The weather will most assuredly cool down in October, but improved fishing is just as much a certainty. From the Tennessee line south to the Gulf of Mexico’s Mississippi Sound, seasonal movements will create some of best action of the year.
Here’s our top five trips to try.
1. Bull reds, Mississippi Sound: The near-shore fishing for big redfish hits a peak in October, as the bulls move up to feed on the edge of the outer marsh and the barrier islands. Huge schools of reds can change the color of the water when they are moving in search of food. It’s a blast, whether you use big gear and go for numbers or go light and enjoy the line-stretching battles.
2. Black drum, sheepshead, Gulf Coast: Later in the month, after a couple of cool fronts, look for loads of black drum, a first cousin of redfish, and sheepshead to start stacking on shallow reefs and structure. Two key areas to target are the pilings of the U.S. Highway 90 bridges that span the openings of two big bays, Biloxi and Bay St. Louis. Pitching pieces of shrimp to the bases of those pilings can fill an ice chest of good eating “puppy drum” and sheepshead, along with a few slot redfish.
3. Crappie, Grenada, Sardis and Enid Lakes: In early September, crappie fishermen were seeing the first hints that the trolling action would be hot this fall on the three North Mississippi Corps of Engineer Flood Control impoundments. Trolling crankbaits — usually a Bandit 300 series — over the edges of the creek channels near their intersections with the river beds is the preferred fall method on all three lakes in October.
4. Bass, Barnett Reservoir: On the heels of one of the best shad spawns in the lake’s history this spring, bass anglers are expecting the pad fishing at Barnett Reservoir to be outstanding in the fall. Once the shad start migrating into the shallows, the bass will follow. Usually that movement takes both into the pads, where the shad seek cover and the bass seek shad. There may be a hundred different ways to catch these bass in the pads, but none are more fun, or as productive, as running a plastic frog across the vegetation. In the BASS Open on Barnett last fall, the winning bag was caught flipping piers on the lower end, but the majority of the top 20 finalists spent their entire time with frogs.
5. Catfish, Tenn-Tom Waterway: October is a prime catfish month on most Mississippi waters, but few can match the production of the Tenn-Tom. All of the pools offer excellent fishing, but this is a prime time to hit the upper end between the headwaters at Pickwick Lake and Bay Springs Lake. Mississippi Sportsman provides you just the ticket, too, as Phillip Gentry’s 10th stop on his year-long tour of Catfish Hotspots is the upper Tenn-Tom. Check it out, and have a great month.