However, there's a lot of cover for bass to hide in on Ross Barnett. Most bass are deep this time of the year everywhere else, but here the bass are still shallow.
You might catch bass in water from 1- to 7 ½ feet deep at Ross Barnett because it's a shallow lake. The reason there are so many ways to fish Ross Barnett and catch bass this month is because you can divide the lake into two parts.
Below the Highway 43 Bridge
The Highway 43 bridge is the dividing point for the lake, and I like to start fishing in the morning along the rocks and the riprap near the dam.
Chugger-type baits and walking baits like the Zara Spook will be your best bets.
Bass will be in the shallow water around the rocks because that's where the shad and bluegills will be holding just at first light. You'll catch probably four or five nice bass using this tactic.
I fish with a Pinnacle 7.3:1 reel with a Seeker 7-foot fiberglass topwater rod and Berkley 15-pound-test 100 percent Fluorocarbon line.
Fish these topwater lures by moving them fairly fast. Cast parallel to the rocks, from right up against the rocks to 2 or 3 feet away.
Most of the bass you catch will be 1 ½- to 3-pound largemouths, but there could be a 5-pounder in the mix.
Ledges below the Highway 43 Bridge
After the sun comes up, move to the ledges off the river channel to watch for schooling bass attacking shad on the surface.
Cast a Mann's Three-For-All swimbait then.
As bass move deeper, reel the Three-For-All slower, and let it contact the wood and the edges of the ledges where you've seen the fish. Reel it about three times quickly, and then let it fall back to the bottom.
This month all the lures I'm fishing on the lower end of the lake will be shad colored.
I like a 6.4:1 Pinnacle reel with a 7-foot 6-inch medium-heavy Seeker graphite rod and Berkley's 20-pound-test 100 percent Fluorocarbon when I'm fishing a Three-For-All.
I'll also be fishing a medium-diving crankbait like a Mann's 15+ in the shad patterns on the ledges. I'll follow-up the Three-For-All swimbaits with the crankbait, digging the bottom with it and using a 7 ½-foot Seeker glass cranking rod with a 5.5:1 Pinnacle reel.
Above the Highway 43 Bridge
In some areas, the abundant lily pads will grow out to the edges of the river channel, and that's where I'll concentrate my fishing. I'll be using two types of rubber frogs - the Mann's Super Frog that floats and a Mann's HardNose FrankenToad that swims underwater.
I'll search for cuts in those lily pads in the mouths of ditches and coves that have formed on each side of the river channel. Lily pads still will be in these cuts, but they won't be as thick as they are on the edges of the main river channel.
I'll cast a white Super Frog on top of the lily pads and work it slowly on 40-pound-test Trilene braid on a 7-foot, 6-inch heavy Seeker graphite rod with a 6.4:1 Pinnacle reel.
Be sure to hesitate before you stick a fish to make sure it has the frog. Then set the hook as hard as you can to get the bass' head above the water and coming to the boat quickly.
With the FrankenToad, I'll retrieve it quicker than I do the Super Frog because it swims over the top of the pads. I'll be using a No. 6/0 Gamakatsu hook and a 1/8-ounce sinker attached to the hook, also hesitating before I strike the bass to make sure it has the toad in its mouth.
I use the same rod, reel and line for the FrankenToad that I use to fish the Super Frog.
When you come off a lily pad with the FrankenToad and allow it to move into open water, you can kill the toad and let it fall down through the hole, since it has a good falling action that often will cause bass to bite.
I also use the FrankenToad with a ½-ounce bullet sinker and a No. 6/0 Gamakatsu hook to flip it into the lily pad stems before allowing it to fall. On bright days, I fish with white frogs and toads, and on dark days I use black/red flake frogs and toads.
Sandbars above the Highway 43 Bridge
Numbers of sandbars are upriver. Some don't have lily pads on them but do hold good populations of spotted bass.
You can have fun catching spotted bass with a Mann's ½-ounce Little George, a lead-headed tail spinner in blue-back pearl color.
I'll also use a Carolina rig with a Mann's HardNose Finesse Worm in the watermelon-red color.