Capt. Charlie Gray
Down around Dauphin Island, we are definitely in the winter fishing pattern, the water is still fresh and cold and well below that magical number of 62 degrees which is when the trout will begin moving out of the deep rivers and onto the warmer flats around the small islands. Until then, the trout will still be in the deeper tidal rivers like Fowl, Dog, and Bayou La Batre and some of the warmer and deeper bays around the Island. Mainly now, I am throwing hard baits like the Yo-Zuri 3DS Minnow with a green or black back and silver sides and soft plastics. When using the soft plastics, make sure you jig lightly and keep in contact with the bottom when jigging; I am still using various types of soft plastics too like the shrimp, mullet or minnow imitations including the Matrix shad, VuDu Shrimp in various colors from pink and chartreuse to natural.
As the temps rise, so will the fish, as they start to move out to the shallow flats that are close to the main deeper channels in the rivers and bays. One positive thing that occurs in late Winter into Spring is 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, bridge pilings and the gas rigs with live shrimp or the freshest dead shrimp you can find. The Sheepies also love fiddler crabs and even cracked hermit crab that some of the bait shops sell as well. I fish a khale or suicide hook or any other small hook that is stout on about 2 feet of 15lb to 20lb flouro clear 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 that 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 are still ground mullet (whiting) on the Gulf front beach too. There will be large Reds on Dixey Bar, and also in the tidal rivers and bays, like Heron, Portersville and Grand, fish the areas where small rivers flow or dump into the bays, look for water movement. Moving water is critical, no moving water = no fish biting usually. Artificial baits work well here for the redfish, try jigging shrimp and or mullet imitations or fish the soft plastics under a popping cork or throw the hard baits.
It’s BOAT SHOW TIME in Mobile. Come see me at the FM Talk 1065 Outdoors Guides Corner at the Mobile Boat Show February 8 – 10, stop by and say Hi!
Capt. Charlie Gray
Gray Gulf Charters
Dauphin Island / Mobile Bay / Ft Morgan Alabama