Daddy Done It Right – a Fishing Birthday Party at Orange Beach, Alabama

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Young muscles strained as monofilament line knifed-through the cobalt-blue water, throwing up a rooster-tail spray. More than 100-feet under the surface, a 14-pound red snapper went to war with a 5th-grade football player, celebrating another player’s birthday. This trip to Orange Beach, Alabama, for members of the Steelers football team was not a usual 11-year-old boy’s birthday party. There was no birthday cake, chocolate ice cream, party hats or silly games for this football team when Christopher Dugas invited his fellow football players to his birthday party. Bent rods, squealing drags, a ham cooking on a Big Green Egg and plenty of snacks was the highlight of this birthday party. The rest of the weekend was devoted to swimming in the crystal-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and playing tag on the sugar-white sandy beaches at Orange Beach, Alabama.

For more information on fishing guides and charter boats, lodging accommodations, restaurants and entertainment on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, call Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND (7263), or visit www.orangebeach.com.

Young muscles strained as monofilament line knifed-through the cobalt-blue water, throwing up a rooster-tail spray. More than 100-feet under the surface, a 14-pound red snapper went to war with a 5th-grade football player, celebrating another player’s birthday. This trip to Orange Beach, Alabama, for members of the Steelers football team was not a usual 11-year-old boy’s birthday party. There was no birthday cake, chocolate ice cream, party hats or silly games for this football team when Christopher Dugas invited his fellow football players to his birthday party. Bent rods, squealing drags, a ham cooking on a Big Green Egg and plenty of snacks was the highlight of this birthday party. The rest of the weekend was devoted to swimming in the crystal-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and playing tag on the sugar-white sandy beaches at Orange Beach, Alabama.

Dr. Jeff Dugas, an orthopedic surgeon with Andrews Sport Medicine and Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham, Ala., wanted to plan a birthday party for his son Christopher and his pals that they would remember for the rest of their lives. When the red snapper started fighting their way through the water headed to the surface, and young arms strained at their rods, forcing smiles across the faces of the young Steelers football players, Dugas knew he’d thrown one of the best birthday parties ever.

Captain Dewitt Sightler of the charter boat “C-Rose” docked at Zeke’s Landing Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., says, “We went out a little further than we usually do on a 6-hour trip, but I wanted these youngsters to catch some big snapper and have big fun.” When 10- to 14-pound snapper started coming onboard, Sightler knew he had accomplished his goal. “The boys limited-out on snapper within 30 minutes on the first place we fished,” Dr. Dugas explains. “Then we kept catching triggerfish and amberjacks and catching and releasing more snapper. This fishing trip was one of the most fantastic ever. I asked a friend of mine, Charlie Bellsnyder, to go with me on this trip, so I’d have another hand on deck to help the boys with the fishing. But all the boys caught their own fish. They really had a great trip.”

The Steelers’ football team and Dr. Dugas took advantage of the special fall weekend red snapper season that runs until 12:01 am on November 22. From all reports, the artificial reefs off Orange Beach are loaded-up with snapper, triggerfish and other reef species. Knowing that catching would be more fun than fishing, Dugas planned this trip when he knew the boys not only would have high adventure on the Gulf of Mexico, but also catch plenty of big fish to brag about to their schoolmates, neighbors and family members. And, they have the pictures to prove it.

There’s not much time left before this special red snapper season ends. However, the boats out of Orange Beach fish all year, and when snapper season ends, they still catch and release numbers of red snapper as well as catch plenty of triggerfish, white snapper, vermilion snapper and other reef fish their anglers can take home to eat.

To book a trip with Captain Dewitt Sightler on the “C-Rose,” visit http://www.crosecharters.com, or call 850-587-4000 or 850-572-3106, or email him at crosecharters(at)yahoo(dot)com. For more information on fishing guides and charter boats, lodging accommodations, restaurants and entertainment on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, call Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND (7263), or visit http://www.orangebeach.com. You also can get a fishing report three times each week by visiting the “What’s Biting?” column at http://www.orangebeach.com/fishing/biting/. To have your catch cooked at a local restaurant, go to http://www.gulfshores.com/dining-nightlife/restaurants/ and check the box that says, “Will cook your catch.”

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