Editor’s Note: This fall, your family can have the opportunity to catch numbers of fish at Alabama’s coast to eat or release and also to learn scientific and natural history lessons from qualified instructors.

Orange Beach FishingCaptain Jay Gunn
, who guides inshore fishermen in Mobile Bay, worked with Alabama’s Marine Resources Division for 20 years. He has degrees in biology, history, and education. Besides catching speckled trout, redfish, and flounder, Gunn can teach your children about the biology of Mobile Bay, oysters, shrimp, fish, and all the marine life that interact and depend on each other. Write jay@gulfshoresinshore.com.

Captain David Thornton
, who guides surf and pier fishermen, has a degree in geology. He can teach children the differences between the bottom near shore and the continental shelf and introduce them to sand fleas and ghost shrimp (productive pompano baits), sheepshead, flounder, and other species they can catch. Call 251-458-2775, or write pierpounder@alabamasnaturalcoast.net.

Captain Troy Frady
of the charter boat “Distraction,” a graduate of the University of Alabama, also has FEMA Emergency Responder certification to work in the command center during natural disasters. He worked with FEMA during the BP Oil Spill and can explain the conservation efforts made to bring the Upper Gulf Coast back to its original beauty. Frady uses a book on his offshore trips to help the children identify fish and learn their life history and teaches navigation by using a GPS and sonar to identify the places to fish and how to differentiate between the various fish they see on a depth finder.

All three men can teach your children about how Alabama has the largest artificial reef building program in the nation and how they help increase the communities of plant and fish life. These captains can take your family to Fort Morgan to observe the neotropical birding going on during the fall when birds from all over the nation leave from Fort Morgan to fly to South America across thousands of miles of open water. They can teach your children about the history of seven different countries flying flags over the fort and the battles waged there.

At the Peteet Mariculture Center in Gulf Shores, you can learn about new research being conducted on Alabama’s inshore and offshore fish and their growing numbers. Homeschooled children can spend a week or more at the coast and learn about history, biology, geology, natural science, and how to catch fish. Many of our captains and guides can help you plan a fun, educational fishing trip to Alabama’s Gulf Coast this fall.

For more information about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, visit www.orangebeach.com/fishing, our easy to access fishing information pages complete with marina and charter captain listings. For any questions, call Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism’s vacation-planning specialists at 1-800-745-SAND (7263). For a list of cook-your-catch restaurants, go to www.orangebeach.com/dining-nightlife/restaurants.