The last few weeks Coast fishermen have endured a series of highs and lows: high winds, low winds; high seas, flat seas; high fish numbers, low fish numbers; tropical storms and light showers.
Oh but those high number days - fishermen live for those.
Capt. Ronnie Daniels with Fisher-Man Guide Service has experienced both ends of the spectrum recently; slow days and ridiculous days. A slow day to Daniels would be an good day for most though.
One of Daniels' "slow" days was a recent trip do Chandeleur Island; after days of high winds he was all in.
"I left Long Beach Harbor headed to Chandeleur this morning with a vengeful attitude toward the fish," Daniels said.
Stop No. 1 yielded a ladyfish. Stop No. 2 yielded three hardhead catfish and a lost trout. To say the clients were getting restless would be an understatement.
"At stop No. 3 the guys regained their confidence in me," Daniels quipped.
The crew aboard Daniels' Blackjack 224 were drifting one of the many grass flats at Chandeleur fishing live shrimp 36-inches under a popping cork.
"The guys ended up with 32 trout that weighed close to 70-pounds," Daniels said. "The largest were in the 3 to 4-pound range. When the trout bite stopped we went inside the (Biloxi) Marsh where we were able to put several nice reds on the boat in the 27 to 34-inch range using Berkley Gulp! under a cork."
That was a slow day with Fisher-Man Guide Service.
When the wind machine picks up Capt. Daniels makes a shorter run, about 20-miles from Long Beach Harbor, to the Biloxi Marsh. The Biloxi Marsh is just that, a shallow marsh with bays, cuts and bayous that are teaming with life.
The most consistent bait over the last few weeks has been live shrimp, but Daniels has found a durable, life-like alternative in the Vudu Shrimp by Egret Baits. He fishes the Vudu Shrimp the same as a live shrimp; 30-pound PowerPro Super 8 Slick on the reel tied to a cork, an 18 to 36-inch 20-pound Berkley Big Game leader, with the Vudu Shrimp on the business end.
Daniels starts the morning off with a red head, white body, 4.5-inch Heddon One Knocker Spook to see if any big girls are in the neighborhood before making the switch to a popping cork.
"We caught a few keepers on a Spook but no big trout like on earlier trips," Daniels explained. "We moved to another area in the marsh and found them on live shrimp then switched to the Vudu Shrimp."
"We were fishing 3 to 8-feet of water around points and in small bays with the Vudu Shrimp about 36-inches under a Boat Monkey Float," Daniels said. "The Boat Monkey Float has a stiff titanium wire through the center that prevents my braid from getting tangled in the bent wire of lesser corks.
"We caught around 200 trout with Vudu Shrimp today, no exaggeration, and kept 70," Daniels said. "If you want to catch specks or just feel a fish on the line now is the time. The fishing is good, so get out there if you can stand the fan in the sky!"