Welcome to my Cast and Blast column. My goal is to make this the spot where outdoorsmen and women find out what's driving the outdoors conversation. It'll be here every morning Tuesday through Saturday.
HIGH WATER IMPACTS MOBILE RIVER SPECK BITE - Inshore guide Richard Rutland said speckled trout in that have been holding in deep holes in the Mobile River all winter are still there, but the bite has slowed since an influx of cold, nasty water caused it to rise. Tuesday, Rutland said he and a couple of friends managed to catch about 30 trout from the several spots they fished, but only about a dozen met or exceeded the 14-inch minimum. He said they'd celebrate if they landed a fish measuring 16 inches.
In those same spots last week, Rutland said he had an 80-fish day on fish that weighed up to 3 pounds. The Mobile River is expected to crest today at 8.2 feet, so while the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers are falling fast, impacts of high water will linger on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta for at least the next week and, most likely, longer.
Rutland was also quick to remind his fellow fishermen that just as quickly as the bite slows it can pick up as trout get acclimated to the changing water conditions. He added that redfish are biting on oyster-shell lined bottoms in shallow water along the Mississippi Sound's north shore.
Live shrimp under a popping cork should get the attention of any fish in the area.
I heard that warming water temperatures in the bays along the Causeway is fueling a better bass bite as those fish move up for their first major spawn of the year around the full moon on April 15.
MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR EXPECTED TO SIGN SECOND AMENDMNET WEEKEND SALES-TAX HOLIDAY INTO LAW -- Mississippi is poised to join neighboring Louisiana by permitting sportsmen to purchase firearms, ammunition, bows and arrows, all-terrain vehicles and other sporting items without paying state sales tax for a weekend under a bill expected to soon receive the governor's signature. The sales-tax exemption is scheduled to occur on the first weekend of September. State estimates suggest the measure could cost take about 5,000 out of the operating budget.
Exempt supplies do not include boats or motor vehicles, animals used for hunting or equipment used for commercial fishing.
Federal taxes will still be collected, so the holiday will not negatively impact the state's share of Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act funds. There is no way to know right now if the increased federal taxes collected on higher sales of hunting and fishing gear the holiday is almost certainly to foster will make up for the loss in state taxes through Mississippi's share of federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson) funds.
Those federal wildlife restoration funds are returned through a 3-to-1 match and sportfish restoration funds on a 2-to-1 match on each state's total hunting and fishing license sales and other related revenue. For the 2014 fiscal year, Mississippi's combined share totaled nearly .5 million. Comparatively, Alabama's share was nearly .4 million.
WEATHER WATCH - Areas of dense fog should be burning off by mid-morning. After that, were in for a nice day with expected high temperatures ranging from 76 degrees down south to 78 up around Huntsville. The cooler air temperature down here is likely due to the effects of south winds expected to reach 20 mph this afternoon coming off the cool water of the Gulf of Mexico. A major feeding period peaks at moon over at 3:28 p.m. A nice incoming tide goes slack around 1 p.m. at Dauphin Island and 3 p.m. at the Mobile State Docks.
YOUR DAILY OUTDOORS ZEN -- Two honest and good-natured anglers have never met each other by the way without crying out, "What luck?"
-------------------------- Henry Van Dyke - "Fisher's Luck"
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