When you're fishing on Mississippi's Gulf Coast this month, you'll catch numerous species of hard-fighting fish that also are delicious to eat.

"There are so many red snapper out in the Gulf of Mexico right now that you'll have to hide just to be able to bait your hook without a red snapper hitting it," said Capt. Steve Perrigin of Strictly Fishin' Charters, based at Ocean Springs. "There never has been a shortage of red snapper off Mississippi's coast, and because the red snapper haven't been fished since before the oil spill in the spring, there are plenty of hungry fish."

The crowds will be at the rigs, but Perrigin prefers to fish the wrecks and the reefs that most people will overlook.

"I'll put a slip sinker up the line and a barrel swivel under the slip sinker," Perrigin said. "The size slip sinker I use will depend on the current. I'll fish with a 1- to 4-ounce slip sinker, and either pogies for dead bait or a croaker or a small white trout for live bait.

"I'll find all the snapper I want to catch in the 60- to 70-foot water depths."

After Perrigin and his party catch their limit of red snapper, the day's not over.

"We can catch and keep 10 mangrove snapper, and at this time of year, those mangrove snapper are often 4- to 6-pounders," he said. "Also, the cobia still may be coming through on some of the wrecks on their fall migration back to the east, and now's the time to catch both big king mackerel and grouper."

Mississippi holds some of the biggest king mackerel anywhere, which is why the Southern Kingfish Association holds its national championship in Biloxi out of the Isle of Capri. Most of the time, you need a 30-pound-plus king to even finish in the top 10 in this tournament.

Although the red snapper will be the glamour fish until Nov. 22 when the season ends, the blackfin and the yellowfin tuna fishing also will start to pick up as the weather becomes cooler.

To contact Perrigin, call 228-217-0458.

 

Expect fast inshore action

Sonny Schindler of Shore Thing Charters, captain of the Moni-Q charter boat based out of Bay St. Louis, reports that November is a transition period when the speckled trout and the redfish move out of the Gulf of Mexico and into the wetlands.

"As air and water temperatures cool-down, these fish will move farther into the marsh," Schindler said. "At the first of the month, I'll be fishing on the Gulf side of the marsh because the fish should show up close to the marsh on that side first. But as the weather cools down even more, I'll move farther into the marsh."

The trout have some type of mechanism that lets them know they need to start feeding heavily to store up fat for the winter. So, this month, Schindler plans to start catching some of the biggest trout of the year.

"We'll see plenty of 2- to 4-pound speckled trout this month, and the flounder also will start moving out of the marsh," he said. "November is a very productive month to catch flounder. At the end of the month, the flounder will be moving toward the mouths of the rivers, creeks and cuts."

But the inshore glamour fish this month is redfish. They'll start moving into shallow water, where you can see them tailing and waking, and Schindler names sight fishing as the best way to catch the redfish as they begin to move into the marshes and back bays. While foraging for crabs, shrimp and minnows in that shallow water, the redfish will be relatively easy to see and catch.

To catch them, you need to be as quiet as you can be in the boat, Schindler said.

"I'll keep the sun to my back and the wind to my face when I fish for redfish," he said. Then, I'll have the best visibility while wearing a pair of polarized sunglasses.

"Be aware of redfish blowing up on shrimp, minnows and crabs. If you can spot just one redfish feeding, you often can get into a big school of reds and catch your limit and also catch and release all the redfish you want."

Schindler's favorite baits include the Norton Brass Rattler Spoons and the Marsh Works Bayou Thumper spinnerbaits because they're very durable.

"In the areas we fish, there are no tackle stores nearby, so you have to make sure you have baits that can withstand the ferocious bite and hard charge of a redfish, and even then, you'll still need to have extra baits on hand," Schindler said. "My favorite fall colors for spinnerbaits are black/chartreuse and opening night."

When fishing soft plastics, Schindler prefers either a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce jighead and a Marsh Works Killa Squilla Shrimp in opening night or croakcaine.

For live bait, Schindler likes live shrimp and cocahoes.

"Some anglers have asked about the 'eatability' of the fish we're catching now," Schindler said. "From various tests run by scientists along the Gulf Coast, we know that all the fish we're catching are eatable, and the scientists report no ill effects from the oil spill on our fish.

"As a matter of fact, there have been many more tests run on the safety of the fish along Mississippi's Gulf Coast since the oil spill than there have been in the years before the oil spill."

To fish with Schindler, call (228) 342-2295.