Gulf Shores Fishing

Alabama's Gulf Coast--particularly Gulf Shores and Orange Beach--boasts over 30 miles of sandy beaches and offers guided inshore and offshore fishing trips for anglers who want to give the Gulf of Mexico a try.
In the summer and fall, the fish practically hit as soon as you launch your boat. Many bass anglers funnel down to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach from the Midwest to try their hand at saltwater species like grouper, black snapper and bluefish that often cruise close to the shoreline.
But bass anglers must get used to the slight--and sometimes not-so-slight--differences, such as not setting the hook, if they want to land one of the large redfish that are a fun fight and abundant along the Gulf.
Affectionately known as "Captain Hollywood," Brent Shaver is one of the premier guides of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach region. He has been taking novice and expert anglers onto the sea for decades. (Captain Bligh Charters: 251-747-0220)
Red snapper opens in the early summer. When they're in season, one of the best recipes is to cook them in a buttered skillet with minced garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce, then toss them in the oven to finish off the baking.
Evidence of Hurricane Ike, which hit the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area in September, 2008, is not uncommon. But the region is well-prepared for inclement weather. And as anglers know, storms are essential for keeping the water nutrient-rich and the fishing plentiful.
The Gulf of Mexico's longest fishing pier is located in Orange Beach, Alabama. It spans more than ¼ of a mile and is in the Alabama Gulf State Park. More pertinent to sportsmen, the end of the pier is a 65-foot octagon that extends over a sandbar rich with cobia, tarpon, king mackerel and occasionally a shark like this one.
The Orange Beach area also has the United States' largest artificial reef program. The reefs nurture fish and keep the species populations thriving. In this way, Alabama continues to take an admirable and proactive approach to keeping its fish numbers healthy.
Fish aren't the only animal that is thriving. The area also offers nature trails and state parks when the sea is just too choppy for fishing. Can you spot the gator?
But fishing is what will draw the sportsmen, and it's also what will keep them coming back year after year. Captain Ben Fairey is just one of the many captains who will take people offshore (aboard his 62-foot sportfisher Necessity) to land anything from tuna…
…to chicken dolphin. (necessitysportfishing.com; 800-295-4295)
Don't be surprised if the Gulf Shores region tires you out. There are far worse places to catch some shuteye.
Along with the sea, there are freshwater lakes and rivers that total 400,000 acres of protected water.
The 30,000-acre island that houses the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach region is a destination not to be missed for sportsmen of the saltwater or freshwater persuasion. (Gulfshores.com; 800-745-SAND)

The coast of Alabama has a fishing identity all its own.