Jeff Chambliss of the charter boat “Baby Therapy” in Orange Beach, Alabama, is catching speckled trout and redfish right now in early August, although the weathe
r’s very warm. According to Chambliss, “We’re catching around 10 to 15 trout on a 4-hour trip in the morning, which is a pretty-good catch for one morning. A great morning will be when my clients take 15 to 18 trout and a couple of redfish. We even may have an occasional flounder. The real secret to catching those speckled trout and redfish at this time of the year is to fish live croakers and keep-up with where the fish are each day. I get up at about 4:00 or 5:00 am and catch fresh, live croakers for my party to use for fishing. Then we start fishing the docks and the grass flats about 7:00 am. Last week I had a client who caught a 5-1/2-pound trout on my boat. Many of the inshore fishermen and near-shore fishermen are taking their parties out of Perdido Pass Marina Bay and fishing for Spanish mackerel and king mackerel just off the beach. They’re doing quite well. I just prefer to catch the specks and the reds.” To contact Captain Chambliss, call 251-981-2463 or 251-979-1209.
Offshore Fishing with Captain Don McPherson:
Captain Don McPherson, an active member of the Orange Beach Fishing Association (OBFA) and the owner of the “Getaway,” reports that August fishing has been really good. “We’ve had charters from as short as 4-hours long to those lasting 12 hours. On the 4-hour charters, we’re catching numbers of Spanish mackerel, running just off the beach to several miles offshore. We’ve also caught a few nice king mackerel. The Spanish mackerel are weighing from 2-5 pounds, with the king mackerel averaging 12- to 15-pounds each. We actually caught a 40 pound king last week.
On the longer trips, we catch a wide variety of fish, including some nice-sized triggerfish, white snapper and vermilion snapper. Something that’s really been impressive is the scamp bite offshore. The scamp we’ve been catching have weighed from 5-8 pounds, and we’re also catching some red grouper weighing 10 to 20 pounds. We’re catching most of those fish on our full-day trips.
“We’re also catching lane snapper and grey snapper on our full-day trips, as well as catching and releasing numbers of red snapper. We’ve been catching many-more cobia this year than we have in several years. For awhile, we’ve been averaging at least one cobia a trip. We know there’s a numbers of cobia in the area when our charter boats are catching them while fishing. Too, we’ve seen a growing interest in shark fishing. Many anglers enjoy trying for big sharks. We’ve been catching some really-nice bull sharks, but of course, we’re releasing all of them. We usually bring the sharks up to the side of the boat, let the customer video and photograph them and then release them. We’re also looking forward to amberjack season, which just has started. All signs are pointing to our having a fantastic amberjack season. I won’t be surprised at all if numbers of amberjacks come to the dock weighing 50 to 70 pounds. Right before the season closed on amberjacks, one of my fishermen caught a 75 pounder in the deep water offshore. And with the season opening back-up last week, I expect to see one or two amberjacks about that size. Our average amberjack off Alabama’s Gulf Coast usually weighs 25 to 30 pounds.
“But what’s been really fun to watch lately has been the shark fishermen. We’ve hooked-up with a large number of big sharks
offshore. Fishing for a big shark is much like hunting a tiger. Getting on that tiger is easy, but getting off that tiger is an all-together different story. I’ve had six people in my boat before when every one of then has had to fish for the same shark. Then after these six men have bent-over and worked the rods, we’ve had to return to the first man who initially has hooked-up the shark before we can get the shark up to the boat to photograph it. The good news about shark fishing is that just about everybody on the boat will get a chance to battle a shark, if someone gets one hooked. Many of these sharks will weigh in the 200- to 300-pound range. Shark fishing is not only a great fight for the angler on the rod, but it’s also a good spectator sport. Everyone on board enjoys watching someone battle a shark.”
Contact Captain McPherson at Getaway Charters, 251-981-8047, or go to www.getawaygulffishing.com
Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores:
A new Gulf State Park Pier Record was set on July 22, 2011, by John Gaines, who caught a 42-pound king mackerel that was 52 inches from the tip of its snout to the fork of its tail. Also two pompano were caught earlier in the week. The flounder bite is picking-up with anglers catching them on bull minnows and fresh dead shrimp.
David Thornton, who fishes the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Ala., every week, says, “One to 2-pound bluefish are coming in strong at the pier right now, and everyone is catching them. You can catch these bluefish on almost any type of natural or artificial bait. But remember when you’re fishing for bluefish, these fish do have teeth and will bite you, if you stick your finger in their mouths. Most anglers fish with either with wire leader or heavy monofilament line for bluefish. If you like to catch and eat bluefish, you easily can fill a cooler full of them in only a couple of hours by using dead bait, live minnows or even lures like the Gotcha lure and jigs.
“Often the flounder fishermen are catching bluefish on bull minnows right now at the beginning of August. Our flounder fishing is better right now than it’s been all year. We’ve even had some flounder weighing 3 pounds being caught, which is a good-sized flounder for the pier. Although the flounder are later coming in this year than usual, they are starting to show-up now. We expect the number of flounder near the pier to steadily increase throughout the summer and fall. Pier fishing for Spanish and king mackerel life has somewhat slowed-down, but we’re still catching a good number of smaller Spanish mackerel on lures. To catch the bigger Spanish, anglers are fishing whole cigar minnows. The king mackerel bite seems to have slowed-down, and we’re only a
veraging about one or two king mackerel a day being caught off the pier, which normally will be considered great king mackerel fishing. But when you compare those numbers to the fact that we were catching 50 to 70 king mackerel a day from the pier, like we were in the spring, I’ll have to say that mackerel fishing has slowed-down. On the old pier before this new Gulf State Park Pier was built, we’d never see a king mackerel for two or three days. So, catching two or three kings a day is considered good mackerel fishing for the pier.
“The good news is that if you don’t want to fight the heat, you still can fish for and catch numbers of bluefish and flounder. If the weather calms-down, we can expect to see a big school of bull reds come in close to shore. But catching those bull reds is highly unpredictable. They’ll just show-up, many anglers will hook them and land them, and then they’re gone. Tarpon fishing has also been good all summer long, and often anglers at the pier may hook-up five to seven tarpon a day. One day this summer at the pier, we had three tarpon caught and brought to the edge of the pier, where they could have been gaffed, if we were allowed to keep tarpon. So, the pier anglers consider those tarpon caught. Then we cut the lines, and the tarpon were released to fight another day.”
To learn more about fishing the Gulf State Park Pier, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 251-948-7275. For a great place to go fishing, to wiggle your toes in sugar-white beach sand and to swim in the beautiful, clean water of the Gulf of Mexico, come-on down, and fish with us on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. 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 accommodation and restaurant recommendations, contact Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND, or visit www.orangebeach.com