And reports from fishing guides indicate there are plenty of fish around the rigs.
"The snapper are so thick, they'll pretty much bite on anything." Tommy Pellegrin with Custom Charters said.
The state season, which is in direct conflict with federal regulations that stipulate an opening in June to run for roughly 45 days, allows for fishing each weekend (Friday through Sunday, with the exception of Memorial Day and Labor Day, when Monday will be classified as a weekend day).
The state season, set to continue through Sept. 30, includes a three-fish-per-angler limit.
Click here to read more about the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission action that moved the state out of compliance with federal regulations.
It's important to note that federal authorities have not approved the extension of state waters from the historical three-mile boundary, and that means anyone catching red snapper outside of that line could be cited if stopped by federal authorities.
"I heard from a federal agent that the feds are not acknowledging the extended state line, and that there will be Coast Guard and other federal agents patrolling this weekend," Pellegrin said. "Anyone going out should know to catch snapper at their own risk."
LDWF also issued a warning yesterday that anglers should "use caution and their own personal judgment when fishing beyond the three-mile boundary that is currently recognized as federal waters, as it is fully expected that federal agents will continue to enforce federal law."
Pellegrin said rumors of patrolling federal agents could be a scare tactic, but anglers willing to gamble that they won't get caught should be greeted with easy fishing around the offshore rigs.
"If you're in close at 60 feet deep or less you can go to the bottom with cut bait on a Carolina rig, but this time of year, with the cooler water, the snapper like to get closer to the surface, as well," he said. "If the water is clean you can use a jig or even a Highlife Tackle swimbait. Just cast out, let (the jig or swimbait) sink a little bit, and just start reeling and jigging.
"You'll probably attract other fish like mangroves, mackerel and cobia, as well. Something's going to bite it unless you're in dirtier water; then you'll want to use something smelly like cut squid or pogie."
The captain said anglers should be ready to be checked by Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries agents when they return to the dock.
While many boats will be heading south from landings across the state, Pellegrin will be sitting out the state season.
"My boat has federal permits, so I still have to abide by the stricter federal law," he said.
And he said there is the chance that the state season could shorten or even end the federal season.
"The state has 850,000 pounds of red snapper to be caught. If this amount is caught before June 1, we may not even have a federal season," Pellegrin said. "It's a catch-22; right now, no one really knows what's going to happen this season."
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