Editor’s Note: Captain Dennis Treigle of the “Find Me Fishing” charter boat is an inshore fisherman who specializes in finding and catching speckled trout, redfish and flounder.
Question: Dennis, where will you be fishing in August, and what will you be catching?
Treigle: During August, most of our fish will be caught from the bay area near Perdido Pass. In the early morning, we’ll be concentrating on speckled trout. Later in the morning, when the sun’s up, and the trout bite is over, we’ll be fishing for redfish and flounder. As the weather warms up even more in August, fishing for speckled trout becomes tough. So, anyone who wants to catch speckled trout needs to get up before daylight and be on the water as soon as the sun glows. After the redfish bite’s over, we move from dock to dock inside the bay until we find a dock holding redfish. Certain docks will hold large numbers of redfish. When you locate these docks, you can have a good time catching plenty of redfish. Not every dock will produce redfish. We’ll still be catching quite a few flounder around jetties in the Pass when we catch the right bait for them.
Question: Let’s talk about the early-morning bite with speckled trout. Where will you fish for the trout, and what will you use to catch the trout?
Treigle: Several factors dictate how many trout you’ll catch on any morning you fish. You must first begin fishing before daylight, and then you need to fish either the incoming or the outgoing tide. Generally the speckled trout bite is better during an incoming tide. Most of the guides fishing for trout this month will arrive at the docks long before they meet their parties and drag their shrimp nets to catch live croakers for bait. They’ll catch a few trout on menhaden and some trout on live shrimp. But live croakers are the best bait for speckled trout.
Question: How big are the croakers you use?
Treigle: I fish with croakers 2-1/2- to 4-inches long because croakers get on the bottom and croak, attracting speckled trout.
Question: What pound-test line should our readers use to catch speckled trout?
Treigle: I prefer to use 10- to 12-pound-test line when fishing for speckled trout. When you’re fishing for redfish around docks, you’ll need 14- to 17-pound-test line. However, many fishermen use heavier test line then that.
Question: What bait do you use to catch redfish?
Treigle: The redfish should be taking alewives, menhaden, croakers and spots. Right now, redfish prefer live shrimp, which is odd but not surprising since we’ve had such a strange year of fishing. The inshore bait didn’t show up until the third week of July. Usually by this time, the fish are tired of eating shrimp and are feeding heavily on baitfish. However, since the baitfish will be in the area in August, we may see a transition from live shrimp to other live baits I mentioned earlier. Generally medium-sized baits will produce more redfish than really-big baits or very-small baits.
Question: How do you catch the menhaden and the other live baits you use for redfish?
Treigle: We use a cast net and find the live bait around the docks. Nothing’s better than getting good, fresh hardy baits early in the morning before you go out fishing.
Question: What about flounder – where do you find them, and how do you catch them?
Treigle: The flounder eat bull minnows early in the morning. You can get those bull minnows at a tackle shop or catch them in your cast net. You can walk around any island around Perdido Pass and see small schools of baitfish floating to shore. The locally-named tiger minnow is a productive bait for flounder. You also can use bull minnows with a big, round head or live alewives. Once I get my bait, I’ll use an ounce of lead with a 1-1/2-foot leader and a No. 6 hook. I’ll bounce the lead off the bottom, on the edge of rock jetties or behind bridge pilings.
I tell my fishermen to cast the bait out, let the bait cover the bottom and sit there for a full minute. Then slowly begin to drag the lead on the bottom back toward the boat, so the bait covers a large portion of the bottom. I’ve found that the best time to catch flounder is on either end of the tide change, meaning you’ll want to fish either the last hour or two of an incoming tide and/or the first hour or two of an outgoing tide. That’s when the speckled trout seem to feed the best in this region.
Question: Dennis, what do you think about reports of a possible second cobia run in August and September?
Treigle: I believe it will happen this month. The third week in July, I was returning from fishing, and I ran past a cobia cruising on the surface. I didn’t see the cobia until I was right beside it. That fish dove for the bottom and never reappeared. I’ve never seen a cobia this late in the season, and the cobia was heading from east to west. Since we’re getting reports out of Destin and Panama City, Florida, that boat captains are seeing large numbers of cobia moving up the beach, I believe we’ll have an unusually-late run of cobia this year. If this happens, we’ll have some of our finest fishing of the year this month.
To fish with Captain Dennis Treigle, call him at (850) 221-7732, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.