John's Journal... Entry 110, Day 1
Reds and Specks by Starlight
Inshore Fishing with Captain Jamie Melton
NOTE: Orange Beach, Alabama, not unlike many resort communities along
the Upper Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast, has its inshore waters crowded
with jet skis, sailboats, pleasure cruisers, water skiers and fishermen
by day. In these regions, daytime fishing can be extremely difficult,
and catching fish almost impossible. But after dark, these back-bay areas
are abandoned. Nothing comes out on the water except the stars, the moon
and Captain Jamie Melton of Foley, Alabama, who operates the charter boat
the "Christina." The techniques Melton uses to catch speckled
trout, redfish and flounder at night will produce these fish for you --
regardless of where you fish. This week Captain Melton will teach us why
he believes the back bays are best by starlight.
Question: When is night fishing the most productive for inshore?
Answer: Night fishing is best during the summer months when the water temperature climbs really high because the fish bite better in the evening when the water's cooler. There's also less boat traffic after dark and less competition for the fish. The best hours to fish are usually from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. in the morning, depending on when the tide is running.
Question: What areas do you fish after dark?
Answer: I fish most of the back-bay areas around Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. I like to fish Perdido Bay, Old River, Cotton Bayou, St. John's Bayou, Terry Cove and the Intracoastal Waterway between Pensacola Pass and Bon Secour Bay.
Answer: I fish around piers, boat docks, bridges and any areas where lights shine in the water. Night fishing is so exciting because you often can see the fish eat your bait before you set the hook. Anglers will use different methods to catch fish under the lights, but you'll also see quite a few anglers fly-fishing.
Question: What type of fish do you catch at night?
Answer: We generally catch speckled trout, redfish and flounder.
Question: What type of bait do you prefer?
Answer: I use live shrimp early in the year. During the middle of the summer, I prefer baitfish like menhaden or LY's.
Answer: I buy the live shrimp. I catch the LY's and menhaden in my cast net.
Question: What pound test line do you use?
Answer: I generally prefer to fish with 10-pound-test, but if I get into some big redfish, I may move up to 12-pound-test line.
Answer: I use a #6.
For more information, contact Captain Jamie Melton at 309 East Verbena, Foley, AL 36535, or (251) 955-5713.
TOMORROW: MELTON'S BEST NIGHT OF FISHING