Pier & Shore Fishing Outlook By David “The Pierpounder” Thornton

Pier & Shore Fishing Outlook
By David “The Pierpounder” Thornton

Intermittent drier and slightly cooler air should continue to infiltrate the lingering summer heat and humidity as we head deeper into October. This is our time of seasonal transition, though summer-like weather is only grudgingly, and temporarily displaced. And we are still in the active part of hurricane season, though we have been spared the worst for a while. No time to let down our guard though, as tropical systems occasionally do spawn in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this time of year.
The drier weather has allowed the Perdido River to recede, and the tannin-stained waters released on each outgoing tide into the Gulf do seem to be easing. Most fish don’t really care all that much, though mackerel and pompano prefer the clearer, saltier green water we are accustomed to.
The shorebound bite lately has been mostly centered around the abundance and movements of schools of small herring (“LYs”). Most everything that swims from flounder to mackerel relish these three inch long minnows. And they are key to getting in on the most active bites.
A 3/8 inch mesh castnet or LY ribbon is the easiest way to gather enough baits to fish with. And that may be a lot, because they tend to go quickly with all the bluefish, ladyfish, etc. around. Though throwing a one ounce silver or gold spoon is often a great imitation of the ‘real thing’, and plenty of mackerel and bluefish are caught on these lures.
Bubble rigs have been working well on the Gulf State Park Pier lately, and have accounted for many of the bluefish and ladyfish landed there. And some of the spanish mackerel too. At least the ones that could be muscled in between the numerous Blacktip sharks that seem to be constantly hanging around the pier looking for an easy meal. But far more fish have been hooked on the small live LYs.
Meanwhile, catches of large redfish (“bull reds”) are becoming more common along the beaches, especially around Perdido Pass and Fort Morgan Point. That long walk out to the point has paid off for several groups of anglers lately with multiple catches of reds from shore. And the action should only get better this month as more menhaden (“pogies”) move out of the bays with the inland waters cooling off. So it should not be long before large schools of redfish ‘blitz’ the surfzone in general. And that is a time of year many anglers look forward to. Heavy tackle is required for these surfzone ‘brutes’.
Bottom fishing from the beach continues to improve as the waters become ‘greener’ and have a little chop on them. Reports are fairly common of a good number of pompano (mostly undersized) being caught from shore. Though scattered catches of “whiting” (Gulf kingfish) with a few occasional limits of ‘keeper-sized’ pompano, mostly using ghost shrimp. Some days that is not easy, especially with calm surf. Persistence and perhaps even relocation are essential to catching some of these prized surf fish.
Speaking of ‘prized’, how about this recent permit catch by (pictured below) Nate Ferguson? While renting a house in west Gulf Shores with family from north Georgia, Nate hooked what he thought was a very nice pompano because he saw it jump a couple of times during the fight. As the battle persisted, with several blistering runs he realized this was no ordinary pompano. And once landed, he knew it was a “ridiculously special fish.”
A 21 1/2” long (fork length) permit, which would easily weigh 5 to 7 pounds. He knew it would ‘crush’ the current Alabama record of 4 pounds and 12.8 ounces, caught in August 2020.
Nate has long been a “lover of fishing,” but even more so, loves his family by putting them above it all. Even though he realized right away the significance of his catch as a likely state record, he also realized the efforts to have it weighed and certified would take “most special” vacation time away from his beloved wife, four children (ages 8 years to 8 months), and other family members in attendance.
So, being a “fan of conservation,” Nate quickly made the decision to release his fish after a few quick photos. An outstanding act, and selfless act all us fishermen should applaud and appreciate. Nate stated catching this permit was a “culmination of doing things right.”
And he most certainly did!
Intermittent drier and slightly cooler air should continue to infiltrate the lingering summer heat and humidity as we head deeper into October. This is our time of seasonal transition, though summer-like weather is only grudgingly, and temporarily displaced. And we are still in the active part of hurricane season, though we have been spared the worst for a while. No time to let down our guard though, as tropical systems occasionally do spawn in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this time of year.
The drier weather has allowed the Perdido River to recede, and the tannin-stained waters released on each outgoing tide into the Gulf do seem to be easing. Most fish don’t really care all that much, though mackerel and pompano prefer the clearer, saltier green water we are accustomed to.
The shorebound bite lately has been mostly centered around the abundance and movements of schools of small herring (“LYs”). Most everything that swims from flounder to mackerel relish these three inch long minnows. And they are key to getting in on the most active bites.
A 3/8 inch mesh castnet or LY ribbon is the easiest way to gather enough baits to fish with. And that may be a lot, because they tend to go quickly with all the bluefish, ladyfish, etc. around. Though throwing a one ounce silver or gold spoon is often a great imitation of the ‘real thing’, and plenty of mackerel and bluefish are caught on these lures.
Bubble rigs have been working well on the Gulf State Park Pier lately, and have accounted for many of the bluefish and ladyfish landed there. And some of the spanish mackerel too. At least the ones that could be muscled in between the numerous Blacktip sharks that seem to be constantly hanging around the pier looking for an easy meal. But far more fish have been hooked on the small live LYs.
Meanwhile, catches of large redfish (“bull reds”) are becoming more common along the beaches, especially around Perdido Pass and Fort Morgan Point. That long walk out to the point has paid off for several groups of anglers lately with multiple catches of reds from shore. And the action should only get better this month as more menhaden (“pogies”) move out of the bays with the inland waters cooling off. So it should not be long before large schools of redfish ‘blitz’ the surfzone in general. And that is a time of year many anglers look forward to. Heavy tackle is required for these surfzone ‘brutes’.
Bottom fishing from the beach continues to improve as the waters become ‘greener’ and have a little chop on them. Reports are fairly common of a good number of pompano (mostly undersized) being caught from shore. Though scattered catches of “whiting” (Gulf kingfish) with a few occasional limits of ‘keeper-sized’ pompano, mostly using ghost shrimp. Some days that is not easy, especially with calm surf. Persistence and perhaps even relocation are essential to catching some of these prized surf fish.
Speaking of ‘prized’, how about this recent permit catch by (pictured below) Nate Ferguson? While renting a house in west Gulf Shores with family from north Georgia, Nate hooked what he thought was a very nice pompano because he saw it jump a couple of times during the fight. As the battle persisted, with several blistering runs he realized this was no ordinary pompano. And once landed, he knew it was a “ridiculously special fish.”
A 21 1/2” long (fork length) permit, which would easily weigh 5 to 7 pounds. He knew it would ‘crush’ the current Alabama record of 4 pounds and 12.8 ounces, caught in August 2020.
Nate has long been a “lover of fishing,” but even more so, loves his family by putting them above it all. Even though he realized right away the significance of his catch as a likely state record, he also realized the efforts to have it weighed and certified would take “most special” vacation time away from his beloved wife, four children (ages 8 years to 8 months), and other family members in attendance.
So, being a “fan of conservation,” Nate quickly made the decision to release his fish after a few quick photos. An outstanding act, and selfless act all us fishermen should applaud and appreciate. Nate stated catching this permit was a “culmination of doing things right.”
And he most certainly did!

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