John's Journal...

Cobia Fishing with Mississippi's Cobia-Fishing Team Machine


Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: On my second day of fishing at Biloxi, Mississippi, Bo Hamilton, Tim Reynolds, Lindsey and Pam Batia and I went to the North end of the Chandeleur Island chain to fish for speckled trout and redfish.

Question: Bo, what was the first island where we stopped?
Hamilton: We fished Freemason Island, approximately 30 miles from Biloxi, which is the same island that most charter boats from Biloxi visit. The mother ship will carry 10 to 16 fishermen with five to eight skiffs and outboard motors. The fishermen will eat and sleep on the mother ship and then get into their skiffs to fish for speckled trout and redfish on the front or the back sides of the island. Some fishermen will use their skiffs to reach areas where they can wade.

Question: Which baits do you use when you trout fish on the islands, Bo?
Hamilton: We generally begin with Cocahoe grubs or top-water lures like the MirrOlure She Dog or the Heddon Zara Spook. But, too, the trout and the redfish have been biting very well on live bait like Click to enlargecroakers and shrimp. We’re only a fairly-short boat trip from Biloxi to the islands. Although the Chandeleur Islands are off the Louisiana Coast, we have more fishermen visit Biloxi to get on the mother ships and go to the islands than fishermen from New Orleans.

Question: How do you locate the fish?
Hamilton: We look for seagulls diving on shrimp and oil slicks on the water. The oil that’s discharged from the baitfish’s body as the speckled trout and redfish eat it, then floats to the surface and creates a slick. There also are several barges that are highly productive, like the barges at Freemason Island and Curlew Island. These barges were wrecked during the hurricanes, but the trout and the redfish concentrate there because the barges hold baitfish.  

Question: Bo, how many trout do you expect to catch when you fish here?
Hamilton: I expect to catch 25 to 30 trout. However, you need a Louisiana fishing license to fish the Chandeleur Islands and to catch a Louisiana limit of trout.

Question: Tim, what size trout will you catch here?Click to enlarge
Reynolds: We often catch 8- to 9-pound trout, but 2 to 5 pounds is the average. During the summertime, you can drift over the grass flats and catch some really nice-size trout.

Question: Tim, what size treble hook do you use when you trout fish?
Reynolds: I’ll often free-line my shrimp or croakers, but if the area has a current, I’ll put a shot lead up the line. If you fish the barges, be prepared to fish close without getting snagged in the barge and losing your tackle.

Question: What are your favorite lures to fish here at the Chandeleurs for specks and reds?
Reynolds: I like to fish sinking and floating MirrOlures and Rat-L-Traps.

Question: Why do the Chandeluer Islands home so many speckled trout and redfish?
Reynolds: There are numbers of baitfish coming out of the marshes of Louisiana and stopping here at the Chandeleur Islands, and plenty of grass flats where the speckled trout can hold, feed and spawn. Too, this habitat is ideal in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico to attract, hold and grow redfish. During the week, you may see only four or five boats on the island, but on the weekend, 20 to 30 boats may be fishing there. The length of the Chandeleur Islands is about 26 miles. The people who Click to enlargecome out of Biloxi usually fish the east end of the islands, and the people who come from Louisiana fish the West side of the island. The entire Chandeleur Islands are in Louisiana waters, and you must have a Louisiana fishing license to fish them, even if you travel there from Mississippi. However, the Chandeleur Islands are Biloxi’s hotspot for speckled trout and redfish. You can catch some fish closer to Biloxi, but most people want to fish at the Chandeleur Islands.

To reach Tim Reynolds, write him at 1599 A Bienville Blvd., Ocean Springs, MS, 39564, or email him at or

For more information on cobia fishing, to book a trip to fish for cobia and to learn about accommodations in Biloxi, call Bobby Carter, the manager of the Isle of Capri, at (228) 436-7928, or visit the website at You won’t find better food or nicer, more-spacious accommodations anywhere else than on the Isle of Capri.

Go to, or call 1-866-See-Miss (733-6477) for more information about Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

Check back each day this week for more about "Cobia Fishing with Mississippi's Cobia-Fishing Team Machine"

Day 1: The Jack-Up Rig
Day 2: Catching the Cobia
Day 3: Fishing Structure for Cobia
Day 4: Tagging the Cobia
Day 5: Switch-Hitting



Entry 410, Day 5