Thursday, November 21, 2013

Orange Beach Fishing Report for 11/15-11/21/13

The wind was relentless again for the past week and greatly limited the fishing. One thing is for sure though, there's always somewhere to fish and something to fish for.

The Redfish are still the main target for nearshore anglers fishing from the surf or just offshore. Huge schools of Menhaden (pogies) are migrating down the beaches and in turn attracting large schools of bull redfish. Trolling deep diving plugs is a good way to locate the reds when surface action isn't visible, but most mornings have seen great surface action which enables a "run and gun" approach. Running to feeding schools of reds and then casting various jigs, spoons and plugs is a great way to spend a fall morning. If the fish hold deep and trolling doesn't produce strikes, try locating large bait schools with your depthfinder just off of the beach in 20-30ft of water. The schools will mark as big "clouds" usually mid depth or on the bottom (check photo below). Drift around these bait schools working curl-tail and bucktail jigs near the bottom. Cut Menhaden or Mullet will work as well but be prepared for a lot of by-catch in the form of Gaff-topsail Catfish and small sharks.

In the surf, whiting and Pompano are in good numbers but ideal days have been spotty. Fishing the nearshore trough with sand fleas and ghost shrimp has been best. Sheepshead are becoming a more coming by-catch as well and their numbers have been improving around the jetties and other inshore structures. Live shrimp, Ghost Shrimp and Fiddler crabs will all work for Sheepshead.

I still don't have any offshore reports as of this time due to weather. Its been consistently rough offshore for nearly three weeks with very few windows to make a run offshore.

I was only able to fish 1 day this week. On Tuesday, a friend and I fished just offshore for Redfish in the morning and were greeted by a stout wind out of the ENE. It made for a choppy morning but the winds subsided decently by early afternoon. We found plenty of bait in loose schools in 25-30ft of water but it was "happy" bait without any larger predators pursuing it other than a group of pelicans that occasionally dove in. We drifted while working jigs near the bottom and this was the only way we scored fish. I fished 6" Gulp grubs on a 1oz jighead and just allowed the jig to bump bottom on the retrieve.

The wind is still going to blow pretty good for the next week it looks like, but once again, there's always somewhere for something

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Orange Beach Fishing Report for 11/8-11/14

A lot of things changed since last week. Jackets were put on, shorts were put away and our firewood sales picked up. The fishing changed too and although the offshore windows are fewer and further between, the inshore bite is more than making up for it. Bull Redfish are here and in big numbers. The past few days have seen great action with big reds from inside Perdido Pass and all down the beaches, from the surf and from boat. Boaters have it easy right now. The large schools of Reds have been balling bait near the surface and have been easy to spot by looking for large groups of Pelicans and other seabirds diving into the frenzy. Casting various artificial lures and natural baits will get hookups swiftly. I prefer lures with single hooks like bucktail or soft plastic jigs, spoons w/ single hooks and flies. This makes unhooking and releasing easier on both you and the fish. Remember, you can keep one Redfish exceeding 26" per person in Alabama waters and most beach-run fish will exceed this mark. When the tell-tale surface action is absent, trolling deep-diving plugs and planer/spoon combinations will find Reds deep. Pull these in depths of 20-30ft at a speed of around 4 knots and watch the depthfinder for baits schools or groups of Redfish. Once Reds are located trolling, you can cast lures on lighter tackle to reach the fish that are holding deep.

Flounder are still fairly thick around the passes, both Perdido Pass in OB and West Pass in Gulf Shores (Little Lagoon Pass). Fishing live bull minnows or small croakers will work very well as does bouncing soft plastic lures along the bottom.

The surf has been rough for the most part, but has given up some decent mornings for Whiting and Pompano. Ghost Shrimp and fresh dead shrimp have been top choices when the weather has cooperated.

Offshore reports have been lacking due to the rough seas, but there were a few boats that made it out for tuna this past week in fishable conditions. The Tuna bite was on at rigs like Ram-Powell, Horn Mountain and NaKika. Most fish were taken by chunking with few fish hitting trolled baits. I didn't hear any reports of billfish and there were some nice Wahoo caught along the 100 fathom line.

I fished Sunday-Tuesday inshore. It was a NEAP tide so I figured it may be a little slower. On Sunday I fished docks for Flounder for a couple hours and only managed one decent flatfish around 18" and some really fat White Trout. I fished Salt Water Assassin 4" sea shad in "space guppy" on a 1/4oz jighead.

Monday had a plan A of hitting the beach in the morning for Pompano but rough surf killed that idea so I got on a friend's boat instead and we went prospecting for Pompano just inside of Perdido Pass. We had a hard time finding them at first, but once we did it was great action. We landed 13 Pompano, several nice Spanish Mackerel, Black Snapper and some Bluefish. Almost all the fish hit live shrimp or fresh dead shrimp suspended off of the bottom. The highlight of this trip was definitely the 5.75lb Pompano my friend Donald landed (check our FB page for pics).

We went back Tuesday but the wind really changed the game and didn't allow us to drift where we needed to. We still caught two Pompano and missed a few more and also landed several nice Spanish Mackerel before the wind cranked up and blew us out of there.

Its going to warm up this weekend and hopefully some opportunities will open up to get offshore. I'll be out there if it does.

Chris Vecsey
Sam's Bait and Tackle
27122 Canal Rd
Orange Beach, Al 36561

Friday, November 8, 2013

Orange Beach Fishing Report for 11/1-11/7/13

We've been hammered by high winds in the past week and its really restricted where we fish. The inshore bite has been good though and the weather rarely disables us from fishing inside. The Black Snapper bite is still very good around Perdido Pass and around most structure just inside the pass. Live shrimp and small baitfish will work very well. Along with the snapper, flounder and redfish have made a very strong showing. The flounder have been in good numbers in Perdido Pass and out along the beaches. Live bull minnows and shrimp have been best. Redfish are pretty much everywhere, from the upper creeks to offshore. The bull reds have been schooling just off the beaches in great numbers this past week giving good action to surf anglers and boaters. Boaters can get in on big numbers of reds crashing bait by running the beaches and looking for birds as well as feeding fish up top. Casting various jigs, spoons and flies into the mix will usually result in  an immediate hookup. For days when you can't find the fish, troll deep diving plugs in 20-25ft of water and watch the depthfinder for bait schools or schooled reds. From the surf, casting chunks of fresh mullet will work very well. Expect sharks of all sizes to hit the same baits put out for the reds.

Other than reds, Pompano and Whiting are in good numbers and good size. I fished Sunday morning in Gulf Shores and although the bite wasn't red hot, I did land a 4lb Pompano and nice Whiting. The best baits have been sand fleas and fresh shrimp but I would keep a rod rigged with a Pompano Jig as well (I landed the large Pompano on the jig). For jig fishing, focus on working the washouts along the beach where they form a decent rip current. Pompano and Whiting work these areas to feed on sand fleas and other food sources exposed by the stronger currents washing the sand out. Work the jigs near the bottom along the washout. Pink and Orange are usually top colors for jigs.

No recent bluewater reports right now, but before someone turned on the wind, the Tuna bite was still hot at the rigs and Wahoo and White Marlin were showing up in good numbers near the Elbow and Steps.