Capt. "Pappy" Kenney believes in fishing by the moon. For instance, during the full moon in June and on three days of either side of the full moon, Kenney caught plenty of big trout.

"This summer, we've caught trout weighing 4 to 6 pounds each," Kenney says. "I've noticed that on either side of the full moon, we really seem to have a good trout bite. And August should be the same as previous months this summer."

Kenney fishes only with live bait, and prefers to use live croakers over oyster reefs. He'll fish a No. 2 or 3 khale hook, and attach 18 inches of 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader to 20-pound-test main line. He'll put a plastic bead above the knot where he ties the fluorocarbon to his main line, and above the bead, he'll have the lightest slip sinker he possibly can use and still hold the bait on the bottom.

"If I'm fishing on Cabbage Reef out by the Cat Island Channel where the current's running strong, I'll use a heavier lead than I will in other areas where the current's not running nearly as hard," Kenney said.

Most fishermen can catch a limit of small specks by fishing under the birds, but to catch really big speckled trout, Kenney prefers to fish the oyster reefs, where the fish will weigh from 4 to 6 pounds.

That's not all that's available.

"This year, we're catching a number of tripletails," Kenney said. "Catching four to five tripletails in one day isn't uncommon for a party, but one to two tripletails are about average. These tripletails will average 5 to 8 pounds each, and we look for them under anything floating on the surface. On a recent trip, I found two tripletails under one dead jack crevalle. On another day, I located four tripletails under one crab trap float."

The productive tripletail fishing should continue through August, and although some anglers exclusively search for the fish, most of the time Kenney and his party find their tripletails when they're traveling to and from the areas where Kenney fishes for speckled trout and redfish or his offshore spots.

 

Fish the trifecta

Kenney also runs snapper trips in combination with speckled trout and redfish trips.

"On the way out to fish for red snapper, we generally will stop and catch a good number of speckled trout and then head out to deep water to fish for snapper," Kenney said. "Right now, there are so many red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico that snapper limits are easy to catch. Then, we often will catch a few grouper and start heading back into dock.

"On the way back to Bayou Caddy, we'll stop at a couple of redfish spots and try to catch our limits. Before returning to dock, we'll probably look at anything floating to see if we can pick up a tripletail. So although we're targeting speckled trout, red snapper and redfish, we often will have grouper and tripletail in the ice chest as well."

Kenney finds his snapper in a cut in the Chandeleur Islands.

"There are plenty of snapper right outside the island, but they're small," he said. "So we go out to 60-foot-deep water or more and catch snapper weighing from 5 to 10 pounds each, which are nice-sized snapper."

Kenney uses the same bait for red snapper that he does for speckled trout.

"I prefer to fish with live croakers, but the red snapper will take anything I can catch in my cast net," he said.

Kenney rigs by using 80-pound-test main line tied to a three-way swivel. On the second eye of the swivel, he'll attach a piece of lead. The weight of the lead will depend on the current. Coming off the three-way swivel, he'll use 5 to 6 feet of 80-pound-test fluorocarbon attached to a No. 1 or 2 khale hook. Then he'll fish with live bait, depending on what he's caught in his cast net, but hopefully live croakers. To catch the grouper, Kenney uses larger live bait.

"We usually will catch gag grouper that will weigh 8 to 12 pounds each, and we generally can catch from one to three of these on every snapper trip," Kenney said. "Once we've caught our limit of snapper and a few grouper, we then run to the Biloxi Marsh and fish for redfish in the deeper cuts and holes."

With all this running from shallow to deep water and deep to shallow water, often Kenney and his party will pass-by crab-trap floats, patches of floating grass, an occasional piece of lumber or a dead fish or sea turtle. By staying well away from these surface structures, they may spot tripletails, and use live bait, like live shrimp, to cast to them.

 

To contact Kenney, call 985-290-5764 or email rkenney@bellsouth.net.