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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the past couple of years I have noticed a decline in the number of sow snappers I catch at my honey holes. The decline started in 2002 and has progresively gotten worse. Is it just me or are any of you experiancing the same problem?
 

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I can't even get a bite. Been to 5 or 6 rigs 30-60 miles out since May 16 and nada. No fish, no hook ups, no bites. I have only been to rigs, no wrecks, secret holes or rocks. I think they're all dead.
 

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NRA LIFER
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Can you say......

smack boat?..............and big shrimp trawls?

Those boys are very good at wiping out the snapper on any given structure. Then the shrimpers come behind them and "bycatch" any trying to grow up and replenish the resource.

Neither one gives a rats rear for size limits, quotas, anything. The chances of getting caught are just too slim...............

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I traded with a shrimper for chum last year. He gave me a big garbage can full of chum, 3/4 of that can was red snapper, b-liners, and lane, all about an inch long. More snapper than catch in 10 years, and this was one shimper in one day. However the shrimpers and comercial guys have allways been out there. I wonder if there maybe somthing else.
 

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Hasn't shrimp season been closed for a couple of months? I know it doesn't open until July 15th. But back to the question. There does seem to be a huge lack of snapper out of POC. A few undersized fish and a ton of triggerfish. I hear of good catches coming out of other ports but haven't seen or heard of great catches out of POC. June has never been a great month for snapper in my experiences, but this June seems much worse.

Get Wild

Eric
 

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I had no problem limiting out on sows last week out of mansfield. I just finished cooking a couple fillets right now actually. We caught a 4 person limit in an hour and a half and had to keep them in the live well to cull out the smaller ones. Smallest ones that got thrown back were 20-21". We were at the 10 fathom wreck about 23 miles north of the mansfield jetty. I have also not had any problem catching them at the southern rig or double yellow area out of port A. If you can get past the triggers you can get the snapper. Use live bait that is larger than 3" to get away from the triggers. Squid and cut bait gets mobbed by triggers.
 

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We've not been able to buy a snapper bite out of Matagorda so far this season either. In a couple of trips in March, we gound solid snapper (20" or better) all over the place. Since the season opened, we've put a total of 5 legal snapper in the boat in 4 trips and they all came on a single trip. Somebody cleaned out all the spots. We've fished both rigs and wrecks with the same result. We're probably fishing the same area as the POC guys since we always run S/SE out of Matty.
 

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Man, the snapper have definetly been a problem on my boat also. We hit Freeport and Matagorda and got blanked. I think that next time we will concentrate on the Cerveza/Boomvang for other species. Guess we will try the Inersections on the way back. See you guys out there. John
 

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Ditto on the snapper decline !

It has gotten tougher and tougher..........Have you ever seen what a comm. snapper boat can do ?......It is obscene !

We pulled up on a boat that had the typical 10+ bait rigs hammering snapper....and the 16 minus ones were'nt going back over. I don't think these guys even knew the laws, because they were not concerned the least that we were checking them out. Opposed to guy we pulled up on that started raising H#!! that we were bothering his beeliner expedition...BS!

Nonetheless, We're having to go futher to catch the same........Or maybe we aren't holding our mouths right :)
 

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" TEXAS TILL I DIE "
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a few years ago they thought of closing the snapper season for everyone( smak boats etc,) for 5 years ? maybe somebody ought to start a post on this?? what do yall think? sounds like everyone needs to start keeping triggers!!
 

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I have fished out of POC since 2002. That first year, the snapper at my favorite spot were incredible. The fish finder was lit up like a Christmas tree all over the area. We caught many snapper 10 lbs and up to 25. Heck, we were throwing back everything under 18 or 20 inches. First trip to that area in 2003, the fish finder looked like a ghost town and this year, just about the same thing. We did pull a few nice snapper out of that area this year but they were not over the structure.

It's time to troll the blue water, and maybe find that honey hole that ain't been found yet.
 

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Haven't really had a chance to fish much this year for a variety of reasons, mostly weather. However, last week we made the first trip since Snapper season opened and put none in the box. In fact, we only caught one undersized Snapper despite fishing some spots that have produced well over the past few years. That is the first time that we didn't have at least 5 or 6 keepers in a long time. Last year wasn't bad for me as we limited several times and caught some nice fish with six over 20 lbs. But if our first trip of 2004 was any indication of how the Snapper fishing will be this summer, it could be a lean year for the Dolphin Hunter.
 

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Same problem

I have had the same problem from San Luis Pass to Matagorda. I'd say 3 years ago catching a limit of decent snapper was easier than catching a limit of kings. That has totally reversed. The couple times I could make it out this year, we caught maybe 5 or 6 keepers with 3-4 people fishing. And I mean we have had to fish hard for them, I mean downriggers, exclusively live bait... I think you guys are right on the money about commercial and shrimpers and what not, but one thing I have noticed is that more and more fisherman have found out about this great bluewater sport as well. Also, a couple weeks ago, when it was calm, about 20 miles out, there was a small kenner tied up to the rig and I must have seen them throw back 15-20 snapper that were relatively small just to see a bunch of porpoise waiting for them. But like most of you guys, I am going to try some different spots further out and different fish.. And BTY, what is the legality of making a home-made wreck of cinder blocks or something, I know they're out there, and I know people do it, I was wondering what the law says about it exactly.
 

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Out of curiosity, I searched the internet and came up with the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Council. An organization within this Org called Fisheries Information Network(FIN), is responsible for gathering statistics used by the GSMFC to make regulations and set quotas for commercial and recreational fishermen.
http://www.gsmfc.org/

There are many interesting things to read on these pages. FIN has representatives from all the gulf coast states who are responsible for gathering information on daily catches. Most states have implemented what are called Trip Tickets for Commercial fishermen. They report their catch in weight, species, where they fished...to FIN. One ticket per trip. Texas is I think the only state that is still doing the statistic gathering the old way, by getting the data from Seafood dealers although Texas is evaluating implementing the Trip Ticket system.

I'm waiting on an email back from a FIN staff person to get the name and contact info for the TPWD rep to the FIN organization. I want to be schooled in how all this works. So far, what I gather is that the daily take by commercial fishermen is completely on the honor system and reported by Seafood dealers.

So what do you think this says about how much control and monitoring there is over what commercials are actually bringing in? I won't jump to conclusions until the TPWD rep schools me on this. Mont will probably fill us in to once he reads this thread but it sure seems completely honor system to me.

If I get nothing else out of this effort, maybe I will have a contact into the FIN org to be able to report suspected illegal activity by commercials. I also wonder if this rep might be interested in getting a view from us recreational fishermen on the quality and quantity of fish. This thread is a good example of that.

Landings statistics from the NMFS pages, which only is as recent as 2002, I sure hope they have the data and just haven't made it public yet on more recent years, shows that most of the quota for commercials is reached by around May and tails off and ends in July/August then picks back up in Oct. So around 2000, according to what I remember seeing in the statistics, they must have increased the quotas because up until then, statistics on a monthly basis ended April or something like that.

More to follow!!
 

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Easy Limits

We haven't had any trouble with snapper the past 2 years. @ trips this year and we had easy limits. Last trip out took a diffrent technique. We had to free line spanish sardines to get any keeper snapper, it only took about 30 minutes to limit on 17-20" fish. All the fish caught where withing 25 miles of the beach.
 

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I attended the last snapper meeting in Galveston and all the models they shown us show'd the same thing. No matter what we do if the shrimp boats are not stopped the snapper will not recover within their time frame. If they closed the com and rec snapper season the shrimp boats will more than cover what we didn't get to keep.

BTW- the com get to keep 15"ers

The one snapper trip I have been on this year we limited out on snaps to 21" and never got outside of 25nmiles. Our best fish came from 52' of water. That trip was two weeks ago.
 

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Live Like No One Else.
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It might only be me but I don't even target snapper. I most fish for King, Ling, Dolphin, maybe AJ. But while I am drifting for King I nomally have a few bottom lines normally pick up a few snapper. But to me it is like fishing for crappie.
 

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Guys, snapper MOVE. Just because you caught fish last year at a " honey hole" does not mean they will be there the next year. There has been no problem out of any of the ports I have fished the last three weekends (Galveston, Freeport, Matagorda) in putting some decent fish in the box. Rig fishing has always been hit or miss, because everyone and their brother knows where it is. Try fishing the upcurrent side of the rig, that is where most of the fish will be. Yes, if a commercial boat anchors on your best spot and pulls 2000 lbs off of it, fishing will be slow there for awhile. But there isn't any shortage of snapper out there, trust me. Just because one spot and one technique doesn't work, it does not mean the fish are extinct. And quit talking about a five year ban on retaining snapper, because I guarantee if that happens 99% of you will be selling your boats. Learn how to fish submerged structure, try different techniques (the biggest hint I can give you is a 4 oz. bucktail jig with trailer hook tipped with either a cigar minnow or strip of bonito), and have several spots picked out to try during the day. Summertime= deeper water for big snaps. Spring and Fall= the big girls move in a little closer. Try a weighted drift line, bounce a 1 lb hunk of bonito on the bottom, use live bait, etc.
 

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Snappers

OK boys and gals James Howell has just let the cat out of the bag. Try some of the different ways he described to catch snapps and one will catch some big ones. I've tryed all of these and do catch big snaps. Big chunks of bonita and live bait or my two favorite. Second is an H-Style jig tipped with cigars or bonita is a close second. Use these they work.
 

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no snapper

POC T-N-T said:
In the past couple of years I have noticed a decline in the number of sow snappers I catch at my honey holes. The decline started in 2002 and has progresively gotten worse. Is it just me or are any of you experiancing the same problem?
no snapper, well check out the commercial fishing industry they have just about wiped out the snapper. approximately 100 boats (commercial boats) licensed in the gulf take more than all the recreational fisherman in the gulf.
 
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