Editor’s Note: Captain Dave Brown runs the “Audrey II” charter boat out of Orange Beach Marina.

The fish will be in a transition mode during February. We’ll primarily be fishing for a mixed bag. The fish we catch primarily will be caught on live shrimp, and our number-one target will be pompano.Orange Beach fishing

Pompano

Pompano will start running the beaches this month, and we’ll use sand fleas and pompano jigs for them as well as live shrimp. When we’re fishing with sand fleas or live shrimp, I prefer a No. 1/0 J hook with 12-pound-test monofilament for the main line. I’ll use a 1/2-ounce slip sinker up the line, a barrel swivel tied to the end of the line and about 18-20 inches of 20-pound test shock leader with a hook tied on the end. The pompano will be found around passes that lead out into the Gulf of Mexico and just off the beaches. The pompano we catch here will weigh 1-1/2- to 2-pounds each, but you may catch a 4 pounder. On a good day, you may catch four to eight pompano.

Sheepshead

We’ll fish for sheOrange Beach fishingepshead using the same rig that we use for the pompano. For bait, I prefer medium to small live shrimp. I like to hook them through their tails, so they stay lively. The sheepshead, generally 2–8 pounds each, will show-up around any type of structure, like bridges, jetties, piers, docks or rocks. If you find the sheepshead ganged-up, you can catch 15 to 30 in a 4-hour trip.

Redfish

If you’re fishing for slot reds (the size you can keep and eat), rig the same way you’ll rig to fish for pompano, but use a No. 2 hook instead of a No. 1. We’ll be fishing near passes to the Gulf and structure like piers, docks and rocks in protected waters inside the passes. This month, we’ll be fishing the tail end of the big bull redfish run. The bull reds will be running the beaches.

I’ll look for feeding birds, like pelicans or terns and catch them with a variety of jigs and/or live or dead bait. I like to fish 1/2- to 1-ounce jigs and catch these fish on 12-pound-test line for a long fight, a well-bent rod and the thrill of a screaming drag. If you want to put more pressure on the redfish and get it to the boat quicker, so you can photograph and release it, you can use 25- to 30-pound-test line. The fight you get from the redfish will be determined by the size of the line you use. I like to fish green, chartreuse, red or pearl jigs. I use a shock leader and a Carolina rig without the weight on the line. I’ll use 18-20 inches of 25-pound-test monofilament from the jig to the barrel swivel, and then above the barrel swivel I use 12- to 30-pound-test main line.

Speckled Trout

The speckled trout will be moving out of deep water and into shallow water like sandbars and drop-offs this month. Once again, the weather and the temperature will determine where we’ll pinpoint these fish. They’ll be looking Orange Beach fishingfor places to spawn in that more-shallow water. During the warming days, the trout will move-up in the shallows, but they won’t quite be on the grass beds yet. Channel drop-offs usually will be your most-dependable places to find them inside the bays. Trout tend to bite best early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Although you can fish with soft-plastic jigs, I prefer to fish with live shrimp in water 4- to 8-feet deep. I’ll put the live shrimp on a No. 2 Kahle hook and tie the hook directly to 10- to 12-pound-test line on spinning tackle. I like the medium- to large-sized live shrimp to fish with this month. In either a morning or an afternoon trip, if we really find a good school of trout, we’ll catch 15 to 30 speckled trout from 14- to 17-inches long. If we get into a school of trout that are each 3-pounds-or-better, we’ll have a good chance of catching a speckled trout that weighs 5 to 7 pounds.

Now’s the Time

FOrange Beach fishingebruary is the month to fish before schools turn-out for their spring breaks. During March, most inshore and offshore fishermen will be booked-up with spring breakers. Instead come to Alabama’s Gulf Coast this month. Or, plan and book a trip now for spring break. You can reach Captain David Brown at (251) 981-6246, or toll-free 1-877-981-6246, or go to his webpage at www.brownsinshore.com.



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