Editor’s Note: The last days of August and the first days of September brought rough weather with high seas and plenty of rain to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. However, regardless of weather and water conditions, anglers can find productive places to fish, especially inshore and at the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores.

The Inshore Report:


Captain David Brown (www.browninshore.com, 251-981-6246) of Brown’s Inshore Guide Service out of Orange Beach Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., says, “We won’t fish in really-heavy rains, but the wind and the rough seas play a major role in determining where we fish. There are a number of places you can fish and be protected from strong winds around Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. The Intracoastal Waterway with its narrow channel and structure along its sides and on its bottom is a great place to fish when you can’t fish anywhere else. We also have number of little creeks that we can fish where we’reOrange Beach charters protected from the wind. Too, you can fish Little Lagoon in Gulf Shores, if the winds aren’t too strong. There’s also excellent fishing at the Gulf State Park Pier. We have three-different bridges we can fish under – two on the Intracoastal Canal and one at Perdido Pass. So, we always have several places to fish, regardless of weather conditions.

“Since our section of the Gulf Coast has warm weather, generally up to Christmas, if you have a rain suit, you can fish here at any time of the year. Flounder and redfish will be our primary targets. The flounder are moving into the bays and the estuaries, and a number of slot-sized redfish are moving into the region. Our average flounder will weigh 2 to 3 pounds, and the redfish will be in the 3- to 6-pound range. Once the storms settle-down, plenty of bull reds, weighing up to 30-pounds each, will move into the area. You’ll be able to catch them from off the beaches to about 2-miles offshore and at the Dixey Bar. Both the redfish and the flounder can be caught on bull minnows and finger mullet at the mouth of Mobile Bay and just out of Fort Morgan. You can buy bull minnows at most of the tackle stores, and if you can throw a cast net, you’ll catch plenty of finger mullet, with the best ones those that are 2- to 3-inches long. Too, right now our speckled trout are in transition, and they’re holding in the Upper Delta and the protected bayous, scattered around grass flats and the passes. When the salinity of the water increases, and the water temperature dips below 70 degrees, the trout will follow the baitfish up into those creeks.”

Gulf State Park Pier Report:


David Thornton, who fishes the pier every week, reports that, “Alabama’s Gulf Coast had a lot of rain and wind that stirred-up the Gulf of Mexico the last of August and the first of September. We even had some 15-foot waves hit the pier and knock some of the decking loose. The pier was clOrange Beach chartersosed, so the decking could be replaced. An inspector checked to make sure the pier was safe. Our area had long sustained winds that produced 10- to 12-foot seas. Those winds also changed the structure of the bottom with some sections now having more sand and others losing sand. Too, the wind moved some sandbars, cut new channels in some sandbars and closed-up other channels. There were some washouts around the pier pilings where the surf was really active. However, if the water calms-down and clears, we should be in a more-normal pattern of fishing off the pier by this weekend. The flounder and the redfish bites should be really good, because those two species of fish are the least affected by high winds and rough waters. Plenty of ground mullet, whiting and white trout should be caught this weekend. As the water continues to clear-up, the king mackerel and the Spanish mackerel should start showing-up, because the weather and the water are cooling-down. The baitfish should be gathering around the pier. I expect good fishing off the pier this second weekend in September.” To learn more about fishing the Gulf State Park Pier, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 251-948-7275.

The Orange Beach Fishing Association (www.obfishingassn.com) will be glad to find you and your family a captain and a boat that fits your needs. The good news is that you don’t have to leave your wife and children at home when you visit Alabama’s Gulf Coast. There’s plenty to do and see. For accommodation and restaurant recommendations, contact Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND, or visit www.orangebeach.com. To have your fresh fish prepared at the beach, go to www.alabamasnaturalcoast.net, click on restaurants, and check box for “Will Cook Your Catch.”

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