February and March were brutal for Mississippi’s coastal fishermen, who battled weather on many fronts. They’re hoping April will be better, knowing it can’t be worse.

“Winds, rain and more wind.… Seems like we couldn’t catch a break,” said Gary Thompson, an avid angler from Gulfport who struggled for about six weeks. “If it wasn’t raining, it was windy. If it was raining, well, of course, it was windy, too.

“But the worst part was that we had terrible salinity in the west side of the Mississippi Sound, thanks to all the rain up north. The Pearl River was high and dumping all that freshwater into the Gulf. The Mississippi River was even worse, and will likely be for a lot of April, too.”

Salinity is a key to good fishing, Thompson said.

“Hey, remember, it is saltwater we’re fishing,” he added, laughing.

Tommy Sutton of Columbia said that at times, he wasn’t so sure that he was fishing saltwater.

“I was fishing out near Cat Island on one of the few days we had calm enough to be out there, and somehow I got some water in my mouth from the Gulf,” he said. “It tasted like it had come right out of the tap in my kitchen. I then took another taste intentionally, and it wasn’t salty at all. We went to the marshes to the west (Biloxi Marsh) and it was the same, and we found few areas with enough water to move around.

“Where we did fish the marsh, we did hit some redfish, including some good gap-fish keepers. Reds tolerate freshwater better than specks. It was just enough to make us think of better fishing ahead. I think April will be good, if we can just get the Pearl settled.”

April is traditionally a good month to find speckled trout in the grass beds on the south side of Cat Island, and on flats and grasses throughout the Biloxi Marsh.