Capt. Timmy Holley of Prime Tyme Charters based at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor fishes outside the barrier islands for Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, redfish and cobia and offshore for snapper.

"When we go offshore, we often chum for snapper and cobia," Holley says. "We use a Chum Churn and cut up pogies to get the fish to come up higher in the water where we can see them. Then, we'll often free-line a live croaker, a live pinfish or any other live bait to the cobia or the snapper. We want our live bait to swim with the chum as it falls to the bottom."

Holley fishes over wrecks and public and private reefs. If the fish don't come up in the water, he'll use a Carolina rig with 1 ounce or more of lead up the line, a barrel swivel below the lead and about 6 feet of 30- to 50-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.

"If the fish are finicky and won't take the bait on 50-pound-test fluorocarbon leader, I'll switch to 30-pound-test leader," he said. "Although we may break a lot of 30-pound-test line off on big snapper and cobia, if the fish see the line, you decrease your chances of catching them."

At the end of the leader, Holley ties on a No. 5/0 circle hook, and baits with croakers or pinfish.

 

Bet on the specks

You'll find fun-to-catch, delicious-to-eat and abundant 2- to 4-pound speckled trout in July off the Mississippi Coast, according to Capt. Barry Deshamp of 9-Ball Fishing Charters in Long Beach.

"I fish the oyster reefs and the drop-offs around Cat Island to catch speckled trout and redfish," he said. "I'm a live-bait fisherman, and I prefer to fish live croakers and live pinfish to catch nice-sized trout. I'll either catch or purchase my live bait."

Deshamp fishes a No. 3/0 kahle hook on the end of 3 1/2 feet of 40-pound-test fluorocarbon leader attached to a barrel swivel with a 1/2-ounce slip sinker tied on 17-pound-test Berkley fluorocarbon line.

He also targets 20- and 30-pound redfish.

"When I'm fishing for the bigger reds, I start chumming, and because the chum also brings in the sharks, I use a 130-pound-test wire leader, a 2- or a 3-ounce weight and 50-pound-test line," he said.

At this time of year, the tarpon really come in strong, and Deshamp often spots the fish rolling over the oyster reefs.

"I find the tarpon from the Chandeleur Islands west to the Louisiana Marsh," Deshamp said. "When I see the tarpon start to roll, I anchor the boat and cast live croakers to them. When I'm tarpon fishing, I'll free-line those croakers. Because the tarpon have bony mouths, we only land about 20 percent of the tarpon we hook. However, we usually can put three tarpon in the air on an all-day trip."

Although very few anglers fish for Mississippi's tarpon, the average tarpon Deshamp fishes for will weigh from 120 to 150 pounds each. Deshamp uses 50-pound-test Ande line on Penn 320 reels and deck rods. While fishing for the tarpon, anglers often catch redfish and sharks.

 

Either-or trips

Capt. Mike Foto of Fish Finder Charters at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor fishes for redfish, sharks, Spanish mackerel and king mackerel.

"When we're bait fishing for redfish and sharks, we'll be fishing around the barrier islands with live bait and cut bait and depending on our chum line to bring in the fish," he said. "Our redfish will be in the 22- to 26-inch range. We'll be catching 70- to 80-pound blacktip sharks, bull sharks, bonnetheads and Atlantic sharpnose sharks.

"On our trolling trips, we'll use small spoons for the Spanish mackerel and bigger spoons and live bait for the king mackerel. Our Spanish mackerel often will be from 16- to 18-inches long, and our king mackerel will be from 30 inches to about 40 pounds."

 

To fish with Capt. Mike Foto, call 228-860-0314 or 228-594-0801. To fish with Capt. Timmy Holley, call 228-348-6137 or email charters@primetymecharters.com. To contact Capt. Barry Deshamp, call 228-669-1162 or e-mail nineball11@aol.com.