My grandfather took my father fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, and then Pop took me when I was a toddler. I carried my children with me, and my children are taking their children thereOrange Beach Charters today. As long as there’s water in the Gulf of Mexico, and fish to be caught, I’m certain our family will continue to visit the Gulf’s waters, both inshore and offshore. One of my favorite movies titled “A River Runs Through It” showed how one family’s life through several generations was tied to one river. Many of the visitors to Alabama’s Gulf Coast are second, third and fourth generations of the same families. They come here not only for the sun, the sand and the fishing but also to reconnect with their families’ histories and to catch fish in the same places where their families always have fished.

For instance, you’ll always find fish between the beach and the sandbars just out from the beach, and from the sandbars out to deeper water. Fish always have been caught inside and outside West Pass on West Beach in Gulf Shores. The Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores and the jetties at Perdido Pass in Orange Beach and West Pass in Gulf Shores historically have been spots where families have gathered for generations to catch fish. Youngsters have been taught by their grandfathers and grandmothers and their extended families as well as their parents about how to bait lines, cast rods, get bites, hook fish and reel those fish in to the shore.

For more than 60 years, as far back as I can remember, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island have been family fishing spots both inshore and offshore. In each of these places, you’ll meet friendly anglers who will help newcomers learn the secrets that result in bent rods, fish splashing in the surf and youngsters squealing with excitement.

Orange Beach FishingIf you’re coming to Alabama’s Gulf Coast for the first time this year, plan to meet some of the anglers on the Gulf State Park Pier that’s open to the public 24 hours each day, 7 days a week (251-967-3474, www.alapark.com/GulfState/Gulf%20State%20Park%20Pier/). Introduce yourself to the inshore and offshore captains at our marinas. If you see someone fishing in the surf, don’t hesitate to ask what’s biting, and how the fish are being caught. David Thornton (251-458-2775, pierpounder@alabamasnaturalcoast.net) specializes in taking families fishing on the beach and will be glad to provide information and make suggestions about where the fish are biting.

For more information about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, visit www.orangebeach.com/fishing, our easy to access fishing information pages complete 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.