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Alabama Fishing Stories

10 miles south of Dauphin Island Alabama

This has to be the most incredible day of fishing that I have ever had, and we're talking about a lot of days. I've lived in Mobile and Gulf Shores all of my life and have enjoyed fishing in the Gulf of Mexico on a regular basis. However, on this particular day, my buddy Eric Harper and I had a streak of amazing luck. Not only were the fish biting will, there were also several occurrences that made this day memorable. We had left the Dauphin Island Marina around 9 o'clock in the morning, heading south toward some of the oil rigs. We are only in an 18 foot Wellcraft, but it has a 150hp Evinrude and 50 gallon fuel capacity, and on a calm day like it was, can get you out there pretty fast. Our first stop turned out to be a real hot spot for Amberjack, one of the toughest fish in the Gulf. We had just tied up to the rig when Eric spotted one of the big fish. These weren't little guys at all, the smallest one we caught that day was about 50 pounds. We tried to catch them using squid but they didn't want that. So we tried using Cigar Minnows but they didn't want that either. We had noticed that there was a lot of activity from smaller fish in the water around the oil rig so Eric decided to try and catch one of them using a speck rig. Sure enough, as soon as it hit the water a 2 pound Spanish Mackerel hit it. Eric tossed the fish over to me and I hooked it on my big rod and flipped the lively fish back in the water. The clarity of the water this day was unbelievable with visibility of at least 50 feet. We watched the bait swim around for about a minute before a huge Amberjack came up to investigate. We stood there amazed to see what was happening in front of our eyes. It was almost like looking at a fish in an aquarium. The Amberjack sucked the mackerel in but before I had a chance to set the hook he spit it back out. The bait was still alive and when it moved again, the big fish grabbed it again. This time you could see that he had the fish in his mouth much like a dog holding a bone. In fact, that's exactly what it looked like when he started shaking his head from side to side tearing up the bait. But once again he spit the bait back out before I could set the hook. The bait was dead now and drifted motionless in the water. The Amberjack was still there just staring at it until a jerked on it once. Then he grabbed it again and took off toward the bottom. I had him this time and the hook was set real good. Fearing that he might head into the oil rig and break the line, Eric unhooked the rig hook and we slowly drifted backwards. It took me about 20 minutes to get the big fish up to the boat where Eric put a gaff into him and pulled him in. After that, we repeated the same thing over again for about 2 more hours until the fish quit biting. We ended up with 6 of the biggest Amberjack that I've ever caught before we moved to another rig east toward Fort Morgan. There we caught 4 huge Cobia (ling) in less than 30 minutes. It almost wasn't fair the way we caught them, but none-the-less, who cares? The ling laterally were eating squid right from our hands. In fact, Eric thought about gaffing one of them but changed his mind realizing that it probably would have beat the hell out of both of us once it was in the boat. Before this day was over, we had caught so many fish that we didn't have room to put any more. We even caught an octopus that bit on a squid I had on the bottom. When I brought in in the boat, the tentacle broke off that had the hook in it. Kind of like a lizards tail, it was still wiggling on the hook. So I tossed it back in the water and just like that, a 5 pound Blue Fish nailed it. When it was all said and done, we had caught 6 Amberjack, 4 Cobia, 4 King Mackerel, 2 Snapper, A half ton of Spanish, 1 Blue, and 1 octopus that walked of the boat. Not too shabby for two guys in an 18 foot boat. Good luck fishing.


First Jerk Bait by Raymond Cansdale

It was 3 years ago in 1998, 1 week before bass season opened up here in New York State which is always the 3rd Saturday in June. I went out on Chautauqua Lake , which is 1 1/2 blocks from my house, to learn how to use soft plastic jerk baits, know here as the SLUGGO. I went to a place I know where there a small mouth bass but I was more interested learning the movement of this new (to me) lure. The first three casts I made immediately caught 3 smallies. I thought wow, this really works. But I can't watch the lures movement if I keep catching fish. So, I threw my sluggo in an area where it was inly inches deep hoping I could get a chance to watch it work. As i was watching and reeling very slowly, it stopped moving like it was caught on something. I thought to my self, hey this is suppose to be weed less. Just then I saw my rod move and I set the hook. I fought this fish about 5 minutes before I saw it was a big smallmouth bass. Another 5 minutes later, I think, I landed the biggest bass of my life. It was 28 in. long and guessing from the length and size, I estimated this fish to be at least 8lbs. I held this fish, looked at it in total disbelief. Then I slowly put the bass back in the lake and watched it swimm away. My hands and legs were shaking so badly I sat there at least 20 minutes before I said to my self. Lets go home. No one would ever believe this. But I know this bass made my life just a little bit better knowing, I caught a bass so big that in this lake, it would be anyone's trophy. But I did it. And as far as I know, it is still out there, smiling at me every time I go there to fish.

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