Catching Redfish and Speckled Trout off the Mississippi Coast with Captain Sonny Schindler
Fall’s the Hottest Time of the Year for Specks and Reds in the Biloxi Marsh
Editor’s Note: If you live in the North and you’re tired of shoveling snow, wearing heavy coats and running your heaters, come to Biloxi, Mississippi, in October, November and December for some hot fishing speckled trout and reds. Captain Sonny Schindler of Bay St. Louis, Miss., guides anglers to specks and reds then.
Question: Sonny, you’ve mentioned that your average size trout will be 2 to 3 pounds. Do you ever get into schools of big ones or little ones?
Schindler: Yes, we do. Oftentimes we’ll come up on a drain out of one of these ponds that we fish, and most of the trout we catch will be 2 to 5 pounds. But they usually won’t be a large number of these bigger trout. If we go to another drain, we may get more bites and catch more trout, but will have to cull a lot of fish to get a limit of fish 13 inches or longer. So far we’ve talked about trout, but remember we have an abundance of redfish in these same areas. So, while we’re catching trout, a big school of redfish will come in and run out all the trout. We’ll start catching redfish like they’re a blue-light special at K-Mart. I’ve seen days when each one of my fishermen will have a bent rod when a school of redfish comes into a drain to start feeding.
Question: What size are the fall redfish you’re catching?
Schindler: We generally catch our biggest redfish in the fall, and they’ll usually be from 22- to 26-inches long. They’ll be just the size the tournament anglers who fish the Redfish Cup will be looking to catch. These fish are usually healthier, bigger and more round than the redfish we catch in the spring and the summer.
Question: What type of bag can you usually produce when you go out in the morning fall fishing?
Schindler: Fall’s a magic time in the Biloxi marsh. The trout fishing’s usually at its best, meaning it’s more consistent in the fall than in the spring and the summer. If you can find the place where the speckled trout are holding, you’ll find speckled trout in that same place for one or two months, as long as you don’t overfish that spot. I fish the locations I normally fish in the fall very selectively. I generally only take about 10 fish out of each spot before I move to the next site. This way, I don’t overfish any of my places, and I can continue to go to these same fish-producing waters every day. Some days catching 100 speckled trout and redfish off one spot isn’t difficult, but I know if I do that, I won’t be able to come to that same spot for several days. Therefore, I try and keep a large number of places I know I can go to and catch speckled trout and redfish to keep from overfishing any one spot any day.
Question: What’s your area‘s fall fishing for reds like?
Schindler: During the fall, the redfishing is out of control. All the redfish in the world come to the center of the Biloxi marsh during October and November. We can do a lot of sight fishing for redfish in the marsh ponds and have plenty of catch-and-release fishing every day. You can catch a redfish 6-inches long or 36-inches long. But usually we have the big reds come in at that time of year.
Question: How do you rig to catch the redfish in the ponds?
Schindler: We usually sight-fish for redfish with a gold spoon, a Strike King Redfish Magic or a grub on a jighead like the RT Slug or a live minnow on a jighead. To catch redfish in the fall, you have to be in the right marsh pond and determine in which direction the redfish are swimming. Usually if the redfish see a bait, any bait, they’ll eat it at this time of year.
To fish with Captain Sonny Schindler, call him at (228) 342-2295, email him at email@example.com, or visit www.shorethingcharters.com. For accommodations, contact Bobby Carter at the Isle of Capri at (800) 843-4753, or go to www.isleofcapricasino.com/Biloxi/. To learn more Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, check out www.visitmississippi.org, or call (866) SEEMISS (733-6477).