If shooting an albatross would bring an end to the relentless April wind there would be a line of fishermen willing to wear a dead bird as a necklace -- except Capt. Ronnie Daniels with Fisher-Man Guide Service.
"The forecast called for pretty chopping water in the morning with the winds laying down in the afternoon," said Daniels. "I normally would have considered postponing the trip but I had a great group of young men from our military with limited time to fish due to deployments.
"I decided it may be uncomfortable, but not dangerous, so we departed Long Beach Harbor in my Blackjack 224 with a stiff, fifteen knot following wind. She did what she does best and made short work of the two to three footers that we were running in.
The men made their first stop at North Island (part of the Chandeleur chain of islands).
"As I was getting a few different lures tied on I noticed some wade fishermen making their way back to their boat with nearly empty stringers," said Daniels. "We made a drift down the length of the island and didn't have anything to show for it other than a few bites that did not connect."
When the bite is off in a particular area, don't be afraid to move. Prevailing conditions that have one area shut down may be just what the doctor ordered for another area.
"Knowing that these guys came to catch fish," Daniels said, "I decided to utilize the live bait we had on board and head to another spot that had been really productive for me over the past few months. We made our way to the next spot and got set up."
Quality tackle is a must when fishing the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Just because trout is the target species on a trip doesn't mean a bull redfish will not take the bait and make short order of 200 yards of light monofilament line. A good reel with a quality drag system is a must.
"It didn't take long before I heard a grunt and that Okuma Stinson 30 drag was screaming and the Speedeaux Custom Rod was doubled over," said the captain. "We sat there for the next few hours and one after another the guys pulled in a mixed bag of fish."
The planned tactic of the day was to tight line Matrix Shad soft plastics, but the conditions just wouldn't allow. Capt. Daniels' mixed bag of tricks in his Plano Tackle System saved the day for these fine young men serving in our nation's military.
Daniels moved to structure close to North Island in 12 to 15 feet of water and switched to live shrimp under a slip cork.
"The tactic we switched to was a live shrimp under a slip cork set at about 12 feet," said Daniels. "If you don't know how to rig a slip cork it is a skill that is worthy of learning. This method is very useful in the winter as well as in the summer when the temperature soars and the fish go deep.
"Most sporting goods stores now carry a packet that contains a pre-tied knot that is around a plastic sleeve. You simply slide your line through the sleeve and work the knot off of it. Then just pull the tag ends and you have a stop for your slip cork."
Spring on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is notorious for unpredictable weather. Keep an open mind and a willingness to adjust to the prevailing conditions so every outing has a chance of being a successful trip.
"We ended the day with a box full of nice size redfish, sheepshead and trout," Daniels said. "Sometimes you have to make the best out of the conditions you are given. I had four smiling faces when I got back to the dock, which made it all worth it."