Frequently Asked Questions About Gulf Shores, Alabama Fishing
What is the Gulf Shores Fishing Charters?
We are a small business with a corporate office in Gulf Shores, Alabama. You may come to our office to book your trip or you may go through the charter boats listed directly on this site. We began with three of the best fishing charters in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores who had a vision to offer more than traditional charter boats do. Forever, charter boats measured their success, not by how good of service they offered, but by how many pounds of fish they harvested. These guides are pioneers of charter fishing in the area and have brought a whole new meaning to the word customer service in the charter fishing industry. They offer the best service in the charter fishing fleet and promote conservation. They understand how important it is to take care of our marine resources so others can enjoy them for generations to come.
When is the best time of the year to charter a boat in Gulf Shores?
Summer is best for calm weather and warm temperatures. Charter fishing is good all year round in Gulf Shores. However, the Summer months are our busiest because of all of the people on vacation. The weather is usually more stable and we have fewer cancellations because of bad weather. Fall, Winter and Spring are also good fishing. The weather causes more frequent cancellations during these seasons, however, we do have a mild climate and we do get to make most of our charters.
Do you offer walk-on or shared party trips?
No we do not. We do have the Orange Beach Charter Fishing Cooperative Party Boat that you can call at 251-981-3474 direct - that does offer trips on a per person rate. All of our fishing charters in Gulf Shores are private. Only you and your group will be on the boat during that time. It is up to you to get others to join your group. We do not put you on a list and match you up. This is very difficult and not everyone calling wants to go or can go on the same day.
How many people do your boats carry?
6 passengers. We carry six passengers maximum on both of our boats. Six passenger boats are also called six pack boats. Our 41' Hatteras is a six passenger boat because that is all our fishing permits would allow. If we did not use the boat for hire, she is big enough to carry 17 people. The key is "for hire." The coast guard came up with this rule and we do not know the history as to why six passengers became the magic number. Our inshore fishing boat, "Fish On" carries 6 passengers maximum. It fishes 6 people comfortably. Our party baot carries up to 60 passengers.
When should we book our fishing charter?
Summer months, Holidays, Weekends and Fishing Tournaments create our biggest rush of charters. You need to plan early so you get the date of your choice. During the Fall, Winter and Spring, fishing slows a bit but we still experience high volumes of bookings during weekends.
How long of a charter do we need to book?
1/2 day fishing charter is best. Inshore fishing trips are usually 4 to 6 hours in length. Our offshore trips range from a 1/4 day trolling trip, 1/2 day and a full day bottom fishing trip. 1/2 day trips are ideal for those who want to catch a few fish to release or catch a few for supper. Full day bottom fishing trips are for those who want to be on the water all day and or, keep a few fish for supper. If you have kids or you have never done it before, you might consider a 4 to 6 hour trip. If you have been deep sea fishing before, I would suggest a full day trip.
Offshore Fishing. How far out will we go?
It depends on the length of the trip. A 4 hour trip usually stays near shore or within 4 to 8 miles of shore. 1/2 day trips will usually get you from 10 to 20 miles offshore. Full day trips will get you from 16 to 30 miles offshore.
When bottom fishing offshore, how much fishing time is there in a trip?
50/50. When you go bottom fishing or reef fishing in Gulf Shores, you have to go offshore to where the artificial reefs are located. There are some reefs that have been built as close as 8 miles. Some are built way offshore. We take you to where the fish are biting. Reefs that are close to shore usually have more fishing pressure and the bite can be tough. We ride to try and get you to where you will have a productive fishing trip. The ride can be as short as an hour or longer, depending on the length of the trip. Most charters are usually divided into 50% ride and 50% fishing. We do what is called High speed trolling on the ride offshore. This type of fishing produces fish like King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel and Bonita during the late Spring, Summer and Fall months.
We have small children. Is it ok to bring them?
How Small? Most of our Summer charter business is serving families with kids. Children that are 4 to 8 years of age usually do ok on our 4 and 6 hour charters. We would suggest children be 9 or older to try and take on a trip longer than 6 hours. Again, it all depends on your kids. Remember, our boats are there to help you catch fish and operate very safely. It is up to the parent to watch their children at all times. There are fishing hooks and flopping fish that can cause injury to small ones if left unattended.
We are protective of our kids. How do we know if a fishing charter is family friendly?
We are family friendly. You never know what some captains will say or how their mates will act while deep sea fishing. There was a time when captains were known as grumpy, cantankerous old fools that would say anything or do anything to embarrass you and your family. That used to be cool I guess. While those days are gone, there are still captains and mates out there that push the envelope of civility. Distraction Charters is a "G" rated charter and we promise not to say anything vulgar, rude or unprofessional. Your kids and family are safe with us.
Do you have lifejackets for everyone? We have small children, Do we need to bring our own?
All charter boats must have personal flotation devices onboard. Our charter boats carry childrens life jackets that are USCG approved for children. The problem is, the orange ones are not very comfortable at times. Alabama law requires children 8 years-old and younger to wear a PFD while onboard. If you have your own life jacket that is more comfortable for your child, you may bring it as long as it meets USCG standards.
Do we have to purchase a fishing license first?
No. You do not need to buy an Alabama Saltwater Fishing License to fish on a Gulf Shores charter boat. Charter Boats provide your fishing license. Each boat purchases the saltwater fishing license annually for their guests. You do have to have a license to fish from a pier, the shore or in your private boat.
Will I get seasick? If I do, will I get a refund?
It depends on you. Getting seasick is something that is unique to about 10 percent of our guests. There are some good OTC medications such as Non-drowsy Dramamine and Bonine that work well. Dramamine Regular often makes people sleepy. Young children are often overmedicated by their parents and end up sleeping for a while. We do have some people that take two benedryl tablets to control motion sickness. You might get a prescription for the Scopolamine patch that fits like a bandaid behind your ear.
We do not give refunds for motion sickness.
Are fishing charters dangerous?
They can be. Well, you are around hooks and biting fish. There are waves that toss the boat around. You can get a hook in your finger and fall down. We preach safety and being safe at all times. We are not in a rush and every move we make is calculated to the point to where we stay in control of most situations. We do not fish in unsafe seas. Unsafe seas to us are seas that are rough, white-capping and waves that are greater than 5 feet. We do not fish when we think you will have a bad time. We do fish in choppy seas or windy days. We simply explain to you what it will be like that day. If we head offshore in conditions that are favorable and safe but become too rough to fish, we will return to port. If the captain feels it is too rough and he terminates the trip, you will only be charged for the time on the boat. $200.00 per hour. If the seas are safe but you want to come in because you are uncomfortable, you will be responsible for the entire fare or cost of the charter, including the tip for the mate.
Do you have a toilet or restroom on the charter boat?
Yes and No. Our offshore fishing boat has a private restrooms. Our inshore boat does not have a restroom.
Can I bring my own fishing pole?
Yes you can. Sure you may bring your own fishing pole. However, saltwater fish fight hard and your gear may not be suited to handle the fight. We will not be held responsible if your tackle fails.
Do I have to pay for a rod if it breaks or I lose a lure or bait?
No, not usually. We use new tackle and well maintained fishing gear. If a rod and reel fails on it's own, you will not be charged. If you drop one overboard, you will be expected to replace it. We lose lures, hooks and gear all of the time while fishing. You will not be charged for the loss of lures or bait.
May we bring beer on our trip?
Yes, as long as it is in a can. We ask that you drink in moderation. Excessive drinking and intoxication may lead to accident or injury. We are safe operators and expect you to adhere to all safety rules and regulations. You may smoke outside, away from everyone else.
What Items do we need to bring with us on our fishing trip?
Non-slip shoes, bright colored shirt for pictures, food, drink, snacks, hand towels, protective clothing (hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, rain gear, etc) and camera.