Window Shopping

Local Fishing By Thomas R. Dempsey, M.D. CCI

Some days you just don’t feel like going all out.  Last weekend a friend and I went out on the Gulf just to look around and have some fun, see if we could stumble into some good fishing. The weather was clear, so we could take a flats boat, and I got a new pocket camera that takes good video. We launched on a Sunday afternoon out of Little Billy Goat Hole on Dauphin Island and headed across the mouth of Mobile Bay. There was a light chop on the water and a 5 mph North wind.

Our first stop was Dixie Bar/Fort Morgan.  A few pods of smaller fish were working the beach and a line of current as the tide emptied the bay. We stopped, got the camera out, and I went to the front of the boat to the casting platform. I was immediately into some medium sized ladyfish, then it was all small spanish mackerel. I switched out to the helm and my partner took the casting deck, catching what looked like the exact same fish (we should have clipped a fin or something). That played out pretty quickly.

As the sun was still high, we headed out to some of the closer oil and gas platforms.  The water was dark green (lots of fresh water) until we got about 10 miles or so out. At that point the visibility improved, and we could see about 20 feet down.  Baitfish finned lazily on top and a few reef sharks appeared from time to time around the legs of the platform. Not much excitement. We dredged with deep sinking lines, going about 50 feet down with a variety of fly patterns and retrieves, but to no avail.

We went back to Dixie Bar, caught a bunch of hardtails and ladyfish in the surf, picked up some better quality spanish mackerel on chugged poppers, took some more video with my cool, new camera, watched some coyotes (no kidding, coyotes!) walking on the beach around the old Fort Morgan battlements, then turned home and called it a day.

At some point you may have asked why I am writing about this trip. Because it is typical.  I love the screaming reel trips, but much of fishing is about putting in time on the water. A front had moved through, the water was dingy with little current, there was hardly a breeze, and not much was happening.  This goes into a mental file from which my brain sorts out patterns. At least we have a few cool little video clips