Editor’s Note: David Thornton of Mobile, Alabama, fishes the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama, every week and will be there throughout February.
This month, we’ll still be catching whiting and ground mullet on the pier. Although you can catch them anywhere on the pier, most of the fish will be caught from the cleaning station in the middle of the pier back to the shoreline. These fish are fun to catch and delicious to eat. As the
water warms-up this month, the sheepshead and the pompano will become more active. Too, there still should be schools of bull reds coming through this month. You probably won’t catch any speckled trout in February because most of them have moved into the estuary areas. They usually don’t show-up at the pier until about April. But some flounder will be caught around the pier during February as well as plenty of white trout and black drum. Bluefish should be in abundance, and if Alabama’s Gulf Coast gets a warm snap, we’ll occasionally catch a few Spanish mackerel. If you’ll be fishing for the bull reds, your best baits will be live menhaden, crabs and fresh-cut mullet. Most of the big bull reds will be caught on the end of the pier.
Although you may be able to see sheepshead around the pilings of the pier, oftentimes you also can catch them out in open water. Toward the end of February, the sheepshead will start their spawning rituals a
nd be ganging-up around the pier more often. They usually orient on the upcurrent side of structure, like the pier pilings or the four artificial reefs the State of Alabama has created around the end of the pilings. We’re hoping the artificial reefs will pull-in good numbers of not only sheepshead, but also many other reef-oriented fish.
When you include the four artificial reefs and the Gulf State Park Pier, this complex in Gulf Shores, Alabama, represents the largest biomass and near-shore structure on the Gulf Coast. So, we’re really counting on those reefs to increase the numbers of fish we’ll catch this month. We feel that the reefs on the end of the pier drastically will increase the numbers of sheepshead and bluefish we catch. In March, the mackerel will start showing-up. We’ve learned that because those artificial reefs and the pilings under the pier tend to hold baitfish, they really attract numbers
of Spanish and king mackerel.
The Gulf State Park Pier offers the best chance to catch fish this month at the most-affordable price ($8 a day) of any place you can fish. Next month, during spring break, not only will the school kids turn out and come to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, but the fishing really breaks loose around the Gulf State Park Pier. You can call the Gulf State Park Pier at (251) 967-3474 for more information.