September is a really good month to fish private ponds and lakes, even in sub-developments and state and municipal parks.

I catch numbers of bass using a 1/2-ounce Mann's Stone jig and a big spinnerbait because most people aren't fishing big-bass lures in private ponds. The biggest bass in a small lake or a pond will come to the largest lures.

Even when I'm fishing a 1/2-ounce jig, I'll have a big trailer on it, like a Mann's Mosquito Hawk, to attract a big bass. I'll either be fishing a black/blue or green/pumpkin jig and trailer or a big spinnerbait in these colors.

Lakes Ferguson and Whittington off the Mississippi River are my two favorite public waters in September because they're loaded with bass. At this time of year, the water is usually low in these two lakes, and the bass have to move to deep-water structure.

Lake Ferguson

Fishing now at Lake Ferguson near Greenville is really simple. Any time you pinpoint cover on ledges, points and drop-offs, you'll generally be able to find and catch bass.

Although I'll be fishing visible cover, most of the time, I'll fish the first drop-off away from the bank on invisible cover. Don't overlook points in falling water. Search for hidden, underwater sandbars that run out into those oxbow lakes too.

I use a Lowrance LCX-111C HD depth finder to not only identify the breaks and the drop-offs but also the cover and the bass that generally will hold in 8 to 12 feet of water during this month.

My two favorite lures on these two lakes are a Mann's 20+ crankbait and a Stone Jig.

The 20+ will reach down to about 18 feet. I like two colors - brown/black/chartreuse with an orange belly and citrus shad with silvery sides, a blue back and an orange belly.

I'll be fishing these crankbaits on 10- and 12-pound-test line with a Quantum Energy PT E750 casting reel (5.1:1 ratio) reel and a Quantum cranking rod.

I'll dig the crankbait into the bottom the entire time I'm fishing it to feel when the crankbait runs over any type of bottom structure like a rock or a limb, which may be holding bass, and then hesitate it a few seconds to let it rise up and over the cover.

Then I'll speed up my retrieve to make the crankbait look like it's running away from the cover. A bass holding on the cover will assume the crankbait has spotted it, and is swimming away to keep from being eaten. That bass will attack with a reaction strike, whether it's hungry or not.

I like the shape of the head of a 1/2-ounce Mann's Stone Jig because it comes through the cover really well without hanging up on the bottom. The only two colors I throw are black/blue and green/pumpkin.

Generally, bass will be holding in 8- to 10-foot-deep water close to a drop-off from 18 to 25 feet. I like to work the jig along these ledges, jerk it really hard off the bottom and then watch my line for a strike as it free-falls to the bottom.

I fish the jig on 17-pound-test Berkley Vanish Transition fluorocarbon line with a Quantum Energy PT E770 (7:1 ratio) reel. This reel lets me stay in contact with the bass as it follows the bait, take up the slack in my line quickly and then set the hook fast when I'm getting a bite. I'm using a Quantum Greg Hackney PT Tour Edition Signature Series rod.

In September, you'll catch plenty of 3- to 5-pound bass on both lakes. A 5- or 6-pounder is a good-sized bass there.

Lake Whittington

Lake Whittington, about 50 miles north of Greenville, has steeper banks and more laydowns on the south side of the lake than Ferguson. On the north side of the lake are more-shallow ledges.

When I'm fishing the laydowns with 17-pound-test Berkley Trilene XT line, I like a Mann's C-4 square-billed crankbait because the square-billed crankbait has more vibration and swims over the limbs of a blowdown better than a round-billed crankbait does.

To fish the laydowns, position your boat right in front of the tree lying in the water. Run the crankbait down the left side of the trunk of the tree and then down the right side several times. To get the bass to come from under the log and take the bait may require repeated casts.

If I don't catch a bass working the trunk of the tree with a crankbait, I'll back out to deeper water and fish the top of the tree with a Stone Jig in either black/blue or green/pumpkin.

This technique is slow and meticulous. You let that jig drop through every crack and limb in the top of the laydown tree, and make at least five casts to the deep-water top of the tree. Remember, the bass here receive a lot of fishing pressure, so to get that reaction strike, you'll have to make many casts to each tree.

After I've worked the south side of the lake and the trees, I'll move to the north side of Lake Whittington, which is shallower but does have some points and ledges that run out into the lake. Electronics will make the difference.

Since fishermen have planted brush along these drop-offs and points on the upper end of the lake, you need to idle around and find the cover before you start fishing.

Once I locate the brush, I'll be fishing a jig or a Texas-rigged 10-inch Mann's plastic worm because in hot water, bigger fish bite a bigger worm. I like a red-shad or a green/pumpkin worm with a 3/8-ounce sinker on 17-pound-test Trilene fluorocarbon line and a No. 5/0 hook. I work the worm the same way I work the jig, crawling it through each piece of cover to elicit a reaction strike. When the bass takes the worm, I'll set the hook as fast as I can.

Whittington usually produces bigger fish than Ferguson. All the oxbows along the Mississippi River hold a good number of 4- to 6-pound bass, but I'll catch a 6-pound bass out of Lake Whittington sooner than I will out of Lake Ferguson.

I enjoy river fishing, and you'll have a good time fishing any of the oxbows on the Mississippi.