Editor’s Note: Captain Randy Boggs of the “Reel Surprise” charter boat, based out of SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, offers walk-up trips where anglers can walk-up and fish with groups of one to 20 fishermen on the same boat. This practice is often called party-boat fishing. Orange Beach charters

Question: Randy, how was the fishing at the Gulf of Mexico in mid-May this past week?
Boggs: Fishing was absolutely awesome. We’re looking forward to the start of red snapper season on June 1. The Gulf of Mexico is loaded with plenty of big red snapper. But you don’t have to wait until red snapper season to catch a number of good-fighting, delicious-eating fish. Right now, we’re catching limits of vermilion snapper, numbers of triggerfish and a few scamp grouper, and the king mackerel have shown-up around the jetties. There are plenty of speckled trout and redfish available right now, and fishing off the Gulf State Park Pier at Gulf Shores is as good as it gets. As the weather warms-up, the fishing heats-up here at Orange Beach.

Question: Explain what walk-on trips are, Randy.
Boggs: We offer a family-safe environment on our boat, so if you come to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach by yourself or with your wife and family and want to go offshore fishing, you can call us. We’ll take you fishing. We’ll put several groups of people together on one of our larger boats for an inexpensive day on the water. People can fish for $85 per person for 6 hours. If you want to bring your wife and children, and they won’t be fishing, thOrange Beach chartersey can ride for $40 per person. We also offer 4-hour trips, which is our introductory trip to offshore fishing. These fishermen get to catch and release fish, take pictures and even may get to take fish home to eat. These trips are $65.00 per person, and $30 per person to ride, if you don’t take fish.

Question: What do you expect for red snapper season this year?
Boggs: We’ll have a 49-day red snapper season this year, and we’ll catch a number of big snapper. The National Marine Fisheries Service reports that our red snapper should be from 6- to 8-pounds each. But our red snapper that we’ve caught and released this spring have weighed from 8- to 10-pounds each. Because of the lack of fishing pressure, the red snapper have moved-in close to shore, so we don’t have to go very far to catch them. Even on our 4-hour trips, anglers should be able to catch a limit of red snapper. They also can expect to catch their limit of red snapper on our 6-hour trips. Fishing has been great this spring, and it will continue to get better as the weather gets hotter.

To contact Captain Randy Boggs, call him at 251-981-7173, or email him at reelsurprise.com, or visit www.reelsurprisecharters.com. To learn more about fishing the Gulf State POrange Beach chartersark Pier, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 251-948-7275. For more information about fishing guides and charter boats, lodging accommodations, restaurants and entertainment on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, call 800-745-SAND (7263), or visit www.orangebeach.com.  

Barbecued Triggerfish

3-pounds of fillets
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
1 tablespoon margarine
2 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon each, salt and black pepper

Place fish in greased shallow baking pan. Brown onion lightly in margarine and add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over fish and bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, or until fish is tender. Serves 6.