Editor’s Orange Beach FishingNote: Captain Ben Fairey of the “Necessity” charter boat had a highly-productive 12-hour trip the fourth weekend in October.

We caught limits of snapper weighing 5- to 15-pounds each, triggerfish up to 7-pounds each and really-big amberjacks. I expect the fishing to be even better in the future. I’ve fished these waters for 37 years and never have seen the sizes or the numbers of fish we’re catching now from the artificial reefs off Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The biomass of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico right now is amazing.

The outstanding red snapper fishing out of Orange Beach is a great story of recovery for the red snapper. In the 1990s, we had to go 50- or 60-miles offshore to catch the same size of red snapper we’re catching now within 15 to 20 miles of the beach. The red snapper are so plentiful that when we get on a spot and start catching triggerfish, we’ll often catch eight to 10 triggerfish high in the water, before the red snapper move-in and start taking-over the triggerfish bite.Orange Beach Fishing When that happens, we have to move to another section of water.

Thousands of artificial reefs lie off Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Marine Resources Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, along with charter-boat captains and private fishermen have been building reefs off Alabama’s Gulf Coast for more than 60 years. The fishing is phenomenal right now on these reefs. If you have a private boat, you can go to any of the public reefs and quickly and easily catch a limit of snapper and many other reef fish we have living here on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. This fall fishing season has been fantastic. Every boat that comes-in has good catches of not only snapper but other reef fish as well.

I serve on two of the National Marine Fisheries Service advisory councils and based on reports we’ve received, our fishery hasn’t been detrimentally affected by the BP oil spill of last spring. Our seafood has been certified as safe to eat, and we have the most and the biggest red snapper being caught right now than I’ve ever seen. The red snapper have come back in such large numbers that they have increased far beyond anyone’s expectations. We’d hoped to Orange Beach Fishingbuild-up the number of red snapper with the red-snapper recovery, but no one realized how many big fish would be produced. Right now, this special fall weekend red snapper season that runs until 12:01 am on November 22 is phenomenal, and we’ll have a tremendous spring and summer fishing season next year in 2011, possibly even bigger and better than what we’ve seen this fall. Every Gulf Coast captain is optimistic about the future of red snapper fishing here at Orange Beach. So, book early to make sure you can fish with us during this booming time of snapper fishing off Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

To fish with Captain Ben Fairey on the “Necessity,” call him at 251-747-5782 or his booking agent Tracy Redding at 251-609-2525, visit www.captben.com, or email him at bfairey@bellsouth.net. 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 visiting the “What’s Biting?” column at www.orangebeach.com/fishing/biting.