Along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, the annual cobia run occurs toward the end of March. The cobia come from south Florida, migrating up Florida’s west coast around the Panhandle, and then move to the Alabama, the Mississippi and the Louisiana coasts to spend their summers around or near the mouth of the Mississippi River. In the fall, the cobia make a second, smaller run from west to east and back to south Florida. Now there’s a strong indication that the cobia make a second run from east to west in August.

According to Captain Seth Wilson of the “Riptide” charter boat out of Zeke’s Landing Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, “I’ve received reports from my friends who are charter-boat captains in Destin, Florida, that they’re having a phenomenal second run of cobia right now, and that the cobia are migrating from the east to west like they do in early spring. For as long as I’ve fished Alabama’s Gulf Coast, I’ve never seen the migration of cobia this late in the year. But for some unknown reason, the cobia are on their way. These cobia should arrive in large numbers by the end of July and perhaps into August. If the cobia keep coming, we could have a cobia run bigger than we’ve had in the spring that possibly will last throughout August and into September.” If this migration takes place as predicted, we may see some of the best fishing of the year during August and September.”

Question: What else will you be catching in August, Seth?
Wilson: We’ll be trying to catch beeliners (vermilion snapper), white snapper, grouper, scamp and amberjacks.

Question: Where will you find these fish?
Wilson: We’ll make longer runs to fish deeper water than we’ve fished all season to get away from the red snapper. However, we’ll still be catching a few red snapper that we’ll have to release after August 4.

Question: How deep is deep water, Seth?
Wilson: Generally when you’re fishing in water 180-feet deep, you don’t get into the large numbers of red snapper that we catch in shallow, warm water. We’ll be catching more amberjacks and grouper in deeper water and fewer snapper.

Question: How far out will you have to go to reach 180-foot-deep water?
Wilson: We’ll have to travel 30-miles offshore.

Question: Are the big beeliners moving in during August like in the past?
Wilson: I’m not sure. We’re catching numbers of big beeliners right now. This year has been strange. We’ve got a healthy crop of amberjacks, and my reports reveal a big migration of cobia that should show up on Alabama’s Gulf Coast any day now. This means the cobia are several months past their time that they usually show up here. The captains I’ve talked to in Panama City and Destin have told me to get ready, because they’re catching cobia now, and the cobia are headed our way. We had a strong cobia run this past spring, and the yellowfin tuna didn’t show up at the Midnight Lumps off Louisiana’s coast like they have in the past. No one really has an explanation for this second cobia run.

Question: Are you catching any triggerfish?
Wilson: No, we believe the red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico have eaten-up all the young triggerfish. All the triggerfish we’re catching are too big for red snapper to eat. The limit on triggerfish is 14 inches from its nose to the fork of its tail. We’re not catching any small triggerfish at all.

Question: You’ve mentioned that you’ve been having a strong amberjack run. How big are the amberjacks you’re catching?
Wilson: We’re catching numbers of amberjacks between 28- and 30-inches long, weighing about 15- to 20-pounds each.

Question: What about white snapper?
Wilson: We’ve been catching some big white snapper, weighing an average of 3 to 5 pounds – an excellent eating-sized snapper.

Question: Red-snapper season closes on August 4, but that doesn’t mean the charter-boat captains at Orange Beach can’t take a party out fishing and catch a good box of fish, right?
Wilson: That’s exactly right. This misconception is common for many fishermen visiting the Gulf Coast. Just because we can’t catch and eat red snapper doesn’t mean the season’s closed for other fish. During this time of year, we have lots of fun and catch numbers of fish that are delicious to eat, such as white snapper, vermilion and mangrove snapper, amberjacks, grouper and scamp. August is a great month to go fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, and because many school systems begin in August, you’ll probably have your pick of charter-boat captains this month.

To book a trip aboard the “Riptide” with Captain Wilson, call him at (251) 981-1500.