Is anyone in that area that can give some information on the completion and opening dates? Per the State website, the pier was to be completed and open in March 2009, but nothing further has been posted. Just trying to get more information before I make the drive and possibly be disappointed. Thanks
I think they are a few months behind because of weather and will be early summer at best.
You can go to emerald coast pier fishing forum and catch up on the latest.
A good site to pick up a few ideas and what's being caught.
I think Pensacola and Okaloosa are the next closest.
Thanks Bubba Feesh, I redirected my vacation this year from PC to Gulf Shores in hopes that the pier there would be open as it seems the one in PC wont be open by then. I have never fished the Pensacola Pier but am very familiar with the Okaloosa Island Pier. We arent coming until the 1st week of June so hopefully they will be able to get it done by then.
I think the latest is it will be open in May
Just got off the phone with someone at Gulf State Park. It seems the construction on the pier is not slated for completion until sometime in July now. Sounds like I will be heading towards Pensacola for pier fishing this trip, or hitting the pass etc. Now im totally bummed out, but any day fishing beats any day working.
I will be in Orange Beach June 5-12 and I was also hoping the pier would be open. I have never fished over there before, only from the pier in PC and Tampa. Is the surf fishing from the beach any good?
This is the OFFICIAL info website for the GSPPier set to have a "Grand Opening" July 23, 2009
Most of the info you need about the pier and park are available through this site.
I hope to have a report next weekend ;-)
Glad to see you here Pier#r
Alright I can't wait! Kind of sucks having an $8 admission fee though, thank goodness they will some annual passes, hopefully at a discount for the locals.
Also another good link with info:
Opening Thursday July 23rd at 9:00 AM.
Just a lowdown but they are already letting people on it, and fishing. Looks like they'll keep it going 24/7 too.
Yup, heard they're already catching kings and flounder off it.
ya just got back from there tonight. Seems fishing slowed a bit tonight mainly just flounder and blues and the occasional angel. We did get a barracuda though haha. I'll probably give it a few days to slow down a bit, it was crazy when I first got there at like 7 tonight. Nice pier though, and its going to be great for the kings and hopefully the speck soon.
Pier gates were opened at 11:00A.M. July 20. Will be open 24/7 from now on. over a dozen kings put on pier in first 3 hrs. after opening. Opening day was unbelievable. Bottom bumpers absolutely crushed the flounders. Bluefish were so thick they became pests at times. Two large schools of bull reds came through and all heck broke loose. Here are my experiences for five hrs. of fishing, one 30lb+ bull red, one 8lb. Barracuda, Two dozen blues 2lb avg. and 3 good runs from kings. Very enjoyable day. If you are headed this way any time soon, be sure to stop at one of the local tackle shops for some fresh bait. none around the pier, too many toothy critters around. Tight lines!!!!!
Keep the reports coming!
That is great to see a pier opening rather than closing. I'm just curious what there reasoning is to not allow trolley rigs?
Trolley rigs get in the way. Over here, everyone flatlines live or dead baits for kings.
Nice reports...any pics?
Getting to see and fish the brand new 1540' pier for a day was great!
But getting to see and fish the brand new 1540' pier for the whole first week was PRICELESS
My wife and I arrived in Gulf Shores Sunday evening for a week of rest and fishing.
Here's the view from the front porch of the house where we stayed
Needless to say (after a 58 month wait) I was anxious to see the pier (up close) and get out there when it opened.
My wife said I was like a kid on Christmas morning sneaking a peak under the tree as I was up at the crack of dawn to walk the beach to the pier
Dawn was 'coolish' for late July with clear skies and a light northeasterly breeze.
There wasn't a soul on or near the pier, it was a surreal scene with the waning cresent moon hanging over the pier...
The view from the beach was awesome...
And looking back toward the pier just before sunup and the lights turned off...
A GREAT sunrise over the Pavillion...
Walking back I saw a few ladyfish and mullet near the shoreline.
About 50 yards from the beach a 4 or 5 foot shark blew up on a school of mullet
It was really cool, but happened so quickly I couldn't get a shot.
I spent the rest of the morning trying to occupy myself (and not think about getting out there on the pier too much
So I took a drive to Alabama Point and looked around a bit...
Then stopped to castnet some bait on my way back.
Our plan was to go to the pier for the opening, then do lunch and I would fish the afternoon.
We got to the pier at 10 till 11 and I realized my camera was still at the house
We got back just after the gates opened and went up the gangway...
Right away I started seeing some familiar faces (John Gaines & Whitzell Wood) and a few others farther up the line waiting to get on...
I caught up with some old friends on the pier too (Cher & Otis say HI!
If nothing else the view is breathtaking the first time you walk through the 2nd platform...
Lou Villanova caught the first fish we saw landed (a sennet)...
Some of the 20-25 anglers on the end were already pulling up some flounder when we got out there...
Saw this guy catch a nice flattie...
And didn't realize right away it was "Cotton" (a guy I had traded emails with for years)...
It was great to finally meet him and his (now famous) son Nate face-to-face...
We hung around the end for a bit and I got to thank Trey Meyers (Asst. GSPark Dir) for all their hard work and a job well done...
Not long after we saw the first king mackerel get hooked up...
A real nice king...
Walking back I spied a familiar shape... (a 28"-30" speckled trout)
I knew I'd be back!
Thank You Lord, we got our pier back
After a shower, lunch and a nap I got back to the pier about 3pm.
I visited with some old friends and checked out the inshore possibilities.
The words "target rich environment" came to mind as I saw plenty of flounder being caught in addition to seeing a school of speckled trout
and several schools of black drum with a few redfish mixed in.
I started with a jig and soon connected on a slot redfish that was followed by a black drum one of the nearby kids pulled in on dead shrimp.
Their dad said it was the boys first experience fishing in saltwater.
They were having a blast with the drum, so I gave them the redfish.
A little while later I connected with a nearly identical 18 1/2" redfish
Over the next few hours I caught 5 slot reds (C&R on two), several black drum, two flounder and a 16" speck (given away).
Not to mention several reds that came unhooked and a couple of breakoffs on the 6# mono.
Here's my "Money Shot"
I tried on the end (a couple of hours) for kings but the frozen LYs (Scaled Sardines) I had never even got a sniff from the mackerel or bluefish I saw caught :scratch:
But I knew the next day would bring more opportunities ...
Thank You Lord!
I woke up Tuesday about 4am to get over to the pier to catch some mackerel. And it did not fail me
Soon after I got out to the end John Gianinni (J&M Tackle) hooked up a nice mackerel assisted by his two kids (Hannah & Hunter).
They had a spanish mack that went over 6 3/4# (just about a pound shy of the AL state record)
It was one of those mornings on the pier you dream about.
Clear skies and water, light winds and a small crowd with PLENTY of fish action
The whole end of the octagon was not crowded at all... (pan to the right to check the whole scene)
It didn't take my buddy Gary "programmer" to get his pier mojo back with the help of a silver eel.
Nice king Gary
Just about everybody out there was hooking up to good fish!
I luved this guy's form when he bowed up!
I flashed back to my early days on the old pier when someone would do a similar move
and Hollis Ledlow would yell out "Tighten down! Don't give em a inch!!"
Just after 7:30 it was my turn, FINALLY a 19 1/2# chunk
Within an hour I caught another 16#
So here it was 8:30 and I was done for the morning.
Time to clean the fish and get back to the house for shower, nap & lunch
They have two GREAT fish cleaning stations at the middle platform.
Both are large enough for at least two angler to clean fish at the same time.
While I was there this guy nearby caught a nice flounder...
And I watched a large school of bluefish tearing up the water...
There had been 35-40 nice spanish and at least 50 kings caught by 9am when a tide line came through (from the east) and slowed the action dramatically.
Also a few hundred flounder (no exaggeration) caught
After a well deserved rest and lunch, I got back out about 4 pm with two dozen live shrimp and a cup of FRESH dead from Frith's B&T.
The school specks were bunched up in the shallows and very cooperative.
I caught seven in about an hour (missed numerous ones too).
I gave the first two away to a man with a group of kids who just mentioned they wanted to taste some fresh fried fish
I stayed until just after dark and picked up a few more fish (flounder, drum, blues, ladyfish) but no more specks.
Can't complain though, here's my 'PM Money Shot'
It'd been another GREAT day on the pier, with three left to go ...
Thank You Lord!!
Dejavu all over again
Great weather with clear sky, warm temp, a little more humid with a 10 knot SW-WSW (onshore/sideshore) wind.
Sure made for a great dawn
Worth another look at sunrise...
John G introduced me to the Orange Beach Police Chief
Nice fella and he caught two nice kings that am...
Mike Gianinni was there with his daughter to catch her a king.
And they did
What a cute smile
For some reason a barge and crane cruised by about mid day
They went up to the beach and soon left with a single old piling on the deck.
Anyway, the fish bit right through the whole thing: Kings, big spanish, sharks, blues & even a brief tarpon hookup.
We snobbled up a school of jack crevelle that hung around for a while.
There were a few huge bull reds mixed in. The hoop on the net is 36"
I finally hooked and landed a king late morning (about 41 inches).
Gave it to a guy that hadn't caught one yet, and headed to the house for lunch, shower, nap and a 'cool one'
There had been a good number of kings landed Wednesday am by a few more anglers than on Tuesday.
Several dozen by mid day, and the afternoon run picked up with the seabreeze with another 25 or so caught.
Flounder fishing was still good, but not near the numbers that were landed on Tuesday.
Another fine day. Thank You Lord!
The morning king run was pretty good.
Thunderstorms over by Ft Morgan had the SW (onshore) wind blowing just right and I think the cloud cover helped keep the king bite going well into the morning.
There was a good crowd on hand at dawn...
Red sky at morning, kings take warning!
Some CARAZY stuff went down that morning...
This young man hooked a nice king on a Gotcha on the upwind corner of the pier.
He'd strung the line in the dark and didn't realize the line wrapped around his rod between the 2nd & 3rd guides near the tip.
The king's run nearly cut through the rod.
To his credit he played it well (on 12# mono) and we wrapped a piece of Gorilla Tape around the rod to help keep the line from cutting any more.
That fish was meant to be caught despite all this and a double gaff rope wrap up snaffu at the end
Anyway, a GREAT catch
This young fellow hooked up and fought his king like a seasoned veteran
Come to find out it was NOT HOOKED
His treblehook had caught the hole in the swivel of HIS OWN leader that had been cut off about an hour before.
The fish hung around that long (with the steel leader hanging out of it's mouth) until he caught it
I hooked a decent king about 7 am, but somebody had breakfast before I did
There were plenty of young kids getting king hookups right beside the old guys too
Kenny (the guy who caught THE FIRST KING) Vance's son...
This guy had his two boys out there and the both scored kings
All in all, there were about 20-25 1/2 kings landed in the morning along with some more nice spanish.
The flounder bite was way off from the previous days, but still a few were caught from the end.
And the bluefish were gnawing at the pilings again!
At 9am I went up to the pierhouse for the Grand opening ceremony.
It had already been a great day for fishing.
Thank You Lord!
Anybody and everybody that had anything to do with the pier rebuild (or claimed they did) was there or thanked
The State Park Director was the MC
Andy Andrews claimed to be the first millionare to live under the new pier...
Dept of Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley
And (of course) Gov. Bob Riley
The Bass Pro Shop guy recognized Otis Bullard as the 1st paying customer on the new pier Monday.
They loaded him with a new alum.cart, ice chest, spinning combo, etc.
Even though he wasn't feeling his best, he was gracious as always.
Dave LaGasse of LCI Inc (the company that built the pier) was on hand...
And they presented several really nice engraved rod & reel combos to some of the people involved.
Including Mr. Hugh Brayon (longtime Director of the Gulf State Park)
Then they "cut the ribbon" and it was over
I found Otis in the crowd to congratulate him...
The press was buzzing the governor...
But thanks to Ken Cooper (http://www.OrangeBeach.ws) for insisting I hang around there for a photo op
I got to tell the Governor thanks to the state of Alabama from all the pier fishers who'd been disenfranchised by Hurricane Ivan.
And I asked him to bring his kids back next time so we could get them all hooked up with some fish out on the pier
I still haven't washed that hand
It was pretty neat to be there and see it all go down.
And thank You Lord, we got our pier back!
After a shower, lunch and a nap I was ready to get back out on the pier.
Lemme tell ya, this pace is NOT for the faint of heart.
I'd endured a couple of years of training (walking out to Pelican Spit to fish) in anticipation for this week
I heard somebody remarking about all the blood trails on the new pier deck, saying it looked like a crime scene...
We call this one "Remora CSI "...
The kings bite picked back up with the afternoon seabreeze.
I got to fish with some 'new' people and several of my old buddies too,
including "Pug" Beemis who caught a pair of nice kings (and looked good doing it)
Even I caught one (whole this time).
Thanks to Claude from LA for the assist, and the cool jigs too...
It had been some kinna day to remember,
and I thank the good Lord for that!