Offshore Report by Captain Troy Frady:


Editor’s Note: Captain Troy Frady of the charter boat, “Distraction,” based out of Orange Beach Marina, had two great trips this past week, fishing offshore. Here’s his report.

We had a 6-hour trip this past week where we went offshore and fished in 100-foot-deep water. We caught a scamp grouper, five keeper-size triggerfish, a good mess of white snapper and a bull redfish that weighed about 15 pounds. We caught and released about 38 snapper that averaged 8-pounds each, with the biggest snapper weighing about 18 pounds. We had a beautiful 75-degree day, and the fish were biting all day long. Spring Break fishing from mid-March until mid-April is some of the best fishing of the year, because the fish generally haven’t seen any hooks, lines or sinkers since the late fall. They’re hungry and eager to bite. On this trip, everyone had all the fishing he could stand.

I also did a 4-hour trip last week, with a dad, a mom and three sons. We caught and released quite a few red snapper, but the biggest event on the trip, was when we hooked into a dusky shark that weighed about 250 pounds. Although the dad was bowed-up on the shark, the teenage sons nor his wife wanted any part of battling that big shark. We’re starting to see more and more customers who want to fish for and catch sharks, and when we go offshore, we usually can find a shark with which to do battle. While the dad was fighting the shark, the rest of the family caught and released numbers of red snapper. These Iowa folks seemed to enjoy fishing here on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

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

The Pier Is Popping


Editor’s Note: David Thornton is our pier reporter and keeps-up with all the activity on the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Ala.

According to Thornton, the Gulf State Park Pier is popping this week. “The Gulf State Park Pier is seeing large numbers of fishermen and wanna-be anglers coming to the pier each day, and they’re catching plenty of fish. Right now, we have fishing at the pier: our snowbirds, our visitors from up North; the locals; the Pier Rats, the avid fishermen who fish the pier daily; and our Spring Breakers – the parents and the youngsters who are out of school for Spring Break. They’re all catching fish. I saw a dad and his three young boys, fishing Gotcha lures, who landed 20-Spanish mackerel at the pier. One young fellow was really interested in catching sheepshead, because he’d never caught one previously. So, we showed him how to bait and fish, and he caught a nice sheepshead.

“A good number of slot reds, whiting and pompano are being caught on the pier, but the sheepshead and the Spanish mackerel seem to be the main event now in mid-March. The Spanish mackerel are weighing from 1-2 pounds, and the sheepshead are weighing from 2 to 5 pounds. Silver-colored Gotcha jigs seem to be producing the most Spanish mackerel, and white jigs are also catching some of these toothy mackerel. The sheepshead prefer live shrimp, fiddler crabs and ghost shrimp, those shrimp found in small sand castles that the shrimp create on the edge of the water. They’re rarely, if ever, seen above the sand, because fish or birds will eat them if they see them. We use a plunger-type device to pull the ghost shrimp out of the hole and then fish with them.

“Too, quite a few cobia have been sighted this past week, and there’s been reports of cobia being caught on the piers south of the Gulf State Park Pier. So, we expect to start catching cobia from the pier any day now. The water temperature has come-up quickly in the past week and now has moved from the low 60s up to 70 degrees, something that should bring-in many-more fish from offshore. So, right now is prime time fishing off the pier, and we should have outstanding fishing from now until next winter, when the baitfish begin to move offshore.

To learn more about fishing the Gulf State Park Pier, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 251-948-7275.

Inshore Report with Captain Gary Davis:


Editor’s Note: Captain Gary Davis of Foley, Ala., the owner of Tidewater Fishing Service, goes wherever the fish are. He’s lived on the Gulf Coast all his life and fishes the coastal rivers, the bays, the inlets, the lagoons and everywhere he can to catch inshore species for his customers.

“I’ve been catching fish all over Alabama’s Gulf Coast inshore waters. My parties and I started-out the week fishing the coastal rivers and caught 200 speckled trout before the rivers got muddy. Next I moved down to the lagoon on West Beach, and my party caught 21 speckled trout, 3 flounder and 1 redfish. Then, toward the end of the week, we went to the Intracoastal Canal and caught 7 redfish and 1 black drum for a half a day of fishing. The fishing is so good, that I’m taking a party out in the morning and a different party out in the afternoon. Alabama Point, the jetties and the bridge at Perdido Pass are all loaded with sheepshead. I talked to one fellow who was fishing off the seawall at Alabama Point, and he said, “I dropped a live fiddler crab in the water on a hook, and 7 different sheepshead tried to eat it.”

Everywhere I’ve gone fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast this past week, I’ve found plenty of fish to catch. This year may be one of the best years we’ve ever had for inshore fishing.

To fish with Captain Gary Davis, call (251) 943-6298.

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