t too-many anglers know that Alabama’s Gulf Coast homes a good population of monster-sized trout. To catch one of these monster trout, however, you must wake-up before sunrise, fish with small-diameter line and have the patience of Job from the Holy Bible and the angling skills of a master fisherman. For many years, visitors to Alabama’s Gulf State Park Pier have watched big speckled trout swimming around the lights of the pier after the sun sets, and the moon rises. Hooking and landing one of those huge trout can be difficult, but not for a new breed of anglers on the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf shores, Alabama, who have learned the secrets to catching those monster trout that have eluded so many fishermen for so many years.
David Thornton of Mobile, Ala., one of the anglers who has cracked the code on how to catch monster-sized speckled trout, explains, “Your best chance to catch one of those big trout begins at 3:00 am when few, if any, other anglers are at the pier. I fish with a Shima
no spinning rod and reel and 4-pound-test line. Because the water on Alabama’s Gulf Coast is extremely clear, the trout can see any line bigger than 4-pound test. I prefer to fish with live bait. Once the big trout takes my bait, I don’t get in a big hurry to land it. I let the trout run as hard, as fast and as far as it wants. Then, I set a light drag on my reel, so the trout can’t break the line. A big trout may take from 15 to 20 minutes to catch from the time it takes the bait until you can get the trout into the landing net and pull it up over the railing of the pier.
“This past year, I caught the biggest speckled trout I’ve ever caught fishing from the pier. It weighed 6.65 pounds. The big trout will be concentrated around the pier from now until November. Light line, patience and a quality landing net are the keys to successfully taking these monstrous-sized trout before daylight.”
Big trout are much like older-age-class white-tailed deer. They’ve learned to pattern the fishermen, recognize hooks and line and know the baits they shouldn’t eat. Too, these big trout have learned that the best time to attack baitfish without fear of getting hooked is from 1 to 4 hours before daylight, when the least number of anglers will be on the pier. So, to catch a trophy trout, you need to become a trophy-trout fisherman and think like one. You must fish when the other fishermen aren’t with much-smaller and lighter tackle than most pier fishermen use. Thornton’s not the only trophy-trout angler who fishes those wee hours before daylight. And, speckled trout aren’t the only fish being caught during this time. The king mackerel and big bull reds run just before or just at daylight too.
Besides fishing from the Gulf State Park Pier this fall season, anglers also can catch and keep a limit of red snapper during the special fall weekend red snapper season occurring until 12:01 am on Nov
ember 22. If you’ll be attending any of the numerous events on Alabama’s Gulf Coast this fall, including the Fall Bird Banding at Fort Morgan, Ala., October 9-21, plan to add a fishing trip to the pier to your itinerary.
To learn more about the Gulf State Park Pier, which is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, call 251-967-FISH (3474). For more information on fishing guides and charter boats, lodging accommodations, restaurants and entertainment on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, call Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism at 800-745-SAND (7263), or visit www.orangebeach.com
. You also can get a fishing report three times each week by visiting the “What’s Biting” column at www.orangebeach.com/fishing/biting/