Tim Champagne’s late July fishing trip with charter skipper André Boudreaux continues to get better.
Remember his catch? The 18.63-pound mangrove snapper he took in Ship Shoal 222 blew the lid off Michael Lorio’s previous state record 14.36-pound mangrove that stood for seven years.
And last week, his once-in-a-lifetime catch was approved by the International Game Fish Association for a world, all-tackle record. Champagne’s fish bettered by more than a pound IGFA’s 17-pound mangrove taken in 1992 off Florida’s Atlantic Coast in 1992.
This world record leaves little doubt about where folks need to come to catch world-class snapper. With the addition of Champagne’s catch, Louisiana’s offshore waters have produced three world-record snapper joining “Doc” Kennedy’s massive 50-pound, 4-ounce red snapper and Marion Rose’s whopper of a cubera snapper, a 124-12 giant.
And last week, news for snapper fishermen got better when Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ mangers announced a Nov. 20 opener for a red snapper season in state waters.
This extended season comes after the LDWF’s Marine Fisheries Section reviewed catch data from its LA Creel Program and determined state recreational fishermen took 993,963 pounds of red snapper through the June 1-10 federal season and the state’s months-long season closed Sept. 8. That left the state’s recreational catch 88,823 pounds shy of the historic recreational catch.
According to the LDWF’s announcement, the Nov. 20 season will run “seven days a week in state waters with a daily bag and possession limit of two fish per person at a 16-inch minimum total length.”
The reminder from the LDWF is that fishermen will need to have the state’s no-fee Recreational Offshore Landing Permit to catch and possess many offshore species, including red snapper. Fishermen can get the ROPL from the LDWF’s website: https://rolp.wlf.la.gov.
The Nov. 20 season give recreationals a good chance to chase tuna and some grouper species in federal waters, then stop at platforms and reefs in state waters to take red snapper.
More good news on snapper came from Capital Hill last week when the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee announced it will hold a hearing later this month on Rep Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, offered H.R. 3094 named the “Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act.”
Graves’ intention is to transfer management of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery from the federal government to the five Gulf States. The bill, now with 26 co-sponsors in the U.S. House, is scheduled for a committee hearing at 9 a.m. Oct. 22.
The same committee also approved the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act last week.