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Summer fishing season wraps up


Charter Captains are wrapping up a summer that had more challenges than ever, including a nine-day red snapper season in federal waters.

Things slow down a bit at the dock once school starts, but there are still some people out fishing. And of course, everybody has big hopes for the holiday weekend"
Dan McQuillan and his friends come from Illinois to fish for Amberjack and Red Snapper, but timing that trip gets tougher every year.
Snapper season is long gone, and they missed Amberjack too.

Dan McQuillan said, "They closed the season basically Sunday night. We got here Monday morning"

One Captain says keeping customers happy while telling them which fish they can't keep is a very tough balancing act.
Capt. Craig Mann/Mary Lou said, "Quite frankly, I've heard throughout the fleet that a lot of people did not want to fish this year, they cancelled trips, because we were so restricted in catching red snapper" 

Thursday, many Captains were away from the docks, giving input at a meeting about changing the way the snapper quota is allocated.
Bruce Craul of the Emerald Grande is lobbying too. He says hotels and condos have plenty at stake. "It's huge, in terms of the amount of business we do that's related to people that come here to fish. It's one of the most important reasons people come here"

Captain Craig Mann says this year, good weather and record tourism made a difference, easing some of the bite of the fishing restrictions. "Even though the Red Snapper was a huge issue with some people, this is one of the most fertile fisheries in the world, one of the most beautiful towns in the world, and people come here because of that"
 
For now, both Amberjack and Red Snapper are closed. Triggerfish is also closed in federal waters.