The Reel Deal: Baiting the Beasts
by Lindsey Lucas
Here in Missouri, our favorite fish to catch is crappie, also known as papermouths. From time to time, however, we all tend to want to branch out and fish for something different.
Trust me, there are LOTS of different things to catch in Biloxi, Mississippi. Biloxi, is known for its tourism, and many of those tourists are drawn by the phenomenal fishing. Our friends, Mike and Laura Jones with Visit Mississippi hooked us up with Captain Ron’s Charters.
Stepping onto the boat, at first I had no clue what we might catch. I just knew that, since we were going into the ocean, whatever we were going to catch was most likely going to be big.
After introductions with Captain Ron and the crew, we were bouncing over the ocean waves. As we’re talking and getting to know one another, Captain Ron’s wife, Pandi, starts to get the poles set up and announces we must catch our bait first.
To catch the bait, we set the poles out at the back of the boat and trolled the water with large lures that resembled spoons. After about 10 minutes of trolling one of our poles dipped down, and I quickly get to the pole and reeled in my very first deep-sea fish, a nice-sized mackerel. We caught a couple of those and started to go deeper into the ocean to go catch bigger fish. The farther out we went and the more bait fish we put in the boat, the more excited I got, just thinking about what I could catch in the deep blue ocean and in the middle of nowhere.
When we were about ten miles from dry land, we came to a stop. Capt. Ron cut the mackerel up into chunks as Pandi pulled out the “chummer,” a machine sort of like a meat grinder that would chop up the mackerel and spread the pieces over the side of the boat. But Capt. Ron saved some chunks of the mackerel to be used to bait our hooks.
When we got everything set up, we didn’t have to wait long. The drag on a reel started squealing as the rod tip bent down, almost touching the water. I jumped up out of my seat and grabbed onto the pole. There was no doubt that whatever this fish was, it was big.
I started reeling and praying the line didn’t snap. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened just as the fish was getting close to the boat. I didn’t even get to see what that big fish was and I still wonder about it.
But that wasn’t going to get the best of us. Another pole went off and this time my mom jumps up to grab the pole. She immediately could see she caught a shark!
Before the day was done, we caught ten nice sharks. Some were black tip sharks and some were sand sharks. The biggest we caught was about five feet, almost the same length as me.
Shark fishing was an amazing experience and it made for great table fare. I would certainly recommend it to anyone.
But after week hanging out in Biloxi, I sure did miss catching big slabs of crappie. After about a week back in Missouri, we were soon heading to the lake to catch some tasty papermouths.
Lindsey Lucas, 16, is obsessed with all things outdoors. She dreams of becoming an accomplished outdoor media provider and influencer. She hopes the tips and experiences she shares will prove inspirational for other young men and women in her Gen Z age group.