Deep Sea Fishing in Gulf Shores: What to Know

| March 26, 2024

Many of us have wet a line or two on the shores of a neighborhood pond or a mountain stream, but there is a world of adventure to be had wrangling the ocean-borne monsters in the Gulf of Mexico! Whether it’s your first time or you are a seasoned angler, deep-sea fishing is sure to be the experience of a lifetime!

Take a break from soaking up the sun beachside and admiring those oceanfront views from the balcony of your dream beach house rental because it’s time to get out on the water!

So, what are you waiting for? The ocean awaits!

Fishing Charters

With the Gulf of Mexico right at your fingertips, Gulf Shores, Alabama is loaded with fishermen ready to share their expertise! These charters spend their days out on the water with like-minded people breathing in the ocean air and catching fish by the boatload. Safe to say, they are having an amazing time, and they will ensure you do too!

1. Island Marine Charters

Photo Credit: Andy Campbell

Head out with Capt. Joe on a charter boat to some of his favorite spots, both nearshore and out at sea! Offering deep sea fishing trips and inshore excursions, you can spend a few hours getting your line wet or dive right in with a day trip adventure.

This deep-sea fishing charter offers everything you need, from a fishing license to a rod, and only asks that you bring a cooler if you plan on taking your catch home. Which you should! Feed the whole family with a speckled trout or red snapper after a day of working up your appetite on the water. Island Marine Charters will even clean the fish for you before you head home!

Using only the best equipment, you will feel like you are floating on air as you sit atop the 29′ fully customized hybrid bay boat reeling in trout on your Penn & Shimano saltwater class rod.

A true family adventure, you will feel safe and secure with Capt. Joe! Bring yourself and up to three other people along for the journey. More bodies mean more fish to catch!

2. Distraction Deep Sea Fishing Charters

Photo Credit: Sayur Snyder

Established back in 2002, Distraction Deep Sea Fishing Charters was built on family fishing. This kid-friendly charter made it their mission to welcome families on their deep-sea adventures and are now considered one of the friendliest charters in all of Alabama!

Distraction has got you covered whether you are looking for trolling, sport fishing, light tackle fishing, or an authentic deep sea fishing experience! Offering anything from an hour trip to a full day adventure, you are sure to have the Gulf Shores fishing experience of a lifetime.

This 62’ Hatteras charter boat might have been around for a while but it’s incredibly maintained. Enjoy the ride on this gem of a boat, and rest easy knowing that there is a cabin below for when nature calls. The Hatteras can also hold up to six people making it a great choice for bigger families or a group of friends. Plus, every tour is completely private, so whether you are a group of 1 or 6, the boat is yours!

A jokester at heart, you will find yourself loving cheesy dad jokes by the time Captain Troy Frady gets you safely back to shore. Catching your first fish will just be icing on the cake at the end of the day!

3. Orange Beach Fishing Charters

With deep sea fishing excursions ranging from a few hours to four days, Orange Beach Fishing Charters means business! A cooperative of experienced local fishermen run this program, and each one has built their own private reef so you can enjoy a fishing experience like none other! You will get to go out and fish in deep waters that no one else knows about with a captain and deckhand who knows everything there is to know about the Gulf.

While adventures can last up to 4 days for the die-hard fisherman, half-day trips are the most popular excursion. Get an early start with a 6 AM launch, or sleep in and meet your captain by noon. You and up to 5 other people will have the iconic 41’ Hatteras all to yourself- cabin included!

Make sure to come prepared with ocean basics like sunscreen, appropriate attire, snacks, beverages, and a cooler. Let Orange Beach Fishing Charters handle the rest!

Fishing Seasons in Gulf Shores

Gulf shore fishing is renowned all year-round but if you are hoping to catch a specific type of fish, it’s important that you know your seasons. At the end of the day, Gulf Shores is considered a year-round fisherman’s paradise so you can’t ever go wrong.

Load up the kids on summer vacation or run away from the snow come wintertime, fish will be there no matter what! Just make sure you come prepared with sunscreen and layers. An unusual but necessary combination!

Red Snapper Season: October to March

Red snapper season is from October through March. This is a winter fish, and it is more likely to be caught in the early morning or evening. In other words, if you have a certain fish in mind, learn its habits!

Winter

If you don’t care too much about what type of fish you catch, you might want to look at some other factors when determining what fishing season is right for you, like the weather! Even though the Gulf Shores sees mild winter temperatures ranging from about 65 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be even cooler out on the water!

Summer

Summer temperatures can be as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit and tire out even the most excited of anglers. Spring and fall seem to be the sweet spot for fishing conditions, and the fish agree! These shoulder seasons bring in a variety of migratory fish searching for warm water temperatures and make catching new fish a breeze.

Types of Fish in Gulf Shores

It’s no hidden secret that Gulf Shores is home to some of the best fishing in the country and it’s because of the variety! Located right along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, you will find a plethora of fish species here and plenty of ways to catch them. These are just a few of the fan-favorite species that await you in the water!

Red Snapper

Photo Credit: Fabien Monteil

Greater Amberjack

Photo Credit: Peter Leahy

Yellowfin Grouper

Photo Credit: Griffin Gillespie

Spanish Mackerel

Photo Credit: BILD LLC

Gray Triggerfish

Photo Credit: Vladimir Wrangel

Redfish (Red Drum)

Photo Credit: AdamFish

Yellowfin Tuna

Photo Credit: gdefilip

Cobia (Ling)

Photo Credit: MR.Surat Matcha

King Mackerel

Photo Credit: Bignai

Flounder

Photo Credit: Picture Partners

Speckled Trout

Photo Credit: Dexterthebest

Florida Pompano

Photo Credit: lzf

Sheepshead

Photo Credit: IrinaK

Other Types of Fishing Experiences

With thousands of artificial reefs dotting the shorelines of Gulf Shores, there are plenty of fishing opportunities to be had nearshore. If deep sea fishing seems a bit too intense or you are just looking to get your line wet before committing to an all-day adventure, this oceanfront city has got you covered. Other options include:

Most deep-sea charters also offer these trips, so make sure to ask the charter of your choice what excursions they have available. Let the more passionate group members head out to the deep sea while the other members of your party enjoy a more relaxed experience beachside.

Gulf Shores Fishing Rules and Regulations

While an afternoon of deep-sea fishing sounds like all fun and games, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the Gulf Shores’ rules and regulations before heading out on the water.

If you are going out with a charter, chances are that they are going to give you the run down before getting started, but it’s always a good idea to come in with some background knowledge. Besides, you are going to be so excited to get out on the water that you might find it hard to absorb it all.

Fishing License

For starters, you absolutely must have a fishing license to go deep sea fishing in the Gulf Shores. Again, most charters will supply this for you, but you should always double check!

Size and Bag Limits

Since fishing is such a sought-after activity in this area, there are also limits on the size and bag limits. This means you can’t keep a fish too small, and you can’t keep too many fish altogether. This ensures a healthy fish population and future fun for all!

Learn more about fish species regulations at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Stay and Enjoy a Deep Sea Adventure in Gulf Shores

Whether you call it offshore fishing, deep sea fishing, or reef fishing, getting far out on the water will offer you the best fishing experience on Alabama’s Gulf Coast!

Prepare to add angling to your list of hobbies because once you experience life on the water, it’s hard to return back to land. Having a cozy beachfront house to come back home to definitely helps!


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