The Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast area offers outstanding fishing opportunities throughout the year, with one of the most popular timeframes being spring and summer for the availability of red snapper.

For new anglers, there’s a unique experience offered by Gulf State Park that teaches them all the tools and essential skills needed to fish on their own.

Angler’s Academy is Gulf State Park’s beginner’s guide to becoming a saltwater angler. The experience takes place at the park’s 1,500-foot pier, which is the second longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico.

This academy focuses on providing fishermen with the knowledge needed to make the most of fishing along the nearly 40 miles of shoreline that stretches from Fort Morgan, Ala., in the west to Perdido Key, Fla., in the east.

Anglers will learn the rules and regulations of saltwater fishing in the state of Alabama. They will also learn what tools are needed to fish in this area.

Anglers will practice tying knots, learn about the most commonly used hooks, what type of bait to use, and how to attach bait to the hooks.

All equipment is provided for this two-hour experience that is available from May through August. A minimum of two participants is required, with a maximum of 10.

For more information, call (251) 948-7275, ext. 92101, and leave a message.

Please note that all beach accesses owned by Gulf State Park have implemented paid parking. The pier features covered seating for concession areas and an indoor retail shop with tackle and souvenirs. There are comfort stations at the midpoint of the pier and wheelchair accessible rail fishing.

Following damages caused by Hurricane Sally in September 2020, the Gulf State Park Pier was upgraded.

The entire wood decking and railings have been upgraded with sustainably sourced ipe wood. This hardwood is extremely durable and increases the life expectancy of the structure.

All lighting on the pier meets the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s turtle-friendly standards.

The fish cleaning station has been upgraded and restroom facilities have been refurbished.

The pier is open to the public 24/7, with staff on site from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Enjoy this experience next time you vacation on the Gulf Coast even more by preparing your own catch for dinner in your vacation rental. There are numerous fishing-friendly condos and beach houses that offer piers from which you can cast a line.