Class Act Fishing
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Reports from a deep sea charter fishing boat on the Alabama Gulf Coast.


Perks of Fishing the Off-Season / Grouper on the Grill

Perks of Fishing the Off-Season / Grouper on the Grill

At Class Act Charters, we keep the poles bent all year. What are some benefits of booking a fishing trip during the "off season"? Well, the Fall and Winter rates are lower, the temperatures are comfortable and can be preferred compared to the hot summer months.

We’ll be catching Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel, Shark, Sailfish, Marlin, Wahoo, Grouper, Tuna and others. For those who thought about booking a longer trip for the bigger fish but didn’t want to deal with the melting summer heat, Fall and Winter is the perfect time to make plans to catch that bucket list fish. Some of the fish are game fish, where catch and release is required this time of year, but measuring before you release is part of the game. Others, you are able to fill the cooler and take home to cook.

One of the best fish to catch and eat is grouper. Here in South Alabama, you’ll find it cooked many different ways but below is a recipe you may or may not have tried – Southern Style Grilled Grouper. If you add a little spice blend and throw it on a hot grill and cook it to perfection, this might be your new favorite way to cook it!

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Southern Style Grilled Grouper

Ingredients

1 lb. Grouper fillets

Spice Rub

1/4 teaspoon minced onions

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

Preparation

1. Mix all the spice rub ingredients together and remove the grouper from the refrigerator. Cover all surfaces of the fish with a light to medium covering of the spice rub and gently rub into the grouper. Let this rest in a container outside of the refrigerator to allow it to reach room temperature before putting it on the grill.

2. Get your grill going and achieve a medium hot grill. Place the grouper fillets in a grill basket or on a grill screen with smaller holes to keep the fillet from falling apart and crumbling through the grill as it gets closer to done. Cook for approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. You only need to flip it once on the grill.

3. Note: If you're unsure of whether it's fully cooked or not, you can test it with a digital meat thermometer at the center of the thickest part of the fillet. The temperature should read approximately 135° F.


Red Snapper Season is Over...Now What?
Red Snapper Season is Over...Now What?

Red Snapper are the most common fish we catch off of the coast of Alabama. They are only in season from June to early July. The good news? When you hire a charter fishing company like Class Act Charters to take you on a fishing adventure at Orange Beach, you can sit back and let us handle the strategy while you enjoy a day on the water!

 

Although snapper is common, there are so many different species of fish you can target and catch off the coast here in Alabama.

 

Gag Grouper

 

Gag Grouper is found mostly in the Gulf of Mexico. They were very abundant but have been overfished to the point that they are now tough to catch. Gag Grouper are found around shallow water reefs; but, most are in deep water near rocks and ledges. Gags are fun to catch. The Gag Grouper are usually 5 to 10 pounds average in weight; but, if you get lucky, a 30 to 40 pounder is out there. Gulf Gag Grouper are a white meat and the texture is semi soft. Some say it tastes better than Red Snapper, and should be undercooked a bit. Try grilling, baking or frying it!

 

Amberjack

 

Amberjack is also known as the Greater Amberjack and is caught on mostly large structures of reefs in the Gulf of Mexico. They offer a great fight for even the toughest angler! The average size of an Amberjack is about 15 to 18 pounds. There are a lot of 20 to 25 pounders. These fish can grow up to close to 100 pounds. Amberjack is a good fish to eat and has a firm texture to its meat. It is good cooked on the grill! There is a bag limit of one Amberjack per person, per day in the Gulf of Mexico. They have to be 30 inches at the fork length to keep them. An Amberjack over 20 pounds is usually legal and can be kept.

 

Wahoo

 

Wahoo is one of the most prized migratory fish you can catch in Alabama. The Wahoo are considered one of the fastest fish in the ocean, next to the sail fish. Wahoo are usually caught in blue water or water that is over 150 feet deep or deeper. They weigh on average 20 pounds each. They fight like crazy when hooked! Most are caught while trolling lures behind the boat. Wahoo is best tasting when grilled or blackened.

 

Spanish Mackerel

 

Spanish mackerel are found off the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. and in the Gulf of Mexico. The Spanish mackerel is much smaller than its relative, the king mackerel. Spanish mackerel have a greenish back with silver sides and belly. Yellow or olive green oval spots traverse the body, which is covered with very tiny scales. Spanish mackerel prefer temperatures above 68 degrees and mostly live in open water but are sometimes found over deep sea grass beds and reefs.

 

King Mackerel

 

King Mackerel are a migratory fish that usually stay in waters whose temperature is above 70 degrees. They are plentiful during the summer months. They can be caught right off the Alabama coast line on short trips and are commonly caught further offshore near reefs and structures. They can be caught on a drift line while bottom fishing and on lures while trolling. King Mackerel are good for smoking and the food quality is okay. It is an oily fish and is best if you don’t freeze it. King Mackerel taste better when grilled or blackened.

 

Yellowfin Tuna

 

Yellowfin tuna is one of the best fish to target on longer, overnight fishing trips that depart from Orange Beach. The Yellowfin are usually caught more than 60 miles offshore around large oil rigs or in deep blue water. They have been known to move more than 200 miles in a single day. They offer anglers the chance to fight a tough fish. They are caught trolling and chunking during the day and night. The best fishing is usually just before daybreak! Yellowfin Tuna is one of the best fish you can ever eat. However, they do not freeze well. The meat is a dark pink in the loin section and is used for sushi all over the world. The best way to cook Yellowfin is to grill or sear it.

 

Dorado, Mahi-Mahi and Dolphin Fish

 

No matter what you call them, the Dolphin fish is one of the best fighting game fish in the Gulf of Mexico. They can be caught during the summer months in Alabama along rip lines or floating debris. Large dolphins can weigh up to 80 pounds. The average Dolphin fish weighs about 2 to 10 pounds each. They offer even the best anglers a lot of action and almost always jump up in the air, shaking their heads trying to get away. Closer to shore, you may find the small ones that are called chicken dolphins. They are a blast to catch, right on the surface around the boat. The Gulf Dolphin are some of the best fish to eat. They have a firm texture which is excellent grilled or blackened.

 

Give us a call to schedule your next deep sea fishing trip! It will be an experience you’ll never forget.

 

 


How to Prepare for your Charter Fishing Experience
How to Prepare for your Charter Fishing Experience

Taking a deep sea fishing charter is a very exciting experience for young and old alike. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first timer, we hope this article will help you make the most out of your fishing trip. When taking a charter boat from our lovely Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama areas, keep in mind how long your trip will be. Even the four hour trip  requires a little planning.

Here are some recommended steps to prepare for your charter fishing trip to assure your family has a great time.

 

What to bring from home: 

  • Food and beverages (plastic or metal drink containers only)
  • Two coolers (if desired): one for your drinks, the other for your fish filets after our deck mate cleans your fish
  • Ice for your drink cooler
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses (Polarized for best results)
  • Hand towels
  • A hat or cap for each person
  • Long sleeve shirt or light jacket depending on weather
  • Rubber-soled, non-marking shoes
  • Sea-sickness medication, i.e Dramamine or wristbands

We highly recommend that you take Dramamine (or other sea sickness medication) both the evening before your charter and again the morning of your trip, especially if you are worried about getting sea sick.

Alcohol is permitted onboard, and we only ask that you drink in moderation. Captain’s advice: Don’t drink much alcohol the night before, if any at all.


What we provide

We provide all the fishing equipment and bait needed for your trip but you are welcome to bring your own tackle if you choose, although we will not be responsible for any damages to your equipment. 

We also suggest you bring your own cooler to take the fish filets home after the deck mate cleans your fish. We have a fish box on board for your fish during the trip.

We have refrigerators on each vessel for you to store any food you may bring. If you want to bring burgers or hot dogs to eat on the trip both vessels have a grill aboard. 

Amenities on board

We offer two sized charter boats to choose from depending on the size of your party. Both are very roomy, spacious, and clean.

On our 52’ Class Act (for groups 7-20):
•    Full air-conditioned cabin
•    Green Egg grill
•    40” flat screen satellite tv (local channels included)
•    PS3 player

On our 38’ Daddy’s Baby (for groups up to 6 people):
•    Full air-conditioned cabin
•    Radio
•    Mp3 Player
•    Green Egg Grill

 

Additional information for your Orange Beach charter fishing trip:
 

Children 
We encourage you to bring your children and all ages are welcome. We do suggest that you double the amount of snacks you’d bring for yourself if you’re bringing little ones aboard. They tend to like to snack the entire length of the trip! You may also want to bring an extra change of clothes for the kids too. It’s pretty easy for children to find a way to get wet while on board. 

Clothing 
Depending on the season and the weather, it’s usually a good idea to bring layers like a light jacket and wear breathable quick-dry attire.

Lastly, wear a pair of non-marking, non-slip boat shoes or sandals, as bare feet are not permitted for safety reasons. 

Fish cleaning
We will clean your fish for free on the 4-6 hour trips. We charge $0.30/lb for fish cleaning on longer trips. On all the trips we will keep your fish on ice during the trip and supply you with Ziploc bags to take them home with.  

Deck mates 
Along with your captain, each trip will be accompanied by an experienced deck mate. The deck mate is there to assist throughout the entire trip and works for tips (typically 18-20% of the total cost of the trip).

Insurance 
We are fully insured.

Catering 
If you’d like to have food for your trip catered, we can help find catering options for you for an additional fee to include the food costs.

Taxidermy  
We can refer you to a skilled and reputable taxidermist.

Extensions
If there is not another trip scheduled after yours, you can extend the trip if you want to once we’re out on the water.

Cancellations 
The captains may cancel the trip due to weather or sea conditions, but not just for rain. We will not fish if the conditions are too bad.  Once you are on the trip, if you are not comfortable with the conditions, we can elect to shorten and prorate the trip.

 

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life.”  Deep sea fishing is an exhilarating experience and a survival skill that creates memories to last a lifetime.


Be sure to contact Dale Woodruff before your trip if you have any questions or concerns about the weather or what to bring.  We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!


What to Expect for Spring Break Fishing in Orange Beach, Alabama in 2017
What to Expect for Spring Break Fishing in Orange Beach, Alabama in 2017

It’s this time every year that Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama come alive with Spring Breakers and their families. What a joy it is to see so many families outside enjoying the sunshine and their time spent together! With the technology as it is nowadays, even at the dinner table you find everyone staring at their screens – missing out on those quality discussions we all grew up with. That’s one reason why we’re in the business we’re in – we love seeing families spend quality time together making memories that last a lifetime.

A Spring Break charter fishing experience gives you and your family quality bonding time and an adventure of a lifetime!


One of the main attractions down here on the coast this time of year is charter fishing. The 4, 5, and 6 hour trips are very affordable and accommodating for families from children to grandma. This time of year the water is still a bit cold, but this makes many fish cluster up in the warmer areas which makes for a great fishing trip. On these excursions, we typically fish 10-15 miles off the shore, making several fishing stops along the way. Our experienced captains know these waters well, and we have a good sense of where the fish are biting. We typically will stop the boat over a reef or wreck so everyone can drop their fishing lines.

Many of our customers let us know that they only want to catch enough for dinner, and these ½ day excursions are ideal for just that. Whether it’s the 4 hour trolling trip or a bottom fishing and deep sea experience, we will cater the trip to meet your needs.

In March and April, one of the more exciting things that happen in our Gulf waters is the Cobia migration. The Cobia fish, also known as Ling or Lemon, start to relocate along the coast from the warm waters in the south. They love to ride the waves as they soak in the sun.

On longer trips we will fish out by the oil rigs and beyond, around 20-35 miles off the coast, where we can get the bigger fish. If you’re in for a thrill, fishing for Yellowfin Tuna and Amberjack can be very exciting. The tunas are resilient against the cold water as their body temperature doesn’t slow down so they’re off swimming in high gear. The Amberjacks are known as the “donkeys of the sea” because of how strong they can be when trying to reel in, really putting the “sport” in “sport fishing”. The giant Red Snappers will not be in season until June 1st so they are all catch and release for now, but still a heck of a good time.

As the temperatures warm up, so do the fish. Other fish we see often include King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Vermilion Snapper, White Snapper, Red Fish, Sheepshead, Flounder and Speckled Trout.

For those of you looking to book a trip after April 1st, the season opens up for bag limits on the very tasty Scamp and Red Groupers.

If high intensity fishing is not what you’re after, rest assured we customize each trip based on your needs, desires and expectations. Our deck mates and captains are there with you and your group every step of the way, showing you the ropes, helping reel in the fish, all the while educating youngsters and first-timers about the fish, fishing, and our Gulf waters.

As an added bonus, during this Spring Break season we are offering discounted trips on the 4, 5, and 6 hour trips. For additional information or to book with us, give us a call at 251-391-0935 or fill out the form on our website. Hope to see you out on the water!


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