One of the most-productive areas this time of year is Graveline Bayou, which is nestled between Ocean Springs and Gautier (pronounced Go Chay by the locals).
A quick search on Google Maps for Graveline Bayou will show a relatively short, unassuming bayou that is less than three miles long. Don't let the small size discourage you from giving Graveline a try, as some nice limits of 2- to 3- pound trout are taken from her on a regular basis.
There are two ways to get to Graveline bayou: from one boat ramp accessed on the west side in the Saint Andrews area and by boat from other boat ramps. I highly recommend the Saint Andrews ramp unless you are familiar with running from the Pascagoula River or from Ocean Springs.
The mouth of Graveline is shallow, making it easy to run aground if you're unfamiliar with where the channel lies. So care is definitely needed as you learn the area.
I made a trip to Graveline with Biloxi's Keith Jackson recently, and we started the morning on the shallow side of the bayou near the old shell landing area. Jackson threw a soft plastic under a popping cork, while I threw a Skitter Walk.
Not even a strike as we drifted south with the tide.
We fished back up the other side using the trolling motor. We struck out again.
Jackson suggested we start tight-lining Matrix Shad plastics on a 5/16-ounce jighead.
"With the tide moving like it is, be sure to use enough weight to maintain contact with the oyster shells on the bottom," he suggested.
I found out quickly it takes a certain knack to fish a lead jighead in what seemed like a field of oysters. Four jigheads later, I asked for guidance.
"Swim the bait just fast enough to make contact with the oysters," Jackson said. "It'll take some practice, but, man, it's worth the effort!"
Three reties later while watching Keith catch a couple of nice keepers I started to get the hang of it. No pun intended.
"There are two productive areas in Graveline: the short stretch by the old shell landing and the long stretch just inside the mouth," Jackson explained. "Both areas have oysters on the bottom."
We fished both areas, picking up trout just off the bank, as well as in the middle. Jackson pointed out that oysters cover the bottom from side to side in both areas, so don't be afraid to set up a drift that takes the boat right down the middle of the bayou.
We didn't pick up a limit in Graveline this time but we did take home a nice box of fish.
"It'll only get better as the weather cools off," Jackson pointed out. "Once we have a couple of good cold snaps it will be on!"