Capt. Steve Perrigin of Strictly Fishin' Charters based at Ocean Springs explains that there are some fish to be caught this month.

"During March, I'll be fishing for sheepshead, white trout, black drum, red drum and speckled trout, if we get some warm weather," he said. "If the wind will let us get into the Gulf of Mexico, I plan to fish shallow-water wrecks in 35 to 40 feet of water for sheepshead. If we can get them, I like to fish live shrimp."

Because there's no limit on sheepshead, you can catch as many as you want. However, Perrigin explains that he likes to limit his customers to five per person, per day, since the sheepshead take so long to clean. He said anglers would have plenty of other species of fish available to catch in March and have a good mixed bag at the end of a day of fishing.

 

Sheepshead

"When we're fishing for sheepshead, we use a No. 2/0 hook with 15- to 17-pound-test line on spinning tackle," Perrigin said. "We Carolina rig with a weight up the line, a barrel swivel under the weight and 12 to 18 inches of leader material with a live shrimp, when we can get them. If we can't get live shrimp, we'll fish dead shrimp.

"The size of the weight we use depends on the current. We've had days when we can fish with as light as a 3/4-ounce weight and other days when we need 3 ounces of weight, if the current's running strong.

"The sheepshead you'll catch out in the Gulf of Mexico will weigh up to about 8 pounds. We generally can catch five or six sheepshead per person on a six-hour trip."

 

Redfish

Regardless of where you fish this month, you'll probably catch redfish. Even on Perrigin's sheepshead trips, he often will take two or three redfish. However, if you prefer to target redfish, look for them in the passes.

"I like to fish the passes between Horn and Ship islands, Horn and Petit Bois islands and Ship and Cat islands," Perrigin said. "If I can get my hands on them, I prefer to fish live croakers for bait, preferably a 6-inch-long croaker. We use a No. 4/0 hook and either 20- or 30-pound-test line on baitcasting reels. We'll use a Carolina rig with 1 to 4 ounces of lead, depending on the tide and the current."

At this time of year, the redfish Perrigin catches in the passes will weigh 10 to 30 pounds each. You can keep three redfish longer than 18 inches, but only one of those three redfish can be over 30 inches. However, most of the redfish anglers catch between the passes will be 30 inches or more in length. You also have a good chance to catch black drum, while you're fishing for redfish.

 

Speckled trout

The speckled trout will be a hunt-and-peck situation. The weather will dictate when the fish come out of the marsh and where they'll hold.

"If the weather stays cold this month, those speckled trout will stay up in the bayous and hold in deep holes in the marsh," Perrigin said. "But if the weather warms up and the trout start moving out of the marsh, we'll catch them in the mouths of the bayous and inside the bays as they migrate out toward the Gulf of Mexico.

"If we get some really warm weather this month, the trout may move into the grass beds around Horn and Ship islands. I don't put a lot of emphasis on speckled trout in the early spring because they're a hit-or-miss proposition. But the white trout are pretty much a sure bet."

 

White trout

Mississippi has manmade reefs from 5- to 15-feet deep from Waveland to Pascagoula in the Mississippi Sound. Any of the reefs may hold white trout during March. Visit the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources website (www.dmr.state.ms.us/) to find a listing of all the inshore reefs and how to reach them.

"If you can locate these inshore reefs, you can catch about as many white trout as you want to clean," Perrigin said. "The spring trout tend to run a little smaller than the summer ones, so these white trout will average 12- to 14-inches long. I'll use dead shrimp or cut bait on a Carolina rig to catch the white trout. I also will catch some white trout fishing jigs with plastic grubs. I prefer a No. 1/0 hook with 12-pound-test line on spinning tackle. I use this line instead of a lighter line because redfish and black drum also cruise these reefs. There's a good chance of catching them while fishing for white trout."

 

Contact Capt. Steve Perrigin at (228) 217-0458.