Rainer discusses using bait to locate the fish

Published 3:35 pm Monday, November 10, 2008

By By DAVID RAINER – Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Capt. Yano Serra deftly maneuvered his 21-foot bay boat across the “skinny” water just west of Bayou La Batre. After checking a few landmarks, he steered the boat into one of the many spartina grass-lined channels that meander through the marsh.
“Yeah, this is the right one,” Serra said of the snake-like channel. “There's a deep hole right up here where we're going to start.”
Although Serra hunts ducks and deer, he's not about to forego the fine fall and winter fishing that the Alabama Gulf Coast offers for a variety of inshore species, like redfish, speckled trout, white trout and flounder. During his week off from his job as captain of a 155-foot crew boat, Serra makes sure he gets his twin 9-year-old daughters, Marie and Maresa, out for some family fishing fun.
On our recent trip, with temperatures in the 70s, Serra focused on bait to locate the fish.
“I start looking for the white shrimp in the bayous,” he said. “I find the deep holes, where the shrimp are falling off ledges. Wherever the shrimp are falling off the ledges, the redfish are going to be waiting on the down current side to ambush them.
“A lot of times I'll see the white shrimp jumping. I'll see the mullet and redfish running down the edge of the banks when the boat spooks the fish. You'll see the shrimp jumping in front of the fish. Sometimes you'll see them jumping in the wheel wash. Over the years I've been able to find the deep holes. I just idled around with the depth finder on and found them. Most of the time the deep holes will be in the 90-degree bends in the bayou.”
Serra said it takes several hard cold fronts to move the shrimp out of the bayous and into the Gulf of Mexico. Until the shrimp vacate the bayous, he uses a rig with a slip cork and a half-ounce to one-ounce weight when there is a good current. He sticks with 12-pound monofilament line most of the time.
“I want the weight in mud and the shrimp swimming around in circles,” he said. “When the redfish gets close, the shrimp will start jumping out of the water. I like a super big shrimp. That eliminates small fish from killing it or eating legs off of it. I hook them in the front horn, which lets them swim around a little better. If there's no current, I'll just put a shot weight on and hook him in the tail with small cork and just let him swim. The lighter the presentation, the better.”
If Serra has a choice, a day that is not very windy is preferred. That allows him to make a better presentation with the live shrimp.
Visit the Web site www.specktacklelure.com for more information about fishing the Alabama Gulf Coast.