Don McPherson’s Offshore Trips Have Caught a Variety of Fish in Mid-September:

Editor’s Note: Captain Don McPherson, of the “Other Getaway” based at Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., just had come in from a 6-hour trip offshore when he gave us this report in mid-September.

We started trolling for about the first hour, and we caught some really-nice Spanish mackerel about a mile offshore, weighing 3 to 5 pounds. We also caught some 10- to 12-pound king mackerel and had one that weighed about 15 pounds. Next, we moved out a little farther for some bottom fishing and caught a few vermilion snapper and white snapper that weighed 2- to 3-pounds each. We caught one keeper amberjack, which is somewhat a rare occurrence during a 6-hour trip. We released another amberjack that was too short to keep. Even though we tried to stay Orange Beach chartersaway from the red snapper, we did catch and release a few 7 to 10 pounders. Although, we didn’t catch any grouper on this trip, on other trips we had recently, we caught 10- to 15-pound grouper, and I heard reports from other captains who caught grouper weighing from 30 to 50 pounds further offshore. You will have a chance to catch a grouper on a 6-hour trip like this one. But if you specifically want to target grouper, I recommend a 10- or a 12-hour trip to reach deeper water of 180 to 200 feet.

On our last 10-hour trip, 3-days ago, we caught some nice amberjacks with the largest about 30 pounds, gag grouper weighing 15 to 25 pounds, and a few scamp, 4 to 5 pounders. We also caught a nice 30-pound wahoo and about a 30-pound king mackerel trolling with our high-speed trollers. We had a nice variety of fish from our 10-hour charter. If you’re looking for a trip that can produce a wide variety of fish and give you enough fish for a nice dinner at one of our cook-your-catch restaurants here at Alabama’s Gulf Coast, and still have fish to take home, then the 10-hour trip will be your best bet. We have had some really-pretty water, since the hurricane came through, and the weather has been nice. The seas were 1 foot or less today during my 6-hour charter.

Anglers Can Expect More Great Fishing to Come at the Beach:

In the next couple of weeks, the big king mackerel we catch every fall will start moving in close to shore, and we expect to see more people taking 4-hour trips to catch the big kings. At the same time, we will be catching the big kings inshore. We also will be looking for the big schools of redfish that make Alabama’s Gulf Coast’s fishing spectacular in the fall and winter months. A few of the big bull reds already have been caught near shore. As the weather continues to cool downOrange Beach charters, we will start to see acres of 15- to 30-pound bull reds – perhaps 100 near the surface at a time - move in near shore, any day now. So, watch the Weather Channel on TV, and when you see a cold front moving toward shore, that’s the same time you need to be here at the Alabama Gulf Coast, trolling for bull reds on possibly a 4- or a 6-hour trip. The bull reds will remain here until about late March. So, we will have great fishing all winter long for bull reds, but the best bull red fishing usually occurs from the first of October until the middle of February.

Too, the king mackerel will stay here until early December, and the Spanish mackerel will be here almost all year long. Well offshore near the continental shelf, we’re seeing the white-marlin bite pick up. Right now there’s some pretty blue water offshore. During late September and the entire month of October is when the white marlin bite is generally the best in our region. You also will have a chance to catch blackfin and yellowfin tuna and, possibly, a blue marlin on one of those offshore trips. The trip for the marlin and tuna is usually a 12-hour trip. Contact Captain Don McPherson at 251-981-8047, or visit his website at to learn more.

Another Offshore Report for Mid-September:

Editors Note: Captain Mike Rowell of the charter boat “Annie Girl” based at Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., also just returned from a 6-hour trip offshore.

We caught and released an awful lot of big red snapper with some 15 to 20 pounders, and garbage-lid-size triggerfish that would weigh up to 7-1/2 pounds. We caught those snapper in 80- to 100-foot water. We also caught a good number of undersized amberjacks that we threw back. We had bent rods on just about every stop. The good news is that the king-mackerel bite was on-fire. Most of the king mackerel we caught were about 15 pounds. I haven’t been offshore lately, but I’m leaving Saturday for a 2-day trip offshore. I’ll be back on Sunday night and let you know what we’ve caught. Call Captain Mike Rowell at 251-981-2081, or go to his website at for more information.

The Pier Report:

Editor’s Note: Unless anglers are catching 30 to 50 king mackerel, 50 to 100 Spanish mackerel and 12 to 15 flounder each day, David Thornton of Mobile, Ala., will tell you that the fishing at the pier has been poor. David Thornton who helps fishermen at the pier and guides to surf and bank fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, just had walked off the pier when we caught up with him for this mid-September report. To contact David Thornton call him at at 251-458-2775, e-mail him at, or go to his webpage at

Unfortunately, fishing at the pier has been pretty slow this week, and we don’t know why. The water has a beautiful color to it, lots of baitfish are around the pier, and the weather has been calm. This past week fishermen caught a good number of Spanish mackerel and king mackerel, but today they only caught two king mackerel. Often, we’ll have 1 or 2 slow days and then Orange Beach Fishinga pretty good day. We are also beginning to catch bull redfish, and the fishing for bull reds will continue to get better. Although the fall migration of flounder from the estuaries to the Gulf of Mexico should start any day now, we’re already catching a few. This movement of flounder always occurs around the end of September and continues through October and sometimes into November. We are still catching quite a few of slot redfish (the redfish big enough to keep). Anglers are taking quite a few speckled trout at night. The whiting and ground mullet are starting to show up in the surf near the beach, but the pinfish also have moved in, making catching these two species from the pier difficult. However, anglers fishing from the beach about 100 yards on either side of the pier won’t find nearly as many pinfish and usually will catch more whiting and ground mullet. The surf fishermen have been reporting that they are catching some pompano, but we haven’t caught any from the pier in the last week or so.

IMPORTANT NOTICE—The hours that you can fish from the pier have changed. During the spring and summer, the pier is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Right now, the pier is only open 24 hours per day on the weekend. During the week, the pier is open from 7am until 10pm. Contact the Gulf State Park Pier at (251) 967-FISH (3474).

For more information about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, visit, a fishing hub with marina and charter captain listings. For any questions, call Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism’s vacation-planning specialists at 1-800-745-SAND (7263).

For more information on saltwater fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast and for an opportunity to meet the captains that you can fish with, get the new Kindle ebooks Alabama’s Offshore Fishing: A Year Round Guide for Catching More than 15 Species and Alabama’s Inshore Saltwater Fishing: A Year Round Guide for Catching More than 15 Species by John E. Phillips. Go to, type in the names of these books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.