Editor’s Note: The good news about fishing at Orange Beach and Gulf Shores is that the area enjoys an endless fishing season. Fisherman can catch speckled trout, redfish and flounder in the coastal rivers. Near shore they catch large numbers of big bull redfish that can weigh up to 30 pounds or more. While fishing for redfish, you may catch Spanish mackerel and king mackerel, and for the anglers willing to go offshore, there’s plenty of amberjacks, tuna, triggerfish and vermilion snapper. On the 2-day trips you often can deep-drop for tilefish, snowy grouper and sea bass and at night catch swordfish. Because Alabama’s Gulf Coast has such mild weather and often warm fronts move in from the south, even through December, January and February, you can fish, while wearing just a sweat shirt and a wind breaker.

Near Shore Report:

Don McPherson, a member of the Orange Beach Fishing Association, and the captain of “The Get Away” and “Another Get Away,” reports, “The first week in November we caught a few king mackerel that weighed up to 20 pounds. We’re still catching magnum Spanish mackerel, and the number of redfish moving-in close to the beach is increasing eOrange Beach fishingvery week. We’re catching plenty of bull reds on 4-hour trips near shore, and the bull red fishing will continue to get better in December, January and February. Our average bull red we’re catching will weigh about 20 pounds and we’re trolling, using Mann’s Stretch 20, Mann’s Stretch 25 and Mann’s Stretch 30 crankbaits, designed to fish in salt water. We’re also catching them on No. 3 spoons with No. 3 planers. The spoons are also producing the Spanish mackerel and the king mackerel. Another cold front means anglers will see the redfish school-up on the surface. Fishermen can cast to them with top-water lures and 10-ounce jigs with grub tails. When we find the redfish schooled-up, we use 20-pound-test line on spinning tackle and cast to these giant redfish. The battle with a bull red usually lasts from 2 –to -3-minutes, and sometimes as long as 15 minutes. When we find the schools like this, anglers can fight bull reds, until their arms become tired. Further into the winter months, more and more large schools of bull reds will be hitting the beach. Too, since some of the best football games of the season occur from November to January, I’ve got a flat screen TV that will pick-up all the football games. So, anglers can go fishing with us and not miss any of their favorite teams playing.” To learn more about fishing with Captain Don McPherson, call 251-981-8047, write getawaycharters@yahoo.com, or visit www.getawaygulffishing.com.

Fish and Family Time:

“I like ThanksgiOrange Beach Fishingving and Christmas holidays, because the children are out of school, and we can take family fishing trips during these holiday breaks,” reports Captain Troy Frady of the charter boat “Distraction,” based out of Orange Beach Marina. “I really enjoy watching moms and dads helping their youngsters reel-in monster redfish or to catch 10- to-20-pound grouper. When the holidays are over, and presents are unwrapped, often the strongest memories for both parents and youngsters will be the fishing trip they took during the Thanksgiving break or the Christmas holidays. We also help preserve those memories for the fishing families by giving them a video of the trip.” For more information, call 1-251-975-8111, email Captain Troy Frady at distractioncharters@alabamasnaturalcoast.net or visit www.distractioncharters.com.

Offshore:

Captain Johnny Greene of the charter boat, “Intimidator,” based at Orange Beach Marina, says, “During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we find businessmen take their employees on 2-day fishing trips, not only to show their appreciation for the work their employees have done, but also as an opportunity for team building. Sleeping on the boat, eating on the boat and battling big fish side-by-side helps to mold different personalities into a more-effective work force. We’re also seeing groups of people who work together in plants and offices coming-down to fish together to catch big fish, have fun and build camaraderie, while cheering for their favorite football teams in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico when fishing.” Contact Captain Johnny Greene at Orange Beach Fishing251.747.2872, email him at intimidatorcharters@yahoo.com or visit www.gulfshoresdeepseafishing.com.

When all the Thanksgiving Day turkey has been eaten, and the wrapping paper from Christmas presents has been stuffed in trash cans, if you take a fishing trip to Alabama’s Gulf Coast during this holiday season, you can create many memories that time never will erase. Happy holidays. Y’all come fishing with us.

The Orange Beach Fishing Association 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.orangebeach.com, click on restaurants, and check box for “Will Cook Your Catch.”

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