If somebody should happen to ask me advice about bass fishing, I would just laugh. I could count on one hand the number of largemouth bass I have fielded to the stringer.

But despite all that, I have actually been on some really good bass fishing trips.

All these memories came back a couple months ago on the last Saturday of the 2008 deer season. It was too cold outside, and the ground was totally soaked from an all-night rain.

I was suffering depression from the reality that deer season was over for me. On top of that, I was at home tending to my 9-year-old scamp and a pup recovering from being "fixed."

I sat gloomy in my recliner watching of all things a bass fishing program on television.

It dawned on me that in a very short span of time things would warm up, flowers would bloom, turkeys would gobble and bass would be coming into the shallows. There are no better shallows for lunker bass than along the edges and cover of small farm ponds or hidden backwater lakes that caught fresh water from flooded spring rivers.

This is lazy, fun bass fishing.

Lost lakes

My angling "guide" told me to bring a couple fishing poles with some pretty stout line on them and a selection of spinnerbaits that would make a lot of noise and splash. I loaded everything I owned in my antique tackle box including some silver spoons and a few other lures I had no idea about. Then I wiped the dust from my two fishing rigs, both Zebco 33 outfits.

If ever there was an amateur bass fisherman, I was it.

"When I was scouting some treestand locations on a newly acquired deer hunting lease up in Holmes County near the Big Black River, I practically ran into two small lakes I never even knew were there," said Cam Thornton of Jackson. "The two were connected by a small channel that was not deep enough to paddle a boat through when the water level was low. I guessed when the Big Black flooded in the spring, it probably filled these lakes to capacity creating two great little hidden lakes.

"One walk around the largest lake, and I knew this one had to have bass. The basic configuration of the lake consisted of flooded cypress and button brush. There was plenty of open water to motor around with an electric trolling rig between the trees. Downed trees, floating treetops, submerged logs and some lily pads were visible."

Thornton and I unloaded our ATVs, and tied an aluminum johnboat on the hitch of his ride. We crossed the highway, and headed into the woods along a route Lewis and Clark would have had trouble finding. It was a good mile around and around in the woods, and across sloughs and ditches.

But it was worth it.

Bass in shallow water

I kid not, Thornton's first cast after pushing off from the little launch we hacked out of the thick briars and cover was a strike. So was his second cast, though this time he jerked the rod tip wildly and yelled "Gotcha!" A few seconds of fevered reeling yielded a 3-pound bass and a big smile on two anglers' faces. We hit the jackpot.

The water was black but clear as a bluebird day. Once a fish was hooked, you could see it coming to the boat twenty feet out. Most of the bass Thornton was catching were right up near the bank and always hiding in some cover. It didn't take long to figure out most of the fish were up against a log, under the button brush or in grass right at the edge of land.

Shocking to me, I caught fish, too, only I was often missing the best instant to set the hook or lost the finned wonder in cover. I broke the line at the lure eyelet several times, and was running low on more spinnerbaits.

But I was having a blast.

In between catching emerald-green bass, we were also pulling in a few papermouth crappie at the same time. We contrived that on the next trip we would come fully equipped to try out the white perch with long crappie poles with shiners and jigs.

"When I heard your tales about all the hot bass action on that lost lake, I just chuckled," said James Harper. "We have a small neighborhood lake right behind my house north of Vicksburg.

"Once the water finally warms completely up in June, my boys are walking the banks landing bass at nearly every cast. Ben and Jay are always dragging out the rods and reels flipping spinners or some other lure around the edge cover of the lake. It always seems like the early season fishing is best in shallow waters before fish go to deeper depths for cooler water."

It may not take discovering a lost lake to find some fantastic shallow-water bass action. What is does take is a good flexible bass rod, a favorite fishing reel and a tacklebox loaded up with spinnerbaits or topwater crankbaits.

Boats are nice, but not always necessary. Just find a small farm pond or lake that offers open access to the water's edge. Cast around live cover, downed logs and grass beds.

Keep a fresh supply of canola oil and corn meal on hand. Nothing can beat hot bass action in small ponds with shallow water.