Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gulf Shores Trip Conclusion

This Gulf Shores trip was supposed to just be a long weekend trip, but the weather was so nice and the kids were having so much fun, we pretty much decided to neglect all responsibilities back home and ended up staying 5 extra days.

When we return home early Sunday morning, its pretty much going to be cold and November. The nice weather of summer and fall are pretty much gonna be done.

So anyhow the last couple days down here on the coast we have just spent swimming, boogie boarding, shell collecting, and movie watching. Kids have been super active, having the time of their lives!! Last night we went souvenir shopping and ended up getting hermit crabs from souvenir city, that was always a highlight of mine as a kid, and it definitely is still a highlight these days as well! Those hermit crabs will be loved to death, literally....

Here is a pic of Neiko and Drake riding one of those quarter rides, that probably cost $.50 or $.75 these days....

We will leave about noon today. Our last day of fishing was Thursday morning. Not nearly as much action as Wednesday morning, but we still caught some nice fish.

Tyden holding up a nice speckled trout we caught early out in the surf!

These two gals from church came down with us as babysitters for the group. When you got tons of kids running around everywhere its nice to have extra hands helping change diapers, put kids down for naps, watch kids for going out to eat, and just to help play with kids on the beach.

Basically its these two girls who help make the vacation an actual vacation! Special thanks to Maddie and Livie for helping out so much!! Bringing multi-talented babysitters is a must for any vacation to the beach!!!

We use live shrimp for bait everyday, and we bring our own aerators down to keep them alive for the week so we always have fresh bait. Well at the end of the week there was a couple dozen live shrimp left, so since we were done fishing, on Friday instead of using them for bait, I fried them up for lunch!!

We stayed right on the beach at Lani Kai Condominimiums right in the heart of Gulf Shores. We fish alot right on the beach in front of the condo, but also love to fish at the Little Lagoon Pass about 2 miles west, the Gulf State Pier about 2 miles east, the Perdido Bridge and Beach about 10 miles east, and back in the backwaters of the lagoon on windy days. Occasionally we will head to Fort Morgan and go for monster Bull Reds and Sharks, but not that often cause its a 30 minute drive.

I have been fishing these waters on the coast since I was born and know all the people at the local bait shops, the local fisherman and charter captains. Also I know all the good restaurants, places to stay, and things to do as well. If anyone is headed to Gulf Shores for a family or fishing vacation and would be looking for some additional information beyond what the internet can provide, just shoot me an email or give me a call. I would be glad to point you in the right direction!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gulf Shores Day Six

We headed out to the Little Lagoon Pass right at sunrise and started fishing in the newly dredged holes right where the lagoon water pours into the Ocean on outgoing tides. Well this was an outgoing tide, and the big redfish were stacked up in there thick!

For 2 hours we caught one after another after another after another!!! The third hour we only caught a couple, and then we headed out to relax the rest of the day. So here are some pics I snapped of everyone enjoying all the action! We were drifting live shrimp and ghost shrimp out the current and the redfish were slamming them! Also as the track hoes were digging, they were dislodging all kinds of ghost shrimp, sand fleas, crabs, etc and the redfish were right there feeding hard!

Everyone got in on the action:

So here is Drake carrying around fish again:

We got back around 9:30 am and cleaned all the fish. Redfish are phenominal for eating and we have a special heavy duty fillet knife for penetrating their dinosaur like skin and bones! The daily limit in Alabama is 3 redfish per license and we LOVE eating redfish! We loaded up on them today! While cleaning them, their stomachs were just chuck full of ghost shrimp, baby flounders, artificial soft plastic baits, minnows, and all kinds of crazy stuff:

So we played on the beach for quite awhile and then headed to the Gulf Shores State Pier for a couple hours of fishing. Before heading to the pier, a school of Ladyfish came in on the beach while we were swimming so I quick got a fishing rod and let the kids real one in:

So at the pier in the afternoon, Justin went after sheepshead along the pier columns and I went after Spanish Mackeral for my secret Mackeral recipe.

The fish werent biting great, but we ended up with a nice cooler of fish and we were back by 5 pm to wind down and prepare for an early morning of redfishing at the pass again! We are going to get there about an hour before sunrise this time!

Gulf Shores Day Five

So the water is crystal clear and the waves are pretty much flat calm. Actually that is not usually the norm on the beach at Gulf Shores this time of year. To be honest fishing is typically much better with a little chop and some clouds, but we will take the ultra amazing weather!

We headed to the little lagoon pass today just a couple miles west of Gulf Shores to do some exploring and fishing. They are doing some construction dredging work on the canal that leads to the Ocean and that is going to lead to some dynamite fishing! Here is Drake playing in his heaven! On the beach he either has a tractor in his hand or a live fish. Literally he carries around live fish and loves them, more on that later, for now the tractor:

So basically that has us changing up our normal fishing tactics and we are starting to get a few things figured out. First off is that we are figuring out how wade out to locate and sight fish for giant sheephead right out in the surf. Can't say we have ever done that before, and may not ever get the opportunity to do that again, but that was the only way to catch a fish today and that was so much fun!

Here is the biggest sheephead we have ever caught in over 45 years of fishing the beaches of the gulf. I am only 28 years old, but my family has been vacationing down here since my parents were kids.

So there is a pretty cool story to finally catching this fish, plus another story that could have developed had we realized how special this fish really was. Turns out the Alabama state record sheepshead is 12 lbs 15 ounces caught by Drew Parrish in 2001. If we didn't top the state record with this sheephead, we were really close! Typically the sheephead we catch are about 3-5 lbs with a 7-8 lber being really big. We caught a handful of nice sheephead and also got this other giant that wasn't near the state record, but getting real close to double digits.

So back to the story on how we caught the near state record Boone and Crockett Sheepshead... So I spot this giant sheephead about 100 feet from shore and was casting live shrimp to it about 20 feet away. He came charging in and demolished my shrimp, but I failed on the hook set. Justin came over with his ghost shrimp and hooked up and fought the fish for a bit before it broke his line. We were pretty bummed until the fish came back to the same spot about 10 minutes later.

Justin goes for it and when the fish bit again he actually bit down so hard he smashed his hook closed with one chomp. I have never seen that happen before ever! The fish's jaws were so strong they bent the hook inward! So I go to the fish with my shrimp and get bit and he was off before I had a chance to set the hook. I real in and he had bitten my hook in half!!! Unbelievable what this fish was doing to us and our gear. His jaws just have superfish power.

So the fish is gone again and after 15 minutes of searching around for him I finally give up and head out for another fish. Justin on the other hand hung around the same area and finally the superfish shows up again and this time Justin and his gear performed flawlessly. Bamm and the battle was on. Now if any of you can imagine fighting a 13 lb bluegill you can relate to reeling in a double digit sheepshead on fairly light tackle.

When we finally landed the fish, I found the other half of my hook lodged in its jaw, and Justin removed both of his hooks from its mouth! So anyhow while we were chasing sheepshead, the kids were playing on the beach and Drake was playing with his new best friend:

The boy is completely obsessed with fish, so much so that even I think he is weird. He has to have a fish in his hand most of the time while on the beach:

We catch a lot of trash fish like bluefish, ladyfish, remoras, lizardfish, pinfish, etc. We found this little isolated pond that fills up with water at high tide that we release our trash fish into. The kids LOVE it. Here is Tyden giving this bluefish a new home:

Some more trash fish:

Here is photo that shows a little bit of our fishing setup on the beach:

Ty catches most of the fish!

Was a great day at the Little Lagoon Pass! The kids had a blast and so did the fisherman. We are headed to the Pass again tomorrow morning cause the tide is going to be flowing out hard and the construction workers have dug some very deep holes that will be loaded up with redfish in the morning!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gulf Shores Day Four

We started out the day by heading out to the beach in front of the condo about 7 am with the kids. We walked a few hundred yards down and found a little hole that had some whitings in it. We fished about 2 hours and caught about 20 whitings and some pinfish. Nothing big came around, but the kids had a blast.

Here is Mae and Tyden fishing away. They have to do everything themselves now.

Noah has to do it all himself as well. He is only 4 years old and can fling the bait out with spinning tackle. I fished alot as a kid, but was like 8 years old before I learned how to do what he does!!

Then it was playing on the beach for the rest of the day. I thought yesterday was as good as it gets for weather, but today is the only day that could ever beat yesterday. 81 degrees, flat calm, and sunny.

We headed out fishing late this afternoon and this time werent just joined by my kids, but all my sisters kids and my sisters friends kids as well. Made for an interesting evening, but boy did they all have a blast. All the kids got to real in fish and the guy down the way caught a shark that had em all excited. We caught some really awesome fish. Here is Tyden holding up a couple of the flounders:

Sarah and Katy holding up some giant sheepshead:

Justin and Katie with a big black drum:

Drake playing with a croaker. He loves fish and isnt scared to pick em up! When they poke him he just say OWW and keeps right on picking em up! He carried a dead minnow around with him all night, it was great!! He is so gonna be the biggest fish geek on the planet....

Amy with a Monster black drum:

We fished till about 7:30 and headed in for the night. Tomorrow the tide is goingto be just right for beach fishing and I think the whiting will be biting on the beach all day long so I plan on fishing while the kids are playing. Then will go out to some spots looking for some Mackeral and Sheepshead in the afternoon and hopefully some big redfish in the evening.

Gulf Shores Day 3

Sunday was calm, sunny and 79 degrees. You simply cannot make better weather than that! We got up early and headed out fishing. We actually didnt catch much, but we did manage enough to make fish sandwiches for lunch!

Check out the teeth on this Mackeral! Tyden sure had fun catching this fish. He was using fresh dead shrimp for bait.

So Spanish Mackeral is a phenominal fish to eat, but you have to eat it the same day you catch it. It does not keep very long at all. With that being said, we only keep mackeral if we can eat them the same day we catch them. One of the days this week we will keep a dozen mackerals, clean up the fillets real good taking out all the red meat and will actually cook them in the microwave. Doing this makes the pure white meat real stringy and chewy almost mimicking the texture and flavor of crab meat perfectly! Dip in butter and enjoy a feast fit for a king. Will hopefully have those pics tuesday or wednesday.

We didn't stay out fishing long, and headed back in about 9 am. There is like 30 of us down here and we had a little church service out on the beach with all the kids. The kids are all playing great, they spent the whole day playing on the beach making sand castles, catching kokinas, sand fleas, and little crabs. I absolutely love watching them explore!!

So back to the food for a minute, we have been eating alot of fish sandwiches which I don't have pictures of, but I do have some pictures of Sunday afternoon dinner. These pics are pretty much soley for Greg's office manager Miriam. She makes fun of me for taking pics of food, so here you go. Chicken and Macaroni and Vegetables for Sunday dinner!!

Here you go Mirna, this is what the feast looked like all put together:

Then back out fishing after dinner and we brought the family out for the evening. We caught quite a few trash fish, so that kept things interesting for the kids, but we didnt manage to catch very many fish for eating. Sunday was the last day for neap tide so the fishing should get much much better the next few days! My prediction is that Wednesday will be dynamite!! Anyhow here are a couple pics:

We stayed up pretty late, but the kids had a blast.