Short red snapper season ends with a bang

Federal waters opened for a nine-day red snapper fishing season, and one group made the most of it by reaching their limit in just an hour while fishing off Grand Isle.

The Cuccia family and their friends left Bridgeside Marina around 11 a.m. on Thursday and made the 25-mile boat ride in calm waters to the West Delta area. Once at the rig, they tied off and dropped their lines in 180 feet of water.

Craig Cuccia Sr. was amazed at the amount of fish swimming below.

“This was the first time my depth finder registered a false bottom at 100 feet. We were in 180 feet of water. That’s how many fish were below us,” he said. “I don’t see any problems with this fishery.

“The water offshore had a clear green color to it. We each grabbed a rod and quickly baited it.”

The choice of bait was squid and pogies on a #5 circle hook rigged live bait style with a 3-ounce weight.

Dropping a line on the front of the boat, Lisa Cuccia was fishing with her daughters, Carolyn and Sophia. They quickly hooked up on a big red snapper and the fight was on. Reeling up a 15-pound red snapper from 100 feet can be a struggle for a 9-year-old, and Sophia looked exhausted. However, she managed to get the fish on board the boat.

But the excitement was just beginning. Soon, four separate rods hooked a red snapper and each angler managed to land the fish.

Sophia and Carolyn each reeled up red snappers while the rest of the group took their turns putting legal 16-inch or better snappers in the ice chest.

After landing plenty of fish, Cameron Falcon baited his line with a big pogie and dropped it to the bottom. When he reeled up the slack in his line, something big hit the bait. Fifteen minutes later, he boated a 5-foot gray shark.

“This fish kicked my butt. I knew it wasn’t a red snapper, but I was hoping for a nice lemon fish,” Falcon said.

A few minutes later Jay Cuccia boated a 4-foot gray shark. Both fish offered photo opportunities and were released.Within an hour, the group was on their way back to Grand Isle with their limit of snapper.

However, Craig Cuccia Sr. said the nine-day season is too short.

“You can only fish nine days in federal waters and five of those days had bad weather and were unfishable days offshore.” he said.

For creel limits and possession information, check

Daily possession was two snappers per person with 16 inches as the minimum length.


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