Orange Beach fishingEditor’s Note: Captain Kathy Broughton operates the “Kitty Wake,” her near-shore and inshore charter boat that she docks at Zeke’s Marina.

Question: Kathy, what type of fishing do you do?
Broughton: I do inshore fishing, which includes back bays and bayous and near-shore fishing, including bull reds, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and pompano.

Question: March is spring-break time. What types of fish will you be catching this month, how will you be catching them, and on what will you be catching them?
Broughton: Let’s start with the kinds of fish we’ll catch this month. We’ll still have bull redfish, sheepshead, speckled trout, white trout, Spanish mackerel, ground mullet and pompano.

Question: Where will you find redfish?
Broughton: The big bull reds that we’ve been catching all winter long will still be holding just off the beach. The Gulf Coast area has had a really-cold winter, so those bigOrange Beach fishing bull reds still will be spawning. These fish will be from 30- to 40-inches long and will weigh 8-20 pounds each. The easiest way to find these schools of redfish is to look for the pelicans dive-bombing on the big schools of baitfish, because the redfish will be right under those big schools of baitfish. We’ll use light-tackle speckled trout rods and 12-pound-test line. We’ll attach a barrel swivel to the end of the line and 14-18 inches of 30-pound-test monofilament leader coming off the second eye of the barrel swivel. Then we can use a jig head with a laser-tail grub, either in chartreuse, pink, orangey-red or white. I can cast those jigs into the schools of baitfish or use live pinfish on a Carolina rig. We’ll put either a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce slip sinker up the line and a barrel swivel below the slip sinker, tie on 18-22 inches of 30-pound-test monofilament leader and then tie-on a No. 1 Kahle hook and bait with a pinfish.

Question: How are you catching Spanish mackerel?
Broughton: As the water starts to warm-up this month, we’ll see flocks of seagulls and terns diving on bait. Under those birds, you may find a school of Spanish mackerel making an early run. We catch the Spanish mackerel on a Got-Cha or a gold or silver spoon. You can troll for them with a No. 1 planer with 40- to 50-pound-test monofilament leader and a Clark spoon or a small Drone spoon, either in chartreuse or pink colors. I prefer using monofilament rather than wire leader, becaOrange Beach fishinguse I know I get more strikes and catch more fish on monofilament, even though every now and then a Spanish mackerel may cut that monofilament with its sharp teeth.

Question: What’s your number-one Spring Break fish?
Broughton: Without question, sheepshead, because they’ll be plentiful during March. They’ll be around rocks, jetties and piers and any type of structure you find. We fish with light tackle for them using 12-pound-test line, a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce slip sinker, a barrel swivel tied below the slip sinker and then 14 to 18 inches of 20-pound-test monofilament leader. On the end of the leader, we tie a No. 4 or even a No. 2 Kahle hook, if we’re catching bigger sheepshead. We’ll fish with either small or medium-small shrimp for bait. We try to encourage our fishermen to keep no more than 12 sheepshead, so there will be plenty for everyone. But, they can catch and release as many sheepshead as they want to and take pictures of their catches.

Question: Where will the speckled trout be during March?
Broughton: The speckled trout will be moving out of the creeks and holding in the mouths of the bayous, in the bays and on drop-offs – particularly in eddy areas. When we rig for trout, we use 10- to 12-pound-test line. We either tie a No. 8 treble hook or a No. 4 Kahle hook on the end of the line. If the current’s not really strong, we hook our live shrimp that we use for bait right under the horns of the shrimp. But if the current’s running strong, we hook through the tails of the shrimp. The trout usually will weigh 1 to 3 pounds this month, and our trout will get bigger in April and May when they’re readying to spawn.

Question: Where will you find white trout and ground mullet?
Broughton: You can catch them around the docks on the bays and in the holes in the bays, especially on the inshore artificial reefs created by Alabama’s Marine Resources Division of the Department of Conservation. We rig for them like we do for trout, and again, we use live shrimp for bait.

Question: Where will you find pompano in March, and how will you catch them?
Broughton: The pompano will be running the beach, and you can catch them out by Perdido Pass or anywhere along the beach where you find a break in the sandbars. The pompano will hold in those cuts in the sandbars. You can fish for them with 12-pound-test line. You’ll still use the same Carolina rig that you fish with for speckled trout and the same hooks, and you’ll bait with sand fleas, live shrimp or a pompano jig.

To contact Captain Kathy Broughton, call 251-747-7375 or 251-981-4082, or email kittywakecharters@yahoo.com.

Honey-Fried Trout

This delicious-tasting way to prepare speckled trout will please everyone.

Ingredients:
2 speckled trout de-headed, gutted, washed, butterflied and scored on each side about 1-inch apartOrange Beach charters
1/2-cup flour
1/2-cup seasoned crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2-stick butter
1/2-cup or so of honey

Preparation:
Place fish in bag with the mixture of flour, seasoned crumbs, salt, pepper, paprika and shake well. Melt butter in an iron skillet. Pour a small amount of honey in the skillet – 1/4-cup or so – into the melted butter. Place the battered trout in the skillet, cooking about 10 minutes on each side, until each is golden brown. Drain on paper toweling.

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