Editors Note: Years ago, many people fished on party boats where they each paid a certain amount of money to get on the boat and fish with a party of people. You could fish alone or with family or a group of friends. You didn’t need a certain amount of people to hire a charter. Today, there’s been a resurgence of party-boat fishing and “Zeke’s Lady,” based out of Zeke’s Marina, is a new party boat docked in Orange Beach, Alabama. Captain Butch Tucker often runs two fishing trips a day on “Zeke’s Lady.” 

Question: Captain, what’s “Zeke’s Lady”?
Tucker: It’s a 58-
foot newly-built party boat docked at Zeke’s Landing in Orange Beach. We do private charters, but we primarily take parties of one, two, three and four people out for a 1/2-day of fishing. We offer walk-on trips (4 to 6 hours), private trips (up to 12 hours) and cruises.

Question: How much does fishing cost on a party boat?
Tucker: Depending on the time of year and the length of the trip, the cost is $55 to $85 for adults and $35 to $45 for children.

Question: What type of fish do you catch?
Tucker: We catch all the reef fish. Until the first of June, when red-snapper season starts
, we have to release all the red snapper we catch. However, we catch several other species of snapper that are fun to catch and good to eat. Too, we catch scamp, triggerfish, grouper and an occasional amberjack. We may even catch a king mackerel or a cobia. In April this year, we caught a mako shark. Although we don’t target game fish, like mako sharks, king mackerel and cobia, we catch them incidentally.

Question: This month, what will your customers most likely catch?
Tucker: We’ll catch all the bottom feeders, as well as king mackerel. We caught a king mackerel on our most-recent trip. Many times when we’re catching lane snapper or vermilion snapper, the king mackerel will come along and eat the snapper on the line. Then the fisherman will catch the king mackerel, instead of the snapper.

Question: What types of sites do you fish?
Tucker: We try to fish places that don’t hold red snapper, which in ye
ars past has been very easy. Now fishing areas where the red snapper aren’t concentrated is very difficult. There are so many red snapper off the Alabama Gulf Coast that you can run and hide, but you can’t get away from those red snapper.

Question: What kind of snapper do you catch and keep in May?
Tucker: We catch white snapper, lane snapper, vermilion snap
per and mangrove snapper, as well as triggerfish, two or three-different species of grouper, scamp and an occasional amberjack.

Question: How many people do you take out on your trips?
Tucker: On a 6-hour trip, we need a minimum of 16 fishermen. On a 4-hour trip, we need the equivalent of 20 adults. When we have good weather, we usually go out twice a day, every day. A party-boat trip is a good way for a family to sample the type of fishing we have at Orange Beach, and our trips are very affordable. In this down economy, more people are opting to take a party-boat trip to find out if they really like deep-sea fishing and because they’re more economical. The 4-hour trip also fits many families’ schedules. This way, they have a 1/2-day to fish and the remainder of the day to go to the beach and see other attractions. We also have private charters available for large groups of people where we can fish all day. Generally, on a day of fishing, we catch nice-sized fish, and everyone has a good time. 

To fish with Captain Butch Tucker on “Zeke’s Lady,” call Zeke’s Marina Landing at 800-793-4044, or visit www.zekescharters.com

Baked Snapper with Crabmeat Stuffing

You can prepare this flavorful dish with any type of snapper.

Ingredients:
5 – 7 pounds snapper of any kind and size
1 pound fresh shrimp
1/2-pound crabmeat
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1 tablespoon chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small green pepper, chopped fine
3/4-teaspoon salt
1/4-teaspoon pepper
1 cup wine
2 tablespoons oil
6 slices white bread

Sauce Ingredients:
1 stick butter
2 shallots, chopped fine
2 teaspoons parsley, minced
1/2-pound crabmeat

Preparation:

Shell and clean the shrimp, and cut into small pieces. Sauté the onion and garlic in oil until clear. Add the shrimp, and sauté for about 10 minutes. Dampen the bread, mash it, and add to onion and shrimp mixture. Add the green pepper, parsley, crabmeat, celery and seasonings. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Place the stuffing inside the fish, and sew up the opening or fasten with skewers.

Place the fish in a greased baking pan. Pour 1 cup of wine over it, and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven, with a piece of aluminum foil over it for the first 15 – 20 minutes. Remove foil. Dust lightly with flour. Baste from the pan occasionally, and bake until the fish flakes to a fork and is crusty brown. Remove the fish to a heated serving platter, and keep warm. Make sauce by sautéing shallots and parsley for a few minutes in melted butter. Add crabmeat, and gently stir. Pour over fish and serve immediately.

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