Winter fishing gets underway Christmas week

Black Drum can be found in Coast waters this time of year.
Black Drum can be found in Coast waters this time of year. ttisbell@sunherald.com

The Coast is considered a hot spot for winter fishing.

Black drum, speckled trout, redfish, sheepshead, crappie and bass are found both in the Mississippi Sound and in public waters governed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks this time of year.

Starting with Christmas week, winter fishing in South Mississippi provides a few advantages other parts of the Magnolia State can’t over the next 90 days.

The MDWFP has jurisdiction over all waters north of Interstate 10. The DMR has jurisdiction over all marine waters in South Mississippi from I-10 to the barrier islands. The area has four primary barrier islands: Cat, Ship, Horn and Petit Bois. Around the barrier islands, redfish, black drum and speckled trout are found.

Trout is the top fish to find at this time of year.

Two of the state’s major rivers are commonly called the drainage rivers: Pearl and Pascagoula. Both public waters, which drain into the Gulf of Mexico and are filled with nutrients, also are filled with various kinds of bass and crappie.

The Pascagoula River flows generally south through swampy bottomlands in George and Jackson counties. It splits into east and west branches. In its lower course, the river forms several channels and bayous. The west branch is larger and flows into the Mississippi Sound at Gautier. The main channel passes Escatawpa and Moss Point and flows into the Sound at Pascagoula.

The Pearl River, which forks 50 miles west of Picayune, serves as a 115-mile state line between Mississippi and Louisiana in its lower reach near the Gulf of Mexico. The East Pearl River empties into Lake Borgne, where the Pearl River Channel meets the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

The discharge flows eastward past Grand Isle through St. Joe Pass and into the Mississippi Sound. The Louisiana Marsh consists of several small islands, including Nine Mile and Three Mile, where the mouth of the Pearl River empties into Lake Borgne.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones