John's Journal...

Get All of Mississippi’s Saltwater Fish Now in August – Inshore, Offshore and In-Between

Day 5: How to Catch Mississippi’s Gray Snapper in August

Click for Larger ViewOn a recent trip to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I fished with my buddy, Captain Mike Moore, for gray snapper. “We use the chumsicle, which utilizes a 5-gallon bucket, two bricks with holes in them and a wire coat hanger,” Moore explains. “I grind-up chum, which can be anything from menhaden to the carcasses of filleted fish, pour the chum into the bucket, mix-in some menhaden oil, put the bucket in the freezer and let the chum freeze for a day or two. I’ll take three to five chumsicles with me and an ice chest when I go fishing.” After Moore puts a chumsicle in the water by the boat and lets the chumsicle sink to the bottom, the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico will cause the plastic bucket to release small chunks of frozen chum. Moore will pull the chumsicle up about 5 to 10 feet, every 3 to 5 minutes, to cause gray snapper to follow the chum to the surface and the back of the boat.

Click for Larger View“We fish with 12-pound-test line and often use a No. 1/0 or a No. 2/0 hook and 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader, because the gray snapper are very hook-shy and line-shy,” Moore reports. Although many anglers cut-up pieces of cigar minnows and hide their hooks inside the cigar minnows, Moore prefers to use live croakers or live shrimp. He’s learned that the gray snapper aren’t nearly as reluctant to take live bait as they are dead bait. Moore explains that, “Because we’ve got the gray snapper right behind or beside the boat, due to the chumsicle’s action, we can pick-out and cast-to the fish we want to catch. Too, if a red snapper happens to take the bait, because the red snapper has risen in the water column slowly as the chumsicle has come-up, when we release that red snapper, it easily can swim back-down without the gasses in its air bladder having to be released. (Red snapper season is closed). If you just target the gray snapper, you can catch and keep 10 of them, with most weighing from 3- to 12-pounds each. But the average keeper will weigh between 5 and 8 pounds. If you catch a limit of gray snapper, you may go home with 50 to 80 pounds. During red snapper season, since you only can keep two red snapper that probably will average 2- to 8-pounds each, you’ll have 16 to 24 pounds of red snapper. Even if you catch trophy-sized red snapper that weigh 20-pounds each, you still only will have 40 pounds of snapper. Therefore, you can catch and keep more pounds of fish and go home with a larger number of delicious-tasting snapper to eat, by targeting the gray snapper in August.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewMoore mentions that if the gray snapper are reluctant to come away from a rig, he’ll back his boat up to the rig and hold just off the rig, letting the chumsicle down close to one of the corner pilings on the rig. “I want to be on the up-current side of the rig when fishing for gray snapper, so that as my chumsicle begins to melt, it will put a chum line all the way under the rig or the wreck that I’m fishing,” Moore says. “Remember, that menhaden oil in the chumsicle will attract even-more fish with the smell of the oil. So, don’t be sad, because red snapper season’s closed. By using the chumsicle, light fluorocarbon line and live bait and having the line tied directly to the hook, you can catch and eat gray snapper throughout the year. And, when you’re ranking the flavor of the gray snapper’s meat, you may discover like other saltwater fishermen have that gray snapper are as delicious if not better-tasting as the American red snapper.” For more information on boats available to take you gray snapper fishing, contact Captain Michael Moore at or call 228-392-4047.

Fishing Mississippi's Gulf Coast and Vistor's GuideTo learn more about catching fish at Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, order John E. Phillips’ new Kindle eBook, “Fishing Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and Visitor’s Guide,” by going to, and typing in the name of the book to purchase. Or, you can get a free Kindle app to use to download the book to your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Check back each day this week for more about "Get All of Mississippi’s Saltwater Fish Now in August – Inshore, Offshore and In-Between"

Day 1: Catch Trout and Tripletails in August at Mississippi’s Gulf Coast with Captain Robert “Pappy” Kenney
Day 2: Fish Mississippi’s August Saltwater Trifecta with Captain Robert “Pappy” Kenney
Day 3: Fish Inshore and Offshore for Marlin, Snapper, Tarpon and Others in August at Mississippi’s Gulf Coast with Captain Bobby Williams
Day 4: Mississippi’s Snapper Season’s not Over in August with Captain Mike Moore
Day 5: How to Catch Mississippi’s Gray Snapper in August

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Entry 676, Day 5