By: Capt. Charlie Gray
With the warmer temperatures, the Dauphin Island and Bay area fishing is starting to heat up as well after a long winter. The bait fish and shrimp will be on the move and the specks will follow; The local bait shops are getting nice live shrimp and its worth your time to get a few for your trip. Fish these under a rattling cork or popping cork with a hook small enough to not over balance the bait on about 18 to 24 inches of leader; I use 12 pound fluorocarbon leader, the lighter the better.
The trout will be following and chasing bait and can be found around the flats and oyster beds near the small islands in and around Mobile Bay as they move out of Dog River, Fowl River, Bayou La Batre and the surrounding small rivers; I also use a variety of soft plastic shrimp imitation baits like the VuDu Shrimp in natural colors or a fleck color like the Cajun Pepper, Magic or other natural colors. Try different baits depending on the water clarity. I am also still using paddle tail grubs like the Matrix Shad in the Lemonhead or Limbo slice colors on a ¼ oz red jig head.
April is the prime time for the spawn of the Sheepshead; they will congregate in huge numbers around most any good structure in the bay and sound and around the gas rigs in the lower bay and near shore. Fish rock piles, bridges and the gas rigs with live shrimp, fiddler crabs or cracked hermit crabs. Some of the bait shops will have these crab baits for sale. If you find a bait shop with live shrimp, get them. If not, then use the freshest dead shrimp you can get. The Sheepshead love them live. I will fish these under a cork as well to suspend the bait over and around the structure. You can also fish for them with a #1 or #2 J hook or any other small hook that is stout on about 2 feet of 15lb to 20lb flouro or clear mono leader, tied to a barrel swivel. Above the swivel I will use a 1/4 oz, 3/8 oz or even a 1/2 oz egg sinker on the main line which is 12lb mono or 20 pound braid. Fish as close to the structure as you can but be careful because the Sheepshead will wrap you in the structure very quickly when hooked. Use the lightest egg sinker that you can which will allow the bait to present more naturally. Check your bait often. Sheepshead are notorious bait stealers and will often steal the bait as you drop down, it takes a bit of practice to catch them but once you get it down it will be on ! There will be large Bull Redfish on Dixey Bar and around the Lighthouse and off the beaches and also in the tidal rivers and bays, like Heron Bay, Portersville Bay and Grand Bay, fish the areas where small rivers flow or dump into the bays, look for water movement. Artificial baits work well here as well, jigging shrimp or minnow imitations or fishing the baits under a rattling cork.
Capt. Charlie Gray
Gray Gulf Charters
Dauphin Island / Mobile Bay / Ft Morgan Alabama