One of the great features of the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast is the quality of the surf fishing year-round. Anglers can hook a variety of species right along the water’s edge almost all year long, with the exception of a few harsher days during the winter.
That means surf fishing is on fire right now and will last through the fall. During the heat of the summer, you may have to change tactics a little by fishing in a little deeper water in the holes scoured out by the wave action. In the spring and fall, the fish are all along the shoreline.
From the middle of May through August, most people visit the beach, and it can get crowded. Avoid the high-traffic areas and find a spot where fishing won’t interfere with the sunbathers or swimmers. Although you can often catch fish all day, the best fishing is usually during low-light conditions of the early morning and as the sun starts to set. During those times, the beach will be less crowded as well.
If patience is not a virtue and you don’t like relaxing in your beach chair waiting for a bite, then pick up a casting or spinning rod and head down the beach with a pompano jig (also found at the bait and tackle shops) and try to cast to the first sandbar and hop that jig back to the beach. The hopping action of the colorful jigs can sometimes prompt a pompano to strike. Redfish and black drum will also run the beach at times and can provide a whale of a fight.
Alabama’s length limit on flounder is 14 inches, with a daily bag limit of 5 fish per person. The pompano length limit is also 12 inches, but the daily bag limit is three fish per person. There is no limit on whiting. The redfish limit is three per person with a slot limit of 16 to 26 inches, with the exception that one fish larger than 26 inches is allowed. If you happen to beach a large redfish, take a photo and return it unharmed to the water. Those “bull” reds are not good table fare.
Plan a trip to the beaches today, and don’t miss the chance to enjoy one of the Alabama Gulf Coast’s most accessible fishing opportunities.