Editor’s Note: David Brown of Brown’s Inshore Guide Service, captain of the “Audrey II,” based out of Orange Beach Marina, has fished inshore for many years in the Orange Beach region. Brown knows the shallow waters and the back-bay areas so well that we understand he’ll occasionally get a call from schools of speckled trout asking him where they’re supposed to be this month.

Question: David, what will you be fishing for this month, and where will you find them?
Brown: I’ll be fishing for speckled trout and redfish on grass beds along the Alabama and the Florida line in the Perdido section of the coast.

Question: How deep will the grass beds be, what will you fish with, and how will you catch the specks and reds?
Brown: The grass beds will be in 3 to 5 feet of water, and I’ll be fishing with live pinfish and artificial lures, like the MirrOlure Top Dog Jr. and the Top Pup. We’ll also fish with soft-bodied jigs, like the Berkley Gulp! and finesse jigs on 10- to 12-pound-test line with spinning tackle.

Question: Where will the fish be holding?
Brown: I’ll be fishing the edges of the grass beds, the sand and around potholes in the sand.

Question: How big are the trout you’ll catch in May?
Brown: The trout usually will be in the 2- to 4-pound range. On an average day, I’ll catch 15 to 25 trout on a 4- to 6-hour trip.

Question: When is the best time to fish the grass beds?
Brown: Early morning is usually the best time of day. But during the summer months, fishing 1 hour before, during and after the full tide also can be productive.

Question: What’s the biggest trout you’ve ever caught fishing the grass beds?
Brown: About an 8-pound trout.

Question: Why do you like to fish grass beds?
Brown: Most trout fishermen around the Perdido Pass area like to fish the front beach, the jetties, inside the jetties or around the Perdido Pass bridge. I’ve found that there’s less fishing pressure on the grass flats further inside Perdido Bay.

Question: What else will you catch fishing the beds for speckled trout?
Brown: I’ll occasionally catch redfish, especially around piers as well as Spanish mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish.

Question: If you just want to target redfish, where will you fish?
Brown: For the redfish, I prefer to target piers, bridge pilings and seawalls.

Question: What baits will you use for redfish?
Brown: The redfish will hit the top-water MirrOlures I’ve mentioned earlier, gold spoons and either cut or live crabs. I usually prefer a small crab about the size of your palm. I’ll either cut the crab in half or fish it live and whole. If I’m fishing with a whole live crab, I’ll remove the pincers and hook the crab in the back corner of the shell.

Question: What size reds will you catch in May?
Brown: I’ll catch keeper reds, averaging 4- to 6-pounds each.

Question: What pound-test line will you be fishing?
Brown: I’ll be fishing 12- to 15-pound-test line, but if I’m fishing heavy structure, I’ll use braided line with a breaking strength of about 30 pounds. With these tactics, we often can catch 10 to 15 redfish per trip.

Question: Will you start seeing flounder this month?
Brown: Yes, the flounder usually will start showing-up pretty good in May. The flounder prefer a soft, sandy bottom, and I’ll catch them on soft-bodied jigs, bull minnows and live finger mullet (small mullet about the size of your little finger or index finger).

Question: How do you rig for the flounder?
Brown: I usually put a split shot about 18 inches above my bait. In a strong current, I may peg an egg sinker about 18 inches above the bait, so it doesn’t slip up and down the line.

Question: Where’s the best place to find flounder during May?
Brown: You’ll catch numbers of flounder in the Intercoastal Waterway, in and around piers and bridges, along drop-offs where the water drops off from shallow water to deep water and in the mouths of creeks.

Question: What else will you be fishing for this month?
Brown: I should be able to catch pompano, holding on sandy bottoms in clear, green water. I’ll catch them right along the beach up by the breakers on the edge of the shore. Pompano are a great surf species to target. They’re also caught along the jetties at Alabama Point.

Question: Why is May a good month to fish inshore at Alabama’s Gulf Coast?
Brown: In May, the weather begins to stabilize, the water clears-up, and we should start catching more fish than we catch at any other time of year, except the fall.

Question: David, what do you expect to catch on any 4- to 6-hour trip?
Brown: We’ll have a variety of speckled trout, redfish and flounder. And we usually catch as many as 15 to 30 fish, depending on how many anglers we have in the boat. We generally have a lot of throw backs this time of year.

To fish with Captain David Brown, call him at 251-981-6246 or 877-981-6246, or visit www.brownsinshore.com.


Creole Baked Trout
A favorite trout recipe of Alabama’s Gulf Coast anglers comes from the more-than 40-year-old “Gulf Coast Gourmet” cookbook.

Ingredients:
1 2-pound speckled trout
1/2-teaspoon garlic salt
1/8-teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/4-teaspoon thyme
1/4-cup lemon juice
1/2-cup water
1/4-cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Preparation:
Dress, and split speckled trout. Place in oiled shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Heat butter in pan and sauté vegetables for 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, lemon juice and water. Pour over fish. Mix bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon of butter and lemon peel; sprinkle over fish. Bake uncovered in 350-degree oven for 40 minutes.