Charter Boat business on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is improving

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Barry Deschamp is captain of 9 Ball Fishing Charters docked at Long Beach Harbor.  He hit the high seas at 6am Monday morning and returned at high noon.

When he arrived at Long Beach Harbor, he docked with five sharks  They were biting and that brought smiles to 12 year old Jacob Windham of Bay Springs.  He and his family decided to go deep sea fishing and Windham hauled in the two biggest black tip sharks.

"This is the first time I've been deep sea fishing," Windham said. "I wasn't expecting to catch a shark. I was expecting to catch something smaller."

Captain Deschamp said Windham needed some help with the first shark and hauled in the second one on his own.

"The biggest one is probably about 80 pounds, 80 pound black tip," Deschamp said.  "At this time of the year, we get overrun with the big black tips."

According to Deschamp, fishing overall is good, especially in Louisiana waters with speckled trout. He said those feared fins sticking out of the water are gliding throughout Gulf waters.

"Sharks after sharks after sharks. Lots of action. Beside black tips, Atlantic sharp nosed sharks and fine tooth sharks."

Deschamp said Black Tip sharks can be dangerous. "Whenever you get them up and you're trying to take the hook of their mouth, if they don't blink, watch out because they're looking to bite you. If they're blinking, you're safe."

Deschamps said the meat from a Black Tip shark doesn't have any kind of fishy taste to it at all. You can either grill the meat or fry it by cutting it into half inch slices, batter-it -up and fry it.

He said charter boats were catching a lot of big Red Fish, but they disappeared about four or five days ago. I know where they are," Deschamp said.  "They're in deeper federal waters. We can't process them out there."

Deschamp said the Charter Boat Association is trying to change the Red Fish law.

"We would like to catch at least one Red Fish in federal waters."

The way the law stands now, if you catch them in state waters, you're stuck in state waters and you can't go into federal waters.

Deschamp said back in the 80s, Blackened Red Fish was highly popular and fishermen went out into Gulf waters and netted all those spawning fish and nearly wiped out the Red Fish population. Netting was outlawed and Deschamp said Red Fish have made a real good comeback.

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