with Captain Sonny Schindler
On the Mississippi Gulf Coast where I live and fish during August, the air temperatures will be from 90-plus degrees. Here at Shore Thing Charters, we’ve found that the best piece of equipment an angler can use to catch trout is an alarm clock. We try to leave the dock each morning as early as we safely can. If there’s some cloud cover, then the heat isn’t that bad until about 10 a.m. However, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., you almost can fry eggs on the sidewalks, the weather’s so hot. You must try to find and catch your trout in the first three or four hours of daylight.
We have a big advantage, however, at Shore Thing Charters, because we have seven boats and captains, and we all fish together. By that I mean, when one captain finds a good school of speckled trout the afternoon before a trip, he’ll tell all of us where he’s caught his fish, how he’s been fishing, and what bait he’s been using. The rest of us may start at that location the next day and fish the same school he’s been fishing.
The coolest part of the day is in the early morning, since the water temperature cools overnight. The air temperature then will be cooler than it was the day before, although the temperature only may be a couple of degrees cooler. However, that cooler water seems to cause the seatrout to become active and bite.
A few of our captains throw castnets before their trips and fish with live bait. We generally use live shrimp or live minnows to find the trout. If we’re lucky enough to locate a school of trout, and the fish are taking that live bait as fast as we can get the bait in the water, then we’ll usually fish using Boat Monkey popping corks. We like this style of popping corks because they’re heavily weighted and easy to cast. We use about 2 feet of monofilament leader coming off the cork. At this time of the year, we use very heavy leader. Some of our captains prefer 30-pound test, while other captains use a 50-pound-test leader. I split the difference myself and use 40-pound test. We use that heavy leader because oftentimes big, bull redfish that may weigh from 10-40 pounds, will be mixed in with the specks. Our anglers enjoy hooking bull redfish and reeling them in better than having their lines broken and having to retie hooks and/or jigs.
Most of the time, we’ll use a soft-plastic lure on the jig head in colors like Opening Night, chartreuse and clear lures with red and blue glitter that’s often called Firecracker. We also like shrimp-imitation soft-plastic lures like Voodoo Shrimp and DOA Shrimp. However, the problem with fishing the shrimp-type soft-plastic lures is that everything that swims in salt water will want to eat them, including ladyfish, big Gafftopsail saltwater catfish and other trash fish that can tear up those pricey shrimp-imitation lures.
Once we find a school of legal-sized trout 15 inches or longer, our anglers sometimes can catch and boat their legal limit of 15 specks each in a matter of minutes, if the anglers can cast properly and keep their lines from becoming tangled. That doesn’t happen every day. The good news is that if we’re having difficulty catching limits of speckled trout, we generally can switch over to catching redfish, flounder, tripletail and/or sharks.