Butch Tucker, captain of the “Shady Lady” out
of Zeke’s Landing Marina in Orange
fishes all winter with charter parties. This month, Tucker tells us what’s
biting offshore and invites you to fish Alabama’s
During October, anglers still can catch red snapper and
plenty of other species offshore. Right now, we’re catching six species of
snapper – red snapper, vermilion snapper (beeliners), white snapper, lane
snapper, yellowfin snapper and black snapper (gray snapper). The triggerfish
are biting well along with amberjack, scamp, grouper, wahoo and numbers of king mackerel.
October is a great month to fish at the Gulf Coast. The charter
party we take out determines the size of snapper we catch. Some customers want
to catch really-big snapper that will weigh 8- to 15-pounds each or bigger.
Other clients want to catch two red snapper each and then fish for other
species. I’ve got a party this week who wants to catch a limit of red snapper
and then head out to deep water and fish for grouper, scamp, vermilion snapper
The vermilion snapper really has benefited our charter
business. On some of our fishing spots, we catch vermilion snapper weighing 3-
to 5-pounds each, which we call footballs, since they’re chunky and resemble
the shape of a football. With most charter parties, we fish for what’s biting
best. If the vermilion snapper are biting consistently, we’ll fish for them. Or,
we may target amberjack, scamp or grouper. The good thing about Orange Beach
is that with the number of artificial reefs that the local, state and federal
governments as well as private citizens, charter-boat captains and fishing
groups have sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, there
are plenty of places to catch fish.
Beach area has great
fishing year-round. Even after October, when the season for American red
snapper has closed, we still can catch red snapper – we just can’t keep ‘em. We
can still put plenty of fish on the boat and keep our rods bent all year. We
can bring in as many pounds of fish out of snapper season, when the big triggerfish
are just beginning to show up, as we do during snapper season. Increasing
numbers of people are learning how much fun catching triggerfish can be and how
delicious triggerfish filets taste. In some fish markets, triggerfish costs
more than grouper.
On an average trip with 10 to 12 fishermen, I expect to come
in with 500 pounds or more of fun-fighting, good-eating fish each day, if we
have good weather on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
And, that amount doesn’t count the fish the party may catch and release. Many
people don’t realize how good the fishing is in the fall and the winter here.
We have boats bringing in good catches and big fish all year. While people walk around in winter coats north of here, we have anglers on the
decks of our boats catching grouper, amberjack and vermilion snapper, while wearing
short-sleeve shirts or lightweight jackets. Boats and captains are more available
at this time of year, and there’s less competition for the fish. If you’ll come
down this fall and winter, the charter-boat captains on Alabama’s
Gulf Coast will show you just how good
charter fishing can be.
To fish with Butch Tucker, call (850) 587-2064
or (850) 380-3321. For more information about the hotels, restaurants and
events at the Gulf
Coast, contact the Alabama
Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-745-SAND, or visit www.orangebeach.com