November is my favorite month of the year to fish Bay Springs Lake, which comes off Pickwick Lake and forms the headwaters of the Tennessee/Tombigbee Waterway. Bay Springs holds some of the biggest spotted bass in the state.
In November, those big spots will move into shallow water and go on a feeding frenzy, eating shad to fatten-up for the winter. In north Mississippi, we'll be transitioning from fall to winter fishing this month. So we want to step-down in the water column from the surface to about 5 to 6 feet deep, depending on the water temperature.
Start with topwater baits At the first of the month, the spotted bass can be lured into taking topwater baits. So I'll start every day this month with a Mann's Baby Waker Elite. My two target areas will be the points and the flats that drop off into deep water, because the bass will be moving in and out of that deep water to feed on those flats. I prefer to fish wake baits before, during and after the spawn. I also like to fish them during the fall when the shad are moving up on shallow points and drop-offs and moving to the backs of coves and creeks.
The Mann's Baby Waker Elite is the same size as the Mann's Baby 1-Minus Elite. You can reel the Baby Waker Elite on a medium retrieve, because it stays on top of the water and wobbles back and forth, creating a wake and a trail on the surface that the bass can follow to find and eat the bait.
My favorite color is a black/chartreuse, and I'll be fishing the lure on 15-pound-test Trilene fluorocarbon and a 7-foot medium-action Pinnacle rod with a 7.3:1 gear-ratio Pinnacle reel. I'll be using a medium retrieve, never stopping the bait, so I can leave a wake all the way back to the boat.
You normally think of wake baits as early-morning or late-afternoon lures, but at this time of year, you can fish them successfully all day long. The spotted bass will come to the surface but not blow-up on the bait. Instead they'll just suck it in.
Using this technique, you should catch spotted bass that weigh from 1½ to 6 pounds each during the first half of November.
Fish a spinnerbait just under the surface The second step to catching bass at Bay Springs will be to fish a ½-ounce Mann's chartreuse/white The Classic Spinnerbait with a No. 5 gold-colored willowleaf blade as your back blade, a small No. 3 nickel-colored Colorado blade in front and a chartreuse/white skirt. I'll be using 17-pound-test fluorocarbon line and a 7-foot big and heavy rod with a 6.4:1 gear-ratio reel. I'll be reeling the bait fast, while keeping it just under the surface.
With a 6.4:1 gear-ratio reel, you can control the bait better on a fast retrieve. I don't want the spinnerbait to wake the water, but I want it just under the surface where I can see it.
When the bass start coming to the surface to take the wake bait, they often will come up near the surface to take the spinnerbait. I'll be fishing it along those same points and flats that drop-off into deep water where I've fished the wake bait.
Fish a suspending jerkbait at the end of the month Toward the end of the month, the water temperature will have cooled down, so my third choice will be a suspending jerkbait, and my favorite color is chartreuse shad. I'll be working this bait primarily in the 4- to 5-foot water depths.
With the three lures I'm fishing this month, I'm gradually stepping down in water depth as the bass begin to move deeper.
When fishing the suspending jerkbait, I'll be using 8-pound-test fluorocarbon and a 7-foot, 2-inch medium-action rod with a 7.3:1 gear-ratio reel. I'll cast the lure out, reel it down, jerk it in that 4- to 5-foot depth range and then let it sit motionless for about a five-count. Then I'll jerk the bait two or three times and let it suspend again for about a five-count.
I'll use that type of retrieve all the way back to the boat. Most of your strikes will come when the bait is sitting still in the water. You only may feel a tick on the line, which is the same type of bite you'll get on a plastic worm or a jig.
Even though I'm primarily fishing for spotted bass - the dominant bass at Bay Springs - I'll also catch largemouth and smallmouth bass. If I only could pick only one month to fish Bay Springs, it would be November.