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Beating the Weather & the Odds in the Gulf

By Bobby Cleveland

bcleveland@clarionledger.com

D’IBERVILLE- Scheduling a spring fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico is always a risky proposition.

The odds favor Mother Nature. Weather is always 6040 against you. Worse really, because on some of the days when you can get out of port, the wind and seas can be handled but still be unpleasant.

That said, the reward can be great.

Spring is the time of big red snapper and migrating cobia. Nobody knows that more than Capt. Robert Earl McDaniel, whose charter boat Whip-A-Snapa holds the state cobia record and is well known for its production of sow red snapper.

“I bad want to go to the deep rigs for the big snapper, but I bad don’t want to get out there 50 to 60 miles and face that ride back into the teeth of the wind and waves, “Capt. Earl said. “I think we’d be better off staying in Biloxi Bay and fishing for speckled trout and redfish.”

“Our only alternative is to go to the shallow rigs and try for some smaller, but keeper-size snapper and maybe a cobia. That’s about 25 miles out, and if it gets real bad we can still get in before it gets so bad it’s miserable.”

Our crew voted unanimously on that option, and Capt, Earl came through.

We wound up with enough snapper for several meals and two bonus’s-a couple of surprise flounder and an acoustic implant from the belly of a snapper that we tracked to the USM Gulf Coast Research Lab.