Eat. Sleep. Fish. It’s a way of life along this popular beach getaway
At first glance, you might look at Gulf Shores, Alabama, and be overwhelmed that there’s just too much water to fish and too much else to do. There is. There’s water everywhere from the Gulf on one side as far as you can see in three directions plus bays and inlets on the other. Plus, on every speck of sand and dry land, there’s so much to do you might not even be inclined to think about landing a fish.
But think about this. How cool is it to be somewhere on vacation and get to sneak away to go fishing? That’s a strange twist.
The only limitations on your potential fishing time are things like laying on the beach, shopping, eating fresh seafood, eating more fresh seafood, going to amusement parks and then starting over and repeating the cycle. You can load up a seven-day schedule from daylight ’til dark and never miss a beat.
Or, you can just do nothing. That’s what some people do. Grab a beach chair and an umbrella, a tote full of snacks and beverages and just chill.
If you are looking for culture, concerts and the like, choose another spot. They don’t like it when you call it the Redneck Riviera, but that doesn’t stop most folks. It’s a hop-skip-and-jump for folks from Mississippi, who frequent the area all year long. Summer is the peak season, but it’s an enjoyable trip just about anytime other than the dead of winter… or during a hurricane.
Eat. Sleep. Fish. Repeat
If you think about it, places like Gulf Shores are the model spots for the “Eat. Sleep. Fish” t-shirts, with of course, a line at the bottom that says “Beach Life.” It’s a fun destination for all ages and all kinds of people, with no stiff necks or extra rules allowed.
But let’s get back to that fishing. There is a huge variety of choices along this stretch of south Alabama and into the edges of neighboring West Florida. There are deep water excursions, near-shore charters and even easy inshore fishing trips, plus some great fishing action on the Gulf Shores State Park public fishing pier. The Pier is open with 725 feet of fishing space on each side of the pier.
Part of the damaged pier from Hurricane Sally remains under repair, but there is a covered seating area for concession area and indoor retail shop with tackle and souvenirs. Signs along the pier share information on native fish, birds and other area wildlife. There are comfort stations at the midpoint of the pier and wheelchair accessible rail fishing.
Ah, the fishing!
John Jones of Monroe, La., loves to go fishing in this area for speckled trout, redfish, flounder and an occasional black drum or sheepshead. He has done it for 20 years. He always fishes with Capt. David Brown (brownsinshore.net).
“I try to fish the first or second week of May to avoid the summer crowds and heat when I can,” Jones said. But he adds the fishing is good just about all year long. And even though it gets crowded, some of the biggest and best fishing is in the summer. And he puts his catch to good use, usually splitting the catch with whoever his guest is.
Charter boats of all sizes and shapes are available from Ft. Morgan through Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. They offer everything from inshore trips for reds, specks and flounder like Jones likes to fish for. They also go offshore for trolling and bottom fishing trips looking for red snapper, amberjack, king mackerel and larger redfish.
The eating part may be the most complicated part of a Gulf Shores visit. There are literally dozens of great restaurants featuring all kinds of cuisine, especially local takes on the fresh seafood. And it’s a short drive to the nearby “Emerald Coast” for even more options. How do you limit yourself to just three meals a day?
Tropic Falls is a combination unlike anything the Gulf Coast has ever seen before! Enjoy 23 rides and attractions at the Tropic Falls Theme Park and explore a year-round tropical paradise in the Tropic Falls Indoor Waterpark with 75-foot-tall slides beneath a convertible glass roof. Just outside is the all-new wave pool, Big Water Bay, with surf simulator, Coastal Curl and it’s just up the road inland at Foley, where outlet malls and other shopping could keep you busy until your credit card maxes out.
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is known as “The Little Zoo That Grew” and is a fun family visit. There are numerous recreational activities from putt-putt golf to go-carts and everything else in between. Waterville, Pirate’s Island, The Track and Jurassic Golf are a few of the most popular. Check out the Wharf as well, with its huge Ferris Wheel.
For a complete look at the area, check online at https://www.gulfshores.com/things-to-do/