Gulf State Park Pier could be open mid-September;
Meanwhile, enjoy fishing for free at Al. Point seawall
If the remaining refurbishment work on the Gulf State Park Pier is completed and approved as scheduled, the long awaited reopening should occur around the middle of September. This news according to Lamar Pendergrass (Operations Supervisor Alabama State Parks – South Region) in a September 2 video interview with WKRG’s Debbie Williams.
Most of the work involves putting the final touches on the new wooden deck, refinishing all the concrete, and hooking up the electrical and plumbing fixtures.
Also there will be a fish carcass grinder installed at the cleaning station located on the middle octagon.
The parking lot and pier now feature shorter light poles with more ‘turtle -friendly’ shielded LED lighting, and the end platform now sports a 10 foot high (20 foot by 50 foot) observation platform which includes an elevator lift for wheelchair bound observers.
This will keep observers a safe distance from the sometimes hectic fishing action on the end of the pier. A date has not yet been announced for the official reopening, but stay tuned to local social media which should be abuzz once that news becomes public.
In the meantime, many anglers are still taking advantage of the unique (free) fishing venue provided along the seawall at Alabama Point (Perdido Pass) in Orange Beach. This popular spot saw a downturn in mackerel catches during the recent period of rough tropical weather. At that time anglers had their best luck with the plentiful mangrove snapper, caught using live shrimp or bull minnows. Keep in mind Alabama has a 12” minimum size limit on these tasty, popular inshore snapper.
Note: All fishing licenses expired August 31, so it is now time to renew them. In addition to having a regular saltwater fishing license, anglers must have a $10 Reef Fish Endorsement (even those fishing from shore, inshore, or over age 65) to legally retain mangrove snapper (or any other reef fish in Alabama). Also, they must fish with non-stainless steel circle hooks to harvest reef fish, such as mangrove snapper.
The clearing inshore waters coupled with strong tidal flow over the next couple of weeks should bring back plenty of ladyfish, bluefish, and spanish mackerel within casting range of these shore bound anglers. Also, look for increasing numbers of redfish around the rocks and the bridge. Since we are now into September, many redfish move to the pass and surrounding waters to take advantage of the plentiful schools of baitfish both day and night. A long handled landing net is a valuable asset for landing larger fish from the seawall or rocks.