July 6, 2008

To Catch Cobia, Better Fish Deep

By Al Jones, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

Jul. 6--OCEAN SPRINGS -- Fishing in South Mississippi continues to get better for trout and redfish.

But cobia, for one reason or another, have become scarce entering the month of July.

With offshore water temperatures rising into to the mid-80s, cobia sightings have dwindled.

A few cobia have been spotted and caught around the deeper oil rigs with no sightings around the barrier islands or shallow oil rigs.

Look for cobia around rigs in 100-feet of water or deeper using live bait such as croakers, pinfish and hard-tails as well as dead squid and eels.

One reason for slow cobia fishing is related to the recent floods in the Midwest. As flood waters drain down the Mississippi River and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, southeast winds push the dirty water into a pocket south of the barrier islands.

This pattern could hold true for several more weeks unless stiff west winds invade the northern Gulf of Mexico.

But there is some good news this week.

The marine forecast should allow anglers to reach the deeper water oil rigs.

Look for west winds at 5-to-10 knots today with waves running one foot and a light chop in protected waters.

On Monday, a five knot southwest wind is forecast before shifting to the southeast in the late morning and afternoon with waves running one to two feet. Waves will drop to a foot through the evening.

On Tuesday and Tuesday night, look for southeast winds at 5-to-10 knots and waves of one foot with an isolated shower.

The barrier island fishing scene continues to be dominated with speckled trout and redfish along with a few sharks and Spanish mackerel.

At Horn Island, specks are being caught on live shrimp and jigs on the north side of the island near the east end.

Large schools of redfish continue to cruise the sand bar on the west end and can be caught using dead mullet. Since the fish are typically over 25 pounds, heavy gear is required.

At Ship Island, Matt McDonnell, who works at the Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, caught a nice mess of specks while fishing with Bobby Carter of Ocean Springs.

In all, 18 trout were caught with three weighing more than three pounds.

"Our first fish was actually caught at the Katrina Reef," he said. "Bobby missed another three-pounder because I got lazy with the net.

'We landed four at the Katrina Reef and the rest on the south side of Ship Island using live shrimp and croakers."

McDonnell said water conditions were clear along the surf side of the island.

Nearshore fishing around Deer Island and the reef near Bayou Caddy has been solid for white trout, ground mullet, big black drum and a few speckled trout.

Black drum, some weighing more than 40 pounds, are being caught on dead mullet and dead crabs at the foot of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge on the northwest side near the Palace Casino.



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