Editor’s Note: Longtime Orange Beach captain, Troy Frady, has noticed an increase in the number of anglers who want to fish for sharks. Here’s his latest info on fishing for sharks.
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We always can catch sharks that will be from 8- to 10-feet long out on the public reefs well-offshore of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. That’s where the bait fish are concentrated, and the reef fish and the sharks can find a smorgasbord of fish to eat. Sometimes, we deliberately target sharks. At other times, they’re an incidental catch. When you’re pulling-in a red snapper and suddenly there’s a hard thump on your line, and you get the snapper to the boat with nothing but the head of that snapper left, then you know there’s a shark down there that easily can be caught.

Sharks are a great catch-and-release fish. We bait with a slab of bonito, use a heavy lead up the line with a 10-foot-long leader, and the last 2 feet of the leader, we switch from monofilament to 100-pound test line. At the end of the wire, we’ll attach an offset circle hook. Usually, before the bonito strip gets to the bottom, we’ll catch a reef shark, a bull shark or a dusky shark that weighs 200 to 300 pounds and will be 8- to 10-feet long. We often can catch sharks all day, if someone wants to specifically target sharks. We’ve hooked-up to as many as four in one day in one 6-Orange Beach fishinghour trip.

The shark fight usually will last from 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on how strong the angler is, and how strong the shark is. I’ve seen one shark whip three or four young men, before they’ve gotten him to the surface. You always can tell when an angler is about to ask someone else to get a share of a shark and wants to pass the rod, because he’ll start shaking his wrists. Shark fishing is really a lot of fun - especially, when you get those sharks right up next to the boat. Then everyone can see the shark and make pictures of the shark. I think sharks sometimes get a bad rep, because they’re really not that aggressive. But, when they’re hungry, they do want to eat something. They’ll put-up a really-strong fight, they’re fun to battle, you can get great pictures to take home, and few fishermen forget the day they’ve fought big sharks. The good news is we’ll have plenty of them offshore or on the public reefs, until the weather cools-down.

You also can catch white snapper, vermilion snapper, king mackerel and red snapper, but we have to release the red snapper. The weather is usually mild well-into December here at Alabama’s Gulf Coast. There’s always plenty of fish to catch, and you’ll have fun and make great pictures. For the fishing trip of a lifetime and to match your muscles against one of the fiercest fighters in the Gulf of Mexico, come to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Ala., and go shark fishing with us.
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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.orangebeachfishingassociation.com) 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 or www.alabamasnaturalcoast.net.