EDITOR’S NOTE:Captain Kathy Broughton, of the charter boat, the “Kitty Wake,” based at Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach, Ala., says that March is one of the best months for inshore and near-shore fishing on Alabama’s Gulf Coast and then for cooking your catch.

I fish up and down the beaches near the shore, the jetties and Perdido Pass and all the back bays during March. In March, we’ll still have bull reds biting on the front beaches. Also later in March, the sheepshead will move into the jetties and the docks in the bay, and we’ll start catching speckled trout and redfish in the bays when they move out of the rivers and start heading toward the Gulf of Mexico. We may pick-up a few speckled trout around the jetties, but our best trout fishing will be in the bays during the early spring. We’ll also start catching pompano this month, however, sheepshead, speckled trout and redfish will be the primary targets.

Speckled Trout, Redfish and Sheepshead in the Bay: 
The speckled trout will start coming down the creeks, and we’ll start fishing for them in the bay around the docks. The trout come to the docks first because the docks tend to hold a lot of baitfish. Too, the docks provide easy places for the trout and the slot redfish to attack and feed on the bait. The speckled trout we catch around the
docks will average around 1-1/2- to 3-pounds each at the first of the month. However, as the weather warms-up toward the end of March, we’ll be catching bigger trout. On an average trip, we’ll usually catch 5 to 10 speckled trout, and often a limit of redfish or more as well as 5 to 20 sheepshead. On most of our March trips, we catch a mixed bag of speckled trout, redfish and sheepshead. We catch our fish mainly on live shrimp using a No. 6 wide bend hook and 12-pound-test line. Depending on the wind and the current, I’ll often use a split shot up the line. When we’re fishing for sheepshead, we’ll often add 20-pound leaders to our main lines to keep the sheepshead from biting the line in two and to get the sheepshead away from the barnacles on the dock.

Front Beaches on Gulf of Mexico:
If we leave the bay, motor through Perdido Pass, and go out to the front beach, we still can catch bull reds at the first of March, and those reds generally will weigh from 8- to 20-pounds
each. Also on the front beach this month, we may catch pompano. Our best pompano run usually occurs about the middle or the end of March. To catch the pompano, we fish with No. 6 wide bend hooks. We’ll tie the hook onto 15- or 20-pound leader that’s about 18-inches long. We tie the leader to a barrel swivel. Then we put a slip sinker up the main 12-pound test line. We catch the pompano on live shrimp and on pompano jigs. Pink or chartreuse green seem to be the most-productive jig colors for catching the pompano. Alabama’s Gulf Coast has a three-fish limit on pompano, and they usually will weigh between 1-1/2- and 2 pounds. And the pompano are really delicious to eat.

Also when we’re fishing the front beaches in March, we’ll carry cobia rods with jigs on them. Then, if we see a cobia running close to the beach, we can cast to the cobia and often catch them.

Recipes:
Kathy Broughton enjoys cooking fresh fish. Here are some of her favorite March recipes.

Sheepshead:
Trim blood lines out of the fillets. Lightly season the sheeps
head with Cajun Land seafood seasoning. Dredge in flour, and shake. Put 2 tablespoons of real butter in a medium-high skillet on the stovetop. Brown the fillets, and turn them. You may have to add some-more butter. At the last moment, add a splash of vermouth (optional).

Trout Almandine:
Lightly flour speckled trout fillets. Brown the fillets in a small amount of real butter on medium high, and then remove. Brown more butter lightly, add sliced almonds, brown, and add healthy splash of vermouth (optional). Pour sauce over trout.

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