Kicking Off the Summer on the Coast
June is the traditional kick off month for the start of summer. Kids are out of school and looking for something to do. Nothing is better than exposing them to the wholesome sport of fishing. By doing the right thing for your kids, you can get an awesome benefit as well.
Waters have warmed up sufficiently enough in June to wade off the beach and become ‘one with nature.’ Some of the most exciting fishing of the year occurs by those wading waist deep off a gulf beach. Whether connecting with speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, redfish or bluefish, it’s pretty hard to top the line singing action in shallow water.
“The beaches around Gulf Shores offer some of the finest wade fishing in Alabama.”
The beaches around Gulf Shores offer some of the finest wade fishing in Alabama. Tossing hard plugs into the dark waters of the first trough off the beach can result in a variety of fish species looking for an easy meal. Because of the abundant numbers of toothy species, you should use a wire leader. Avoid silver and use black instead so the Spanish and blues won’t be attracted by the flash put off by a silver leader. This will save you considerable money in lost plugs or spoons. The Gulf Shores beaches can also offer some good action for pompano. Use a small hook and slide on a section of dead shrimp to entice the delicious pompano.
On the west end of Dauphin Island, you can look for hot action on the Mississippi Sound (north) side of the island. Casting slow-sinking MirrOlures should result in nice catches of trout and redfish during June. As the summer progresses, you should turn your attention towards the beaches on the gulf side of the island to encounter good wade fishing action. On the gulf beaches, you should switch to spoons to coax bites out of fish running the beach. The Johnson Sprite spoon is a very reliable bait in the surf. Also the Kastmaster Mr. Champ has always produced bites if fish are in the surf. Once again, it’s best to use a steel leader to avoid losing spoons to blues and Spanish mackerel.
White trout will start showing in good numbers around structure in Mobile Bay. All of the manmade reefs should be holding white trout. Small pieces of cut bait will attract the aggressive white trout. The gas rigs in Mobile Bay will also be great places to target whites. Once you encounter a school of hungry fish with dead shrimp or cut bait, you can switch to white Gulp! Swimming Minnows. The competing fish will pounce on the artificials with almost no hesitation. Use a 3/8-ounce head to get your grubs to the bottom-feeding white trout.
All eyes will be focused on red snapper during the first few of June. The limited season offered by the feds is enough to make you sick! For the past 60 days, offshore anglers have been fighting off hordes of red snapper and forced to release them. These anglers have been shaking their heads wondering how the feds can be so far off on the availability of this prized offshore species.
The state of Alabama has come to the rescue of recreational anglers who will restrict their red snapper pursuits to within nine miles of Alabama shores. The state has claimed these waters and has allowed a season running from May 26 to the end of July within the nine-mile limit. The limit will be two fish per person per day with a 16-inch minimum length.
During the federal season, offshore captains, like Capt. Jim Daniels of the Ocean Ox Charters, will be trying to put their parties on quality fishing for red snapper. Captain Daniels already has his first trip in June planned out.
“We have a 12-hour trip planned to head out 50 to 60 miles and troll for wahoo around weedlines,” he explained. “We will troll skirted ballyhoo for the wahoo. I like a red and black skirt combo, but use other combos as well. If we can’t find weedlines, we will search out the ‘breakwater’ where the blue and green waters meet. There, we often encounter mahi-mahi (dolphin) wahoo and the occasional tuna.”
“In the afternoon we come back into the 30- to 40-mile range, where we target the big 25-pound-plus red snapper,” he continued. “By the afternoon, the crowds have thinned and catching snapper is a lot easier. The state of Alabama offshore complex has thousands of artificial reefs. With over 1,030 square miles of reef area, in fact, there is no need to crowd other boats, as there are other reefs within a half-mile of each other. I have had fishermen come from as far away as Denmark to catch red snapper. I won’t allow their trip to be compromised by other anglers who either don’t know any better … or just don’t care!”
After limiting out on red snapper, Captain Daniels opts to do a little trolling on the way back to shore. “I try and stay away from targeting vermilion snapper (beeliners) because they are hit so hard during June. We try to catch a few kingfish (king mackerel) on the way in to top off the trip. It usually works out best this way,” Daniels said.
The shallow bass bite in the bays along the coast will be coming to a close this month as the grasses have made it difficult to run a lure. However, should you locate a swift running channel, where grass doesn’t grow as well, you could do well by working the channel with a variety of baits. Spinnerbaits will still work, but hard baits will do quite well if you locate a school of fish in one of these channels.
“As waters warm in June, bass will move out towards the rivers.”
As waters warm in June, bass will move out towards the rivers. Look for grass-lined banks to fish in early mornings or late afternoons. A noisy buzzbait will pull fish out of the grass at first light and at sundown. Be sure to fish any wood cover you find along the rivers with shallow running crankbaits. You should also give special attention to any rock covered banks you find along the rivers, such as the riprap on Mobile River just above Chickasabogue Creek.
Bream will still be active in June on the lower delta. Probe any structure you encounter, such as stumps, tree bases and any old duck blinds. Live crickets are still a great bait choice, but carry along some wigglers to tempt the stubborn bream. As the month warms, you should target bream in deeper water. Try creeks with bends and depth of eight feet or more. Start fishing on the bottom and adjust upwards in the water column until you connect with fish.
Bream will also be available around manmade structure in June. The shade put off by piers and boathouses will attract bream in a typical hot June. Two places that come to mind for “shady” bream fishing are East Fowl River near Memories Fish Camp and Rabbit Creek off the Dog River estuary. There are lots of docks and boathouse on both rivers that can hold bream this month.
There is no doubt that June ushers in some of the best conditions and fishing opportunities of the year. Don’t miss out on a second of it. Get out there and wet a hook during this most glorious month of the year.
See you on the water!
Mr. Champ Spoons
Ocean Ox Charters
Captain Jim Daniels