MS Sound reopens to limited recreational fishing, bait shrimping - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

MS Sound reopens to limited recreational fishing, bait shrimping

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) – The sign posted Tuesday in front of the Garfield Ladner Memorial Pier in Waveland said it all.  Happy days are here again for recreational fishermen.

"This is good. I'm sure a lot of people are excited," said Pier Assistant Kim Chetta.

The staff at the pier put up the sign to let anglers know that Mississippi waters are open again, but only for catch and release fishing.  However, the pier remained relatively quiet most of the day.

"We had a couple of fishermen out this morning," said Chetta. "It was nice. They were excited, just to get out here to practice casting."

Over at the Gulfport Harbor, the sign at the Harbor Shop stated that the bait and tackle business is still closed due the oil leak in the Gulf. Co-owner Ron Roland said so far, he has received only one phone call from a customer interested in buying bait.  Roland said boaters don't want to catch their fish, then, have to throw it back.

"After you buy the oil and fuel for your boat, and you buy your tackle and you buy your bait, and you buy your provisions to go fishing, you really don't want to go out there and come back empty-handed," said Roland.

And he said reopening the Mississippi Sound to licensed live bait shrimping won't help him much either.

"We were unable to get live bait or dead bait, since all four of our contracting shrimp boats went to work for BP.  So that was the second insult to injury I guess," said Roland.

Roland said he has no plans to reopen his doors any time soon. 

"We're sort of disgruntled by it," he said. "We're not going to be happy until we get back to normal honestly.  Until the waters are open, until our fishermen are back on the water."

That's the same sign the employees at the pier in Waveland can't wait to see.

"I miss people coming up and fishing and the kids," said Chetta.  "I'd like to see them come back and fish before they have to go back to school."

According to the DMR, if you catch fish in Louisiana waters or in Biloxi's Back Bay and rivers in Mississippi, you can not possess or transport that fish through the Mississippi Sound because of the catch-and-release policy.  Remember, commercial fishing is still not allowed and don't eat any live bait shrimp that you catch.

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