Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 26 of 83 | 27 world-class holding pen of trout like you've never seen before. Sonny and Mike prove this point by casting clack float baits with a 3-ft. leader and loaded with indigenous cocahoe minnows, commonly known as killifish or mud minnows. The commotion of the clack float is like a signal for all trout in the area to feed. An hour or so after peeking over the horizon, the sun loses its crimson hue and just garnered its yellow color and it is time to make a move. "Let's go sight cast for redfish," says Sonny. "They will be pushing along the mud marsh banks now and we'll be able to see them." As the sun climbs, we push into the back marshes a bit more, scoping out marsh banks where Virginia rails and lesser yellowlegs sneak in and out of the tall marsh reed grasses. We patrol the sides of the muddy marsh banks, spying nutria huts made from marsh reeds. The big rodents are an invasive species that colonized the area many decades ago. Sight fishing for redfish, we see a big broomtail appear, slow and lumbering. "Reds are aggressive and will feed on anything that makes a meal," says Sonny, as he rears back and launches a Savage Gear baby duck imitation lure. It is one of the most gaudy, crazy-looking lures I have ever laid eyes on. I simply tie on a 3/8- oz. jighead with an Electric Chicken bull minnow soft plastic and put the lure right in front of a tailing redfish in the muddy water. Before I can get three cranks on the reel, it's put to the test with an 8-lb. redfish. Sonny puts us in stealth mode, deploying the trolling motor, and we gently ply the coves where redfish are known to root down in one to five feet of water. Mike casts his clack float with cocahoe minnow, jerks it three times to attract some attention and it goes down hard. "Reel up!" barks Sonny, and Mike is fast tied to a big ol' red, one that will weigh in at 12 lbs., and has beautiful black spot marks on its flagged tail. "That's gonna be dinner. I love 'em blackened," says Mike. After all, it is his birthday and he deserves to have a blackened redfish dinner to celebrate. Sonny keeps the trolling motor gliding through backchannels and tiny winding creeks to work the points off marsh banks where reds tend to lay in wait on outgoing tides, sucking down unsuspecting baitfish. You never think you can sight cast to reds in muddy water, but with the right wind, you can play the sunlight and get a good bead on golden, brownish-red shadows that lumber along the mud banks. And this is just what we do, cast after cast. Mississippi's saltwater bounty is obvious in these shallow backwaters, but it extends far beyond fishing for redfish, speckled trout and southern flounder. The state's natural marsh and inland waterways give way to a series of long, thin barrier islands and then the open expanses of the Gulf. The fishing is plentiful in each of these zones and has been bolstered by hundreds of man- made reef systems. Back bay and inshore reefs are comprised of anything from

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