Stories From Tricky Dicks Tackle Box: Spring

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen the winds are calm and the heat from the mid-day sun is intense, we tend to forget those miserable, cold and wet days that put limits on our fishing trips. For many of us, the cold wet and windy weather produces severe cabin fever. Days of watching weather reports for a good forecast were not very rewarding this past winter. BUT! Things are rapidly getting better. And so goes the life of the recreational fisherman.
Spring is here!!!

bigcatchYes, we waited impatiently through what felt like a long, cold winter for spring to come. The days have grown longer and the water warmer. And the fish are starting to show. Just outside the Barrier Islands, the Spanish Mackerel should be schooling in large numbers. You can just troll the area with small Clark Spoons or Captain Action Spoons behind torpedo weights or diving planers. Or, you can motor up and stop on the outer edge of feeding mackerel and cast into them using light tackle, a lead head jig with yellow or white duster, and a ten to twelve inch steel leader. This could be a good year for Spanish Mackerel. Try it. You’ll like it.

And, of course, this is the time of year that the Cobia, (Lemon Fish) show up along our Southern shores and off shore sand bars. A chum-bag of old or scrap fish, beaten periodically with a club, allowing bits and pieces to flow behind the boat will draw fish like a magnet. Another method is using the “Chum-Churn”, a locally designed and manufactured item by Kirt Wenzel, a young fisherman living right here on the Mississippi Coast. It is made up of a four-inch by three foot piece of PVC with a one inch piece of aluminum pipe running through the center with sharp blades that when pumped up and down cut the dead fish into small bits and pieces which filter through small slits in the large PVC tube and flow behind the boat. And there are various methods used when fishing for the Cobia. Use of various types of float devices such as large corks, balloons, free lining on the bottom and I have even seen folks use the technique of kite fishing. (But that is a whole story in itself).

As for bait, live, debarred Hardhead Catfish, Croaker, Pinfish or any small fish will get the Cobia’s attention. And, of course, as the Cobia, continue along Westward, many are caught at the oilrigs. Here, various methods are also used, such as casting a large jig with a colorful duster and plastic tail twister attached. Live bait hanging from a float or dropped down near the structure is often used. Of course this also gives the fisherman an opportunity to catch other fish. In fact, many times when fishing for other species at some of the deepwater rigs, I have caught Cobia by shear luck. So, as we all know, fishing is not pure skill. I guess that’s why you many times hear someone say, “Having any luck?” instead of “How’s your skill today?” But, the important thing is, you gotta go fish’n to catch fish. They do not come knock’n at your door.

Speckled Trout should start appearing in large numbers around the tributaries, marshes, barrier islands and inshore reefs. School Trout, which rarely run over two pounds, start to become common. There are times when you will run into undersized trout. You know, you can either move to another location, or even change to a larger lure to by pass the little ones. And of course, especially when Trout fishing in the shallow waters, etiquette is important.

Seasoned fishermen know this, but “new bees” need to be reminded at times that you do not come I zooming up on other anglers whether they are fishing from a boat or wading.

Another great thing about the warm weather coming is that warm water also brings in live bait. Shrimp, small mullet, menhaden and various other small minnows. Personally, I love to use live bait. Unfortunately, pesky hardhead catfish and small sand sharks like live bait also. But, ya gotta pay the price sometimes to find the fish you want. So, if they’re really bad in one place, move to another spot. Anyway, once you get to know your favorite fishing places, you simply apply the three B’s. (The Best bait, the Best time and the Best tide.) The main thing is enjoy yourself. Enjoy sharing a day or night fishing with a family member or other fishing buddy.

Have fun fishing the beautiful Gulf waters and surrounding inshore, tributaries and bays. Get out there and enjoy a day of fishing as SPRING
is here!!!

And remember, TAKE A KID FISHING!

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