During the first part of May, fish are staging by moving from the spawning areas out to the points and getting ready to move to deeper water for the summer.
The bass will be feeding heavily to put on weight after the spawn, which makes them very aggressive. You usually can catch numbers of bass by fishing surface lures just before daylight.
I fish topwater lures from daylight until the bass quit biting them - possibly as late as 9 or 10 a.m. - concentrating on points of pockets, creek arms and main-lake points. I like a prop bait like the Devil's Horse or a chugger bait like the Pop-R or the Spit-N-King.
I use 15-pound-test Berkeley 100% fluorocarbon line, and a Seeker 6-foot, 8-inch jerk bait and top-water rod with a Pinnacle 7.3:1 reel.
I usually give the lure two jerks, and then let it sit still. Since the bass are so aggressive, on some days you can keep reeling the bait and not stop.
Most of the time, when those bass see the bait on the surface, they'll quickly swim up behind the bait and attack it once it stops.
When you're fishing the points and looking into the pockets, search for bluegill beds, since bass will be chasing bluegills this month: Cast the prop bait or chugger bait to the bluegill beds, and hold onto your rod and reel.
Use worms and a Stone Jig
If the bass don't hit topwaters, go back to them with a worm. Any time I fish topwater lures, I have a green pumpkin Mann's 5-inch Freefall Worm tied onto a second rod with no weight on the line.
Often the bass will attack the topwater lures but not get the hooks in their mouths. When I see a bass miss my topwater bait, I immediately grab the rod with the Freefall worm and cast right back to the spot where I've seen the bass blow up. I usually can catch them by using the worm as a follow-up bait.
My worm rod will be a 7-foot, 2-inch medium-heavy graphite Zebco Hawg Seeker paired with a 6.4:1 Pinnacle reel with 17-pound-test Berkeley fluorocarbon line.
When my line twitches as the worm is falling, I usually hesitate just a second before striking the fish. Most of the time you can set the hook by reeling the slack out of the line.
I also might use a Mann's 3/8-ounce Stone Jig with a black-and-blue craw trailer. Instead of dragging the jig on the bottom, however, I'll swim it through the bluegill beds with a medium retrieve. I'll also shake my rod tip while retrieving the swimming jig.
The bass will react to the jig as though it's a bluegill, so you can catch some really big bass using this tactic.
Look for bedding bass
As you're fishing points, search for bedding bass that are protecting fry. I believe we'll have a late spawn in this section of Mississippi, since we have had very cold weather.
You might see some bass spawning around the full moon in April instead of March, and some fish still will be guarding fry at this time of the year.
If you see some bass moving along the sides or the back ends of the pockets, you can catch them using surface lures.
But if you see bass protecting fry in the back and side pockets, and they don't take the topwater lure, follow up with the Freefall worm.
I often cast past a bed and drag the worm or the lizard into the bed. But when they're protecting fry, I cast directly into the bed. I want the worm to fall and hit the fish's nose.
Catch bass in the middle of the month
Around the middle of the month, the bass will move to the deepwater haunts where they'll stay most of the summer.
I fish a brown-backed/chartreuse-sided Mann's 20+ crankbait from the middle to the end of the month.
I'll fish the crankbait on a 7-foot, 11-inch Seeker fiberglass cranking rod with a 5.5:1 Pinnacle reel and 12-pound-test Berkeley 100% fluorocarbon line. I like the jointed crankbait, because it has a lot of action as it swims. The joint moves back and forth and makes a clicking sound. This crankbait goes down to the bottom of the water quickly, and I like to dig it in the bottom in 8 to 10 feet of water.
I'll use a fast retrieve, stop the bait on the bottom and then reel it quickly again. I like this type of retrieve, since the bass will chase it. When the lure stops, the bass can open its mouth and run right into it.
You also can run this lure through the standing timber on Lake Okhissa with success.
My follow-up bait is a Carolina-rigged Mann's HardNose Lizard.