Fishissippi

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rsquared
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2019/07/08 14:41:59 (permalink)

Fishissippi

Couple times a year, we get to talking about saltwater fishing on here, and our family spends a week almost every summer on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  It's definitely one of my favorite places to fish.  I'm still not good enough at it that it's a slam dunk for me, so I like the challenge of figuring out what's going on when we're there.  But I'm getting better at it, and most of what we catch is excellent table fare, which is a bonus!  We were there the second week of June.  
 
This year, in advance of our trip, I was a bit concerned the fishing might be bad.  Because of the historically high levels of the Mississippi River this spring and summer, a spillway north of New Orleans was opened in mid May so that NO doesn't flood.  That water - billions of gallons a day - flows directly into Lake Ponchartrain, which has one outlet right into the Mississippi Sound (the portion of the Gulf along the coast of MS, between the main land and the barrier islands).  Salinity levels where we stay were near zero, although in the week before our trip, just 10 miles east, salinity levels and water clarity were improving.  I'm glad we went when we did, because now every beach along the MS coast is closed due to a toxic algae bloom that has developed as a result of this fresh water inundation.  All of our fishing is done wading or along concrete walkways near a couple harbors down there, so we're in close contact with the water.  
 
All in all, it was probably the best week of fishing I've had down there in 15+ trips over the past 20 years or so.  Here's some pics of some of the highlights:
 
 
 
It's been about 5 or 6 years since we got into flounder consistently, but this trip provided quite a few of 'em.  This one was 17" long, and was caught just a few minutes into our first outing, right after a 17" red fish.  I've never caught a flounder that big myself, so my 9 year old holds the title in our family for biggest flounder now.  
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This 18.5" speckled trout was the best one we stuck on the single best morning of fishing I've had down there.  Again, this dude caught this fish all on his own, and he is also the speckled trout record holder in our family.  We caught close to 30 trout in a few hours (my older son and his friend got a few on their fly rods) and we ended up with 8 keepers (15" minimum).  We also caught and released about 20 redfish, all between 14-17.5".  Couldn't quite stretch any of 'em to the 18" minimum.  Despite not being able to keep them, they are a blast on light tackle at that size.  
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This 28" red was a team effort.  I hooked it and handed the rod off, 'cause I'm a nice dad.  I've caught a few reds bigger than that on a charter before, but never caught one that big wading on my own before.  It was absolutely delicious, and reds are hands down my favorite fish to eat!  
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How 'bout an old dinosaur?  This big black drum was tailing in front of my youngest for about an hour.  He got the fish to "eat" his Gulp shrimp 4 or 5 different times, before he finally stuck him for good.  My older son played the role of great big brother and waded into the water after a 25 minute battle to hoist the beast up for the hero shot.  It went about 35#, and the kid sets yet another family record.  I've never caught a black drum, and I've never caught a fish that weighed that much before.  
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If ya ever get the chance to fish anywhere along the Gulf Coast, do it!  Couple of us kept trying to tell BTDT to give it a go when he was just to the east of here in Gulf Shores, AL over the winter so now he sees what he missed!  Haha.  Plus, I texted him some of these pics.  Fishing down there is not hard - your medium action bass tackle will work.  Penn Fierce 3000 reels with 20# braid, Ugly Stick rods, 1/4 oz jigs with various soft plastics, or 1/0 circle hooks with live or dead shrimp under a plain old bobber all do the trick.  
 
 
 
post edited by rsquared - 2019/07/08 14:43:11

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    Fisherlady2
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/08 15:11:02 (permalink)
    Now there are some great pictures to brighten anyone's day! Congrats on getting into them and thanks for taking the time to share the pics and stories!
    #2
    DarDys
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/08 15:47:15 (permalink)
    What a wonderful trip!

    I’m sure the boys, and Dad too, really enjoyed it.

    Congrats to all the fishers and to you for providing them the opportunity.

    The poster formally known as Duncsdad

    Everything I say can be fully substantiated by my own opinion.
    #3
    mr.crappie
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/08 16:34:11 (permalink)
    Congrats all around. I am dreaming of a trip to La. for reds but I think that I waited too long & am not phys. able now, But I still love to see picts espec.with kids. Although I know it is prudent, it is a shame that we have to wear all of the sun gear now a days.   sam
    #4
    CRAPPIE_SLAYER
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/08 20:04:09 (permalink)
    Nice!! Looks like a great trip and I'm sure the kids and you were excited for all those big fish. Was to the outer banks a few years ago and got lucky enough to hook into a few of those reds while my dad and I were wading. They really are a blast to catch on light tackle, and as you said are great table fare.
    #5
    BeenThereDoneThat.
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/08 22:11:22 (permalink)
    πŸ€” Why is erybod always pickin on me. 😞

    πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—

    Cogratulations to you and the boys Dave. Great story and fabulous pictures.

    ummm, I don't suppose ya saved me some that red fish? 😁😁😁
    post edited by BeenThereDoneThat. - 2019/07/08 22:12:58

    Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a life time. ~Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)~
     
     
     
      Old fisherman never die; we just smell that way. 
     
    #6
    Porktown
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/09 08:23:58 (permalink)
    Awesome!  Glad the high water didn't make things tough for you.  
     
    #7
    rsquared
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/09 12:28:03 (permalink)
    mr.crappie
    Congrats all around. I am dreaming of a trip to La. for reds but I think that I waited too long & am not phys. able now, But I still love to see picts espec.with kids. Although I know it is prudent, it is a shame that we have to wear all of the sun gear now a days.   sam




    Sorry to hear that Sam.  
     
    I don't know your condition for traveling that far, but if you can make it down that way, there are lots of reasonably priced charters in both MS and LA.  You can do full days in shore (fishing the barrier islands about 10 miles off shore or in the bayous and ponds in the Louisiana Marsh) for about $600 total for 2 or 3 people. The water in the Mississippi Sound and Louisiana Marsh is much more like a big lake than it is the Atlantic Ocean.  Unless it's windy, there are no significant waves to speak of so you won't get beat up all day.  It does get a little sporty out there once in awhile though, especially with a strong southeast wind.  There are captains that specialize in light tackle, and some that like to anchor up and soak big baits at the end of telephone poles.  I've done both in the past, and the light tackle fishing on charters down there can be absolutely amazing.  Unfortunately, it can also be a bust sometimes.   
    #8
    rsquared
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/09 12:30:11 (permalink)
    Porktown
    Awesome!  Glad the high water didn't make things tough for you.  
     




    There was a slight northwest wind for a couple days before we got there and the first few days we were there.  It took a lot of the freshwater offshore, and cleared out some of the mud.  Towards the middle of the week, a strong southeast blow started that screwed up the good fishing.  
    #9
    Porktown
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/09 12:57:39 (permalink)
    It is crazy how the red drum and spotted seatrout seem to get prettier as they get older/bigger (like me).  Those black drum start off as a really pretty fish...  Not that I wouldn't mind a 30# black drum, but definitely not winning a pretty fish contest of the other photos.  That thing is one rough looking monster fish.
    #10
    rsquared
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/09 13:32:02 (permalink)
    BeenThereDoneThat.


    ummm, I don't suppose ya saved me some that red fish? 😁😁😁



    No sir!  Had to feed 6 people that night, so the blackened redfish went really, really quick!  
    #11
    rsquared
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/09 13:44:26 (permalink)
    Porktown
    It is crazy how the red drum and spotted seatrout seem to get prettier as they get older/bigger (like me).  Those black drum start off as a really pretty fish...  Not that I wouldn't mind a 30# black drum, but definitely not winning a pretty fish contest of the other photos.  That thing is one rough looking monster fish.




    The little trout have more vibrant colors, especially in their spot patterns, but the bigguns are beautiful fish too.  
     
    Man, those reds though.  You're right.  Beautiful fish.  Great fighters.  Great on the table.  
     
    We've caught several in the past couple of years that were 18-22", and have fought some legit 20# bull reds that took us to school and beat us, so that was a pretty satisfying catch.  Smaller ones are all over the beaches wading down there at high tide, especially the rat reds in the 12-14" class.  You could stand on the beach and cast 20' when the rat reds are schooling and catch one on almost every cast with 2 or 3" soft plastics of any size, shape and color.  
     
    The biggest challenge there, no matter whether using live shrimp or soft plastics, is getting your bait past all the hard head catfish.  They look like small channel cats, but they eat just about everything and they are everywhere, and are terrible on the table. And if you use live croakers off the beach, the sting rays and bigger cats gobble those right up.  Man, I HATE catching stingrays when I'm wading.  As soon as I know I have one hooked, I just start walking back to the beach.  No way am I dealing with one of those in waist deep water.  
     
    Those black drum are ugly.  That particular one had some worms on it, as is common with them as they get bigger and older.  But it sure was fun watching him cast to that fish over and over and finally hook it and fight it on light tackle.  They make a couple good runs, but then it's not too exciting after that.  
    #12
    BeenThereDoneThat.
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/09 17:27:20 (permalink)
    OH sureπŸ˜’..... I see how ya areπŸ€”

    😁😝

    Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a life time. ~Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)~
     
     
     
      Old fisherman never die; we just smell that way. 
     
    #13
    eyesandgillz
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 08:10:22 (permalink)
    BeenThereDoneThat.
    OH sureπŸ˜’..... I see how ya areπŸ€”

    😁😝



    You should have been down there catching your own!  
    Redfish on the halfshell, grilled, with a little Tony's seasoning and sliced lemons....yum, yum....
    #14
    BeenThereDoneThat.
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 09:19:58 (permalink)
    Fishissippi making the weather news this morning. TWC folks appeared to be hyperventilating, when reporting on the weather moving through LA. this morning.

    Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a life time. ~Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)~
     
     
     
      Old fisherman never die; we just smell that way. 
     
    #15
    BeenThereDoneThat.
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 09:57:45 (permalink)
    Eyes I hear you I do.

    Here's the thing. Some people wade for fish, some people shore fish, and other people troll for fish.

    Welp, I've devised a new style of fishing I call "mooching for fish".

    Problem is, my catching rate still sucks... stupid fish.😞


    Good times and tight lines.

    Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a life time. ~Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)~
     
     
     
      Old fisherman never die; we just smell that way. 
     
    #16
    rsquared
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 10:29:50 (permalink)
    BeenThereDoneThat.
    Fishissippi making the weather news this morning. TWC folks appeared to be hyperventilating, when reporting on the weather moving through LA. this morning.



    Yessir, gonna make a messy situation with the Mississippi River even messier it looks like.  Doesn't look like the wind and sheer power is gonna get too bad, which is usually what those weather dudes hyperventilate about. 
     
    It's certainly not on the news up here, but the Yazoo River near Vicksburg, MS has been backed up for several months because of the high flows in the Mississippi, and half a million acres of farmland and residential areas have been flooded since April.  It has receded a bit in that area, but up to 2' of rain in some areas of northern LA, MS and TN certainly won't help.  
     
    The Bonnet Carre spillway north of New Orleans has been open since May 10, putting trillions of gallons of freshwater into the salt water of the MS coast, via Lake Ponchartrain.  Record snowfall in the eastern Rockies; late blizzards in the plains; and torrential rains in the midwest and northeast have all contributed to an historically high level this spring and summer.  They were to begin closing that this week, finally, but I imagine that those plans will be put on hold until after this system goes through.  There are toxic algae blooms from the freshwater and chemicals that have closed ALL the beaches on the MS coast now, and it's growing towards AL.  It has killed virtually all of the oysters in parts of LA and MS, and most of the shrimp in MS.  It's been a huge economic disaster for many folks in MS from the delta in the northern part of the state along the Yazoo River and for the oyster and shrimp fishermen on the coast.  
     
    Some are saying the impact will be worse and longer lasting than the BP oil spill.  
     
    And much more freshwater is on the way.  
     
    Here's a few articles about the impact of all this freshwater in the last couple weeks since we've been there if any of yinz are interested.  
     
    https://www.wlox.com/2019/07/06/water-conditions-causing-catastrophic-season-in-shore-near-shore-shrimpers/?fbclid=IwAR2rQAUNGof8PXHAsd1Bo5GQxSVe0FQwg8cMtPlwXP1x1X1fCTYtRqrgMjQ
     
    https://www.wxxv25.com/2019/07/08/harmful-algae-bloom-closes-remainder-south-mississippi-beaches/?fbclid=IwAR3cagB4tcFEUhaQQWFP2ip5F2IvorH5XWQHiwPFFz85tj1sbCoEE2F22C4
     
    https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/local/st-bernard/st-bernard-parish-fishermen-say-theyve-been-devastated-by-spillway-openings/289-d0e752fc-10b6-45a4-b245-eebe92dfcf32?fbclid=IwAR0U7RztoyfWVMBugl0ssJnCzC0p6aPqQrFCOWtXZu5wpFrX119rJQPbx04
     
     
    #17
    BeenThereDoneThat.
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 10:59:31 (permalink)
    Interesting read Dave.πŸ‘ Flooding across the nation was a concern to us during our travels though never affected, we did see plenty results.

    Vids on the weather news centered around water flowing down "Bourbon Street" . One shot actually highlighted a 'garbage can' floating down the street. 😳
    post edited by BeenThereDoneThat. - 2019/07/10 11:01:23

    Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a life time. ~Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)~
     
     
     
      Old fisherman never die; we just smell that way. 
     
    #18
    BeenThereDoneThat.
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 18:49:07 (permalink)
    😳Good GRIEF doesn't the weather coming out of the Gulf usually make it to our little piece of Penn's Woods?? All that rain hits muup north and Lake Erie be in my back yard. Be a new lake called Lake Pymerie. πŸ™ˆ

    Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a life time. ~Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)~
     
     
     
      Old fisherman never die; we just smell that way. 
     
    #19
    r3g3
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 19:05:35 (permalink)
    Went to New Orleans once - while waiting for a flight took a town tour.
    The place was still recovering from the floods and atone point we went UP to lake Poncetain.
    I know -spelled wrong---
    Anyhoo, while standing along the lake ya could look DOWN into part of New Orleans. DOWN being the key word and going UP to the lake being another.
    Tour guy said if the water pumps quit the whole place could flood real quick
    Couldn't live there- wouldn't be able to sleep unless it was in a boat in my yard.
    Get sick and tired of how bad it could get every time there is a weather thingie down there- it is just a matter of time.
     
    #20
    r3g3
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 19:05:35 (permalink)
    oops
    post edited by r3g3 - 2019/07/10 19:10:38
    #21
    r3g3
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 19:05:35 (permalink)
    Went to New Orleans once - while waiting for a flight took a town tour.
    The place was still recovering from the floods and atone point we went UP to lake Poncetain.
    I know -spelled wrong---
    Anyhoo, while standing along the lake ya could look DOWN into part of New Orleans. DOWN being the key word and going UP to the lake being another.
    Tour guy said if the water pumps quit the whole place could flood real quick
    Couldn't live there- wouldn't be able to sleep unless it was in a boat in my yard.
    Get sick and tired of how bad it could get every time there is a weather thingie down there- it is just a matter of time.
     
    #22
    r3g3
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 19:05:35 (permalink)
    Went to New Orleans once - while waiting for a flight took a town tour.
    The place was still recovering from the floods and atone point we went UP to lake Poncetain.
    I know -spelled wrong---
    Anyhoo, while standing along the lake ya could look DOWN into part of New Orleans. DOWN being the key word and going UP to the lake being another.
    Tour guy said if the water pumps quit the whole place could flood real quick
    Couldn't live there- wouldn't be able to sleep unless it was in a boat in my yard.
    Get sick and tired of how bad it could get every time there is a weather thingie down there- it is just a matter of time.
     
    #23
    r3g3
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 19:05:35 (permalink)
    Went to New Orleans once - while waiting for a flight took a town tour.
    The place was still recovering from the floods and atone point we went UP to lake Poncetain.
    I know -spelled wrong---
    Anyhoo, while standing along the lake ya could look DOWN into part of New Orleans. DOWN being the key word and going UP to the lake being another.
    Tour guy said if the water pumps quit the whole place could flood real quick
    Couldn't live there- wouldn't be able to sleep unless it was in a boat in my yard.
    Get sick and tired of how bad it could get every time there is a weather thingie down there- it is just a matter of time.
     
    #24
    BeenThereDoneThat.
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/10 19:48:54 (permalink)
    Let me guess R3? When you hit the reply button it appears nothing is happening😑 so you hit the button til something does? Likely a result of a slow or busy internet so each time you hit reply, it's gonna reply.... eventually. Stupid internet.😠

    Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a life time. ~Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837–1919)~
     
     
     
      Old fisherman never die; we just smell that way. 
     
    #25
    rsquared
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/11 11:15:14 (permalink)
    r3g3 you nailed it, NOLA is a disaster waiting to happen.  We saw what happened with Katrina, so I guess it's a disaster waiting to happen again.   There is great concern that with current river levels still slightly above minimum flood stage that a combination of storm surge coming up the Mississippi and rainfall coming down the Mississippi that many of these levees could be breached again.  They are designed to keep the river back when it is at 20' and below.  It's at around 16.5 right now and forecasts are calling for it to get awfully close to that 20' mark.  
     
    NOLA is like the butt hole of America.  I love going there to get beignets and coffee from the world famous Cafe DuMonde in the French Quarter, and then I'm ready to split (it's about an hour from where we stay in MS).  My kids and wife like to look around the shops and see the sights.  It's the dirtiest, foulest smelling place I've ever been.  And the pan handlers and street "performers" begging for money are relentless.  
     
    But, just about everything the Army Corps of Engineers does on the river is meant to save NOLA from a flood.  The MS coast, and parts of the LA coast are dead now so that NOLA doesn't flood.  There is another spillway above Baton Rouge that could be opened, and allow the MS River to flow into a large flood plain towards the southwest and the Atchafalaya River, where it flowed about 400 years ago.  Millions of acres of delta that could handle that water, and did for thousands of years until the gubmint tried to channel and tame it.  Problem is, that delta area to the southwest is full of hunting camps and land holdings owned by lots of politicians and big wigs in LA, so they haven't opened that spillway since the mid 70's.  
    #26
    r3g3
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    Re: Fishissippi 2019/07/11 13:20:15 (permalink)
    I was only there once right after Katrina but my opinions of the place were not very nice.
    Not for the damage that still abounded but for other reasons such as general filth.
    Oh yea my credit card number got stolen there and widely abused too.
    A real mess cleaning that up.
    Suppose it could have happened anywhere but it happened there ----
    OHHH they said they are now having pump problems on top of the rain--what a neat place to live lol.
    Kinda like living next door to a guy raising deadly snakes for fun and profit--sooner or later-----------
    If anything goes wrong and they flood its a given that it will be the Govts fault- you know-us.
    Gotta have 'issues' to even wanna live below sea level- but its all ok I guess when ya can blame Uncle Sam when the inevitable happens-again- like last time.
    post edited by r3g3 - 2019/07/11 13:29:34
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