Newsflash #1: On April the 27th, a new catch record was set for king mackerel on the Gulf State Park Pier when 178 king mackerel were caught in that one day from the pier. This was an unbelievable catch of king mackerel. Aguon reports that, so far during the spring, more than 1,500 king mackerel have been caught off of the Gulf State Park Pier, which is one of the longest piers on the Gulf of Mexico. The Navarre Pier is just 5 feet longer than the Alabama pier. Good numbers of pompano, speckled trout and flounder are also coming over the rails at the Gulf State Park Pier. For more information about fishing the Gulf State Park Pier which is open 7 days a week, 24 hours day, call 251-967-FISH (3474).

Newsflash #2: On Saturday, May 7, 2011, the first ladies-only king mackerel tournament will be held on the Gulf State Park Pier. Thirty-seven female anglers already have signed-up, but the public is invited, and any lady who wants to fish in this tournament will be welcomed. Rules and regulations can be found on www.emeraldcoastpierfishing.com, under “Reeling Chicks Bounty Hunt.” First prize will be a $300 J&M Tackle gift card. An additional category has been added this year for Best Dressed, and the winner of this category will receive a custom-made J&M king mackerel rod that retails for about $285. So, this Saturday, the queens of the Pier will be fishing for the kings of the Pier.




Editor’s Note:
Captain Bobby Walker of the “Summer Breeze II” charter boat, based at Zeke’s Landing Marina, has a long history of fishing off Alabama’s Gulf Coast. “Our family started charter-boat fishing in Orange Beach, Alabama, in the 1920s and the 1930s,” Walker says. “My dad, Bob Walker, was a charter-Orange Beach Chartersboat captain, and I was born into this life.” Walker expects a great snapper season this year.

Question: Bobby, what’s the fishing been like at Alabama’s Gulf Coast this spring?
Walker: Fishing has been really great. We’ve seen numbers of red snapper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish and scamp. The amberjack fishing has been really good and should continue until it closes June 1, when red snapper season starts. The tuna fishing is looking good this year, too. We have several trips booked this month for yellowfin and blackfin tuna.

Question: What’s the secret to catching those big yellowfin tuna?
Walker: You have to be where the tuna are. We use a number of different methods for catching tuna. We troll with ballyhoo, fish live bait and also chunk, which is a form of chumming with bigger pieces of chum.

Question: What’s the most-productive tactic for catching the yellowfin tuna in the spring?
Walker: We’ve had the most success trolling ballyhoo.

Question: How do you rig for yellowfins?
Walker: That’s a secret. We can’t really tell everyone how we rig our baits when we’re trolling ballyhoo, because that’s the way we’re able to produce tuna, when others can’t catch them. But other methods, like chunking, live-bait fishing and even fishing jigs also will yield tuna.

Question: How many big yellowfin tuna do you generally catch on a trip?
Walker: The limit is three per angler, but if we have six or eight people fishing, our goal is to catch at least one yellowfin tuna per fisherman. Those fish will weigh from about 50- to 80-pounds each.Orange Beach charters

Question: When you go on an 18- or a 36-hour tuna fishing trip, what will the fishermen catch besides yellowfin tuna?
Walker: When we go offshore on an 18-hour trip, we’ll jig for blackfin tuna and troll for dolphin (mahi mahi), wahoo and king mackerel. We generally reach the places where we’ll fish for tuna about 1/2-hour before daylight, and we’ll fish until about 8:00 pm. Then, we’ll troll for wahoo, king mackerel and dolphin on the way back to the docks. When we reach the continental shelf, we come into about 300-foot-deep water and catch amberjack, and we start bottom fishing. We’ll usually catch red snapper that will weigh from 12- to 18-pounds each with an occasional 20 pounder. If it’s not red snapper season, we’ll release the snapper. We’ll also catch nice-sized (2- to 4-pound) vermilion snapper, triggerfish, scamp and grouper. So, we generally come-in with a good mixed box of fish when we fish for tuna. We also do a 2-day, 36-hour trip.

Question: How big are the amberjacks you catch on those offshore trips?
Walker: They’ll usually weigh from 30- to 50-pounds each.

Question: How do you catch scamp?
Walker: We fish with live pinfish or whole cigar minnows on single-hook rigs and use light line. If the current’s not running too strong, we usually can pick-up 10 to 15 scamp on these trips.

Question: What type of red snapper season do you expect to see in June?
Walker: We should have a great snapper season. On the deep-water (12- to 18-hour) trips, most of our red snapper will weigh from 10- to 15-pounds each, with an occasional 20 to 25 pounder in the mix. We only have a 2-month red-snapper season this year, and there are still plenty of boats available for charter. Most of the boats are only half-booked right now, but by the time red-snapper season arrives, we hope to be running every day of that 2-month season.

Question: What’s the best way to catch the most big red snapper once red snapper season starts?
Walker: Book longer trips. When you book a 12- to an 18-hour trip, you can get out into that deeper water and find and fish for the bigger snapper. So, the further out you gOrange Beach charterso, the bigger the snapper you’ll catch. You’ll also be able to catch some nice-sized vermilion snapper, scamp and triggerfish, and you’ll come-in with more and bigger fish than you can expect to catch on shorter trips.

To fish with Captain Bobby Walker, call him at 251-981-6159 or 251-747-3575, or email him at captainbobbywalker@yahoo.com.

Peppered Tuna with Mushroom Sauce

Since offshore anglers love to chase tuna, try this delicious recipe.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
3/4-cup plum sauce (look for plum sauce on the ethnic-foods aisle of the supermarket)
1/4-cup light soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 (6-ounce) tuna steaks (about 1-1/2 inches thick)
1 tablespoon freshly-ground multicolored peppercorns or 2 teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper

Preparation:
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, and sauté 4 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender. Stir in plum sauce, soy sauce and ginger. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Keep warm. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle tuna evenly with pepper, and cook 4 minutes on each side (rare) or to desired degree of doneness. Serve with warm mushroom sauce.