• April 2012 - Volume 14, Number 9


    This Wayne County hunter has figured out how to convert a small-acreage tract into a family paradise.

    Dr. Scott Tynes’ father, the late Rev. J.W. Tynes, was the type of man who always knew where the right place was at the right time.

    Back in the days when Mississippi deer were more rumor than reality, the elder Tynes would play the role of huntmaster in unmanageably large and fabulously gregarious dog drives, and somehow, Tynes always intuitively recognized the sweet spot — the one draw or ridge or saddle where the dogs would inevitably push the deer.

    A day of crappie fishing on this unpressured crappie hotspot may have you wondering why no one else thought of this.

    Bay Springs Lake, also known as the Jamie L. Whitten Lock and Dam, is the northernmost lake on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Located off Highway 4 near the town of Dennis in Mississippi’s Hill Region, the 6,700 acres of water and 133 miles of shoreline that make up Bay Springs provide crappie anglers with loads of slab crappie that are often overlooked by anglers on their way to bigger lakes.

    Our guide this month is the owner/operator of Honey Hole Guide Service, Charlie Kent. Born and raised in Baldwyn, Kent has been fishing the crappie-infested waters of Bay Springs since the lake was created by the Corps of Engineers in 1979.

    Bee Lake crappie take what they want, including jigs tied to the end of your line.

    Few Mississippi game fish are as predictable as crappie. In the spring they spawn about the time the dogwoods bloom. It’s sufficient to say the greatest number of crappie caught each year are hooked during the progressive spawning season. This is not to say this is the only time to boat a box of slabs; it’s just a time when the fish are shallow and bite eagerly.

    Follow this technique to get into prime post-spawn bass action.

    After working a shallow water cove for quite a while with no results, Justin Giles turned his boat toward deeper water and peered intently at his LCR until we crossed a slight drop off. Giles dug into his bag of tricks and pulled out a nice looking crankbait with a short lip, and changed lures. Working parallel to the shallow ledge he started casting a Strike King Series 1 crankbait across the hump and reeled it back over the peak of the drop.

    Fish these things smartly, and you won’t want to tie on anything else this time of year.

    Designed to imitate a range of forage, tubes are among the most versatile and productive baits in a bass angler’s arsenal. A simple drop-and-hop approach will certainly earn you a few bites here and there, but paying closer attention to how you rig the tube, how you alter the tube, how you enhance the tube and, of course, how you present the tube can greatly improve your productivity.

    Suffice it to say, many a largemouth bass has found itself heading topside after gobbling what appeared to be a crawfish scooting across the bottom, while many more have attacked tubes that did a fine job of imitating shad, bream and others moving through the water column. Certainly, the right technique helps sell a tube’s performance, but the best thing about this bait is its user-friendly nature.

    Work out your biceps reeling in oodles of smallies on the Lake Erie of the South.

    It’s often called the “Lake Erie of the South,” and the abundance of big smallmouth more than justifies that moniker for Pickwick Lake. However, while northern anglers bounce around in monster swells, anglers in the Magnolia State do their smallie work in much more hospitable conditions.

    Indeed the TVA lake shared with neighboring Alabama and Tennessee holds a healthy population of smallmouth that find abundant habitat throughout its 43,100-acres. And with long southern growing season, Pickwick smallies grow fat and sassy on a diet of threadfin shad, gizzard shad and all the yellow perch they can catch.

    If spring warmth makes giant bream swim across your mind, hitch up your boat and head to this annual hotspot.

    There’s a saying in the U.S. Army that you can tell a soldier is lying if he starts his story with, “This ain’t no #@!%.” That’s why my military intelligence started tingling like Spidey sense when Trace State Park Lake Ranger Jeff Rosamond began telling me how good the bream fishing was in this 600-acre lake located near Tupelo.

    Some lakes produce a lot of bass; others a lot of crappie. Trace State Park Lake produces a ridiculous amount of bream.