Capt. Mike Moore of Strictly Fishing Charters says this is the hot time for king mackerel.

"In September, we'll be catching 20- to 25-pound kings near shore trolling No. 1 to No. 3-sized drone spoons," he said. "We'll be trolling right outside of Horn Island using from 8- to 12-ounce leads on No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 planers. We'll be catching kings from the surface down to 80-feet deep."

Last month, the Southern Kingfish Association came to Biloxi for a big tournament. Anglers in Class 23 (those in boats smaller than 24 feet) fished for one big king mackerel around the shallow rigs about 30 miles offshore, between 60- to 120-feet deep. These anglers used downriggers with ribbonfish for bait, and fished the surface with live hardtails.

 

Redfish

Also this month, the redfish will start schooling and coming to the top of the water just south of Horn, Ship and Cat islands. Generally the reds will school within the 2-mile state-water limits.

"I've seen hundreds of big redfish in one school," Moore said. "These redfish will run from 15 to 40 pounds each. The redfish are feeding and trying to store as much oil in their bodies as they can to last through the winter. They're eating mud minnows, menhaden and shrimp."

Moore uses two tactics to catch the redfish - casting with feathered jigs or trolling. To catch and release numbers of redfish, he recommends you not troll through the school, but instead, troll the outer edge of the school.

"When you see redfish breaking on the surface, imagine that school of redfish to be like a Christmas tree, and you only can see the top of the tree," Moore says. "The school of redfish spreads out underwater, and there are many more redfish underwater that you can't see.

"Therefore, when I start trolling, I troll a good distance away from the school. Using this tactic, we can catch redfish until our fishermen get tired of catching them."

Many anglers don't know about the Christmas-tree-type stacking that a school of redfish creates when they break on the surface. So these unknowing anglers will troll right through the center of the school, spooking and scattering the redfish, and then will have to search for another school.

 

Tarpon

You also can catch numbers of tarpon as they move off Mississippi's Gulf Coast in large schools in September. If you carry live bait and know how to fish for tarpon, you can have a great day.

"I usually will try to motor my boat ahead of the oncoming tarpon, once I determine the direction in which the school is traveling," Moore said. "I'll try to get to the side of the school but within casting distance. Then when the tarpon come by the boat, we can cast to them. Just like when you're fishing for redfish, you don't want to have your boat in the center of the school because you'll spook the fish.

"The tarpon on Mississippi's Coast in September are opportunistic catches. If you see them, you can try to catch them. The tarpon come in to feed on minnows and the menhaden that school up at this time of year, just like the redfish and the sharks do. You can catch them all in almost the same locations."

Moore prefers to use live mullet, live croakers or live crabs to catch the tarpon. However, when fishing for tarpon in September, you may have a difficult time getting the fish to take the bait before the blacktip sharks do.

"During September, I've seen schools of 40 or 50 tarpon before, and on my best day, we've jumped five tarpon and gotten one to the boat," Moore said.

At this time of year, you'll see the really big tarpon that weigh 80 to 100 pounds each or more. Occasionally, the tarpon will take the spoons that Moore uses to troll for redfish.

"Spoons weren't designed to penetrate the tarpon's mouths," he said. "So you often will lose them if they attack your spoons."

Last year, Moore specifically targeted tarpon by fishing with circle hooks and live mullet. He boated a 60-pounder and then released it.

"Most of our charters want to eat their catches, instead of releasing them," Moore said. "But occasionally, we'll have a client who wants to see silver scales in the air, and that's when we go tarpon fishing."

 

Cobia

You'll also enjoy catching cobia in September. The cobia make their fall run this month from the mouth of the Mississippi back down to southern Florida.

"We find the cobia along the Gulfport Ship Channel, which is a great place to fish with jigs around buoys," he said. "We also chum this month. We'll go to a channel marker and start chumming, and oftentimes the cobia will come into our chum line.

"If the cobia don't show up in a few minutes, we'll go to another channel marker and repeat the same process. Most fishermen in Mississippi know about the spring cobia run, but during September and October, the cobia action can be just as good."

 

Sharks

Moore also specializes in nighttime shark fishing.

"We fish the channel at Ship Island on the north side of the island, leaving at 6 p.m. and returning at midnight," he said. "We'll catch bull sharks, blacktips and spinner sharks, and generally will take a limit of sand sharks. We also have caught a few cobia and redfish at night."

 

To contact Capt. Mike Moore, call 228-392-4047 or email fishchartr@aol.com.