Successfully Fish in the Gulf of Mexico During Late Fall and Winter

“Meet me at Billy’s Seafood on the Bon Secour River at 11:00 am,” the voice on the other end of the phone said. “That’s where I’m putting-in and taking-out. We should catch a good mess of speckled trout and redfish,” Captain Rick Murdoch of the “Alabama Girl” told me. Arriving at Billy’s Seafood at about 10:30 am, I went into the store to check-out what was available. Every day tugboats and commercial shrimp boats pull-up to Billy’s Seafood to unload their catches from the Gulf of Mexico. So, I knew this was some of the freshest seafood to be found anywhere. As I looked through the bins, I saw the red shrimp that came from deep water. I also spotted jumbo shrimp (only 13 of these shrimp weighs a pound) and extra-large, large, medium and small shrimp. There was also flounder, Spanish mackerel, white trout and mullet available for sale.

Yes, I did load-up my cooler with shrimp and flounder. Stuffed flounder is one of my favorite foods to eat, and although we stuff ours with homemade crab and shrimp stuffing, you also can buy already-prepared with crabmeat stuffing. By the time I had my seafood loaded in my cooler and iced-down, Rick and his party had come-in from a successful morning of fishing for speckled trout and redfish. “We threw-back more fish than we caught,” Murdoch announced with a smile. “The speckled trout and redfish were really biting well this morning. We fished for them with live shrimp and a cork in the Bon Secour River. As the weather cools-down, the speckled trout and redfish, which have been in Mobile Bay, a large shallow bay on Alabama’s coast that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, start following the shrimp and baitfish as they move-up the coastal rivers. I like to bring my fishing parties to the Bon Secour River, because it’s a relatively-small river with many twists, turns and shallow water that eventually becomes deep water.

“Regardless of the weather, you always can find a place on the river to catch fish. Since I take parties fishing all during the fall and winter, including rainy days and days when the wind’s howling, we can find water there where we can catch the speckled trout and redfish. As these fish move-into the coastal rivers, they’ll usually feed in the deep water first, which is mainly in the channel of the river. Once the sun comes-up and warms-up the day, the shrimp and the baitfish will move-up into the shallow water, and the speckled trout and redfish will follow the bait. Therefore depending on the weather, we usually start fishing in the deeper water early and fish the shallow water later in the morning.

“Now fishing’s fishing, but usually we can produce a good catch of speckled trout and redfish throughout the fall and winter. One of the advantages of coming to Alabama’s Gulf Coast in the cooler weather is that if the Gulf’s too rough to fish, you can fish inshore. Also if people come to the Gulf for several days, they’ll often choose to fish one day inshore and one day offshore. The good news is we have plenty of places to fish for speckled trout and redfish, no matter what the weather. We can fish the Intercoastal Canal, which offers protected water all year long, the lagoon and all the coastal rivers. I keep my boat on its trailer in the cooler weather, so that I can take my party to the location of wherever the fish are biting. We had a great day of fishing today, everyone in my party caught plenty of fish, and we kept the ones we wanted to eat.”

To contact Billy’s Seafood located on County Road 10 West in Bon Secour, Ala., call toll-free, 1-888-4BILLYS (424-5597) or 251-949-6288. You also can email billys@gulftel.com, or go to www.billys-seafood.com. For more information about Captain Rick Murdoch of Alabama Girl Inshore Charters, call 251-424-0144, or visit www.alabamagirlfishing.com.

Click here to go on to part four, terrific saltwater fishing in the winter. Click here to go back to part two.

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