Editor’s Note: Captain Erik Davis of Gulf Shores, Alabama, can’t remember a time when he hasn’t fished for speckled trout, redfish, flounder, sheepshead, white trout and ground mullet on Alabama’s Gulf Coast and in the creeks and the rivers that feed into the Gulf of Mexico. His dad, Captain Gary Davis of Foley, Ala., has guided for fish in that area Erik’s entire life. In recent years, Eric has joined his dad in the family business. According to Gary Davis, “Some days Erik and his party will catch more fish than me and my party will.” This month, Erik Davis will tell us how he catches speckled trout, flounder and redfish.
Question: Where will you find speckled trout, flounder and redfish in October on Alabama’s Gulf Coast?
Davis: For speckled trout, I’ll be fishing the artificial reefs in Mobile Bay and some of the reefs and the oil and gas rigs out from Fort Morgan, Ala. The speckled trout will stay on these artificial reefs until the middle of October, when they’ll start maki
ng their annual migration into the creeks and the rivers that feed Mobile Bay. During this month, there will be an infusion of salt water into the rivers and the creeks that feed the bays and the bayous. So, as the salinity level in these feeder rivers and creeks increases, the speckled trout, redfish and flounder will move into that new water in these drainages. The colder the weather gets, the further the fish will move-up the creeks and the rivers. At the first of October, the artificial reefs out in the Bay will be your best bet to catch speckled trout. At the middle or the end of the month, you’ll need to move to the creeks and the rivers that feed Mobile Bay to fish for trout.
Question: What’s your favorite artificial reef to fish?
Davis: I prefer the Fish River Reef and the Shellbank Reef. I can put in at Weeks Bay, Mullet Point Park ramp or Fort Morgan and quickly and easily reach both these reefs.
Question: What size trout will you be catching at this time of year?
Davis: The trout will range from 16- to 24-inches long, and a 23- to a 24-inch trout will weigh about 3-1/2- to 4 pounds. We’ve caught trout weighing up to 6 pounds fishing the rivers and the creeks in October. But these bigger trout aren’t as common as they are in the summer and the spring, when the trout move down to the bays.
Question: What size redfish will you be catching in the creeks and the rivers this month?
Davis: Most of the redfish we catch in the creeks and the rivers in October will be within the slot. The big bull reds will be holding on the Dixey Bar out from Fort Morgan. Of course, you can
catch big bull reds on the Dixey Bar at almost any time of year. For the first half of October, you can catch a limit of speckled trout and then move out to the Dixey Bar and fish for those big bull reds. Toward the end of October, your chances of catching eating-sized redfish and speckled trout will be better in the creeks and the rivers.
Question: When you’re fishing the artificial reefs or fishing up the river for speckled trout, what types of bait and tackle do you use?
Davis: I like a finesse grub, an artificial lure or a jig with a grub tail on it. I prefer a 1/4-ounce jighead, and I’ll bounce my jig and grub off the bottom. Green grubs with sparkle in them seem to be the most productive. Root-beer-colored grubs also are good, and chartreuse is always a great color to use. I’ll be fishing 8-pound-test Vicious line.
Question: How do you fish the reefs?
Davis: I determine which way the tide and the winds are moving, and then I go upcurrent of the reef, turn-off the motor and start drifting across the reef. Once we catch a speckled trout, I’ll very quietly slip my anchor overboard to hold us on that spot where we’ve found the school of trout. When the trout stop biting, I lift the anchor and continue to drift across the reef, until we catch another trout and then repeat the same process. Once we reach the end of the reef, we’ll drift well past it and then crank-up our big engine, go to the head of the reef and start drifting again. One of the advantages to fishing out of Fort Morgan is if the speckled trout aren’t biting on the reefs, we can move out to Dixey Bar and catch those big redfish.
Question: When the speckled trout and the redfish swim into the creeks, what’s your favorite creek to fish?
Davis: I like Fish River, Soldier Creek and the creeks around Lillian, Ala.
Question: How do your fishing tactics change when the fish move into the creeks in October?
Davis: They don’t really. We still will be using the same artificial lures and live shrimp we’ve used in Mobile Bay, except we may add a popping cork above our live shrimp to imitate feeding trout.
Question: What types of places do you fish in the creeks?
Davis: I prefer to fish spots where the river opens-up and then narrows-down again, or areas with good structure on the bottom that will hold speckled trout and redfish.
Question: If you had to choose between fishing the reefs in Mobile Bay or the creeks that feed into the Bay, which will be the most-dependable option this month?
Davis: I’d bet on the reefs in Mobile Bay. Even though at the end of the month the fish will start moving into the creeks, we consistently catch our bigger trout out on the artificial reefs in the Bay during October.
To fish with Captain Erik Davis this month, call him at 251-979-1224, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org