Within the beauty of the Causeway and I-10 Bayway lies a wealth of prized inshore gamefish when fishing the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.
The low hum of the passing traffic on the busy roadways was a small background noise. The primary sound I heard was the splash of a hooked fish as it tried hard to escape the pressure of my line. My reel’s drag protested the mistreatment it was receiving, and my right arm began tiring from the strong efforts of the hooked fish.
At last, the water alongside my small boat bulged and rolled as the coppery side and back of a solid redfish broke the surface.
The fine six-pound red gasped as I admired it, and then bolted for freedom as soon as I removed the hook from its jaw and let it ease back into the water. A couple of two-pound speckled trout were in the ice chest, and they would become the primary part of a Gulf Coast seafood supper. Once again, fishing the Mobile-Tensaw Delta had come through for me in October.
Where to Go
Captain Andrew Carter operates Krazy K’jun inshore charters, and he likes fishing the Mobile-Tensaw Delta a lot during the fall. He says, “I’ve had clients from out of the area ask me if we fish during the cooler weather here in the Delta. I always have to laugh and tell them that cooler weather in the fall and winter is some of the best fishing of the entire year.”
Five major rivers create the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, and all of these rivers and the varying areas between the rivers give anglers a wide range of great places to fish for specks and reds in October.
” Anglers are advised to keep their eyes open for birds as they work schools of shrimp.”
For Captain Andrew, many October trips in the Delta start at the Battery, which is the point where the Blakely and Apalachee Rivers meet. This old military fortification site offers some great fall fishing.
The prime motivation for all of the specks and reds to be in the rivers and creeks of the Delta in the fall is the major flow of the year’s crop of shrimp leaving the estuary waters of the swamps and bayous and heading out to the open Mobile Bay. Anglers are advised to keep their eyes open for birds as they work schools of shrimp. When the birds are hovering above the shrimp, you can bet that reds and specks will be working the shrimp below.
Consider the massive mud flats between the Causeway and I-10. Captain Andrew says these flats behind Ed’s Seafood Shed on the Causeway can be very good for both reds and specks.
“The little island between the Apalachee River and the Interstate can be very good for reds and specks,” Captain Andrew says, “so work the points with live bait and artificials until you find the fish.”
Just about any of the major five rivers that feed the massive Delta can be good. Anglers should use the waterway that offers the best protection from strong winds which can occur in October. Once the boat is in the major stream, look for working birds or use the fish finder to locate a good drop-off or channel to start fishing.
A very good spot for anglers to find a wide range of great fish is the deep water right behind Trader’s on the Causeway. I’ve caught reds, specks, and even largemouth bass out of this deep hole. This deep water—it’s a 29-foot deep hole—is where the main Apalachee River is joined by a channel, and it’s a very good place to find fish.
How to Find the fish
Even for experienced anglers, fishing the Mobile-Tensaw Delta can be tough to find fish. It’s a huge place and there are miles of shorelines and creeks which all hold fish from time to time.
Of course, using the Delta’s birds to locate shrimp, and fish feeding on the shrimp is a traditional and very productive method of finding fish.
However, for those days when the birds won’t help, anglers can still do some positive things to find good fish.
“Current is very important in the Delta,” Captain Andrew reminds us. “It can be tide movement or current from the flow of the rivers. Water that’s moving is the key. Anglers should fish any point of the Apalachee and Blakely Rivers that has a current moving on it. Any point where you find current moving, you should find specks and reds.”
A very important point for Delta fall anglers is that they will very likely have to search out where the fish are located from trip to trip. “Later in the fall,” Captain Andrew adds, “you may have to go further up the river to Tensaw, Raft Rivers, and other upstream locations. Of course, if we get a lot of freshwater coming down from upstream due to heavy rains, it will move the shrimp and the fish out into Mobile Bay.”
Six launch ramps, both public and private, are on the Causeway, the usual starting point for most Mobile-Tensaw Delta fishing trips. The ramp on the east end of the Causeway at Spanish Fort—Scott’s Landing—as well as some of the other private ramps offer live bait for anglers.
Lures and Bait
Simple is good. And when it comes to selecting lures and baits for fishing the Mobile-Tensaw Delta in October, things are pretty simple. The name of the game in October Delta fishing is shrimp.
“Anglers working both reds and specks can have good results fishing jigs under popping corks.”
The artificial lure that does perhaps the best job of imitating a live shrimp is the old reliable lead-head jig. “I throw no less than a 3/8 oz. jig,” Captain Andrew tells us. “I use either a natural color GULP body or soft-plastic cocahoe grubs. Last year the hot color was lime green and chartreuse.”
Anglers working both reds and specks can have good results fishing jigs under popping corks. Corks keep the jig up off the bottom and out of snags, and the extra weight of the cork can make long-distance casting much easier. Work the popping cork rig on the river and creek points. That’s where it’s at its best.
Now, for live bait, we just can’t beat the real deal. Live shrimp is the best bait for October Delta fishing. As Captain Andrew says, “Everything loves shrimp. Whatever size shrimp are being sold in the local bait and tackle shops are what the fish are eating. We don’t have to have jumbo size shrimp to catch big fish. Trout especially will eat small shrimp, even the big gator trout.”
A Few Final Thoughts
In October fishing the Mobile-Tensaw Delta requires a little care on the part of anglers. Primarily, anglers will need to watch the water levels. Fall and winter tides can be low. Coupled with a strong north wind, the Delta can lose a lot of water overnight. Places that held plenty of water for safe navigation last week may be very shallow or even high and dry a week later. Also, anglers need to be aware that logs and old dock pilings in the Delta can present hazards.
Captain Andrew Carter cautions Delta anglers, “In the Blakeley River there are lots of shallow flats which can be very hazardous when the tide is low.”
When asked to give anglers interested in fishing the Mobile-Tensaw Delta in October the last bit of advice, he says, “Get ready for some fantastic fishing!”
Important Contact Information
Captain Andrew Carter
Krazy K’Jun Inshore Charters
5901 Battleship Parkway