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Thread: Near Shore Trolling - Requesting Advice....

  1. #1
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    Near Shore Trolling - Requesting Advice....

    A buddy and myself are renting a nice center console fishing boat when we will be down in Orange Beach on July 10th. We will have the boat from 6:30 a.m. until 4.30 p.m. - and are not allowed to take it farther than 12 miles from shore. We are more interested in "exciting" fishing more so than catching fish to eat. I have heard that near shore trolling just past the second (or third) sand bar can be a lot of fun. Can anyone give me some advice on this? I assume a good idea is to look for baitfish / birds as we go along(?). Or would we be better off to go out farther to maybe the trolling corridor? Thanks in advance for any help.

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    Early July is usually a good time to catch Spanish and Kings trolling. I would suggest you start near the beach by heading west to the Gulf State Park Pier. You are probably most likely to catch Spanish, but big kings are often nearshore that time of year. I have better luck live bait fishing for them though. If things are slow head south to the 3 mile pyramid cluster, then on to the trolling alley. If the boat has a livewell, consider live bait as well for a possible school of Tarpon along the beach, or other schooling/feeding fish. Good luck!
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  4. #3
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    For "excitement" I would recommend 'running and gunning' for ladyfish, spanish mackerel and "bonita" (Little tunny) throwing white jigs on light tackle .
    That is 8 to 10 pound mono or 20 pound braid on a 7 foot medium action, fast taper rod with a 3000 size spinning reel..
    You simply tie on a 3/4 ounce white jig (with a 30# mono leader) and ride around 1 to 10 miles offshore looking for surface action of fish feeding and breaking or birds diving.
    Get within casting distance to throw the jig, let it sink a couple of seconds, then retrieve it as fast as you can reel while pumping the rod so the jig darts side to side.
    The attack on the lure is ferocious by these intermediate predatory fish mostly mostly 1 to 5 pounds.
    Great sport!
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    Totally agree with pounder. I feel ladyfish are often overlooked. Bigger ladyfish are a blast to catch on light tackle and often available right up to the beach. I feel flyfishermen should especially target them more. Another point is to always be flexible. Trolling, casting, live bait fishing are all potentials on every fishing trip. If possible, Don't lock in on just one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pier#r View Post
    For "excitement" I would recommend 'running and gunning' for ladyfish, spanish mackerel and "bonita" (Little tunny) throwing white jigs on light tackle .
    That is 8 to 10 pound mono or 20 pound braid on a 7 foot medium action, fast taper rod with a 3000 size spinning reel..
    You simply tie on a 3/4 ounce white jig (with a 30# mono leader) and ride around 1 to 10 miles offshore looking for surface action of fish feeding and breaking or birds diving.
    Get within casting distance to throw the jig, let it sink a couple of seconds, then retrieve it as fast as you can reel while pumping the rod so the jig darts side to side.
    The attack on the lure is ferocious by these intermediate predatory fish mostly mostly 1 to 5 pounds.
    Great sport!
    That sounds great! Thanks for the recommendation. One more question - how important is it to get a real early morning start on this type fishing? Or is it less about time of day and more about covering a lot of area in search of the fish feeding / birds diving. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Green_Steel View Post
    Early July is usually a good time to catch Spanish and Kings trolling. I would suggest you start near the beach by heading west to the Gulf State Park Pier. You are probably most likely to catch Spanish, but big kings are often nearshore that time of year. I have better luck live bait fishing for them though. If things are slow head south to the 3 mile pyramid cluster, then on to the trolling alley. If the boat has a livewell, consider live bait as well for a possible school of Tarpon along the beach, or other schooling/feeding fish. Good luck!
    Thank you very much for the recommendation. So when you say "near the beach", are you talking just past the sand bars? What depth would you suggest us trolling. Thanks!

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    I would say Spanish and Kings are "generally" just past the sandbars and ladyfish/hard tails/blues are right up to the sand at times. I would troll 15-25 ft of water while going down the beach, but keeping an eye out for birds and feeding fish closer to shore and farther out.

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    I ran charters out of Orange Beach for 15 years (35 years ago) and did a lot of half day trips trolling, so I do have some street cred here. The bite along the beach, close in, is usually over by 9:00, sometimes earlier than that, but looking for the schooling fish further out can go on all day. This is just a rule of thumb, and you know how fishing can go. Trolling for Spanish, blues, etc., I used a small (less than 2 in.) nylon duster with a wire leader, or a small Clarke spoon with a small trolling weight ahead of the leader, and trolled them as flat lines. Caught a lot of fish that way, but there were also days when I couldn't get the skunk out of the fish box. The run and cast is a lot of fun, probably more, because the boat doesn't kill the fish. Hope you have good luck and catch all you want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haywire View Post
    I ran charters out of Orange Beach for 15 years (35 years ago) and did a lot of half day trips trolling, so I do have some street cred here. The bite along the beach, close in, is usually over by 9:00, sometimes earlier than that, but looking for the schooling fish further out can go on all day. This is just a rule of thumb, and you know how fishing can go. Trolling for Spanish, blues, etc., I used a small (less than 2 in.) nylon duster with a wire leader, or a small Clarke spoon with a small trolling weight ahead of the leader, and trolled them as flat lines. Caught a lot of fish that way, but there were also days when I couldn't get the skunk out of the fish box. The run and cast is a lot of fun, probably more, because the boat doesn't kill the fish. Hope you have good luck and catch all you want.
    Wanted to circle back around on this post (thank you for the response by the way). So when you say "run and cast" - I assume you mean moving around and locating schools of feeding fish by bird activity or seeing the feeding of fish on the surface. Is that correct? And by not "killing the fish" - you mean the fact that you can pull up within casting distance rather than trolling through the school and running off the fish? Thanks again.
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    You nailed it. You try and locate a feeding school of fish and approach as gently as possible in hopes of being able to cast to the school. Getting upwind and floating down to them is good.

    When I mentioned killing the fish, I was referring to the fact that mackerel are often overwhelmed by the pull of the boat when they bite, especially smaller fish. Then it's sort of like reeling in dishtowel. A one pound Spanish can give a decent fight on appropriate tackle, whereas it won't show you much fight trolling. You'll have a lot more fun casting to them. Good luck.
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