Editor’s Note: Late summer and fall are some of the best times of the year to fish at Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The boats are bringing-in nice-sized catches of fish, and anglers are returning from their fishing trips with smiling faces after a day of bent rods, fun fishing and warm weather.

Captain Reuben Ware (251-981-5423, www.sanroccay.com/charterboat_wishbone.html) of the charter boat, “Wishbone,” docked at SanRoc Cay Marina at Orange Beach, Alabama, has taken anglers out almost every day in early to mid-August. “The fishing has been really good,” Ware says. “We’ve caught vermilion snapper, white snapper, triggerfish and scamp grouper. We’re catching some nice-sized fish about 20-miles offshore. Our scamp rangeOrange Beach charters from 17- to 20-inches long and weigh about 2- to 3-pounds each. Because most of the boats here at Orange Beach fished for red snapper during red snapper season, the scamp, the vermilion snapper and the triggerfish haven’t experienced much fishing pressure. So, we’ve had good trips and caught plenty of these species of fish. The vermilion snapper have averaged about 4-pounds each, and we’re still catching and releasing red snapper. We’re trying to dodge the red snapper and fish in areas they don’t frequent, but there are so-many red snapper that we just can’t stay away from them. To get away from the red snapper, we primarily fish natural bottoms. While fishing for triggerfish and vermilion snapper, we put-out drift lines and catch king mackerel. The king mackerel seem to be really-strong right now. Most of our trips are 6-hours long. Although my boat is certified for 25 people, we usually carry from one to 16 fishermen. On our 8-hour trips, we tend to catch bigger fish, because we can reach places where other people aren’t fishing. We’ve had beautiful weather, and most days the water has been slick and calm.”

Captain Butch Tucker (251-981-4044, www.obfishingassn.com) of the “Zeke’s Lady” charter boat based out of Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., is one of the most-popular captains at Zeke’s Marina. Twenty to 50 fishermen come aboard the “Zeke’s Lady” every day for a day of fun in the sun, bent rods and great fishing. “We’ve had super fishing during mid-August,” Tucker mentions. “We’ve caught plenty of white snapper, lane snapper, triggerfish, vermilion snapper, two- or three-different species of pogies and an occasional scamp and amberjack. I’ve seen numbers of Spanish mackerel and king mackerel coming to the dock at Zeke’s Marina every day. But I primarily fish natural reefs and natural bottom. One of the advantages we have here at Orange Beach is that we have a number of different types of regions and bottom structures where we can target the type of fish we want to catch. Some areas produce a lot of amberjack, while other sites produce plenty of snapper and reef fish like the ones we’re catching now. We also catch and rOrange Beach charterselease an occasional red snapper. Our fishermen want to come-in with a good catch of fish that they can eat for dinner and take home. So, we try to stay away from the red snapper and go to the places where we can catch the fish our customers want to catch. On our 6-hour trips, we leave the dock at Zeke’s Marina at 8:00 am and return at 2:00 pm. This past week the triggerfish bite has been really good. We’ve caught about 20 to 30 triggerfish per trip, and they’ve been nice-sized triggerfish. We expect to have good fishing throughout the fall and even into the winter, weather permitting. We have all types of fishermen going with us from youngsters holding their Moms and Dads’ hands to grandparents and their grandchildren. If you’re planning a fishing trip during the National Shrimp Festival happening October 13-16 at Alabama’s Gulf Coast, go ahead, and book your trip, because we expect huge crowds.”

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 www.alabamasnaturalcoast.net/dining-nightlife/restaurants.

Mushroom-Stuffed Baked Triggerfish


Ingredients:
2 triggerfish fillets, 2-1/2-pounds eachOrange Beach Fishing
1/2-cup dry white wine (alcohol will dissipate during cooking)
3/4-cup water
1/2-pound fresh mushrooms or 8-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces
3 tablespoons margarine, divided
1/2-cup finely chopped celery
5 tablespoons minced onions
8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1/2-cup soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Tony’s Creole Seasoning or salt and pepper

Preparation:
Rinse, pat dry, and finely chop 1/4-pound mushrooms. Quarter remaining mushrooms, or drain canned mushrooms. Set aside. In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon margarine, and add celery and 3 tablespoons of the onions. Sauté 5 minutes. Combine sautéed celery mixture with mushrooms, water chestnuts, bread crumbs, egg, soy sauce, parsley and seasoning. Mix well, and spoon onto fish. Sprinkle both sides of the fish with Tony’s Creole Seasoning. Place in a large baking pan; dot with remaining 2 tablespoons of margarine, 2 tablespoons onion, the wine and water. Bake uncovered in a pre-heated moderate oven (350 degrees) 45 to 50 minutes. Baste occasionally. Test with a fork; when fish flakes, it’s done.

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