FAQ

Questions About Charter Fishing Activities in Orange Beach, Alabama

We are always getting questions about fishing activities in Orange Beach, Alabama. Everyone who knows anything about fishing activities, knows the obvious. Fishing is the act of hunting for fish. There are many methods of catching fish in Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and on the Alabama Gulf Coast. In the past 50 years or so, the technology has changed to the point of where fishing is easier than ever. There are so many different variations of fishing activities in Orange Beach. We will attempt to answer the most important questions about fishing as an activity on this page.

With the advancement of technology, it is important to maintain a healthy fishing environment and have a sustainable fishery. For the past 30 years, charter fishing activities has evolved into two different categories in Orange Beach. We have sportfishing and fun fishing. There are more people enjoying fishing charter activities in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama than there ever has been. The use of GPS (Global Positioning Satellites), even novice anglers can punch in a latitude and longitude and in just a short period of time, be catching fish. There are those who abuse the system and catch and kill because they can. There are those who use the system to have some fun and enjoy fishing as an activity. Either way, we all are responsible for maintaining a healthy, viable fishery so generations to come can enjoy coming to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and enjoy catching a fish.
Questions about Deep-sea fishing in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores

How many different ways are there to go fishing in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama?

The most common way to fish is to bring your rod and reel and fish in the surf or from the bank or shoreline. You may also fish off of a pier. The most productive way to fish is charter a boat with a professional guide who knows where the hot spots are. Chartering a fishing boat is one of the most popular activities on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

What kind of charter boats are there in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores?
There are deep-sea fishing charter boats that take people out into the Gulf of Mexico and fish over artificial reefs. There are inshore fishing charters that take people fishing near the shore, in the bays and in the rivers.

What types of charters are right for us? How many types of charters are there?
Private fishing charters are where you and your group pay the fee for the entire boat for a specific number of hours. Most private trips in Orange Beach are 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 hour or longer. It all depends on what species of fish you want to target. Walk-on fishing charters are where there is only one or a few of you that want to go fishing and do not want to spend the money it takes to pay for a private fishing charter. Walk-on fishing charters are usually 6, 8 and 10 hours long. Only some of the larger marinas like Orange Beach Fishing Charter Boat Cooperative have enough volume of traffic and calls, can take a list and have people sign up for these walk-on or shared expense trips. The Summer time when there are a lot of people in town are the best times to get on a walk-on list at a marina.

How many different kinds of deep-sea fishing charters are there in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach?

There are two distinct kinds of charter boats that take people deep sea fishing. The first is a six passenger boat. Six passenger charter boats are properly named uninspected passenger vessels. Most people call them six pack boats because the operator may not take more than 6 passengers for hire. The second is an Inspected passenger vessel. Inspected vessels are also called multi-passenger vessels, may only carry the number of people that the U.S.Coast Guard says they can carry. This number is on the inspected boats “COI” or Certificate of Inspection. When you are reading websites and you see boat that says it can carry 40 passengers, that means that is the number of people their COI allows them to carry.

How big are these multi-passenger and 6 passenger boats?
Most 6 passenger boats are 36 to 50 feet long. Most of them are very nice and have air conditioning or heat. Most multi-passenger boats are 40 to 65 feet in length. Just because a 6 passenger boat is 40 feet, does not mean it is not as nice as the next larger boats. There are a lot of 6 passenger and multi-passenger boats that are very clean, nice and safe.

How far offshore can a Multi-Passenger and a Six Passenger boat go when on a charter fishing trip?
Six passenger boats are limited to distance their insurance company and the captains license allows them to go. Most of the time, six pack boats can travel up to 100 miles from shore legally.

Multi passenger boats are limited to their COI issued by the Coast Guard. Most multi-passenger boats are licensed for 100 miles offshore. However, be cautioned that there are some multi-passenger boats that have a 20 mile coastwise limitation. That means that they can’t go any further than 20 miles from land. In Orange Beach, you need to ask the multi-passenger captain how far their boat can go offshore, away from land.

If you are wanting to take an 8, 10 or 12 hour trip or longer, that boat may not be able to take you far enough offshore to target species like Amberjack and Grouper. Those fish can be caught within 20 miles of shore early in the year, but most of the time they are further offshore where 6 pack or multi-passenger boats with a 100 mile license can reach.

How many hours may a captain and crew run a boat legally?
A captain can only run a boat for 12 hours maximum. The longest trip a boat can do with only one captain on board is 12 hours. Charter boats that do overnight trips or longer, always have a second captain on board.

There are 1 to 6 people total in our group. What type of boat should we charter to go deep sea fishing trip?
The most popular fishing charter is a private fishing trip. If you want a private charter and great service, you should definitely look at chartering your own boat, for your group. That means nobody other than the crew will be on board. Distraction Charters in Orange Beach is the best.

What is the advantages of taking a private charter?
The advantage of taking a private charter is you get a better fishing charter. You will also be in control of the trip. That means, if you have someone that gets seasick, you can tell the captain to head the boat home.

What is the disadvantage of taking a private fishing charter?
Cost per person is the only difference. Private charters do not usually consider the cost per person. Those people who take private fishing charters are not worried about cost per person as much as they are about service. Walk-on charters are done on a per person basis cost.

What is the advantages of taking a walk-on fishing charter in Orange Beach?
Cost per person is the main advantage. Most walk-on charters is done on a per person fee. This is ideal if you have a one or two people in your group or don’t have the money to budget for a private charter. Be sure to book your walk on charter with the Orange Beach Fishing Cooperative

What are the disadvantages of taking a walk-on fishing charter?
The biggest disadvantage of walk-on fishing charters in Orange Beach it is not a private charter. If you get seasick, you can’t tell the captain to take you home. The second disadvantage is you are on there with people you do not know. Another disadvantage of a walk-on fishing charter in Orange Beach is you may not be able to keep the fish you catch. Most of the charter boats put all of your fish in a cooler and at the end of the trip, divide up the filets equally among the fishing participants. Nowdays, they do have stringers so you can keep your fish. The final disadvantage is if the seas are rough and the weather is not favorable, these boats go. Some captains and guides will tell you that you are going to lose your money if you try to back out of the trip at the last minute when you know it is not going to be a good experience.

What is a party boat and what do they do?
A party boat is usually a larger, inspected fishing vessel. They carry a lot of people deep-sea fishing at the same time. The ones in Orange Beach, Alabama are licensed for 40 to 90 people. They usually offer walk-on fishing charters. If you have a large church group or a family reunion, these boats can be chartered as private trips. The party boats in Orange Beach are located at the Flora Bama Marina.

What is the advantage of going on a party boat?
Low Charter Price per person is less. You may meet someone that you can stand beside and fish near during the trip.

What is the disadvantage of going on a party boat?
The biggest disadvantage of using a party boat is the crowd. They will not bring you in unless it is a medical emergency. You will go in rough seas and you will be beside someone you may not like to be with.

If we want a private, deep-sea fishing charter in Orange Beach, how long do we need to go for?
Most private charters will take you as far as your budget will take you. The best fishing charter for the money is the 6 to 8 hour deep-sea fishing trip. This is budget minded and the best overall fishing charter in the Gulf of Mexico. If you are very serious about catching a lot of fish to eat and want to spend the day on the water, you need to charter the boat for 10 or 12 hours or more. Some of you want to go catch Tuna. These trips are usually 18 hours or longer. We recommend you take a 24 to 36 hour charter if you are serious about catching Tuna.

Why you should take a 24 hour to 36 hour charter for Tuna in Orange Beach?
The nearest fishing spots to have a chance to catch Tuna are about 60 miles from Orange Beach. Being so close to shore, every body who has a boat goes to these Oil Rigs like the Petronious and the Ram Powell. These rigs are severely over fished. They hold some fish sometime, but most of the time during the summer, when fishing pressure is greatest, you have to go further to oil rigs that have not seen so much fishing pressure. An 18 hour tuna charter is actually a waste of time on most occasions.

Is there any particular charter fishing boat that you would recommend for a tuna trip?
Yes there is. As with anything, the most popular tuna fishing boats in Orange Beach are the Intimidator Sportfishing Charters, which is owned and operated by Captain Johnny Greene.

We have a family. What type of fishing charter is best for our kids?
Most of the time, a 6 hour fishing charter will do. If your kids are outside kids and do things like this all the time, it’s up to you. We have some children as young as 8 or 9 years of age, that go with their dad, all day long. There are some kids who had rather be playing Wii or playstation and are only out there because their parents made them try something new. We recommend those kids take at least a 6 hour fishing charter. Who knows, they might enjoy it.

How do we know if a fishing charter is family friendly? Which one is best?
We have heard that there are a couple of charter boats that really stand out with families. The most recommended one is the Distraction Charter Boat located at Orange Beach Marina. They have testimonials and have a proven track record of being professional at all times. Family fishing is what they specialize in.

What kind of fish can we expect to catch while deep-sea fishing in Orange Beach?
Most of the fish caught in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are either migratory fish or they are reef fish. Migratory fish are Yellowfin Tuna, Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Cobia, Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel and Bull Redfish. Reef fish are fish that live on natural or artificial reefs. They include Reef Sharks, Red Snapper, Vermilion Snapper, Grouper, Red Porgy, Amberjack, Scamp Grouper, Tile Fish, Triggerfish, Eels, Mangrove Snapper and Ruby Lips.

Do offshore fishing charters have restrooms?
Yes, they do!

Do offshore fishing charters provide snacks or softdrinks?
No. You are responsible for that. However, on overnight fishing trips the Intimidator provides all of the groceries.

Can we bring Alcoholic Beverages and our own coolers?
Yes, as long as they are not too big and get in other peoples way. Glass bottles are usually prohibited because they are a safety hazard.

Do offshore and deep-sea fishing charters provide fishing tackle and bait?
Yes, deep sea fishing boats provide the fishing tackle and the bait

Do you fish with live bait?
Sometimes. It is not necessary when fishing for Red Snapper. You do need live bait to catch Amberjack and Grouper.

Who catches the live bait on fishing charters?
Live bait is a good thing to have on full day or overnight fishing charters. Most of the time, charter boats will stop and catch the live bait on the way out. Half day trips like the 6 or 8 hour trips, it is not necessary because most of the fish you are fishing for will bite dead or cut bait. Catching live bait for a short fishing trip can be a waste of time.
Questions about Inshore fishing in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores

What is inshore fishing?
Inshore fishing in Orange Beach means you are not fishing out in the Gulf of Mexico or Deep-sea fishing. It means you are fishing under bridges, beside the jetties, under boat piers, in rivers, in bays, on flats or anywhere inshore fish species may live.

How long are inshore fishing trips in Orange Beach?
Most of the inshore fishing charters and trips are 4 to 6 hours in length. The best ones are 6 hours long.

When is the best time of the year to fish inshore in Alabama?
Summer is the most popular time because of the demand. Fall, Winter and Spring can be more productive and better fishing.

How big are the inshore fishing charter boats?
Most of the inshore fishing charters are 22 to 24 feet long. They are mostly center console boats.

How many people do inshore fishing charters carry?
Most every inshore fishing charter in Orange Beach is a 6 pack or 6 passenger boat.

Do inshore boats have restrooms or potties?
No. Most do not. However, you are never further away than a few minutes ride from a marina or restroom usually.

Do inshore fishing boats provide licenses, tackle and bait?
Yes they do. That is part of the price.

What kind of fish can we catch on an Alabama Inshore fishing charter?
Most of the time, you will be fishing for Speckled Trout, White Trout, Ground Mullet, Sheepshead, Redfish, Black Drum, Tripletail, Pompano and Flounder. During the winter months, you can even catch Bull Redfish if the seas are calm.

Who is the best inshore fishing charter in Orange Beach?
The best inshore fishing charter and captain in Orange Beach is Captain Keith Powell of Alabama Inshore Fishing Charters. Capt. Keith is an expert fisherman and is extremely family oriented. Your family will be safe with Keith.