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Here are the latest reports from the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area.


Editor's Note: Don McPherson, captain of the “Getaway” and “Another Getaway” based out of Zeke’s Marina, has our offshore report this week.

While coming in from a 10-hour offshore charter, we were only 6-miles from the beach when I spotted one of our high-speed trolling rods jerking and bending. I watOrange Beach Chartersched as the line from that rod quickly rose to the surface. When I took my eyes off the line and looked farther behind the boat, I saw a 50-pound sailfish blow-up out of the water and light-up the sky like a neon light on a moonless night. One of my anglers grabbed the rod and fought the sailfish all the way to the boat. After we took pictures, the fish was released to fight another day. I couldn’t believe we had caught a sailfish that close to shore.

Offshore fishing has really been fantastic this fall of 2012. We took quite a few offshore and 4-hour charters this past week in mid-October. On the 4-hour trips, we’re catching numbers of Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and some bull redfish. The bull red bite has been steadily improving every week. A couple of days ago we caught and released 12 bull reds in one, 4-hour trip. The following day we caught nice-sized king and Spanish mackerel and a few dolphins (mahi-mahi). We also hooked a blackfin tuna on the 4-hour trip that pulled all the line off a reel and finally broke free. We believe by the end of October, fishing for bull reds weighing from 20 to 25 pounds will be red-hot. On our 4-hour trips for bull reds, we’re trolling spoons and Mann’s Stretch 20+ and Mann’s Stretch 30+ crankbaits. We usually keep a dead cigar minnow skipping over the waves behind the boat for king mackerel. One of the advantages we have here on Alabama’s Gulf Coast is those big schools of bull reds tend to stay with us all winter long. I have some trips already booked for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

On our 10-hour trips, we’ve caught a wide variety of fish, including vermilion snapper, white snapper and keeper-sized amberjacks with the largest at 49 pounds. The grouper bite has been phenomenal for red grouper, scamp grouper and gag grouper. Our largest gag grouper last week weighed just-over 20-pounds, scamps are weighing 5-7 pounds, and we caught red grouper that weighed just a little bit less than 20 pounds each. We’re still catching and releasing an abundance of red snapper. This week we caught one of the largest red snapper – a 30 pounder – we’ve seen this year. As soon as we got the big snapper onboard and took a few pictures, we released it to swim right back to the reef where we’d caught it. The other red snapper we caught and released were around 10-pounds each.

We have an advOrange Beach Fishingantage here at Orange Beach that most coastal towns don’t have. A lot of people think that when we have a north wind we’ll have rough seas, but because we have so many condos along our front beaches, those condos block the wind and give us calm seas, even when we have a hard wind from the north. Another advantage we have is almost all the boats have Sirius radios, and some boats even have television. So, you don’t have to miss your favorite football game, if you’re coming down on Saturday and want to go fishing. Also, if you charter a 4-hour trip, we can go out before the football game and you can return to where you’re staying after you’ve fished and still be able to see the football game. We’ll be fishing on the two
“Getaway” boats all winter long.

To fish with Captain Don McPherson, call 251-981-8047 or visit, where you can see pictures of the fish McPherson’s clients have been catching.

Pier Report:

Editor's Note: David Thornton teaches anglers how to fish for and catch a wide variety of fish from the pier, the beaches, the jetties and the banks. To learn more, go to or call 251-948-7275.

We’ve had some gorgeous weather here in mid-October at Alabama’s Gulf Coast, and the water has been pretty and clear. Our fishing on the pier this last week has been a hit-or-miss situation. Until the weather stabilizes and gets cooler, we’ll have boom or bust days at the pier. Once the weather and the water cool-down, we’ll get into some great fall fishing. Even on bad days at the pier, anglers still are catching Spanish mackerel and a few king mackerel. On a good day like we had last week about 30 or 40 king mackerels were caught off the pier. We consider a bad day on the pier when only 4 or 5 kings are caught, during a day of fishing. Saturday we caught numbers of king and Spanish mackerel. We 2 two good days of bull red fishing last week.

The water temperature off the pier finally has dropped below 80 degrees. The magic number for our fall fishinOrange Beach Chartersg is about 75 degrees. The flounder have started moving-in. Right now, we’re catching a lot of under-sized flounder, but there also are good numbers of big flounder. The whiting are being caught in larger numbers now, there are still a lot of pinfish around the pier and we also caught some speckled trout last week. When those big schools of redfish come in as they did last week, redfish are caught and released that weigh more than 20 pounds. Numbers of small pompano are being caught. We’re at the end of our summer season of fishing at the pier, and our fall fishing is just starting up.

The fish that has been the most plentiful recently has been the bluefish. I met one really-excited fellow out on the pier this last week who had taken his daughter fishing for the first time on the pier. He’d rigged her up with a bubble rig, and right away she caught three Spanish mackerel and more than 20 bluefish. “She was so excited about catching those fish that she said all she wanted to do was come to the pier and fish every day for the rest of the week,” the man announced with a big grin on his face. The bluefish we’re catching right now weigh from 1-1/2-pounds up to about 2-1/2-pounds, are scrappy and are just the right size to eat. We’ve started seeing a good number of sheepshead around the pilings that support the pier, but they’re hard to catch because the pinfish, baby spadefish and small jacks get to the baits quicker than the sheepshead do. However, within the next 2 weeks we should start having good sheepshead fishing. As the water cools down, the king and Spanish mackerel bite will fall off, but the bull red bite really will start to pick up. That’s the advantage that we have here on Alabama’s Gulf Coast and especially here on the pier – there’s always something biting.

Inshore Report:

Editor's Note: Captain Rick Murdoch has our inshore report this week. You can contact him at, Alabama Girl Fishing on Facebook, or at 251-424-0144.

Right now, most of our anglers want to catch redfish. We’re catching slot redfish around the Perdido PaOrange Beach Fishingss Bridge and the jetties, and the big bull reds just offshore when the weather is calm. You can see these fish on our Facebook page. Right now, the speckled trout are on fire. We’re catching them inshore at night around the dock lights. I went on a scouting trip by myself, and I couldn’t believe how-many speckled trout I caught and released. My fish were averaging about 2-1/2-pounds, and they were really pretty. I must have caught and released a hundred white trout. I was catching the white trout on a Berkley Gulp! White Shrimp and the speckled trout on live croakers and live spots. I catch all my live bait in small shrimp bait traps, before every trip. So, I have fresh live bait for my customers.

The night trips usually start right after dark. Right now, that’s about 7:00 pm. We’re usually back at the dock by 11:00 pm. We usually catch 10-15 keeper-sized speckled trout and all the white trout we want and one or two flounder. Flounder is my favorite fish to eat, and that bite should be picking up.

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 a list of cook-your-catch restaurants, go to

To learn more about saltwater fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast and have an opportunity to meet the captains 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.