Popular Fish Species in Mississippi Waters
Mississippi's coastal and offshore waters are home to a diverse array of fish species, offering anglers a variety of fishing experiences. Here's an overview of some of the most sought-after fish in the region, their unique characteristics, and tips for catching them.
Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus)
Known as Redfish, the Red Drum is a prized catch, capable of reaching weights over 30 pounds. Their diet is a mix of bottom and surface feeding, favoring blue crabs and gold spoons as bait. This species represents a challenging catch that rewards the skilled angler.
Southern Flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma)
Southern Flounder stand out for their excellent food quality. They can be caught using jigs or through gigging at night. These ambush predators require a proactive approach to fishing, targeting their hiding spots for a successful catch.
Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus)
Identifiable by their distinctive teeth and vertical bars, Sheepshead feed on shellfish and are best caught using shrimp or fiddler crabs. Their subtle bite makes them notorious for bait theft, presenting a unique challenge for anglers.
Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus)
The Spanish Mackerel thrives in Mississippi Sound, especially from early summer to mid-fall. Fast-moving, shiny lures are your best bet for catching these agile fish. Exercise caution when unhooking due to their sharp teeth.
Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus)
Also known as Speckled Trout or "Speck," this species is a favorite target for anglers, with individuals often exceeding 5 pounds. While they can be caught year-round, spring and fall are the prime seasons for Specks.
Sand Seatrout (Cynoscion arenarius)
Smaller than their Speckled counterparts, Sand Seatrout, or White Trout, are a common inshore catch. They are less resistant to freezing, making them best enjoyed fresh.
Black Drum (Pogonias cromis)
Black Drum, or Puppy Drum, are bottom feeders that prefer crustaceans. They are recognizable by their downward-facing mouths and vertical bars, which fade as they age. Larger Black Drum have a diminished food quality.
Striped Mullet (Mugil cephalus)
Known locally as “Biloxi Bacon,” Striped Mullet have a tradition of being smoked and brined. They are usually caught with cast nets, though doughball baits can also be effective.
Cobia (Rachycentron canadum)
Cobia, also known as Lemonfish or Ling, are sought after for their size, with catches up to 100 pounds. They are known to gather around fixed structures, with live bait such as Catfish or Croaker being highly effective.
Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus)
Red Snapper are a reef-dwelling species, prized for their taste. Found around artificial reefs, they require heavy tackle and natural bait for successful catches. Their distinctive red coloration makes them easily identifiable.
Tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis)
Tripletail, or Blackfish, exhibit unique behaviors such as floating on their side near structures. They are highly valued for their taste and can be caught using natural bait positioned under a cork.
Gray Snapper (Lutjanus griseus)
Also known as Mangrove Snapper, this species is found inshore around seagrass and rocky areas. They tend to move offshore as they grow, where they can be caught near artificial reefs and hard bottoms.