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