High fuel costs impacted summer red snapper season

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 9:47 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Local fishermen are trying to keep their finances afloat as they move from the Summer to Fall Gulf red snapper recreational season.

Many say they had a number of fish fall for the bait, but inflation didn’t help their fuel costs or customers.

“The fuel cost was tremendous on us,” said fisherman Eric Washington. “That was about the biggest thing on us. The fuel hit us hard.”

Washington operates his fishing business out of Capt. Anderson’s Marina in Bay County. He said fuel surged up to nearly $6.90 in mid-July. It ultimately went down to around $5.70. Still, he said he can spend between $1,500 and $2,000 per week just on fuel.

“Financially, if fuel wasn’t on us as hard as it was, it would’ve been an excellent season,” Washington said. “We have been busier this year than ever.”

Washington said he catches eight to 10 snapper per trip, which amounts to four to six hours out on the water. The brunt of fuel costs caused him to increase the price for his customers.

“We went up about $20 per hour,” Washington said.

It’s the same story for many business people at the marina. Operations Manager of Capt. Anderson’s Marina Pam Anderson said they also had to raise the price.

“When the fuel prices had to go up, we did have to add a fuel surcharge,” Anderson said. “We waited a while to do that because we didn’t want to have to add that additional financial burden to our customers. Our fuel costs doubled.”

Washington said the extended window for recreational red snapper season this Fall will help.

“We’ve got a Fall season,” Washington said. “Right now, we’ve got about half of our Fall season booked up already. We’re looking forward to booking the rest.”

The hook for Washington and Anderson is to stay positive and hope that the fuel costs simmer down a bit.

You can find more information about the recreational red snapper season by visiting this website.