John’s Note: Sonny Schindler and the other captains who work for Shore Thing Charters (http://www.shorethingcharters.com/, 228-342-2206) have developed some of the most successful summer tactics for catching speckled trout and redfish on the Upper Gulf of Mexico coast. These captains fish out of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and guide in both Mississippi and Louisiana waters. We’ve asked Schindler to give his best tactics and techniques for catching speckled trout, redfish and other species in warm weather.
Question: Captain Sonny, what are the current Mississippi regulations on size and bag limits for speckled trout and redfish?
Captain Sonny: When we’re fishing in Louisiana waters, anglers can catch 25 speckled trout that are 12 inches or longer. They can catch and keep five redfish per person. Each redfish has to be 16 inches and under 27 inches. However, you can keep one redfish that’s more than 27 inches. We dock in Bayou Caddy. We’re licensed to fish Louisiana waters as well as Mississippi waters. It’s only 9 miles from our dock to the Louisiana marsh. When we fish Mississippi waters, anglers are allowed to keep 15 speckled trout per person, each 13-inches long or more. You can keep three redfish per person that are 18-inches long with one of the three redfish longer than 30 inches.
Question: What’s the license requirement if anglers fish with you in Mississippi waters?
Captain Sonny: If anglers fish with us in Mississippi waters, they don’t need an additional license. However, if we’re fishing in the Louisiana marsh, anglers need to purchase a 3-day trip license, which is called a Louisiana Charter Passenger License.
Captain Sonny: Usually around the first of May, the Florida tripletail starts showing up in our area and is one of our most-favorite fish all summer. Some of the best tripletail fishing on the planet is between the Louisiana marsh and the dock we launch from at Bayou Caddy. Sometimes, we find the tripletail in the marsh, and other days we’ll locate the tripletails in the mouth of Bayou Caddy and all points between those two destinations.
On a clear day, when our customers have lots of speckled trout and redfish, we’ll ride around and check crab traps, buoys, pipes, poles, channel markers and other kinds of floating or standing structure to try and see a tripletail. Tripletails usually will hold right on top of or just under the water. Most of the time, you can pitch a live shrimp or any other type live bait to the tripletail. If the fish sees the bait, it usually will attack.
In Louisiana, anglers can catch and keep five tripletails – at least 18 inches long – per person. In Mississippi waters, anglers can catch three tripletails 18 inches or longer. Tripletail fishing is a really nice way to close a day of fishing, because you keep the boat moving. If you don’t see a tripletail, you don’t stop. If we do see a tripletail, which by the way are delicious to eat, we’ve got live bait in the live well, and we can try to catch it.
Depending on the time of year and the depth of water we’re fishing, we also can catch black drum, flounder and jack crevalle. Jack crevalles are fun to fish for, but not really delicious to eat. Too, we can fish for sharks and possibly catch a nice black tip shark that’s good to eat.
Check out this video for more information from Captain Sonny Schindler:
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John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors.