OK, the holidays and vacations are over and it time to get back to regular fishing reports!
January has actually felt like January with much lower average temperatures than the past two years. What this also means is that the water temps have been lower as well. Inland waterways for the past week have stayed around the mid to low 50s and the temps on the beach have hovered around 57-58. Colder temps have kept the Speckled Trout in the rivers and creeks along with some smaller Redfish and Sheepshead. Live Shrimp suspended from slip float rigs have been very productive as have soft plastic lures and Mirrolure MR18s when worked slowly in deeper channels and river bends. On warmer days, expect the trout to move onto shallower flats adjacent to the deeper channels. When they move into the shallows, topwaters, suspending twitchbaits and popping cork/shrimp combos will work well.
In the surf, the Pompano bite has been slow due to colder water but the Whiting bite has been outstanding! Fishing with cut shrimp or Ghost Shrimp has been best. Fish bait on the bottom in the first trough. Using a lighter weight with your rigs allows more action and has been very productive. The most common bycatch has been Redfish and Black Drum as well as a few Sheepshead.
Offshore, all bottom species are open with the exception of Red Snapper and Gag Grouper and winter is a very good time to bottom fish as many species move in shallower during cooler periods. Natural bottom areas like the Trysler Grounds and Edge have produced some nice catches of Amberjack, Vermillion Snapper, Triggerfish, Scamp and Red Grouper. Most artificial structures will hold AJs and Triggers as well. All deep water groupers are open as well and a day of deep dropping is always worth the time.
The Tuna bite has been good, but a decent distance to the average boater. Ram Powell is a good starting point but Horn Mountain, Nakika and a few others have been the hotspots. Chunking has been the dominant method, but trolling small ballyhoo is another good option.
Sam's Bait and Tackle
27122 Canal Road
Orange Beach, Al 36561