Editor’s Note: With this good weather, you’ll enjoy angling for the fish biting at Alabama’s Gulf Coast and the Gulf State Park Pier.

Offshore Report:

Captain Ricky McDuffie (251-747-4468, www.orangebeachfishing.com) of the “Sea Hunter” and the “Miss E” charter boats based at SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., is co-owner of the “Big Adventure” charter boat based at Outcast Marina in Orange Beach, Ala. “We had a great tuna trip on the ‘Big Adventure’ this past week. We Orange Beach charterscaught plenty of 10- to 12-pound blackfin tuna, seven yellowfin tuna weighing an average of 60-pounds each and a 130-pound bigeye tuna. We also caught several wahoo and plenty of amberjacks, scamp, vermillion snapper and white snapper. Tuna fishing and amberjack fishing usually produce that type of catch, but it’s usually an overnight trip. On the ‘Sea Hunter,’ we caught our limit of amberjacks that weighed 40- to 50-pounds each. We had 13 fishermen onboard, and everyone caught amberjacks. We also caught 2- to 3-pound white snapper and vermilion snapper and mackerel that weighed 15- to 18-pounds each. We had great fishing.

“The weather’s been good, and the fish have been biting. October always has been one of our best times of the year to not only catch numbers of fish, but also really-big fish. Although I tried to fish places where we don’t usually find red snapper, my party still caught and released plenty of 8- to 10-pound red snapper. These snapper put-up a good fight, and they’re beautiful fish to photograph. We released the red snapper to fight another day. As the weather begins to cool-down, we’ll catch more and bigger wahoo on our longer trips when we fish for tuna. Bottom fishing should continue to get better.”

The Gulf State Park Pier Report: 

David Thornton reports that, “Some of the bigger king mackerel are starting to move-in to the pier. King mackerel weighing up to 20-pounds each were caught off the pier last month. But the big king run started the second week in October, when water temperatures reached the mid- to the high 70s. There are a few slot-sized redfish being caught, but we haven’t seen the big bull

Orange Beach charters

reds show-up in large numbers like we’ll see in mid-October. Near the beach, the pompano and the flounder fishing have started to heat-up. Flounder are feeding near-shore to put-on weight before they move offshore for the winter. My favorite species of fish to target this week is the big Spanish mackerel that will weigh from 3- to 5-pounds each. You can catch them on Sea Striker Got-Cha lures and bubble rigs. A bubble rig is a clear cork with a clear bobber on it that partially fills-up with water, which gives the rig a little weight. I’ll put a 2-foot leader with a small jig below the bubble and use heavy pound-test line to keep the Spanish mackerel from cutting the line. By jerking it on top of the water, the bubble creates a splash on the surface much like the splash produced by a popping cork. That splash attracts the mackerel, and when they come-in, the mackerel can’t see the jig or the bubble, because it’s clear. Although this is an effective way to catch the mackerel, you still can catch plenty of them using live lures and decks or gar minnows.

“Because there are so many amberjacks and pinfish around the pier right now, flounder fishermen are primarily fishing with jigs and a strip of cut bait and live bull minnows. The amberjacks and the pinfish don’t seem to take the live baits as readily as they do the shrimp. If the water gets cooler within the next few weeks, we’ll start getting more big king mackerel that weigh 20-pounds each or more and big bull redfish that will weigh 15- to 30-pounds each. If you’re coming-down for the Zatarain’s Annual National Shrimp Festival held in Gulf Shores, Ala., you’ll catch plenty of big fish and have a lot of fun at the pier.” 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. 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.”

Pompano en Papillote

Ingredients:
8 pompano fillets
1/4-cup butter
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
3 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1/4-cup finely chopped mushrooms
1/2-cup dry white wine
1 cup crab and/or shrimp finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/2-cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
Juice of one large lemon or lime

Preparation:
Place fillets in baking dish with the butter. Sprinkle with the vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with lemon or lime juice. Brown lightly in oven at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes. Add dry white wine. Cover and cook another 10 minutes in oven. (The alcohol will dissipate in the cooking.) Cut squares of parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to cover fillets. Place a fillet on each square; pin or seal-up three sides. Place in another baking pan. Toss crab and/or shrimp in butter for 5 minutes and add to sauce and vegetables in baking pan. Mix heavy cream and egg yolks. Add to sauce. Simmer slowly until thickened. Divide the sauce equally among the envelopes and seal the fourth side. Bake in pre-heated oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until paper is browned. Serve in paper bags – en papillote – for each person to unwrap.

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