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Fishing at the Gulf of Mexico Means Bent Rods and Smiling Faces with Captain Troy Frady Day 5: Captain Troy Frady on Fishing for and Releasing Sharks

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Editor’s Note: With red snapper season starting the first of June, John in the Wild wanted to give an update on fishing off the Alabama Gulf Coast. We contacted Captain Troy Frady of Distraction Charters with the charter boat “Distraction” based out of Orange Beach Marina. We asked Frady, “What’s your goal for each fishing party you take out?” He replied, “We want to have bent rods and smiling faces.”

Now if a party has caught all the fish they want to catch, still have time left on the way back to the dock and want to catch a really-big fish, we may stop at a big reef where we know large sharks often hangout. We may catch a shark when reef fishing, but if our party has some young men who want to test their stamina against one of the hardest-fighting fish in the Gulf of Mexico, we’ll give them an opportunity to catch a big shark. Although we don’t keep any of the sharks, we hook them, bring them up to the boat, photograph them and then release them. The easiest sharks to catch are sand sharks, reef sharks or possibly bull sharks. If our party wants to catch a shark, we’ll average catching one shark per trip. However, on most of our trips with moms, dad, children and novice fishermen, after we’ve caught all the reef fish we want to catch, our parties are usually pretty tired. Probably no one wants to go fight a shark for an hour or two.

However, if we have a party who really wants to fight a shark, that usually will take the entire 6-hour trip because the sharks we catch are very-hard fighters and may weigh over 100 pounds. If we’ve got some young teenage boys on board, and they say they really want to catch a big shark to more or less prove how tough they are, we’ll go to a place where we’re pretty confident they can catch a shark. Once they hook the shark, after about 15 minutes they may realize they may not really want to catch that shark. Once you hook-up a shark, the fight can take as little as twenty minutes up to several hours. Regardless of how tough you are, that’s a long time to fight a fish, even if you have two or three people to hand the rod to when you become too tired to reel anymore.

A factor that favors catching sharks is if the Gulf has an east current and muddy water. The biggest shark we’ve ever caught on my boat was in 2003. He was 14-feet long and estimated to be over 1,200 pounds. His head measured more than 3-feet wide. The average size shark that we catch on a 6-hour trip generally will weigh from 200 to 275 pounds, and most of these sharks are reef sharks.

To contact Captain Troy Frady, you can reach him at [email protected] or his website, or you can call (251) 975-8111. During daylight hours, Captain Frady often will be out of cell service, however, you can reach him by text and leave him a message with your name and phone number. He will call you when he’s coming in from a trip or when he reaches cell-phone service. He’ll be happy to talk with you.

To learn more about Upper Gulf Coast Fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ book “Fishing Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and Visitor’s Guide” at You may have to copy and paste this address into your browser. You also can go to John’s Author’s Page at to learn about his other outdoor books.

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