Guides Kenny Shiyou of Shore Thing Charters in Bay St. Louis and Robert Earl McDaniel of WhipaSnapa Charters in Biloxi welcome the fall transition and approaching cold weather.
They know hot fishing action will temper the harsh conditions.
Bridge pilings along US 90 where it crosses the major rivers — the Pearl, Jordan, Biloxi and Pascagoula — start holding fish in big numbers, and that includes some of the tastiest fish that swim the waters.
“It’s a short run, so even if it’s cold, we can be fishing in minutes,” said Shiyou (228-342-2206), who hits the bridge across Bay St. Louis and the Jordan River. “There’s redfish, puppy (black) drum and especially sheepshead, and they all stack up on those pilings from late October through to the spring. We don’t have to go any further. We can launch about a mile or two away, catch a box full and be back at the launch by lunch.”
The fishing is good on both an incoming or outgoing tide.
“The fish just sit with their noses against those pilings, or behind the base looking into the current, waiting for the tide to bring them a meal,” McDaniel said. “You can drop a dead bait shrimp down to them in the right place, and I can just about promise you it will get bit.
“The key is putting the bait in the right place, and that takes a few casts for someone new. Watch the current and the depth and figure out how far in front of the target you need to pitch the bait to get it to pass right against the base of the piling. You need to have a little slack in the line but not enough that you miss the bite.”
Using braided line with a 12- to 18-inch fluorocarbon leader will give you the strength, abrasion-resistance and feel needed to battle fish in an environment hostile to fishing line.
Know the depth of the water and find where the fish want to be. The Biloxi Bridge has more depth than Bay St. Louis, but it’s all relative. The fish adjust to their environment.
“Try to find pilings with some good depth, like 8 or 10 feet or more, and move around until you find the ones holding the most fish,” Shiyou said. “Flip the bait right next to the piling and let it free spool to the bottom. Then put the reel and gear and be ready. It usually doesn’t take long.”
McDaniel does the same thing in Biloxi, but he has more depth to work with, especially in the marked shipping channel.
“You just have to hit enough pilings until you find one that is hot,” he said. “Once you do, it can get wild.”