Jan 15, 2014

Alabama Gulf Seafood

Alabama Gulf Seafood is served all year long, but if you are looking to reel in and cook up a few of your own, find your favorite fish and see which months they are biting!

As they say, there are plenty of fish in the sea. But to make things easier for you, we’ve come up with a list of some of our favorite finfish and shellfish, where and when to find them, and some tips for preparation.

Amberjack

Known as a worthy opponent to veteran anglers throughout the Gulf Coast, the Amberjack is worth the fight. While it’s pretty mild on the flavor scale, a good cut of Amberjack will be thick and meaty when it’s cooked up. Bites January, February, March, April, August, September, October and November.

Black Drum

You’ll know you’ve hooked a Black Drum when you see one—it has a patch of whiskers on its chin, and it’ll put up a fight. Unlike most fish, the Black Drum varies in taste depending on the size of the fish with “puppy drums” (anything ten pounds or les) being the tastiest. Bites January, February, March, April, November and December.

Blue Crabs

You can find more than sixty varieties of crab in the Gulf Coast’s waters, but the Blue Crab is Alabama’s top choice. If you can crack those tough shells, you’ll find a real seafood treasure. Crab meat is soft, sweet and juicy all the way down to the claws. Hard Shell Crabs bite all year; the soft shell crabs bite in May, June, July & August.

Cobia

Not a fish to take lightly, Cobia will put up a fight with even the most seasoned anglers. An average Cobia runs about 20-30 pounds, but they’ve been roped in at sizes of up to 100 pounds. You’ll get plenty of good eating out of them too; they pack a sweet, almost nutty flavor. Bites March, April, May, June, July and August.

Flounder

Flounder can be found all over the place—from coastal passes to fresh waters as far upstream as a hundred miles. You’ll know you’ve caught one if the eyes are both on the same side. While the flavor varies a bit, Flounder are generally on the mild side in taste of the seafood spectrum. Bites May, June, July, August, September, October and November.

Grouper

From Reds to Scamps, Grouper is another popular catch along the deeper waters of Alabama’s coast. You won’t find a big difference in taste or texture among the Gulf Coast family, so expect a mild, sweet flavor from any Grouper you reel in. Bites January, February, July, August, September, October, November and December.

Mackerel (King and Spanish)

These sleek, medium-sized fish come in two sorts: King Mackerel (or Kingfish) and Spanish Mackerel. The “kings” and “princes” weigh in at an average of 10 and three pounds respectively making them a great target for family fishing trips. Mackerel hold a robust flavor and are often compared to Salmon for their texture and taste. King Mackerel bites in May, June, July, August, September, October & November. The Spanish Mackerel bites in March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October.

Mahi-Mahi

Mahi-Mahi is a true beauty of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Their bodies are a brilliant blend of blue and green with a golden yellow that reaches its fins and forked tail. But the real beauty comes from the inside. Mahi is a firm but flaky fish with a sweet, mild flavor. Bites May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.

Mullet

It’s not unusual to see a Mullet flying through the air. Not only are there entire festivals dedicated to tossing this fish, they often jump on their own accord, possibly to avoid deep-sea prey. The old salts will tell you that fresh Mullet is one of the tastiest fish you’ll find. Bites in March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.

Pompano

The Florida Pompano is a delicacy of the seafood world. But don’t let the name fool you—this fish spends plenty of time along Alabama’s Gulf Coast too. They may be small in size, but these tender, succulent filets pack so much flavor that they frequently fetch the highest price in restaurants and markets. Bites in March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October.

Red Snapper

Alabama is known as the Red Snapper Capital of the World. You can tell you’ve hauled in one of these beauties by its rosy red color. With a natural nutty flavor that goes well with just about any seafood recipe, Red Snapper is a premium fish on the Gulf Coast. Bites in June, July and August.

Shark

There are several different kinds of Shark that patrol Alabama’s coastal waters. Most of us were raised to fear Sharks, but what lots of folks don’t realize is that they make for great eating. Shark meat is a real delicacy, and its texture and mild taste draw comparisons to Swordfish. Bites all year long.

Sheepshead

If you’re not the type to judge a book by its cover, then Sheepshead ought to win you over. Its black and silver stripes earned this fish the nickname “the convict,” but the mouthful of flattened, human-esque teeth gave the Sheepshead its true namesake. You’ll enjoy every last bite of the pure white filets. Bites in January, February, March, April, November & December.

Soft-Shell Crabs

Every so often, Blue Crabs will shed their shells, and if they’re scooped out of the water before the shell can harden, they remain in this soft state. A smaller window for harvesting, not to mention a fresher taste and a unique texture, means that Soft-Shell Crabs are considered a delicacy of Southern seafood. Bites in May, June, July and August.

Triggerfish

For a fish that’s small in size but large in taste, look no further than the Gray Triggerfish. These guys are considered among the finest fish on the Alabama Gulf Seafood menu. Their clean white meat carries a uniquely sweet flavor, so give this fish a try if you’re in the mood for something different. Bites in January, February, March, April, May, June and July.

Trout

Both the Silver Seatrout or the Sand Seatrout cook up as thick, white filets and taste similar to any freshwater Trout. If you reel in one with spots, that’s that Spotted Seatrout (also known as Speckled Trout or just “specks”). Keep in mind, Spotted Seatrout are for recreational fishing only here in Alabama. White trout is bites all year long.

Tuna

If you think you’ve eaten tuna because you’ve had the stuff that comes in a can, you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. Gulf Coast Tuna—particularly the Yellowfin and the Blackfin—are not only great eating, they can make for great sportfishing trophies. Bites in April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.

Whiting

Some call it the “Southern Kingfish,” but around here we just call it Whiting. While this fish normally only weighs in around a couple pounds, their mild-tasting, flaky white filets make for good eating. If you’ve ever been to a fish fry, there’s a good chance that Whiting was on the menu. Bites all year long.