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Gulf Gag Grouper Season Closes Nov. 16

The 2011 gag grouper season in Gulf state waters closes Wednesday, Nov.16. For gag grouper anglers, the final day to keep a gag in 2011 in the Gulf (excluding Monroe County) is Tuesday, Nov. 15. In state and federal Atlantic waters (including Monroe County), the recreational season is open through Jan. 1, 2012.

Mid-November ends an entirely-confusing open/closed year for gag grouper. In Gulf state waters, gag grouper closed Feb. 1 to March 31 as part of the shallow water bottomfish closure, then closed again June 1– Sept. 15, and finally Nov. 16 to Dec. 31, 2011. Many bottom fishermen were left completely frustrated and angry, if not defeated. Confusing seasonal changes, short seasons, emergency closures, low bag limits and lousy weekend weather left many boats on their trailers. Public outcry doesn’t seem to help, even though the fish seem to be numerous.

In 2011, a “temporary” year-long gag grouper recreational closure in Gulf federal waters (beyond 9 miles) was in effect, except for a short Sept. 16 through Nov. 15 open season. Expect state regulations for gag grouper to mimic federal Gulf regulations starting in 2012. At the Nov. 16 FWC meeting in Key Largo, commissioners will likely approve proposed measures affecting gag grouper in Gulf state waters to become consistent with federal regulations.

Florida Sportsman Member red010480 asked about the gag grouper season in a recent forum thread. Too late, it seems, the season is closed.