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John's Journal... Entry 217, Day 3


Fishing On Orange Beach

Editor's Note: You'll find October the best time to go salt-water fishing with children in school, and most people thinking about football and hunting season starting, the beaches generally become deserted. Each fall in October, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach on Alabama's Gulf Coast host the annual Shrimp Festival, featuring food, fun and fishing for me and my family as well as the opportunity to hear bands playing all types of music and to view artwork, sculptures and crafts for free.

One of my favorite fish to catch at the Gulf of Mexico is the triggerfish. The triggerfish, at one time, was considered a trash fish, but I was fortunate enough to have a father who knew the secret of triggers. Back in the days when we fished with cotton hand lines on party boats that would carry 30 to 40 people, my dad would say, "Son, you go around and ask everyone if they don't want their triggerfish, can you have them? Tell them we have cats at home that need feeding." I did as my dad instructed, and everyone was more than happy to give me their triggerfish. After all, they were only going to throw them back. Usually on a trip to the Gulf, not only would we have red snapper and grouper to bring home, but two or three large ice chests full of triggerfish. Once we arrived home, Dad would go out in the backyard with his skinning knife and a pair of pliers and cut through the leathery hide of the triggerfish, pull the hide off the fish and cut out the beautiful white filets that most fishermen never realize lay beneath that tough outer exterior of the trigger. We ate triggerfish all winter long. They were extremely tasty, and we had plenty of them. However, in recent years, more anglers have wised-up to how delicious the meat of the triggerfish can be. Today, in many fish markets, triggerfish filets sell for as much as snapper filets.

To catch triggerfish, you need to use smaller hooks than most snapper fishermen use. The triggerfish usually will hold higher in the water than the snapper. You need a really-tough bait like squid or cut bait so that it'll stay on the hook after getting attacked by the triggers. The triggerfish has sharp teeth, a bony mouth and a face that only a mother could love. But the triggerfish is a good fighting fish and a delicious eating fish. According to Kevin Murphy, captain of the "Good Times," there are quite a few charters that come down and just want to catch triggerfish. "Even more of our charters now want to go catch triggerfish after they have gotten their limit of snapper," Murphy says. "Very rarely will we see anyone throw a triggerfish back as they did in the old days." If you've never caught and eaten triggerfish, you're missing one of the finest fish in the Gulf. The good news is there are plenty of triggerfish out there, and I promise you that once you start catching and eating them, trigger will be high on your priority list on your next trip to the Gulf.

For more information on fishing in the Orange Beach/Gulf Shores area, call Stacey Tatum at (877) 783-3474, e-mail jmurphy@gulftel.com. or go to www.alabamadeepseafishing.com. Also, contact the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitor's Bureau at (800) 745-7263 or go to www.alabamatravel.org or www.orangebeach.com.




Check back each day this week for more about FISHING AT ORANGE BEACH - THE SALT-WATER FISHING CAPITAL ...

Day 1 - Charter-Boat Fishing At Orange Beach
Day 2 - October Salt-Water Fishing
Day 3 - Fishing On Orange Beach
Day 4 - Catch The Kings
Day 5 - Bet On The Jacks And Other Salt-Water Fish

John's Journal