Editor’s Note: We asked Captain Randy Boggs of Reel Surprise Charters, “Why do some anglers consistently catch more and bigger fish than others when bottom fishing offshore?”

Orange Beach ChartersSome anglers catch more fish than others, because they don’t just fish on the bottom. White snapper, vermilion snapper, triggerfish, large red snapper, king mackerel, and cobia are caught up off the bottom. We’re fishing over wrecks, reefs, and large structures on the bottom, and generally little fish stay close to or in that structure. Bigger sportfish are up off the bottom, attacking bait. Successful anglers will stop their baits 15 to 30 feet off the bottom, pull their rod tips up, turn their reel handles to get the slack out of the lines, and wait for the bites. When a deckhand casts a line with a small lead, lets it drift behind the boat, and catches a big fish, that’s because the slow lead’s attracting the big fish in the top story of the water. Most successful bottom fishermen don’t set their hooks like they do in fresh water. We like an Eagle Claw L197F Lazer Sharp circle hook that will set itself in the corner of the fish’s mouth once you feel the bite. Then you steadily can reel in the fish.

Vermilion snapper and triggerfish really have been fired up in September. We’re picking up an occasional king mackerel and cobia, and boats running farther offshore are making good catches of blackfin and yellowfin tuna as well as dolphin (mahi mahi). We’ve had three swordfish brought into Orange Beach in September. We’re still catching plenty of red snapper that our anglers can photograph and release. We’re waiting on word from the National Marine Fisheries Service about a fall red snapper season. Too, we’re still catching plenty of hard-fighting, delicious-eating reef fish.

For more information, you can reach Captain Randy Boggs at www.reelsurprisecharters.com or 251-981-7173.

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.