Editor’s Note: Captain David Brown, an inshore fishing guide in Orange Beach, Alabama, has guided professionally for over 9 years.

I’ve been fishing from Mobile Bay to the Pensacola Pass for the last 30 years. There are plenty of fish concentrated between those two openings to the Gulf of Mexico, including speckled trout, redfish, flounder, pompano, sheepshead, bluefish and ladyfish. Our primary targets this month will be bull reds, sheepshead, speckled trout and flounder. At this time of year, the speckled trout will be concentrated in the upper bays and creeks, coming off the main bays of Perdido Bay and Mobile Bay. Some of the areas I’m fishing this month include the Fish River, the Magnolia River, the Perdido River, Soldier’s Creek and Palmetto Creek.

I’ll primarily be fishing live shrimp and suspending MirrOlures or a wide variety of Gulp! soft-body baits. The speckled trout will be holding in 6- to 10-foot deep or deeper water in some of the creeks and the rivers, because the water will be warmer than it is above the drop-offs and the bottom. The bull reds will be running in wolf packs just off the beach, primarily within 1 mile of the beach, from Pensacola Pass to the mouth of the Mobile Bay. You’ll find the fish in both Alabama and Florida waters. If you’re not fishing with a captain or a charter boat, you need a salt-water license to fish both states.

Bull Reds
I’m catching the bull reds on a variety of lead-headed jigs, such as Berkley Power baits, deer-hair jigs and gold spoons. In the right type of weather, we can catch bull reds fly-fishing with Clouser minnows. If there’s a good wind in the region where you’re fishing, those big bull reds will be feeding on the surface. Then you can catch them on fly tackle, by sight casting to them with the Clouser minnows. I recommend 8- to 10-weight fly-fishing tackle, if you’re fly-fishing for the bull reds.

The sheepshead will be holding around structure, like jetties, piers, bridges, bulk heads anywhere you find a current break or structure with barnacles on it. I catch sheepshead on medium- to small-sized live shrimp. I use a single No. 1 Eagle Claw hook and try to hide the hook inside the tail of the bait. I’m fishing this shrimp alive (not killing it) because often, in these same areas, you’ll find speckled trout, redfish and pompano. I rarely ever fish with dead shrimp.

Most people don’t realize that we catch a few pompano off Alabama’s Gulf Coast throughout the winter. The pompano is one of the best sport fish and delicious-eating fish you can catch on light tackle here in this region. The main pompano run generally starts when the water temperature begins moving up to the 60-degree mark, which usually occurs in March. Surf and boat fishermen still will occasionally catch pompano off the beaches in June in a rip or a channel cut.

If you’re planning to fish in the Gulf Shores or Orange Beach area this spring or summer, book your trip now. Most of the captains are booking now for Spring Break. So, if you plan to fish any time during March or April, call, and book a trip with a captain immediately. If you wait 1 or 2 weeks before Spring Break, most of the captains will be booked-up. January and February may become your favorite inshore-fishing months.

To contact Captain David Brown, call him at (251) 981-6246, e-mail him at brownsinshore@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.brownsinshore.com.