Ever fished the Mississippi inshore reefs? If not, you’re in for a treat. Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is lined with artificial reefs, “fish magnets,” which are ideal for a family fishing trip. They tick all the boxes, from the fishing itself to the way the area’s set up for family groups. What’s more, you don’t have to be an expert to have fun.
Mississippi hasn’t always had great reef fishing. Up until 2002, the area didn’t have much at all to hold fish. The first reef was created when the I-10 bridge needed replacing. A few years later, damage from Hurricane Katrina was put to good use as inshore structure. The Hospitality State has been throwing out the welcome mat for inshore fish ever since.
Nowadays, there are around 70 reefs to choose from. Every one of them has enough action for a fun day on the water. But that’s just part of what makes Mississippi a dream family vacation spot. Here are a few reasons to fish the Mississippi Coast.
The Reefs Are Easy to Reach
There are reefs scattered all along Mississippi’s 44-mile shoreline. You can launch anywhere from Pass Christian to Pascagoula and be on the fish within minutes. Most reefs sit in under ten feet of water, just a mile or two from the shore. This means calm waters, short rides, and maximum fishing time, all with a view of the beach.
Being so close to the action is also super convenient for fishing with the little ones. You can head out, catch fish, make some lifelong memories, and still be back by lunchtime. If you’re looking for the best variety, Gulfport and Biloxi are literally surrounded by fishing spots. Wherever you are, though, you won’t have to travel far.
There’s a Ton of Variety
A lot of species set up shop since Mississippi built her first reef. Even on a slow day, you can expect big Black Drum, tasty Sheepshead, and some decent Redfish and Trout catches. The reefs also hold plenty of Tripletail and Flounder, as well as Ladyfish, Sharks, Bluefish, and a whole lot more.
With this many fish, every trip’s special. You never know what’s going to show up on the end of your line. Targeting half a dozen different food fish also lets you really fill the cooler. Hit your limits of even one species and you’ll be eating well for the rest of your vacation. With fishing this good, it’s not hard to do.
The Bite’s Hot All Year Round
One of the best things about having so many fish is the fact that you’ll never come up empty. The stars of the show have to be Black Drum, which are around all year and reach their biggest size in the spring. Spring and summer bring plenty of Redfish, too. You can even find a few bulls mixed in with the smaller, schooling fish.
The Trout here are best summer through fall. Some of them get pretty big and even the small ones put up a good fight. And if that’s not enough, you’ve also got toothy Blacktip Sharks and Tripletail as heavy as 20lb. During the winter, Sheepshead, Redfish and small “puppy” Black Drum keep even the coolest morning red hot.
In fact, the time of year affects the weather more than the fishing itself. Summer is hot, but usually calm. You’ll get some storms in the afternoon, but you should be safely back at the dock by then. During the winter, the wind can kick up out on the water. Even then, temperatures are usually in the low 60s during the day.
The Reefs are Fun for Any Angler
You don’t have to be a skilled angler to fish the Mississippi inshore reefs. Even a complete beginner can have an awesome time here, throwing out shrimps or minnows for greedy Drum and Sheepshead. Local guides cater heavily to the family fishing crowd. They’ll take good care of the kids and make sure they catch something special.
On the other hand, if you do want to test your skills, there’s plenty of opportunity for that, too. While the family dangles live baits, try throwing topwaters or soft plastics for Bull Reds and Trout. You can also enjoy tense light tackle battles against monster Black Drum. There’s something for everyone.
Even Off the Water, There’s Plenty to Do
“This is all swell,” you say “but what about when the trip ends?” It’s true, even the best fishing grounds can’t make a whole vacation. Luckily, there’s plenty to keep you busy when the trip’s over.
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a restaurant to cook up your catch. You won’t have to look far. The Mississippi Coast is lined with cheap, family-friendly eateries and every charter guide has their local favorite.
You could easily spend the rest of your vacation just swimming and sunbathing. Mississippi may have the shortest shoreline in the Gulf, but 44 miles of pristine white sands is still more than enough.
Bored of the beach? Head down to New Orleans! You can soak up the culture and music even on a day trip. Once you’re back from the city and kids are in bed, take a romantic stroll along the waterfront. You can even head to one of Mississippi’s famous casinos if you want to try your luck.
The Magnolia State sure has packed a lot into a short coastline. You could spend your entire vacation on the water and never get bored. So what are you waiting for? Let the crowds fight for elbow space over in Florida. You’ve got endless reefs and good, old-fashioned hospitality here in Mississippi!
Have you fished the Mississippi coast? What’s your favorite reef? Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.