The Louisiana Sportsman’s Show is a gathering of outdoors folks like no other in our state, and it begins its four-day run Thursday on the sprawling grounds of the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
It’s a chance to check out the all sizes of the latest boats and fishing tackle, hunting and hunting gadgets and machines to improve your hunting lands, ATVs, and fishing and hunting trips, Splash Dogs, a kids zone, and food. Always fascinating is the Big Buck Contest. Hunters can bring their trophies from past seasons to be scored by wildlife biologists for state and national listings.
There is an admission fee, but Sunday kids get in free. The show runs noon-7 p.m. through Friday, then 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Need more? Go to the website: louisianasportsmanshow.com.
With the five Gulf states taking control of the private recreational fishing management of red snapper, it’s time to lay out the ground rules.
The switch from federal control came with stipulations for each state — set a season, daily limit, a minimum size limit between 14-18 inches and an option to set a maximum size limit.
The second part of this changeover is where the rubber meets the road for offshore anglers: it’s how the total recreational quota is divided between the federal for-hire/charters and private/state charterboat operations subsectors.
Each state gets a percentage of the overall quota based on what federal managers call “historic” catch.
This year Louisiana's 19.1% (historic catch) comes to 816,233 pounds, the same as last year minus the some 30,000-plus pounds over last year’s quota. Florida (44.8%) gets 1,913,451 pounds, Alabama (26.3%) gets 1,122,622 pounds, Texas (6.2%) gets 265,105 pounds, and Mississippi (3.6%) gets 151,550 pounds, with the same reduction caveat in 2020 catch from 2019 catch data.
The state Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has not set the recreational red snapper season, but it’s 99% sure the season will open for a four-day Memorial Day weekend come May 22 and remain open for weekends only with a possible four-day July 4 season, and, if there’s quota remaining, a four-day Labor Day weekend season.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council announced a June 1-Aug. 1 red snapper season for boats with federal for-hire reef fish permits. It’s in those 62 days federal fisheries managers believe it will take those charters to catch 3,130,000 pounds.
If you’re wondering how those businesses were able to get more than 3 million pounds, then know the total 2020 recreational red snapper quota is 7,339,000 pounds, and if you add the state private/charters (4,269,361, 57.7%) and federal permitted businesses (42.3%) you get that 7 million-pound plus total.
If western Gulf of Mexico anglers chafe at sharing that 40-plus % of a recreational quota with certain federally permitted charter operation, consider what’s being done to South Atlantic recreationals.
Late last week, the Center for Sportfishing Policy revealed a South Atlantic Fishery Management Council decision “that fishermen from North Carolina (south) to Florida could have a three-day 2020 red snapper season, but may end up with no season at all.”
CSP director Jeff Angers said offshore recreational fishermen in those states have had 37 days of a red snapper season during the past 10 years in federal waters, and Angers said the limited seasons have come, “despite increasing abundance of fish.
“Under the current regulatory framework, a recreational South Atlantic red snapper season of three or fewer days is prohibited. Changing that framework requires a rulemaking period which is in its early stages,” Angers said in the CSP release.
He pointed to the latest federal data (2018) showing a 29,656 fish annual catch limit while, in the same year, the same list identified that Florida anglers, fishing the Atlantic, released an estimated 3,174,288 snapper.
Effective March 25, the minimum “keeper” size for cobia (lemonfish, ling) will increase from 33 inches to 36 inches fork length for recreational and commercial take in the Gulf of Mexico.