Editor’s Note: In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama, the weather’s never too rough to fish. With the number of back bays, canals, lagoons, coastal rivers and artificial reefs in the area, regardless of the weather conditions or the temperature, fish are always biting somewhere on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Captain Jeff Chambliss, who’s fished Perdido Bay and Perdido Pass for 18 years, fishes out of SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach and specializes in catching speckled trout, redfish and the occasional flounder.

Question: Jeff, where will the fish be in July, and how will you catch them?
Chambliss: I primarily fish for speckled trout. This month they’ll be in the bays and on the grass beds around piers and sandbars.

Question: Jeff, how do you rig, and what do you use to catch specks?
Chambliss: I primarily use live bait, unless I’m fishing early in the morning or late in the evening. During those early-morning hours, I’ll catch speckled trout on the MirrOLure Top Dog or a MirrOdine, which is a new sub-surface bait from MirrOLure that’s fished like a twitch bait. The trout will be holding in only about 2 feet of water on sandbars, grass beds and island points on July early mornings.

Question: How do you fish with live bait for specks?
Chambliss: I either fish live shrimp or a live croaker on a No. 1/0 hook, using10-pound-test line with spinning tackle. If I’m fishing with shrimp, I’ll occasionally use a shot lead up the line. But if I’m fishing with live croakers, I don’t put any lead on my line. I just cast ‘em out and let ‘em swim.

Question: What size trout will you catch this month?
Chambliss: Our trout will weigh from 1-1/2- to 5-pounds each in July, and we can catch them every day this month.

Question: How about redfish?
Chambliss: Redfish are normally good in July, but the redfish bite was really slow during the first half of this summer.

Question: Where do you catch the redfish?
Chambliss: We mainly fish for them around Perdido Pass and along the jetties and the bridge pilings.

Question: A swift current’s generally running through the pass. How do you get your bait down to the redfish?
Chambliss: I use about a 1/2-ounce lead up the line on a Carolina rig with a 20-pound-test monofilament leader about 18- to 24-inches long and bait with either a live shrimp or a live croaker. I may even bait with a piece of a crab. Instead of 10-pound-test lines, like I fish with for specks, I’ll be fishing with 14-pound-test line, using a No. 1/0 or a No. 2/0 hook, depending on the size of the redfish we’re catching.

Question: How do you fish for the redfish in the current that comes through the pass?
Chambliss: If the current’s not too bad, you can fish upcurrent of the bridge pilings and alongside the edges of the jetties and let your bait bounce on the bottom. But if a really-strong current is coming through the pass, we’ll fish downcurrent of the bridge pilings in that slack water. Now, if you’ll be fishing behind the pilings, you’ve got to know which pilings you can fish behind and which pilings you can’t, because you can’t anchor, tie-up or fish in the channel. One of the best ways to make sure you’re where you’re supposed to be is when you motor your boat behind the pilings, look up at the pilings. If there aren’t any lights on them, then you’re in a place you can fish. If there are lights at the tops of the pilings, you’re in the wrong place, and you’d better move before you get a ticket.

Question: What size reds do you catch in the pass?
Chambliss: They’ll generally weigh from 5- to 15-pounds each.

Question: What’s the slot?
Chambliss: Our slot is 16 to 23 inches, and an angler can have three redfish with only one of them being bigger than the slot.

Question: What’s the limit on speckled trout?
Chambliss: The trout have to be a minimum of 14 inches, and
you can keep 10 per day.

Question: Jeff, where would you go to catch flounder in July?
Chambliss: I drift fish with bull minnows around the bridge, using the same type rig I’ve used for redfish. The only difference is the bait. Small croakers will produce flounder, but those flatfish really prefer bull minnows.

Question: On a day of flounder fishing, how many do you expect to catch?
Chambliss: If we’re just targeting flounder, I’ll hope to catch from 0 to 12.

Question: If I want to catch speckled trout, redfish and flounder in July, how will the day unfold?
Chambliss: We’ll first go after speckled trout. We’ll leave the dock at 7:00 am, and if we have our trout by 8:00 am or 9:00 am, we’ll move from inside the bay out toward the pass and fish for redfish and flounder around the bridge and the rocks.

Question: What makes the pass so productive?
Chambliss: Perdido Pass moves a lot of water when the tide comes in and goes out. That moving water brings in and out a number of baitfish.

Question: Do you catch anything else in the area you fish?
Chambliss: Just outside the pass, we’ll catch Spanish mackerel and king mackerel. We use 60-pound-test line, a steel leader and a No. 2/0 hook with two hooks on a piece of wire leader with no lead for mackerel. We’ll fish with live cigar minnows or alewives for bait. Then we slow-troll around the mouth of the pass. The king mackerel there will run from 5- to 25-pounds each, and the Spanish mackerel will weigh an average from 1- to 3-pounds each.

Question: How long is a half-day trip?
Chambliss: Usually 3-1/2 to 4 hours. Most days, during that time, we’ll catch either 10 or 25 trout. Oftentimes we’ll catch a few redfish, too.

Question: Jeff, if somebody doesn’t want to fish in a boat but wants to fish the pass, will you advise them to fish the wall near the parking lot or fish the jetties?
Chambliss: The jetties will be your best bet, but the rocks are really rough, and crawling out on them is rough. We should have a lot of trout here in July, and the fishing should be good the entire month. Your best fishing will be during the middle of the week because there’s less crowd fishing, and you have better odds of catching more and bigger fish.

To fish with Captain Jeff Chambliss, call (251) 981-2463 or (251) 579-1209, or email Chambliss@gulftel.com.