Gulf Oil Spill Update - Wednesday, May 12 - 11am

NOAA is providing daily updates to the closed fishing area, based on changes in the size or direction of the oil slick. To view the most recent map, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

Although NOAA has closed commercial and recreational fishing in a limited area between the mouth of the Mississippi River and Florida’s Pensacola Bay, there is a large area of the gulf still open. Charter boats are leaving Orange Beach, Gulf Shores & Fort Morgan every day to fish areas up to 25-30 miles out and in our inshore waters.

To see other oil spill updates specific to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, go to www.orangebeach.com/issues.

xxx


Editor’s Note: One of the biggest new fishermen magnets on Alabama’s Gulf Coast is the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Fishermen come from around the nation to the pier because:

  • It’s the longest fishing pier on the Gulf of Mexico;
  • It has fish-cleaning stations and restrooms halfway out on the pier;
  • You can fish for 24 hours for $8; and
  • The state has built three artificial reefs just out of casting distance from the pier to attract more fish to the area.

King mackerel, redfish and cobia are caught off the pier regularly throughout the spring, summer and fall. Ground mullet, whiting, pompano, sheepshead, flounder and speckled trout are caught nearer to the shore.

If you’re wondering why an angler comes from Wisconsin to fish on the Gulf State Park Pier, according to Todd Weezy of St. Germain, Wisconsin, “I come to Alabama every year in the fall and in the Orange Beach chartersspring to do maintenance on my grandmother’s house here in Alabama. When I get this close to salt water, I can’t stay away. I’ve been fishing off piers on Alabama’s Gulf Coast for the last 40 years, including the old Gulf State Park Pier that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The new Gulf State Park Pier just opened last year, and it’s the best pier we’ve ever had to fish from in Alabama.

“But the fishing off the pier isn’t the only reason I come. I also meet some really-nice people here on the pier. They’re friendly and helpful, and if you don’t know how to fish or which tactics, or what baits to use, they’ll be glad to show you. I believe I enjoy being around the people on the pier as much as I do fishing from the pier. I also like fishing the pier, since you never know what you’ll catch. The water temperature really determines what species of fish will be biting when you’re here. I don’t have any trouble catching big redfish, cobia is strong during the spring, and now the big king mackerel are arriving. We also catch a lot of Spanish mackerel. I fish on the pier every day I’m here in Alabama. I’ll watch the tide and the weather, and I’ll plan my trip around those two elements. One night I came down at 2 am and fished until 9:30 am, but usually I come out in the afternoon and fish until well after dark.

“There’s a group of us tourists who fish out on the pier at night, and we call ourselves ‘tourons’ – half tourist and half moron. We come down here and fish at night, often for a month or two. We prefer to spend time here on the pier at night rather than sit on the couch and watch TV. Most of the time, we catch redfish, but occasionally we’ll catch a big shark, which is very exciting. Bringing a shark onto the pier is against the rules, but you can reel it, and once you see it, cut your line and let it go.

“We also often catch cobia at night here. This pier enables fishermen to get out past the second sandbar to fish, where we find and catch many-more fish than we did before the new pier was built. The biggest fiOrange Beach charterssh I’ve caught from the pier was a 42-pound ling (cobia). That day, I was out here on the pier all by myself, and I had a heck of a fight. I don’t believe I’ll ever have a fight like that again. I’ve also caught some nice king mackerel while fishing out here. One reason I’d encourage everyone to come to Alabama and fish off the pier is because if you don’t know how to fish, if you’ll just hang out here on the pier, someone will not only teach you how to fish but what to use and the type of bait you need. Too, if you hook a fish they’ll help you land it. If you’re going to be on Alabama’s Gulf Coast this month and you like to fish, I’d strongly recommend you come out to the Gulf State Park Pier.”

For more information, visit www.alapark.com/GulfState/GulfStateParkPier, or call (251) 948-7275 or 1-800-252-7275.

Flounder with Shrimp Stuffing


This is a favorite flounder dish on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Stuffing Ingredients:
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4-cup finely-chopped celery
1/4-cup finely-chopped green pepper
1 pound shrimp, raw, peeled, deveined and chopped
1/4-cup beef broth
1 teaspoon diced pimientos, drained
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2-teaspoon dill weed
1/2-teaspoon minced chives
1/8-teaspoon salt
1/8-teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-1/2-cup soft bread crumbs

Fish Ingredients:
6 (3-ounce) flounder fillets
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/2-teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
In a large skillet, melt butter. Add the onion, celery and green pepper, sauté until tender. Add shrimp; cook a couple of minutes and stir until the shrimp turn pink. Add the broth, pimientos, Worcestershire sauce, dill, chives, salt and cayenne; heat through. Remove from the heat; stir-in bread crumbs. Spoon about 1/2-cup of stuffing onto each fillet; roll-up. Place seam-side down in a greased 13x9 baking dish. Drizzle with butter and lemon juice. Sprinkle with seasonings. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 20-25 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

xxx