We ran several trips this last week in October out of Orange Beach, Alabama, and right now, the grouper are biting really well. Our gag grouper are running about 8 to 10 pounds, and we’re also catching a few scamp grouper. The vermilion snapper and red porgy bite slowed-down some when our area of the Gulf Coast had a cold front come through, but those fish now are biting again. Because the big Spanish mackerel are migrating back to the souOrange Beach chartersth, we’re catching plenty of 3- to 5-pound Spanish mackerel here during the last part of October and first of November. The really-good news from down here at Alabama’s Gulf Coast is that the annual run of big bull redfish has started. We caught the biggest redfish – weighing 36 pounds and more than 40-inches long - we’ve ever caught on our boat this last week. We were trolling a Mann’s Stretch 30 crankbait with a red head and a silver body. We were using a 10-foot leader of 80-pound-test monofilament, attached to a barrel swivel. The other end of the line was tied to 60-pound test main line.

What made the catch even more exciting was we had a fisherman named Ryan from Arkansas with us who was legally blind. You’d never know Ryan was blind. When he heard the big redfish hit, and the rod began giving line, he picked-up the rod. The battle was on, as he fought the big bull red for at least 15 minutes. We were giving him verbal directions of which way the fish was running, and what he needed to do to land the big bull. We netted the fish, brought the red on board and then took pictures. Ryan told me, “This trip was one of the most amazing I’ve ever been on, as I enjoyed listening to the roar of the big diesel engines in the boat, hearing the screeching drag when the fish took the bait and listening to my family cheer for me as I reeled-in the big redfish. I’d never before been saltwater fishing.” That fish provided a meal of blackened redfish at Shipp’s Harbour Grill for Ryan and his entire family.

We caught two more big bull reds and released them. This trip was a 4-hour afternoon trip, and the Spanish mackerel also were biting like crazy. Catching those three big bull reds was a treat for everyone. Ryan and his family had stopped in at the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach region on their way back from a trip to Disney World, which had been planned for 2 years. When I asked them why they decided to come here to Orange Beach and fish with us on Distraction Charters, Ryan told me, “I’ve been watching your website for 2 years.” Of course, this idea didn’t compute with me. I wondered how a guy who couldn’t see could watch my site and see the rOrange Beach charterseports of what we were catching every trip. He told me that he has an iPhone and can pull-up my web page on his iPhone. He also has an app on his iPhone that can read my web site for him word for word. Ryan told me, “This app also reads the descriptions under the pictures. So, if the description says, ‘This is a nice 8-pound scamp, but is just one of three that we caught today,’ in my mind, I can see those fish because of the description.”

On the same trip, we caught four ribbonfish mixed-in with the Spanish mackerel. I’d never heard of ribbonfish being so close to the beach, but they seemed to be with the Spanish mackerel. Although ribbonfish aren’t good to eat, they do make great bait. We used them the next day on our amberjack trip when we went offshore about 25 miles and caught two nice amberjacks on the ribbonfish bait. We had two big grouper bites, but my anglers weren’t able to get them in to the boat. So, we started using some Williamson 9-ounce jigs on spinning rods. These jigs had a 9- to 10- inch tail that created a lot of action as it fell, causing the amberjacks to really turn-on. Our anglers caught and released plenty of amberjacks.

We had a great day of fishing here off the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach coast. As long as the weather stays stable, we expect more of the same excitement in our fishing. Too, the red snapper still are biting great, and although you can’t keep them, you can catch and release them all day long. Our anglers here in late October and early November are catching plenty of good keeping fish like the redfish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, grouper, amberjack and occasional wahoo. So, plan a holiday fishing trip during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. We’d really love to take you deep-sea fishing here on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.Orange Beach charters

To contact Captain Troy Frady and Distraction Charters, go to www.distractioncharters.com, or, call him at 251-975-8111.

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.”

Spanish Mackerel with Vegetable Stuffing

Mackerel Ingredients:
3-4 pounds dressed mackerel
1-1/2-teaspoon salt
1/4-teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Vegetable Stuffing Ingredients:
1/2-cup butter
1-1/2-cups chopped onion, preferably Vidalias
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2-cup chopped green pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tomatoes, pealed, seeded and chopped
3 cups soft bread crumbs
1/2-teaspoon salt

Stuffing Preparation:
Melt butter in saucepan, and add onion, celery, mushrooms (fresh preferred), green pepper and garlic; cover, and cook until tender. Combine all of the ingredients, and mix well.

Mackerel Preparation:
Wash, and dry fish. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Place mackerel on well-greased baking pan. Stuff fish with vegetable stuffing, and brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.