Calling Panther, one of the newer lakes in Mississippi, produces good numbers of 10-12 pound bass. The lake has some vegetation, ideal structure and topography for great fall fishing and a good population of bait fish. There’s not a more exciting way to catch a bass than watching the bass blow up on topwater lures.
Early in the morning, I’ll start fishing the riprap down by the dam with a buzzbait. I’ll have one rod rigged with a ¼-ounce buzzbait and the other with a 3/8-ounce buzzbait, generally one white and the other one black. Early in the morning, I’ll fish a black buzzbait parallel to the riprap at about a 45-degree angle to run my buzzbait right down the edge of the rocks, since the bait fish and the bass will be extremely shallow then.
I’ll be fishing a medium-heavy action 7-foot Pinnacle rod, a Pinnacle 7.3:1 baitcasting reel and 17-pound test Berkley 100 percent Fluorocarbon line. I want to be sure I have the power to get the hook to go through the bass’ jaw and have some delayed reaction, so, the bass can inhale the buzzbait before I strike it.
On the northwest side of the lake, two really big pockets (bays), one major creek and five or six smaller pockets are there. I’ll cast to the main lake point of a pocket with a topwater lure. Next I’ll go to the back one-third of that pocket and fish from there to the back of the pocket. Then I’ll fish the back side of the other third of the pocket. From running this pattern, I should be able to determine how far the bass have followed the bait fish into the pocket. Usually, during the first of October, I’ll find the bass on the points of the pocket or in the back one-third of the pocket all the way to the back of the pocket.
Primarily, I’ll fish the two buzzbaits on the riprap near the dam. But I’ll also have a rod with a Mann’s Super Frog tied onto the end of 40-pound Trilene braided line to cast to the lily pads and the grass too thick to fish a buzzbait. I’ll cast the frog on a Pinnacle 7-feet, 3-inch heavy-action spinnerbait rod with a 7.3:1 gear ratio Pinnacle Baitcasting reel. Always make sure the fish has the frog well in its mouth before setting the hook. You’ll be glad you have a heavy-action rod and the 40-pound test line, because if you get a big bass, you’ll have to muscle it out of the lily pads or the grass. I really like the white frog later in the morning, and I’ll almost always fish the white buzzbait. However, in cloud cover, I’ll throw the black frog.
To catch bass at Calling Panther this month, you must fish a lot of water. Some of the pockets will have good numbers of bass in them, but others may not. To identify the pockets with bass in them, as soon as you shut down your big motor, listen for bait fish smacking under the grass.
Main lake points
If October stays warm or even hot and not many cold fronts have come through, I’ll move out of the pockets and fish the main lake points where the bass will stage this month before moving back into those little pockets. I’ll be fishing a Mann’s 3/8-ounce spinner bait with double willowleaf blades with the big blade on the back a No. 4 ½ gold colored and the front a No. 3 ½ nickel blade. The skirt will be light chartreuse. I’ll fish the spinner bait fast and swim it just under the surface. I’ll also fish a Mann’s C4 crankbait in a shad pattern and also a Zara Spook in a light shad or clear color. I’ll fish the Spook, the spinner bait and the crankbait fast — all the way back to the boat. Bass holding on the points generally are in an aggressive mode and willing to chase baits.
Also look for bass schooling on the surface. Then throw a spinner bait or a Zara Spook into them. When the bass go down, I’ll throw a Carolina-rigged finesse worm to the spot where the bass have been schooling.
Calling Panther has quite a few manmade fish attractors on the main lake, usually out on the ends of points or on the sides of points. The attractors are marked and easy to find. I’ll fish these fish attractors with the Zara Spook and the spinner bait first. Next I’ll pitch a ½-ounce Mann’s Stone Jig with a green pumpkin craw trailer.
This month, you easily can catch and release 15 to 20 per day, weighing 1 to 12 pounds or more. If I catch 15 to 20 bass, I’ll expect to have two bass that weigh from 5 to 7 ½ pounds and plenty of 3 and 4 pounders. For a fun day of fall bass fishing, head to Calling Panther in October.