"Our group had three boats out fishing for speckled trout and redfish, and once we got our limits, we started fishing for tripletail," said Capt. Sonny Schindler (221-342-2206, www.shorethingcharters.com) of Bay St. Louis. "The boats had to come in early because their ice chests were full and didn't have any room for more fish.
"Each boat had a really big tripletail, with the biggest weighing 26.6 pounds and the second largest weighing 23.5 pounds.
"We also caught an 18-pounder. All three were good-eating, trophy-sized fish."
According to Schindler, if the weather stays warm, anglers who come to Mississippi's Gulf Coast can catch tripletail well into October.
"As long as the water temperature remains in the mid-70s, the tripletail still can be caught," he said. "Some days you can catch the tripletail right off the beach."
Mississippi's Gulf Coast produces numbers of nice-sized tripletail because there's an abundance of structure where the fish can concentrate.
"We have poles out in the Gulf of Mexico that mark oyster reefs, crab-trap buoys, channel markers and floating debris, like trees, pallets and ice-chest lids, where tripletails have been found," Schindler reports. "I've even caught tripletail holding under dead sea turtles."
Anything standing or floating in the water will attract tripletails, which prefer to take bull minnows, grubs and shrimp imitations. But the best bait for a tripletail is live shrimp.
"A live shrimp is to a tripletail what air is to an astronaut; they've just got to have it," Schindler comments.
Redfish and speckled trout
As good as tripletail fishing can be this month, most anglers won't be fishing for them.
"The speckled trout and redfish will move into the marshes, the bays, the oyster reefs and the artificial reefs in October, and we know exactly where they'll be holding," Schindler said.
Your best bet for trout this month will be the Biloxi Marsh, the areas near Bayou Caddy, Heron Bay, the Rigolets near the Mississippi and the Louisiana borders and Half Moon Island. If you rate the months from one to 10, with 10 being when speckled trout and redfish are the most-abundant on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, October would be a 10. The beaches, the grass beds and the troughs around Cat Island also will be holding some big speckled trout and redfish.
"One of my best fishing trips was on Halloween Day," Schindler said. "We left the dock wearing jackets, and by 10 a.m., we were sweating and had loaded the boat with 2- to 4-pound speckled trout.
"As long as the weather stays warm in October, we'll do well. We call October our second spring, because when the weather's warm and pleasant in October, like it is in April and May, the speckled trout and redfish will feed like mad."
Schindler believes that in the spring, specks and reds know that the hot weather is approaching.
"I've found that these two species of fish don't like to feed as much when the weather's hot, so I think they go on a feeding spree just before summer starts," he said. "Then in the fall, the specks and the reds know that winter's approaching, and they need to feed, because they don't feed heavily in cold weather."
Schindler uses live shrimp to locate October's schools of redfish and speckled trout. Once the fish start feeding aggressively, he fishes the Strike King Glass Minnow, the Marsh Works Killa Squilla Shrimp, the Bayou Thumper series of soft plastics and a wide variety of Mister Twister soft-plastic grubs. He also uses the Strike King Redfish Magic and Marsh Works spinnerbaits to catch redfish.
"For early-morning fishing, we prefer to use topwater lures like the Heddon Zara Spook, the Heddon Super Spook Jr., the MirrOlure She Dog and the Rapala Skitter Walk," Schindler said. "The reds seem to prefer the chrome/black, bone and chartreuse/black colors."
Schindler fishes these lures on 20- to 30-pound-test braided line because when a 5-pound-or-more speckled trout or a 12- to 20-pound bull red takes the bait, there's enough muscle in that braided line to handle those fish.
If you don't want to travel far to catch redfish and speckled trout, Schindler suggests fishing the Jordan River, the Wolf River and the Bay St. Louis area. But he mentions that the biggest concentration of redfish will be found in the Biloxi Marsh.
Not only is there a chance to catch tripletail, speckled trout and redfish, but the flounder also start moving in this month.
"Our best flounder run begins in late October and continues into November," Schindler said. "We'll catch flounder either by using hooks and lines during daylight hours or gigging for them at night."