Editor’s Note: Captain Charles “Chip” Day of the “Chipper’s Clipper” charter boat docked at Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, has fished Alabama’s Gulf Coast for over 30 years.
On our 6-hour guide trips in April, we’ll be catching triggerfish, white snapper, vermillion snapper and lane snapper and catching and releasing a good number of red snapper. The cobia will be here, and we expect to do a lot of cobia fishing this month. We can take people out and catch cobia often on a 4-hour trip, if the weather and the water temperature conditions are right. Most cobia trips are 6- to 8-hours long, but catching cobia, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel on a 4-hour trip this month isn’t uncommon. To find the cobia, we prefer sunny days, calm winds a
nd water temperatures above 65 degrees. Although we’ll be fishing with live eels, live pinfish and jigs, eels are our favorite bait.
Generally the second or the third week of April are the best weeks of the year for productive cobia fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Your chances of seeing cobia every day this month are really good, and we expect to get at least two chances a day to catch them, if not more. Our cobia will average about 40-pounds each, but we’ll catch quite a few that will be bigger. With our guide parties, we try to double-down. While we’re cobia fishing, we’ve usually got lines out to catch Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. We’re moving along just off the beach searching for cobia, and at the same time, we can troll for king mackerel. The Spanish mackerel and the king mackerel will hold in about the same depth of water as the cobia, so you can have some fast action on mackerel while you’re looking for cobia.
There’s also some really-good news for the fishermen who book our 8-, 10- and 12-hour trips. Grouper season opens April 1, and we’ll start catching grouper, scamp, amberjacks and bigger beeliners then. We primarily catch red and gag grouper, but la
st year, we had a really-good run of scamp. We can get out to deep water, even after stopping to catch bait, in usually 2- to 2-1/2-hours, and fish in 180 to 200 feet of water when we get there. On the way out, we’ll be fast-trolling for wahoo, and we may catch king mackerel, bonito and blackfin tuna. The wahoo really like the blue water. We have caught them in green water, but they prefer blue water. If we get some blue water pushing in this month toward Alabama’s Gulf Coast, we may catch some good wahoo. But the wahoo fishing definitely will start picking-up and really improve in June.
To learn more about fishing with Captain Chip Day on “Chipper’s Clipper,” you can contact him at (251) 981-1943 or (251) 952-8247, or check out www.chippersclipper.com
5 pounds grouper fillets
3/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably Hellman’s)
1/4-cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2-teaspoon garlic powder
1/2-teaspoon white pepper
Combine mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder and pepper. Coat fish well with mixture, and let sit 1 hour. Grill over hot coals about 20 minutes, or cook under broiler at 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.