Hello from Captain George and Yvonne Pfeiffer. We would like to first and foremost thank you for your business. We appreciate your support in 2010 as well as the previous years and look forward to seeing you again this year.

We are very pleased to announce we have moved both of our boats to the beautiful Sportsman Marina at 27844 Canal Road in Orange Beach, Alabama 36561. We are less than 10 minutes from the Gulf. Sportsman Marina is cleaner, parking closer to the boats, nice dock store with sandwiches, drinks and supplies available for your fishing trip, award winning restaurant, Shipp’s Harbour Grill, to cook your fresh catch, and with a friendlier, more professional atmosphere.

The Gulf of Mexico is clean, clear and ready to fish. Since we didn’t fish last year, the fish are there in record numbers just waiting to be caught this coming year. Our captains and crew are professionals at every level.

Grouper season is closed from February 1 through March 31 and opens April 1. Red Snapper season opens as usual on June 1 and runs until the National Marine Fisheries closes it, an anticipated 50 days or so. The Gulf Council and National Marine Fisheries are discussing a two month closure of Amberjack in June and July but there is no final ruling on this as yet. With the abundance of fish in the Gulf of Mexico, we still anticipate a great season regardless of the decisions made by the Council or National Marine Fisheries.

As you may have noticed, we have not increased our prices in the last two years, however, as you may have seen at the fuel stations, fuel is on the rise and we have no control over those prices. They will, however, directly affect our pricing this year since fuel is our greatest expense.

Remember to call before April 1st for early season discounts on booking your trip.

We are looking forward to a great season. Look at our websites at www.FishOrangeBeach.Net and www.FishEmeraldSpirit.Com for more detailed information or give us a call at 888-558-3889 to schedule your trip today.

Posted in Action Charter Service, Alabama, Fishing Report, Orange Beach, Orange Beach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey guys, just as I expected we had a great trip. The weather was supposed to be fair on Saturday and then get better on Sunday and it did, but I think it could have been a little better on Saturday, it was a little too bumpy and rolling. The waves were only 1-3 feet but we had to ride out “in the trough.” Sunday was as good as it gets; slick calm, no wind, no current and the fish were biting.

Saturday we started off catching some White Snappers, Triggers, Mingo’s and some Real Nice Amberjacks.  Some were in the 60-70 pound range.  We did troll out and back but the water is still so cold that we didn’t get a bite.  After catching some AJ’s we went on out to the deep water rigs starting with the Petronius. We arrived about an hour before dark and put the Ballyhoo out on the slow trollers and pulled around the rig. Right off jump street, we got a double hook up. Two Black Fin Tuna.  I told my deck hand Eric to pull the lines in and let us try some jigging if they were going to bite this good. He already had the poles out and rigged up so we pulled up to the rig and started jigging. We caught a few kind of hit and miss and decided to go on out to the next rig offshore, (the Marlin) and try it for some Yellow Fin Tuna before it got too late. After high Speed trolling out there it was dark when we arrived so we tried jigging even though I didn’t see any fish on the fathometer. No luck, they just weren’t there. So, we hauled butt down to the next rig (Ram Powell) to see if they were there. The report I got from another captain just the week before was that this was the only place they did any good. So with high hopes we pulled up to the rig and made a pass around it to see what we could see on the fathometer. Nothing! Not a single dot on the meter. No bait on top or fish below. At this point I made an executive decision and decided to go all the way back up to the first rig we left, the Petronius, where they were biting.  We used this time to enjoy the Extra Large Filet Mignon that our customers from Birmingham, AL brought with them along with all the fixin’s from there restaurant. It didn’t last long, as a matter of fact if one of my deck hands hadn’t brought me a few small pieces I wouldn’t have gotten any, it went so fast. After we returned back up to the first rig, we jigged some more and caught several more Black Fin Tuna. However, everyone was spent by then, especially after that good meal. So we pulled out from the rig, dropped a squid over for a sword fish and caught forty winks.  We woke up around 5:00 a.m. and returned back to the rig after having some coffee where we resumed jigging and ended up catching several more fish.  By now the weather was absolutely beautiful. We fished our way back to the dock that evening and celebrated what a great trip we had.

Now the Cobia are running and we are tying on our ling lures. We have Cost Guard Inspection on Monday and right after that, I’M GONE! Check with me next week to get the whole story on the Cobia Run!

Posted in Action Charter Service, Alabama, Fishing Report, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Orange Beach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orange Beach Fishing TripEvery day that we get to go fishing is a blessing given to us. The ability to get out and relax and enjoy our friends and the good weather along with some good fishing is priceless. I am pretty sure that we all will look back on these days and say what a great time we had back then, I’m glad we did that.

Yesterday we had a small group of people, almost not enough to go out. Thankfully we did and it was wonderful. The weather was perfect, the seas were calm and the fish are biting like crazy. Yesterday, we had a 6 hour trip with 14 people on a “Walk On” trip on our big boat the 65 foot Bonner, Emerald Spirit. The temperature outside was around 68 in the morning and moved up to around 72 during the day it seemed. We generally ride for about 1 ½ hours out and fish for a little over two hours and then return to the dock after a full 6 hours. Even though it’s still early in the season we did catch a couple of King Mackerels on our last trip down deep on a regular two hook rig for bottom fish. That means they are here but just not up in the water column around the surface yet because of the water temperature is still so cold. Even still we did put out our trolling lines on the way out and on the way in. No bites yet; any day now! As usual the bottom fish were biting great and we caught lots of Vermillion Snapper(Mingo’s), White Snapper, Trigger Fish, Lane Snapper and even though they are still closed Red Snapper that we properly vent and release back. There are more Red Snapper out there than ever before and continue to get bigger and multiply tremendously. We expect a season like never before with huge Red Snappers on every trip in season.

We are going out on a two day trip this weekend and I’ll have a first hand report to give you when I get back. Check back Monday to see what all we caught!

Posted in Fishing Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Once again it’s time to dust off the tackle box, clean up our rod and reels, check the line on the spools and take inventory of hooks, swivels, leader material and sinkers. Before you know it summer will be here with all of the wonder of this year’s season. We are getting ready for our 2010 fishing season and planning on all the stuff we have to get done for our annual coast guard inspections and making sure that every thing else is ready to go.

Just in the middle of working on this we got a phone call to run a trip with 45 people from the Navy ROTC for a 4 hour trip. Needless to say, we were glad to go out for our first trip of the season even though it was a bit cool. The temperature was in the mid 50’s in the morning but warmed right up to a 67 or 68 during the day. With the wind blowing out of the northwest around 15 to 20 knots the clear sky’s and warm sunshine was a welcome sight. We left the dock around 11:30 and returned around 3:45, your average 4 hour trip. We traveled for around 45 minutes before we came to our first fishing spot. We used our basic two hook rig with a #4 circle hook. These are small wire hooks with a real sharp point that virtually do all of the work for you. They will catch anything from a pin fish, Mingo snapper, White Snapper, Triggerfish to a Red fish or a Bonito. Some of the inshore guides use them for Sheephead, Flounder, Pompano and Trout.

On our trip we caught White Snapper, Trigger fish, Mingo (Vermillion) Snapper, Red Fish, Red Snapper (we had to throw them back, closed season till June 1). We had a great trip and the people really had a great time. Lots of these guys had never been deep sea fishing ever before. That’s what the beauty of the 4 hour trip is, a chance for those who have never done this to get out and experience what it’s like to be out in the Gulf of Mexico and let the deck hands teach them how to use the equipment and catch fish. It’s all about enjoying your time fishing together with friends and making good memories you can tell your kids about for years to come.

Posted in Action Charter Service, Alabama, Fishing Report, Gulf of Mexico | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just released on WKRG, Channel 5 News: Red Snapper Season Cut? – Discounts Available Now!

By Pat Peterson

ORANGE BEACH, Alabama – Orange Beach charter boat captain George Pfieffer says if the federal government shortens this year’s red snapper season, he could be forced to find another way to make a living.

CALL NOW FOR AN IMMEDIATE DISCOUNT – 888.558.3889

“In between both of my boats, I’ll probably lose somewhere between 150 to 250 thousand dollars,” says Pfieffer. “We’ve lost a lot of business due to the economy and with the red snapper season being shortened, that’s compounded the problem.”

Federal regulators want to cut the red snapper season from 74 days to between 51 and 60 days. The feds say the cut would help stabilize the red snapper population many believe was over-fished last year. But recreational boat captains say that information is inaccurate.

“Snapper is not an issue,” says Tom Steber, owner of Zeke’s Landing Marina in Orange Beach. “There’s probably 25 times more snapper out there than there’s ever been.”

“It doesn’t just affect the fishermen,” says Pfieffer. “It affects the whole community. Hotels, motels, restaurants, everybody. Billions of dollars up and down the coast are lost due to economic impact and the cutback of snapper.”

Federal officials could make a decision on whether or not to shorten the season later this week.

Posted in Action Charter Service, Fishing Report | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

While returning from a four hour trip on the Emerald Spirit on August 12, 2009, we came upon a rare site. A Whale Shark easing along with seemingly no cares in the world. He had around 30-40 juvenile Cobia swimming around him. I spotted the Shark and announced over the P.A. system to the customers that there was a Whale Shark off the port side and every one rushed over to see as I slowed the boat down and approached with caution as to not spook the fish. We pulled along side and I quickly reached for my camera. It was as if he knew we wanted to look at him and take pictures. He simply laid there almost motionless, every once and a while swishing his tail to keep moving ever so slowly as sharks have to do to breath.

Whale Shark off Orange Beach - Call us if you want to have Fishing Trips like this!!!

Call us if you want to have Fishing Trips like this!!!

Whale Sharks are Plankton feeders and skim through the water for small minnows and other microscopic organisms. This is the time of year that we have lots of little red minnows that swarm in huge schools along our coast. Every thing feeds on them from King Mackerel, Red fish, Spanish Mackerel, Blue Runners, Bonito and Sea Gulls just to mention a few. It was a rare treat to see this fish that day because he was only around 10 miles off the beach. Normally they are known for living far offshore in the extremely clear Blue Water of the Gulf Stream usually located 40 or 50 miles out. However, we have been blessed with some real clean water lately all the way up to the beach. The Wahoo are starting to bite good again with this good water flow. The Whale shark was sighted a few more times by some of the other boats in the following days of our sighting. Maybe he’ll stay around for a while.

Posted in Fishing Report, Gulf of Mexico, Orange Beach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red Snapper Making a Comeback

By DAVID RAINER

Capt. George Pfeiffer deftly maneuvered his 65-foot charter boat, Emerald Spirit, to the spot where he had deployed an artificial reef a few years before and confidently said, “Watch this.”

Mate Eric Rochester and deck hand Drew Phillips grabbed chunks of bait and tossed handfuls into the water. Within seconds, the surface of the water turned into a churning pool of red snapper eager to dine on the free meal.

“I told you,” Pfeiffer beamed.

While I’ve witnessed red snapper rising to the surface to investigate the chumming efforts of anglers, never have I seen the number and size that acted as if Pfeiffer had trained the fish in his backyard pool.

The fish performed this trick on two different spots. The first artificial reef had only been down for three years and about 15 snapper cooperated. On the second spot, the snapper numbered close to 30 or so and the size ranged from 8 to 15 pounds – an amazing spectacle.

“Red snapper are at an all-time comeback through the efforts of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS),” Pfeiffer said, paying homage to the federal entity that controls the seasons and bag limits for U.S. territorial waters. “They’ve done a wonderful job through the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Unfortunately, the data is not showing how many snapper there are out there. Otherwise, they’d give us our bag limits back.

“There are more snapper out there now, in the estimation of all the charter boat captains that I know, than there’s ever been in my lifetime and I’ve been professionally fishing for snapper for 25 years. I’m 49 years old and have lived here all my life. I build my own reefs. I’ve been fishing from Panama City to Texas. The State of Alabama through its reef-building program with the three-to-one matching funds and the cutbacks in the bag limits has caused the snapper to come back in record numbers, as we saw today. You got pictures of snapper swimming all over the top of the water – 15-pounders swimming around all over the place.”

Recreational snapper fishermen, which includes the charter boat industry, have been under severe restrictions from NMFS for several years because the aforementioned Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that bag limits and/or seasons must be restricted for any species that is overfished or where overfishing is occurring. The current bag limit is two fish 16 inches or larger and the season starts on June 1 and ends on Aug. 5. Because of the restrictions, charter captains have had to change the way they fish to keep what customers remain happy.

“What we’re doing now is being more selective in the way we’re fishing – understanding where the fish are in the water column and choosing the right kind of bait, basically a much bigger bait that a small snapper can’t even get in its mouth,” Pfeiffer said. “It forces you to be more selective about the size of snapper you catch, thus having a reduced mortality rate from the throwbacks. Of course, it increases the catch size in the box. What we do is fish up higher in the water where the bigger snapper live. The smaller fish stay close to the wreck where they know they’re protected. The bigger fish venture away from the wreck because they’re wiser and older and can survive against predators better.

“Knowing all this from scuba diving and all of my experience – we can see them on the fathometer and we can tell where they are depth-wise. That changes from spot to spot, depending on the water currents and thermocline. Sometimes when you have a thick thermocline they won’t come above it or won’t go below it. In either case, I can look at the fathometer and tell my customers where to fish by dropping it (the bait) for a certain number of seconds, thus putting the bait right in front of the fish so they don’t have to swim through a thermocline. Also, we can be much more selective on what we catch.”

To ensure that release mortality is kept to a minimum, anglers on the Emerald Spirit are outfitted with large circle hooks and huge chunks of cut bait, whole squid stuffed with a minnow and live bait caught along the beach just outside Perdido Pass.

“We use the biggest baits we can, preferably live bait like hardtails (blue runners), threadfins and sardines,” Pfeiffer said. “We’ve got 10 Sabiki rods and we give the customers the rods and let them catch the bait, which they enjoy. It’s better than bream fishing because you can catch three or four at a time. We also catch pinfish in traps at the dock. We troll some and if we catch bonita we can use them. Bonita is the best cut bait. Otherwise, we use squid stuffed with minnows and big strip baits.

“According to the clarity of water, the salinity and brightness of the sun, they might like something better one day and like something else better tomorrow. We always have a vast selection of different baits. What we try to do is be selective and harvest a larger fish with less effort. Also, we don’t want to injure the smaller fish.”

Captains like Pfeiffer are trying to keep their customers happy with larger fish, but that turns into a double-edged sword.

“They keep shortening our season because of the total allowable catch,” Pfeiffer said. “The reason they’re doing that is they say that overfishing is occurring so they keep cutting us back. The thing is the snapper are a lot bigger and there’s more than there have ever been. Consequently, now they’re saying that because the fish are bigger we’re harvesting more pounds, so we’re going to go over the limit again. It’s a Catch-22.

“We’re trying our best to survive, but we are going broke. There are several hundred boats that have gone out of business. The economists are saying next year is going to be just as bad, so we don’t expect a turnaround for two or three years.”

Throw in Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina and several other tropical storms and one can understand why the number of charter boats is dwindling along the Gulf Coast.

“With the bad economy, people are not willing to come down here when they can only catch two red snapper,” Pfeiffer said. “Our business is off from 60 to 70 percent from just the change in bag limit and the season, which coincides with the total allowable catch (TAC) that has been reduced by NMFS. We’re working with a 65-day snapper season where it used to be a six-month season.”

For Ira Burris, the dedicated Gulf angler who organized the trip on Emerald Spirit with a number of his co-workers from Bagby & Russell Electric Company in Mobile, a longer season would make the two-fish limit much more tolerable.

“For them (charter boats) to be able to make it, we just need a longer season,” Burris said. “Keep it at two fish, but give us more time to fish. When you charter a boat like this you’re just looking for a good time and decent-sized fish. I had met Capt. George before and I knew his passion for fishing. He promised us he would put us on some good-sized fish and he didn’t let us down.”

With the current regulations, the charter industry along the Gulf Coast is desperately trying to educate anglers about the other species of fish available to catch. It’s a difficult task because Orange Beach has been known as the “Snapper Capital of the World” for decades.

“We’re trying to tell our customers – and it’s a hard thing to do – that there are other things to catch besides red snapper,” Pfeiffer said. “I remind my customers there are lots of other fish out there. On an average 12-hour trip, we spend three or four hours fishing for snapper. That’s about half of your fishing day. If snapper season is closed, we simply fish for something else – grouper, scamp and amberjack. We are currently using deep-drop electric reels that will fish in 700, 800, 1,000 feet of water. That’s where you catch the yellowedge grouper, snowy grouper, tilefish and scamp. These fish live in water that’s 250 feet deep plus. We understand that that’s hard for the average person to wind. A couple of drops and they’re tired. That’s why we’ve incorporated the electric reels and the braided line that cuts through the water. So I tell my customers that we will use the time normally devoted to red snapper to look for grouper and other stuff. Actually, you’ll have as many or more pounds of fish in your cooler than you would when you can catch snapper. And to be honest, it’s better table fare.

“But it’s not like snapper fishing where you pull up to a spot and you get a bite instantly. With grouper fishing, they’re scattered around on natural bottom and you have to be patient. You may have to move around, but eventually it pays off. I let them know that before we leave the dock so they’ll know what to expect.”

Pfeiffer said he does all he can to help NMFS and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division gather accurate information about each fishing trip – including the number of fish caught, how many were released, now many were released alive and how many were eaten by bottlenose dolphin.

“The only problem is this is a paper trail and a paper trail takes time,” he said. “We’re trying to implement some electronic reporting methods with laptops linked to satellites that we would use to upload data that day. The main purpose is to provide accurate data to NMFS for its survey so we can get our seasons and bag limits back.”

Pfeiffer admitted that he picked out several prime spots for our trip.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I wanted to show exactly how easy it is for anybody to go out there and see the fish so thick that they swim on top of the water. People are catching snapper in Escambia River at Pensacola and they’re catching them in the upper end of Mobile Bay. The fish are in places they’ve never been before because of the efforts of NMFS.

“And if they don’t do something about it soon, there are going to be red snapper swimming around in schools like piranha, eating the swimmers 10 feet off the beach,” he added with a hearty laugh.

PHOTOS: Red snapper rise to the surface to eat bait.

Karl Baldwin holds up a large red snapper caught off the Emerald Spirit.

Buddy Kroner holding an amberjack caught during a recent Gulf fishing excursion.

Posted in Alabama, Fishing Report, Gulf Shores, Gulf of Mexico, Orange Beach, Perdido Pass | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

 
Emerald Spirit Maiden Voyage
Emerald Spirit Maiden Voyage

She was a lean mean “fishing machine” as we headed out on our overnight maiden fishing voyage aboard the new Emerald Spirit.  The excitement had built as the month long anticipated trip had finally arrived.  Some anglers came to the boat the night before as they pulled into town to find last minute preparations taking place.  They went to purchase a Saltwater Series Tournament ticket and were off to get a good night’s rest for the 36 hour fishing marathon.

About twelve men gathered at daybreak to board the new vessel.  She gleamed metallically as the sun rose awaiting her captain and crew to charter into unknown territory.  The first stop brought us Mingos and a few Scamp.  We caught Red Grouper, Gag Grouper as we fished out to the rigs where we got Amberjack.  As the afternoon went on we got our evening Tuna as we grilled on the Big Green Egg.  We shut down about 2 a.m. for a few hours rest and then were back up after the Tuna for the early morning catch.  When the Tuna quit biting we moved on to more Amberjack and Grouper, Scamp and Mingos to arrive back at 6 p.m. with 1200 pounds of fish (see picture).  It was a great first trip for an experienced captain and crew. 

When we arrived at the dock we were so pumped up exclaiming how much fun had been had, how much food eaten and how it had been the best fishing trip ever.  We weighed in for the tournament and ended up with three fish on the board, an 11 pound Trigger, which currently still holds 1st place; a 55.6 pound Amberjack which was third and a 4.8 pound Mingo which is big for that species.   

Come on down and catch fish with us – GUARANTEED FUN!  

Emerald Spirit Maiden Voyage

Emerald Spirit Maiden Voyage

Captain George Pfeiffer

Action Charter Service

888-558-3889

www.FishEmeraldSpirit.Com 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The newest and most improved boat to the Gulf – “The Emerald Spirit” has arrived and is ready for fun in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama.  The 65’ Bonner has been completely renovated inside and out with all new amenities, including, hot and cold showers, ice machine, cushions in the v-berths to sleep 12, mirrored ceilings, and a brand new large green egg grill.  This girl has all new electronics, twin 600 hp Lugger Engines that cruise about 19 knots.  The boat is certified for 49 passengers; has 70 brand new matching custom rods and reels and is geared up for all types of fishing, including tournaments, overnight tuna and marlin trips, day trip bottom fishing for Snapper, Trigger, Grouper and offshore for Amberjack and Wahoo.  We also accommodate corporate outing trips for a different meeting experience.  When we aren’t fishing private trips, we will have affordable walk-on party boat trips so it’s a very versatile vessel indeed.  Captain George Pfeiffer who was born and raised locally fishing this area will own and operate the Emerald Spirit.  With his reputation and knowledge of the sport, it is sure to be an unforgettable fishing extravaganza.  Check out our website at www.FishEmeraldSpirit.Com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishing Orange Beach - Cold-Front Catch

Fishing Orange Beach - Cold-Front Catch

We don’t like it when it gets cold, but the fish don’t seem to mind most times. As a matter of fact, they seem to notice the change in barometric pressure and go on a feeding frenzy. As the high pressure center approaches it draws in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico with low pressure. As the pressure drops the fish sense it and knowing of the impending change begin to feed. This gives us a chance for some great opportunities to catch the big one. We also remember to consider the tidal flow when planning your trip. In our area some of the best spots for bait are, under the bridge at the sea wall, out at the end of the rock jetties, on the point in the grass beads, generally somewhere there is a change in structure to give the bait somewhere to duck in and hide while being washed down stream. Remember, live bait is always preferred for offshore fishing for the big ones. If you have any questions that I can help with please call me @ 1-888-558-3889 or e-mail me CatCharters@FishOrangeBeach.Net.

-Captain George Pfieffer

Posted in Action Charter Service, Alabama, Fishing Report, Gulf Shores, Gulf of Mexico, Orange Beach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment