Editor’s Note: Captain Keith Powell operates Fish On saltwater charters out of Zeke’s Marina at Orange Beach, Alabama.
Question: Captain Powell, where will you find fish this month?
Powell: The big speckled trout will still be on the deep bite and also feeding at night. The
bigger trout will be around the bridges and the passes. I fish a lot at Oyster Bar, Perdido Key, the Perdido Pass Bridge and around the jetties.
Question: How deep will the speckled trout be in September?
Powell: They’ll be holding in water 17-feet and deeper.
Question: How are you rigging for the trout, and with what are you fishing?
Powell: During the end of August, we caught a dozen trout that weighed from 6- to 6-1/2-pounds each, and every one of those fish was caught on a No. 7/0 circle hook with 1-1/2-weight and 30-pound-monofilament leader about 3-feet long. I was fishing with 8- to 9-inch live croakers. The big trout like really-large baits, so they have to exert as little energy as possible when they want to eat. We’re using really-heavy weights to get those big croakers down in such a heavy current. I’m also fishing a really-long leader to keep the bait away from the barrel swivel at the end of the leader and the lead above the barrel swivel. I’m using 3 feet of 40-pound-test Yo Zuri Disappearing Pink Fluorocarbon Leader. When those big trout eat those big croakers, you’ve got to let them have the bait for awhile. I never use circle hooks when I’m inshore fishing. But in September when I’m fishing for the big trout, deep circle hooks are exactly what I have to have.
Question: What makes the circle hooks better for catching trout than the straight-shank hooks?
Powell: In that deep water, often up to 30-feet deep, there’s a lot of current. I may be casting 30-feet away from the boat and fishing 30-feet deep, so often in that swift current you can hardly feel the bite. To complicate matters even more, those big trout will eat big croakers and start swimming upcurrent. When you look down and see your line running upcurrent, you’ll have to start reeling. By the time you tighten the line, that circle hook will set itself in the fish’s jaw.
Question: In an average day, how many big trout will you catch in September?
Powell: On one 4-hour trip in late August, we had four trout that weighed more than 6-pounds each, a couple more that were in the 4-pound range and four redfish in the 10- to 12-pound range.
Question: What’s the biggest trout you’ve caught using this technique in deep water?
Powell: We’ve put a 7-1/2-pounder in the boat, and we also lost the biggest trout we’ve ever seen.
Question: How long will this pattern for catching specks be good?
Powell: The pattern will be good until the water starts cooling back down. The big trout spawn in September, and somewhere around the full moon, I think they’ll move into the back bays, lay their eggs and then move out. I really believe that the big trout will be in here throughout the entire month of September. Our area’s redfish started moving in during late August around the jetties and in the pass and around the docks around Orange B
each. The inshore redfish usually school-up according to size. You’ll either find a school of 8- to 10-pounders, or in the 10- to 15-pound class. The 6- to 8-pound redfish are the keepers, and they’re really the ones you want to catch. But the bigger redfish are the trophies for picture taking, but then you’ll release them.
Question: What else will you catch in September?
Powell: We started catching a few flounder in August, but September is a better month for gigging flounder around Orange Beach and the Little Lagoon. Then October is the month that the flounder make that push to go back out into the Gulf of Mexico. So, October is the best month to target flounder around the pass and on outgoing tides around the jetties.
Question: What about catching sheepshead?
Powell: A few sheepshead will start coming in during September, but October is a more-productive month for sheepshead.
To contact Powell, call him at 251-367-4150, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or check-out his webpage at www.inshorefishingalabama.com
Here’s a delicious recipe for the speckled trout and redfish you catch inshore during September.
Fire-Broiled Speckled Trout or Redfish
Nothing’s more fun or tastes better than speckled trout or redfish you’ve cooked over an open fire.
1 3- or 4-pound speckled trout or redfish, dressed
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon salad oil
Juice of one lemon
1/4-cup melted butter
Parsley for garnish
1 lemon, sliced
Rub fish with salt, pepper and oil. Grease broiler rack or pan before placing fish on it. Place close to fire at first to sear the surface of the fish, then turn, sear second side quickly. Complete cooking a little distance from the fire, turning the broiler several times during the cooking process. If you don’t wish to turn the fish, cook until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and is browned on the surface. You may wish to transfer the broiler rack or pan to the oven proper to cook if you don’t want to turn the fish. The time of cooking will depend on the thickness of the fish. Thin fillets will require from 8 to 12 minutes with thin whole fish from 12 to 20 minutes. Thick fish (one-inch thick) will take from 15 to 25 minutes. When fish is done, pour melted butter and lemon juice over it, garnish with parsley and sliced lemon and serve.