On August 29, 2005, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina swept the Mississippi Gulf Coast, destroying nearly every pier on the waterfront. As of time of publication, many piers have been rebuilt, and Long Beach and nearby cities have experienced a tourism renaissance. Home of the 2011 Mississippi Deep Fishing Rodeo and the self-proclaimed "radish capital of the world," Long Beach, Mississippi has three public piers near Long Beach Harbor on Highway 90, Beach Boulevard. Long Beach, Mississippi is 70 miles east of New Orleans, 15 miles west of Biloxi and about five miles west of Gulfport.
Jim Simpson Sr. Memorial Fishing Pier
Cast your line at Jim Simpson Sr. Memorial Fishing Pier, west of the Long Beach Harbor on Beach Boulevard, Highway 90. Jim Simpson Sr. Memorial Fishing Pier, recently rebuilt, is the longest of three Long Beach piers, at approximately 1,000 feet. Accessible from the beach, Jim Simpson Sr. Memorial Fishing Pier is free to use, and offers many opportunities for anglers to catch a variety of saltwater fish, shrimp and blue crabs.
Stringer Pier, accessible from the east side of Long Beach Harbor, and West Side Pier, on the other side of the harbor, are newly reconstructed. Stringer Pier offers a covered-roof, open-air pavilion at the end of the pier, shading fishermen from the hot Southern sun. West Pier, the smallest in the area, has no covering, and is good for fishing at night. Frequent gulf breezes will cool you as you seek out "the big one." Other amenities of Long Beach Harbor include boat slips, outdoor restrooms and a large pavilion for picnics and other events.
Best Fishing Times
Improving your chances of landing the big one depends on the tides. Prime hours for fishing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are just before low tide, and several hours before the peak of high tide. Daily tide patterns are available online in the weather section of the local news station, WLOX.
The best bait to use is live shrimp under a popping cork. Beware of stingrays. Never touch the tail section. Local fishermen suggest that stingrays may also be used for bait for flounder and small sharks.
Types of Fish
Popular fish for Long Beach piers include flounder and red fish. Mullet, also called "Biloxi bacon," are caught with a cast net thrown from the pier. Shrimp are also harvested in this manner. Saltwater catfish, prevalent in the Mississippi Sound, are considered by locals as "junk" fish, because they are bony and difficult to clean.
Shrimp and crab are a wonderful addition to your pier fishing experience. Three types of shrimp are caught on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with cast nets. Eighty-five percent of shrimp caught in the Mississippi Sound are brown shrimp. Catch these from June to October, when the shrimp move from estuaries to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn. White shrimp are typically caught in the fall during the day. Pink shrimp are plentiful in the winter and early spring, but mainly caught in deeper waters.
Crab traps hung from Long Beach piers lure blue crab. A piece of chicken neck tied to the base of the trap is typically used to attract crabs.
Other Fishing Areas
Beach fishing, wading and fishing from rock jetties at the harbor are also possible in Long Beach and the surrounding area.
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