Texas State Sport Red Snapper Regulations

The Texas State Legislature recently approved new regulations for the recreational harvest of red snapper in Texas waters.

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Introduction

Texas State Sport Red Snapper Regulations were put in place to conserve and manage the red snapper fishery in Texas waters. The regulations were developed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) with input from the public, commercial and recreational fishing industry, and other stakeholders.

The goals of the regulations are to:
-Ensure long-term viability of the red snapper fishery
-Maximize economic benefits from the fishery
-Provide recreational opportunities while minimizing impacts to other fisheries and habitats

The regulations include minimum size limits, bag limits, season closures, and gear restrictions. They are designed to limit the harvest of red snapper while still providing opportunities for anglers to enjoy this popular fishery.

Why Red Snapper?

Red snapper is a beloved fish among anglers and seafood lovers alike. The delicate, white flesh of the red snapper is prized for its mild flavor and flaky texture. But there’s more to this amazing fish than its culinary value. Red snapper are also an important part of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, playing a key role in the food chain.

The Texas state record for red snapper is a whopping 55 pounds, but most red snapper caught off the Texas coast weigh between 2 and 10 pounds. The average length of a red snapper is 24 inches, but they can grow to be much larger. In fact, the oldest recorded red snapper was nearly 50 years old!

Red snapper are migratory fish, spending most of their time in deep waters away from shore. They only come closer to land to spawn between May and August. This makes them relatively difficult to catch, which is why they are such a prized catch for anglers.

If you’re lucky enough to hook a red snapper while fishing in Texas waters, there are certain regulations you need to be aware of. All red snapper must be at least 16 inches long to keep, and you are limited to keeping two fish per day per person. These regulations help ensure that this amazing fish will continue to thrive in the Gulf of Mexico for generations to come.

Red Snapper in Texas

Red snapper are one of the most popular sport fish in Texas. Due to their popularity, the Texas Legislature has placed special regulations on red snapper fishing in state waters (9 nautical miles from shore). For the most current information regarding red snapper season length, bag limits, and minimum size requirements in state waters, please visit the TPWD website.

In federal waters (beyond 9 nautical miles from shore), red snapper are managed by the federal Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council under the direction of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). For information regarding red snapper season length, bag limits, and minimum size requirements in federal waters, please visit the NMFS website.

How to fish for Red Snapper

Red Snapper are a prized sport fish in Texas. They can be found in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Galveston. The best time to fish for them is from late spring to early fall.

To have a successful fishing trip, there are a few things you need to know about Red Snapper. First, they are attracted to reefs and hard bottom areas. They are also known to feed at night, so it is important to fish for them during the evening hours.

When bait fishing for Red Snapper, live bait is always best. Popular baits include squid, pogies, and finger mullet. If you are using cut bait, it should be fresh and cut into small pieces.

When trolling for Red Snapper, slow-moving lures work best. Popular lures include spoons, jigs, and swimbaits. It is important to use a light line when trolling, as Red Snapper can be shy when it comes to taking bait.

As with all fishing trips, please remember to check the Texas State Sport Red Snapper Regulations before you go. These regulations are in place to help ensure the sustainability of this valuable resource.

State Regulations

As of June 1, 2019, the minimum size limit for red snapper in Texas is 16 inches total length with a daily bag limit of 4 fish per person in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has the authority to set season length and bag limits for red snapper in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Texas.

Size Limits

Possession of red snapper is limited to 2 fish per person within the 4-fish bag limit for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Red snapper must measure at least 16 inches total length.

The minimum size limit for red snapper harvested in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico is 16 inches total length. The bag limit is 2 fish per person, and the possession limit is 4 fish per person within the 4-fish reef fish bag limit. All gear used to harvest red snapper must be removed from the water upon reaching the recreational bag limit.

Anglers fishing from a pier, jetty, bridge, or other structure extending into waters where red snapper are found are subject to the same size and bag limits as recreational anglers fishing from other vessels.

Red snapper may not be sold by recreational anglers in Texas.

Bag Limits

In Texas, the recreational bag limit for red snapper is 2 fish per person, per day. Head-off, gutted or fillet weight is included in this limit. The minimum size limit for red snapper is 16 inches. This size limit applies to both recreational and commercial fisheries in federal waters off Texas.

Red snapper may not be sold by anyone in Texas, regardless of the size of the fish or where it was caught. There are a few exceptions to this rule: fish processors with a federal permit may sell red snapper fillets; charter boat captains with a federal permit may sell red snapper caught by their customers while on charter trips; and persons with disabilities may sell red snapper they catch, as long as they have a TWPD-issued disabilities fishing license.

Season Dates

The recreational fishing season for red snapper in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Texas is open year-round. The bag limit is four fish per person per day. The minimum length is 16 inches total length.

Federal Regulations

The Texas State Sport Red Snapper Regulations are designed to help conserve and rebuild the red snapper population in the Gulf of Mexico. The regulations were developed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in collaboration with the Texas Marine Advisory Board Red Snapper Working Group.

Size Limits

red snapper measuring 14 inches or less in length, as measured from the tip of the tail to the fork of the head, and 5 pounds or less in weight

Bag Limits

Red snapper caught in federal waters must be landed with head and fins intact. The minimum size limit for red snapper is 20 inches total length. The maximum number of fish per person per day is four fish regardless of whether they are caught in state or federal waters.

Season Dates

The Federal recreational season for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico is from June 1- August 3rd. The bag limit is 2 fish per person, per day and the minimum size limit is 16 inches total length.

Tips for Catching Red Snapper

Red snapper is a popular sport fish in Texas. The most recent stock assessment showed that red snapper is not overfished and is not subject to overfishing. Red snapper has a minimum size limit of 16 inches total length. The bag limit is two fish per person per day. Exceptions to the bag limit are discussed below.

Anglers are encouraged to use only enough fishing line and hooks that are heavy enough to land the fish quickly, minimizing its time out of water. IGFA angling rules require the use of non-stretch monofilament or fluorocarbon lines of 12 pounds (5.4 kg) or less breaking strength when fishing for billfish, tunas, sharks, barracudas and swordfish. When fishing for other species, the use of heavier lines may be advantageous.

It is unlawful for any person to purchase or sell red snapper taken from Texas waters by any means other than by hook and line as defined in this subchapter. It is unlawful to purchase or sell more than two red snappers per person per day taken from Texas waters, unless such fish are part of a legally harvested commercial red snapper quota, as determined by TPWD commission regulation.

The following areas are closed to the harvest of red snapper:
-Galveston Bay eastward into Trinity Bay;
– Christmas Bay;
– West Galveston Bay;
– Matagorda Bay; and
– San Antonio Bay southward into Copano Bay.

Conclusion

In summary, the Texas State Sport Red Snapper Regulations contain provisions that:

– establishes the bag and size limits for sport red snapper in Texas state waters;
– requires the use of non-offset circle hooks when fishing for red snapper in Texas state waters;
– prohibits the sale of sport-caught red snapper; and
– prohibits the harvest of red snapper in federal waters off the coast of Texas.

These regulations are designed to protect and conserve this valuable resource so that future generations can enjoy the great sport of fishing for red snapper in Texas.

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