Thursday, September 25, 2014

Orange Beach Fishing Report for 9/19-9/25/14--- Windy Week!

This past week certainly wasn't the best week for throwing a line, but we had a couple of "OK" days to fish and the bite was still happening.

Our inshore action was more of the same from the past two weeks with the Redfish biting decently in the pass and local bays and some good docklight action with both Reds and Trout. The pattern was similar but the wind made fishing certain locations more difficult. The fishing also wasn't as good in the skinny water of the flats early in the mornings. Instead, fishing the deeper channels adjacent to grassflats and shallow bars proved more productive. The weather in the coming week looks to be another windy one with dropping temperatures so I expect the fish to hold to the current pattern. I would pay attention to wind shifts in the afternoons though. Calm periods in the evenings will usually produce a good topwater bite in the shallows.

Another good inshore target this time of the year is Mangrove (Black) Snapper. These tasty guys will be all over most inshore structure until water temps dip into the low 70s at which time the larger fish will seek deeper water and the keepers (12" TL in Al) will be further and fewer between. Live Shrimp and small LYs will be best, but they will hit a variety of small live baits and even plugs and soft plastic artificials.

In the surf, the Pompano bite picked up considerably. Pieces of shrimp and ghost shrimp worked equally well and some of the Pomps caught were of good size. Incoming tide has been best and we will finally slide off of the long NEAP tide we've had tomorrow. Tides will rising in the afternoons and the first couple hours of the incoming tide will be best. The positive thing to come from our high winds recently is the formation of many runouts and cuts along the beaches, which are key feeding points for Pompano and other surf-running gamefish. Fish the edges of these runouts and vary the depths of your baits until you get bit.

We continued to have good fishing in the bluewater this past week although the wind limited time on the water. The tunas bit good at rigs 90+ miles out although there were many caught within that as well. Quite a few Blue Marlin were caught both at the rigs and around natural bottom to the southeast. The Nipple, Spur and Squiggles have been very hot areas for billfish over the past six weeks and the conditions are still favorable. I fished just north of the Nipple on Monday for a few hours and we caught one Wahoo and raised a Blue Marlin in the 300lb range. That fish pounced on a pink, SquidNation daisy chain and despite hitting our pitch bait three times, we were unable to keep a hook set. The Wahoo hit a Moldcraft Wide Range.

Expect the billfish bite to continue and the Wahoo bite to get better as water temps drop into the low 80s. Be sure to watch the depthfinder while trolling too. You will be passing over many good deep drop spots to hit later.

I don't have many great pics from the past week since the wind limited what we could do. Below is a nice Deep Drop spot we found on Monday while trolling and a hungry Mangrove Snapper that hit my UnFair Rip-N-Slash

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

Friday, September 19, 2014

Orange Beach Fishing Report for 9/6-9/18/14--- My favorite time of year to fish!

We are finally getting into that "magic" time of the year. The transition from Summer into fall has always been my favorite. The water temps will start to cool slowly through September and generally won't make a big plunge until late October or early November. Right now, things are looking great both inshore and offshore and we still have plenty of action to come.

The inshore fishing over the past two weeks has been very good for Redfish and Flounder. Redfish are still in their usual late summer pattern of being everywhere on both tides. We have been getting Reds of all sizes in the backwaters, from the upper parts of Wolf Bay to several miles offshore. Reds in the upper bays have been biting well on live shrimp under popping corks as well as small topwater lures and twitchbaits like the Mirrolure 17MR and 14MR and the Unfair Rip-N-Slash and Dinkum Mullet. Fish closer to the pass have been feeding on a wider variety of baits from glass minnows to larger Mullet and Pinfish. Live baits such as these will do well and larger topwater lures and soft plastics will get plenty of action around the grass flats early.

The Flounder bite has picked up with some very nice fish being taken on both gig and rod-and-reel. Live Bull Minnows will be the best live baits around piers, jetties and bulkheads. Working the bottom with both curltail and paddletail grubs is a great way to target them through the fall. Keep the baits moving with plenty of action but make sure they stay close to the bottom. Boat slips with deep depressions are excellent spots for flipping jigs for Flounder. I usually do best on brighter colors like pearl white or chartreuse.

Water temperatures in the surf are still in the low 80s but the Pompano have been showing up in good numbers. Getting on the water early and fishing baits deeper in the trough is the best way to target Pomps until water temps dip into the upper 70s. Sand Fleas and Ghost Shrimp have been fairly available and will make the best baits but fresh, cut, pieces of shrimp or frozen sand fleas will work too. Some Whiting have been caught lately but the main surf by-catch has been large Bluefish, Ladyfish and Redfish. Fishing 20lb leaders will keep leader-shy Pompano biting and help you lose less tackle to the toothy and rough mouthed incidental species.

Just offshore, there are still plenty of King and Spanish Mackerel to be taken inside of 10 miles. Pulling the typical Mackerel spreads of spoons, dusters and planer rigs will take plenty, but make sure to keep a deep diving plug like a Mann's Stretch 25+ mixed in the trolling spread. We usually score big Kings on these as well as the bonus Wahoo every now and then. Vary your speeds from 4-6 knots until you get bites.

Bottom fishing has been very good and the Grouper fishing in particular has been getting better closer in. For the majority of the season you needed to be in 180+ft of water to consistently catch nice Grouper but we are starting to get larger Gags and Red Grouper in depths of 100-140ft. Large live baits including Ruby Lips, Pinfish, Beeliners and similar will do best of Grouper. If you are targeting Scamp, try downsizing the bait and termainal gear and mix in some dead baits like whole, small squid. Another fun way to grouper fish is with jigs, working them fairly slowly near the bottom. Large buckatail jigs and Squidtil Jigs do well with this but they will also hit metal "buttefly" style jigs and diamond jigs.

Other bottom targets right now include Vermillion Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Almaco Jack and deep dropping for Snowy and Yellowedge Grouper, Golden Tilefish, Longtail Bass and a few others. You can catch Greater Amberjack but they are out of season and will have to be released. That shouldn't stop you from going out and getting your arms pulled out of socket by a big AJ. They're a ton of fun to catch and release.

The billfish bite is still excellent and Wahoo are showing up in better numbers now. A few boats in the past week caught three species of billfish in a day and the boat "Controlled Chaos" nearly had a super slam catching Blue and White Marlin, a Spearfish and losing a Swordfish. With Sailfish generally showing up in better numbers in September and October, there are great billfish slam opportunities right now.

Reminders on seasons:

-Greater Amberjack, Red Snapper and Gray Triggerfish are closed in federal waters

-Gray Triggerfish is open in Florida State Waters and you will need both a Florida and Alabama license to retain Triggers caught in Fl state waters. IF targeting Triggers in Fl state waters or if you are in possession of Triggers, do not stray in federal waters afterward or you will be subject to fines.

Let's hope for good weather and calm seas this coming week. Good luck to everyone!

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

Some pics from the past two weeks, including a nice Blue Marlin caught by Sam's customer Archie Mcmillian and his crew on a TLD 25. A White marlin and some Dolphin from Capt. Adam Peeples with One Shot Charters and a few others from my past two weeks, inshore and off. There's also a good side-by-side pic of an Unfair Rip-N-Slash after a couple of trips. Definitely my favorite, new, inshore lure

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Orange Beach Fishing Report for the past few weeks

labor Day has come and gone and with it another great season here at our store. The business may slow down a bit, but the fishing sure hasn't and it will only improve as fall approaches.

Over the past two weeks, we have had an excellent Redfish bite inshore and in the surf. Most of the reds being caught in the surf have been on cut bait and live shrimp although I've been doing well around the pass using soft plastic lures on heavier jigheads. Inshore, the reds have been everywhere; around docks, jetties, flats, etc. Docklights of course have been an easy start for getting on good numbers of reds and trout. Best baits have been finger mullet, small croakers and menhaden. Many artificials have been working well too and the topwater bite around shallow points and grassflats has been very good in the mornings and late afternoons.

The trout fishing has been fairly slow but fishing early mornings or hitting dock lights at night has been best for specks. Live croakers are hands down the best bait right now, but shrimp and a variety of smaller, baitfish imitating artificials will work. The Trout action should pick up as water temperatures cool down. Look for temps in the upper 70s for better trout action into the fall.

Off the beach, The Redfish as mentioned earlier are prime targets, but there are good numbers of Flounder, Spanish Mackerel, Bluefish and Ladyfish just offshore to keep rods bent. You can fish for these anywhere along the beaches, the jetties at Perdido Pass or off of the State Pier. For Flounder, try live bull minnows and curltail grubs in chartreuse or pearl bumped right along the sand. For the Spanish Mackeral and others, small slab-type spoons and mylar jigs have been very effective. The Pompano are here but you have to get your baits deep. Try to hit the deepest parts of the trough before the outer sandbar. Small pieces of fresh dead shrimp and sand fleas will be top baits. Expect Whiting to take these same baits as well as Sheepshead and Drum into the end of the month.

Offshore, the Grouper bite has been great on structures in 180+ft of water. Live Pinfish, Ruby Lips and others have been top baits. For Scamp, try downsizing your bait and leader. Small pinfish and smaller, whole squid are both great Scamp baits. We're also catching large Vermillion Snapper, Mangrove Snapper and a few others while fishing for the Grouper. Greater Amberjack season closed on August 25th and while harvest is prohibited, that shouldn't stop anyone from getting their arms stretched from big AJs. Larger live baits and most types of vertical jigs have worked well. As temperatures come down, expect larger AJs to gather on closer structures inside of 20 miles.

As far as bluewater fishing goes, we have had one of the best billfish bites in years over the last three weeks. Most fish have been caught to the southeast around the nipple and elbow and White Marlin have made up the bulk of the catch along with several Blues, a few Sailfish and even a Spearfish. Pulling at slower speeds and utilizing teasers and smaller baits has been the most productive method although more conventional trolling methods have been effective too. The Wahoo bite has been a little slow but we are still catching them while targeting Billfish.

The Swordfishing has been pretty consistent this year and the past two weeks have seen some productive trips. I fished one night a couple weeks back and although our trip was cut short due to weather, we still managed to go 1-2 on Swords releasing an undersized fish and missing the hookup on another. The private boat "Cotton Patch" went 2-2 on Swords this past weekend while fishing about 60 miles offshore. They had one legal fish and one undersized.

One pattern that is repeating this year is a strong push of clean water from the southeast resulting in larger pelagic fish being closer to shore. There were a few Sailfish caught within 3 miles that past week including a Sailfish caught at the Perdido Pass buoy on the "Riptide" with Capt. Seth Wilson. I also fished yesterday and managed to put my good friend James Plowright on his first Wahoo while fishing just 5 miles from the pass. The fish was in the 40lb range and hit a deep diving plug.

One thing is for certain; you can't catch them if you don't put in time on the water and I have a feeling this fall is going to be a great one for fishing!

Don't forget before you go that:

-Alabama Fishing Licenses expired on August 31st.

- Greater Amberjack, Red Snapper and Gray Triggerfish are out of season in federal waters. Gray Triggerfish are open in Florida waters.

Below are a few pics from the past few weeks including James Plowright's first Wahoo and Lacy Courtney's first White Marlin

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