Casinos not all Biloxi has to offer
The Harrison County port resort city of Biloxi is well known for its casinos, Beauvoir, and for being the setting for a number of John Gresham novels. What is not as well known about the city is that it is in the heart of the “Fertile Fisheries Crescent” of the northern Gulf of Mexico and that from more than a half dozen prime spots, a saltwater angler can stand on shore and capture any number of prime game fish without ever getting their feet wet.
In front of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, the City of Biloxi maintains its pride and keeps here the longest coastal pier in Harrison County. At 900 linear feet long, the Coliseum pier is perfectly positioned along the water to provide a stable platform for harvesting saltwater fish from the Sound. As with any beachfront pier in Mississippi the Coliseum Pier is a great place to snag Sheepshead, croaker, white trout, saltwater catfish and flounder when bottom fishing with cut bait or shrimp. During the fall Spanish mackerel often make their appearance here and with the right tackle (spoons, mullet etc.); they are a lot of fun to catch.
The Broadwater Marina, located on the former 260 acres of the President Casino, long swept away by Hurricane Katrina, is private property but is open to the public. The site juts into the Mississippi Sound and once sheltered a huge casino barge and provided 118 berths to powerboats. The marina itself jets out into the Sound on an artificial peninsula more than 1500-feet long. This fact compares it very favorably to the 1540-foot long Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, which is billed as the longest pier on the Gulf of Mexico. The deeper water here makes it one of the best places on the coast to get the big boys while still standing on dry land.
Regulars at this site include Ernie Coultier with his truck-mounted rocket launcher rig that has netted a 57-inch black tip and numerous big Red and Black Drum at this location. Large specks and the occasional tarpon cut through during the fall migration runs and this is a great place to try for them with the right equipment.
While not a pier in and of itself, the former US Coast Guard seaplane base and host to the Fishing Rodeo for several years, is a great place to fish along Biloxi’s Back Bay. At the foot of the bridge into Ocean Springs, locals like to sit on the steps here among the herons and terns and drop a line in the sheltered water. Bottom fishing with the tides late in the afternoon can garner huge (over twenty pound) black drum. Be sure to be prepared and fish with a leader and appropriate sized hooks if going after these crab-eaters here, or else you will be bringing home only a story.
Forrest Avenue Pier
Located in Biloxi just off Bayview Avenue the 425’ long Forrest Pier juts out into Biloxi’s Back Bay just short of Mullet Lake. In these more brackish water juvenile reds run small baitfish and good-sized flounder poke around the pylons at night. It is not unusual to pluck the occasional brim off this pier if using small hooks as the freshwater fish swim from Little Big Lake into these waters often.
Anyone who has ever been through Biloxi has seen its 150-year old solid white lighthouse along Highway 90 just south of Porter Avenue. Directly across the highway from the postcard landmark is the 750’ long Lighthouse Pier. This location is just off the deep ‘Deer Island Highway’ channel where a number of small fish havens and Ra Reefs off the west end of the island bring numbers of ground mullet and the larger Reds and Specs that feed off of them.
This location and others maintained by the City of Biloxi’s Port Division are knew and rebuilt construction after 2005’s devastating Hurricane Katrina virtually wiped out coastal piers in the state.
“We are taking Baby steps here,” Frankie Duggins of the City of Biloxi said in reference to the city’s five large saltwater piers. Duggins went on to explain that the City is in the process of adding fish cleaning stations and other amenities to the new construction but does not have a timeline for these improvements.
Biloxi Small Craft Harbor
Located in downtown Old Biloxi, where the Hard Rock Casino meets beach, is the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor. Run by the City the 141 berths of the harbor house some of the most prolific and successful charter boats of on the coast. However fishing off the harbor walls in the deep channel here is known to bring large roughback catfish as well as heavy flounder. The gray suits prowl around here in the summer but shark fishing from the wall is frowned upon.
With the above in mind, it is easy to see how you do not have to have a yacht to be an accomplished salt-water angler as long as you know your way around Biloxi.
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