Loads of Flounder and Plenty of Offshore Fish Are Being Caught off Alabama’s Gulf Coast in September

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Loads of Flounder and Plenty of Offshore Fish Are Being Caught off Alabama’s Gulf Coast in September

By: John Phillips

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Editor’s Note: Inshore and offshore fishing are really heating-up this month, and as the weather cools-down, the fishing will get even better.

Inshore Report:

Captain Gary Davis (251-942-6298) of Tidewater Fishing Service in Foley, Alabama, reports that, “We have a good run of flounder right now off Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The speckled trout and the white trout are biting. We’re also

seeing some big, 2- to 5-pound flounder concentrated on the north end of Mobile Bay around Gaillard Island, a spoil island right off the Dog River. The flounder are biting new-penny-colored Berkley Gulp! baits and bull minnows. The flounder should move down the bay in the next couple of weeks and hold around Fort Morgan before they move offshore, although some flounder are beginning to show-up in the Fort Morgan region now. This sequence of hot spots follows the area’s usual fall flounder run schedule. If you like to eat stuffed, fried, broiled and/or grilled flounder, now’s the time to come to the Gulf of Mexico and catch them.

“The speckled trout bite around Fort Morgan has been spotty. On bluebird days, they’re biting best just before daylight until an hour after daylight. But on a cloudy day, they’ll bite all day long, particularly if you’re fishing with live shrimp and not live croakers. The trout have changed what they’re eating, since right now Mobile Bay is full of shrimp. The trout we’re catching weigh from 2- to 4-pounds each. On an average 4-hour trip, we’ll catch from 15 to 20 speckled trout and a limit of redfish. The speckled trout should stay in Mobile Bay through the end of September and maybe the first couple of weeks of October. But as the weather cools-down, they’ll move out of the bay and up into the creeks. The north side of the bay and the rivers that feed the bay will become more productive about the second week of October, and fishing at Fort Morgan will slow-down.”

Offshore Report:

Captain Randy Boggs of Reel Surprise Charters (251-981-7173, www.reelsurprisecharters.com) out of SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., and a member of the Orange Beach Fishing Association (OBFA), changes his tactics to match fishing conditions. “We’re in the Dog Days of summer and early fall right now, and the water’s heating-up inshore,” Boggs says. “There’s a current coming from the west, which is keeping the near-shore water somewhat muddy. So, instead of running 4-hour trips, we’re running 6- and 8-hour trips to go further offshore and get into the blue and green water where we find and catch more fish. We’re seeing good catches of 2- to 4-pound vermilion snapper and nice-sized triggerfish. We’re catching and releasing a number of red snapper, because it’s not red snapper season. The amberjacks are holding on most of the larger reefs, and we’re catching them on the 8-hour and longer trips. Also, the boats going out to the rigs are catching good numbers of yellowfin and blackfin tuna. We’re catching plenty of white snapper, scamp that weigh 3- to 5-pounds each, grouper and red grouper, which are averaging from 5- to 15-pounds each.

“But the vermilion snapper are the real story. We’re catching 2 to 3 pounders regularly, which is nice grade of vermilion snapper. The boats that are targeting the Spanish mackerel are doing well with bigger mackerel than we’ve ever seen before being caught – mostly 4 and 5 pounders. As you get a little further offshore and into that green water, that’s where you’ll find the bigger Spanish mackerel right now. The king mackerel also have moved offshore, and we’re locating them in 100 feet of water or more. The Trysler Grounds, which are about 22-miles offshore, are producing some good king mackerel right now in 110 to 130 feet of water. The rigs a little further southwest also are producing good-sized king mackerel. The wahoo fishing has been extremely slow this year, primarily because the current coming from the west is bringing-in that muddy water. But in the next few weeks, the current and the tides will change bringing-back our blue water, and the wahoo and the king mackerel fishing should really heat-up.

“About 12- or 13-years ago, we had these same conditions offshore of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. When the current changed, and that blue water moved-in, we had fantastic wahoo and king mackerel fishing. We even caught dolphin (mahi-mahi) until October of that year. That probably will happen again this year. The king mackerel fishing should stay good, until about the first of December. Almost every big wreck out in the Gulf of Mexico is holding good numbers of gray snapper that you can chum-up with 30-pound-test line by burying your hook in the chum and fishing with no lead. We catch quite a few gray snapper on our single-hook rigs when we’re party-boat fishing, because we have a lot of bait in the water at the same time.”

The Orange Beach Fishing Association (www.obfishingassn.com) will be glad to find you and your family a captain and a boat that fits your needs. The good news is that you don’t have to leave your wife and children at home when you visit Alabama’s Gulf Coast. There’s plenty to do and see. For accommodation and restaurant recommendations, contact Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND, or visit www.orangebeach.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.”

Broiled Stuffed Flounder:

Or, if you prefer to prepare your fish yourself that you’ve caught, nothing beats flounder for taste and presentation.

1 stick butter
1 medium onion, minced
Several green onions
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 cup raw shrimp, chopped
Small can mushrooms
1/4-pound crabmeat
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4-cup cream
Salt and pepper
3 ounces cooking wine, plus 1/4-ounce for basting (alcohol will dissipate during the cooking)
4 flounder, 2- to 2-1/4-pounds each
2 tablespoons oil

Sauté the onion and the green onions in butter until soft. Add celery, and sauté 2- to 3-minutes longer. Add shrimp and mushrooms, and sauté until the shrimp are pink. Add crabmeat, parsley, Worcestershire, cream and enough breadcrumbs to hold the dressing together. Season to taste. Make a slit in the flounder. Stuff this pocket with dressing, and close with the aid of small skewers. Heat 2 tablespoons oil along with 2 tablespoons butter in a large flat pan. Place the stuffed fish in pan, and broil under low flame, basting with the butter/oil mixture. Add the remainder of wine to liquid in pan for basting (turning fish is not necessary). Keep the flame low. When the top of the fish is golden brown or slightly darker, the fish will be cooked through. Spoon the remaining sauce from the pan over the fish, and garnish with the parsley and lemon wedges.

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