Saltwater Fishing Expedition

October 15 Update: The October 24, 25, and 26, 2014 session has been postponed and is not open for registration.

Participants in GCRL's Catch More Fish with Science seminar series and parents of children who participated in the summer Angler Camps have been asking for a program for adults that marries the science with actual fishing (not just talking about fishing). Join us for this hands-on approach, taking the scientific knowledge about our local fish species, their habitats and eating habits, and combining it all with time of day, tide state, water temperature, salinity, and moon phase to make the most of your precious time on the water. There’s a lot of water out there. Learn what to look for to find the right spot and time to catch fish.

Download or view the flyer.

The program consists of a Friday evening classroom session and reception and on-the-water sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, October 24, 2014 - Science, Equipment, and Rigging, with Reception

5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Meet at GCRL Field Studies Building, Room 108.

The program begins on Friday afternoon in our “land locked” classroom at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory where you will learn about the science of local fish species and the hands-on basics of fishing tackle and rigging. Our educators will familiarize you with fishing regulations for saltwater and freshwater, including creel limits and size limits and species identification. We have invited Captain Sonny Shindler of Shore Thing Charters and Captain Ronnie Daniels of Fisher-Man Guide Service to provide pointers on casting and fighting and landing your catch, as well as tips for being courteous to other fishers on the water. Our marine educator, Benjamin Weldon, will share the wealth of print and web resources available at your fingertips. He'll show you how you can use these handy resources to make informed decisions about where and when to venture out on your own.

A reception on the porch overlooking the GCRL harbor and Davis Bayou follows the classroom session. You'll have an opportunity to ask questions and get to know the people you'll be fishing with on the weekend.

Saturday, October 25, 2014 - Horn Island

5:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Meet at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory harbor.

The session continues early on Saturday morning , not in a typical classroom, but in an outdoor classroom on the water aboard GCRL’s research vessel R/V Hermes. Marine educators Benjamin Weldon and Sam Clardy, Marine Education Center Director Chris Snyder, and fisher Anita Arguelles will help you put it all together and catch fish. On the way to Horn Island, educators will demonstrate practical skills like baiting hooks, tieing on lures, and taking fish off the hook. They'll teach you what to do if you hook a catfish, stingray, or shark. You'll learn about marine life under the water as the vessel's crew and educators set and pull a trawl and sort the catch for education and hands-on examination. At Horn Island, you and the educators will combine science and practical skills and knoweldge as you fish together from shore and while wading in the water. There will be one educator for every three students, so if you have a question, hook a big fish, or hit a snag someone will be right there to help.

A shore lunch prepared by a local chef will sustain you for the afternoon of fishing. On the return trip, the vessel captain will stop for fishing over several reefs in Mississippi Sound. After docking at GCRL, educators will demonstrate techniques for cleaning and fileting fish, and you will have a chance to clean your catch, with helpful assistance.

Sunday, October 26, 2014 - Lower Pascagoula River

6:30 a.m. to noon
Meet at a designated boat launch on the lower Pascagoula River

On, Sunday, you'll fish the beautiful Pascagoula River, one of the longest free flowing unimpeded rivers in the lower 48 states. The Pascagoula River Marsh Preserve, with 11,150 acres of protected brackish coastal marsh, is one of the best examples of an estuarine ecosystem. You will join the team of marine educations aboard a boat from McCoy's River & Marsh Tours and learn more about this beautiful estuary from the marine educators while cruising to several river fishing destinations.

Fish species covered include redfish (Red Drum), speckled trout (Spotted Seatrout), flounder, Triple Tail, Black Drum, white trout (Sand Seatrout), and Cobia. For background, detailed profiles are available on this website for most of these species.


This program is for adults aged 18 and over with a limit of 12 participants. Tuition is $550 per person. Tuition includes reception, fees for boats, lunch on Saturday, and all bait and lures.

Participants will need a Mississippi recreational saltwater fishing license and their own rod and reel. Detailed information about recommended clothing and items to bring along on Saturday and Sunday will be sent after you register.

Online Registration - You may register using this convenient web-based system.

Have Questions?

Call a marine education specialist at 228.818.8833 or email us at