April 2, 2017
Had some great days on the water this week. We took full advantage of any break in the weather we got. Captains Matt, Kenny, Alex and myself were able to get our crews on good bites near and far. Even made my first trip to the Louisiana Marsh in almost 2 months!!!
Our good buddies from The Pileum Corporation were back, and the weather was picture perfect on Friday. We had boats scattered all over MS Waters, and they did very well on their near shore adventures. The Pileum boys have been on some "out of this world" trips with us over the years. I had David, Dave, Austin and "other Sonny" along with me. "Other Sonny" was nice enough to call me "Real Sonny" all day long. The water was stained and murky at our first stop, from the stout winds on the days leading up to our trip. I didn't know if we could find any clean water, the tide was high and rising, so we made a stop for some reds. Thankfully, the Pileum luck carried over for one more trip. We landed in a nest of perfect 16 1/2 to 22-inch slot reds. For a while it was a red every other cast, then it was just about every cast. By the time we got to our 25 fish limit, they were knocking out doubles, and almost a triple! We were throwing live and dead shrimp a foot and a half under the Boat Monkey popping corks. We tied 40lb leaders with a small split shot 6 inches above a 1/0 khale hook. The pocket we were fishing in had shells on the bottom, and a small drain in the back of it. Didn't see a whole lotta bait, but every once in a while, you could see small mullet flickering. The rest of the day was lagniappe. We drifted live baits over reefs for what ever was home. We caught speckled trout, black drum, sheepshead, ground mullet, and the first Pompano of the year for our boats!!!
The near shore fishing in MS waters has still been our most consistent bite with fish and weather. Most days we can utilize our Sport Trail trailers and move our boats to which ever boat launch puts us out of the rough seas, and closer to the fish. Capt. Kenny and Capt. Matt got boat slips and a cleaning table at the front of the Pass Christian Harbor last year. The "Shore Thing Dock East", has been a big help. Bayou Caddy will always be "World Headquarters" for Shore Thing Charters, but it is always nice to have options. Being able to play the wind, save our crews a little drive time from the east, and have a nice cleaning station has been a very nice addition.
In the past week or so, things only seem to get better with the near shore bite. The gigantic black drum aka "sea monsters" have rolled in. The spring big drum run, is one of our most favorite times of year. It almost always lands around Spring/Easter break. These are some of the biggest fish we encounter all year long. Some of these fish can even push the 50 POUND mark! Being able to fight these underwater bulldozers is a treat for anyone, kids especially. Having a youngsters catch a fish bigger than them is a memory that will surely last a lifetime. If you are in town for the Easter break, and want an easy day on the water, jump on one of the 4 hour near shore trips. Plenty of action, take home eater fish, big fish, and good ole fashioned slimy fish fun.
We have been seeing a few more trout on the near shore trips. With the new 15 inch minimum rule for speckled trout in MS Waters, all the fish we are keeping have been very solid. No huge numbers, but when mixed in with the other fish we are catching, a nice box of eaters. We have been releasing a good number or 13 to 14 inch specks. Hopefully these fish will be taking full advantage of their freedom, and go make some babies.
Over the weekend I had some old friends, and one new one on the boat. Tut Kinney, his daughter Kat, and his Grandson "Action" Jackson were along for a great near shore trip. I grew up with Kat and her older brother, so it was nice to see my old buddy. Her boy Jackson has better casting and fish fighting form than guys 4 times his age (good parenting). We had a little chop to deal with, but fishing in close, we were able to hide. Only made two stops, and only fished live shrimp on the bottom. The tide was rolling, so we had to use 1oz bell sinkers on dropper loops. Normally I prefer Carolina rigs, but when a heavier weight is needed, the Carolina rigs just don't seem to sit right. Anyway, our first reef we fished only had throw back trout, stingrays and one mutant sheepshead. We were making a move when Capt. Kenny called us in from another reef. He was cracking on the fish with the Marie crew. They had quantity and quality coming over the side. Even early in the morning they had already seen speckled trout, red fish, puppy drum, sheepshead, ground mullet and big sea monster drum. That theme would carry through the entire trip for them.
We never saw the variety Kenny's crew had, but we did find some nice fish. Tut, Kat and Jackson put on a nice clinic with the speckled trout. Honestly, I think Jackson would have traded all 25 of those trout for one sea monster black drum. He did get a consolation prize, in the form of a 29-inch red fish! We thought for sure the red was going to shut down our trout bite, but they kept on snapping till we ran out of live bait. It wasn't really that we didn't bring enough, it was just that the throwbacks ate us out of house, home and live well...
Capt. Matt and Alex's trips earlier in week also found some nice trout, but they were both very heavy on those big sheepshead. The sheeps should be pushing out very soon, making way for more puppy drum, trout, reds, and eventually triple tails. Fishing has been awesome the last few weeks, and just seems to keep getting better. Give us a shout if we can help get y’all on the water.
-Captain Sonny Schindler
April 8, 2017
Yowzah!!! Can’t believe we were able to pull off some of these trips this past week, but we got it done. The winds seemed to be either non-existent or howling the past few days. Some days we got treated to flat calm seas, and others we were only able fish right out in front of the dock. The customers were very flexible this week, and were cool with what ever mother nature would allow.
Think we only had one crew over in the LA Marsh, the rest of the trips were all run in MS Waters. Luckily the fish showed up, and we were able to put it all together. The rains earlier in the week had us worried. As soon as the weather man gave us the green light, we were right back on the water. With the boats scattered from Pass Christian to Bayou Caddy, we were able to get back on the fish and keep the customers smiling.
Me and Capt. Matt did stay out late (9pm) Wednesday night. John Marquez was putting on a fish talk of sorts at the Gulfport Yacht Club, and invited us. Capt. Matt brought all kinds of fishing gear from his tackle store (Brush Island Outfitters) in Pass Christian. I brought a couple of rigged rods to show what tactics we use through out the year. I gotta say, it was the fishing event of the season. A virtual who's who in the fishing world. Dr. Don Gaddy (Cat Island), Frank and Britney Wilem (Gulf South Outdoors), Dr. Trey Sutton(cobia slayer) and many more fish catching faces were in the room. It was a very laid back event, but very fun. My lovely wife Stephanie even joined us. Thanks for the invite GPYC! Very fun crowd, Matt and I had a great time, and the food was incredible!
The mighty Capt. Matt has been putting up some big numbers this week. Pretty sure his boat did the best on the sparkle trout. Matt has been working mostly off of the dropper rigs. Normally this is not a big deal, but fishing these rocks and snags on a bottom rig, is truly an art form. Capt. Kenny has also had some whopper hauls this week on the sheepshead, drum, reds and trout. Not a stranger to the dropper rigs, Capt. Kenny has been putting his Boat Monkey popping corks to work. I fished next to Kenny earlier in the week. He was fishing two ladies, celebrating a birthday. It was difficult to fish close to his crew. Still not sure what he was doing different from us, but we got schooled in the "Boat Monkey Battle". They easily out fished us on red fish 4 to 1 on the cork rigs.
We even had two boats out Thursday, or as we are called it, "Tropical Storm Thursday". Kenny fished the morning, I fished the afternoon and winds were screaming. Pretty funny day, because when Kenny and I talked the next day, we quickly realized we had both fished the same exact spot. Great minds think alike or misery loves company. Whatever theme we are going with, it paid off for both boats. Tucked up behind some rocks, we were able to put both crews on a big pile of sheeps, reds, drum and big sea monsters. It was windy, but we were completely protected. It was fun as all get out!!!
The majority of what we have been doing has been on the reefs and bridges. I don't think we can even estimate how many hooks, weights, and swivels we have donated to the rocks this week. Fishing on these structures, "you gotta pay to play". It has all been worth it though. The Big sea monster black drum have been such a welcome treat. We are seeing more and more red fish. The sheepshead have still been in good numbers too. The trout fishing was getting very good before the big rains, and they have still been around. Seemed like it got better and better as the week went on. A couple more days of south east winds, and things should be right back to normal.
I was in the LA Marsh on Saturday. It was supposed to be a fly fishing trip, but the conditions were not very conducive. The winds were not bad at all, it was blue bird skies, but the water was chocolate milk. Had Mr. Jim and his son in law Patrick. We were going to try and find the reds with the live shrimp and cocahoes. Once we found a few fish, the plan was to blind cast the flies. We did find a mess of nice reds, but our plans quickly changed. Patrick was having too much fun to pick up the fly rod, and Jim was content to let him enjoy himself. My man Jim was such a good sport, he even let Patrick pick off the only red we saw sight fishing. Cool dude.
-Captain Sonny Schindler