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John's Journal... Entry 109, Day 1


Dixie Bar's Redfish

EDITOR'S NOTE: Captain Gary Davis of Tidewater Fishing Service in Foley, Alabama, has fished the Alabama Gulf Coast all his life. From March 1 through December 1, he consistently brings in large catches of speckled trout and redfish. During the winter months, Davis catches numbers of sheepshead. A few weeks ago Davis and I started the morning by fishing Dixie Bar at the mouth of Mobile Bay out of Fort Morgan, Alabama. This week we'll learn where Captain Davis fishes and how he catches his fish.

Question: Why do large schools of redfish hold around Dixie Bar?
Answer: Big schools of redfish hold on Dixie Bar all year long. This morning we fished during an out-going tide and needed a lot of lead to keep our live croakers on the bottom.

Question: How do you rig the equipment to catch these redfish?
Answer: I use 15-pound-test Berkley Trilene XT line. I place a 2-ounce egg-shaped sinker up the line and a barrel swivel below the lead. I tie 2 feet of 15-pound test Berkley Trilene XT leader off the barrel swivel. Then, I tie a No. 6 Sea Sea Striker hook to the leader, and I fish a live croaker that I hook through the nostrils.

Question: Why do you prefer live croakers for bait?
Answer: Croakers, the natural food of the redfish, make a croaking noise that calls redfish to them.

Question: How do you know when to set the hook on redfish?
Answer: Let the redfish eat the bait and wait until your rod bounces two or three times before you jerk the rod. When jig fishing for redfish, you set the hook as soon as the fish takes the bait. But, when you fish with live croakers, you have to give the redfish time to kill and eat the bait before you set the hook. When you set the hook on a redfish, don't try and break the fish's jaw. Use a quick, short wrist-action hook set so you won't break the 150-pound-test line.

Question: How do you play a big redfish?
Answer: When the redfish pulls off drag, don't try to stop the fish or reel in your line. Let the fish run until it stops. Then, reel down to the fish, and pull back on your rod. If the redfish runs to you, reel fast, and keep the slack out of your line.

Question: What kind of tide do the redfish like? What time of the year do they hold on Dixie Bar?
Answer: The redfish don't really care in which direction the tide flows. They just need a moving tide. The redfish remain at Fort Morgan all year long. As long as the bait remains on the bottom, you have a good chance of catching a redfish.

Question: How big do the redfish grow on Dixie Bar?
Answer: The average redfish will weigh from 7 to 20 pounds, but we've caught redfish out here that weigh more than 30 pounds.

Question: Has Fort Morgan's redfish population increased or decreased over the years?
Answer: The redfish population has increased, and we catch a lot more redfish than we used to catch.

To contact Captain Gary Davis and learn more about fishing at Fort Morgan, call (251) 943-6298.





Check back each day this week for more about Redfish ...

Day 1 - Dixie Bar's Redfish
Day 2 - Locating Mobile Bay's Speckled Trout
Day 3 - Reeling In Tough-Fighting Spadefish
Day 4 - The Winter Catch
Day 5 - Selecting Your Catch

John's Journal