Offshore Report:


“We want our fishermen to have a chance to catch all the different species of fish they can on a 2-day trip,” says Captain Johnny Greene (251-747-2872, www.fishorangebeach.com) of the “Intimidator” charter boat based at Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, and a member Orange Beach chartersof the Orange Beach Fishing Association (OBFA). At this time of year, Greene targets yellowfin tuna and blackfin tuna and catches a number of other species on the way from Orange Beach to the deep-water rigs where he fishes for tuna.

“We’ve caught triggerfish, vermilion snapper, amberjacks, blackfin tuna and yellowfin tuna on our 2-day fishing trips,” Greene explains. “The tuna fishing has been really good. Plenty of fresh water has come-down the Mississippi River, and the green water where the tuna live has been further offshore. We’ve had a productive year of blackfin and yellowfin tuna, with the blackfin tuna weighing on average from 12- to 20-pounds each, and the yellowfin tuna weighing from 30- to 150-pounds each. We’ve seen some really-big ones, but our yellowfin tuna have averaged about 80 pounds. The tuna-fishing trip is a long run, but then we have an opportunity to catch a number of other species of fish on the way to and coming back from the tuna-fishing grounds.

“On our first stop on these long trips, we fish for triggerfish and vermilion snapper. On our second stop, as we head further offshore to catch the tuna, we’ll be targeting amberjacks. After we catch our triggerfish and vermilion snapper, we generally head-out further to troll for big king mackerel and wahoo. The king mackerel we catch offshore usually weigh from 25- to 40-pounds each. After we catch our amberjacks, we again troll for king mackerel and wahoo on the wOrange Beach chartersay to fish for the tuna. When we reach the tuna-fishing grounds, we usually fish late into the night. Then we get up early the next morning to fish for tuna again. On the way back to Orange Beach, we’ll often catch king mackerel, and if the water’s clear, we high-speed troll for wahoo. Our amberjacks weigh from 30- to 35-pounds each, but we have brought-in some 100 pounders. The triggerfish and the vermilion snapper, two of the finest-eating fish you can catch, are biting well offshore. So, we have almost non-stop fishing on our 2-day fishing trips. Even though we’re doing a lot of offshore trips, we also run 4- to 6-hour trips. On these trips, we’ve had some good catches of vermilion snapper, triggerfish and amberjacks.”

Inshore Report:


Captain David Brown (251-981-6246, www.brownsinshore.com) of the charter boat, “Audrey II,” based out of Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., fishes primarily inshore and says he expects an explosion of inshore species within a couple of weeks. “Right now, the weather’s really hot, aOrange Beach chartersnd we’re primarily catching slot-sized redfish. However, as the weather cools-down, we expect the speckled trout, the bull red and the flounder bite to really turn-on. The flounder have actually already started moving down a little.

“As the water temperatures continue to cool-down, we’ll start seeing more baitfish like finger mullet, alewives (LYs) and pogies – a happening that will occur about the same time our inshore fish begin their fall spawn. The speckled trout will move-into the bays, the bayous and the creeks. The redfish will begin to congregate around passes, and the flounder will move-into the rocks and the piers. We’ll start catching speckled trout on live shrimp, MirrOlures and Berkley Gulps. The fish in my area will start showing-up around Perdido Pass. We had some cooler weather last week, so I expect the trout to start showing-up at any time. The flounder run already has begun, and they’ll be moving into the jetties, the sea walls and the pier pilings. To catch the flounder, I usually fish soft-bodied jigs. I prefer to fish the finesse jig with a 1/4-ounce jighead and let that jighead sail just above the bottom. The best colors seem to be chartreuse, red and white. In the next few weeks, the bull reds should really be pounding Dixey Bar at the mouth of Mobile Bay near Fort Morgan, Ala. Our inshore fishing is about to explode.”

Reports from the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores:


One of the biggest fishing attractions in Alabama is the Gulf State Park Pier. David Thornton fishes the pier each week, all-year long. “The water at the pier has been a little dingy, which may be due to the dredging at Gulf Shores,” Thornton reports. “But the white trout and the ground mullet bites have been really good at the pier. The flounder fishing has steadily improved, and about 20 to 30 flounder are caught each day off the pier. We’re not catching any big flounder yet, but we’re catching some nice-sized 17- and 18-inch flounder. Last week, one angler had a limit of 10 flounder. Anglers who concentrate on flounder should be able to catch a limit of 10 in 4 to 6 hours. Flounder have to be at least 12-inches long to keep them. Here’s a tip for those fishermen who come flounder fishing at the pier. The deck of the pier consists of concrete strips with wooden panels in-between the concrete. Those concrete strips are approximately 12-inches long. So, if you catch a flounder, you can lay the flounder down on the concrete strip, and if its nose is touching wood on one side and its tail is touching wood on the other side, then it should be a legal-sized flounder. This is a quick way to measure your flounder. At the pier, live bull minnows will be your best flounder-fishing bait.

“The Spanish mackerel and the king mackerel moved-away from the pier last week; however, they should be back within the next 2 weeks as the young-of-the-year sardines begin to gather around the pier. We’re still having occasional schools of bull reds moving-in from offshore, but the time is still early in the year for the bull reds to start ganging-up around theOrange Beach charters pier. Another big event happening right now at Orange Beach and along Gulf Shores is the blue crabs moving in close to shore to mate and lay eggs. Right now, you can take a dip net, wade along the beaches and catch all the crabs you want to catch. But if you come to the beach to catch blue crabs, remember that you have to have a saltwater-fishing license. To keep the crabs, they have to be 5-inches long from tip to tip. Measure from the point of each shell, and if the crab is 5-inches wide, you’ll have some tasty eating from Alabama’s Gulf Coast. This is a fun time of year when everyone can come to the beach and not only swim in the Gulf of Mexico, but also catch an abundance of blue crabs.”

To learn more about fishing the Gulf State Park Pier, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 251-948-7275. The Orange Beach Fishing Association (www.obfishingassn.com) will be glad to find you and your family a captain and a boat that fits your needs. The good news is that you don’t have to leave your wife and children at home when you visit Alabama’s Gulf Coast. There’s plenty to do and see. For accommodation and restaurant recommendations, contact Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND, or visit www.orangebeach.com. To have your fresh fish prepared at the beach, go to www.alabamasnaturalcoast.net, click on restaurants, and check box for “Will Cook Your Catch.”

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