Editor’s Note: Jeff Chambliss, who’s fished the front beaches, the back bays and Perdido Pass around Orange Beach for 19 years, fishes out of SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach as well as from Florida. In January, he’ll catch big redfish, speckled trout, sheepshead, black drum and red drum off the front beaches from Orange Beach to Fort Morgan on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Question: Jeff, where will you find fish this month?
Chambliss: There will be plenty of bull reds on the beach and near shore this month. You’ll be able to locate redfish along 40 miles of beach from Pensacola Pass to Fort Morgan. Schools of redfish will be between 1 and 2 miles from the beach feeding on the baitfish, and the best way to find them is to look for seagulls diving on the baitfish.

Question: How will you catch the redfish?
Chambliss: I’ll be using 1- to 1-1/4-ounce bucktail jigs and jigs with plastic grubs about 5-inches long on 17-pound-test line. I’ll be catching redfish from 30- to 45-inches long. On a good day, you can catch and release as many redfish as you can reel in, which may be 50, 60 or 70 redfish.

Question: Where will you find inshore fish this month?
Chambliss: We’ll catch speckled trout, sheepshead and redfish around Perdido Pass, the bridge at Perdido Pass and in the Intercoastal Canal around Gulf Shores. The most-dependable fishing spot is the Canal because on almost any day you fish, the fish will be biting. We usually drift the canal and look for the fish that may be holding o
n rocks, points or shallow bars. We’ll be fishing jigs with grubs on 12-pound-test line. We prefer to fish a Berkley Gulp! Alive! 3-inch Shrimp with a 3/8-ounce jighead or a Berkley PowerBait Shrimp. In the canal, when speckled trout aren’t biting, the redfish will be biting, and if the redfish aren’t biting, the speckled trout will be biting. If the speckled trout and the redfish aren’t feeding, we often can catch sheepshead or black drum. We generally catch a mixed bag of fish out of the Canal this month. The Canal offers a protected area to fish where it’s rarely too windy or too rainy to fish.

Question: When you’re fishing the back bays at this time of year, where do you find fish?
Chambliss: The piers on the south side of Bear Point and Old River usually hold trout this month. We also fish the Intercoastal Canal and the Oyster Bar Bridge in Florida. Because Orange Beach is on the Florida line, I have charter-boat licenses from Florida and Alabama, so anyone fishing with me is covered – no matter which state we fish.

Question: Jeff, in recent years we’ve heard a lot about black drum. Anglers along the Gulf Coast are now learning that black drum are as good to eat as red drum (redfish). How do you catch black drum?
Chambliss: Black drum usually don’t bite as aggressively as redfish, and we generally fish for them with shrimp or crabs. Occasionally, we’ll catch black drum with jigs.

Question: What type of run will you make to locate fish this month?
Chambliss: If the weather’s calm, I’ll look for big redfish out in the Gulf of Mexico. If the weather’s too rough to fish the Gulf, I’ll move back to Perdido Pass and fish around the piers. If I’m not successful fishing there, I’ll fish the Oyster Bar Bridge in Florida, the Lillian Bridge or the Intercoastal Canal near Gulf Shores.

Question: How do you get to the Lillian Bridge?
Chambliss: Run straight up Perdido Bay about 5-miles north of Bear Point, and you’ll come to Lillian Bridge. There are deep holes up there and piers next to deep water. But you’ll find most of the fish near the bridge. In this area, we’ll usually fish for speckled trout with grubs. You generally can cover more water with grubs, and the trout seem to prefer grubs instead of live shrimp in February. Shrimp don’t swim well in cold water.

Question: How do you work the grubs when you fish them?
Chambliss: We let the grubs fall to the bottom, bounce them three or four times over the bottom, jump them up 2 or 3 feet, let them fall back to the bottom and repeat this same action until we get the grubs back to the boat. We’re basically working the bottom third of the water column.

Question: What will be a great day of fishing during January on Alabama’s Gulf Coast?
Chambliss: We can have several-different types of fishing days. A great day may be catching and releasing all the big bull reds you’ve ever wanted to catch or catching a mixed bag of about 15 trout, a few sheepshead and three or four black drum or red drum.

To fish with Chambliss, call (251) 979-1209, or email Chambliss@gulftel.com.