The Saltwater Magazine for Gulf Coast Fishing!



FALL 2009 Preview


Cover: Van Clark of St. Martin, MS in the marsh with a fine speck. Photo by Capt. Robert Brodie.



FALL 2009 (OCT-DEC) 


The Dyamic Delta by Capt. Mike Thompson
Fall weather and the specks are thick in the Mobile Delta
While a lot of coastal sportsmen look forward to the cooler months for hunting action, a large contingent of anglers have been waiting for the waters to cool and the fishing action to heat up. For those that fish the rivers and bayous of the Mobile Delta, this is the most magical time of the year to be on the water.

There are many fine places to enjoy great fall and winter inshore fishing along the Gulf Coast, but not counting the Mobile Delta as one of the finest would be a terrible mistake.

The Mobile Delta consists of over 20,000 acres of water. It is the second largest delta system in the United States. Each fall the brackish water system starts to teem with a virtual "fish smorgasbord" of both fresh and saltwater fish.

The draw for fish in this brackish water environment is the annual crop of white shrimp that use this area as a nursery ground to raise their young. With the abundance of shrimp available, it is just natural for fish to take advantage of the annual bounty...

Wacky Flounder Rig by John N. Felsher
Sometimes going waky is what it takes!
While a flounder may jump out of the water to grab a baitfish, to really tempt flatfish, use baits that go to the bottom. For decades, bass anglers fishing in coastal marshes frequently caught flounder on jigs, worms and other slow, subtle soft plastic temptations. As many a coastal bass angler learned, flounder love to slurp wacky worms.

"A wacky worm is a slow, horizontal presentation," said retired Capt. Skip James of Orange, Texas. "It's in the bite window for a long time and looks similar to a sand eel. It's a very slow presentation that requires considerable patience. Flounder look up and see the worm silhouette slowly sinking toward them for several seconds. They keep their eyes glued to the sinking worm until it triggers a predator instinct to kill."

To rig a wacky worm...

Vermilion Bay Reds by Pete Cooper, Jr.
There can be great fishing here, if you know where to go.
After being displaced from my beloved Mississippi River Delta by Katrina, the first place I speculated near what would become my new home was Vermilion Bay, roughly south of Lafayette. That day a friend and I - each of us knowing the area about equally well - didn't catch a sniff!

A year later my rice-farming buddy from Kaplan, Durel Romaine, and I were returning from an unsuccessful trip to the bay's "Southwest Pass" when we encountered a melee of specks running shrimp just south of the mouth of "Four-mile Cut". Man, did I ever need the hit we put on 'em that afternoon.

Another year past, Durel and I got into some really fine specks - most of them between 18 and 22 inches - walking Dogs along the west shoreline of Cypremort Point. And up until this past summer, I can think of a few more fish friends and I have caught in the bay, but not many and most of them "seasonal specks". And I am absolutely certain that was primarily because of a lack of familiarity with the area. Some serious prospecting was in order!


Homemade Handles by Robert Fugate
High quality fishing spoons - made from spoons...

Lightning, torrential rain and rough seas can turn a pleasurable outing into a life-threatening ordeal in a heartbeat. Yet unwary boaters are too often taken by surprise, largely because they don't realize just how fast a storm can come up or the danger it presents.

According to the most recent Coast Guard accident data, nearly three percent of all recreational boating accidents are directly related to severe weather conditions that can quickly overwhelm smaller craft. Some thunderstorms, for example, create microbursts - intense downdrafts over an area a half-mile to three miles wide capable of producing wind gusts from 60 mph to more than 100 mph. Microbursts can capsize a small boat or blow a passenger overboard.

Gulf Coast Closeup - by Vernon Summerlin
Destination Destin/Fort Walton Beach

Destin and Fort Walton Beach areas have grown to become one of the most popular destinations in the South. Abundant excellent accommodations with plenty of places to eat from a quick bite to enjoying elegant fine dining and plenty of activities that start at the emerald water's edge.

Okaloosa Island, the main beach strip of Fort Walton Beach, extends eastward toward Destin. Connecting the two resort cities is about a five-mile scenic drive along U.S. Highway 98 through undisturbed dunes and coastline.

There is a question about the meaning of Okaloosa. While there's little doubt that it is of Indian origin, it may mean "black water" or "a place of rest" or "pleasant place."

Archaeological evidence from the Fort Walton area indicates visitation by nomadic hunters who migrated from Asia across the Bering Straits as early as 12,000 years ago. It is believed they followed game to the Southeast and eventually to what is now Okaloosa County on Florida's Panhandle, an area containing Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island and Destin on the coast, as well as Mary Esther, Niceville, Crestview and portions of both the Blackwater River State Forest and Eglin Air Force Base...

This issue in OUR DEPARTMENTS...
Paddling Out - Sound Casting Techniques - by Jeff Herman
Rod & Reel'n Offshore - Scotch-Brite Magic - by Patrick Lemire
Equipment Notebook - Install a Popup Light - by David Ayers
The Bay Naturalist - Electronic Ceviche - The Best of - by John Hook
The Fly Guy - Running With the Bulls - by Pete Cooper, Jr.
Tackle Time - Sunglasses - Essential Fishing Gear - by Colby Sorrells
Bait Hook - Out of This World Fishing - by Jim Martin
From the Publisher...
Besides all these great articles and departments, Gulf Coast Fisherman is the only source for the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast. Each issue carries three months of the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast - with Monthly Fishing Calendars. Also, don't forget about the Advance Planning Calendars in each issue that takes you out three months past the current issue. This will provide what you need to intelligently plan your fishing trips - hours, weeks, and up to six months in advance!
Top saltwater guides and fishermen use the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast - shouldn't you be using it ,too?...
"The fisherman that knows what the currents are doing has the advantage - over fish and fishermen!"
And remember - "Fish feed everyday, somewhere " - Harold Wells
Gary Ralston