• May 2013 - Volume 15, Number 10

    Features

    Understand how to leverage the annual mayfly to fill the boat with chunky bream.

    My first encounter with mayflies, or at least the first memorable encounter, happened at J.P. Coleman State Park on Pickwick Lake. It was the first week of June, and the weather was about as perfect as it can get. We were chunking some spinners and crankbaits when we came upon a willow tree hanging over the water. The willow was covered with yellow mayflies, and naturally some were falling to the surface of the lake.

    Sure, you can punch grass beds and catch some good fish —but there’s no more exciting way to snatch bass out of vegetation than with soft-plastic frogs like Stanley Ribbits, Zoom Horny Toads and Scum Frogs. Here are some tips for fishing these lures and g

    Josh Cameron pulled up near a shallow grass bed on Pickwick Lake and promptly sailed a frog across the matted grass, and worked it toward the boat.

    Ka-woosh!

    A bass exploded on the fake toad and crushed it before diving toward safety.

    The clear waters of Bay Springs Reservoir on the upper Tenn-Tom Waterway might be your best bet for finding post-spawn crappie in the Magnolia state.

    “A lot of anglers struggle here,” said Bay Springs crappie guide and local fishing guru Wayne Inman. “They expect it to fish like the other big crappie lakes in the state, and that’s just not the case here.”

    What Inman means is not that Bay Springs is a poor crappie lake; in fact, exactly the opposite is true. But to successfully catch crappie in the 6,700-acre impoundment, anglers will need to understand a few dynamics about the lake.

    First is that depth changes are relatively extreme from one end of the impoundment to the other.

    If you’re looking to get away from other anglers and pressured bass, small lakes and ponds are the best answer. Here are some thoughts on making the most of fishing these small waters.

    The buzz bait sailed through the air like a butterfly. It plopped right down next to a half-submerged, half-rotted log.

    And the water erupted like a volcano.

    I was trying to get my camera up as Don jerked on his rod to seal the deal. He landed another bass, and I was still way behind on the count.

    That hidden lake in Holmes County was off the beaten track on private land we leased to deer hunt. We discovered the isolated Big Black River oxbow lake by mistake. All total it was no bigger than a football field, but it held some decent bass.

    The Mississippi Coast offers lots of options, but there’s no better target this month than Ship Island. Follow this guide’s tips to load up on hefty speckled trout.

    Ship island is a fishing hot spot that sits 12 miles south of Biloxi. If sandy beaches and speckled trout are your thing, then it is worth the ride.

    Catch and release is a great practice, but like everything it has to be practiced in moderation. Here are some lakes that need your help in thinning out the crowds of bass.

    Too much of a good thing! That applies to many of Mississippi’s public fishing lakes, when it comes to bass populations.

    A generation of bass anglers conditioned to a catch-and-release philosophy have made releasing bass — all bass — the politically correct thing to do.

    There is a strong argument to support their actions.

    Chunky Bay Springs crappie are waiting, while waters around Ship Island are filling with big speckled trout.