According to Capt. Tom Becker of the Skipper charterboat, docked at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor in Harrison County, there's lots available to entertain anglers in October.

"This month, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and red drum will start migrating and holding further offshore," he said. "To catch king mackerel in October, we primarily troll with a number of lines from the back of the boat, using Drone spoons. This month, our clients generally can limit out on king mackerel, which is two kings per person, plus two kings for the captain and the crew. Fishermen also can take home 15 Spanish mackerel per person."

When Becker fishes for Spanish mackerel this month, he'll use light tackle like a small No. 2 planer. Then he'll attach 8 to 10 feet of 40-pound-test monofilament line to the planer. At the end of the line, he'll use a No. 1 or 2 Drone or Captain Action spoon. The silver-colored spoons seem to produce the most Spanish mackerel.

"At this time of year, we can catch some really nice-sized Spanish mackerel weighing 3 to 4 pounds each," Becker said. "Because these mackerel are so large, we refer to them as horse mackerel."

You'll find Spanish mackerel delicious to eat. Becker recommends anglers cut the center red line out of the fillet, marinate it all day in Italian dressing or teriyaki sauce, keep the fish in the marinade in the refrigerator, and then place the fillets on a hot grill until the meat turns flaky white.

"If we target Spanish mackerel, we usually can get a limit of 15 per person in a day of October fishing," Becker said.

During October, the big kings will move in closer to the shore with the average-sized kings weighing 20 to 30 pounds each.

"If we can find the red drum inside state waters, they're a really good eating fish, but we have to be in state waters to keep them," Becker said. "We can keep three redfish per person. Although the redfish must be 18 to 30 inches long, anglers can keep one red drum over 30 inches. Generally the redfish we catch offshore are longer than 30 inches. So we limit our customers to one per person, including captain and crew."

To catch the big redfish, Becker advises switching to gold spoons, slowing the boat down and letting the planers get closer to the bottom.

Also in October, Becker targets sharks, which have become favorites on the Biloxi Coast.

"If we don't have any cold fronts come through, we can catch sharks offshore through October," he said. "We target blacktips and spinners, and see a few tiger sharks and hammerheads. More people are starting to not only catch sharks for sport, but to also eat."

Even in rough weather, anglers still will find plenty of good fishing inside the barrier islands, where the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has deployed some artificial reefs. These reefs concentrate ground mullet, white trout, redfish and speckled trout.

"October is a great month to fish the Mississippi Gulf Coast because the fish are in a transition mode, and a number of the baitfish are preparing to move offshore," Becker said.

October's weather greatly will influence inshore fishing this month on Mississippi's Gulf Coast.

"The magic number is 72 degrees," said Capt. Sonny Schindler of Shore Thing Fishing Charters. "If the water temperature drops below 72 degrees, the fish will move more into the marsh and west toward the 9-mile area. If the water temperature is above 72 degrees, the fish will move to the east side of the marsh toward the 3-mile area and all points in between.

"Water temperature also determines the availability of bait. During cooler temperatures, live shrimp are hard to find, but cocaho minnows make good bait and still are available. When the water temperature is above 72 degrees, anglers will be able to find plenty of shrimp in the bait shops, which may be a better bait to fish at this time of year.

"When our area has cold weather and water temperatures below 72 degrees, we'll start catching a number of sheepshead, black drum and flounder inside the marsh. Also, we'll be targeting redfish more. If there's warm weather, we'll fish outside the marsh and target speckled trout."

During October in the Biloxi Marsh, Schindler and his partner, Capt. Matt Tusa, still find birds working, and can locate schools of speckled trout and redfish by fishing under the birds.

"We usually fish successfully under the birds all the way to December," Schindler said.

Anglers can catch speckled trout and redfish almost all year along Mississippi's Gulf Coast. Flounder fishing generally heats up in October. While northerners prepare to shovel snow, southern anglers still wear shorts and bathing suits, and catch plenty of inshore fish off Mississippi's Gulf Coast.

 

To contact Capt. Sonny Schindler, call 228-342-2297 or email capt_mike@shorethingcharters.com. To contact Capt. Tom Becker, email tdchart@bellsouth.net or call 228-385-2910.