Terrific Saltwater Fishing in the Winter

There’s plenty of hard-biting, good-eating fish to be caught off Alabama’s Gulf Coast at this time of the year. Captain Randy Boggs of Reel Surprise Charters in Orange Beach, Alabama, offers fishing almost every day year-round for individuals and groups of people and explains, “You can call our offices and find out for sure what days we’ll be fishing throughout the week. You also can make a reservation for yourself and one or two people. We offer family fishing at reasonable prices, as well as 4- and 6-hour trips where you can catch vermilion snapper, lane snapper, triggerfish, white snapper and king and/or Spanish mackerel. On the longer trips (6-10 hours), we’ll often catch grouper too.”

Even though red snapper season closed in mid-July, no one has told the red snapper that the season’s closed. Right now the red snapper is the most dominant species caught off Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Even on 4- and 6-hour trips, you’ll more than likely catch and release large numbers of red snapper. Catching red snapper that weigh 5 to 10 pounds is quite common. On a past weekend in mid-October, we were on a 4-hour trip with a group of writers on the “Reel Surprise” party boat. Everywhere we stopped, we caught fish, with most of them red snapper, because there’s just so many of them. However, catching snapper and releasing them is a lot of fun. These red snapper are aggressive, they fight hard, they produce great photos, and you release them to grow some more until snapper season starts again in June, 2012. To catch the triggerfish, vermilion snapper and other fish that you can keep and eat, you need to go out to deeper water, which usually involves a 6-hour trip. On the “Reel Surprise,” you can take your food and drinks and stay inside the large cabin, until it’s time to go out and fish. When the boat stops, the fishing starts.

“We try to make sure that on our 4- and 6-hour trips, our fishermen have the opportunity to catch good eating fish, so they can have them prepared for dinner that night,” Boggs says. “We also want them to be able to take a couple of fish home to put in the freezer. Those vermilion snapper and triggerfish are delicious to eat. To extend the fishing trip, I suggest having the fish cleaned and taking them to one of the many restaurants in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores to be cooked.” So, my fishing party and I took one triggerfish to Mike’s Seafood Restaurant and had one fillet fried and the other fillet blackened. Between that and the side dishes that came with the meal, we weren’t able to eat all the fish that those two fillets made. I don’t believe a fishing trip can get any better than going out and catching a good number of fish, cleaning them and then having them prepared for dinner. One of the big advantages of fishing in the fall and winter is that this is when the fish are most abundant, and the fishing pressure is the lightest. So, plan to come down and catch a fish inshore or offshore. The people you meet in a single week can show you how to have several great fishing trips along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

For more information, contact Reel Surprise Charters at 251-981-7173, email info@reelsurprsecharters.com, or visit www.reelsurprisecharters.com. To have your fresh fish prepared at the beach, go to www.gulfshores.com, click on restaurants, and check box for “Will Cook Your Catch.”

Click here to go on to the fifth and final part, the “Flounder Lady” catching flat fish in the late fall and a bonus flounder recipe. Click here to go back to part three.

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