Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Eric Bonneman
Gulfport is more than just a dot on the map; it’s a fisherman’s playground. Nestled on Mississippi’s coast, this city has anchored many fishing tales, from the ones that got away to the ones proudly displayed in frames. But what many might not realize is that Gulfport isn’t just a summer hotspot. Oh no, when winter rolls around, the fishing doesn’t freeze over; it just changes its flavor a bit.
Winter in Gulfport offers its own set of fishing opportunities. As the temperature drops, the fish that call these waters home adjust their patterns. And for those willing to venture out in the cooler weather, there’s a chance to experience Gulfport’s waters in a whole new light. So, if you’re thinking of hanging up your fishing rod as the leaves fall, think again. Gulfport’s winter waters are teeming with possibilities just waiting for you to discover. Let’s dive into what makes winter fishing here stand out from the rest.
Why Choose Gulfport for Winter Inshore Fishing?
First and foremost, let’s talk climate. Gulfport is blessed with what I’d call “just right” winter temperatures. Not too cold, not too hot; it’s like Mother Nature decided this place should be the Goldilocks zone for winter fishing. These mild temperatures mean you’re not freezing your fingers off while trying to cast, and the fish are still active and feeding. It’s a win-win.
Next up, the variety of fish. While some places might see a drop in the diversity of fish available during the colder months, Gulfport’s waters still host a range of species. We’re talking redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and sheephead. Plus, with some of the big predators heading to deeper waters, these inshore fish become the stars of the show. It’s like having a front-row seat to some of the best inshore fishing action around.
Now, here’s a bonus that many don’t consider: the peace and quiet. Winter sees fewer boats out on the water. Fewer boats mean less competition for the prime fishing spots and a more relaxed fishing experience. It’s a chance to truly enjoy the simple pleasures of fishing without the hustle and bustle of the peak season.
So, to sum it up: mild weather, a good mix of fish, and some peace and quiet. That’s why Gulfport is a top pick for winter inshore fishing. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out. But hey, better late than never, right?
Top Inshore Fish to Target During Winter
If you’re considering heading out to Gulfport waters during the winter, there’s a trio of fish that should be on your radar. Each of these species offers its own set of challenges and rewards, making winter fishing here diverse and engaging. Let’s dive in and get to know these winter stars a little better.
Meet the redfish. Recognizable by its copper-bronzed body and that signature spot (or sometimes spots) near the tail. They’re robust, sturdy, and put up a good fight, making them a favorite among anglers. Their bodies are streamlined, with a slightly downward-turned mouth – an adaptation that hints at their bottom-feeding habits.
Come winter, these guys don’t pack up and leave. Instead, they hunker down in the deeper holes and channels of the inshore waters. They’re after crustaceans and small fish, and they tend to be a bit less aggressive than during the warmer months. But that doesn’t mean they’re not hungry. Slow down your retrieve, work the deeper spots, and you might just find a redfish eager to take your bait.
Next on the list is the black drum. This fish is often mistaken for its red cousin, but upon closer inspection, you’ll notice a difference. They’ve got barbels on their chin (think catfish whiskers), and their bodies are high and compressed. These fellas can get big, with some of the larger ones weighing in over 60 pounds!
In the winter, black drum are creatures of habit. They frequent oyster beds, pilings, and bridge structures. They’re bottom feeders, primarily munching on oysters, mussels, and crabs. To find them, you’ll want to focus on areas with structure and a good food source. They’re not as aggressive as some other fish, but with the right bait and a bit of patience, you can hook into a nice-sized drum.
Last, but by no means least, is the speckled trout. With its olive-green back, silvery sides, and distinctive dark spots scattered across its body, it’s a looker for sure. They’ve got two large canine teeth at the front of their upper jaw which gives them a bit of a predatory look, and rightly so, these guys are hunters.
As the temperatures drop, speckled trout undergo a bit of a change in behavior. They move to deeper waters, often found in bayous, channels, and deeper holes in the marsh. They’re on the lookout for smaller fish and shrimp. The colder water slows down their metabolism, so they’re not as ravenous as in the summer months. But, they still feed, especially during warmer periods of the day. Finding them involves a bit of depth and a keen eye on the water’s conditions. Adjust your tactics, and you could end the day with a speckled beauty on the end of your line.
There you have it. Three fantastic fish to target during the winter months in Gulfport. Each one offers its own set of challenges and joys, ensuring that winter fishing here is anything but dull. So, gear up, get out there, and give it a shot. You might be surprised at what you find.
Tips for a Successful Winter Fishing Trip in Gulfport
Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks. If you’re gearing up for a winter fishing trip in Gulfport, there are a few things you ought to know. It’s not just about picking the right bait or finding the best spot, but also about being prepared. Here are some pointers to keep in mind to make sure your trip is both enjoyable and fruitful.
It’s winter, which means chilly mornings and cooler days. Before you step out, remember the golden rule of winter fishing: layer up. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep the sweat at bay. Add a warm middle layer, like a fleece or wool sweater, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof jacket. Don’t forget a hat and some gloves. Keeping warm isn’t just about comfort; it’s about endurance. The warmer you are, the longer you can stay out and fish.
Tides can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to inshore fishing. In the winter, fish are more lethargic, and they time their feeding with the tides. Knowing when the tide is coming in or going out can make a difference in your catch rate. Keep an eye on tide charts and plan your fishing times accordingly.
Hiring a Local Guide
Now, if you really want to up your game, consider hiring a local guide. A good guide, like our very own Capt. Mark Wright, knows the ins and outs of the Gulfport waters. They’ll know where the fish are biting, and more importantly, how they’re behaving during the colder months. It’s like having a cheat sheet for the waters. Plus, with their years of experience, they can offer insights and tips that you might not find in any book or online forum.
So there you have it, folks. A few simple yet crucial tips to make your winter fishing trip in Gulfport a success. Remember, it’s not just about the fish, but the whole experience. Stay warm, pay attention to the tides, and if you can, get a local to show you the ropes.
Booking Your Winter Fishing Charter in Gulfport
Alright, so you’ve got the itch to head out into Gulfport waters this winter, and I can’t blame you. Now, before you get too carried away dreaming about those fish, let’s talk logistics.
First up, you’ve got to find a solid charter. A simple online search can give you a list, but you’ll want to dig a little deeper. Look for reviews, testimonials, maybe even some photos of previous catches. A reputable charter, like our friends at Legends of the Lower Marsh, won’t be hiding in the shadows; they’ll be front and center with their success stories.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, pick up the phone. Have a chat, ask about what you might expect to catch in the winter, the size of their boat, and if they provide gear or if you should bring your own. It wouldn’t hurt to ask about their cancellation policies, too, because let’s face it, winter weather can be a bit unpredictable.
As for getting yourself ready, here’s a quick run-down:
- Dress warm. Those layers I mentioned earlier? Still important.
- Sunscreen. Yes, even in winter.
- Bring along some snacks and drinks. Staying hydrated is key.
- A camera or your phone. Trust me, you’ll want to show off your catch.
- Any personal items or meds you might need.
Gulfport in the winter time is a fisherman’s dream. Calm waters, diverse fish, and fewer crowds make it a top choice for inshore fishing. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, there’s something here for everyone. And if you’re keen on getting the most out of your trip, consider booking with the experienced folks at Legends of the Lower Marsh. They know these waters like the back of their hand. So, why wait? Grab your gear, pick up the phone, and get ready for an unforgettable fishing adventure.