December Fishing in Orange Beach is Red Hot
Year after year, I am amazed at how good the fishing is during the winter month of December. Not surprising, our weather has been really good all fall in Orange Beach, but now is the time to get serious about Bull Redfishing right off the beach. The King Mackerels should be around until Christmas, but we are finding that we are having to go a little further offshore to get them.
Let’s start by talking about Bull Redfish. These are the same as Redfish, but these fish are the large males that live out in the Gulf of Mexico. During the late fall and winter months, these big Drum move in and begin feeding right off the beach. We catch them two ways: The first way to catch Bullreds is to look for birds diving and head toward where they are feeding. Usually, the birds are feeding on blood or glass minnows and the birds give away their location. Almost all the time, there are big Bull Redfish underneath the schools of bait feeding, thus forcing the minnows up to the surface, where the Sea Gulls and Pelicans can find them and get in on the action. When we pull up to the school of birds and bait, we cast a few lines with jigs out into the water and try and get a strike. If the fish are there, they will usually hit just about anything we cast to them. When they are hungry, they don’t care about color or line test of your gear. They just slam your bait and then the fight is on. The second way to catch Bullreds is to look for birds sitting on the water but not feeding. This is a little different than looking for birds feeding. This is not perfect, but it at least gets you in an area where the Bullreds likely are. It does not mean that they are always there, but most likely they are nearby. When it is like this, we don’t usually cast. We troll lures behind the boat instead. These lures are either Mann’s Bait Stretch 30’s or either Drone spoons that are about 4 inches in length. Sometimes our spoons have golden shiny or pink shiny stickers on one side or the back side of the spoon. The spoons we drag are attached to a No. 3 Planer with about a 10 to 15 foot leader of about 60 pound test. There is no need to have wire leaders when fishing for bull redfish.
Gamefish Quality Fight – Bullreds offer a gamefish type fight. When these big fish weighing anywhere from 18 to 40 pounds gets on the other end of your fishing poie, hang on. They fight hard and it’s like pulling a lead weight toward the boat. These fish don’t do well on ultra light tackle because it wears them out and if you are going to release them, they might be too exhausted to survive. We recommend and use at least 30 pound test on our spinning rods so anglers can get their catch to the boat in a short amount of time so we can reduce the stress on the fish. Now if you have plans on consuming what you catch, we can go light and extend the fight. Most of the anglers that fish with us, fish for the experience of fishing rather than trying to harvest every fish they catch. We are just doing our part to try and take care of our resources so we will have fish to catch years from now.
Food Quality of Bull Redfish – Well, you can keep one oversized Bull Red for dinner per person in Alabama waters, but to tell you the truth, there are better fish to eat than a Bullred. You can eat them, but the meat is firm and is a bit chewy as compared to King Mackerel or Mahi Mahi. It also has a lot of Red Meat in the middle that should be cut out before you plan on making a meal out of them. Remember, these are not the slot reds that everyone talks about being so good on the grill. Now there are people who disagree with me on this because they have different tastes than I do, but that’s not all bad. I like quality meat and to me, a Bullred is just not quite the quality that I like. However, if you want to keep all you catch or only keep one for dinner and just try them and so you can say you have had Bullreds, by all means, come fishing and catch some. I will say that our Game Fish Seasoning is pretty good and makes a fish like these taste pretty good. My goal is to inform you and tell you strait up about what to expect.
If you are looking for a trolling or sightfishing charter this December, all you have to do is fill out the reservation request for a private charter on this website. Our charter guides fish all year round and usually stay pretty busy this time of year.