Snapper Fishing In Alabama's Saltwater
Red Snapper Fishing
The most common fish you catch while deep sea, reef or bottom fishing in Gulf Shores, Alabama is the Red Snapper. Their scientific name is Lutjanus campechanus. Red Snapper are easily identified by their solid red body color except for their belly and throat that is white. Their anal fin is pointed and their iris of their eyes is red. Juvenile Red Snapper can easily be identified by their black spot that is located just below their dorsal fin. Just like a deer, they lose their spot as they get larger. The spot is used to confuse predators that may feed on them so they may get away. Red snapper can be caught by using light tackle fishing, fly fishing, chumming fishing, jig fishing and sight fishing.
Red Snapper grow up quickly and are commonly caught on Alabama’s artificial reefs. Their gills are armored and will cut the snot out of you if you try and slide your fingers under their gills when holding them. If you try and lip them, they will bite the peedowhakee out of you. Hence, they are called snappers for a reason. They are called the Piranha of the gulf. They devour everything that is smaller than they are. They eat reef fish like juvenile Triggerfish, Vermilion Snapper and a multitude of any live bait species that may be swimming by.
Deep Sea Fishing for Red Snapper is considered one of the best fishing charters you can have in the entire Gulf of Mexico. Red Snapper are aggressive and offer saltwater anglers the opportunity to catch a fish that pound for pound fight harder than any fish similar in size. Red Snappers weigh from 1 pound up to over 30 pounds. A 30 pound Red Snapper is from 25 to 35 years of age, according to the Alabama Department of Conservations Biologist. The average size of a Red Snapper in Alabama waters is about 18 to 20 inches and weigh between 5 and 8 pounds. They are extremely good to eat either, fried, baked or broiled. Be sure to ask us how we cook them or visit our Red Snapper fish recipes page. It will surprise you how good they taste cooked the way we do it.
Red Snapper are considered to be over exploited the Gulf of Mexico by the National Marine Fisheries Service. They have long been a staple of charter boats and recreational fishermen for many years. Alabama’s artificial reefs hold most of them. However, the Red Snapper population is rebounding and they can be found on natural reefs and in depths of over 200 to 300 feet.
The Red Snapper have to be 16 inches in length to be harvested. The current federal season for harvesting Red Snapper is begins June 1 each year, but we don’t know until May as to how many days the season will be open.
Beeliner or Vermilion Snapper Fishing
The other snapper species we commonly catch while deep sea reef fishing is the Vermilion (bee liner) snapper. Their Latin name is Rhomboplites aurorubens. Bee liners are a common natural bottom or reef fish. Some can be caught on mature artificial reefs. They have a deep red color on their body and have a slightly forked tail. They have a short nose and a rounded body. We call them footballs. Their iris color of their eye is yellow. They are a pretty fish. They have to be 10 inches in length to keep. The average size is 12 inches. Some of the Vermilion weigh over 4 pounds. Larger ones are becoming rare and we are having to go further offshore from Gulf Shores to catch them.
Lane Snapper Fishing
Lane Snapper is the other species of snapper caught off Alabama waters while charter deep sea fishing in Gulf Shores. Their scientific name is Lutjanus synagris. Their body is red in color but darker toward their dorsal fin. They have bright yellow horizontal lines that run the entire length of the fish. Just like Red Snapper, they have a black spot just below their dorsal fin that fades as they mature. They are much smaller than their Red Snapper cousin but very tasty. They rarely get larger than 14 inches in length. However, we have seen several snapper crossbreeds. The fish are as large as a Red Snapper but have yellow highlights on their skin.
Mangrove Snapper Fishing
Mangrove Snapper or Gray Snapper are another common snapper that are caught while charter fishing in the saltwater off of Alabama. They are called Lutjanus Griseus by scientists. They have a gray color but most of the have a dark rust looking color. Their backs are usually darker or almost black looking as compared to the rest of their body. They have a red tint, sometimes. The anal fin is round. Their front teeth look like canines sticking down from the roof of their mouths. They are similar to the Cubera Snapper that are not native to Alabama. Most of the Mangrove Snappers are 10 to 14 inches in length. We sometimes catch them close to 10 pounds. In 2008, we caught one that was 1 pound shy of the Alabama state record at 15.4 pounds. These black snapper are an excellent fish to catch while chumming and sight fishing while deep sea fishing in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Big Eye Snapper Fishing
Big Eye is also called a Big Eye Snapper here in Gulf Shores. They are not in the snapper family but since everything out in the gulf is called a snapper to please customers, I will call it a Big Eye Snapper. Scientist calls them Priacantuhus arenatus. They are extremely bright red and orange in color. They have extremely big eyes. The anal and the dorsal fins have about 12 to 15 fins. They are usually no longer than 12 inches. We caught one in 2008 that was almost 16 inches. It was a real treat.
Snapper Fishing Summary
We hope this information about snapper fishing has been helpful to you and your family. Deep sea fishing on a charter boat in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach can be extremely rewarding and a lot of fun. Saltwater fishing in Alabama is a year round outdoor sport and activity. If you would like to enjoy some great snapper fishing, visit our Alabama deep sea fishing rates and pricing page to see which trip is best for you and your group.
Booking A Snapper Fishing Charter
After you have decided on a snapper fishing trip, please visit our fishing reservations page. You will need to fill out the online form and submit it with your questions and comments. We promise to get right back with you via email.Submitting a Snapper fishing reservations request online does not lock you in to a trip. It allows us to see what type of trip you are looking for and the possible dates you can go fishing. When we see what you want, we will let you know if those dates are available.
Remember, we do not require a deposit like all other charters do. All we need is a credit card number to hold it. You may pay the day of your deep sea charter fishing trip.
White Snapper & Porgie Fishing Charters in Gulf Shores
Red Porgy is what a lot of charter boat captains in Gulf Shores, Alabama are calling a White Snapper. Red Porgy is not a snapper at all. With a lack of Red Snapper to harvest because of federal bag limits and a shortened federal snapper season, many charter boats are filling their carts with these fish so anglers will have some fish to eat. Red Porgy are called Pagrus pagrus by the marine biologist and scientists. They have a head and body that is silver with red tints to it. They have a little blue tint to their noses and that is why some of us call them blue nose snapper. Their nostril is located in front of their eyes.
Most of the Red Porgies that are caught within 25 miles of the Alabama shore line are about 10 to 12 inches in length. If you get out about 30 miles or further, where fishing pressure are less, you can catch them up to 18 inches and two pounds each on light tackle.
Red Porgy is ok fried but has a bit of an iodine taste. They are not near as tasty as Triggerfish. They have a tiny skeletal system which makes them a bit bony and you have to make sure you get all the bones out of the way before consuming. They are similar in size to a freshwater crappie but do not taste as good.
Ruby Lip Fishing Is Fun
Ruby Lip is really known as a Tomtate. Scientists call them Haemulon aurolineatum. We call them Ruby Lips and they are a common bait fish and party boat fish. The food quality is ok but most people do not harvest them to eat. They are bronze in color and have a golden stripe that goes the entire length of their body. There is a second stripe that is located above the lateral line. They have 13 dorsal spines and a red to orange looking mouth. Most of them are less than 8 ounces and are 9 inches long.
Pinfish Look Like Bream and Groupers Love To Eat Them
Pinfish is a great bait fish that is legal to use because they are not considered a reef fish. Scientists call them Lagodon rhomboids. These small fish are excellent bait for scamp grouper fishing, Cobia Fishing andRed Snapper fishing. These fish can be caught underneath pilings and docks around Orange Beach and Gulf Shores in a pinfish trap or on a small bream hook. They look like a bream and have a shoulder spot on their lateral line. They have four very dark looking vertical crossbars that show up when they are dead. Most of them are about 3 to 4 inches or smaller. When you catch one offshore bottom fishing, they can be up to 14 inches. Pinfish are excellent scamp grouper bait if they are about the size of a half dollar.
Sheephead Fishing In Alabama
Booking a Porgie Fishing Charter
Gulf Shores, Alabama Shark Fishing Charters
Bull Sharks In Alabama Fight Hard
Everyone dreams of catching a big fish. Shark fishing in Gulf Shores can be one of the most exciting fishing charters you can take while on vacation along our gulf coast. Sharks are out there but are not as easy to catch as you can imagine. You would think a chum line like you see in the movies will attract monsters sharks. The opposite is true. We catch most of our Bull Sharks on Alabama’s artificial reefs while bottom fishing. One think for sure, when you get hooked up on a big bull, you are in for a fight of a lifetime. Sharks are heavy and require brute strength and time to get them to the surface. They fight hard every time on traditional tackle.
Bull Sharks are one of the most common sharks found in Alabama salt water. Bull Sharks are known by scientists as Carcharhinus leucas. My friend Chuck Anderson calls them man eaters. Chuck was attacked about 8 years ago in the surf, swimming at 0630 am in front of the city of Gulf Shores. Bull Sharks are mean and very aggressive. They do not normally attack humans, but they will bite you if you are in the water where they are feeding or around a school of bait fish. The best time to catch Bull Sharks is in the early morning, night or evening. They are not good to eat like everyone says. However, the Mako Shark is a good eating shark. They are a fun, catch and release fish. Most bull sharks are less than 10 feet in length. They have a broad body and thick shoulders and a blunt nose. Their dorsal fin begins in the middle of their pectoral or horizontal stabilizer fins. When they are young, their fins are black. When they become adults, they turn gray.
Early Morning or Late Evening Bull Shark Fishing
Bull Sharks swim along the gulf shores early in the morning and late in the evening. They normally do not bother humans. However, I have a friend named Chuck Anderson from our area that had his arm removed by a Bull Shark back in June of 2001, while swimming just after daylight out past the second sand bar. You should never swim in the late evening or early in the morning because that is a time when sharks feed on bait fish. Err to caution and swim during bright daylight hours to avoid being confused as bait. Charter boat guides are responsible and we do not chum up fish or fish for sharks along the beaches of Alabama. It is against the law.
The most common place to catch big Bull Sharks is offshore on large Public Reefs. The best time of the day to catch Bull Sharks is during the early morning or late in the evening. Bull Sharks bite any big, bloody, bulky bait. We use mostly heavier traditional tackle to handle these monster fish. Light tackle will handle some smaller sharks but it is tough to handle the big ones that weigh over 300 pounds. The problem is the time it takes to fight them. If you are fighting a Bull Shark late in the evening, you could end up fighting the fish late into the night.
Gulf Shores Blacktip Sharks
Blacktip Sharks are very common in the waters off of Perdido Pass, and Orange Beach, Alabama. Scientist calls them Carcharihinus limbatus. We call them Black Tips. They are awesome to see. We catch them right off the pass in the waters that run out of the bay with the tide change. They can be caught early in the morning and late in the evenings. They are dark blue to gray on their sides and back. They have a white belly. They do have a black tip on their fins. Most of them are less than 8 feet in length. The average size we catch in Orange Beach is about 6 feet and 90 to 110 pounds.
Blacktip’s are a fun shark to catch during the summer charter fishing season on our 4 hour trips. We head out late in the afternoon and sit with the outgoing tide just south of Perdido Pass, Alabama. The tide line is usually very pronounced and the water color difference is significant. You will help us put out a line with a balloon on it to help suspend the bait off the bottom of the pass. We drift along until the Blacktip shark comes along and hits the bait. The balloon starts running quickly along the surface of the saltwater. When the time is right, you will set the hook and start fighting your Blacktip shark. Most of these fish are fought on traditional tackle. However, if we have enough time during the charter, let us know and we will put light tackle out there so you can have a fight of a lifetime.
Alabama Spinner Sharks
Remora Shark Sucker Fish
Booking A Shark Fishing Charter in Gulf Shores, Alabama
Trigger Fishing In Alabama
Trigger fish is one of the most unusual fish you can catch while deep sea fishing in the saltwater off of Alabama. Trigger fish used to be called a trash byGulf Shorescharter boats, because the people that caught them did not know how flavorful they were. Gulf Shores has always had an abundant supply of Triggerfish prior to the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005. With the loss of habit and artificial reefs, they disappeared or certainly became scarce. Now that the federal fisheries implemented a larger size, we are starting to see more triggerfish this year. The problem is, they have to be 14 inches long at the fork to keep them and the season keeps getting shorter because of state noncompliance. This means state waters are open to harvest and what they catch is deducted off the federal quota.
Triggerfish are caught on our bottom reef fishing charters that are 6 hours or longer. We catch them on light tackle and traditional tackle. We use small hooks because the Triggerfish have small mouths. We usually use cut squid as bait and use two hooks at a time. It is not uncommon to catch two at a time.The average size is about 14 inches or larger. Some weigh up to 11 pounds. A big one for us is anything over 5 pounds.
Our first time fishermen and family anglers catch these trigger fish on small circle hooks with cut squid bait while fishing for other small species of Vermilion and White Snapper. Triggerfish are gray and have an armored like skin that is compared to Elephant or Shark skin. That is why they are such a pain to clean. They have ugly teeth that protrude forward and look like crooked human baby teeth. The reason their teeth stick out forward is because they eat mostly barnacles and other growth that is growing on the artificial reefs in addition to small pieces of bait fish. They will bite a plug out of you if you put your finger in their way. They have been known to bite scuba divers off of Orange Beach, through their wetsuits.
Why Are They Called Triggerfish?
Triggerfish are called Trigger fish because their Dorsal fin locks in place in a vertical position. The only way to get the dorsal fin to release is to mash or press the second dorsal fin down. It acts like a trigger to release the main dorsal fin. The Gray Triggerfish is also called Balistes capriscus by scientists and Alabama marine biologists. They offer Gulf Shores fishing vacationers an awesome fight.
We hope this information about Trigger fishing has been helpful to you and your family. Deep sea fishing on a charter boat in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach can be extremely rewarding and a lot of fun. Saltwater fishing in Alabama is a year round outdoor sport and activity. If you would like to enjoy some great Trigger Fish fishing, visit our Alabama deep sea fishing rates and pricing page to see which Trigger Fishing trip is best for you and your group.
Booking A Triggerfish Fishing Charter
Grouper Fishing Charters
One of the most sought after fish in the entire Gulf of Mexico is the Grouper. They offer a good fight from a deep water fish. Most of them are caught in deep water on natural rocks and live bottom reefs. There are many species of grouper in the waters south of Gulf Shores, Alabama. All are very tasty. If you want a realistic chance to catch grouper, you need to take a 10 or 12 hour trip that will get you out further than 25 to 30 miles offshore of Gulf Shores to get to where they live. This is especially true during the long, hot days of summer. The federal government shuts down some species of grouper during the winter months of January through March each year in an effort to relieve the overfishing pressure on these species.
How To Catch Grouper
Grouper can be caught by using live bait fish and by using jigging fishing techniques. Grouper prefer to eat larger, bulkier baits like white snapper or vermilion snapper. If you put down dead baits, you might end up catching larger Red Snapper than grouper. You get to drop your live bait down to the bottom of the sea by bottom fishing over natural reefs. Grouper love to hit and bite your live bait by mouthing it a few times before they run away with it. If you wait too long to start reeling, the grouper will wreck you and you will not be able to get them up and off the bottom of the reef. Grouper fishing requires strength and knowing what to feel as you are light tackle fishing so you don’t get wrecked. Most inexperienced family fishermen will miss at least one big grouper on whole day deep sea fishing trips from Gulf Shores. We catch quite a few with jewelry hanging out of their mouth. Jewelry is another name for someone else’s hook and broken line that is left after the grouper has broken someone else off. If you would like to have a better chance of catching a grouper, you might ought to use traditional tackle with braided fishing line so you can feel the bite and not have the stretch that monofilament has.
What's Going On With Grouper Fishing?
Gag Grouper Fishing
Red Grouper Fishing
Scamp Grouper Fishing
Other Deep Water Grouper
Grouper Charter Fishing Trips In Alabama
Booking A Grouper Fishing Charter
Jack Fishing In Gulf Shores
One of the hardest fighting fish that you can catch besides a tuna in Gulf Shores, Alabama is the Jack fish. There are quite a few different species of jacks that you can catch while deep sea fishing on artificial and natural bottom reefs. Most keeper Amberjacks are caught on 10 to 12 hour corporate and family fishing charters. Most of the Amberjacks near the shore are smaller and are not of legal size. However, smaller Amberjack offer excellent jig fishing opportunities on 6 and 8 hour trips.
The most commonly sought after jacks are called the Greater Amberjack. These hard fighting Amberjacks fight harder than most species of saltwater fish that are in Alabama saltwater. Your Alabama charter fishing guides will show you how to fish for these larger fish. There is a chance that a first time angler or a family fisherman that does not fish for them a lot, will get spooled or lose the fish because of now knowing how to properly fight the Amberjack with light fishing tackle.
Greater Amberjack Fishing in Alabama
Greater Amberjack is what most anlgers think about when charter fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. They are called Seriola dumerili by the scientists. Now you are talking about one fun fish to fight. Amberjack offer the most experienced and novice anglers a fight of a lifetime in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Your saltwater fishing guides know how to catch them. Their body is brown on their backs and fades to a pale white on their belly. They have a dark strip that runs from their nose, across their eyes and goes toward their dorsal fin. Their side has a yellowish brown color all down it. The scales toward their tales are coarser than on the rest of their body. They have 11 to 19 gills underneath their gill plate.
Amberjack grow up to 5 feet in length and can weigh as much as 120 pounds. The most common ones caught off Alabama are close to 20 to 25 pounds. Some are larger than others. A big one is any one that weighs over 50 pounds. Most Amberjack are caught on traditional fishing tackle. We do see some close to 70 to 90 pounds. Amberjack have to be 30 inches long which is measured by from the nose to the fork of their tale. The limit in Alabama is 1 per person per day. Amberjack season is closed during the June and July 2011 so the pressure on them can be reduced for a season. For more information on Amberjack fishing seasons, visit the Gulf Council website.
Almaco Jack Fishing
Jack Crevalle Trolling Fishing in Alabama (Alabama Yellowfin)
Rainbow Runner Fishing
Inshore Fishing For Pompano
Amberjack Fishing Summary
Booking An Amberjack Fishing Charter
King Mackerel Fishing In Alabama
King Mackerel is one of the most common mackerels caught along the gulf coast of Alabama. They are known to scientist as Scomberomorus cavalla. We just call them Kings. These magnificent fish are dark blue on their backs and their sides are silver. They have a lateral line that is distinct and drops at a 45 degree angle just past the dorsal fin and is wavy all the way down the side to the tail. Some of the younger kings have spots that are yellowish to a brownish color. The average king we catch is about 17 to 33 inches and weighs about 5 to 7 pounds. Alabama requires they be 24” fork length to keep them. You may keep two per person. I have seen larger kings that weighed over 40 pounds in the past.
King Mackerel are our targets species when trolling fishing during the summer months. They show up in May of each year and have been caught all the way through October. They usually do not hang around for our winter fishing season. They have extremely sharp teeth on the top and bottom and can slice you open real quickly if you are not careful. Kings taste pretty good if grilled or fried. They do not freeze very well for long periods of time because of the oil content in the meat causes it to become soft and mushy in texture. Fresh cooked mackerel is always best.
Spanish Mackerel Fishing In Alabama
Spanish Mackerel our early year target species for mackerel. Spanish show up in the latter part of March and the first part of April each year during our spring break charter season. They are migratory in nature and don’t usually stick around very long. We do catch some larger, more mature Spanish during the summer months but there volumes are nothing like they are in the spring of the year. A lot of them are caught by gill netters this time of the year and never make it to your dinner plate. Alabama is the last state that will not ban gill netting and stop the over fishing of Spanish Mackerel.
Spanish are called Scomberomorus maculates. They can easily be identified by looking at the black mark on the first four or five dorsal fins. They have a white margin around the fin. They also have a gentle lateral line that goes all the way to their tail without any sharp angles. They also have bright brown looking yellowish spots all over their silver sides.
Spanish are excellent to eat broiled or baked. If you remember eating at Morrison’s cafeteria in the past, these fish were the mackerel they served that were so good.
Ladyfish Fishing in Gulf Shores
Wahoo Fishing In Alabama
Mackerel & Wahoo Fishing Summary
Booking Your Wahoo & Mackerel Trolling Charter
Cobia, Ling Fishing Charters
Have you ever seen Alabama charter boats right off the beach during the spring break fishing seasons of March, April and part of May? The charter boats are sight fishing for the Cobia fish. These sportfishing giants are mostly sought after by local saltwater fishing guides. Gulf Shores local fishermen that know about them will also be out there fishing for them. Cobia fish are called Lemon Fish and Ling, depending on where you are along the gulf coast. The Cobia is a true sportfisherman’s dream. Hunting Cobia is like going on a guided turkey hunt. You have one chance to throw at them and hook them up and they may be gone. Cobia is an excellent fish for fly-fishermen to try their luck on.
Cobia Fishing Is Trophy Fishing
Cobia fishing is not for everyone that visits Gulf Shores. This is not the fishing charter that provides a lot of action for everyone. Cobia fishing mostly is searching for a remote fish. There are days when you go out and see nothing. It takes a lot of patience and these trips are not the best investment for those who want a lot of fish to eat. This is sportfishing or trophy fishing. How many of you go deer or elk hunting in another state and pay thousands of dollars and come home with nothing. Well, cobia fishing can be the same way, except it is a lot more cost effective than elk hunting.
About The Cobia
Where Cobia Go
Mackerel & Wahoo Fishing Summary
Booking Your Wahoo & Mackerel Trolling Charter
Alabama Tuna Fishing Charters
Alabama has some wonderful offshore tuna fishing. Most of the successful tuna trips are 18 to 36 hours long or longer. There are some boats that specialize in Alabama offshore tuna fishing on a regular basis. They find our tuna out near the oil rigs that are located some 60 to 120 miles out. There is one species of tuna called a Bonita that are caught near shore on most of our 4 and 6 hour, trolling fishing charters.
Advantage Of Chartering A large Tuna Fishing Boat
The advantage of using a larger boat in Gulf Shores to go tuna fishing is that they are usually large enough to keep you comfortable during your whole, overnight charter. They always have a second captain and deckhand on board to comply with watch keeping rules established by the U.S. Coast Guard. These larger boats offer these two and three day trips as their primary business. They are good at it.
Disadvantage of Chartering A Large Boat is Cost For Small Groups of Anglers
Bonita Are Caught on Our Trolling Fishing Charters
Yellowfin Tuna Are The Best Eating In Alabama
Blackfin Tuna Are Caught By Jigging Fishing On Overnight Charters
Offshore Tuna Fishing Charters and Industry Partners
We specialize in family fishing and we use light tackle. We have aligned ourselves with other fishing charters that specialize in Tuna and Overnight fishing charters. You will need to contact them early in the year to get the date you are looking for. Professional charter boats book up early in the year so it is wise to call them quickly to ensure you get the date you want. Please let me know if you are interested in a tuna fishing charter. Place your request on our contact form and we can forward to our friends to see if they are available.