As the weather warms, Mississippi bass will be moving to the spawning flats. I like to fish Turkey Creek in Decatur in March. This 400- to 500-acre lake has several pockets and arms with lily pads, which generally provide excellent spawning flats for bass. The stems represent the vertical structure that bass like to hold around, and the pads on the surface offer cover and shade. Baitfish, bream, crappie and all types of fish besides bass like to live under the lily pads.

At this time of year, the bass will be moving up into the pre-spawn or the spawning mode and holding under the lily pads or on the stems preparing for the spawn.

Turkey Creek is one of the best pre-spawn and spawning lakes in Mississippi. You can catch bass there three ways in March - pitching a Mann's HardNose Craw or cranking a Mann's C-4 Elite crankbait or a Mann's Baby 1-Minus crankbait.

When I'm fishing the HardNose Craw, I'll use 17-pound-test Trilene fluorocarbon line. I'll put a 1-ounce slip sinker up the line, and peg the worm weight to the hook with a bobber stopper, like crappie fishermen do when they're fishing slip sinkers. With the bobber stopper attached to the line, the bobber will slide up and down on the line until the bobber's end hits the bobber stopper and suspends your bait at the correct depth.

A fisherman may peg his sinker with a toothpick and then break off the toothpick even with the lead. But with this technique, you're pinching the line against the lead, which can cause the line to break and lose the fish.

However, a bobber stopper will keep the lead against the hook until you set it. The bobber stopper will slide through the lead, allowing the lead to slide up and down the line above the bobber stopper, keeping the weight away from the fish. Then you won't lose many bass.

Below the lead, I tie a No. 3/0 Gamakatsu hook to the line, and rig the hook weedless in the black/red flake HardNose Craw to pitch it into the new lily pads just starting to appear on the surface and right next to the old stems of the lily pads. I'll let the Craw sit still to give the fish the chance to spot and inhale it. Even though you can't see the bass on the bed, you have to fish like you will if you see that Craw landing in the bass's bed.

Once the Craw reaches the bottom, I let it sit absolutely still for about 10 seconds, slightly shake the line to give it a little action, allow it to sit another 10 seconds, make a short hop off the bottom, let the bait fall back and sit on the bottom for about five seconds, retrieve the lure and make another pitch. This tactic is the most productive in early March when the fish are less active. Later in the month, or if the bass seem to be very aggressive, I'll crank the Baby 1-Minus.

In the past, most of the crankbaits fishermen used ran from 3- to 20-feet down. However, in recent years, we've learned that you can catch really big bass fishing a small, fast-running crankbait like a Baby 1-Minus less than 1-foot deep. I swim the black back/chartreuse side/orange belly Baby 1-Minus fast on 15-pound-test fluorocarbon line with a Quantum Tour Edition 1170 PT 7.0:1 gear ratio reel on a Paul Elias Quantum PT cranking rod to get a reaction strike. When bass see that little crankbait swimming just above their heads, running through the pads and crashing into the stems, it represents an easy meal they can just suck in and eat.

I've found over the years that the bass take the bait better if you reel it fast and don't stop when it hits the lily stems.

The Baby 1-Minus has a No. 4/0 and a No. 6/0 treble hook, and even though it's a small bait, I catch plenty of big bass on it during March. Now, I don't expect to catch a lot of really big bass at Turkey Creek this month, but I do plan to catch a large number of 3- to 4-pound bass. If you're in a tournament on Turkey Creek in March, and you catch five bass, they'll probably weigh a total of 14 to 17 pounds.

The C-4 Elite crankbait runs about 4 feet deep. If I don't catch bass in the pads' stems, I look for wood cover along the bank.

The back of Turkey Creek has two arms. The arm on the right where Turkey Creek comes into the lake contains isolated, laid-down trees in the water. That's where I'll concentrate my fishing with the C-4. My favorite color is a brown back/chartreuse sides/orange belly. I like 20-pound-test Trilene fluorocarbon line on the same rod and reel I've used with the Baby 1-Minus.

I cast to each side of the laydown at least three times and then across the top end of the laydown, further out and deeper in the water. I'll walk the crankbait through the limbs, and make at least 10 casts to a laydown before I leave it.

The real secret to fishing these laydowns is to walk that crankbait through the limbs by letting the bait hit a limb, stopping the lure, allowing it to float up and cranking it down again. You'll hang up when you fish this way, but if you don't get that crankbait working through the limbs, you won't catch the bass.