Editor’s Note: Captain George Pfeiffer of Action Charter Services has fished out of Orange Beach most of his life. Pfeiffer, who captains both the “Emerald Spirit” and the “C.A.T.” charter boats, names October as a great month to catch big red snapper at Orange Beach, Alabama, even on 6-hour fishing trips.
Before the special fall red snapper season started on the Gulf Coast, we checked-out some of the areas we’d be fishing during snapper season and found really-big red snapper close enough to reach on a 6-hour trip. And, on my last 6-hour fishing trip in October, I took out six people. We fished a few private spots about 20-miles from Orange Beach. We caught 3- to 4-pound vermilion snapper, monster-sized red snapper and two big king mackerel while trolling on the way to our first fishing spot. We moved further out to about 23-miles offshore and hooked a giant king mackerel that would’ve weighed 40 pounds or more and that was at least 5-feet long. When we got the giant king to the boat, for some reason, the hook came out of its mouth, and that huge king got away.
Before red snapper season started, we caught wahoo on every 10-hour-or-longer trip. On the 10-, the 12- and the 24-hour trips, we always put-out high-speed trolling baits and pulled the bai
ts at about 13 or 14 knots. These wahoo generally would weigh about 25- to 30-pounds each.
Although we haven’t yet caught a really-big wahoo this October, we should have a more-productive wahoo season this year than we had last year. Black-and-red or black-and-purple plastic trolling baits seem to be the most-productive colors for catching wahoo. We use stainless-steel wire and 16- to 18-ounce trolling leads, which pull the line down deeper into the water than anglers normally will fish for wahoo. The lures we use will weigh 24 to 36 ounces, which gets our lure down to about 6 or 8 feet, the depth at which we’ve been catching most of our wahoo.
Also before snapper season started, we caught and released red snapper that would weigh as much as 25 pounds – most of them caught when we fished for vermilion snapper and triggerfish. When our customers caught ruby-lipped grunts and started reeling-up these fish, the big red snappers suddenly would attack the grunts. When that happened, instead of reeling-up little fish, our fishermen would hold onto their rods, while the big snapper took the drags. We learned that when we were fishing for species other than red snapper and caught them, then big snapper often would eat those fish. Once we understood this, we loosened
our drags, let the big snapper have our catches and reeled-in the big snapper, only taking pictures of them during the week and then releasing them. But we did keep our limit of red snapper on Fridays – Sundays during this special fall red snapper season that will run until 12:01 am on November 22.
To contact Captain George Pfeiffer, call him at 888-558-3889, or check-out his website at www.fishemeraldspirit.com
, or email him at CATCharters@FishOrangeBeach.net
. You can learn more by calling Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND (7263), or by visiting www.orangebeach.com/fishing