The bedding activity South Mississippi anglers enjoyed in March will be available to bream fishermen in the rest of the state in April.

That means a lot of smiling faces and hands filled with chinquapins.

“I like to fish for anything that will bite,” said Joe Watts of Canton, “but I don’t know if I get a bigger thrill than what I get when I find the chinqs on the bed.

“God love them, they fight hard and they taste to darn good.”

Chinquapins are also known as redear by biologists and as shellcrackers by coastal area anglers. They are kin to the bluegill, but are much brighter and flashier in color.

They typically bed once a year and do so slightly earlier in the season than do the bluegill.

“But there is some overlap, and that creates the ideal bream fishing situation when both bluegill and chinquapins are on the beds, sharing the same area,” Watts said. “Everybody I fish with always gets a bigger kick out of the chinqs, though. They like the bluegill, but the chinqs are the best.

“The great thing about it is that the chinquapins have bedded as early as late March around my house and usually are thick in April. They are finishing up about the time the bluegills go to bed later in April and in May. Then the bluegill bed go on and off through the summer. We’ll have a fish fry at least once a week, and that’s fun.”