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May 10, 2013

Best of Gulf Fishing: Great Catches

Our experts weigh in on some of their favorite Gulf species, and great spots to find them.

The Gulf teems with an abundant variety of fish. Snapper, trout, dolphin, redfish, cobia, tuna — you name it, you can most likely catch it somewhere off the Gulf coast. But where, exactly? After logging many long — and rewarding — days fishing these waters, our experts weigh in on some of their favorite species and great spots to find them in our Best of Gulf Fishing series.


CHRIS WOODWARD, Editor, Sport Fishing: Biloxi Marsh off Mississippi is a great place to find redfish with Capt. Sonny Schindler of Shore Thing Fishing Charters. Bull redfish do frequent the marsh, but the main draw is the abundance of reds that are willing to take all kinds of artificial baits, including topwaters. Trout are just plain easy in the estuaries and bays around Steinhatchee, Florida — check out Capt. Tommy Thompson, who has written the book on the region, Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Florida’s Big Bend and Emerald Coast. The yellowfin tuna migrations offshore from Venice, Louisiana, are legendary. The largest I’ve caught weighed about 65 pounds, but I’ve been aboard when others have caught tuna over 100. There are many excellent guides, but I’ve had awesome luck with Capt. Kevin Beach of the Mexican Gulf Fishing Company.


DOUG OLANDER, Editor-in-Chief, Sport Fishing: For snapper, check around the rigs and wrecks off Venice, Louisiana — all the skippers know where to find ’em. I’ve found the best spot for cobia is away from rigs (no snags), such as weedlines, or when they find you and you can sight-cast to them. Tuna are often found around deepwater floating rigs offshore — the biggest one I’ve caught is nothing to brag about, but I’m usually behind the camera when the bite is on.


GLENN LAW, Senior Editor, Saltwater Sportsman: You never know what you’ll catch wreck fishing in Key West — pelagics, bottomfish, African pompano or permit —but its always something exotic and cool.


JOHN FRAZIER, Editor, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters: Port Sulphur, Louisiana, has its fair share of big redfish (think 35 pounds), but it’s also a great spot to catch a bunch of slot-size fish; try Capt. Nick Sassic or Capt. Scott MacCalla.


MIKE MAZUR, Senior Editor, Sport Fishing: Capt. Mike Frenette based in Venice, Louisiana, is great at finding redfish — I’ve caught them up to about 35 pounds. If you’re looking for yellowfin tuna, Capt. Rimmer Covington of Venice, Louisiana, is dialed in. I’ve never landed a true monster here, but I’ve gotten them to about 125 pounds.