Booking agency ranks Pleasure Isle only 2nd best for snapper fishing; We know better

Booking agency ranks Pleasure Isle only 2nd best for snapper fishing; We know better
Alabama state waters include the country’s largest system of artificial reefs

At least according to, the red snapper fishing is even better in Mustang Island, Texas than it is on Pleasure Island. The online fishing trip website did list Orange Beach/Gulf Shoes second behind the Texas island located about 30 miles from Corpus Christi in its 2024 rankings for red snapper destinations.
Pensacola and Biloxi also made the website’s list. But Orange Beach did not earn the moniker “Red Snapper Capital of the World” by accident.
It is the epicenter for catchi ng that delicious fish because charter captains, private anglers and the state’s Dept. of Natural Resources have built 1,000 square miles of artificial reefs in state waters, the largest system of its kind in the U.S.
Most of those artificial reefs are located within nine miles of Perdido Pass, and because of that, Alabama harvests a third of all recreational red snapper caught in the Gulf of Mexico. The state’s Gulf front footprint is less than 53 miles, but Alabama has nearly 1,100 square miles designated for habitat enhancement.
Federal and state waters are currently open for Red Snapper season, and the season will continue Fridays through Mondays until the state’s recreational quota is exhausted. In addition, anglers can catch two red snapper per day from July 1-5. All anglers 16 and older catching red snapper must have an Alabama saltwater fishing license, current saltwater angler registration and a Gulf reef fish endorsement. Every red snapper catch must be reported on the state’s Snapper Check, portal at
The Gulf states were granted state management of red snapper in 2018, which included using state data collection programs such as Snapper Check to monitor harvests. Along with small increases to the annual catch limit (quota), the red snapper seasons have consistantly increased since implementing state management.
“Alabama has been in the forefront of reef fish management for the last decade,” said Alabama DNR Commissioner Chris Blankenship. “We have shown through Snapper Check that data collection at the state level is much more accurate in the red snapper fishery and can better be trusted for management decisions. As we have said for years, the estimates of effort and catch coming from the federal MRIP program is just not reflective of what we all see in our state. Their own staff has now admitted their system is potentially flawed. This new state-led survey is what we need to do to take away more of the uncertainty of red snapper harvest as well as the other federally and state-managed species.”
A multitude of different materials have been used over the decades to create Alabama’s ecologically productive reefs, including decommissioned bridge spans, oil/gas platform jackets, limestone aggregate, pre-fabricated reef modules, army tanks, repurposed concrete culverts, ships, drydocks, barges and other materials of opportunity. Most have been constructed nearshore waters, but some are up to 55 nautical miles offshore.
Hard bottom substrate is very limited along the water bottoms of Coastal Alabama and the addition of artificial reefs along the predominantly featureless landscape of sand and muddy substrates has increased the biomass of reef fish populations including Red Snapper, Gray Triggerfish, Sheepshead and Gray Snapper.
Furthermore, constructing high quality reefs within Alabama’s coastal waters increases the connectivity between inshore, nearshore, and offshore habitats.
Red Drum, Sheepshead, Gray Snapper, and Southern/Gulf Flounder utilize inshore and nearshore habitats. Red Drum and Gray Snapper migrate from Alabama’s coastal rivers, bayous, and bays as juveniles and early adults to the nearshore sand bars, gas platforms, and artificial reefs as spawning adults.
On the other hand, Sheepshead and flounder migrate to and from inshore waters and nearshore hard bottom habitats each year during spawning migrations.
Reef construction projects throughout multiple depths offshore of Alabama also increases habitat utilization opportunities of juvenile Gray Triggerfish and Red Snapper before those species migrate further offshore to inhabit reefs in deeper water with more vertical complexity.
The availability of hard bottom habitat increases foraging opportunities, shelter and spawning potential of numerous fish.
During the first few years of a reef being placed, numerous finfish congregate around it. After several years, the structure becomes covered by epifaunal organisms such as oysters, mussels, barnacles, tunicates, sponges, and corals. The increased structural complexity offered by these bioengineers provides thousands of nooks and crannies for cryptic organisms such as crabs, worms, sea urchins, blennies, and other animals to use.
These organisms then serve as vectors for nutrient transfer and prey items for higher trophic level fish. The structure becomes a true reef complete with ecological activity throughout the trophic pyramid.
Alabama’s reefs are split into 14 permit areas. In the general permit areas, reefs can be deployed by individuals after acquiring a permit from the Marine Resources Division. In order for individuals to legally construct artificial reefs outside of the general permit areas, they must request a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Uninspected materials deployed outside the reef zones or general permit areas are considered ocean litter and individuals engaged in those activities are subject to prosecution.