Deep sea fishing season begins

Captain Stephen Murphy of Murphy tours said he can't wait for October 1 to roll around because he's hoping anglers looking to get their hands - or rather hooks - on a couple red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico will be on board for a day of deep sea fishing.

Normally the season lasts 54 days from June first to July 24, but the Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a six-week extension for deep sea fishing.

They hope this will help them meet the necessary fish quotas after falling short at the close of the season.

They're opening because --the big oil spill they had- BP- so like 80 percent of the ggulf was closed so the seven-million pounds of red snapper quota wasn TMt met because the gulf was all closed," Murphy said.

Now that they will be back in business every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from October 1 through November 21, South Padre Island captains hope to recover from the losses they've had this summer.

They believe in conservation efforts, but are hoping the extension will help them stay afloat.

"It's a real small consolation considering what they've done to us over the years but you know we take what we can get, Daniel Cole, a deep sea fishing captain said. We used to be able to fish 365 days a year then they shut us down to 180 (days), now this last year they shut us down to 54 (days). So it's kind of hard to make a living taking people deep sea fishing for snapper when you can only do it 54 days a year."

The captains are staying hopeful.

Murphy TMs office is covered with photos of anglers and the red snapper - a coveted prize for many.

The fish tastes good and it's also a beautiful fish that has a red or pink hue when pulled out of the water.

"It TMs an awesome fish to eat (because) it doesn TMt' have a real fishy taste to it. It's clean meat and it's a nice size fish - if you go eat it at a restaurant, it's like a $20 plate for an eight ounce serving."

Murphy and Cole said that red snapper off the shores of South Padre Island have increased in population and in size making it a great opportunity for anglers.

It's also something that they said merits a close look at changing fishing guidelines per state instead of being grouped into regions.

They said if Texas had its own guidelines, there would be longer seasons and a lot more happy anglers and captains.