The bass are moving out of their deepwater summer patterns and into shallow water in September. Two patterns - fishing the riprap and the lily pads - will work all month, but they'll probably produce better in the middle and at the end of the month.



In the early morning hours, I'll fish the riprap on the lower end of the lake, around the dam and the bridge and rocks on the left side of Pelahatchie Bay.

When I'm fishing the rocks, I like a Mann's Baby Waker in a shad pattern and a Mann's HardNose Freefall Worm.

I'll fish the Baby Waker on 12-pound-test Berkley 100-percent fluorocarbon line with a 7-foot, 2-inch Seeker cranking rod and a 7:1 Pinnacle Optimus reel, working parallel to and as close to the rocks as I can.

Often, the bait will be in less than a foot of water, and I'll reel it slowly down the edge of the rocks, keeping it on top of the water to create a wake. Make sure your boat's not scraping the rocks, while you're keeping the boat close enough to parallel the bank.

When the fish takes the wake bait and sucks it in, you'll wonder why you haven't seen the bass' back out of the water before it's inhaled that bait; the water's so shallow. The bass don't have room to come from under the bait and blow upon it.

Most of the bass you catch will be in the 1- to 3-pound range, but now and then you'll catch a 4- to 5-pound bass using this tactic.

Once the sun comes up and the topwater bite dies, I'll fish a green pumpkin Mann's HardNose Freefall Worm, Texas-rigged with no lead. I dye the tail chartreuse because numbers of small bluegill will be holding on those rocks in September, and chartreuse is a main bluegill color.

I like a 4/0 Wide Gap Gamakatsu hook with 12-pound-test 100-percent fluorocarbon line. I'll cast the worm on a 7-foot medium-heavy-action graphite rod with a 6.4:1 Pinnacle Optimus reel, let it fall to the bottom and hop it up off the bottom two or three times until I get the worm in about 3 feet of water.

If I haven't caught a bass by then, I'll quick-reel the worm back to the boat and make another cast.


Mid-to-late afternoon

I like to fish the lily pads after the shallow-water riprap bite slows down or dies, but I return to the riprap an hour or two before dark.

On the lilies, I'll start with a Mann's Super Frog on 40-pound-test Stren Sonic Braid with a 7-foot medium-heavy-action Seeker graphite rod. I like a 7:1 Pinnacle Optimus reel.

I'll go up the Pearl River and fish the mouths of all the cuts, ditches and feeder creeks coming into the river, starting about 50 yards upstream in the creeks and continuing to fish it until I'm about 50 yards below the mouths of the creeks.

The primary target to catch the bass is on either side of the creek where it flows into the river. But if the bass aren't there, then I start fishing right down the center of the creek.

Since the baitfish are moving into those pockets and feeder creeks, if there's any runoff from recent rains or if these creeks are free-flowing, these places are where you're most likely to find bass. Runoff and free-flowing creeks bring-in oxygen, cooler water and plenty of nutrition for the baitfish to feed on the small microorganisms and tiny pieces of bait. The bass will feed on the baitfish and often will school-up. You even may see bass blowing-up on shad in the mouths of those little feeder streams.

I'll cast the frog as far as I can toward the bank, twitching the tip of the rod like I will when fishing a Spook or a topwater bait.

Once the frog comes to an opening in the lily pads, I'll hop it into that opening and let it sit still for two or three seconds.

Usually in September the lily pads are starting to break up, and there will be some holes in them. Even if there aren't holes in the pads, I'll reel the frog on a steady retrieve slowly.

Remember when the bass blows up on the frog to hesitate to make sure the bass has the frog in its mouth before setting the hook or you'll pull the frog out of its mouth.

Getting the bass out of lily pads often is a problem for most anglers, and that's the reason I use the 40-pound braided line, hoping the line will cut the lily pad stems.

Although I'll try to horse the bass out of the lily pads, if the fish gets down in the pads and hangs-up, don't try to pull the bass out. Go to the fish, follow your line down into the pads, lip it, and bring it out of the pads.

If the bass quit hitting the frog, I'll turn around and go back up the river where I've first started fishing, about 50 yards above the creek opening.

This time, I'll fish the 1/4-ounce Mann's Classic Spinnerbait with a small, gold Colorado blade and a No. 4 Indiana nickel blade. I'll fish the spinnerbait down the edges of the pads, and if there are any openings in the creeks or runoffs, I'll fish the spinner bait in that open water. I'll continue to fish the spinnerbait until I'm 50 yards below these small creeks and ditches.

September is a fun time to fish Ross Barnett, and the lily pads and the rocks are my favorite places to fish now.