Charter Firms Take Advantage of Coast's Plentiful Marine Life

Reed Travel Features

JACKSON -- The coast and barrier islands of Mississippi are home to an enormous variety of fish, and there are more than 40 fishing charter firms in the area that specialize in both bottom-fishing and trolling.

The boats typically operate year-round.

A full day of fishing for the likes of king and Spanish mackerel, snapper, jack, grouper, lemon fish, sharks and dolphinfish usually starts between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and lasts as long as eight hours.

Overnight and half-day excursions also are available.

The boats usually accommodate from four to six people; average prices for a charter boat are $400 for a full day and $285 for a half day (up to six people).

Ice, bait and tackle are provided, and for a nominal fee, participants usually can have their catch cleaned and dressed.

For larger groups, several boats can operate as a unit.

The chartering party normally provides food and beverages for the group, including the captain and mates, but for an additional fee, most captains will supply the refreshments.

Boats should be reserved in advance, especially for holiday or weekend trips.

Reservations made the evening before usually are sufficient for weekday outings.

A saltwater fishing license is required, but many charter boats have licenses to cover trip participants.

A list of charter boats operating from Gulf Coast harbors is available from the Mississippi Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 237-9493.

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