John's Journal...


Mississippi’s Gulf Coast July Trip of a Lifetime with Captain Sonny Schindler

Tons of Speckled Trout and Redfish

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Recently, my son John Phillips, Jr., and I fished with Captain Sonny Schindler of Shore Thing Charters on the “Moni-Q” charter boat out Click to enlargeof Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Sonny’s partner Matt Tusa, veteran saltwater angler Rozanne Patten of Auburn, Alabama, Mary McKie Roberts also of Auburn, and Mike Jones of Jackson, Miss., and his brother Brian Jones of Starkville, Miss. Schindler’s fished these waters his entire life, and although he did leave home long enough to earn a college degree at the University of Southern Mississippi in broadcast journalism, he’s chosen to live a fisherman’s life instead.

As we prepared to search for tripletails, I asked Captain Sonny Schindler of the “Moni-Q” charter boat why there were so many speckled trout, redfish and tripletails concentrated in the Biloxi Marsh. “The marsh has everything these fish need to raise their young, feed and grow to their larger sizes,” Schindler explained. “The marsh has current that brings the baitfish and the shrimp in and out with the tide. There’s all types of structure in a marsh, including oyster reefs, sandbars, points of islands and inshore rigs. We have two-different types of speckled trout fishing here. You can fish for the big trout, which often will weigh from 3- to 6-pounds each, or you can fish for the schooling trout, which will weigh from 3/4- to about 2-pounds each. You usually can limit-out on the schooling trout fairly quickly. But if you fish for the big trout, taking the limit is a little more difficult. When we fish for the big trout, we primarily use croakers (a type of baitfish) or live shrimp. When we’re fishing for schooling trout, we use live shrimp to get the trout fired-up and biting. Then we switch over to grubs because you can fish grubs faster and catch more trout more quickly while they’re biting. When we’re fishing for the schooling Click to enlargetrout, we look for seagulls diving on bait. The speckled trout and the redfish will force the shrimp and the baitfish close to the surface where the seagulls can spot them and dive on that bait and eat it. When we fish for the bigger trout, we rarely, if ever, see birds. The big trout often stay in deeper water, and they’re pretty much loners. So, I try to catch big trout right at daylight and then search for Click to enlargeschooling trout later in the morning.”

According to Schindler, anglers at Bay St. Louis, Miss., can catch speckled trout and redfish year-round because they fish where these species live and at their dinner tables. “Some of the best speckled trout fishing occurs during the fall and the winter months, but the fishing during the spring and the summer is also red hot,” Schindler reported. “We’ll fish 23 or 24 consecutive days without a break because the fishing is good, and a number of people will want to fish with us. Because we’re on the water every day, each morning when we leave the dock, we know where we need to fish to find and catch the trout and the redfish.” The Biloxi Marsh is protected by a line of barrier islands. So, even when the weather’s rough, and charter boats are sitting at the dock, Schindler and Tusa can stay behind the barrier islands, dodge the rough seas, get back into the marsh and catch fish. “The only day we can’t fish is when our anglers don’t want to get wet or don’t want to bounce around on the chop as we move from the dock to the sites where we want to fish,” Schindler said. “If the fishermen want to fish, the weather doesn’t stop us. Now, are you ready to go run some crab trap buoys and find a tripletail?” Schindler asked with a smile on his face. “Let’s do it,” I said.

To fish with Captain Sonny Schindler, call him at (228) 342-2295, email him at, or visit For accommodations in Biloxi, Mississippi, contact Bobby Carter at the Isle of Capri at (800) 843-4753, or go to To learn more Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, check out, or call (866) SEE-MISS (733-6477).

Tomorrow: Blasting the Crab Traps

Check back each day this week for more about "Mississippi’s Gulf Coast July Trip of a Lifetime with Captain Sonny Schindler"

Day 1: Tripletail and Big Speckled Trout – The Search Begins
Day 2: Speckled Trout – When You’re Hot, You’re Hot
Day 3: Tons of Speckled Trout and Redfish
Day 4: Blasting the Crab Traps
Day 5: Another Tripletail and a Boatload of Speckled Trout


Entry 517, Day 3