June presents many opportunities for Mississippi’s coastal fishermen, according to Capt. Kenny Barhanovich.
“Although red snapper season is opening, we’ll also be fishing for other species, including redfish, jacks, sharks, king mackerel and Spanish mackerel near shore,” he said. “We’ll be fishing public reefs for snapper, moving from spot to spot to get our anglers their limits of two snapper each. We’ll be fishing off Horn Island about 30 miles from Biloxi. King mackerel will be running during June, and also many customers like to fish behind the shrimp boats and catch 100- to 150-pound blacktip sharks.”
Barhanovich also mentioned that due to the vast amount of rain in the spring, the coast hasn’t had a good cobia run. But when the water clears up this month, he plans on finding cobia from Biloxi south, but generally not around the mouth of the Mississippi River.
“You may see one or two or 25 cobia in a day of fishing,” he said. “We fish for cobia when the shrimp boats pick up their nets in the mornings. The shrimp boats produce a lot of king mackerel too. But the size of the kings we catch depends on the area we fish.
“Around the offshore rigs, we can catch king mackerel that weigh 50 pounds or more, but most inshore kings weigh 12 to 15 pounds. Also inshore the redfish haven’t been as strong as usual due to all the rain and the dirty water. But now the redfish should be inshore and stay there until about the middle of December. We catch our redfish trolling and also bait-fishing for them.”
Barhanovich prefers going to the wrecks when fishing offshore because most other anglers go out to the rigs. He reports June catches of snapper, grouper, triggerfish and a few cobia over both public and private wrecks. He likes underwater barges, concrete rubble, pyramid reefs, reef balls, “Liberty” ships and manmade reefs.
To fish over the reefs, Barhanovich uses circle hooks with cut bait, squid, live bait and others.
“I don’t like to fish on the bottom,” he said. “I prefer to fish closer to the surface by chumming up the fish. Since most of our fish will be in 80 feet of water or less, we cut up menhaden and throw them in the water to bring the fish up close to the surface. The snapper and the triggerfish come up first and sometimes a grouper.
“I like fluorocarbon leader and either no lead or maybe 1 or 1 1/2 ounces, depending on the current. Dead bait is just as effective to catch the snapper, grouper and triggerfish as live bait is. My favorite bait is cigar minnows, then cut bonito and also large fresh squid.
“However, I believe the real secret to catching those fish when they come up off the bottom is to hide the hook and use 3 feet of fluorocarbon leader to keep them from seeing the line. I tie the fluorocarbon onto a barrel swivel and the other end of the barrel swivel to my main line and often add a slip sinker above the barrel swivel in a current.
“I like to fish with Ambassadeur reels from the 5500-C all the way up to the 9000s. We also use the Shakespeare Ugly Stiks.”
June specks and reds
Capt. George Pelaez of the Joka’s Wild fishes the Chandeleur Islands.
“During June, the shrimp will be moving out of Louisiana waters and moving over to the Chandeleur Islands,” he said. “On the insides of the islands, we’ll catch schooling trout. We can also wade-fish the surf in June, and catch 2-1/2- to 5-pound trout. June is one of the better months for fishing Chandeleur because a lot of bait is moving both inside and outside of the islands. You have the option of catching large numbers of trout on the inside of the island, but fewer trout and bigger trout seem to be on the front side of the island out in the surf.”
According to Pelaez, serious trout fishermen take cast nets with them and tie live-bait buckets to their wading belts while they fish.
“You can catch live bait behind the islands in your cast net and put it in your live-bait bucket,” he said. “While you’re fishing the front sides of the islands, you’ll tow that bucket along behind you and use that live bait to fish for trout out in the surf.
“If you fish the main Chandeleur Island down by what was known as Monkey Bayou, you can fish from the bank and stand on those mud lumps down there and not even get your feet wet. But if you fish the north end of the island up by Pelican, you’ll have to get out and wade-fish to get the bigger trout.”
You can catch plenty of good-sized trout using soft-plastic jigs and live finger mullet. However, generally you’ll catch more and bigger trout on live croakers that you’ve caught in a cast net in the shallow waters on the back side of the islands.
During June, you can see birds working on the insides and the outsides of the islands. Birds diving on shrimp and baitfish will show you the locations of the schools of speckled trout and redfish. Stay as far away from the schools as you can, and make long casts to catch more fish than you will if you get close to the schools.
“Once the water temperature gets up into the 70s, you won’t catch many redfish inside the islands,” Pelaez said. “But on the fronts of the islands, you still can catch plenty of redfish out in the surf.”
Contact George Pelaez at (228) 392-0989 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Capt. Kenny Barhanovich at (228) 435-1592 or (228) 392-9002.