Editor’s Note: Jerry Morrison had the courage to do what most of us only dream of – he left his job in an automobile manufacturing plant as an assembly-line worker, packed-up all of his belongings and moved to Orange Beach, Alabama, in hopes of becoming a Orange Beach chartersfulltime fisherman. Today, his only regret is, “I wished I’d done it sooner.”

When I was a kid and a teenager, I saltwater fished with my dad and granddad. That’s where my love of the Gulf of Mexico, charter boats and deep-sea fishing began. I worked a regular job for years just like other folks. But some years ago, I began to fish with my friend and his dad out of Orange Beach with their friend, Captain Ricky McDuffie on the “Sea Hunter” charter boat based at SanRoc Cay Marina. Then one weekend, I went to Orange Beach and booked a fishing trip on the “Summer Breeze II” with Captain Bobby Walker. When I returned to the assembly line the next Monday, I made-up my mind that whatever the cost, I was going to leave that secure job with good pay, benefits, a retirement program and the opportunity to possibly move-up in the company for total insecurity by coming to Orange Beach and trying to find work in the charter-fishing business.

I took a week off during the Fourth of July, left the plant and told my co-workers I didn’t know whether I’d be returning after my vacation or not. And I never did go back. Instead, I got a job working with marine electronics when I first arrived at Orange Beach. I was trying to make the money I needed for my wife and me to live, until I could find a way to somehow secure a job in the fishing industry. I started working on the weekends as a deckhand with Captain Ricky McDuffie and did some commercial fishing. Then finally, Captain McDuffie offered me a position as a deckOrange Beach chartershand on his charter boat “Sea Hunter,” which allowed me to leave my marine-electronics job and become a fulltime professional fisherman.

Today when the “Sea Hunter” doesn’t have a trip, I deckhand on the charter boat “Miss E.” I do something different just about every day, while getting to know some great people from the back of a boat – the anglers who join us on our trips. I get to help those folks catch and land fish and share in the excitement they’re having. I may fish with an upper echelon person of a top company one day and a Midwestern farmer the next day. Each morning, when I go to work, I’m excited about being in Orange Beach and being a fisherman. Sometimes in the spring and summer, I’ll work 7 days a week, 12-16 hours a day. However, fishing and helping customers be successful when fishing never has felt like work. I get paid to fish. Life doesn’t get much better than that. I have the best office in the world and the best people around me every day. I have the best life I can imagine, because I’m a fulltime fisherman.

To fish with Jerry Morrison, one of the happiest men in Orange Beach chartersthe world, book a charter with Sea Hunter Charters by visiting www.orangebeachfishing.com, emailing captainrickymcduffie@yahoo.com, or calling 251-747-4468. For more information on fishing guides and charter boats, lodging accommodations, restaurants and entertainment on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, call Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND (7263), or visit www.orangebeach.com. You also can get a fishing report three times each week by going-to the “What’s Biting?” column at www.orangebeach.com/fishing/biting.

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