What a wild ride the past week or so has been. The rollercoaster began with plenty of wind and some much needed down time for the boats/captains. The last day of the ride was one of the better days of fishing we have experienced this year. Stay with me on this one, it is gonna be a long and bumpy ride....
The "down time", as we are calling it, found most of the guides tearing apart their boats and tackle to get ready for up coming trips to the Cat Island house, and Fall fishing that is closing in fast. I spent my break changing out batteries, and getting our mechanics at the Boathouse to install a brand spanking new 10 foot Power Pole on my Hydra Sports. As usual the gang did a fantastic job. Many thanks Sid, Steve, Ronald, and Dylan! The only reason we are able to fish as much as we do is because of these guys, they truly are miracle workers.
Even before the winds let up, the boys were back in action. Capt Jimmy drew first blood with Glen Nicholson and the boys. Making their live shrimp count, the boys but several inshore slams in the boat(speckled trout, redfish, flounder). We knew good things were coming if they put together such an impressive catch, with such poor conditions stacked against them.
We got a text from Capt Ray with a great news. He was helping another company out down in Plaquemines Parish, and hammering the red fish. When he told us they were fishing in ponds, we all geared up for a red fish slaughter the next day. Captains Kenny, Matt and myself were locked and loaded. Kenny had the boys from Contractors Inc, Matt had the Perkins gang, and I had a local celebrity on my boat. The Mayor of Cat Island himself, Walter Gaudin was with me. Joining Mr Mayor, was none other than Dr Don Gaddy, Mr Frank Reed, and their buddy Bob. Using the high water to our advantage, we nosed back as far as we could into the ponds in the LA Marsh. Kenny and Matts crew were doing the same thing, just in a different area, closer to home. All the boats returned with boxes loaded with perfect slot sized reds. Kennys Contractor Inc crew got the numbers award, they finished with 16 reds. I had more fun keeping Dr Don and Walter from killing each other as to who caught the most and biggest red fish... Those two spend many days/nights out at the cat island house, and everything they do is a competition. The guys on my boat threw the Boat Monkey Corks, short leaders and live shrimps against the grass all day long. I was up on the bow running the trolling motor and pitching a Strike King Redfish Magic spinner bait. Most of the fish we caught were right against the banks and in small packs.
Me an Kenny actually got to run an afternoon trip this past week. We do them, but most of our trips we start in the wee morning hours. No worries though for my old buddy F.J. Eickie and his pals in town for a Psychiatrist Convention. Chasing the sun, we kept both boats in close to fish the reefs, bridges, rivers and Bay. We found a little bit of everything for the head shrinkers. We were able to get some reds, black drum, sheepshead, white trout, croakers and even a shark. Dr Phil, on my boat was able to get his biggest fish ever. We lost several, but he finally got a big ole mean sea monster black drum(40lber). Even though we fished several different areas, the best bite was found, thanks to Capt Kennys boat. They found some bait in 3-4 feet of water, over some shells. Everything was mixed in together, and hungry. Live shrimp under the Boat Monkeys was the ticket. In one spot, with both boats fishing side by side, we caught trout, reds, puppy drum, and plenty of sheepshead for a strong finish.
Got some amazing weather over the weekend, and the Shore Thing fleet was out in full force. Capt Matt was fishing in close with the Stockard boys, they would be with him for 2 days. Capt Jimmy was down south in the LA Marsh with the Comachio Crew. Capt Darren was fishing in close with the Ronnie Williams experience. Kenny was zipping around the MS Sound with the Sandberg group. I was fishing at maximum, with Robert Murray and his family, Party of 5.
It was just a fun day on the water for all the crews. Capt Jimmy Ray did the best on the trout down in the marsh. They were able to find a good 50/50 mix of specks and whites, and rolled back with close to 60. The rest of the boats, working near shore were just easing and peckin all day long. The VHF was a steady stream of "got a red", "another sheephead", "nice flounder, big trout".
I had a lively crew, and the girls on board were wanting to fight some big fish. We loaded up on pogies, grabbed a few lady fish and went looking for sharks first. With little to no tide, our chum was not really flowing out the way I prefer. Took a little longer than expected, but when the big critters found the chum, it was game one! The ENTIRE family seemed to have a hand in bringing in the bull sharks. Very chaotic with that many people, and a big sharks in the boat, but very very fun. Once they had their fill on the big fish, we went looking for eaters. Did find a triple tail in open water, but it was a small one that Rachael an Amanda got to tag n release. When the water got moving, we were able to set up on the reefs, and grab some nice slot reds for their dinner. We were the last near shore boat to the skinning shed at Shiyou Caddy, and the gut bucket was a hodgepodge of fish heads from the other boats. Flounder, trout, reds, sheepheads, and drum were all in the mix.
And then there was Sunday...
All the boats went down to the LA Marsh, and got treated to picture perfect weather, and some incredible fishing. Capt Darren had Shore Thing Gold Club Member Andrew Williams, his two boys Henry n Gibby, along with his nephew William Baxter. These boys have been with us for years, and they put on a good show. Capt D put them on a good trout bite early, and they all put in work. They were drifting shell bottoms in 4 feet of water with live shrimp under the Boat Monkeys. Slick Willy Baxter was able to get a big bull red to. On the way home, they ran across a debris line in open water that was full of floating junk and triple tail. Capt D said most were undersized, but Andrew did lock into a monster. Somewhere in the jumps and cartwheels, the fish snapped the 50lb braid mainline. Darren said it was heart wrenching, but still amazing show.
Capt Matt was back out with the Stockard crew for day two of their trip. The day before they had caught a little of everything(sharks, trout, flounder, reds, sheepshead). Did not hear much from them on the radio, but when I cleaned fish next to him, they had done very well on the redfish and few other critters.
Capt Kenny had Big Jim Hauler out, and Jim just likes to fight big fish. He is not much on keeping fish when he travels. They bounced around for the first part of the AM. They joined Capt D, and got in on his trout pickings. From there they drifted some broken shore lines, points and drains, and got to play with the slot reds for a bit. On the way out that morning, Capt Kenny cast netted 50 or so hand sized pogies that he put in his live well. That move payed off well, they were able to reek absolute havoc on the big bull reds and hard fighting Jacks. Kenny said they spent the rest of the morning fighting huge fish, taking pictures and letting em go. On they way home, they ran into one heck of a triple tail. Keeping with the "big fish, big fight" theme, the boys boated a 25 and 1/2 inch porker of a triple tail. That fish was not released, the boys brought it up to The Blind Tiger Restaurant to have it prepared for supper. All of customers that have done the, "We Kill it, They Grill it" special at TBT have been blown away. They love it!
Sunday was one of the best and most memorable days on the water I have had in while. Shore Thing Platinum Plus member, John Stribling brought his two sons, Alex and Charlie. I have watched these boys grow up over the years, and we have had some amazing trips. We started this one out, trying to get the boys a big shark. We gave it 45 minutes or so, and completely struck out. We decided to troll some leeward shore lines and look for some red fish. That worked well, and we were running into small packs of reds all morning. Almost all of the reds were in that perfect 18-22 inch slot. We even got to watch a small white heron "cow bird" walking down the bank with a pack of reds. He would reach in and snatch a minnow or shrimp when the fish kicked them up. This went on for a good stretch till the reds exploded on a school of bait and spooked their feathered friend.
We got our fill on the reds and were trying to find some sharks when we came across a nice triple tail. When he came up to eat the live shrimp, we noticed he had a buddy with him. We got the first fish, and went back for the second. When he came up to eat, we noticed he also had a buddy. When we hooked the third the fish, out of nowhere a huge school of Jack Crevalle came through. We hooked one on the lightest Okuma spinning set up on the boat. The fish all but dumped the spool in a few seconds. With only a couple of wraps of line left, we turned the fish, and chased it down on the trolling motor. While we were trolling after it, we cruised by a few other structures and almost everyone we passed by, had fat triple tail under it. Charlie finished off the big jack, we snapped a couple of pics and went back to pick up those other triple tails. Most of the single fish we saw had buddies with them, and we snatched them too. Besides one of the smallest keepers we saw, the only ones we missed were 2 little tagging sized fish. When the smoke cleared we had 9 hawg leg triple tails between 20-23 inches. We also grabbed 10 perfect sized slot reds. John was all smiles back at the cleaning tables. I told him he had to run up to the gas station, because the ice chest he brought was not big enough....
ESTABLISHED IN 2003. The Largest inshore fishing company on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Specializing in speckled trout, redfish, flounder, tripletail, black drum and more! We fish the Louisiana Marsh, the Mississippi Barrier Islands and many other areas. Our full-time fishing guides are extremely knowledgeable, courteous, and professional. We have many boats available - small and large groups are welcome. Anglers under the age of 13 fish for free! All of our boats and guides are licensed to fish in Mississippi and Louisiana. We supply rods, reels, tackle, snacks, drinks, ice, fuel, bait, and fun. No charge for fish cleaning and bagging. Be sure and ask about our all inclusive overnight fishing packages to the Cat Island House. www.shorethingcharters.com or 228-342-2206.
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