The federal red snapper season closed June 28. But cobia, king mackerel and gray snapper are biting furiously, and inshore you can catch a limit of speckled trout, cobia and tripletails all in the same day.

 

Offshore fishing

Capt. Michael Moore of Strictly Business Charters said there are still offshore options after the red snapper fishing shuts down.

"We can go to the rigs and catch a wide variety of other fish," Moore said. "Most anglers who go to the rigs tie up to them … but I'll stay 25- to 100-yards away from the rigs and catch … cobia."

Moore's technique involves pulling right up next to the rig, and starting to chum and chunk. He uses a Chum Churn to grind up fish and puts out pieces or chunks of fish at the same time. He either drifts or powers his boat farther and farther away from the rig.

This brings all manner of reef fish out into the open.

"If we don't catch any fish on the first drift, we'll return to the rig where we've started from and repeat the same process," Moore reports. "We're trying to pull the … cobia, grey snapper and the king mackerel up to the surface so our anglers can see the fish they want to catch by baiting with live croakers and casting to the fish."

If the fish don't come to the surface, Moore lets the croakers swim down somewhat deeper.

To catch the grey snapper limit of 10 per person, Moore uses 12- to 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line and live shrimp. These fish will average 3 to 5 pounds each or more.

"On most trips, we'll catch one or two cobia besides our black snapper, and three or four nice king on drift lines behind the boat," Moore said. "You'll have a boat load of fish before you know it."

To contact Capt. Michael Moore, visit www.biloxifishing.com or call 228-257-8357.

 

Inshore fishing

Mike Moore also operates the Biloxi Fishing Trip, a three-hour fishing trip with bait, rods, reels and all the equipment furnished for only $35 per fishermen.

Anglers fishing inside the bay catch ground mullet, white trout, an occasional flounder, redfish and croakers.

Moore keeps the croakers alive to use when he goes offshore to fish for cobia, king mackerel and other deepwater fish.

Johnathan Cecil, captain of the Miss Darcy and the Strictly Two is a hard-working inshore captain who puts limits of a wide variety of fish in the boat.

"In a six- to eight-hour charter, we try to catch our limit of speckled trout first, a limit of cobia second and a limit of tripletail last," he said. "We can't meet that goal every day, but we have been able to produce those kinds of catches on several days."

In July, if you stay inshore you might catch the Biloxi Slam - a limit of speckled trout, flounder and redfish.

"I don't fish the bays very much in July but prefer to fish the barrier islands," said Cecil. "The tide will start running about daylight and stop at noon, so we catch our speckled trout early in the morning."

Cecil likes to fish the north side of the barrier islands around grass ,with Cat Island being his favorite.

He uses 4- to 5-inch live croakers long instead of shrimp, and uses fluorocarbon line for a leader. He also prefers live bait hooks because the shanks are straight; when you retrieve a croaker through the water, it doesn't roll over and over.

To trout fish, Cecil lip hooks his croakers through the bottom lip up through the nostril.

"I use 20- to 30-pound-test braided line as my main line," he said. "Then I tie a Uni-knot and attach 2 to 3 feet of fluorocarbon line."

Cecil recommends cominge off plane and shut your big motor down - well away from the area you plan to fish. Then allow the wind and the current to push your boat that last 50 or 100 yards.

"The size trout around the barrier islands this month will average 2 to 4 pounds," Cecil said.

Cecil also picks up a few pompano when he comes to those sandy beaches.

"After we take our trout and pompano, we get to go play," he said.

Cecil's idea of playing is running buoys, channel markers and any type of floating structure he can find to catch cobia and tripletails.

"I've caught tripletails under pieces of foam, along the edges of rip lines and especially around floating 5-gallon buckets," Cecil explained. "I keep a 5-gallon bucket with holes in it on the boat with me. I'll tie a balloon onto the end of that bucket. I'll set the bucket off on the edge of a rip line when we're trout fishing.

"Often, after the trout fishing ends, there will be a tripletail or a cobia holding around that bucket."

Cobia will be holding on buoy markers for the Gulfport Ship Channel and the Port of Pascagoula. Theu can weigh 35 to 55 pounds each.

To catch tripletails, he either uses live shrimp or chartreuse DOA shrimp. To catch cobia, he'll free-line live croakers.

Capt. Johnathan Cecil can be reached at 228-257-8357.