Every time I sit down to write, I look at the previous year’s column for the same month to make sure I’m not writing about the same topic using the same sources.
I got into this habit because of something that happened at my home church, Pine Grove Baptist in Carmichael, a few years ago.
A bunch of us Davises had converged on nearby Theadsville for a family reunion. One of my cousins is a Baptist preacher and had arranged to deliver the sermon at Pine Grove that Sunday.
It was great to go to my old church, see old friends and hear my cousin preach. I remember enjoying the sermon and that there were scattered “amens” from the folks in the pews. It was a happy time.
After the sermon, when we were saying our goodbyes, an elderly lady corned my cousin.
She matter-of-factly pointed out that he had preached the same sermon using the same verses the previous time he had preached there years before. She had underlined the verses he used and written the topic of the sermon, as well as the date of the previous sermon in the blank space adjacent to the verses.
All of which lined up with what he had delivered this particular Sunday.
Needless to say, my cousin was a bit shocked and embarrassed.
I don’t remember who that lady was or know if she reads Mississippi Sportsman, but I dang sure don’t want her pointing out I write the same thing every September.
After reading the last few stories I’ve written about September, I did notice a pattern: an official whine or some lament on how tough trout fishing is.
For me, finding trout in September is harder than finding a Southern Baptist on a church work day, but I’m not going to beat that dead horse.
Instead, I’m going to share what my plans are this year to beat the transition time.
Trout can be found in September, but it ain’t easy. I’m going to leave the dock with a laundry list of options this year.
I plan to start the morning off throwing a topwater along the grass lines and points at the mouth of Fort Bayou for trout and work my way up the bayou.
Odds are, I’ll catch a keeper or two and several small ones. If I stumble into a pile of them, I’ll stick around and box as many as I can.
When I get bored with that, I’m going ease into the many canals and smaller bayous in search of redfish and flounder.
The bait of choice in these shallow drains and canals will be a Z-Man DieZel ChatterBait. This tactic is simple and effective: Cast the bait into the shallow shoreline grass and slow-roll the bait back to the boat.
The key to both strategies is to keep moving, and casting and searching. If I catch a fish, I’ll slow down and comb the area more thoroughly.
This is not that out of character for any transition-time angler, but this year I’m throwing in a new option: crabbing.
I got this idea from a coworker who has been catching a dozen or more crabs off his dock every night. He has one trap he checks and baits up every evening before dinner.
I don’t live on the water, so I have to take a different approach.
The first thing I did was buy three crab traps with the necessary rope and float. I found a great deal on some quality traps at Bama Crab Traps in Coden, AL.
I purchased the smaller half traps to save space in my boat. The traps I bought are 24 inches by 24 inches by 11 inches, have two funnels for the crab to enter the trap and cost $21 each. The full-size traps are 24 inches by 24 inches by 18 inches, have four funnels and cost $29 each.
Buying traps was putting the cart before the horse, but it motivated me to follow through with the rest of the process to get my Gulf Coast Deadliest Catch game rolling.
Since I purchased crab traps, I had to buy a recreational crab license. The license costs $5 and had to be purchased at the DMR office. If you use a crab net, a recreational license isn’t necessary.
To purchase the license, you’ll need your driver’s license, a personal check for $5 or $5 cash and your boat registration, if you’ll be fishing out of your boat.
Once you have your license, you have to place a tag on each trap with the full name of the license holder, and mark the float with the recreational license number and vessel registration number.
If you’ve fished our coastal waters, I’m sure you’ve seen the Styrofoam floats lining every channel — those are crab trap floats. Don’t set your traps on top of those, but find a place close to your fishing grounds that’s adjacent to deeper water and set your traps there
My coworker uses fish carcasses from previous fishing trips or chicken parts from Wayne Lee’s.
Wayne Lee’s also sells boxes of frozen pogies. Simply chip off chunks of the pogies and stuff them in the cylindrical bait box on the trap; make certain the door to the bait box is on the bottom when you put the trap out.
September doesn’t have to be a difficult month. Embrace the fact that trout have basically left the planet and that it’s OK to do something else.
Give Bama Crab Traps a call and get some yourself some traps, go see the fine folks at DMR and get your recreational crab license, drop by Wayne Lee’s in Pascagoula and get a box of frozen pogies, and then hit the bayou and drop those traps in the water.
One last thing — the most important thing: Be sure to download Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive on your smart phone so you can have that blaring when you roll up on your crab traps to check them.
All rules, regulations and contact information for recreational crabbing can be found online at www.dmr.ms.gov/index.php/licenses.