In June, I prefer to fish the 512-acre Calling Panther Lake located near the town of Crystal Springs.

At this lake, you can have your cake and eat it too. You can keep 30 bass a day, but only one of those fish can measure over 20 inches long. In mid-April, an angler caught a 23-inch 9-pound bass at this lake.

When first built, Calling Panther Lake had a defect in the dam, so the water in the lake had to be let down after it was stocked, and the dam was repaired. Before the lake was open, the bass in the lake were already 5 years old.

Today, the lake holds numbers of big fish and little fish. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks needs your help to remove that large number of small bass, so they're asking anglers to keep and eat 30 bass when they fish this lake.

Calling Panther Lake is full of hardwood timber, and it's a relatively deep lake on one side. On the more-shallow side of the lake, a creek channel runs through the flats. Since the lake was built down in a valley, regardless of how hard the wind's blowing, the valley will protect you from the wind while you're fishing.

I've chosen Calling Panther Lake for June because the bass there have spawned and are beginning to move out to their deep-water holes that they'll use for their summer homes. The bass will be relatively easy to find in patches of cane in creek-channel bends, which are also easy to follow with a depth finder.

In every bend in the creek, you'll find cane growing. In the more-shallow water, you can see the cane. But out near the creek edge, the cane in deeper water stands up off the bottom about 6- to 9-feet tall, but may be underwater in 3 to 4 feet or 7 to 8 feet.

June baits and tackle

I prefer to use big baits when I'm fishing for big bass. That's why I like to fish the Mann's 10-inch HardNose Snake and the Mann's 12-inch Jellyworm with a 5/16- or a 3/8-ounce slip sinker up the line. To catch big bass, work the Jellyworm or the Snake really slowly through the cane. I'll position my boat in the creek channel and cast my Texas-rigged Snake or Jellyworm up to those points with cane on them, let the bait reach the bottom and then retrieve it through the underwater cane.

Although you'll catch a lot of bass under 20 inches at Calling Panther, if you catch 25 or 30 fish during the day, you'll have several bass in the 6- to 10-pound range. You even may catch a 15- to 16-pound largemouth in this lake.

I'll be fishing with 20-pound-test Berkley 100-percent fluorocarbon line on a 7-foot, medium-heavy Quantum PT rod with a Quantum 1160PT 6.3:1 gear-ratio reel. With the fluorocarbon line, you can feel the strikes better than you can with monofilament or braided line.

When the big bass take the Snake or the Jellyworm, you'll only feel a peck on that line. That's when you set the hook hard and fast to get those fish in the boat. If you don't, the bass will get you wrapped up in the cane.

Also, I'll cast a 3/4-ounce Mann's spinnerbait with a gold willowleaf blade on the back, a silver Colorado blade on the front and a chartreuse/white skirt out to creek channels with cane on them. I'll let the spinnerbait sink to the bottom, and then slow-roll it through the cane. When a bass hits the spinnerbait, you'll feel a much different bite than the bite you get with a small plastic bait. The bass will clobber the spinnerbait and try to snatch the rod from your hand.

The bass you'll catch

On a fair day, you may catch 20 to 25 bass less than 20-inches long at Calling Panther, three or four bass larger than 20 inches and a bass that weighs 10 to 12 pounds, plus you'll likely catch some good eating-size bass. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks wants to manage Calling Panther Lake as a trophy-bass lake. Therefore, anglers must remove a number of the smaller bass.

Most of us are strong catch-and-release advocates, but on this lake, we have to catch and cook bass under 20-inches long. If we do, Calling Panther Lake will continue to be one of the best bass fisheries in Mississippi - both for trophy bass and catch-and-eat bass.

In June, anglers should catch good numbers of both. Also, bream fishing has been picking up on the shoreline on crickets and worms. So if you want to have a great day of fishing, fish Calling Panther Lake.