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Fall saltwater fishing on the Gulf Coast

By By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
Sept. 26, 2003
While many freshwater anglers are winding down their fishing for the year, their saltwater counterparts are just getting started. Many fishermen in the Meridian area make several trips a year to the Gulf Coast to enjoy some of the best fishing to be had anywhere? Just as in freshwater, the angling in saltwater really improves in the cooler weather.
Speckled trout and redfish move into the shallower inland flats and marshes where the fish feast on anything thing they can find. For most anglers this ravenous feeding translates into good fishing and ice chests brimming with fillets. Zane and Barbara Chapman are two local residents and anglers who head to the coast pretty often. And more times than not they will have their special granddaughter, Sara Pringle, along with them.
Special times
While they often catch a pile of fish, the highlight of their trips usually involves Sara fighting and landing some pretty big fish. This summer they have made several trips and Sara proved to be quite an angler. In fact, she did hook quite a few fish that were as big or bigger than she. Sometimes she fought them and won, and sometimes Grandpa Zane had to lend a welcome helping hand.
When it comes to having a good time, there's just nothing like spending time on the water with your grandparents. Leave it to grandfathers like Zane to teach children the art and science of fishing and grandmothers like Barbara to spoil them when they can. After all, what are grandparents for?
Although parents are special people too, grandparents usually have more time to spend on their grandchildren than parents who are still trying to make a living! Some people are blessed with talents for doing just about anything. I put grandparents in that category also. There's just nobody who can understand you and make you feel better than grandparents can.
Easy catches
This time of year it doesn't take an expert to catch fish in the shallow waters of the coast. Many live bait fishermen like to use shrimp, crabs, or mullet for bait. Other die-hard anglers prefer to fish popping cork rigs, topwater baits and shallow running crankbaits. Believe it or not, Rattlin' Chug Bugs and Mann's Baby 1 Minuses are tough and hard to beat when it comes to catching big specks or reds. Any of these baits in chrome or white colors seem to be good.
While freshwater anglers usually concentrate on one species of fish and rarely catch anything else, saltwater is a different story. Zane and Barbara Chapman usually catch a variety of fish every time they go. A typical catch might include redfish, speckled trout, sheepshead, and even flounder.
Chapman also likes to use bass fishing equipment when fishing in the shallow waters of the Gulf. That is really fun and exciting but you better be sure to bring along some extra line and even a few extra rods.
If you want to experience some of the best angling in the world, then head to the coast before the winter weather moves in and enjoy some fine fishing. But don't take it from me, just ask Sara or Zane and they will fill you in.