Gearing Up For Fishing Season at Alabama's Gulf Coast and What to Expect with John E. Phillips

Like many of you, I probably have 10 tackle boxes full of hoOrange Beach Chartersoks, lines, sinkers and lures. However, most any time I go away from home, especially to Alabama's Gulf Coast, I usually take just a brown paper sack containing all the tackle I need. I check

with local bait shops and area fishermen to see what's biting and what tackle I need before I go. If you'll be fishing from the pier, the beach, the surf or the jetties, most of the rods and reels you and your family use for freshwater fishing will work well. Six- to 12-pound-test line will catch almost any fish you hook in those areas of the beach. The terminal tackle you generally will use includes a #1 Sea Striker hook, a barrel swivel and an egg sinker. But do talk with local bait shops beforehand, and tell them what type of fishing you plan to do. They can tell you the exact tackle you'll need for the most success.

Too, these experts at the bait shops can tell you where the fish are biting. The good news about fishing Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and anywhere along the Alabama Gulf Coast is there's always something biting. Speckled trout, redfish, flounder, black drum and sheepshead are mainstays of an Orange Beach Fishingangler's fishing plans. If you plan to hire a boat, generally the boat will provide rods, reels, terminal tackle and live bait. I suggest you call the captain you've hired or the Gulf State Park Pier (251-967-3474, before you leave home and find out what's biting before you get there. The captains along Alabama's Gulf Coast are on the waters daily, so they quickly and easily can tell you what you can expect to catch. Always remember to bring polarized sun glasses, sunscreen and possibly a wide-brim hat, regardless of the type of fishing trip you're planning.

To welcome back our “What's Biting” readers, John E. Phillips will be providing two Kindle e-books free of charge. Next week on March 5-6, “Alabama's Offshore Saltwater Fishing: A Year-Round Guide for Catching More Than 15 Species” will be free here or by typing in the name of the book on The following week, “Alabama's Inshore Saltwater Fishing: A Year-Round Guide for Catching More Than 15 Species” will be free. Go here to download a free reading app that allows you to read on your smart phone, tablet or dOrange Beach Chartersesktop computer.

For more information about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, visit, our easy to access fishing information pages complete with marina and charter captain listings. For any questions, call Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism's vacation-planning specialists at 1-800-745-SAND (7263). For a list of cook-your-catch restaurants, go to

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