Red-snapper season has ended, but the fish keep coming. More anglers are learning that there’s plenty of fish to be caught and great adventures to enjoy at Alabama’s Gulf Coast right now. The offshore report this week, comes from George Pfeiffer, captain of the “Emerald Spirit,” docked at Sportsman’s Marina in Orange Beach, Ala.
Right now, we’re catching white snapper, vermilion snapper, lane snapper, scamp, red grouper, king mackerel, chocolate porgeys, chicken dolphin, bull dolphin, wahoos and yellowfin tuna. We’re also still catching and releasing numbe
rs of red snapper, although we’re trying to stay away from the places where we know the red snapper are most-heavily concentrated. From what I’ve seen, the 2012 red snapper season didn’t put a dent in the number and size of red snapper off Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Usually when we pull-up on a spot and start catching the reef fish, the snapper will follow the reef fish up to the surface and will be swimming just beneath the surface, all around the boat.
Too, we’re catching king mackerel that will weigh 40-pounds or more, as we troll out to the reefs where we’re planning to fish as well as putting-out drift lines when we’re bottom fishing to catch the big kings. We are also catching 20- to 30-pound wahoos from the beach and out to 20– or 30-miles offshore and around the rocks in the Trysler Grounds area.
On the “Emerald Spirit,” we run all types of trips, from 4 hour to 3 day. Right now, our most-popular trip is the 6-hour walk-on or party-boat trip. I’m also running 2-day trips out to the oil rigs where the tuna and the swordfish are biting really-good. Last week, we caught a 185-pound swordfish and boated 25 yellowfin tuna on the same trip. To catch a swordfish, we baited with a whole squid and fished about 200-feet-down. One strong, healthy angler battled a swordfish for 3 hours before he finally put it in the boat. We only had 12 people on-board. Our biggest tuna weighed 110 pounds, and we had several that would
have weighed around 95 pounds. However, most of the other tuna weighed from 40 to 60 pounds. On the same trip, we caught some really-fine scamp grouper that weighed up to 25 pounds, a couple of yellowedge grouper and vermilion snapper that weighed from 3- to 5-pounds each.
Because this trip last week was taken at the end of red snapper season, everyone on the boat caught his or her limit of red snapper. We had a fantastic red snapper season this year. I didn’t take a single trip when everyone on the boat didn’t catch his or her limit of red snapper, even when we had 36 people on our party boat on a 6-hour trip. Now with grouper season being in, we can catch a few scamp, red grouper and gag grouper, as well as vermilion snapper, white snapper, other kinds of snapper and porgeys that we can legally keep. But, if you really want to catch good numbers of grouper and amberjacks, the 10- or 12-hour overnight trips are the most productive.
The billfishing offshore this year also has been really-good. The clear, cobalt blue water has started to move inshore. On one of our latest trips, we had five white marlin bites and caught two of them. We also saw a blue marlin. Some of the other boats that have been offshore have reported seeing seven to10 white marlin coming-in and working their baits. One boat had six white marlin caught in a day. Another boat reported catching a Grand Slam – a sailfish, a white marlin and a blue marlin – on one trip. We’re catching white marlin as close as 70-miles offshore, and we’re catching blue marlin in that same water. Most of the bull dolphin (mahi-mahi) have been caught around the sargassum grass. They’re
also swimming down the tide lines and rips offshore. In Mobile Bay, we’ve been getting reports of good numbers of tripletails being caught. So, fishing is really going strong right now, both inshore and offshore.” For more information on Captain George Pfeiffer, call (888) 558-3889, visit www.fishorangebeach.net
, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gulf State Park Pier Report:
David Thornton guides families and individuals on beach-fishing trips (surf-fishing trips) and at the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Numbers of jack crevalle are being caught on the pier right now, and many-more tarpon are being hooked. Some are even being brought-in close to the pier, before they’re released. The king mackerel bite has slowed-down somewhat, but on a good day, 15 or 20 king mackerel will be caught from the pier. Even on a bad day, three or four king mackerel will be caught, as will a number of good-sized Spanish mackerel – 4 or 5 pounders. Both types of mackerel will be caught on live bait with LYs (alewives) and cigar minnows the favorites. A few speckled trout, some pompano and flounder are being caught now. The biggest flounder are weighing about 3-1/2-pounds each, and the pompano are about the same size. We haven’t started catch
ing the big whiting yet, although they’re starting to show-up in the surf. Early last week, quite a bit of sargassum weed came close to shore, but it’s starting to dissipate. So, the whiting bites should pick-up again this week in the surf. The next few weeks we still should have Spanish mackerel and bluefish caught from the surf and the jetties and all the places that hold live bait fish.
My clients and I fished the Little Lagoon Pass a couple of times this last week and had trips out to Fort Morgan several times. The Fort Morgan trip is really neat, especially for families, because they can fish in the early-morning hours and then tour the fort and museum. We’re catching a variety of fish on that trip, and we can have some really-great top-water action catching ladyfish. I enjoy showing individuals and families new areas they can fish here at the Gulf, if they don’t have a boat, don’t go on a charter, fish inshore and offshore or prefer to spend a day fishing on the beaches or the pier. We are fortunate on the Alabama Gulf Coast to have numerous places where you can fish from the beach, the bank, the jetties and the pier and still catch plenty of fish.” To contact David Thornton, call 251-458-2775, e-mail him at http://pierpounder@ gmail.com
, or go to his webpage www.orangebeachsurffishing.com
The Orange Beach Fishing Association (www.orangebeachfishingassociation.com
) 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