Editor's Note: Captain Don Walker of the charter boat "Lady D," docks at Sportsman Marina and Dry Dock in Orange Beach, Alabama, and has fished offshore on Alabama's Gulf Coast for most of his life.

Question: Don, what will you be catching offshore in May before snapper season begins next month in June?
Walker: I mainly catch tuna, wahoo, amberjack, grouper, triggerfish and beeliners. The cobia still will be running this month, and we'll be fishing for them along the beach. The cobia usually stay inshore through the first two weeks of May, and then they seem to drop off.

Question: How and where are you catching fish?
Walker: At this time of year, we catch plenty of amberjack and grouper out in deep water. Too, we generally, fast-troll for wahoo and slow-troll for tuna.


Question: How big are the amberjack you catch?
Walker: Right now, we're catching amberjack weighing from 30- to 50-pounds each, and blackfin and yellowfin tuna. We've had really-pretty water offshore, and now we're beginning to see grass in the water. From mid- to late-May, the grass lines will start forming.

Question: What do you catch on the grass lines offshore?
Walker: Last year, we had an extremely-productive year with dolphin (mahi-mahi) and wahoo. Even as early as April, I had a report of a 95-pound wahoo being caught offshore. Too, while we're tuna fishing, we'll often have a white marlin or a blue marlin come up and take the bait.

Question: How far offshore do you run?
Walker: We usually run about 70 miles off the port of Orange Beach.

Question: Tell me about your 18-hour-and-longer day trips.
Walker: We generally go straight out for tuna, wahoo, dolphin and marlin. On the return trip, we usually stop off in the more-shallow water and catch amberjack, grouper, triggerfish and beeliners. At the beginning of May, the gag grouper and the scamp are showing-up, and of course, you'll catch plenty of red snapper. Even though you can't keep red snapper until June, you still can have a lot of fun catching and releasing them. Right now, the snapper we catch offshore weigh 5- to 10-pounds each, and catching a 15 pound or larger snapper isn't unusual.

Question: What's the advantage of making an 18-hour trip over an 8-hour or a 12-hour trip?
Walker: People want to get more fishing for their dollars. So, by taking an 18-hour or a 2-day trip, the anglers get more fishing time and less running time. When you go offshore, you're fishing an area that isn't fished as much as many of the inshore reefs, and you're fishing in deeper water for bigger fish. Too, your chances of catching and keeping more fish are much better on longer trips than on shorter trips.

Question: On those 18-hour, 2- and 3-day trips, you have bunks where your clients can sleep and a galley where hot food can be prepared, right?
Walker: Yes, we do. The only thing we lack on our boat to make it almost as comfortable as home is a washer and a dryer. We just put in a new 40-inch flat-screen TV, so our fishermen can stay up-to-date with the latest news, weather and sports, and they can watch their favorite TV shows, when they're not fishing.

To fish with Captain Don Walker or find out about fishing offshore, write to him at PO Box 27, Orange Beach, Alabama, 36561, call him at 251-747-1623, or go to www.ladydcharters.net.