Colder weather jump-starts Shell Beach trout bite

Robbie Campo finds great success with speckled trout in December fishing the interior of the Biloxi Marsh.

Robbie Campo, owner of Campo’s Marina in Shell Beach, said the December fishing has amazing potential, based upon one, very important factor.

“If it doesn’t get too cold, the fishing is going to be just like November; it’s going to be awesome,” he said. “The warmer it stays, the better off it’s going to be for fishing.”

Campo recommends anglers stick to areas in the interior of the Biloxi Marsh, such as Stump Lagoon, for speckled trout.

“If you’re going to fish Stump Lagoon or Pete’s Lagoon or Muscle Bay, what most people do is drift, find the fish and then put the power poles down and fish it for a while,” he said.

Contrary to popular belief, the fish aren’t always close to the shorelines, according to Campo.

“I have seen people in the middle of Stump Lagoon, reeling them in one after the other,” he said.

This month, although live bait isn’t crucial, Campo said it’s a good idea to bring some shrimp as an insurance policy. Some days, for whatever reason, the fish won’t touch plastic lures with any consistency.

“Sometimes, you can get them started with live shrimp and then switch them over to plastic,” he said. “I’ve seen that done many times.”

For plastics, Campo likes the lemonhead and shrimp creole colors in the Matrix Shad line of baits.

Check the temperature

December can also bring cold weather, and when that happens, Campo keeps a close eye on his water temperature gauge.

“Usually, when your water temperature goes below 53 degrees, a trout gets lockjaw,” he said. “For consistent action, 53 is your cutoff point.”

When the water gets too cold, Campo recommends anglers switch to targeting black drum, sheepshead and redfish because of their tolerance to cold water.

“I’ve seen those bite with the water 48 degrees,” he said.

There are a lot of places anglers can find these fish, but Campo certainly has his favorites.

“The old cut in the Long Rocks is generally your best spot, but anywhere along those rocks is usually good,” he said.

When the waves aren’t too rough to get outside, Campo said the platforms out of Shell Beach, like wells, chair rigs and the Central platform, can hold a lot of sheepshead, as well as redfish, He said certain areas along the structure are better than others.

“You want to fish the side of the well that the shell pad is on,” he said. “That is generally where the sheepshead will hang, because they’re feeding on top of those shells.”

Not only is the style of fishing simple, but the rigging is as well. Campo suggests a ½-ounce Deathgrip jighead with a piece of dead shrimp. On days with more swift tides, he’ll add a split-shot about a foot above the jighead.

“You can catch them with dead bait all day-long,” he said.

About Joel Masson 177 Articles
Joel Masson is an avid angler who has fished South Louisiana his whole life. He lives in Mandeville and can be reached at