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SPRING 2008 Preview


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Fishing deep in the Biloxi Marsh
Capt. Brian Gagnon looked out over the pristine wilderness and inhaled deeply. It was nearly March, a clear afternoon and this was a long awaited breath of fresh spring air. Seated at the stern of a 14-foot skiff Gagnon could not have been happier. This was just exactly where the Bay St. Louis, Miss. native wanted to be. As far from civilization as he could.
"It's hard to believe we haven't seen or heard another boat or motor in three days," he said. "Three days. When was the last time you could say that?"
I silently pondered the question but couldn't respond. I couldn't remember. This was unlike anything I'd ever seen. This was a paradise, as isolated and backcountry as anything on earth. Many an adventurous angler has harbored dreams of finding such an area. But finding such a region in today's world is a rare thing.
Vast schools of fish moved through a twisted maze of wetlands, gorging on a buffet of shrimp, crab and baitfish. The bayous meandered aimlessly, with each twist and turn creating ambush points for trout and redfish. The pristine waterways ran through countless passes and into interior bays before eventually spilling into even larger nearby bodies of open water.
Spring was in the air. The chill I recalled a week earlier was gone...
KAYAKER'S HIGHWAY by Lefty Ray Chapa
It's kayak heaven between Port A and Aransas Pass, Texas
In the movie Titanic, the character Jack Dawson climbed up on the bow of the ship and proclaimed himself "King of the World!" From that vantage point he felt he could conquer all that came his way. On Highway 361 between Aransas Pass and Port Aransas, Texas, any kayak fisherman can feel the same way. For almost 10 years, I have been calling this 12 mile stretch of road the "Kayak Highway" and just about anywhere that you can pull over and launch, a decent kayak fisherman can conquer the nearby flats..
The Invasion Begins by Capt. Robert Brodie
Sand Trout and southern kingfish swarm the bays.
For anglers here in south Mississippi we are blessed with a wide variety of saltwater offshore, near shore, and inshore species to seek throughout the entire year. That's right, no matter what time of the season, an angler willing to wet a hook has a good chance of doing battle with some sort of hard fighting fish. You name it, speckled trout, redfish, flounder, sheepshead, black drum, cobia, snapper, grouper amberjack, pompano, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, jack crevalles, and a variety of sharks are all popular pursued species.
However, usually starting around mid March and generally running into November there are two species that take the spotlight without all the hoopla of the other more noted species like speckled trout and redfish. Now you might not see nearly as many articles or pictures regarding these two species, but I'll assure you anglers in south Mississippi will be out in mass with hopes of loading up these tasty fish...
BRAIDED LINES - by Kyle Tomek
Eliminate the stretch for better hookups.
Braided line is nothing new to freshwater anglers who have relied on its stretch free and strong qualities for yanking big bass from thick vegetation.   Like many tactics and lures that originate on freshwater lakes, braided line has migrated to coastal waters and top speckled trout and redfish anglers are not turning back. 
Monofilament line has long been the stand-by for anglers on the Texas coast.   Anglers are discovering, however, the advantages of using braid over the stretchy rival.  The intertwined strands that compose braided lines pack more strength within a smaller diameter providing smoother casting, more sensitivity, and resistance to sharp teeth or underwater structure. 
"I really have nothing bad to say about braided line.  I threw mono forever until everyone convinced me to change; now I won't switch back," states tournament dominator, John Gill.  "The only con I see is how easy it is to lose fish when you begin using it for the first time."

Gulf Coast Closeup - by Jan Maizler
Snook at Sanibel, Florida
Early summer had begun to warm the waters of Sanibel and Captiva Islands off Fort Myers, Florida. It had only begun two weeks ago in early May. I'd called snook expert Captain Mike Smith (239-573-FISH) of Sanibel to confirm my hunches.
Mike was quick to affirm that the snook (or, alternatively, linesiders) indeed were on the feed in the area's waters from Punta Rassa up to Boca Grande. Mike encouraged me to get there A.S.A.P., but he qualified it by saying, "be sure you make it here on a moon." When I inquired what that meant, he replied, " A moon means a new or full moon, when the tidal heights and velocity are bigger and stronger.. That's when the snook are feeding more aggressively."

Paddling Out - Mothershipping to the Chandeleurs - by Jeff Herman
Rod & Reel'n Offshore - Swim Baits Offshore - by Patrick Lemire
Equipment Notebook - Hose and Cable Protection - by David Ayers
The Bay Naturalist - Questions About Shrimp - by John Hook
The Fly Guy - Sight Fishing - Refined Techniques - by Pete Cooper, Jr.
Tackle Time - Bait Buckets - Then and Now - by Colby Sorrells
Bait Hook - Going Green - by Jim Martin
From the Publisher...
Besides all these great articles and departments, Gulf Coast Fisherman is the only source for the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast. Each issue carries three months of the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast - with Monthly Fishing Calendars. Also, don't forget about the Advance Planning Calendars in each issue that takes you out three months past the current issue. This will provide what you need to intelligently plan your fishing trips - hours, weeks, and up to six months in advance!
Top saltwater guides and fishermen use the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast - shouldn't you be using it ,too?...
"The fisherman that knows what the currents are doing has the advantage - over fish and fishermen!"
And remember - "Fish feed everyday, somewhere " - Harold Wells
Gary Ralston