Now that the state season has arrived, it seems that offshore anglers hit the nail on the proverbial head: By almost all accounts, snapper have been extremely easy to boat, and it looks as if that trend will continue.
"You could chum the water and walk on the snapper," said Capt. Chris Moran of Port Fourchon-based Cajun Made Charters. "They're everywhere, really."
The season began Friday (March 24), more than two months before the snapper season will open in federal waters. Fishing is allowed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through September.
State waters extend to three marine leagues, 10.357 miles, from shore.
Click here to find out what federal authorities are threatening because of the extended state season.
Not that you have to attempt to run that far out, Moran said. He and some friends fished twice for other species since the season opened, and the charter captain said he's hard-pressed to recall a time he's seen more snapper in the water. He said they were thick throughout the East Timbalier area where his crew was fishing.
"If you're a recreational angler, you can take advantage of it right now," he said. "(We've) been running charters and they're all doing well."
Moran suggested using sardines, pogies or cut bait and fishing halfway down the water column.
When he made his two trips to East Timbalier, the weather was not agreeable, he said. But with spring in full force, that usually means warmer temperatures and pleasant breezes offshore. That can change "in a hurry," Moran noted, so he urged caution whenever on the water and said to keep a mindful eye on the weather as a precaution.
"But right now, it's really ideal out there," he said.
The daily possession limit for the state season is three red snapper each with a minimum length of 16 inches.