Marina helps family experience deep sea fishing in Orange Beach
GULF SHORES AND ORANGE BEACH, ALA.
– Who wants to go to Disney World when you can go deep sea fishing instead? The Snodgrass family from LaGrange, Ga. was all smiles as they walked off the dock at Zeke’s Landing Marina
with fish-laden ice chests and sun-kissed faces on the last day of May. Jimmy and Dannie Snodgrass, and their sons, Zach, 11, and Jacob, 9, spent six hours aboard the Jamie G, a deep sea charter fishing boat as part of their week-long vacation in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Ala.
Dannie said her sons were decisive about where then wanted to go for their first vacation in three years. “They actually gave up Disney World to come here,” Dannie said. “They would rather go deep sea fishing.”
The family had never been deep sea fishing before, but aboard their private charter they received personal training and service from their captain, Gary Goodwin, and his crew.
Spreading his arms wide to show how big his fish was, Jacob said the best part of the trip was catch and release of red snapper. The family also caught king mackerel and cobia, including one that weighed in at 40 pounds.
Another highlight for the Snodgrass family was the abundance of bottlenose dolphins to be seen out on the aqua blue water. “We were catching the red snapper, and one of the dolphins came up and caught the red snapper!” Dannie said.
Jimmy and Dannie both grew up traveling to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area for vacation and are now passing the tradition on to their sons. The couple said the white sand beaches and family-friendly atmosphere have kept them coming back year after year.
“We recommend it to everybody we know,” Dannie said. “This is like coming home for us.”
The anticipation and excitement began early for Jacob and Zach as their mom began planning for the deep sea fishing trip in the weeks leading up to their vacation. Dannie said she went to Zeke’s Landing Marina’s website first to look at different charter boats that were available. Then she called the marina to obtain prices and more information.
“We wanted a family environment, you know, something for the kids,” said Dannie. “And we wanted to fish for cobia, which are just in season, so the woman at Zeke’s picked out what boat would be best suited for us.”
While the Snodgrasses booked their trip in advance through a marina, there are many ways to book charter fishing trips. Like many other charter boat captains, Goodwin also has his own business website, www.jamiegcharters.com,
where guests can book a trip, or he also takes phone calls directly.
A Pensacola native, Goodwin has been fishing in the Gulf of Mexico for 23 years and running charters on the Jamie G since 1999. Offering inshore trolling, offshore trolling, bottom fishing and deep water fishing, Goodwin believes the environment of a private charter is ideal for families: “It’s more up close and personal. We provide personalized service and more specialized fishing; you get to be on more of a personal basis with the captain and crew.”
Tracy Redding, the owner of AAA Charters
, provides another alternative for groups planning any kind of fishing or sight-seeing charters. As a booking agent, she compares rates and schedules of over 70 charter boats in the Orange Beach area, doing the ground work and planning out the details for families and other groups.
“When someone contacts me, I’m looking for which boat and which captain and crew fit them best,” Redding said. “The deckhand, the first mate, is the most important part about your trip. They are actually really key to your experience.”
Redding advises groups to start making plans early to ensure there are more options to choose from: “Schedule your fishing trip for early in your trip, so then if the weather gets lousy, you can reschedule for later in the week.”
And while scheduling in advance may be ideal, Redding said that there are still many opportunities for trips that come together at the last minute. Groups that are not the planning type can often walk-on. While party boats are often the most convenient option for those who decide on short notice to book a fishing trip, groups should never discount the chance that they may be able to book a private charter, even up to the day before.
More fishing information about marinas and charters in Orange Beach is available at www.orangebeach.com/fishing.
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism
About Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism:
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism serves as the official destination marketing organization for the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in addition to the unincorporated area of Fort Morgan. To learn more about Alabama’s 32 miles of sugar white sand, visit either www.gulfshores.com
. This convention and visitors bureau is an accredited Destination Marketing Organization (2008-2012) and is an official corporate sponsor of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).