John's Journal...

Alabama’s Gulf Coast Is Oil-Free and Open for Business

Anglers Come from Everywhere to Enjoy the Productive Fishing at Alabama’s Gulf State Park Pier

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: One of the biggest new fishermen magnets on Alabama’s Gulf Coast is the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Fishermen come from around the nation to the pier because:
* It’s the longest fishing pier on the Gulf of Mexico;
* It has fish-cleaning stations and restrooms halfway out on the pier;
* You can fish for 24 hours for $8; and
* The state has built three artificial reefs just out of casting distance from the pier to attract more fish to the area.

Click to enlargeKing mackerel, redfish and cobia are caught off the pier regularly throughout the spring, summer and fall. Ground mullet, whiting, pompano, sheepshead, flounder and speckled trout are caught nearer to the shore. If you’re wondering why an angler comes from Wisconsin to fish on the Gulf State Park Pier, according to Todd Weezy of St. Germain, Wisconsin, “I come to Alabama every year in the fall and in the spring to do maintenance on my grandmother’s house here in Alabama. When I get this close to salt water, I can’t stay away. I’ve been fishing off piers on Alabama’s Gulf Coast for the last 40 years, including the old Gulf State Park Pier that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The new Gulf State Park Pier just opened in 2009, and it’s the best pier we’ve ever had to fish from in Alabama. But the fishing off the pier isn’t the only reason I come. I also meet some really-nice people here on the pier. They’re friendly and helpful, and if you don’t know how to fish or which tactics, or what baits to use, they’ll be glad to show you. I believe I enjoy being around the people on the pier as much as I do fishing from the pier. I also like fishing the pier, since you never know what you’ll catch. The water temperature really determines what species of fish will be biting when you’re here. I don’t have any trouble catchinClick to enlargeg big redfish, cobia is strong during the spring, and now the big king mackerel are arriving. We also catch a lot of Spanish mackerel. I fish on the pier every day I’m here in Alabama. I’ll watch the tide and the weather, and I’ll plan my trip around those two elements. One night I came down at 2 am and fished until 9:30 am, but usually I come out in the afternoon and fish until well after dark.

“There’s a group of us tourists who fish out on the pier at night, and we call Click to enlargeourselves ‘tourons’ – half tourist and half moron. We come down here and fish at night, often for a month or two. We prefer to spend time here on the pier at night rather than sit on the couch and watch TV. Most of the time, we catch redfish, but occasionally we’ll catch a big shark, which is very exciting. Bringing a shark onto the pier is against the rules, but you can reel it, and once you see it, cut your line and let it go. We also often catch cobia at night here. This pier enables fishermen to get out past the second sandbar to fish, where we find and catch many-more fish than we did before the new pier was built. The biggest fish I’ve caught from the pier was a 42-pound ling (cobia). That day, I was out here on the pier all by myself, and I had a heck of a fight. I don’t believe I’ll ever have a fight like that again. I’ve also caught some nice king mackerel while fishing out here. One reason I’d encourage everyone to come to Alabama and fish off the Gulf State Park Pier is because if you don’t know how to fish, if you’ll just hang out here on the pier, someone will not only teach you how to fish but what to use and the type of bait you need. Too, if you hook a fish, they’ll help you land it. If you’re going to be on Alabama’s Gulf Coast this month and you like to fish, I strongly recommend you come out to the Gulf State Park Pier.”

For more information about the Gulf State Park Pier, visit, or call 251-948-7275 or 1-800-252-7275. For more information about Alabama’s Gulf Coast, visit, or call 1-800-745-SAND (7263).

Tomorrow: These Ladies Teach Fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast

Check back each day this week for more about "Alabama’s Gulf Coast Is Oil-Free and Open for Business"

Day 1: Fishing at Alabama’s Gulf Coast for Snapper, Mackerel, Triggerfish, Pompano and Inshore Fish in June - Y’all Come
Day 2: Red Snapper Time at Alabama’s Gulf Coast
Day 3: Anglers Come from Everywhere to Enjoy the Productive Fishing at Alabama’s Gulf State Park Pier
Day 4: These Ladies Teach Fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast
Day 5: Catch Big Red Snapper and a Bounty of Other Fish Now off Alabama's Gulf Coast


Entry 563, Day 3