Big bass are being caught again at this lake that once produced numbers of 10-pounders. The lake was drawn down several years ago to repair the dam. Because of that drawdown, the buck willows and other groves of trees flourished on what was the lake bottom. When the lake was brought back to normal pool, an abundance of cover had sprung up close to the shoreline in the shallow water.
I'll be concentrating on this area of shallow-water cover during March.
The first bait I'll start with will be a Mann's 3/8-ounce Classic spinnerbait, with a chartreuse/white skirt and No. 3 Colorado nickel blade up front, with a No. 4 gold Colorado blade behind it. I'll be fishing it on 17-pound-test fluorocarbon line and use a fast retrieve to keep the spinnerbait barely under the water. Often you'll actually be able to see the bass' heads.
I'll usually cast the spinnerbait on the outer edges of the buck willows and brush to try and pull the bass out of the cover.
If the bass are holding tight in the cover, and I can pull them away from it with the spinnerbait, they'll be much easier to land. But Maynor Creek Water Park isn't a one-lure lake. I have two other tactics I'll be using on each piece of buck brush.
After I run the spinnerbait on either side of the brush (trying not to hit the brush) and pull the bass out of it, I'll then go to a Mann's HardNose Freefall worm in black neon. I'll use a No. 5 wide Gamakatsu hook with 2-pound-test fluorocarbon line, the Pinnacle 7.5-foot light flipping rod and a 6.4:1 Optimus reel. I'll be casting and pitching to all the shallow-water cover with this setup and also to the few patches of lily pads.
One of the reasons I'll go to Maynor Creek this month is because the bass will be holding in 1 to 3 feet of water. In one day of fishing, you can just about cover the entire shoreline of the lake.
With this Freefall worm, the less you do to the lure, the more fish you'll catch. I pitch the worm in close to the bushes and let it fall on a slack line. Be sure to pitch to both sides of the bush as well as to the front of the bush, and allow the worm to fall.
Once the worm hits bottom, I'll dead-stick it for about a 10-count. Then the bass will swim out of the bush and take the worm. Often a bass will be watching the worm fall and won't attack until it sees the worm lying still on the bottom. If you don't get a bite after a 10 count, reel the worm in, and pitch it again.
Before I leave that bush, I'll pitch a Mann's Stone Jig. You want that jig to fall vertically right through the bush.
I'll be fishing a 7-foot, 11-inch Pinnacle flipping rod with 30-pound-test Stren Sonic braid and a Mann's ½-ounce black/blue Stone with a black/blue Mann's HardNose Crawfish as a trailer. I'll pitch and flip the jig right into the middle of the bushes. As soon as a bass takes that jig, set the hook hard, and immediately try to pull that fish out of that bush, which you should be able to do with that heavy rod and heavy line. As soon as the fish takes the jig, turn its head up quickly to get the bass out of the bush, before it has time to get your line tangled.
Most of these fish will weigh from 1½ to about 5 pounds, with numbers of 3- to 4-pound bass being caught. On a good day in March, I'll generally catch 12 to 15 keeper bass.
There's one other place that I target this month besides the shallow cover, and that's the rip rap. A road crosses this lake and has two productive rip-rap points down by the bridge. Oftentimes this month, the bass will be schooling off those rip rap points.
If you find them schooling, use the spinnerbait with a fast retrieve, and then swim the Freefall worm through the school. When I pitch the worm, I let it fall to a two count and then reel it in to the boat. The trick to catching those schooling bass is to fish this worm like you will a plastic frog. Make sure the bass has the worm in its mouth before you set the hook. Don't set the hook on the strike. Often a bass will grab the worm by the tail and then swim off away from the school before it inhales the worm.
Maynor Creek Water Park may be overlooked by a lot of anglers, especially during the week. This lake is part of the Pat Harrison Waterway. At one time, the original intent was to create a waterway all the way down to the Gulf Coast through a series of watershed lakes that were built all over the state. Many of these lakes reverted back to the property owners, but the bigger ones the state kept and maintained.