John's Journal...

Alabama's Gulf Coast Fishing with ProKat Boats and Phil Mosley

Speed is What You Need

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: The second week of May, 2007, I fished the Alabama Gulf Coast for snapper, grouper and amberjack on a ProKat catamaran. Today, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island along the Alabama Gulf Coast produce some of the finest saltwater fishing in the nation. As proof of that, 23-year-old Brian Bailey, Jr. of Mobile, Alabama, caught what appears to be a new line-class world-record red snapper on April 21, 2007, the opening day of red snapper season in Alabama and the beginning of the Orange Beach Red Snapper World Championship (RSWC). But more importantly, it was Bailey's birthday. All the stars must have been aligned, causing some cosmic phenomenon that allowed Bailey to set a new red snapper line-class world record on his birthday.

“My birthday has been on the opening day of red snapper season for as long as I can remember,” Brian Bailey, Jr. recalls. Bailey was fishing with his dad, Brian Bailey, Sr., onClick to enlarge the charter boat “Kwazar” out of Dauphin Island, using a dead northern mackerel for bait. The 31.2-pound red snapper took the bait, stripping Bailey's reel line. Even at 23 years old, Bailey’s an experienced red-snapper fisherman. He knew he had a big snapper stretching his line and pretzeling his rod, but the 50-pound-test Berkley Big Game line held the hook secure in the snapper's jaw until Bailey got the big fish into the boat. “I’d already broken off several other snapper and grouper that were too big to get into the boat, so I tried to get this fish off the bottom and move it to the surface as fast as possible,” Bailey says. With all the paper work submitted, Alabama's marine biologists believe the IGFA (International Game and Fish Association) will certify Bailey's red snapper as a new 50-pound-test line-class world record. Bailey's fish will beat the previous 50-pound-test line-class record red snapper caught from Dry Tortugas that weighed 29.12 pounds.

But the story doesn't end here. Bailey's red snapper placed 4th in the 2007 RSWC, earniClick to enlargeng him $6,000. On the same day that Brian Bailey, Jr. made his world-record catch, his father caught a red snapper that weighed 30.8 pounds, placing him 5th in the RSWC and earning him $4,000. “We went out snapper fishing two weeks after the beginning of the tournament and Dad caught another red snapper that would have made the leader board,” Bailey emphasizes. “However, it wasn't bigger than his fifth-place fish. Because you only can enter one red snapper in the tournament, we didn't enter the 2nd big fish that Dad caught. Since the opening of red-snapper season, we’ve consistently caught 20-pound-plus red snappers off Alabama's Gulf Coast.” Thousands of artificial reefs built on the bottom by federal, state and local officials have created one of the finest red-snapper fishing artificial-reef programs in the nation.

“Having one of the smallest coastlines on the Gulf of Mexico, the state of Alabama lands between 35 and 45 percent of all red snapper caught in the Gulf,” Vernon Minton, chief of Alabama's Marine Resources Division (AMRD), comments. “One of the benefits of the RSWC is that each year, a portion of the $5 entry fee charged to enter the RSWC goes to the AMRD to build and deploy new reefs. Since the beginning of the RSWC, the state of Alabama has built more than 400-new reefs. Our artificial reefs are not only attracting red snaClick to enlargepper, but all reef species like vermilion snapper, amberjack, triggerfish and a good number of the pelagic fish like king mackerel, cobia and other fishes.” The location for these reefs and other public reefs can be found at

From research performed by Auburn University, the University of South Alabama and the AMRD, scientists have learned that artificial reefs attract and hold fish, and in the case of the red snapper, “We’ve found that the snapper are spawning and breeding and are fairly fraternal to the reefs within 1 mile of where they spawned,” Minton explains. Right now, fishing in the Gulf of Mexico couldn't be better for a wide variety of species, including marlin, wahoo and dolphin. Every day, charter boats and private boats pull into the marinas at Orange Beach, Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island with big catches of sport fish. With plenty of motels and some of the finest restaurants found anywhere in the country, Alabama's Gulf Coast has become a fishing destination for anglers all over the nation.

For the latest information on the 2007 Red Snapper World Championship along Alabama's Gulf Coast, go to

To learn more about Alabama’s Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors bureau, go to, or call, 800-745-SAND.

Tomorrow: What is Fishability?

Check back each day this week for more about "Alabama's Gulf Coast Fishing with ProKat Boats and Phil Mosley"

Day 1: Amberjack, Red Snapper, Grouper and Catamarans
Day 2: The Advantages of Catamaran Fishing in Salt Water
Day 3: Famous Kat Owners
Day 4: Speed is What You Need
Day 5: What is Fishability?



Entry 406, Day 4