Category Archives: Outdoor Sports

Continue Alabama Rising Part 2

American Press Travel News–Part 2 of Alabama visit by Bob and Barb Epstein “On The Road Again”–After a great dinner at Lulu’s-owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister. Lulu’s restaurant has become an iconic emporium of drink and vittles, and the place was a real happening for families and anyone wanting to visit an American Caribbean spot full of fun and frivolities.
Last month’s article ended with a trip out on the Gulf for red snapper with Captain Randy Boggs of Distraction Charters. Fishing was excellent and we caught and released several fish in the 3-6 pound class with a couple even larger. No, we could not keep any fish for dinner, but the catch and release that Captain Boggs believes is important for the future of the fishery and was A-OK with us too! Do I recommend this Captain? Absolutely! Beverly Hogg really enjoyed herself hauling in these strong-pulling red snapper.
(www.distractioncharters.com Give Boggs or Captain Troy Frady a call at 251-975-8111 These guys are terrific at what they do. Their mate, 39-year old Ken Wright had the right stuff too!
After the fishing we headed out on an informative nature cruise with Sailaway Charters-we eased our way through the estuaries and backwaters of Longs Bayou and Wolf Bay. We learned about oystering techniques, crabbing and shrimping which is big business in this area. We checked out the various sea-birds and had dolphin (major residents and fishers) come over to inspect us several times. For more information, visit wwwgeocites.com/sailorskip
The next day we headed for Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research and Education Center- we meandered along a 5,000 foot elevated boardwalk that winds through 6,000 acres of coastal habitats and wetlands, including a protected estuary.

Orange Beach Gulf Coast Finally the Sun Also Rises on This Sweet Place

American Press Travel News--Flashback-—Bob and Barb Stopped to Smell the Roses —Just south of Mobile, Alabama, along the 32-miles of Gulf Coast coastline, lies an active beach community called Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. Last month Barb and I had a chance to stay, play, be greeted and introduced to the areas attractions, accommodations and dining spots-from fine dining to waterfront vittles that warmed the cockles of our hearts, although Barb would say: “made no dent in our waste-lines.” Recently the area along with Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida’s Gulf Coast took a hit from a man-made disaster: the oil spill brought to us all by British Petroleum.

We went to Orange Beach hoping to find things getting back to business as usual and we found this to generally be the case. Unfortunately, far too many tourists and visitors just don’t know this yet, or assume the worst from the heavy media coverage recently broadcast around the world-rightly so, but now it’s time to tell it like it is today!

Our stay was well complimented by having been ensconced in The Beach Club ‘Resort and Condominium project that had everything you could ask for in a great vacation paradise. The beaches were clean and white, the pool complex rivaled anywhere we have ever been that had this amenity, the restaurant served seafood’s and various chef prepared dishes that were quite scrumptious. Our condo apartment rental was 1st class with a wide gulf- view right out our bedroom windows.
Barb grew up living on or near the various saltwater shore locations in New York and Long Island in particular. Her dad, Herb wouldn’t have it any other way-he enjoyed and instilled in Barb the same love of the surf and sand at a few beachside communities that had been a boon to me too, as I love it all as well and got to fish into the bargain when visiting my then girlfriend, now 44-years my wife.

We’ve been to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores a few times and always loved the friendliness and cleanliness, and this time was like all the rest, except businesses had been suffering from lack of tourists.
However, based on many of the restaurants with busy tables full of patrons, you’d never think this was the case right now.

One of the restaurants we ate at: The Hangout where Rt. 59 ends and as they say: “the fun begins.” Even Paul Simon came to entertain here at their Music Fest which featured scads of bands and entertainers such as Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue group, and the Flaming Lips too to name but a few! We were hungry for a great seafood dinner with king crabs too! We were not disappointed. Make a visit to their web site: www.hangoutal.com or call for more info. At (251)948-3030. The Hangout was one swinging place and everyone rousingly joined in the song and dance venues. The next night we we stopped by under the Perdido Pass Bridge at the Cobalt Restaurant. The views of Perdido Bay were spectacular and we ate in a sunset setting al fresco, just outside of the many windows of the inside restaurant. The foods were exquisite, can’t recommend this place more highly and I tend to be conservative when recommending food emporiums, but not here. You can come by any size boat, or by auto. I tried their yellowfin tuna and avocado stack served between fried wontons-scrumptious, Barb had Spanish Paella-all in all a very memorable meal topped off with fried apple pie with ice cream and carmel sauce. Chef Jack Baker really does it up well.
www.cobaltrestaurant.net Call at 251-923-5300

We began our first day aboard a dolphin and nature cruise out in the back bay’s of Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Dolphins always fascinate me and as I believe anyone having a chance to get up close and comfy wit them. These playful cetaceans (they are in the whale family) are around all year in this area and together with the bird and other sealife made for a great beginning to our visit. Contact: www.cetaceancruises.com
Later in the day we visited the Orange Beach Art Center’s hot shop for a glass blowing demonstration. This the first and only glass blowing studio in Alabama open for public use. It was founded in cooperation with Bear Creek Glass and the studio now welcomes nationally known resident glass artist Sam Cornman. WOW! The many moves he made with 2000-degree molten glass to make a magnificent arty piece of table-top collectible well worth the watching and the buying. For more information: www.orangebeachartcenter.com

The following day I went fishing for red snapper with another writer Beverly Hogg, who was as interested in a great bite as I was. We were not disappointed!
As the various trips were quite inclusive and exclusive, yet anyone reading this can enjoy all of the above, there are many more venues we experienced. So this is a two part article on Orange Beach, Alabama.
Please look for an additional article that will tell the rest of the story next month.

Duck delight!

Planning a trip consider the real bargain that this area snuggled against Florida’s Gulf Coast tip has to offer. Contact Gulf Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau at 800-745-SAND (7263) or go: www.gulfshores.com

 

Mutton Snapper, Great Fighter, Great Tablefare!

Son Brian knows where they live! That’s a mutton snapper and baked up for 20-people!
Brian and Diane in the Keys. A fine bottom fishing excursion..

American Press Travel News–Update: 3/5/19–Bob and Barb “On the Road Again.”–My son Brian and wife Diane sent me these images of a very large mutton snapper they caught for dinner-actually it was enough for a party of people to enjoy for a sit-down meal. The mutton snapper is so called as it is shaped somewhat like a leg of mutton. One thing for sure, it doesn’t taste like sheep. It is a very tasty reef and bottom fish. Always remember; fish taste like what they feed on. Snappers feed on shrimp, crab and on other fresh fish.
Fishing in the Keys can offer a wide variety of excellent fish and seafood to chow down on. Besides fish there are stone crabs, Florida lobster, and incredible shrimp to put on the “Barbie.”
The Keys has more than 200 restaurants that offer these delectibles! These large members of the snapper family hang around rocks and reefs. They are ambush predators. Brian is now known as “Captain Key Largo” he is a licensed Captain and guide to the Upper Keys and surrounding Islands. Takes people fishing, viewing birds and wildlife and visits interesting places, beside doing waterway and front bar crawls.  go: Brian Epstein on Facebook, or give him a call at:   (954)-326-7360 

An Excerpt from The Book: “A Fishing History of the Keys.”

“A Florida Keys Fishy History of the Denizens of The Deep”

 

Curt Gowdy and President Bush out fishing with Bob Epstein (Credit Bob T. Epstein for image)

American Press Travel News–March 1st, The following is a short excerpt from Bob’s book: “A History of Fishing in the Florida Keys.” –From all corners of the earth, tourist visitors make pilgrimages to the Florida Keys to fish, and it’s no wonder, with more than 600 fish varieties in Florida waters, most of which are caught in the waters between Miami and the 150-miles down to Key West. And according to the writings of Zane Grey, a fabulous outdoor writer, and world famous angler, the waters between Indian Key and Bahia Honda Harbor were the very best in the world (as he wrote in the 1920’s). So, along with locals, and Americans from all over the U.S.A. who come to duel with offshore fish such as swordfish, marlin, sailfish, mackerel, tuna, wahoo, dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi), and a large assortment of other deep -sea fishes, the Keys is most noted for, it stands to reason that the real magnet drawing all to these boney islands, are these underwater finned residents of the Keys! Ask anyone about the Florida Keys, most responses would be about fishing, Key Lime pie-sort of the “apple pie & mom” of South Florida’s special nature, is what is thought of first.
Inshore, there is an entire hierarchy of fish-royalty, from the bonefish, tarpon, permit, the triage of the perfecta, to the snook, seatrout, red drum, and mangrove snapper, that today, as in the past hundred years, attract anglers to both shore, and canoe-fish as well as hiring hundreds of fishing guides and their skiffs, in pursuit of these fish for picture-trophy, and the plate as well. Today, with 43-bridges that connect each of the Keys Islands bridge fishing is also a great draw for anglers without boats, to bring their families and friends to go out to sea without ever getting their sneakers wet and still catch fish too!