April is the month when both the spotted and the largemouth bass move to shallow water in Bay Springs Lake located near Booneville. They're easier to catch this month at Bay Springs than any other month of the year.

If you're going to this lake for the first time, remember it is one of the deepest and clearest lakes in the state. You'll see clay banks, pea gravel and some larger rocks there. Ever since the lake has been constructed, the spotted bass really have comeon strong.

And this month you can catch spotted bass up to 5 pounds or more, and largemouths in the 7- to 8-pound range. You won't catch them all day, every day, but you do have a good chance of lipping some of these bigger bass during April.


Fish jerk baits early in the month

Often Mississippi has cool weather at the beginning of April. Most jerk baits will work well, as long as they're suspending jerk baits.

You want a jerk bait that will dive down 3 to 5 feet deep and suspend at that depth. I like the Smithwick Rogue and the Lucky Craft jerk baits with purple backs, chartreuse sides and pearl bellies. I always have had good luck with these colors because they can look like bluegills or shad.

I also like the Strike King Sexy Shad pattern.


Use the correct line, rod and reel

Six-pound-test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon line is the real secret to catching these Bay Springs bass in April. Because the water is so clear in, you have to fish a small-diameter line to get the bass to bite.

I can get the jerk bait down deeper with lighter line, and there won't be much wood to fray or break my line.

I use a Pinnacle spinning reel in size 40, a 7-foot, 2-inch medium-action fiberglass spinning rod to enable the bass to suck in the jerk bait with less resistance. I keep a fairly-loose drag. When I pull back on a bass, I like my drag to slip a little and give some line to the fish.


Know the best April tactics

One mistake some anglers make, especially with a big bass, is trying to hurry up and get the fish in the boat. However, if you put a lot of pressure on that 6-pound-test line, there's a good chance the bass will break the line.

Using a fiberglass rod and a loose drag will help you not put too much pressure on the bass. I think an angler has much more fun playing the fish down so he easily can maneuver the bass to the boat.

Remember, in the winter months you can jerk a jerkvbait down to 3 to 5 feet deep. Then, let the bait sit still for 10 to 20 seconds.

Early in April, use a slow retrieve but not as slowly as you'll fish in January or February. Let the bait sit still for two or three seconds. Take a few turns on the reel, and allow it to sit still for a few seconds. Then keep the bait coming toward the boat.

Even in the beginning of April, the water will be warmer than in January and February and the bass will be feeding more actively.

I'll concentrate my fishing on points on the main lake and secondary creek points, since the bass will be moving into the backs of the creeks and bays in preparation for the spawn.


Use shallow-running crankbaits

As follow-up baits, I'll fish a shallow-running crankbait like the Mann's C4 and Baby X in the crawfish and brown-backed-chartreuse colors.

I use a Seeker fiberglass square-bill rod and a 6.4:1 Pinnacle reel.

Because I move the crankbaits fairly quickly, I'll increase my line size to 12-pound-test 100% Flourocarbon Berkley line. These little crankbaits can get down and dig on those shallow pea-gravel bars and around rocks, which will cause abrasion on your line, so you can move up to larger line.

I'll fish these shallow-running crankbaits in some of the same areas on the main-river and secondary points, but now I also will move into the backs of the creeks and coves.


Fish spinnerbaits

My third lure of choice in April will be a Mann's 3/8-ounce Classic Spinnerbait with a chartreuse-and-white skirt and Indiana gold blades. Those Indiana blades tend to produce more vibrations than other blades. I like a No. 2 Indiana blade on the front of the luret and a No. 4 on the back.

I fish this spinnerbait quickly, especially in the middle and toward the end of the month, but I don't let it wake the surface.

I fish it on the points, in the backs of the pockets and coves, and around any type of wood coming off the bank. I use 15-pound-test 100% Fluorocarbon Berkley line, since most bites will come from aggressive bass.

I'll use a Seeker 6-foot 9-inch fiberglass spinnerbait rod, with a Pinnacle 6.4:1 reel.

At this time of the year, you'll have some days when you can catch 20 bass in one day of fishing at Bay Springs.