The freak cold front that knocked the top edge off the summer heat certainly helped fishermen this week all around Mississippi.
“If it didn’t help us catch more fish,” laughed Brent Williams of Oxford, “then it least it made it more tolerable to be out there trying. Fortunately for me, it did both. We put a hurt on slab crappie trolling crankbaits Thursday morning at Sardis Lake.”
Williams said several boats were on the water to take advantage of the cooler temperatures.
“Most of the guys I talked to were doing as good as we were, which means they were catching about 20 or 25 keepers to the boat,” he said. “I think we ended up with 30, but we stayed a little longer than most did. When the winds and rains hit we didn’t see any lightning, so we stayed. The bite actually got better.”
Former fisheries director Ron Garavelli, who retired from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks on July 1, was one of the lucky Sardis anglers who got a nice crappie treat.
“We got on them pretty good, too,” Garavelli said. “We were pulling crankbaits and hitting the ends of the long points, and they were good to us. They danced the dance, and we took home a lot of fish we will be cooking.”
At Ross Barnett Reservoir, the cooler temperatures and overcast skies sent a lot of bass fishermen to the pad fields armed with frogs. Of course, that’s what most of them do anyway to find shade-seeking bass in the summer.
“But the last couple of days, the fish seemed to be more active,” said Tommy Purvis of Ridgeland. “The surface temperatures were down in the pads and maybe that’s why, and it might be why I was catching more fish around the edges of the pads. When it’s real hot in the summer, we usually have to get into the heart of the pads to find them.
“I was throwing that new, smaller version of the Scum Dog (the Scum Frog Small Dog by Southern Lure Company in Columbus) that you can walk like a big (Zara) Spook, and I was getting most of my bites right on the outside edges or after the frog left the pads. I finally moved out and started paralleling the outside edges of the pads, and that really worked.”
Danny Smith found the frog to be productive on smaller lakes, too.
“I had a heck of a morning Thursday on a 50-acre lake near my home in Ridgeland,” Smith said. “I was walking the (bigger Scum Dog) right off the banks, and they were popping it pretty good. This lake had no vegetation, so I was throwing at any kind of thing I could find, brush, logs, stumps, pipes — and it worked.”
Fishermen on the Tenn-Tom Waterway have also reported good success with frogs around vegetation at Aberdeen, Columbus and Aliceville, which was a nice break after dealing with muddy conditions from recent flash-flood conditions. Apparently, the bass moved into the vegetation, which served as filters for the water.
Mississippi River oxbow lakes fishermen might get a break next week; the river is rising again and should crest about 24.5 feet at Vicksburg sometime Tuesday, and then start a slow fall.
“If that happens and it falls slow, the bass bite should finally be right,” said Bill Reynolds of Clinton. “We missed the peak bite on the last fall because it fell through the mid- to low-20s (feet) so fast. If it turns and begins falling and it is less than a half a foot a day, I think the bite on the roadbeds, boat ramps and other structure will be good.”
Good jug-fishing reports for catfish from all areas of the state: the Mississippi River to Pickwick Lake, to the Tenn-Tom and Barnett Reservoir.
“We haven’t even had to wait until dark,” said Paul Thomas of Jackson, who fished at the Rez with friends on Thursday and filled a cooler. “We jugged on the upper end of the main lake and in the upper-river area, and we were kept busy chasing the jugs. We caught shad on the river, and I mean it was easy. We found big schools of shad on the surface all over the place, and, with about three throws of the net, we filled a bucket with bait.
“We varied our jug depths from 3 to 10 feet, and caught fish at all depths — but the most-consistent bite was at about 5 and 6 feet. We kept over 100 catfish in two boats, and we threw back everything over 5 pounds and anything under a pound.”
Guess what Thomas and his friends have schedule for Saturday?
“We’re having a fish fry for about 25 folks,” he said. “Unless they bite that good again Friday, and then we may invite 50.”