Editor’s Note: Jeff Chambliss, who’s fished the front beaches,
the back bays and Perdido Pass around Orange
Beach for 19 years, fishes out of
SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach as well as from Florida. In January, he’ll catch big redfish,
speckled trout, sheepshead, black drum and red drum off the front beaches from Orange Beach
to Fort Morgan
on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Question: Jeff, where will you find
fish this month?
Chambliss: There will be plenty of bull
reds on the beach and near shore this month. You’ll be able to locate redfish
along 40 miles of beach from Pensacola
Pass to Fort Morgan.
Schools of redfish will be between 1 and 2 miles from the beach feeding on the
baitfish, and the best way to find them is to look for seagulls diving on the
Question: How will you catch the
Chambliss: I’ll be using 1- to
1-1/4-ounce bucktail jigs and jigs with plastic grubs about 5-inches long on
17-pound-test line. I’ll be catching redfish from 30- to 45-inches long. On a
good day, you can catch and release as many redfish as you can reel in, which
may be 50, 60 or 70 redfish.
Question: Where will you find inshore
fish this month?
Chambliss: We’ll catch speckled trout,
sheepshead and redfish around Perdido Pass, the bridge at Perdido
Pass and in the Intercoastal
Canal around Gulf Shores.
The most-dependable fishing spot is the Canal because on almost any day you
fish, the fish will be biting. We usually drift the canal and look for the fish
that may be holding on rocks, points or shallow bars. We’ll be fishing jigs
with grubs on 12-pound-test line. We prefer to fish a Berkley Gulp! Alive!
3-inch Shrimp with a 3/8-ounce jighead or a Berkley PowerBait Shrimp. In the
canal, when speckled trout aren’t biting, the redfish will be biting, and if
the redfish aren’t biting, the speckled trout will be biting. If the speckled
trout and the redfish aren’t feeding, we often can catch sheepshead or black
drum. We generally catch a mixed bag of fish out of the Canal this month. The Canal
offers a protected area to fish where it’s rarely too windy or too rainy to
Question: When you’re fishing the back bays
at this time of year, where do you find fish?
Chambliss: The piers on the south side
of Bear Point and Old
River usually hold trout
this month. We also fish the Intercoastal
Canal and the Oyster
Because Orange Beach
is on the Florida line, I have charter-boat
licenses from Florida and Alabama, so anyone fishing with me is
covered – no matter which state we fish.
Question: Jeff, in recent years we’ve
heard a lot about black drum. Anglers along the Gulf Coast
are now learning that black drum are as good to eat as red drum (redfish). How
do you catch black drum?
Chambliss: Black drum usually don’t
bite as aggressively as redfish, and we generally fish for them with shrimp or
crabs. Occasionally, we’ll catch black drum with jigs.
Question: What type of run will you
make to locate fish this month?
Chambliss: If the weather’s calm, I’ll look
for big redfish out in the Gulf of Mexico. If
the weather’s too rough to fish the Gulf, I’ll move back to Perdido Pass
and fish around the piers. If I’m not successful fishing there, I’ll fish the
Oyster Bar Bridge in Florida, the Lillian Bridge or the Intercoastal Canal near
Question: How do you get to the Lillian Bridge?
Chambliss: Run straight up Perdido Bay
about 5-miles north of Bear Point, and you’ll come to Lillian Bridge.
There are deep holes up there and piers next to deep water. But you’ll find
most of the fish near the bridge. In this area, we’ll usually fish for speckled
trout with grubs. You generally can cover more water with grubs, and the trout
seem to prefer grubs instead of live shrimp in February. Shrimp don’t swim well
in cold water.
Question: How do you work the grubs
when you fish them?
Chambliss: We let the grubs fall to the
bottom, bounce them three or four times over the bottom, jump them up 2 or 3
feet, let them fall back to the bottom and repeat this same action until we get
the grubs back to the boat. We’re basically working the bottom third of the
Question: What will be a great day of
fishing during January on Alabama’s Gulf Coast?
Chambliss: We can have several-different
types of fishing days. A great day may be catching and releasing all the big
bull reds you’ve ever wanted to catch or catching a mixed bag of about 15
trout, a few sheepshead and three or four black drum or red drum.
To fish with Chambliss, call (251) 979-1209,
or email Chambliss@gulftel.com.