2017 Florida Red Snapper Season Guidelines

Destin, FL offers some of the world's best saltwater fishing. Anglers with both novice and advance skill levels travel to the Emerald Coast hoping to snag a prized catch in the Gulf of Mexico. From sharks to sea bass, no fish is out of range while casting a rod and reel in Destin, FL. But with any sport, there is always the "game-ender". For baseball it's a grand slam, hockey it's a hat-trick, and for Destin saltwater fishing it's catching the coveted Red Snapper. The Red Snapper is so fun to catch, and the meat is so delicious it has become the focus of many Destin fishing charter trips.

While a large Red Snapper could give a child angler a run for his or her money, they don't grow quite as large as other game fish or popular table fare, making Snapper hunting the basis of many Destin family fishing trips. The typical Red Snapper grows to a maximum of around 25 pounds, with the largest Red Snapper caught in Florida weighing 46 pounds (caught off the Destin, FL coast). Red Snapper are typically found in deep waters, and like to hangout in schools near reefs, shipwrecks, and oil rigs. Your best chance at catching some tasty Snapper is to head out to deep waters, either in your own boat, or by booking a Deep Sea Fishing Charter in Destin. Because of the value of Red Snapper, there have been state and federal law restrictions placed on the species. In 2017, new laws were put into effect that will offer a much longer and more fruitful Snapper Season to for-hire vessels, while tightening up on private vessels. Here is what you need to know about the 2017 Florida Red Snapper Season.

Looking to catch that prized Red Snapper this season? Find the best deals on the TOP Destin fishing charters online at Destin Deep Sea Fishing Charters!


2017 Florida Red Snapper Season Guidelines


red snapper destin fl
Fresh Caught Red Snapper
Over the years, Red Snapper have been over-fished due to its inherent value. Florida lawmakers have since instituted certain rules to help in growing the population back to normal numbers. There are different laws for the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, the following are strictly based on laws created for fishing for Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. There are also different guidelines for Florida Federal and State waters, which will also be covered below. The guidelines are broken up into Red Snapper size limit, gear rules, season length for private vessels and for-hire charters, and bag limit.

Red Snapper Minimum Size Limit


Minimum size limits are put into effect to assure that juvenile Snapper are able to grow and reproduce in the off-season. The minimum size limit on Red Snapper is 16 inches.

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Red Snapper Gear Rules


State and Federal regulations require all fisherman to adhere to certain gear rules when fishing for reef fish species. Species include grouper, snapper, amberjack, triggerfish, porgies, sea bass, hogfish, and tilefish.

Required Gear
Circle hooks (must be non-stainless and not offset) when using natural baits
Dehooking device

red snapper fishing hook red snapper fishing circle hook


[top left to right: offset hook guidelines; circle hook example]


*For a full list of rules, visit Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Reef Fish Gear Rules


Red Snapper State and Federal Seasons


Florida state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles into the Gulf of Mexico. Anywhere past the 9 miles is considered Federal waters. Red Snapper season lengths and bag limits vary depending on where the fish is caught.

State Season - Saturdays and Sundays in May starting the first Saturday in May (May 6). Daily starting the Saturday before Memorial Day (May 27) through Sunday following Independence Day (July 9). Fridays, Saturday and Sundays in September and October, plus Labor Day.

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Federal Season - The 2017 season is open June 1st-4th for private recreational anglers, June 1st-20th for federally permitted for-hire vessels. 2 Red Snapper per harvester per day.

Destin Fishing Vacation


If you haven't experienced Destin fishing before, don't wait! Spring and summer are peak seasons for many of the Gulf's most cherished fish species, and charter boats book up fast. There are fishing charters for all ages available in the Harbor, along with many other family friendly things to do in Destin.


  • www.myfwc.com
  • http://www.floridagofishing.com/species/species-saltwater.html

Published Jan 5 2017
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