Capt. Kyle Jarreau, a guide for Shore Thing Charters based out of Bay St. Louis, Miss., is one of the finest chefs on the Upper Gulf Coast. He can turn a mess of speckled trout, redfish and flounder into cuisine that will have fishermen fighting for second helpings.
But an angler has to catch them first, and Jarreau has his tried and true methods to catch a bounty fit for a banquet.
“The redfish have made a tremendous comeback in our section of the Gulf Coast, since the federal government put length and bag limits on them,” he said. “We can catch good numbers of redfish all year long, regardless of the weather.”
Jarreau’s preferred lure is a Strike King Redfish Magic, which he throws to grass on the marsh edges. He said he likes to pump the lure, let it fall then pump it again.
“I've found this retrieve to be the most productive when the tide's high, and there's a little-more water for the Redfish Magic to fall,” he said. “On a low tide, I may be swimming the Redfish Magic in less than a foot of water, so that retrieve won't work well.
“I'll reel it slowly over a shell bottom or slow-roll it over the top of grass. I prefer the electric-chicken-with-chartreuse-head-colored Glass Minnow on the back of the Redfish Magic or a jighead.”
He said he knows chartreuse is the key color that gets speckled trout and redfish to hit, but he also believes the orange-pinkish color that resemble a shrimp might have something to do with success.
“Until fish can talk, I don't guess we'll ever know why they like one color over another,” he said.
Mississippi’s has a three-fish limit on redfish, which he can get fairly quickly before practicing catch and release, many times putting clients on 20- to 30-pound bull reds.
“When my clients catch a fish that big, I like to sit back and watch them enjoy the fight,” he said. “Most of the time we'll use 12-pound-test line and set the drags on our reels, so those big reds won't break the lines when they attack the Redfish Magic.
“If we know we'll be fishing for redfish, we may fish with heavier line, like 20-pound-test PowerPro line. But many times those bull reds will come from out of nowhere, and my clients will have to fight them on 12-pound-test line.”
Guiding about 5 days a week, Jarreau will also fish with live bait, including live shrimp, live pogeys, mud minnows and others. He said sometimes that’s easier for novice anglers because he’ll either have them on a Carolina rig or suspend it below a float.
“We use whatever method it takes to enable our anglers to catch the redfish,” he said. “We fish children and grandparents and everybody in-between. Our job is to find the redfish and help our customers catch them, while showing them a good time and feeding them some good food.”
To learn more about month-by-month places to fish and the bait and tackle to use to fish Mississippi's Gulf Coast, get the new Kindle eBook, "Fishing Mississippi's Gulf Coast and Visitor's Guide" by John E. Phillips. It can be found by a simple search on Amazon.com.