GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) - Anglers along the Gulf Coast geared up for the start of the red snapper season, set for Saturday, June 1. At just 26 days in federal waters, it's the shortest season on record.
A charter boat captain of 13 years, Dale Woodruff said he wouldn't want to do anything else. He's had too many great times on his boat, Class Act.
"You get to see people from all across the country every day. You get to see everybody from all walks of life," Woodruff said. "You get to entertain them, and they also entertain you."
Friday, Woodruff got ready for the 2013 season, recently extended from 28 days in Alabama to 34.
Anglers said it's an improvement but still short, considering we're only a few years removed from a 180-day snapper season.
"Our federal waters start at three miles, majority of our fishing off the Alabama coast is done outside of three miles," Woodruff said. "I'm glad the season is here because we're going to make our money and run a lot of trips. I wish we had it all year, but we'll have to get it when we can."
Woodruff estimates that 60 percent of his business comes from red snapper season. He would like to see at least a 100 day season rather than a derby style fishery.
The way it stands is detrimental to his business.
"Most of these people on these charter boats right now we are nickel and diming everything we can to stay in business. Hopefully the state regulations will open up and help us out," Woodruff said. "[The] past couple of years we've had a great tourist season, but with the cost of fuel, cost of bait, cost of doing business - we used to run 160 to 200 trips, now we're down to 100, 130 for most boats."
Lawmakers recently filed an appeal to the federal government, asking them to give states control over Gulf fisheries.
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