Al Jones: Nearshore fishing, turkey hunting make for an exciting spring in …


jimmy-doug-borries-turkey.jpg

Jimmy Borries, left, and Doug Borries of Ocean Springs display the large turkey Jimmy harvested last spring. (submitted photo)


 

Spring is in the air across South
Mississippi, with water surface temperatures in the mid 60s and low 70s.

That means nearshore speckled trout
fishing and catching bull redfish near Ingalls shipyard is around the corner.
Other hot spots during the springs for trout and reds will be the grass beds
located on the inside of the east end of Horn Island.

Springtime also marks the start to the
annual cobia migration from the Florida Keys to the mouth of the Mississippi
River for spawning purposes. In fact, I spoke earlier this week with a couple
of charter boat captains who make a living fishing the waters off Tampa, Fla.

Both captains said they spotted cobia
swimming across Egmont Ship Channel, which is just to the west of Tampa in the
Gulf of Mexico. The fish, swimming alone, were headed in a northerly direction.

So what does this mean in terms of the
direction the fish were swimming?

Cobia historically leave the Florida
Keys during the middle to late February and swim northerly off Florida along
the Gulf of Mexico headed to the Panhandle area. The fish then swim across the
Panhandle through the waters south of Mobile Bay before arriving around Petit
Bois and Horn islands off Pascagoula.

The end result is the mouth of the
Mississippi River to spawn before the fish spend the majority of the summer in
the northern Gulf of Mexico.

With these two sightings, the annual
migration appears to be underway but at a slow pace. The pace will pick up
later this week and more so the following week. That translates into cobia
arriving off Destin during the middle of March and around Petit Bois and Horn
islands in April.

The good news for cobia anglers,
including myself? It appears the migration is underway and good times on the
water are within sight.

Stay tuned.

The arrival of spring also marks the
opening of turkey season across the Magnolia State. The season, one of the most
anticipated in the state, opens on March 15 and closes April 1. It looks like a
solid year awaits hunters, especially in northern Jackson County and George
County.

Why?

I ventured to Lucedale last weekend to
cover St. Martin’s bid to win the Division 7-6A basketball tournament. Along
the drive up U.S. 63 from Moss Point, I noticed a few turkey feeding in a field
near Hurley.

I pulled off the road and took a closer look through
a pair of binoculars and saw two long beards in the field. One of the birds had
a beard that I estimated to be nine inches long and the other turkey had a
shorter beard. There were also six hens in the same field to indicate a solid
stock in that one area.

Less than 10 miles to the north
produced eight more turkey feeding in a field. However, these were all hens and
that’s a good sign, too. Where hens are, gobblers can’t be far behind.

The limit in Mississippi is one gobbler
per day with a six-inch or longer beard, not to exceed three in the spring
hunting season. It’s going to be an
exciting spring – on land and water.

Buckle up.

 

Al Jones’ outdoors
column appears each Friday on GulfLive.com and each Sunday in The Mississippi
Press. Email him at alfish1@aol.com.

 

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