Deep Water Report:

Editor’s Note: Captain Johnny Greene, of the charter boat “Intimidator,” based in Orange Beach, has been running offshore.

The grouper bite has really been good. We’ve been catching some fine scamp grouper as well as some big gag grouper. We’ve been doing some deep-dropping and coOrange Beach Chartersnnecting with nice-sized yellowfin grouper. As we’ve been trolling on the way out and on the way into shore, we’ve been catching some good wahoo. As the water cools down, we’re catching some of biggest blackfin tuna of the season, weighing from 8 to 12 pounds, as well as amberjacks weighing in at 50 to 60 pounds. Once we arrive at the deep-water oil wells, the yellowfin tuna bite has been great. On our last trip, we caught 5 yellowfins that weighed about 80-pounds each in less than 45 minutes. Due to the lack of fishing pressure now, and because the water is cooling down, the offshore bite on the overnight trips will continue to get better through the month of December. We’re catching numbers of good fish. To contact Captain Johnny Greene, call him at 251-747-2872, or visit his website www.gulfshoresdeepseafishing.com.


Offshore Report: The 4-Hour Trip

Editor’s Note: Captain Troy Frady of Distraction Charters in Orange Beach says, “The 4-hour trip couldn’t be any better. The redfish are moving closer to shore, and the king mackerel are still biting.”

At the first of last week, the weather was good, and the temperature started cooling-down. We could see the baitfish had shown-up in droves right off the beach. As we started out of Perdido Pass, we looked to our left and to our right. We saw birds working (seagulls and pelicans diving on glass minnows and other bait fish that had moved in close to shore). When we were 1/4-mile from the Four Seasons’ pier, I moved the boat in close to the bait fish to try and determine what kind of fish were feeding on the bait. We saw a huge school of bull redfish about an acre in circumference, breaking the surface of the water while feeding on the baitfish. The redfish were moving to the west, following the schools of baitfish. I only had two fishermen on-board. I gave them spinning rods with 1-1/2-ounce curly-tail grubs tied on the ends of their lines. They caught and released 15 to 17 redfish, weighing 18 to 27 pounds, before they were tired of catching them. When we couldn’t find schools of redfish on the surface, we eased out a little farther to some spots I had marked on my GPS receiver that included small drop-offs and ridges with just a 2- or a 3-foot dip in the bottom.

After my party tired of catching redfish, we put-out our trolling rods and a variety of baits on our lines. We used a king mackerel rig with a feather duster, three hooks and a dead Spanish sardine. On another rod, we put out a drone spoon with pink reflective tape on its back on a 10-foot leader, behind a #3 planer. The #3 planer got the bait about 10-feet deep. We put out Mann’s Stretch 30 crankbait in the gold with a black back color on one rod and the same lure in pink on a different rod. For some reason, the king mackerel hit the pink Stretch 30 and cut the line. We caught several redfish on the gold-colored Stretch 30 with the black back. We also caught 7 king mackerel while trolling.
Orange Beach Fishing
After we caught our mackerel, we spotted another school of redfish. I remembered a trick I had used as a boy to keep up with schools of speckled trout. The first redfish we caught, I tied a piece of 80-pound test monofilament line to its tail and put enough line out, so that the redfish could go all the way to the bottom without feeling the line. Next, I tied a balloon to the end of the line attached to the redfish’s tail. Then we released the redfish, and it returned to its school. The balloon allowed us to see where that school of redfish was all the time. By following the balloon and getting in front of the balloon, we helped our customers to cast to and catch redfish until we returned to shore. We caught up to the balloon, used the line to pull the redfish in, cut the line that was wrapped around its tail and released the redfish again. We fished that same school of redfish successfully for about an hour.

To fish with Captain Frady on Distraction Charters, call him at 251-975-8111, or visit his website at www.distractioncharters.com.


Pier Report:

Editor’s Note: David Thornton, a guide on the beaches and the pier, says fishing on the Gulf State Park Pier has been a mixed bag the last couple of weeks.

On different days at the pier, we have had good catches of various types of fish. The weather has finally cooled-down, and our area probably will have stable cool weather now. This weather causes the water temperature to cool-down, and then the fish will start coming to the pier. We had one day last week when we caught some really-nice whiting, a mixture of big croakers, small black drum, slot-size redfish and nice flounder. The flounder fishing has been improving steadily. We’re catching more big flounder. Pompano are being caught close to the shore, for anglers fishing for whiting, and out on the end of the pier, when large schools of pompano pass by the pier. When those schools show-up, anglers often can catch two or three pompano out of the school, before they leave. We’re still catching a few Spanish mackerel and a good number of bluefish. The question I’m asked most often is, “When will the bull reds appear at the pier?” We can see the birds diving on schools of bait fish just out of casting range from the pier, and we have been getting reports from charter-boat captains, who are catching the bull reds within a mile offshore. So, I think all we need is some colder weather, and the bull reds will start moving to the pier. There was a good catch of bull reds caught one night last week, but we haven’t yet seen the big schools arrive in the daytime, where at times anglers often can catch and release as many bull reds as they want to catch. Our best fall fishing usually occurs from the middle of November to the middle of December at the pier. If you’re coming down for Thanksgiving, plan to catch flounder, whiting, pompano, bluefish and an occasional sheepshead. Also bring a long heavy rod, like a flipping stick with 15- to 20-pound-test line, because, we expect to see the big schools of bull reds at any time now.
For more information on pier fishing, you can call David Thornton at 251-458-2775 or email him at pierpounder@alabamasnaturalcoast.net.


Inshore Report:

Editor’s Note: Captain Gary Davis of Tidewater Fishing fishes the Fort Morgan area of the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile Bay and the rivers leading into the bay.

The bull reds are still really thick at Fort Morgan, and they have started feeding on the surface. Right now, you can use top-water lures that plunk, splash, sputter or swim on the surface and have some really-exciting action, catching redfish that will weiOrange Beach Chartersgh 18 to 30 pounds at Dixey Bar. Also, in the Fort Morgan area, in the bay, the flounder fishing really has improved. You can fish the rock jetties in front of the fort and in the boat basins and catch good numbers of big flounder. The best bait seems to be the 3-inch new penny-colored Berkley Gulp! Shrimp on a jig head. For the last 12 days, our parties have caught limits of speckled trout fishing the middle of Fish River, which leads into Weeks Bay that feeds into Mobile Bay. We’re catching them on 4-inch spice-colored finesse swimbaits on a jig head. The size of the trout also has increased dramatically and now weighs 2 to 4 pounds. I haven’t started fishing for redfish in the river yet, since most of my anglers want to catch speckled trout, but I’m sure they are here. We fish with live shrimp, below a cork, to catch the redfish. This week the fish have moved into high gear with more fish and bigger ones. So, if you want to fish inshore, now is the time to be here.

To contact Captain Gary Davis, call him at 251-942-6298 or 251-965-2135.

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 www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, 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 http://www.amazon.com/Alabamas-Offshore-Saltwater-Fishing-ebook/dp/B008VT4FBM/ or by typing in the name of the book on Amazon.

For more information about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, visit http://www.orangebeach.com/fishing, 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 www.orangebeach.com/dining-nightlife/restaurants.