John's Journal...


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

Another Tripletail and a Boatload of Speckled Trout

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 of 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.Click to enlarge

With one tripletail, 20 or 30 speckled trout and one redfish in the boat, we were feeling pretty good about our day of fishing with Captain Sonny Schindler on the “Moni-Q” charter boat in the Biloxi Marsh. Most guides would head in after a day like this, but not Schindler. “Don’t you want to catch some more tripletail?” Schindler asked. “Absolutely, I do,” I replied with a big grin. So, Schindler fired-up his big outboard, and the hunt for tripletails continued. We’d found our first tripletail on the fourth crab-trap buoy we fished. But we learned that we’d been fortunate. We must have ran past 75 or 80 more crab-trap buoys before I said, “I think I saw one.” Schindler agreed; we slowed the boat and made a big circle to return to the buoy. This time our other fishing partner Mary McKie Roberts was on deck. As soon as the tripletail was hooked, Roberts knew she had a fight on her hands. The tripletail weighed about 8 pounds and was delivering all the power Roberts could handle. For a first-time angler, she had the fight of a lifetime trying to land that big tripletail. And of course, she had a cheering section rooting for her. Click to enlarge

Finally, the black fish succumbed to Robert’s angling skills and drifted over the net.Schindler landed the tripletail. We had two big tripletails in the boat and were headed back toward the dock when we saw birds diving on bait. “Let’s go top-out our limit of speckled trout,” Schindler said with a big smile. For the next 2 hours, we followed the birds and caught speckled trout as fast as we could reel ‘em in, including one good keeper. We threw back two short fish, until we got tired of catching speckled trout. Finally, with 80 fish in the boat, Click to enlargeand the sun beaming down, we decided to call it a day. We returned to the lodge that Schindler and Tusa keep for their clients and ate lunch, while Schindler filleted the fish and put them in Ziploc bags. We all agreed that this was the fishing trip of a lifetime. Most of our party never had caught so many fish in one day, and no one in our party had caught tripletail - one of the most-delicious eating fish that swims the Gulf of Mexico. Not only did Schindler know where to find the fish and how to catch them, but he put every one on the boat in-position to catch fish and kept us entertained and laughing throughout the day. No one ever will forget the trip we had with Shore Thing Charters. Father’s Day has passed, but Labor Day is ahead of us. If you have a family member or a business associate you want to take on a fishing trip of a lifetime, I highly recommend a trip to Bay St. Louis, Miss., and a day with Schindler and/or Tusa on the “Moni-Q” charter boat. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is loaded with fish, and now’s the time to catch them.

To fish with Captain Sonny Schindler, call him at (228) 342-2295, email him at, or visit For accommodations in 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).

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 5