Editor’s Note: Randy Boggs of Reel Surprise Charters, based at SanRoc Cay in Orange Beach, Alabama, reports, “As the weather cools down, and there are reports of disturbances in the Gulf of Mexico, the fish are getting fired-up.”

Since we’ve finally got some cool weather, the offshore fish are moving closer to shore. One of the reasons we have such a tremendous fall fishery here in Orange Beach is because our estuary areas inshore produce tremendous amounts of shrimp and baitfish. The shrimp move into the back bay areas during the spring and summer and so do millions of baitfish. When the weather cools-down, like it is now, all this bait starts moving toward the Gulf from aOrange Beach Fishingll the inlets and passes that feed the Gulf. Then many of the deep-water fish move closer to shore to feed on that bait. Our September and fall fishing really picks-up. Because Alabama’s Gulf Coast has had some cool days and some cool nights, this annual migration of bait already has started to happen. Fishing will continue to get better and better.

We had a great catch of vermilion snapper weighing from 1-1/2- to 3-pounds coming to the dock over this past weekend in late August. We’ve caught large numbers of catch-and-release snapper, and the king mackerel bite really has been good for the last few weeks. On the longer trips of 8-hours or more, we’re catching king mackerel that weight 30- to 40-pounds each. We’re also catching plenty of amberjacks. Our inshore boats have been reporting fantastic catches of speckled trout, redfish, flounder, red drum and black drum. When the baitfish begin moving-out of the grass and into the marshes, the first fish to really move in and start feeding on this tremendous amount of baitfish will be inshore fish, like speckled trout, red drum, black drum, flounder and later on, sheepshead. One of the inshore captains here at SanRoc Cay, brought-in three giant black drum recently that weighed 30- to 40-pounds each. A family from Washington had battled these bruisers and caught several other fish to go with them. One of the most-misunderstood fish that we have down here at Orange Beach is the black drum. For some reason, our anglers never have been told, and few of them seem to understand that the black drum is really a red drum (redfish) that is colored black. The black drum fights like a redfish, and when you cook it with one of your favorite recipes, he tastes like a redfish.

I was in Louisiana lasOrange Beach charterst week and had dinner in two of the finest restaurants there. I went to Reggie’s, a restaurant on Bourbon Street, in New Orleans, and one of their signature dishes was black drum. I also stopped at Captain Mike Anderson’s Seafood Restaurant in Gonzales, and three of their signature dishes were made with black drum. Black drum is really a very-fine eating dish, and we have plenty of them on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. They usually hold around the jetties, the bridges and the back bays during the fall. I’ve seen good numbers of them caught under the bridge on Highway 59, where it crosses the Intracoastal Waterway as you go into Gulf Shores.

We’re continuing to see great catches of yellowfin tuna from the boats going out on overnight trips. One boat brought-in a 160-pound swordfish, a wahoo that weighed 93 pounds and a large number of black fin tuna. Something else that’s really helping the fish turn-on right now, are the disturbances out in the Orange Beach chartersGulf. Anytime we get a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, the water gets churned-up and aerated. The more oxygen that the storms pump in the Gulf, through wave action, the more readily the fish will bite. Throughout the summer months, we usually have very-calm seas and not much wind or wave action. So, the fish often will become somewhat dormant. However, when storms turn-up in the Gulf, the fish really bite much-better and often move-in closer to shore. This fall, we’ve started running more 8-hour trips out to deeper water, where we can catch amberjacks, grouper, big king mackerel and larger vermilion and white snapper. But, the 6-hour trips are still the most-popular trip we have, probably because, the 6-hour trip doesn’t leave until 8 am and gets back at the dock at 2 pm. We’ll be fishing all fall and winter, so plan to come down and fish with us as the weather cools-down. Since we have walk-up trips, you can be the only person in your party and go fishing with us, or you can bring 20 or 30 friends, and you can all fish together.

To contact Captain Randy Boggs, call him at 251-981-7173, or email him at info@reelsurprisecharters.com, or visit www.reelsurprisecharters.com. Go to www.orangebeachfishingassociation.com to find you and your family a captain and a boat that fits your needs. For more information about fishing guides and charter boats, lodging accommodations, restaurants and entertainment on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, call 800-745-SAND (7263), or visit www.orangebeach.com.