Bubba Life


By: Nick Honachefsky

Shrimp Gumbo. Jambalaya. Crawdads. Louisiana and Mississippi are synonymous with certain culinary treasures but don't forget to add redfish to spice up the mix.

Captain Sonny Schindler of Shore Thing Charters in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi operates his redfishing charter service in and around the Biloxi Marsh (not Biloxi Miss., but part of the St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana), as well as in the smaller marsh areas in the southwest Mississippi corner to find his reds.

"Autumn is now upon us in a chilly way, and redfish are on the feed," states Schindler. "We've got some of the most fertile redfish grounds on the planet with oyster beds, oyster reefs, and marshy backchannels. In Louisiana, it's either a fishy spot or a more fishy spot."

According to Captain Sonny, October and November days can be sweltering or chilly, and the colder it gets, the better the bite. "Warm weather, we see way more seatrout and reds kind of get lockjaw. But cooling waters, reds will bunch up in the marsh's interior, and that's when we can pin 'em in. As fall rolls on into the winter, the further back into the marsh we go. I always look for signs of fish activity, such as shrimp flicking and jumping, big boils, tailing, and crashing around. The best part of fishing Mississippi and Louisiana reds is that you may find one fish or 20 fish in a spot, but there's always fish."

Schindler’s redfishing plan of attack revolves around focusing on the sodbanks, shellbanks, points, drains, and pinch points. “Redfish will always keep coming back to the same area, so if you miss a shot at one or two, come back there in a bit as they hold and return to those ambush points to take advantage of the continual flow of bait such as crabs and minnows as they funnel through the area.”

When it's muddy and murky, Schindler will throw spinnerbaits in color patterns such as black/purple/chartreuse from Strike King Redfish Magic or Boat Monkey baits. “You want to throw something obnoxious in color and flash. There’s never just a nibble or a tap, reds always crush it, and it usually catches people off, guard.”

Cleaner waters offer up sight casting opportunity. “When it’s clear, you can get visuals of tails finning or even see the fish up on a bank before you throw out a lure. That’s when I’ll get the fly rod out or throw popping corks with 18 inches of 20-pound leader and a 2/0 Kahle hook, using shrimp or minnows as baits, casting along the mudbanks.”

At the end game, blackened redfish is a true gustatory delight, but red drum scales can be like armor plates and when filleting redfish, you need to take a little caution with you. “It can be dangerous to fillet a fish as the skin and scales are hard to get through and slippery. I always use a glove to control a slippery fish, then a 9-inch Serrated Bubba Knife to cut through the rib cage and section the fillet off.”

Book a redfish trip with Capt. Sonny at www.shorethingcharters.com 228-392-2295