“About this time of the year, most of my fishing customers are calling ahead to ask if my television is working, so they can watch their favorite football teams play, while we’re fishing, ” says Captain Bill Staff (251-747-2478, www.seaspraycharterfishing.com/) of the “Sea Spray” charter boat based-out of Orange Beach, Alabama. “I always assure them that they’ll be able to watch all the college and the professional football games they want to in the boat’s air-conditioned cabin, while we’re fishing.” Staff is just one of the charter-boat captains at Orange Beach, Ala., who has solved the problem of anglers in the fall having to choose between going fishing or staying at home and watching football. “I like football just like my customers do, so I have a flat-screen television in the cabin and a satellite dish on top of the cabin,” Staff explains. “I subscribe to DirecTV’s ESPN GamePlan and NFL Sunday Ticket packages. My customers and I can catch fish and watch football and not have to choose which we’d rather do.”
More charter-boat captains in the Orange Beach area are helping to defeat the reasons for not going fishing during football season. Captain Johnny Greene (251-747-2872, www.fishorangebeach.com/) of his charter boat, “Intimidator,” based at Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., reports, “During the fall, we deep-drop for grouper and run-out to the deep rigs for yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna and swordfish. Then, we bottom fish on the way back to the dock. I have satellite television, so on those 2-day trips to-deep water, my customers don’t have to miss fishing or their favorite football games.”
Captain Troy Frady (www.distractioncharters.com, 251-975-8111) of the “Distraction” charter boat docked at Orange Beach Marina, says, “My boat is a six-pack boat (it can take no more than six fishermen at once), and I have a satellite dish. By next weekend, I’ll have a flat-screen television for my air-conditioned cabin, so my customers can watch football through the fall. I also have a link to DirecTV and a small television in my wheel house, to enable me to watch football just like my customers.”
Fall provides some of the best fishing of the year off Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The weather’s cool, and not as much fishing pressure exists then as during the summer. Amberjack season starts August 1, and yellowfin and blackfin tuna fishing also will be hot at this time of year. “We have a wide variety of ways to catch tuna fish,” Staff says. “We chum, use kites and troll for them. While we’re fishing for tuna, we’ll often catch big king mackerel, cobia and oftentimes a white marlin. Fall is an excellent time to catch white marlin offshore. But tuna fish will be the primary attraction, and the yellowfin tuna will weigh from 50- to 100-pounds-plus each. We caught a 118-pound yellowfin tuna about one-week ago. We’ll also catch dolphin and wahoo and then bottom-fish for scamp, triggerfish, vermilion snapper, lane snapper and grouper.”
But the fishing and the football packages aren’t just for the 12- to 48-hour trips. Fishermen who go out on 4-, 6-, 8- and 12-hour fishing trips also have the advantage of having televisions on many of the Orange Beach charter boats. Then they don’t have to miss their football games, or the children miss their favorite cartoons. The charter boats at Orange Beach are transitioning from being just fishing boats to becoming entertainment centers.
For a great place to go fishing, to wiggle your toes in sugar-white beach sand and to swim in the beautiful, clean water of the Gulf of Mexico, come-on down, and fish with us on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The Orange Beach Fishing Association (http://www.obfishingassn.com/) will be glad to find you and your family a captain and a boat that offers football and fishing. 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 or www.gulfshores.com.