Redfish Fishing in Alabama
Bull redfish fishing in Alabama usually begins around mid October and runs through late March. The big bull redfish are different from the smaller inshore redfish that are commonly caught throughout the year. The big bull redfish are the redfish that have grown and moved offshore. The Alabama redfish move nearshore just off the beaches of Alabama for the fall and winter and then travel back offshore for the spring and summer. Alabama bull redfish fishing is awesome on light spinning tackle. We often see a school of big redfish numbering over 100. Now that is a sight to see. These giant fish can be caught on 4, 5 and 6 hour Alabama redfish fishing charters.
I hope you enjoy the nice article about fishing for redfish on the Getaway in Orange Beach, Alabama. Article found in Alabama Game & Fish Magazine
Alabama redfish fishing is enjoyed by many anglers during the fall and winter months. The beaches along Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer some awesome fishing for big bull redfish. This is my favorite time of year with temps often in the 60′s and 70′s. There is very little fishing pressure as we fish for these big bull redfish. Come fish with Gill and me this fall and winter and enjoy some light tackle fishing. Alabama redfish fishing at its best. I hope you enjoy this great redfish fishing article from Alabama Game and Fish. I want to thank Alabama Game and Fish for featuring me and the Getaway in this very interesting article. Come on and let’s go fishing. Captain Don
Article written by Eileen Davis
At the other end of the State, Captain Don McPherson of Orange Beach spends his winter mostly guiding anglers for 20-30 pound bull redfish. The fishing starts in late October and runs into April, but, the captain observed, it improves with colder weather.
“It’s a natural setup for winter fishing.” he explained, “as all the ingredients come together to form this great fishery. Huge schools of red minnows and menhaden move into the area and close to shore followed by schools of bull reds. When the reds arrive, they stay through early April. Plus, we often have a north wind, which creates calm seas off the beach. Lastly, we catch these big fish from shallow water, so when released, their survival rate is excellent.”
Most of Capt. McPherson’s clients know about tailing redfish in the shallows, but are often unfamiliar with the redfish he targets near the beach. In fact, they’re two different groups of redfish.
Young fish grow in the marshes, small lakes and bays for about five years before moving into open water. These may weigh up to 12 pounds. The beach fish, on the other hand, have the potential to reach 60 pounds. Eric Easley of Semmes caught the current state record – 45 pounds, 4 oz in 2007.
By any measure, conservation is having a positive impact on this fishery. Alabama’s creel limit is three fish per person in the 16-26 inch slot, on of which may be over 26 inches. But anglers fishing with McPherson at this time of year won’t catch slot fish.
On a typical trip out of Orange Beach on the Getaway, McPherson’s deckhand deploys lines within 20 minutes of leaving the dock. “That’s another great thing about fishing in winter”, said the captain. “Anglers don’t have a run time of an hour or more to the fish. Once we leave Perdido Pass, we usually set the lines out.
“Often we troll a spread of four or five lures at about 5 knots. We pull Mann’s Stretch 20+, 25+ and 30+ deep diving baits to search the water column. We also troll Clark spoons behind a No. 2 or No. 3 planer.”
The skipper runs the lures in water 15 to 35ft deep, which is from just outside the second sandbar off the beach out to one and a half miles offshore. “Trolling is always a sure bet,” stated the captain, “but, ideally, we want to find baitfish and cast to them with light tackle. If we see gulls diving while we are trolling, often we reel in and switch to light tackle for fishing the school.
“It’s exciting anytime you hook a big red, but there’s nothing like seeing a 20-30 pound redfish explode on a topwater lure. When it’s happening, the skipper recommended, use a popper.
For those times when reds haven’t churned the surface to white foam, Capt. McPherson suggested that anglers use jigs weighing 1 to 2 ounces and tipped with 3 to 6 in curly tailed trailers. Work these through the schools from the bottom to just below the surface.
To fish the clean sand bottoms, reels on the Getaway are spooled with 30lb test mono for trolling and 20lb test for casting.