Ms. Maggie's Chicken Bone & Bread Tour of Jackson County
An insider's guide to crabbing and bird feeding
All you need for a unique outdoor adventure in Jackson County is a chicken bone, a piece of string, and a slice of bread.
"The chicken bone is the crab bait, the string is the haul'em in, and the bread is to feed the birds while you wait," explains our tour guide Ms. Maggie Crabby. "I'm going to tell you all the best spots to find crabs."
Ms. Maggie agreed to share her list with "Mississippi's East Coast" visitors and a few tips along the way. The best part about Ms. Maggie's "Chicken Bone and Bread Tour" is that it cost less than $5 for an entire family to have fun together while enjoying some of the most scenic spots in JC.
"Any chicken bone will do, but I always say, 'the fresher the better.' Our crabs love the smell of chicken. Tie the bone to the end of the string along with a weight. That's it," Ms. Maggie said.
Any type of string is fine, about ten feet long will do for every spot on our tour. Use almost anything for a weight. Drop the chicken bone into the water and let it hit bottom.
"Give it a few minutes. I like to watch the string, when it moves I pull up the chicken bone real smooth and see what's hanging on. A crab will hold on to that bone until he's in my stew pot," Ms. Maggie laughed.
There is no license required for this type of drop crabbing in Mississippi. "Those boys at the State capitol got this one right. But if you bring a fishing pole you'd better have a fishing license," Ms. Maggie said.
Any ole bread will do for the birds - stale, fresh, buns, rolls, old French fries. Ducks and geese get nervous so easily, so move slowly around them. Seagulls are persistant and will bring all of there friends to the feast.
"That's everything, let's go."
1. Downtown Moss Point - River Board Walk (Click for Map)
Directions: Take Hwy. 613 south to McInnis Ave. Make a left on McInnis. Go one block and make left on Morris St. Plenty of parking. Maggie Tip: Crab close to the boat launches and the bait shop.
2. Pascagoula - Kreb's Cemetery Boat Launches (Click for Map)
Directions: Take River Road to Lake Road. Make a right on Lake. Take Lake to Hickory Road. Make right on Hickory. Limited parking. Maggie Tip: Don't let the cemetery scare you away from this site. Crabbing on the short pier is good but don't miss the beach to the west.
3. Pascagoula - Singing River Hospital (Birding Only) (Click for Map)
Directions: Take Hwy. 90 to Hospital Road. Plenty of parking.
Maggie Tip: No crabbing here but great bird feeding - ducks, geese, sea gulls, pigeons, and sometimes a pelican.
4. Gautier - Mary Walker Bayou Pier (Click for Map)
Directions: Going East on Hwy. 90 take left De La Pointe Drive. Go three blocks and take left City Park Drive; plenty of parking.
Maggie Tip: Get past the thick grass under the pier. Drop your bait near a pier piling.
5. Gulf Hills - Fort Bayou Bridge Boat Ramps (Click for Map)
Directions: Take Hwy. 90 to Hwy. 609 and go north. Get into the right hand lane. Take the first right after crossing the bridge.
Maggie Tip: This is a better weekend spot right now because of the weekday construction. Good crabbing around bulkheads but be careful near older sections.
6. Ocean Springs - Small Craft Harbor Pier (Click for Map)
Directions: Take Hwy. 90 west in Downtown Ocean Springs. From Hwy. 90 turn south onto Washington Ave. Take left onto Front Beach Drive and follow around to Harbor. Parking is very limited.
Maggie Tip: I love this location at sunset, especially when the shrimp boats are coming back to the harbor; plenty of pelicans at this spot.
7. Gulf Park Estates - Lake Mars Pier (Click for Map)
Directions: Going east on Hwy. 90 take a left on Hanshaw Rd. From Hanshaw make a right hand turn on Old Spanish Trail. Go two blocks and take a left on to Beach View Drive. Moderate parking.
Maggie Tip: Get past the thick grass under pier. Good crabbing also around boat launches and bulkhead. Bring lots of bread for the birds.