John's Journal...

Finding the Ghost Trout of Alabama’s Mobile Bay

Enjoy Hot Fishing in Cold Weather

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Most visitors to Alabama’s Gulf Coast fill their ice chests with speckled trout, redfish and flounder during the spring, summer and fall. Five and 6-pound trout come frequently from the artificial reefs, numerous oyster reefs and oil rigs in Mobile Bay. But when Jack Frost comes calling, he seems to cause the trout in the bay to vanish like ghosts. Only the locals and some veteran fishermen know the secrets, which they pass down from generation to generation, to finding these trout that take a northern wintertime vacation to warmer waters and more-abundant food. What we’ve learned from these ghost-like trout in Mobile Bay may help you find where cold-weather trout stay in secluded hot spots all along the Upper Gulf Coast.Click to enlarge

The rivers feeding into Mobile Bay won’t have fishermen, water skiers or pleasure boaters on them in the winter. Most of the time you’ll only see boats on the water that contain speckled trout fishermen, and probably you won’t spot many of them.
“On an average day in the winter, we’ll catch 20 to 30 trout, and although we’ll take some really-big trout, we’ll also catch and release quite a few small trout,” Captain Gary Davis of Foley, Alabama, who’s guided and fished for 40 years on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, explains. “Last December, I was fishing with my frieClick to enlargend, Jack Smith, and we had a 60-trout morning on the Magnolia River.” River anglers will find the most-productive days for trout fishing when a warm front moves into the area. Davis picks the Magnolia River as his most-favorite river to fish during December and January. But, if he doesn’t locate fish there, he’ll head to the Fish or the Bon Secour rivers - all within an easy 30-minute boat ride of each other. “I like to fish the Magnolia River because rarely will you ever see another boat there at this time of the year,” Davis says. “Also, the Magnolia River has always supported a good population of wintertime speckled trouClick to enlarget.”

For hot inshore fishing in the winter, head to Alabama’s Gulf Coast where the trout vacation north of their regular haunts in Mobile Bay in the river systems that feed the bay. Throughout the Upper Gulf Coast, any place where you can pinpoint channels or deep-water holes in brackish-water rivers, you’ll find the ghost trout that seem to have vanished from the bays in the winter.

When planning a trip check out Tidewater Fishing Service (Captain Gary Davis), Foley, AL 36535, (251) 943-6298 and, 1-800-745-7263.


Tomorrow: Where to Find the Trout

Check back each day this week for more about "Finding the Ghost Trout of Alabama’s Mobile Bay"

Day 1: Follow the Bait to Find the Trout
Day 2: Understand the Trout Migration Schedule
Day 3: Fish Artificial
Day 4: Enjoy Hot Fishing in Cold Weather
Day 5: Where to Find the Trout


Entry 381, Day 4