Sweet Home Alabama
If Virginia is for Lovers then Alabama is for anglers. Who knew that there were 47 reservoirs, 23 lakes, and 77,000 miles of rivers and streams? Some of the 11 million fishermen who fish in the state, that’s who. And while other areas offer trails that focus on history or wine, the Alabama Bass Trail is oriented towards fishing.
The warming temperatures are turning on the fishing big time, and that’s why there are so many bass boats heading out to the 11 lakes that comprise the trail. Lake Guntersville, Wheeler Lake, Pickwick Lake, Lewis Smith Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Lay Lake,Lake Jordan, Alabama River, Lake Eufaula, and the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta make up the trail, so there is no shortage of good fishing to be had.
When in Rome do as the Romans do, and if you’re in Alabama the chances are good that you’ll probably fish for bass, bass, and more bass. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, calico bass, white bass, and striped bass are common, but other warmwater fish like sunfish, pickerel, and perch make for a fun day, too.
Tim Chandler from Tim Chandler’s Pro Guide Service talked about last week’s fishing conditions this way. “Strong Northwest winds keep us from fishing several productive areas but we still managed to find a few places out of the wind. We caught over 25 fish and missed/lost another 10 fish on a Yum lizard and Xcalibur Xr50. The preferred depth in 2-4ft of water with scattered grass near stumps. I don’t believe this cold front will hurt the fishing because the bass are up roaming and looking for a place to spawn.”
Another good thing for fishermen in Alabama is that if you want to trade the freshwater for the salt it’s easy to do. If you like to stay inshore and fish the bays and estuaries for sea trout and redfish there are some great opportunities in upper and lower Mobile Bay, Grand May, and Peridio Bay. And if you want to catch bonito, grouper, tuna, barracuda or cobia the run offshore to the Gulf of Mexico is simple. If you’re looking for cobia, the Alabama run begins in March and April. For grouper, you’ll want to fish the bottom from January through the late Fall.
Sweet Home Alabama indeed. And with the weather getting good, the fishing is gonna be getting great!
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits. When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters. His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.