You can catch fish at Orange Beach and Gulf Shores all year long. And, that’s the reason the retirement dream of fishermen all over the nation is to move to the Gulf Shores regions, so they can fish and catch fish every day.

Offshore Report by Captain Don McPherson

Editor’s Note: Captain Don McPherson owner of the “Getaway” and “Another Getaway,” based out of Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach is loading-up on reds in mid-November.

“Another Getaway” was out toward the end of the week and had a very productive 4-hour trip. The morning was kind of chilly, and we got off to a slow start. But within an hour of leaving the pass, we found a school of king mackerel and caught seven that averaged 12 to 20 pounds. As we were reeling-in the last king mackerel, we spotted a big school of redfish feeding on the surface. So, we got our light tackle rods out and our curly tail jigs and caught five big bull reds that weighed 23- to almost 30-pounds each. Our anglers had flown to the Alabama Gulf Coast from Chicago for a business meeting anOrange Beach Chartersd didn’t want to take any fish home. So, we released all the king mackerel and all the bull reds. We turned for home with our trolling rods out and hooked-up a really-nice dolphin (mahi-mahi). However, it quickly got off the hook. We were fishing about 1- to 1-1/2 miles off the beach.

Earlier in the week we had the “Getaway” and the “Another Getaway” both out on the same day with six anglers on one and five anglers on the other. We caught a few 18- to 20-pound king mackerel, but the redfish bite was unbelievable and was our best day of the year for redfish. We were fishing 1/4- to 1-1/2-miles off the beach, and the total for both boats was a few more that 50 bull reds, weighing 20 to 30 pounds. Perhaps the bull reds have become so active and are moving inshore, because our area had its first serious cold front occur. Generally the redfish will show-up on the second day of a cold front, however we were out on the first day of the front, and the redfish were on top of the water feeding and were eating everything we threw in the water. We caught most of the redfish casting jigs and retrieving them but we did pick-up a few redfish trolling. I don’t think the weather has been cold enough to push these bull reds into the pier and the surf yet. Probably, when the next cold front that moves through those bull reds will be within casting distance of the pier and possibly the beach. We also caught some Spanish mackerel.

Bottom fishing has been a little slow, but the amberjack and the scamp bites really have been good. The real action seems to be near shore with the king mackerel and the redfish. I believe our king mackerel will stay in until the end of 2012, and those big schools of big bull reds should be with us all the way into the spring. We usually have our best redfish run from the middle of February until the middle of March, but I don’t believe the redfish bite could be any better than last week, when we caught and released all those fish. To contact Captain Don McPherson, call 251-981-8047, visit his website at, or view his Facebook page at Orange Beach Fishing with “Getaway Charters.”

Inshore Report by Captain David Brown

Editor’s Note: Captain David Brown fishes inshore and docks his boat at Orange Beach Marina.
Orange Beach Fishing
At this time of year, I’m moving into the creeks, fishing for speckled trout and redfish. The speckled trout we’re catching are 14- to 18-inches long, and the keepers will weigh 2 pounds or better. We are catching anywhere from 12 to 18 trout on a 4-hour trip. Too, we usually catch between 5 to 10 slot reds. We’re not catching any black drum this year, and I don’t know why. We are catching a few sheepshead. Our flounder have pretty much moved out of the rivers, and we only catch them occasionally. We are fishing primarily with live shrimp and bull minnows about 3- or 4-feet deep under a rattle cork. Our best fishing has been at Soldier’s Creek, Palmetto Creek and the Bon Secour River. Right now, the trout are moving from the edges of the creek and the mouths of the creeks up into the main creek channels and the deeper holes. As the weather cools down, the trout will start concentrating in the deeper holes in the creeks. We start fishing at the mouths of the creeks and fish about midway up the creeks. To contact Captain Brown, you can reach him at 251-981-6246, or on his cell at 251-942-4037.

Pier Report by David Thornton

Editor’s Note: David Thornton is the Gulf State Park Pier contact for what’s been caught on the pier.

The water is beautiful here in mid-November and the bluefish bite is still holding strong. This past week we have had big schools of pompano coming around the end of the pier, with some fish weighing 3 pounds. The pompano are being caught on jigs and live shrimp, with the most-popular jigs the white 1/2-ounce Spanish jigs. Normally, the pompano are caught in shallow water, but at certain times of the year we will see big schoolOrange Beach Charterss of them out on the end of the pier - probably when they’re beginning to migrate from the shallow water to the deep water. We’re also catching some pretty nice-sized bait fish weighing from 1 to 2 pounds, when we are fishing for the pompano.

The sheepshead have started showing-up around the pilings of the pier but haven’t moved in in big numbers yet. A good number of flounder are being caught right now. We’re catching and releasing a lot of small flounder. The whiting have been a hit-or-miss fish, since the water’s been so calm and clear that they haven’t really been biting very well. The Spanish mackerel bite has been fairly good, and we are still catching an occasional king mackerel or two. Although we’re catching a few redfish, we haven’t seen the big schools of reds coming in from deep water yet. We know that the bull reds are just within striking distance of the pier, but the water hasn’t cooled-down enough for them to come in the large schools that we usually see. But the next cold front that we have should really turn on these fish. For more information on pier fishing, you can call David Thornton at 251-458-2775 or email

To learn more about saltwater fishing on the Alabama Gulf Coast and have an opportunity to meet the captains, get the new Kindle e-books Alabama’s Offshore Saltwater 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. On November 20-21 (Tuesday and Wednesday) only, Alabama’s Offshore Saltwater Fishing will be free at or by typing in the name of the book on Amazon.

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