackle.


TRIP PLANNER
When using light tackle, Robson concentrates on structure in less than 100 feet. Ideal depths are 60 to 80 feet. He typically holds the boat in position with the engines running, but anchoring and powering down really puts the fish at ease.

“If you anchor and start chumming, they won’t spook at all. They’ll be eating the barnacles off the side of the boat,” he says.

Rods: 7-foot medium-action casting or spinning rods with fast tips.

Reels: Quality reels with smooth drags, like the Shimano Curado 301 series in bait casters or 4000-series spinning reels, loaded with 15- to 20-pound PowerPro braided line.

Leaders: Two feet of 60-pound fluorocarbon leader.

Lures and baits: Subsurface swimming lures like the Shimano Waxwing, Rapala Glidin’ Rap or Sebile Magic Swimmer when fish are down in the water column. Bomber Badonk-A-Donks, Heddon Super Spooks or MirrOlure Top Dogs for surface presentations. Cubes of fresh-cut Boston mackerel or bonito; live cigar minnows or herring.

At press time, the 2012 red snapper season was scheduled to open June 1. The closing date hadn’t been announced, but the season was expected to be 40 days long. Anglers likely will be allowed to keep two red snapper, 16-inch minimum, per day. The captain and crew aboard charter boats cannot possess any fish, and red snapper are counted as part of the 10-fish-per-day snapper aggregate bag limit.

Florida state waters extend from the shore out nine nautical miles, and state regulations often mirror those in federal waters. For the latest snapper regs, check with myfwc.com/fishing for Florida waters or gulfcouncil.org for federal rules.

What: American red snapper.
 

When: May through September.
 

Where: Florida’s Emerald Coast.

Who:
Capt. Scott Robson
Charter Boat Phoenix
850-837-9734
www.fishingindestin.net
Destin Charter Boat Association
www.hookedondestin.com

Food and Entertainment:
HarborWalk Village
Lucky Snapper Grill & Bar
850-654-0900
www.luckysnapper.com

The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint
850-460-2271
www.theshedbbq.com/destin

Destin History & Fishing Museum
850-837-6611
www.destinhistoryandfishingmuseum.org

Lodging:
Jetty East Condominium Resort
Gated resort on the Gulf with daily and weekly rentals
800-368-0222
www.jettyeast.com

Reef Savvy
Snapper fishing is all about finding structure, and in this part of the Gulf, that means artificial reefs likely as not. Here are a few coordinates to help you get started. When traveling to and from, watch your sonar, and you’ll soon have a set of your own spots to return to. For a complete listing of Gulf artificial reefs by county, visit www.myfwc​.com/media/131585/reefs.pdf.

Urchin Reef #48 & #49 (65 feet)
30˚21.784’ N
86˚27.901’ W

Sandflea Reef #12 (70 feet)
30˚21.443’ N
86˚25.914’ W

Starfish Reef #4 (100 feet)
30˚08.699’ N
86˚37.529’ W

ReefEx #9 (69 feet)
30˚21.327’ N
86˚25.344’ W

Santa Rosa Marine Resort III (85 feet)
30˚04.935’ N
87˚10.423’ W

East Lap Reefballs (94 feet)
30˚06.820’ N
87˚10.080’ W

Rusty B Reef (89 feet)
30˚04.756’ N
87˚11.370’ W

Donut Reef (82 feet)
30˚10.883’ N
87˚14.446’ W