BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In a span of one week, the South Mississippi fishing scene took two major hits – and survived.
The week featured a two-day fish kill along the immediate beachfront due to low oxygen levels that impacted bottom dwelling species like white trout and ground mullet from Long Beach to Biloxi.
The jubilee was followed by three days of heavy rainfall throughout the July 4 Weekend.
Remarkably, fishing is improving and bait shops along South Mississippi are back selling live shrimp and croaker.
Pat Kuluz, owner of Biloxi Harbor Bait and Fuel in the small craft harbor, had plenty of live bait Wednesday morning.
''I think we did dodge a bullet,'' Kuluz said. ''The water has recovered and the dead water (lack of oxygen) didn't do anything to our (live) shrimp population. The big white shrimp did take a beating with the lack of oxygen, but the (brown shrimp) look like they're OK. I know we're still catching shrimp for our customers. The salinity level before the rain was at 26 and 28 parts (per thousand) and it stayed that way through Sunday. On Monday, the salinity level dipped to 18 and to 14 on Tuesday. I guess we're getting some of the run off (rain) coming down the rivers and we're recovering. I don't think the impact was that significant.''
In terms of fishing, Kuluz said speckled trout fishing has been hit or miss around Deer Island but steady at the barrier islands.
Also, a few white trout and ground mullet were caught around the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor using dead bait on Monday and Tuesday.
''They're still not catching as many as they were before either (fish kill or rain),'' Kuluz said. ''But I think things are getting better. I talked with a fisherman Tuesday morning who gigged 200 flounder by the (Biloxi) lighthouse. That's right where the bad water was during the fish kill.
That shows the water isn't bad anymore. Overall, I don't think either the low oxygen or rain had the impact that it could have. Dang sure not on flounder.''
A couple top fishing spots for the weekend include the south side of Cat Island for speckled trout and redfish and Whale Point in the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor. If rainfall is limited the remainder of the week, bay and river fishing for speckled trout and even bass will be solid on a rising and falling tide.