Orange Beach Fishing Charters
-- photo courtesy of Distraction Charters
Deep Sea Fishing in Orange Beach is fun. Come see what our fishing charter guides can do for you and your family. With us, you get to escape ordinary.
The fishing season is here and our offshore and inshore charter boats are ready to serve you and your family. What we do for you is uniquely different than any other charter fishing companies. We are veteran anglers and charter fishing guide insiders who know the business side of the charter fishing industry better than most. Our goal, is to give you the best free information we can, so you can make an informed and educated decision about which type of fishing charter is best for you and your budget.
We are an educational website and our goal is to give you the information you will need so you can choose the right kind of charter for your group, friends or family. We also tell you with everything you need to know about deciding on which type of saltwater fishing charter is best for you, your family and budget. The fishing charters and guides listed on this site are forward thinkers and are members of the Orange Beach Charter Fishing Cooperative. They have a proven track record of providing excellent customer service and quality fishing trips for first timers, families, kids and active seniors.
What You Need To Know About Charter Fishing In Orange Beach
The most important thing you need to know about deep sea fishing or inshore fishing on Alabama's Gulf Coast, is there is something for everyone, every budget and every desire. The most important thing you need to know is: There is a direct correlation between what you pay for a trip (be it per person or for a private charter), as to the level of service you will receive. Some people who don't know, may expect too receive too much or better results, but they have not budgeted for the better fishing trips. So, you don't need to be expecting a wonderful fishing experience, excellent customer service and catch a bunch of fish when you only budget $65-$75 for a party boat or $175 or less per person for a shared expense charter. There is nothing wrong with those less expensive fishing trips, but often people choose them and they are let down when they get back to the dock and measure their results. If you have not budgeted for a private trip, please understand that walk on charters and head boats / party boats are not considered premium fishing trips and the level of service and the quality of fish you catch and receive on respective boats differs greatly.
As a solution to getting you the best overall experience, when you choose boats that are members of this cooperative, you will be in touch with a charter boat that will give you the service you desire, while putting you on the fish. We help first timers, seasoned anglers and families, discover and experience charter fishing in Orange Beach by cutting out the middle man or charter booking office that takes a 15% cut off the top of the boat owners fee. Remember, we don't charge a 50% deposit on short trips like others do. That means you get to keep your money in your pocket until the day of the trip. With us, there is no cut, fee or hidden charges. There is only good times and quality fishing trips in an environment that families feel comfortable with. Our fishing guides cut through all the fluff and don't focus on fancy bells and whistles to try and say, "Compare." What we actually do for you is give you peace of mind, save you money and put you with captains directly who will shoot straight with you and put your satisfaction ahead of their personal gain every time.
In Orange Beach, Alabama, your choices are deep sea fishing and bay fishing trips. Deep sea fishing on the Gulf Shores consists of either staying close to shore and trolling or heading farther out to the reefs where you drop your lines to the bottom in hopes of catching a big one. Depending on the size of your group and your budget, we have boats that cater to everyone. If your tight on money or don't want to invest a lot in your first time deep sea fishing, we have a party boat that we can refer you too. These boats are big and you pay anywhere from $65 to $125 per person to go fishing. These boats are regular charter boats that put your group with others and charter the whole boat for yourselves. If you choose a party boat and you get sea sick and want to come back home early, you are out of luck. That is because it is a shared expense trip and turning around would ruin everyone else's trip.
The most popular fishing trips are private charters. This is where only you and your group will be on the boat during your trip. These charters offer the BEST service around. You get first class service and the captain takes you to his best reefs and lets you fight some really big fish. There is an advantage to taking a private charter.
Back Bay fishing has become very popular over the past six years and we are seeing more guides arrive daily. With more guides, means more fishing pressure. With so much fishing pressure in Orange Beach, the fish supply does not last long and you might not catch many fish if you decided to save a few bucks and end up fishing with a guide who stays close to the bridge or ends up taking you offshore and live baiting for mackerel. The best guides are our guides. They leave the Orange Beach area and take you to areas that are seeing less pressure and where the fish are more plentiful. The cost of these fishing trips runs about $450 for 4 people for 4 hours and goes up from there. The cost is a little more, but our guides are not afraid to burn the fuel to get you to where the fishing pressure is less. Our inshore guides move to where the fish are. The best back bay fishing is in Mobile Bay, so you need to find a guide who works that area if you want to catch speckled trout, redfish or tripletails.
The Best Fishing Charters are Private - Only Your Family Will Be On The Boat During The Trip
Private Charters - Our best Orange Beach charter boats only offer private trips. Private charters can be on both inshore and offshore boats. Being private means only you and your group will be on the boat. On offshore trips, there will be deckhands or mates on board to serve you. The deckhands on these trips are there right beside you at all times and take care of your every need. The mates take time to educate and demonstrate different fishing techniques that you might not learn on a walk on or party boat trip. Your deckhand is paid in the form of a FEE, not a tip, that runs 20% minimum of the price of the charter that you paid, plus tip. You may always tip him above that amount if he deserves it. Our private charters offer offshore fishing and inshore fishing. As mentioned above, our fishing guides offer some of the best service in the world and have the reputation of being responsible, accountable and professional at all times with your family. All of our boats are independently owned and operated. Our captains run their own boats. Remember this. A captain running his own charter boat is important because you know what type of service you can expect from him. Vessel owners and captains, have a vested interest in ensuring you get a fishing charter that lives up to their reputation.
Private charters range anywhere from 4 hours to 4 days. The most common deep sea fishing trips are 6 hours and most boats offer two trips or more every day. The ideal trip for families or first timers are these short trips. More serious anglers need to look at full day trips or longer. The most common inshore bay fishing trips are 4 to 6 hours in length. Inshore fishing charter boats can only carry a maximum of 6 people per trip.
What Makes Our Deep Sea Fishing Charters So Popular
When it comes to deep sea fishing or inshore fishing on Alabama's Gulf Coast, we are just like you. We are parents, grandparents and because of that, we understand what you are looking for when it comes to getting good service and finding value added services. Whenever we go somewhere and want to experience an activity or find a good restaurant, we rely on reviews from third party trusted sites. We have all seen those form letters where only the names are different, but the reviews over exaggerate the service. Our mission is not to disappoint you. With us, we take customer service seriously and if at anytime you ever feel let down, we will make it right. That is who we are. With us, our goal is to create a good user experience and give you accurate and up to date information about fishing in Orange Beach. We live and breath on customer reviews and feedback from our past guests in order to grow our business each year. We understand you and hear your requests. This fishing site's success depends on us giving you, exactly what you expect from the information provided about your fishing trip.
Great Customer Service, Professional Friendly Crew, Clean and Well Maintained Boats are a few of the best reasons people like you, choose us. We give you up to date information about deep sea, inshore and sport fishing on the Alabama Gulf Coast. We answer your questions about saltwater fishing and chartering a boat, so you will know what to expect when you arrive. We also share definitions commonly used by anglers and guides in our area so you will know what we are talking about. We have also simplified the process of finding the best charter and ultimately, booking a fishing trip. We are also members of the OBFA and The OBFC. We are also outdoor writers who share information about fishing, fish politics and serve on many panels of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.
Popular Fish Species You Can Catch With Us
Alabama is famous for it's artificial reef system that covers over 1200 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico. Until these man made reefs were built and better navigation aids like GPS were available, fishing for fin fish species like Shark, Red Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, trigger fish, lane snapper, porgy, vermilion snapper, red porgy (white snapper)and cobia was almost unheard of. The Gulf Shores area, all the way to Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island have long been known for their great King Mackerel and Spanish Mackerel fishing. When we were kids growing up, most of the fishing we did along the Alabama Gulf Coast was near shore trolling for these two species of pelagic fish (migratory - non reef fish). As fish finding technology improved, we were able to build artificial reefs were able to re-locate them each trip in order to make bottom fishing relatively easy and have some consistency to it.
The coastal Alabama area south of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores is mostly shallow and has a muddy or sandy hard bottom. Seven miles offshore you get to about 70 feet deep and 20 miles offshore, you are only in about 100 to 110 feet of water. There are some reefs that were built closer to shore that hold reef fish like red snapper, grouper and amberjack, but they see a lot of fishing pressure and are often hard to get a bite. However, if you take a 6 hour deep sea fishing trip, you have enough time to get far enough offshore to where the fishing pressure is less and the fishing is better.
The oil rigs you see off of Gulf Shores Alabama's Coast are in what we call shallow water and hold some fish around them. They are too far to run too out of Orange Beach. Our artificial reefs produce better fish than the close in oil rig platforms. If you want to go after blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi (dorado) or Wahoo, you need to go at least 60 to 120 miles offshore to where the deep water oil rigs are located. To get out there, you need to take an over night fishing charter to a two day charter to have a chance to catch these species. Our artificial reefs simply don't hold game fish species like the deep water rigs do.
Deep Sea Fishing and Bay Fishing Details
As mentioned above, we have two distinct places to fish on the Alabama Gulf Coast near Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. They are either inshore or offshore. I will take the next few paragraphs and break them down for you and will give you a simplified explanation of each.
Deep Sea Fishing - is best described as fishing in the deep sea or in deep water. Deep sea fishing is usually broken down into two sub categories of trolling or bottom fishing. Trolling is where the boat keeps moving and anglers drag lines with baits behind the boat waiting for a fish to strike. These fish are usually migratory in nature. Migratory means they live in open water or are free swimmers. They can be found anywhere there is ample amounts of food to eat. Trolling fish commonly caught off of Alabama include king mackerel, spanish mackerel, wahoo, tuna, billfish, bonito and a few more. When trolling, anglers are either dragging baits on the surface or below the surface of the water. Trolling can be done in any depth of water and in any area. The areas we mostly troll are right off the beach, all the way out to depths of over 5,000 feet and anywhere in between. Bottom Fishing is when the captain navigates and takes you out to a GPS location where artificial or natural reefs are located. He holds the boat still or anchors while you bait your hooks, stand on the edge of the boat and drop your lines beneath the surface of the water toward the bottom (hence bottom fishing). Anglers mostly fish on the bottom, but in recent years reef fish populations have recovered so you can often catch reef fish just beneath the surface or high in the column of water. The artificial reefs you are fishing on, are either public (built with public money) or they are private (built by the captain or boat owner). Public reefs are just that. Everyone who has access to the water can easily find the published GPS waypoints and go fish the spots. Private reefs are like personal bank accounts of fishermen. They are built by captains in order to have fish to catch when fishing is tough on public reefs. Having a private reef to fish nearby is like having insurance so your customers or family can easily catch fish. The most common baits used while deep sea fishing are either live or frozen. Live baits include, Cigar Minnows, Pin Fish, alwive's and tomtates. The most common frozen bait is either Cigar Minnows, Spanish Sardine, Cut Squid or Menhaden (Pogies). Any size boat can go deep sea fishing. In Orange Beach, most of the deep sea fishing boats are large (36' to over 65') and are designed to operate in that environment. Most of them have two engines, have air conditioned cabins and restrooms on board. For safety reasons, if you are heading offshore to go deep sea fishing, please choose a boat that has two engines.
Inshore Fishing - is best described as fishing in bays, coves, channels, near jetties, underneath bridge pilings or near inshore artificial reefs. Most inshore fishing is done by using light tackle or spinning rods with 6 to 20 pound test. The best inshore fishermen fish for Speckled Trout, Flounder, Red Drum (Redfish), Black Drum, White Trout, Pompano, Sheep Head, Lady Fish and Tripletail (Blackfish). The baits commonly used are either artificial, cut bait or live bait. The most common live baits used are shrimp and Croaker's and Alwive's fish. Anglers usually cast their baits to the area they are fishing. Inshore bay fishing consists of fishing on the bottom or on the surface and anywhere in between. In recent past, because of intense fishing pressure during peak seasons, some inshore guides have found themselves moving offshore into a big boat world and have been fishing for what was traditionally known as a deep sea fishing area. One big difference is our inshore guide moves his operation to Mobile Bay whenever the fishing gets tough in Orange Beach.
Booking Your Fishing Charter Direct is Best and Can Save You Money
With us, you skip the middle man and go direct to the person who will be taking your reservation. Unlike some marina charter booking offices and similar charters require half the money up front, our charter boats do not charge deposits on day trips or less. Having to pay 50% of the price of the trip up front is common in the charter fishing industry, but we prefer to handle our reservations similar to the way a hotel does. Besides, coming up with that kind of money to secure your trip puts a burden on those who have not budgeted for the experience. With us, you get to keep your money in your pocket until the day of the trip. We only need a credit card number on file to reserve your trip. The only exception to this is when you book an overnight or multiple day trip. Because of the high cost of these trips and the difficulty in booking a multi-day trip if someone cancels at the last minute, a 50% deposit is required.
With us, you have access to the top rated charters in Orange Beach. Try our easy to use online booking process and stop worrying about trying find the right one for you. By submitting a reservation request online, does not lock you into a trip. It is simply an inquiry to see if the charter boat you want is available. The request is sent to the captain and he will email you back quickly and will let you know if that date is available. At that time, you can let him know if you want to reserve that date. You can relax and experience charter fishing the way it was intended to be.
Which private fishing charters are best: Ones with Good Service or Ones with Low Prices?
What you need to know as a consumer is, there are two levels of fishing charters and the service they provide in Orange Beach. There are those who sell low prices and there are those who sell good service. There is no such thing as getting good service at a low or cheap price. That is because everyone knows that good service costs a little more money. Whether you fish inshore or offshore, on a private charter or a shared expense charter (like a party boat), the charters that offer better service, are staffed with better crews, they have nicer and well maintained boats, they have newer and well maintained tackle and are very clean. They also know where to take you to catch quality fish (whether they are in season or not) and keep your rod bent with action.
You Need To Know This about prices of charter fishing trips: Cheaper priced private charters for example, don't have the revenue to get you out to where the best fishing spots and will likely leave you wanting more from your fishing experience. If you see a private charters and a boat ranging from 40 to 46 feet and are carrying 6 people for 6 hours and their price is less than $1250 plus tip, you are likely going to get a charter who is going to idle out or troll out real slowly, thus trying to save fuel and make up for selling their trip at less revenue. On the other hand, charters that charge a little more than $1,300, have the extra revenue on board so they can burn the fuel to get you farther offshore, where fishing pressure is less and you will have a chance to catch better and bigger fish.
If you want the best fishing charter, you need to budget for a private charter and one that has awsome reviews that are consistently positive. If you don't really care if you get excellent customer service, go for the cheapest charter you can find, but please do them a favor and don't write them a negative review - because you know what you are getting when you booked the trip.
-- photo courtesy of Captain Troy Frady
Fighting a monster Mangrove Snapper while deep sea fishing on the Distraction Charter Boat.
Booking Your Deep Sea Fishing or Inshore Charter is Simple
Booking your Alabama Offshore and Inshore fishing charter is easy. All you have to do to book your charter is decide what type of trip you want to go on. Then you need to decide on a date you want to go. The third step is choosing a boat that fits your needs. The fourth and final step is submitting a reservation request so we will know what you want to do. Submitting a reservation does not lock you in to a charter. It tells us what you are interested in. We check our calendar and will return your email quickly with availability. You then need to give us a credit card number to hold it. After your initial contact request, the captain of the boat you want will reply to you.
We promise to get back in touch with you quickly.