Yes, Carolina anglers, there will be an open season for the harvest of red snapper in the South Atlantic region in 2018.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council announced Friday word had been received from NOAA Fisheries that Snapper Grouper Amendment 43 has been approved, which opens the door for a red snapper season at some point in 2018 for both recreational and commercial fishermen.
The red snapper season will likely take place sometime in the month of August, with the announcement of the exact dates upcoming.
For the recreational sector, the bag limit for red snapper will be one fish per person per day with no minimum size limit. The recreational season will be open on weekends only (Friday through Sunday), with the number of weekend openings and exact dates still to be determined.
For the commercial sector, a 75-pound trip limit (gutted weight) with no minimum size limit will be in place. The commercial season will close when the commercial Annual Catch Limit (ACL) is met or projected to be met.
The total ACL for red snapper during the mini-season will be 42,510 fish, with 29,656 fish allocated to the recreational sector.
In the meantime, red snapper cannot be harvested and must be released in the South Atlantic region.
S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
The fourth leg of the series is well underway out of City Marina in Charleston where the Megadock Billfishing Tournament is being held.
The Megadock has lived up to its reputation as a sailfish bonanza as 30 sailfish, three blue marlin and two white marlin had been released through Friday’s fishing action. The field of 24 boats is eligible to fish two of three days, with the final day of fishing upcoming on Saturday.
The crew of Rascal, with a home port of Georgetown Landing Marina, had an outstanding opening day of the tournament, compiling 1,100 points to sit atop the leaderboard.
Rascal started the opening day with a bang, releasing the first billfish of the tournament, a white marlin at 8:22 a.m. The crew then released four sailfish the rest of the day. Rascal took Friday off and is set to go for the win on Saturday.
Artemis and Man Cave are tied for second with 1,000 points apiece.
Only two boats (Reel Passion and Miss Magnolia) out of the field of 24 have fished out and are not eligible to fish on Saturday.
On Friday, the 13th no less, two boats, Miss Wy and Blue Sky, were struck by lightning according to the South Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Facebook page, but no one was injured.