Saturday, April 19, 2014

Orange Beach Fishing Report for 4/4-4/18/14

Wet and Windy would be the best way to describe this past week here in Orange Beach, but the fishing was still good and there looks to be some great weather ahead in the forecast.

Water temperatures are still well below average and we have yet to hold 70 degrees and above just off of the beach which has delayed the Cobia bite. Still, there were some very nice fish caught this past week between Gulf Shores and Navarre with a few Cobia near the 80lb mark. The fish this year have hit a wide variety of lures and baits without showing a true preference but on certain days the fish have turned down tried-and-true baits like live eels, croakers and such so it pays to have a wide variety of baits on board. All of the rain we had in the past few days has stained the coastal waters just off of our beaches so heading east in the coming week should yield better results on migrating Cobia.

Inshore, Redfish and Sheepshead still make up the bulk of the catch around Perdido Pass, piers and inshore structures but the Speckled Trout bite is getting better. There were some good trout catches from the ICW this past weekend and over the next couple weeks we should start seeing some trout action pick up around Terry's Cove, Bayou St John and maybe even larger fish showing up off of the beaches. The specks have been biting live shrimp well and using other, larger baits like croakers will up the chances for big fish. The Redfish will bite these same baits and Sheepshead will also take live shrimp.

Off of the beaches, The Pompano bite has been fairly strong and even with the lower salinity from this weeks storms, the fish are still being caught in good numbers. Most fish are being taken on small pieces of shrimp and sand fleas. Some nice redfish are being taken while pompano fishing as well. If you want to target the larger redfish, use fresh cut mullet or shrimp.

Further offshore, the Amberjack have been plentiful on most structures in 120+ft and are being taken with both live baits and a variety of jigs. A few Wahoo are starting to show up to the southeast near the elbow, but the bluewater action there along with the Nipple and the Spur won't heat up for probably two to three more weeks when water temps are allowed to reach the low to mid 70s.

The Tuna bite has been getting better around the 70-90 mile rigs like Petronius, Marlin and others in that range. Chunking with pogies and trolling rigged ballyhoo will account for most fish.

I did some inshore fishing and put in a short amount of cobia hunting over the past two weeks. The Speckled Trout have cooperated to a degree but the bite is still slower. I fished earlier this week and scored some nice trout up to 22 inches with most fish being in the 16-19 inch range. most of the trout I've been catching have been hitting soft plastic baits like the Savage Gear manic Shrimp and the Saltwater Assassin 4" split tails in silver mullet. The fish have been consistently holding deeper throughout most of the day but have been hitting some surface lures early in the morning on the incoming tide.

I have only made it out for one Cobia outing since rougher winds and seas have kept me inside the bays. I fished for a few hours last week and covered a fair amount of water but did not see a single fish. I had a time constraint however and did not make it as far east as I had wished. I later heard reports that there were some nice fish caught off of Penacola beaches and Navarre.

Our 3rd Annual Pompano Tournament is still running good and there are still 10 days left to fish. If you think you may hit the beaches in the next week and half, you may want to consider entering!

Forecast is looking better this coming week so I should have a good report next week.

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

A couple Specks from this week as well as a beautiful Redfish caught by Bill Murph

Friday, April 4, 2014

Orange Beach Fishing Report for Late March-April 4/14

Spring fishing is finally here and so are the fish that go with it!

The Sheepshead fishing really turned on about two weeks ago. Most anglers fishing Perdido pass and the piers have had no problem catching good numbers of Sheepshead. Most have been using Fiddler crabs and shrimp. The Sheepshead bite should remain good for two to three more weeks before the fish start to scatter and larger fish move back offshore.

Also inshore are good numbers of Redfish and the Speckled Trout bite is picking up as well. Redfish are being caught on pretty most inshore structure right now including piers and inland jetties. Live Shrimp, Finger Mullet or Bull Minnows are all great baits as well as fresh cut mullet and shrimp imitating artificials. Speckled Trout will hit most of these baits as well along with top water lures, twitchbaits like the 17MR and 18MR Mirrolures and Paul Brown SoftDine. Expect the Trout to feed along the shallower flats in the mornings and retreating to deeper water during the day along Ole River, Big lagoon and parts of the intercoastal. Once water temps warm up a bit, Larger Specks will start running the troughs just off of the beaches. Look for water temps in the low to mid 70s for good action with large beach-running Trout.

The Pompano light switch was just flipped and the Pompano are here in big numbers along with a good average size. You can fish for Pomps around the mouths of both Perdido Pass and West Pass along with the Gulf State Park Fishing Pier. The best baits will be Sand fleas, fresh dead shrimp and ghost shrimp. Pompano will also take bright colored jigs fished just beyond the breakers or jigged around pier and bridge pilings. Orange and Pink have been the best colors.

Spanish Mackerel are here in ample supply, but the Kings are still a no-show. Water temps just offshore have varied between 65-67 degrees, just on the cool side for King Macks. I expect the Kings to move in within the next week or so. We have a warm forecast ahead of us which should push the water temps to 68 and above.

The first Cobia of the 2014 migration were caught this past week and the fish are coming on strong. Wilson Gregory caught the first Cobia for the Gulf State Park Pier yesterday and many more were sighted or hooked. We have some rough seas forecasted for the weekend as well as some heavy rain which will curb the fishing pressure a bit, but the run should remain strong for at least a few more weeks before slowly tapering off as the fish start to take up residence on offshore structures and rigs. The tried and true baits and lures will work of course with live Eels and larger baitfish being top choices for larger fish.

Offshore, the shallow water grouper season has opened back up for fish beyond the twenty fathom line. This includes Scamp, Red Grouper and few other species but excludes Gag grouper will remain closed until fall. Triggerfish, Amberjack, all species of Snapper besides Red and all deep water species of Grouper are open to harvest.

The bluewater bite is getting more reliable for those limited by range. The Tuna bite at rigs such as Ram Powell, Marlin and Beer Can. Good numbers of both Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna were caught in the past two weeks in these areas, mostly by chunking. I suggest subscribing to an online satellite imaging service such as Hilton's Realtime Navigator for picking the better windows to make the long runs. Wahoo are still being taken around rigs and natural bottom between the 50 and 100 fathom lines further to the SW. Trolling deep diving plugs, skirted ballyhoo and live baiting are all productive methods.

I have done a healthy amount of bottom fishing over the past few weeks, mostly for Amberjack, Vermillion Snapper, Triggerfish and Scamp on shallower structures in 110' or so. I've had some great catches on these trips, but haven't been able to do any long runs until Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Kasey and I joined one of our reps and fished with Captain George Mitchell aboard George's 36ft Yellowfin Snake Dancer. We left Dauphin Island at 6:30 or so and headed SW to get bait and do some Wahoo fishing before breaking out the electrics and doing some deep dropping for Golden Tilefish. At our bait stop, we put some Blue Runners (Hardtails) in the livewell and also got lucky with a Cobia for the box. We hooked one Wahoo at our first spot before trying a couple others with no luck. We switched gears and put some very nice Golden Tilefish in the box before heading further East to try a couple of my spots for Wahoo. We ended up hooking five more Wahoo, landing three between 40 and 65lbs. In the end we had a very nice box of fish and I can't wait to make the haul out again.

Don't forget, our 3rd Annual Pomp Stomp, Pompano fishing tournament is going on throughout the month of April and registration is $25.00. For additional info, feel free to call the store.

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

Wahoo and Tilefish from Tuesday trip along with Wilson Gregory's Cobia, the first one landed on the Gulf State Park Pier in 2014