Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fishing Orange Beach and Gulf Shores with Captain Chris Garner

I met Captain Chris Garner 11 years ago when my dad and I had saved up $250 to take out a fishing guide while we were on our annual family vacation to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Chris had a small inshore fishing boat and just happened to have the exact fishing package we were looking for: he had a boat, he was available for our spur of the moment trip and he happened to be about the cheapest guide in the area. Typically in the world of guided fishing, being the cheapest guide in town and the only one with openings should throw up some red caution flags, but my dad and I were chomping at the bit just to get out in a boat and fish our favorite water.

Chris pulled up in a very old, small, rusty pickup truck and was wearing some of the ugliest commercial fishing waders ever. My younger sister Amy and just laughed and laughed at how high and awkward those things looked hiked up on Chris. Hehe, if only I had a camera back then, I would definitely have some serious blackmail material!

Anyhow, my dad, sister, and I went out for an evening inshore fishing trip with Chris out of Orange Beach. That guided fishing trip that Chris took us on quite frankly can never be equaled in terms of being memorable: we will never forget that trip! I was 15 years old then and am sitting here tonight playing the whole fishing trip back in my mind like it was yesterday!

We used super light tackle, 6-8 lb test and pitched live shrimp into holes and drop offs at strategic locations en route to fisherman's heaven in some bay. Anyhow we were catching speckled trout, white trout, and flounder like we had never done before and we hadnt even got to the secret spot yet!

When we got to this fisherman's heaven, we immediately started hooking up with huge speckled trout, black drum, flounder, and several other species of common inshore fish. The action was nonstop and Chris was literally working his butt of retying hooks, baiting lines, and taking off fish. We had never been catered to before, especially while fishing, and were loving every minute of this unbelievable fishing experience! Chris didn't fish on a time limit. We just fished until we ran out of bait and couldnt physically fish anymore before we made our way back to the dock.

Needless to say, but I will anyway, on our next family vacation to Gulf Shores we scheduled our fishing trip with Chris in advance! Our second trip was every bit as good as the first! We fished at night this time and my dad landed an 18 lb redfish on 8 lb test, Amy caught a 10 lb sheepshead, and we caught tons of trout and flounder by the lights! Chris, again went above and beyond for us. He literally hustled every minute of our 4 hour fishing trip, making sure we were rigged up and catching fish!

Anyhow, we have been fishing with Chris, every year since then and have watched him first hand literally work his way all the way to the top. Pretty much every year we would come down, he would have a bigger, cooler boat (a much nicer truck nowadays too!) Today, Chris is the captain of the 55' deep sea fishing boat, the High Cotton. Him and his crew tournament fish all over the world, take out bottom fishing trips, billfish trips, cobia trips, and pretty much all types of guided deep sea fishing trips out of Orange Beach, Alabama. He is definitely not the cheapest guide anymore, but he is definitely the BEST! I have seen him on the Outdoor Channel filming fishing shows!

His latest boat is UNBELIEVABLE! Nicest boat I have ever been on. It has 2 bedrooms, bathrooms, big livingroom, satellite TV, a kitchen, and a built in grill on the huge fishing deck. He also has a real nice house on the water for his fishing clients to stay in. It is completely decked out with taxidermied tuna, billfish, amberjacks, and pretty much all kinds of fish. The house has 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and comfortably sleeps up to 12 guests. The boat parks right out in front of the house to set the stage for the ultimate fishing vacation!

Not only does Chris know exactly where all the different species of fish are within a 100 mile radius of Orange Beach, he knows what mood they will be in based on the weather conditions, when to go out for them, and exactly what they want to eat! We ALWAYS go out fishing for what is biting based on Chris's recommendations. We don't waste time targeting specific species that may or may not want to bite, we target the fish that want to eat the most! Makes Chris's job much easier, and keeps our rods pretty well bent and the cooler full of mulitple species of fish every single trip!

This year, we are taking a crew of 9 out deep sea fishing with Chris on the High Cotton. My dad, 2 brothers and their wives, uncle feddi, father-in law Lee, Jared, and myself. We are planning on heading out about 50 miles in search of some amberjack, grouper, lane snapper, white snapper, triggerfish, and anything else that wants to eat a live pinfish or dead piece of squid. I know we are going to catch fish, my biggest worry is the WAVES! The forecast is calling for some strong winds all week and tomorrow is the only day that the weather will even remotely allow for a chance to head out to sea! Katy, Julie, Lee, and Feddi are all first timers and my mission will be to make sure there arms get worn out from reeling in fish!

1 comment:

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