What has always impressed me most about our local charter boat fleet is how diverse their collective skills are at catching many different species of fish. Of course, during red snapper season charter boats consistently put customers on big fish, but there are so many other fish to be caught besides red snapper on a charter. Being able to catch fish everyday is what makes charter boats different than most of us.
Even though red snapper season is now closed for charter boats (it is still open for recreational anglers on weekends through Labor Day) taking a charter will still result in a day of great fish catching action, especially if you plan on bringing the kids on the trip. Kids seem much more interested in just catching fish as opposed to some adults who may want to focus more on catching fish that can be put on the dinner table.
Captain Troy Frady on Distraction Charters at Orange Beach Marina, typically operates two, six-hour trips per day. These trips are geared at families with young anglers or those new to the sport of deep sea fishing. “We are still catching lots of different fish on our trips. Lately, we have had a nice run of catching cobia, which is always a pleasant surprise. Last week we caught everything from king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, amberjack, red snapper and the single biggest triggerfish ever caught on our boat!”
Even though some of those fish had to be thrown back because they were either out of season or because they didn’t make for great table fare, who cares, asks Captain Troy. “Take that big triggerfish we caught for example. We took lots of pictures; it’s still a fish of a lifetime and everyone learned a little bit about how to properly release a fish to ensure its survival while respecting the rules and regulations of our fishery. That’s a great day on the water!”
If you are looking for a trip that can produce fish for your freezer, that too is still an option. Chris Garner on High Cotton Charters at SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach has been catching some of the biggest beeliners (vermillion snapper) seen in years. He has also been catching lane snapper and white snapper for his customers to take home as are plenty of other charter boat operations.
As changes came to the way red snapper were managed in the Gulf of Mexico, our local captains and their crews had to adapt. They needed to be able to catch more than just red snapper for their customers. Now when you book a charter, I think your experience will be better than ever. You will have the chance to catch many different fish in a single trip and for most of us, a day filled with catching a lot of fish is exactly why we book a charter trip.