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!
Southern Style Grilled Grouper
1 lb. Grouper fillets
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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
The Class Act is part of the great charter fleet at Zeke's Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama.
WE ARE LOCATED IN BOAT SLIP B-4
Zeke’s Marina has the Gulf Coast’s largest charter fishing fleet. Zeke’s Landing Marina is located across the street from some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and just 10 minutes by boat from the Gulf of Mexico.
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