Deer Island is not usually considered one of the barrier islands, due to its close proximity to Biloxi’s casino row — a few hundred yards, but by no means should it be overlooked.

“I can’t tell you how many times it has saved me,” said captain Robert Earl McDaniel of the WhipaSnapa charter boat. “It is a fish magnet; not big fish necessarily but good eating fish that can fill a fish box pretty quickly.”

The captain proved it to us one morning when unexpected squalls made running to the bigger barrier islands unwise, if not impossible. In two hours using shrimp and cut fish for bait, we filled a box with ground mullet, white trout and flounder.

“The three of those are fine to eat, especially the ground mullet and the flounder,” McDaniel said. “I’ve got customers who come to me just wanting to catch ground mullet. And when I’m in the doghouse at home, I can show up with a few flounders and my wife may not forget what it was that I did that got me in the doghouse, but she will forgive me. The lady loves her flounder.”