The spring and fall transition periods are almost mirror images of each other. They occur when the water temperatures are between 62 and 75 degrees. This is usually from mid-March to mid-May and from mid-October to early December. The best bait to catch both quantity and quality is live shrimp fished under a popping cork (download the doc below to see how). The speckled trout can be found in shallow water -less than 6’ and will be active all day. The abundant oyster reefs around Dauphin Island in the Mobile Bay/Mississippi Sound hold the fish and especially during this period are given away by the “slicks” that they create when feeding. Drift fishing is the most effective technique as it allows you to be mobile. For artificial baits, try shrimp imitations under the same cork or mullet imitations such as top water baits during low-light periods. The early spring is when trout begin their spawn. They are laden with dense roe and are very aggressive so it is the best time of the year to catch that “wall-hanger”. Redfish are thick around Dauphin Island at the mouth of Mobile Bay and will eat almost anything. Try drifting some sort of finfish such as a spot or croaker while casting a jig. Slot redfish show up at the tips of all of the barrier islands and will be as equally aggressive. The always popular gold spoon or a live shrimp are the best producers for them.
For even more information on fishing Dauphin Island and to ask questions, visit one of our seminars.
Conservation Tip: Although the Alabama regulation is more liberal, on my charters, I only allow 5 speckled trout per person (14”-19”) and no redfish. This is done in an effort to protect our resource by allowing the larger breeding fish to live. Redfish are also very slow to reach sexual maturity, so it is even more important to release them. If you cherish our fishery as much as I, try this lowered boat limit. Also, remember to handle the fish properly if you are going to release them. Be sure that the net as well as your hands are wet. This will protect the fish’s delicate “slime” layer and prevent infection. I always say, “A filet lasts one meal, but a picture lasts forever- you may even make this website!”