February wound down bringing us 8 of 10 days with temperatures in the 80's, signaling Ole Man Winter is on his way out of town. The warming trend starts a chain reaction that sends the speckled trout out of the Rivers they've called home the past few months, Sheepshead offshore to spawn and the return of our annual migratory visitors, oh and lots of tourists. Last Friday the water temperature in Orange Beach was 71 degrees, quite an increase from the 46 degrees we saw during January and early February.
What Happens Next
The speckled trout begin the journey back to their spring and summer locations filling the air with the pleasant smell of watermelon jolly ranchers. The Sheepshead head offshore to spawn and have been thick around the bridge pilings and jetties in Orange Beach, certain gas rigs in Mobile Bay and gas rigs offshore of Fort Morgan, and the Flounder begin their journey back to the warmer waters inshore. Offshore, the spanish mackerel show up first feeding on anchovies, sardines, threadfin herring and silversides, as well as shrimp and squid. As you can tell they aren't picky eaters. This past week I spoke with several people who had caught a nice mess of Spanish Mackerel. One person told me he was trolling for Spanish and saw one of the biggest King Mackerel he had ever seen jump up out of the water. The action has been heating up at Gulf State Pier as well, with anglers catching Spanish and King Mackerel. One our most coveted migratory visitors has not yet arrived, the Ling or Cobia. There were reports of a couple Cobia caught last week off the Alabama coast, one out of Orange Beach and an 89 pounder caught a shark fishermen off Fort Morgan. Normally, fishermen get excited once the report of the first Cobia being caught and posted to the Pensacola Fishing Forum, because they know they will soon be here. If you gaze offshore over the next couple weeks and see big boats and center consoles with towers cruising East, there's a good chance they are looking for cow nose rays and sea turtles, hoping to find one of these fierce fighters hovering underneath.
Til Next time
We will keep you up to date with the fishing and the goings on in the area, until then, if you're a resident, you know how exciting this time of year is. If you're a tourist, book a trip with us and "Get Your Fish On."