Family Trips and Pier Fishing at Alabama's Gulf Coast with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips
One of the best deals for inexpensive fishing on Alabama's Gulf Coast is the Gulf State Park Pier (251-967-3474, www.alapark.com/gulfstate/Gulf%20State%20Park%20Pier/). All you need is a saltwater fishing license and an $8 pier permit for 24 hours.
Children 12 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult. However, before you go to the pier, I suggest stopping by J&M Tackle (1-800-483-7069, www.jmtackle.com) on Canal Road in Orange Beach and talking with owner, John Giannini, who usually goes to the pier every morning before work. He can tell you what's been biting on the pier and what tackle you'll need that day. When you reach the pier, there's a group of anglers affectionately called the “Pier Rats” who fish there almost every day. You can tell almost anyone on the end of the pier, “I want to meet one of the ‘Pier Rats.'” These men and women are more than willing to help show you how to fish on the pier that extends 1,540 feet into the Gulf of Mexico and features indoor seating for the concession area, an indoor retail area for tackle and souvenirs, comfort stations at the midpoint of the pier and wheelchair accessible rail fishing. These folks will teach you the etiquette of fishing on the pier as well as the rules and regulations.
Gulf State Park Pier anglers catch and release so many fish; they're more than happy to let a novice angler reel in a Spanish mackerel, a king mackerel, a bull redfish or any other species in season. They'll show you how to rig and what baits to use to be successful day or night. Catching fish on the Gulf State Park Pier is fun, but being coached by the “Pier Rats” is even more fun. Then when you're ready to fish, you'll know the tackle and bait you need and where on the pier to fish. For more pier fishing information, call David Thornton at 251-458-2779.
To welcome back our “What's Biting” readers, John E. Phillips will be providing two Kindle e-books free of charge. Today and tomorrow, 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 Amazon.com. “Alabama's Inshore Saltwater Fishing: A Year-Round Guide for Catching More Than 15 Species” will be free next week. Go here to download a free reading app that allows you to read on your smart phone, tablet or desktop computer.
For more information about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, visit www.orangebeach.com/fishing, 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 www.orangebeach.com/dining-nightlife/restaurants.