Fishing at The Pass in Orange Beach

What's Biting: Cold Weather Fishing in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach is the perfect spot for great cold-weather fishing with a ton of different fish to catch. 

If these upcoming winter months are as cold as last year's, anglers will have to head to the rivers and estuaries a little earlier this year to find fish willing to bite.

As the air temperatures drop, the water temperatures will follow suit. That means the fish's metabolism along Alabama Gulf Coast will slow down, and patience will be a key attribute in catching a fish.

The good thing about being on the water in cold weather is that many regular fishers have headed to the deer camp, and there won't be much competition for the best fishing spots.

Also, anglers who don't hunt or care about getting out in the chilly weather will be using the downtime to perform maintenance on their boats, motors, and equipment while waiting for the warm fishing weather to come back.

Redfish Gulf Shores

The coastal species will head into deeper water as the water temperatures fall into the 50s to find more stable temps. Look for deeper holes and channels of the rivers and estuaries for the winter hangouts for most fish.

The cooler weather will send the bait into the rivers and estuaries as well. Speckled trout and redfish follow the migration of shrimp into those same areas.

Like a DOA shrimp or Vudu shrimp, shrimp imitation lures can work well in the winter, but it takes a different fishing technique. Winter fishers often cast the bait out and let the current carry the bait into the strike zone while keeping the rod tip dead still.

Speckled Trout

A light line of eight to ten pounds is crucial for cool-weather fishing. Tie the shrimp imitation directly to your line without a cork or any added weight. If the current is a little slack, another technique is to let the lure slowly sink and watch your line for any twitch that might indicate a bite. As the bait slowly sinks, let twitch and descend. Take your time because the fish are usually a little sluggish and won't do much chasing.

If conditions are right, surf fishing can be productive before the weather gets too cold. Whiting, also known as Gulf kingfish, runs the shoreline during early winter and will take bits of fresh dead shrimp with a little square of Fish Bites cast in the surf on the front beach. By the time January rolls around, the fish have headed back into a little deeper, warmer water.

Surf Fishing Orange Beach

Just a note of caution when you're inshore or surf fishing, and you hook either a Southern flounder or a Gulf flounder (more likely on the beach), immediately release the fish unharmed. The flounder season is closed to both commercial and recreational anglers for the entire month of November to protect the fish migrating to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn.

It may not be flip-flop weather, but you can still catch fish on the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast in cooler weather with the proper techniques and a good deal of patience.

If you’re dreaming of catching some great coastal fish, start planning your next fishing trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach today!


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David Rainer Blogger
David Rainer (2 Posts)
David Rainer has written about the great outdoors on the Alabama Gulf Coast for more than 20 years. For 14 of those years, he covered the many fishing opportunities on the Gulf Coast as outdoors…