The fishing at Alabama’s Gulf Coast has been very productive since mid-March and will continue until next winter.

Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama, with David Thornton:


Anglers on the pier caught a couple of cobia and a nice king mackerel on one day after mid-March. But then the water got heavy, the wind started blowing, and the fishing dropped-off. But now the king mackerel, which are weighing about 23-24 pounds, are being caught onceOrange Beach fishing more. As soon as the water clears-up – probably toward the end of the month - we should have a good run of both king mackerel and cobia. Throughout the month of March, we’ve had really-productive fishing when the pier has had clear water and favorable winds. But even with high winds and muddy water, the pier fishermen have caught a number of sheepshead and a few redfish. It’s a rainy day on the pier when some type of fish isn’t biting.

Looking at the weather forecast for this next-to-last week in March, we expect to have one of the best weeks we’ve ever had on the pier. The wind is slow, and the water is clear. Pier anglers should catch plenty of cobia and king mackerel. And, if we get that stable pier weather that’s been predicted for this week, we may have one of the best years we’ve had this season on the Gulf State Park Pier for cobia and king mackerel.

We expect a good run of Spanish mackerel this week too, as the water clears-up and warms-up, and the baitfish begin to move into the shallower water. The sheepshead bite probably will slow-up some. But there’re still plenty of hungry sheepshead to be caught, and we’re expecting to see numbers of bigger sheepshead come-over the rail at the pier this week. The pompano run has been great all year long, and that bite should continue to be good this week.

TooOrange Beach fishing, the water’s warming-up and clearing-up should mean speckled trout, redfish and flounder moving into the pier this week. Some speckled trout have been moving toward the pier this past week, and a few specks were caught at night last weekend. Toward the end of March is when anglers at the pier start seeing schools of 20-40 speckled trout around the pylons of the pier. If you’ve been waiting for good fishing to come to the beach, this week should be the beginning of the very-best spring fishing we’ll have.

Although the weather hasn’t been the best for fishing this past week in mid-March, there’s still good fishing in the Intracoastal Canal. Some fishermen who usually fish at the pier have moved to the protected waters of the Canal this past week where they’ve caught sheepshead, redfish, and black drum.

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

Offshore Report with Captain Randy Boggs:


Editor’s Note: Captain Randy Boggs of the Reel Surprise Charters at SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, reports that all types of snapper are biting well off Alabama’s Coast.

We’ve had lots of bites from vermilion snapper, as well as white snapper and an awful lot of undersized amberjacks since mid-March. Big numbers of vermilion and white snapper have been coming-off the rocks on the natural bottom and some of the bigger artificial reefs. We’ve also found good schools of vermilion snapper on some of the tanks that have been deployed to create reefs off Alabama’s Gulf Coast. To find vermilion snapper, look for depths of water 100- to 150-feet deep. When you can locate rocks or artificial reefs in that depth, you usually can make good catches of vermilion and white snapper that weigh 3/4- to 2-1/2-pounds. On the artificial reefs, we’ve been catching numbOrange Beach chartersers of big triggerfish weighing 3-5 pounds. Out in 180- to 200-foot-deep water, we’re seeing good catches of amberjacks.

Too, right now a big school of 10- to12-pound king mackerel seem to be holding out in the Trysler Grounds, a natural bottom. We can hold the boat over a rock, put-out live bait with a wire leader and almost instantly catch a king mackerel. We’re trying to stay-away from the red snapper until the season arrives in June. But because the water has been fairly cold, we’ve made incidental catches of red snapper. A fleet of boats has been fishing offshore, catching yellowfin and blackfin tuna. The water offshore has warmed-up, and anglers have taken a few dolphins (mahi mahi) out there. For overnight trips, the wahoo bite has been really good.

Too, we’re seeing good catches of sheepshead around the jetties and the bridge, and the seawall down near the bridge. The average catch has been 15-20 for a 4-hour trip, and that doesn’t include catching and releasing 20-50 sheepshead a day. Right now anybody who can get a live shrimp in the water is catching sheepshead at Perdido Pass. I’ve seen some catches of 10 or 12 sheepshead that will weigh 10-pounds each, and there still seems to be plenty of pompano at the pass also. The bigger sheepshead are being caught out on the 3-mile barge and some of the near-shore rigs close to Ft. Morgan. The sheepshead are just finishing up their spawn and are really hungry right now.

We’ve had a tough time getting-out this past week in mid-March due to the weather. However, earlier in March, we ran seven trips in 5 days. Since the weatherman has promised us calm seas and light winds, we’ll more than likely be running 5 days this coming week. We’re expecting absolutely-awesome fishing here toward the end of March. The fish are on the reefs, we know where to find them, and all we need are anglers to put-down lines.

Contact Captain Randy Boggs at 251-981-7173, or go to his webpage at www.reelsurprisecharters.com.

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."