• May 2012 - Volume 14, Number 10


    Channel catfish stack up along Pickwick Lake’s rocky banks this month, and this veteran guide provides tips on filling your ice chest.

    As much as he likes to catch giant catfish, there’s not much that makes four-time national catfish champion angler Phil King from Corinth happier than watching a 7-foot Cabela’s Fish Eagle spinning rod double over under the weight of a feisty channel cat.

    And to hear him tell it, his happiest months of the year are April, May and June because that’s when the channel cats start backing up into the myriad cracks and crevices along Pickwick’s multitude of craggy rock banks.

    Pickwick crappie are there for the taking. With these 10 spots, take your pick of how you want to catch them.

    In the early 1970s, a young bass angler by the name of Bill Dance, hosting his own TV show on national television, brought Pickwick Lake to the forefront of American anglers’ attention.

    Each week, his television audience tuned in to watch Dance battle huge smallmouth bass from the high-bluffed reservoir. Quickly becoming the authority on fishing instruction, Dance couldn’t wait to introduce the country to Pickwick guide Roger Gant, a man he called “the best crappie fishing guide in the country.”

    Several years later, the combined influence of these two fishing icons found their mark, leaving a lasting impression on a part-time fishing guide.

    Tweaks and tips to improve your dropshot presentations for more bass.

    When bass respond to factors such as weather or fishing pressure by playing hard to get, anglers can often tempt those tough bites with a dropshot. The basic rig is pretty simple, and the action, well, there’s not much to it. However, you’ll increase the effectiveness of this finesse rig by optimizing its various components — line, leader, hook, weight, bait and some presentation points.

    Get the drop on these predators for some fun off-season hunting.

    Shot Risher has a great vantage point from the seat of his tractor to see just where his hay mower is cutting. Since some of his fields are quite large, it takes several minutes to make a pass. Starting at the outside and working toward the center, one of the more common sights are field mice scampering for cover.

    Often they run toward the center of the field and the last remaining tall grass.

    Coyotes have learned the sound of the hay mower and tractor result in easy pickings, as the mice lose their tall grass cover. The same goes for hawks and even owls. The rodents that flee into the small, wooded areas are likely to be greeted by a bobcat, coyote or even a large snake.

    Get more explosive topwater bites by using these frog-fishing tactics.

    Pete Ponds spotted a flash and swirl that sent a school of small fry skittering across the top of the water. The Bassmaster Elite Series pro instantly sailed a Scumdog Walker Frog past the small fry and started working the lure back in a walk the dog pattern.

    Just as it passed over the small fry, a bass crushed the lure and headed down toward deep water. Ponds dropped his rod tip, reeled in the slack and snapped the rod back, driving the Owner hooks deep into the jaws of the lunker bass and turning it toward the boat.

    Adjusting amphibian imposters amplifies their effectiveness.

    Double nickels, 55 — that’s the water temperature mark that Jackson angler Alfred Williams eagerly awaits each spring. That, he said, is the threshold for his favorite largemouth bass tactic — frogging.

    An old-school bass buster with plenty of big fish to his credit, Williams knows that a hollow-belly frog like his favored Snagproof Tournament Frog can entice some of the most aggressive surface strikes imaginable.

    Learn how to maximize your drop-shot prowess to put more bass in the boat this month.