Redfish, speckled trout, white trout, ground mullet, croaker, flounder, black tip shark and even a big ol’ blue crab.

Largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, bluegill, redear, green sunfish, goggle eye and long-eared sunfish.

Channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, hardhead catfish and even gaff-top catfish.

I think that's the complete list of the species of fish I once caught over a two week period back when I was paid by a newspaper to make an annual trek across Mississippi.

Yep, that’s right, I was paid to do that.

I used jig poles, ultra-light spinning rods, bass gear, big Penn offshore reels, fly rods — for catfish, no less — and even caught fish on jugs and by hand.

I put on my share of live bait: worms, crickets, minnows, shad and even many of the aforementioned fish.

Don’t get me started on the artificial lures we used — there’s no room here to list the types, much less the names. At one point, in the Gulf, we used a balloon for a float.


All kinds of folks

I met retired brothers, who spent a rare day in a boat together, a newly married couple who had caught their dinner 14 straight days at one lake and two guys on Lake Calling Panther who I swear could catch a bluegill in a pot hole after a heavy rain.

And what about those guys who grabble, including a 13-year-old who without hesitation ran out of my bass boat to get his turn at grabbing a catfish?

I even ran into a guy who didn't let the fact that he didn't have any dry clothes stop him from fishing. He fished in his underwear.

“I ran out of pier,” he said, explaining how he just walked off into the water while launching his boat. “I didn't fall; I just walked in.”

“I looked in my rear view mirror and all of a sudden nobody was there,” said his partner, who had backed in the trailer.

I saw other wildlife, too. Bald eagles, osprey and other birds. Snakes, alligators, otters and turtles. We were constantly entertained.


Find the hot spots

The point is we did all this in Mississippi, where great fishing is seemingly around every curve in the road, or each bend in a river.

There are so many good choices, of what to fish for and where to find it.

We are blessed with all the opportunity we could want, and it’s out there waiting for you.

This summer, when the kids are out of school, take them fishing. Hit the road, discover some of these fishing holes Mississippi Sportsman or MS-Sportsman.com has featured, or any of the hundreds of others out there.

You won't be disappointed, but, please, keep your clothes on.