John's Journal... Entry 230, Day 1
AMERICA'S BEST SALTWATER FISHING
Editor's Note: When the weather's cold and nasty outside, and the days are dreary, often snow will cover much of the nation's grasslands and woodlands. But as the Good Book says, "This too shall pass." Spring is around the corner, and now's the time to plan those inshore salt-water fishing trips we all look forward to while living through the ice and snowy weather. To brighten your day and give you hope for better weather to come, this week we'll be looking at some of the best inshore salt-water fishing destinations in America. Since many of the areas are in the sunny South, you can break out your bathing suits, shorts and T-shirts as early as the first or the middle of March. Many people wait too late to try to book with a good captain for a great fishing trip. That's why I suggest that you book now to get the most-productive captains and boats with whom to fish. These ideas and photos will help you think of better weather and fishing trips to come. Be sure and take plenty of photos and email them to us with a report on how your trip's gone.
The small port of Orange Beach, Alabama, brings in 80 percent of the red snapper landed in the Gulf of Mexico. Although this region has very little natural bottom, since the late 1950s, state, federal and local governments have built numerous artificial-offshore reefs there. Too, individual fishermen and charter-boat captains have constructed reefs each year. Consequently the bottom off Alabama's Gulf Coast looks like a war zone littered with 100 decommissioned tanks, several huge transport ships known as "Liberty" ships, bridge rubble, chicken coops, old automobiles, obsolete voting machines, concrete from roads and every form of reef-building materials known to man. This habitat has created the best red-snapper fishery in the world. Recently I landed an 18-pound snapper in this region and caught several weighing over 10-pounds each.
Because of federally-imposed length and bag limits, more and more big snapper continue to come to the docks at Orange Beach. You'll find numerous boats available for charter and an abundance of condos, cottages and houses for lease and first-class motels, hotels and restaurants.
For more information on charter boats, accommodations and sights to see in the area, contact the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 745-7263, or visit the Web site at www.alagulfcoastchamber.com.
TOMORROW: THE FRIENDLIEST FISHING VILLAGE