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Looking for saltwater fishing reports to help you catch Gulf of Mexico fish? "What's Biting" can be your Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama fishing report to keep you up-to-date on offshore fishing in the Alabama Gulf Coast area.


Enjoy a Date with Jaws and Catch Speckled Trout and Mackerel at Alabama’s Gulf Coast

By: John Phillips

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fish for Sharks with Captain Troy Frady:

Editor’s Note: More anglers coming to Alabama’s Gulf Coast want to get up close and personal with “Jaws,” and shark fishing definitely tests your strength, power and endurance and creates memories will last a lifetime. Captain Troy Frady of Distraction Charters, a member of the Orange Beach Fishing Association (OBFA), docks at Orange Beach Marina. Frady says he’s never seen so-many people wanting to fish for sharks.

The anglers who go shark fishing with me have learned that you can tell a story about the day you’ve battled “Jaws,” and that people are really-interested in sharks. You can go fishing and catch fish to eat, but when you catch a shark, you’ve got a memory that lasts a lifetime. Most of the sharks we’re catching are dusky sharks and Orange Beach charterssome bull sharks from 7- to 10-feet long. The average shark we’re catching – usually over artificial reefs - will weigh from 200 pounds to 400 pounds. While we’re reef fishing, we’ll put-down baits for sharks, although we don’t always catch one. However, we do have a very-good likelihood of hooking one up, when we’re catching triggerfish, vermilion snapper and other fish. The advantage of shark fishing is that you can try and catch a shark, while you’re catching other species of fish. The most sharks we’ve ever caught and released on an 8-hour trip is four. But, on average, we’ll hook-up to one or two sharks a day. We fish with 40-pound test line, which enables anglers to usually get their sharks up to the boat. Then we can photograph the sharks and release them, within 45 minutes to 1-1/2-hours after catching the sharks.

On our 4-hour trips, we’re catching numbers of Spanish mackerel, weighing 1-1/2- to 2 pounds with Clark spoons or a yellow-with-a-red-stripe straw from McDonald’s, the fast-food restaurant. Depending on the bite, we may catch 18 to 36 Spanish mackerel on a 4-hour trip. The king mackerel are also moving-in, and we’ll usually catch a few of them on our 4-hour trips too. During 6-hour trips, we’re catching numbers of keeper-size triggerfish, vermilion snapper and lane snapper. To contact Captain Troy Frady, go to, or, call him at 251-975-8111.

Saltwater Report from Zeke’s Landing Marina in Orange Beach:

Thad Stewart, the marketing director of Zeke’s Landing Marina, reports that:
  • ”speckled trout fishing has picked-up for our Orange Beach fishinginshore trips, and we’re seeing more speckled trout being caught than ever this spring;
  • ”the number of sheepshead available to catch has declined;
  • ”the number of pompano that charters are bringing-in has increased;
  • ”Spanish and king mackerel have been biting very well near shore;
  • ”our offshore boats are bringing-in plenty of lane, white and vermilion snapper and catching and releasing numbers of red snapper;
  • ”our captains have had good catches of scamp, grouper and red grouper; and
  • ”we’ve had very-consistent catches of amberjacks, because our offshore boats don’t have to go very-far out to catch them. That bite should stay good for the next month or two, until fishing pressure builds-up.

“Now in mid-to late April, two of the best fish to target may be speckled trout and king mackerel, since our boats seem to be bringing-in plenty of them.” For more information on fishing out of Zeke’s Landing Marina, call 251-981-4044 or 1-800-793-4044, or visit

David Thornton’s Pier Report:

When we caught-up to our pier reporter, David Thornton, he was already on the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Ala. Thornton says that, “Anglers on the pier have caught quite a few king mackerel here in mid-April, as well as a few Spanish mackerel. However, earlier in the week, the bites were really good with 15 to 20 king mackerel and numbers of Spanish mackerel caught-off the pier every day. One angler even took a 39-pound king mackerel last week in early April. So, we’re seeing a good grade of king mackerel at the pier. Fishermen also have caught a few flounder, pompano and whiting. Since the full moon, the speckled trout have vanished from around the pier, which is unusual. Anglers have seen a few cobia each day on the pier, andOrange Beach charters a 34-pound cobia was caught and landed this week. A few sheepshead still are holding around the pilings. However, for the most part, the sheepshead run is over for the spring, although some sheepshead will be hanging-around the pier all year.

“During the second week in April, two big schools of bull redfish showed-up at the pier. When the first school came-through, almost everyone on the pier hooked a bull red, and about 20 were landed. Later in the day, another small school came by, and about six or eight bull reds were caught out of that school. To my knowledge, that’s the first two schools of bull reds that have shown-up at the pier this spring. But, we should start seeing more and more schools as the weather warms-up through the late spring and summer.” To learn more about the Gulf State Park Pier, call 251- 948-7275 or visit State Park Pier.

The Orange Beach Fishing Association will be glad to find you and your family a captain and a boat that fits your needs. The good news is that you don’t have to leave your wife and children at home when you visit Alabama’s Gulf Coast. There’s plenty to do and see. For more information on fishing guides and charter boats, lodging accommodations, restaurants and entertainment on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, call Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND (7263), or visit To have your fresh fish prepared at the beach, go to, click on restaurants, and check box for “Will Cook Your Catch.


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