Live Bait Inshore Fishing

Using live bait while fishing inshore in Orange Beach, Alabama is a sure way to get the most fish to bite.  Artificial bait fishing is a lot of fun, but it is usually not as productive as live bait fishing is.  We bring live bait on all of our inshore fishing charters.  Depending on what our guests want to do, we offer both live and artificial baits to use.

During the winter months of October through February, using live shrimp while inshore fishing, is best used to catch Speckled Trout, Flounder and Redfish.  We always have live shrimp available during the fall and winter months in case the fish are biting them better than artificial bait.  Even though some inshore fishing guides and anglers choose to fish with artificial baits during this period, we find it to be more fun for our guests to actually catch fish instead of fishing and not catching fish. 

There are different reasons for using artificial baits.  Artificials have an advantage over using live bait in some situations.  Artificial baits are a time saver when the fish are schooled up and biting fast.  Not having to dig through your live well and trying to catch bait quickly, is a good reason to use artificial bait.

When you find a group of school size Speckled Trout, you want to get your bait in the water as fast as you can while they are feeding.  This will keep them interested and hopefully keep them wanting to feed on your bait.  Using light tackle while live bait fishing is fun. 


Live Croakers Produce Larger Trout

Live Croakers become the bait of choice for inshore fishermen beginning in late March and the first part of April.  This is because they become available for the Large Speckled Trout to eat.  The spring of the year is the main spawning period for Sow Trout.  Spring Speckled Trout are on average 4 to 6 pounds each with some weighing upwards of 8 pounds.  Specks this size prefer eating larger baits than smaller baits during this period.  They do not want to expend their engergy while trying to lay their eggs.   They also want to protect their eggs from predators like Pinfish and Crabs.

Once the full moon in May arrives, the smaller Croakers show up and we start settling into a summer inshore fishing pattern.  Speckled Trout are eating these 4 to 6 inch bait fish.  You might think that that is a large live bait.  Well, we are fishing for big fish with big appetites.  This pattern of fishing lasts up until the end of September.  Be sure to read our inshore fishing reports to see what fish are biting.

Speckled Trout fishing in Orange Beach can produce some of the largest trout in Alabama waters.  Mobile Bay has a larger number of fish overall because of its size.  The size of the trout in Mobile Bay are generally smaller than they are in Orange Beach.  For the most part, if you are wanting to catch "quantity", we might need to go to Mobile Bay with our live bait.  If you want a better "quality" fish, we might stay in and around the Orange Beach area. 

Trout Bite Live Shrimp Better In Mobile Bay

Shrimp are plentiful in the Mobile Bay estuary.   The trout follow the shrimp migration in Mobile Bay.  You will find Speckled Trout biting at the same places you have shrimp.  Mobile Bay offers great Speckled Trout fishing year-round because of the availability of live shrimp to feed on.   The key is being able to find the shrimp and the trout will be there.  The Mobile bay has mostly a muddy bottom, which is better for shrimp to thrive.

Orange Beach is a unique ecosystem.  The inshore waters in Orange Beach have a different bottom than Mobile Bay.  Our bottom is sandy is more suited for bait fish like Croakers to thrive.  Perido Bay is not a great shrimping area as compared to the Mobile Bay Delta area.  Because of this, the trout in Orange Beach do not always prefer shrimp.   

Orange Beach has clear water as compared to the Mobile Bay.  The trout are able to see the bait, tackle and line better in clearer water.  They are smarter than the fish that live in brackish or murky waters.  These fish are larger because they are smart and do not get caught as easily as they do in areas like Mobile Bay.  Because of their larger size, they prefer larger live bait.

We hope this information about live bait fishing helps you understand how we fish for inshore fish species in Alabama.

How do we catch live bait?

We catch our live bait by pulling a shrimp net.  Our net is a 16' recreational shrimping net that we drag with the inshore fishing charter boat for up to 5 minutes at a time.   It is important not to drag the net too long, because it will drown the live bait.  Short intervals allow us to catch healthy Croakers and Lizard Fish.  The photos below show the steps of dragging and pulling in the bait net.