John's Journal...

Three Generations of Charter-Boat Fishing with Orange Beach, Alabama’s Walker Family

A Day in the Life of a Charter-Boat Captain

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Captain Bobby Walker of Elberta, Alabama, is a third-generation charter-boat captain out of Orange Beach, at Zeke’s Marina. His personal history and his family’s history run deep in the history of bottom fishing off Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Because of Walker’s family and other charter-boat families in Orange Beach, today Alabama’s Gulf Coast boasts some of the finest snapper, grouper, king mackerel and amberjack fishing anywhere. This week, we’ll find out how the Walker family has helped to build the largest artificial-reef program in the world.Click to enlarge

Question: Walk me through a day in the life of a charter-boat fisherman.
Walker: I get up at 4:00 am and have about a 30-minute drive to get to the boat. I try to get to the boat 30 to 45 minutes before my party arrives. I want to check my boat out, make sure everything’s in order, and the boat’s tuned-up and ready to go. I want to be certain all the bait’s on-board, all the tackle’s secure, and we’re ready to go. For example, on the morning you came to fish with me, John, I had to get in early because we had a steering problem the day before. I had to go down in the engine room and put some steering fluid in the power-steering pump. You never know what to expect with a charter boat. Most captains are always working on their boats or their motors, trying to fix something, improve something or keep something from breaking. But I won’t take anything for my boat and for charter-boat fishing. I feel very fortunate to have lived an awesome life as a charter-boat captain. Click to enlarge

Question: Tell me about a 12-hour trip.
Walker: Our 12-hour trips run from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. I try and get my charter (customers) to the boat by 5:30 am, so we can pull-out of our slip by 6:00 am, stop out at the jetties and catch some live bait to fish. Sometimes when we return in the evenings, we’ll stop at the jetties and try to catch some live bait. I like to have plenty of live bait on-board, because we catch more fish on live bait then on dead bait. Click to enlarge

When we get back to the dock, I go-down in the engine room, check out the engines, walk around the boat, make sure everything’s ship-shape and spend a little time with my customers. Then I go on to the house. But my deckhand Jimmy Green, who’s also my son-in-law, stays with the clients, cleans their fish and helps them get squared-away and back to their vehicles. Many times, Jimmy won’t get home until 8:30 or 9:00 pm.

Now the next morning, if we need any tackle or bait, Jimmy’s up before me and goes by the tackle shops and the bait shops and gets whatever we need. Then, when he gets to the boat, he stores the bait and the tackle, and makes sure we’re ready to go out for a day of fishing. So Jimmy and Andy, our other deckhand, are responsible for taking care of the customers, the tackle, the bait and helping the customers land the fish, get the fish onboard and put them safely into the ice chest.

To learn more about fishing with Captain Bobby Walker, call 251-981-6159 or
251-747-3575, visit, or email For more information on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, visit, or call 1-800-745-SAND (7263). For one of the best places on the beach to stay that has nice amenities, check out Perdido Beach Resort. Go to, or call 800-634-8001.

Tomorrow: How to Get the Most Offshore Fishing for Your Dollar

Check back each day this week for more about "Three Generations of Charter-Boat Fishing with Orange Beach, Alabama’s Walker Family"

Day 1: Red Snapper, the Walker Family and the Largest Artificial-Reef Program in the World
Day 2: Charter Boat Fishing Has to Be in your Blood
Day 3: A Day in the Life of a Charter-Boat Captain
Day 4: How to Get the Most Offshore Fishing for Your Dollar
Day 5: The Future of Charter-Boat Fishing


Entry 514, Day 3