FISHING THE CHANDELEUR ISLANDS
~ Captain Paul's response to: ~ Mike Andrews ~
Because of the distance from the access launches, most anglers make a Chandeleur fishing trip an over night affair. That or they charter a seaplane to make a one day trip.
Boat bound anglers usually have a larger vessel and a smaller inflatable or dingy type boat to then get to the better fishing locations. These locations are either usually in the surf on the east side of the islands or in the many, many cuts that link the Gulf of Mexico with the Chandeleur Sound and in the west side lagoons.
The small boats make is safer as there are usually numerous sharks around the area. A kayak would be ideal, but you can make it a wade fishing experience. For that you would need the proper foot ware, a landing net and either a floating creel net or a floating ice chest. I do not recommend using a fish stringer attached to your belt as it will surely draw some of the denizens in the area. If you are wade fishing be careful NOT to wipe your hands on your clothes or towel as it will also draw the sharks and sting rays. Fishing the area you may encounter many species of fish.
With that said, the surf can offer a very exciting adventure, but the inside lagoons and flats are where the big trout are normally lurking. The weather, especially the wind, will determine which side of the chain of islands you would be fishing. All of the cuts are not necessarily passable by a motor boat. Some have water in them only during high tides or when the wind is pushing water through these cuts. Some of the cuts have a deep drop off tapering to the more shallow flats on the west side of the islands.
Plastic jig rigs, floating lures and bait under corks will usually all work.
Get a copy of the latest chart for the area, which would be NOAA 11363 Chandeleur and Breton Sounds. Take special note of the water depths and the obstructions around the islands and plan your trip accordingly.
There are several “Mother Ship” charters out of Gulfport and Biloxi which offer over night sleeping with several small fishing boats. These charters usually cover the food, sleeping accommodations and expertise in fishing the area. The large boat anchors in a safe location and the anglers fish via the small boats. It may be worth the cost to see how they fish the islands before your make a try on your own.
Remember that this is a protective area, so take out everything you bring with you.
Get back with me and let me know how you fished the area and how you made out.
~ Captain Paul ~