Orange Beach Deep Sea Fishing: A Complete Guide
Jul 28, 2021 | 8 minute read
Reading Time: 8 minutes

The “Red Snapper Capital of the World” promises a lot already, but nothing quite compares to the Orange Beach deep sea fishing scene. This small city looks out onto one of the world’s biggest fisheries, and it’s calling you to explore it. Discover the US’s largest artificial reef systems, monstrous offshore oil rigs, and the deep waters beyond. You’re sure to get your hands on plenty of prized fish. 

An aerial view of Orange Beach on an overcast day

Yes, you can land a trophy-sized Red Snapper out in federal waters, but there’s much more on offer here. Try a multitude of techniques to entice the bite of world-class game fish and delicious oversized creatures, too. There really is no end to the fun you can have in the Gulf of Mexico.

One word of advice before we start, check that your Orange Beach deep sea fishing guide is happy to go as far out as you’d like. Some deep sea fishing adverts may only take you to the reefs. As we’ve already said, that’s just the tip of the iceberg here!

Top Orange Beach Deep Sea Fishing Catches

We mentioned that there’s a range of game and dinner fish on offer, but who are the stars of the show? You’ll find plenty of families of fish all over the Gulf of Mexico. So you can expect creatures of all shapes and sizes on the end of your line. And the further out you go, the bigger they get. Settle in for a pulse-racing activity as you try to reel in one of the following monsters.

Snappers

An angler holds a large Red Snapper with the waves crashing behind him in the Gulf of Mexico

As Orange Beach has such a reputation for Red Snapper, we couldn’t possibly leave this family off our list. And why would we? They’re known for their dashing looks, ferocious fight, and delicious taste. Oh, and they’re all over the place here. It’s not uncommon for everyone on board to land one measuring over 20 inches! However, you won’t always be able to keep them (more on that later on). 

The good news is that, even when Red Snapper season is closed, some other exciting and delicious Snappers are available. Lane, White, and Vermillion Snapper are all in abundance here. Settle in for some serious bottom fishing, and get ready to fill the coolers with plenty of meat to take back to shore. 

Groupers

A smiling angler holds a large Grouper caught on a deep sea fishing trip from Orange Beach

Where there are Snappers in the Gulf of Mexico, Groupers aren’t far behind. And Orange Beach is one of the best starting places for deep sea fishing for Groupers. Whether you’re fishing on the reefs or near the oil rigs, or deep dropping over 100 miles out, chances are you could land a Grouper. And the best bit is, they’re not far behind Snappers on the fun and taste scales, either!

Gag, Scamp, Red, Snowy, Yellowedge, and Warsaw Groupers are all available to take home, depending on where you are and what time of year you come. Meanwhile, whenever you’re in the Gulf, there’s always the possibility you could do battle with a Goliath Grouper, too. Whichever species you hook, you’re in for an impressive fight and, probably some delicious meat.

Cobia and Amberjack

A young angler holds a large Amberjack caught while deep sea fishing in Orange Beach

If fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is synonymous with Groupers and Snappers, then these two creatures aren’t much further down the list. Exciting to target and delicious to cook, they offer up many of the same qualities as their aforementioned counterparts. And they grow to incredible sizes the further out you go. 

They also inhabit the same kind of waters. So, wherever you are, there’s a good chance you could land one of these beauties. Bottom fishing is a tried and tested method to entice their bite, but they’re also prone to attacking your trolling lures. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, these creatures could be a welcome find. 

Mahi Mahi and Tuna

Three anglers hold a Tuna offshore from Orange Beach

If you’re looking for meat, few creatures come close to Mahi Mahi and Tuna. These pelagic beasts are beloved the world over for their taste, and their game qualities aren’t bad either. You’ll likely find these fish in open waters as you’re trolling. But when the season hits, you won’t need to go so far out.

If you are out in the serious deep waters, you’ll always have the chance of landing these beauties. Mahi Mahi peak from spring through fall but are available offshore year-round. Meanwhile, different Tuna species are on offer at different times of the year. Yellowfin can be found as early as February and Blackfin come into their own from April onwards.

Billfish

Two smiling anglers hold a Marlin caught on an Orange Beach deep sea fishing trip

Any big game angler worth their salt will have a few Billfish on their bucket list. Marlin and Sailfish are two of those creatures. These long-billed, dazzling fish are the epitome of big game fishing, and an Orange Beach deep sea fishing trip gives you a very good chance at landing one – or at least trying.

Blue and White Marlin, along with Sailfish, are available in deep waters in the summer months. But beware. All three are huge and will do whatever they can to get off the end of your line. They’ll all try to cut through your line with their bills, while Marlin will even leap out of the water. You’ll work muscles you didn’t even know you had, but the reward will be well worth it when you come face-to-gills with these true beauties.

And More!

Two anglers hold a large Tilefish caught while fishing the deep sea out of Orange Beach

That’s by no means the end to what you can catch on an Orange Beach deep sea fishing adventure, but they are some of the top catches. When fishing the reefs and rigs, there’s also a good chance of oversized Kingfish, Barracuda, and much more. If you’re looking for those delicious Tuna and Mahi Mahi fillets, then you’ll probably come across tough-fighting Wahoo.

However, some really rare rewards can be found in the serious deep. When the waters plummet to over 1,000 feet, deep dropping is the name of the game. Along with some of the most elusive Groupers, you can get your hands on some of the most tasty fish in the ocean. We’re talking about Tilefish and Swordfish. If you’ve got the endurance to do battle with these mighty creatures, then you’ll reap some serious rewards. 

When to Come Deep Sea Fishing in Orange Beach

A view of Mobile Bay at sunset with a fishing pier on the right

We’ve briefly mentioned the peak seasons of some prime target species above, but deep sea fishing in Orange Beach is possible year-round. With the mild winters of southern Alabama, there really never is a bad time to visit. Summer is the best season, but come in winter and you also won’t be disappointed. 

If you planned a deep sea trip, you should have already been aware that you’ll need to travel far. So what’s another 20 miles or so? When you head far enough offshore, there’s always something biting, especially on the ocean floor. Opt for an overnight trip or longer, and you’ll always be in for the best the Gulf has to offer. 

How to Go Deep Sea Fishing in Orange Beach

We’ve already touched upon some of the methods you’ll be using to get your target fish aboard. But let’s take a look in a little more detail. What is bottom fishing, exactly? Why is trolling effective? And how can you reach fish up to 5,000 feet underwater? Read on and find out…

Bottom Fishing

An angler bottom fishes around the oil rigs in Alabama

If you’ve never been fishing before, bottom fishing is probably what you imagine most angling to be like. It’s a hands-on way of setting your lure near the bottom of the water where the fish feed. You’ll want to try jigging or moving the line to mimic bait fish. Your boat will either anchor up and let you control your line, or you can drift along the water. Whatever you go for, it will likely yield results.

This technique is effective in Orange Beach when on the reefs or around rigs. It’s especially fruitful to land Groupers, Snappers, Cobia, and Amberjack. These fish don’t tend to be fussy, so even if at first you don’t succeed, try again and you could still land a treat. 

Trolling

A fishing boat trolls the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico

If you’ve ever wondered why some boats have fishing rods sticking out of the top, side, or back of them, you’ll have probably seen trolling in action. This technique sees you spread numerous lines across the water. The boat will then drag them along as they do the work of mimicking the bait fish. 

It’s an effective way of increasing your chances, and you can sit back and enjoy the ride while the lines do the work. But the fun only really starts when a fish bites. Leap into action at the sound of the screeching reel, and get ready to do battle. Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and Billfish are all common catches when trolling in Orange Beach.

Deep Dropping

An electric reel drops a line deep into the ocean

But if you want to reach the serious depths, only one method will cut it. Deep dropping is exactly what it sounds like: dropping your line to the depths of the ocean. Most captains use electric reels, which will help reduce your fight time, but some traditionalists can still opt to deep drop manually, too. 

This is how you’ll get to take on the more elusive fish Orange Beach has to offer. Warsaw and Yellowedge Groupers, Swordfish, and Tilefish will top your list, but there are plenty more surprises out there. And the best bit? No matter when you come, there’s always something biting in the Gulf’s bowels. 

Orange Beach Deep Sea Fishing Regulations

Unless you have a boat of your own, you’ll be relying on an Orange Beach deep sea fishing charter to get you on fish. In addition to having the help of a professional captain, your Alabama fishing license will also be included, so that’s one less thing to worry about. 

Your professional guide will also be up to date with all the latest seasonality and bag and size limits. But it’s good to know what you can catch and when, so that you can plan the trip you want. 

Federal Red Snapper season usually lasts from June to at least the middle of July. Gag Grouper is available to harvest from June onwards, with Red Grouper unavailable in February and March. Amberjack is also subject to strict seasons. You can find out all the information you need from the Alabama DCNR.

And You’re Good to Go!

An aerial view of Orange Beach with the bay in the foreground

With all that covered, you’re ready to embark on your Orange Beach deep sea fishing voyage. Of course, the only way to prove that the fishing is as good as we say is by trying it out for yourself! Head down to the Cotton State’s small but prolific coastline and hop aboard a purpose-built vessel. We’re sure the stories will live on for a long time. 

Have you ever tried deep sea fishing in Orange Beach? How was it? Let us know in the comments below!

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