Summertime Fishing on the Gulf Coast
Inshore Fishing with Captain Dennis Treigle
Editor’s Note: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach on Alabama’s Gulf Coast is one of my favorite salt-water fishing destinations. All summer, you can catch speckled trout, redfish, flounder, mangrove snapper and Florida tripletail inshore in Perdido Bay, the Little Lagoon and the Fort Morgan area of Mobile Bay. All these backwater areas are estuaries that produce tons of bait for the speckled trout and the redfish to eat. If you don’t like the challenge of fishing the open gulf, you can fish these back-bay areas and catch plenty of fun-fighting, delicious-eating inshore species. Today we’ll be looking at some of the back-bay areas along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, the fish you can catch and how and where to catch them. This region, which has been developed primarilyas a family salt-water fishing destination, also offers world-class restaurants and many recreational opportunities. The sugar-white beaches, the crystal-blue waters and the double-doses of sunshine bring most families to Alabama’s Gulf Coast, but the fishing also is phenomenal. While some of your family members are soaking-up rays, there are plenty of spots to fish and numbers of fish to be caught in the back-bay regions. Dennis Treigle of Find Me Fishing Charters based out of Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama, fishes inshore around the jetties, the Perdido Pass bridge and all the back bays in Orange Beach, as well as the Intercoastal canal. In June, he’s been catching big flounder, redfish and speckled trout.
Question: Dennis, where will you find those big saddle-blanket-size flounder in June?
Treigle: We catch them drifting through the pass and around the jetties and some of the docks. Sometimes we’llhave one or two consecutive days when we find and catch really-big flounder, while at other times, we may not catch any flounder over 16- or 17-inches long. I don’t know why big flounder tend to congregate in those small areas, but it happens down here frequently. Some days the flounder will be lying right by the bridge, other days they’ll be in the holes by the jetties or in the shallow water around the jetties, and other days they may be concentrated in the shallow water by the piers.
Question: What bait do you use to catch flounder?
Treigle: Flounder like live alewives, locally called LYs, and live menhaden, but my two favorite baits to use are bull minnows and croakers.
Question: How do you fish them?
Treigle: We fish them on a Carolina rig with either a 1- or a 3/4-ounce lead up the line, a barrel swivel and 18 inches of 16-pound-test leader, attached to a No. 6 or a No. 4 hook. If I’m using croakers or bull minnows, I try to take the hook from under the bottom lip and bring the point of the hook out the nostril of the bait. This way, when we’re drift fishing, the bait appears to be swimming along the bottom.
Question: What size is your main line?
Treigle: I prefer 16-pound-test main line. Some fishermen use 12-pound test, while some use 10-pound test. But I like heavier line because we hook a lot of redfish when we’re bumping the bottom for flounder, and I need a line strong enough to bring these redfish to the boat too.
Question: How large are the big flounder you catch?
Treigle: These flounder will weigh from 4- to 6-1/2-pounds each. They’ll lay off the sides of your plate if you remove the heads and cook the fish whole. Our average flounder weigh 1 to 3 pounds. June is a great month to catch big flounder.
Question: Where will you locate redfish in June?
Treigle: The redfish will be concentrated in the deep holes in the pass, just like the flounder, and they also will stack-up on the docks in the bay. When the redfish are holding on the docks, you can find them by bouncing the docks, which means going from one dock to another. In a day of bouncing docks, I may fish 10 to 15 docks. We also do this type of fishing in the early fall. For some reason, the redfish will congregate around one or two docks. But you won’t know which dock is holding the redfish on the day you fish, until you check a number of docks. When we get a bite on one dock, we continue to fish that dock because usually where there’s one redfish, there will be more redfish. If we can’t catch redfish on the docks, we’ll fish around the bridge, the jetties and Perdido Pass at Orange Beach.
To contact Dennis Treigle, call 850-221-7732, or email him at email@example.com, or visit www.orangebeachinshore.com. For more information about restaurants, lodging, amenities and places to go and see, visit www.gulfshores.com, and call 800-745-SAND.
Tomorrow: Catching Speckled Trout and Mackerel with Captain Dennis Treigle