DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WKRG) — For the first time this year, anglers can finally start reeling in Red Snapper.
The recreational season starts on Friday and some people spent Thursday morning preparing for the big day.
One angler says he’s been coming to Dauphin Island for Red Snapper season for the past 10 years. He was cleaning his boat when we caught up with him.
“We’re just getting the boat ready, making sure we got all things ready, check the engines, check the batteries and all that stuff,” said AJ Nekuda.
Jim Epik came a long way just to get in on the action. He says he traveled almost 5 hours.
“The first time ever, I’m gonna be allowed to keep a snapper,” said Epik. “15/20 years of fishing down here and this is the first time I’ve ever hit the season.”
This time of year, the dock crew at the Dauphin Island Marina is staying pretty busy.
“People filling up their boats full of fuel and ice,” said dock crew manager, Ty Crawford.
And if anglers are looking for last minute bait, well, they’ve got you covered.
“We stay stocked up on bait, that’s something you can prepare for is bait,” said Crawford.
This season, is a little different then past years. The amount of Red Snapper anglers can catch has been cut in half.
Anglers can only reel in two Red Snappers, per person, a day and the fish must be at least 16 inches long. That was set by NOAA Fisheries concerning the difference between state and federal harvest landing systems.
Some people say it’s unreasonable, others, don’t see the problem.
“That needs to be revaluated, for Alabama, that needs to be a little higher quota,” said Nekuda.
“The whole time I’ve been fishing, there has always basically been some type of limits so I just consider it a part of the game,” said Epik.
Nonetheless, these anglers say they’ll be heading out first thing Friday morning to cast their lines.
“We’re heading out at 6,” said Nekuda.
“I’m going at 5 am.. fisherman hours,” said Epik.
The season will consist of four-day weekends, Friday through Monday. It will go through August 25 or until the 558,200 pound quota is met. Red Snapper season for Charter boats starts on June 1.