Captain Chad Pruitt of the charter boat “Reel Job,” docked at SanRoc Cay Marina
in Orange Beach, is an inshore guide along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Pruitt will
tell us where to find specks, reds and flounder, and how to catch them.
Chad, what species of fish will you be catching this month, where will you find
them, and how will you catch them?
This month, flounder will migrate out of the rivers and the back bays, moving
out toward the Gulf of Mexico. October should offer flounder fishing as productive
as any other month.
Where will you locate the flounder this month?
Many flounder will migrate out into the Gulf of Mexico in October. So, I’ll usually
pinpoint flounder stacked-up on wrecks or reefs in less than 40 feet of water. Piers
in the Gulf of Mexico’s back-bay regions and the passes leading from the back
bays to the Gulf also will fill-up with flounder. We’ll have plenty of flounder
to catch all month, but the peak of flounder catching in October will be around
the full moon.
How big are the flounder you’ll take this month?
We’ll catch smaller flounder weighing from 1- to 2-pounds each or doormat-size
flounder, which are 6 to 8 pounders.
What bait will you use for flounder?
If you’re using live bait for flounder, you can’t beat bull minnows or small finger
mullets, 1- to 3-1/2-inches long. For artificial baits, my favorite is the Berkley
Gulp! Shrimp. I prefer a non-painted jighead over a painted one.
How do you rig when you’re fishing live bait?
I’ll put a 1/4- to a 1/2-ounce egg sinker up the line, tie a barrel swivel to
the end of the line and attach 10 to 12 inches of fluorocarbon leader to the
barrel swivel. Then I’ll hook live bait through the lips with a No. 2 Khale hook.
I’ll attempt to cast out to the side of the structure, whether I’m fishing
wrecks, pier pilings or rocks on the bottom. Then, I’ll drag my bait beside the
How do you set the hook on a flounder?
Many people miss flounder when fishing in October because the flounder typically
will come-up and bump or bite the bait. The fishermen often will set their hooks
the first time they feel the flounder hit their baits. I advise an angler to
wait 5 to 8 seconds after he or she feels the bite before attempting to set the
hook on the flounder. When you feel the flounder bite the bait, drop your rod tip
to throw slack in the line, and allow the flounder to pull the line through the
egg sinker with no resistance. After 5 to 8 seconds, lift your rod tip up until
you feel the flounder, but instead of setting the hook, begin reeling. The Khale
hook will set itself. If you try to strike a flounder too quickly or set the
hook too hard, you’ll more than likely miss the fish.
How do you get the flounder in the boat?
We use a dip net. I saw a client lip a flounder only once. The first time a person
sticks his thumb in that flounder’s mouth and is bitten with those sharp teeth,
he’ll realize why we use a dip net and pliers to take the flounder off the
During a day of October fishing, how many flounder do you expect to catch?
Around a productive wreck or dock, I’ll easily catch 40 to 50 flounder in a day.
The daily limit for flounder is 10 per person, but you can catch and release as
many as you want. If you don’t find a large school of flounder holding on one
spot, you still should be able to get your 10-fish limit in one day of fishing.
Let’s talk about speckled trout. Where will you find the specks and how will
you catch them this month?
There are plenty of trout around Ono Island, Bunkhart Point and the flats.
Bunkhart Point is what the locals and guides call it – it doesn’t have an
official name. It’s a little point across from Sportman Marina. Even if a cold
front passes through, trout will remain in the bays moving toward the mouths of
creeks such as Soldier Creek, Palmetto Creek and Long Creek. My favorite places
to fish in October are the Old River, the grass flats on the north side of Ono
Island and the docks around Bunkart Point. Too, I prefer to fish the grass
flats around Rabbit Island on the opposite end of Ono Island.
What do you use to catch trout?
If I’m fishing grass flats early in the morning, I’ll use top-water lures like the
MirrOlure Top Dog or the Heddon Super Spook, which are both top-water walking
baits. As the sun rises, I prefer to fish a finesse bait, such as the Bass Assassin
saltwater lures, or the Berkley Gulp! Shaky Shad rigged with the new
keel-weighted hooks that have the weight on the shaft of the hook. You can
purchase these hooks in a variety of weight sizes. Keel-weighted hooks have a
peg pin that allows you to peg the bait’s head to the eye of the hook on a
Texas-style rig. The weight on the hook’s shaft allows you to cast this hook
further and causes the hook to fall vertically instead of horizontally. When
you twitch the bait, and the bait comes to the surface, the keel-weighted hook
will take the bait back to the bottom. Using these types of hooks, you can fish
the bait faster than if you put the weight on the line.
What pound-test line will you be fishing?
I like 20-pound-test braided line with 10- or 15-pound-test fluorocarbon leader
attached to the line with a uni-knot.
Where do you find redfish, and how do you catch them in October?
The redfish will be everywhere, and you’ll locate them while fishing for
flounder and specks. But if you just want to catch redfish, fish around docks
on Bunkart Point and the Old River and fish the bridge pilings at Perdido Pass.
The Pass is loaded with redfish right now. Look for them in the pass and around
bridges and jetties. The redfishing is absolutely phenomenal.
How do you fish the docks?
I’ll skip artificial lures under the docks on 50- to 60-pound-test braided
line. You’ll need heavy braided line with abrasion resistance to pull the
redfish out of the docks. Most redfish I’ll catch weigh 5 to 8 pounds, but I’ll
catch an occasional 10 to 15 pounder fishing docks.
How do you catch the redfish around the Perdido Pass Bridge?
You’ll need an incoming or an outgoing tide for good redfishing in the pass. My
favorite bait is live croakers, but alewives and big menhaden are also productive.
To get these baits, you must catch them yourself in a cast net before you go
fishing. If you don’t have a cast net or don’t know how to catch bait, you’ll
be successful using live shrimp, which you can purchase at most bait shops. However,
croakers are my favorite live bait for redfish and speckled trout.
In an 8-hour day of fishing, what do you expect to catch this month?
I’ll have 4- to 10-hour guide trips, but if an angler wants to fish all day,
we’ll target speckled trout, flounder and redfish, and most likely we’ll limit
out in good weather conditions. With two fishermen, we can load the cooler with
good-eating fish, while having fun catching specks, reds and flounder at the
fish with Captain Chad Pruitt on the “Reel Job,” call (251) 747-4275, or email
him at firstname.lastname@example.org.