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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28 | www.GuyHarveyMagazine.com bridge rubble to oyster beds and attract redfish, sheepshead, trout and flounder, while the state's 15 offshore reef systems that extend into the Gulf of Mexico contain concrete rubble, steel hull vessels and Florida limestone reef pyramids. Mississippi's Rigs to Reefs program also offers defunct oil rig structures in 150 to 400 ft. of water and more that attract big game species such as cobia, mahi, swordfish, yellowfin tuna, blue marlin, jacks, and sharks along with typical reef species such as snapper, triggerfish and grouper. In general, trout and redfish can be caught year-round with peak season in the summer through the fall months. Wintertime offers up sheepshead and black drum on the inshore reefs. Offshore fishing is best for cobia during the spring and early summer where all summer long mahi can be caught and yellowfin tuna go on the chew during the fall. After wearing ourselves out on bay reds, Sonny takes us to a honey hole—actually, a feeder creek—where a confluence of bay water flushes out into crooked mud creeks you can jump across with a good head of steam. We set the stick anchor down on one of these Biloxi Marsh creek junctions and Mike, Sonny and I cast out 1/2-oz. naked lead heads tipped with cocahoe minnows and begin to bounce them off the bottom. Hitting pay dirt is no play on words here, as every single one of us is quickly tied to redfish of 15 to 26 in. on nearly every cast. I decide I don't want to leave Mississippi without crossing a fly- caught red off my list, so I employ the 6-weight and shrimp fly while Sonny and Mike put their rods down and let me do my thing. A few dozen casts go out but to no avail. Sonny picks up the minnow rod again to prove a point, catching three more slot reds in succession. Not to be outdone, I keep at it. After my hundredth cast, or about there, the sinking line finally comes tight. A beautiful spotted redfish of 17 in. sucks down my fly and rips my drag, but not enough to get away. I put the red on deck and my smile goes as wide as the horizon. To finish the day, we belly up at the Blind Tiger in Bay St. Louis and receive the royal Mississippi treatment: the kitchen prepares our catch of reds and specks with Cajun spices and grills them to perfection. The redfish was, of course, blackened and served with a chutney-type sauce, paired with a side of red potatoes and corn soaked in drawn butter that made the whole Mississippi experience complete. It's safe to say Mississippi has its down-home hold on me, and I'll be back to the bayou again. Special thanks to Shore Thing Charters and Captain Sonny Schindler (www. shorethingcharters.com) as well as Baytown Inn (www.baytowninn.com) and the Mississippi Department of Tourism (www.visitmississippi.org). Bent rods are typical when plying Mississippi's bayous and bays. Redfish and speckled seatrout highlight the action, but keep an eye on the reedy marsh for other wildlife, including sea ducks, nutria and crustaceans.

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