Susan Gregory eased the trolling motor into the water, and began probing the brackish waters of Cowan Bayou on the Lower Pearl much like a skilled surgeon.

Gregory's precise pitching and casting abilities allowed her to make pinpoint casts into the spawning grounds of finicky springtime bass.

As she pitched her craw worm next to a brushtop and gently shook it, a 3-pound bass inhaled it, and headed to parts unknown. Almost instantly, the pro-angler set the hook and drove the steel home, deep into the jaw of the hungry bass.

Though the fish fought wildly, Gregory quickly wore it down and brought it into the boat.

Though she was only fishing for fun on this day, Gregory was engaged in a friendly competition with another angler to see who would be better on that day. Gregory continued to carve up the shoreline cover with precise casts, and drew strikes all day long. Though the area readily yields limits of small bass in the 1- to 1 1/4-pound range, this lady angler was having a field day.

By the end of the day, Gregory had caught more than a limit of quality bass in the 2½- to 3-pound range.

A Kiln resident, Gregory is now living a dream that was born during a childhood spent near New Orleans. Though her parents carried her on boating outings, fishing was not a priority, and freshwater fishing for bass was not an option. Somehow, the youngster had a spark born deep inside that eventually flamed into a passion for bass fishing.

"Once I found out about bass tournaments, I knew I wanted to be a professional angler," she said.

With a family and children at home, however, the dream had to wait a while longer. Once her children grew up, she was free to pursue her dream, and it has become a reality. This talented lady angler has gone up against both men and women, and been very successful at catching bass when others couldn't.

Though the Lower Pearl doesn't have lunker bass like some lakes in the state, it does hold a good population of fish that are both fun and challenging to catch. Both the brackish water south of Highway 90 and the tidal flows make for challenging fishing, much like in a corps flood-control lake. Both are similar in that the water levels fluctuate drastically and require an in-depth knowledge of water levels, and how the bass react to the various changes in depth and current.

In addition to the excellent bass fishing that can be found on the waters south of Highway 90, anglers may also catch redfish on almost any cast. And when you hang into one of the hungry reds, you'll have the fight of your life.

"I catch a lot of bass and an occasional redfish in the Cowan Bayou area on crawfish and DOA Shrimp," Gregory said.

That's an added bonus for anglers looking to have a little fun.

An average spring day on these waters may yield catches of eight to 15 bass.

"On a really good day, we may catch 20 to 25 bass," Gregory said. "And you might even catch a 3-pound kicker to anchor a limit.

"Though bass larger than 3 or 4 pounds are hard to come by, a 6-pounder was weighed in during a tournament I fished here not too long ago."

Fishing the tidal waters of the Lower Pearl is challenging, but can be very fun and rewarding. To be successful, anglers must learn how the tide affects the bass.

"I like to fish when the tide is going out, because a lot of bass will gang up at the mouths of cuts and creeks," Gregory said. "If you can hit the cuts at the right time, you might pick up several bass on each cut. Anytime you have current flowing through the ditches, you might get a bite at the mouth of the cuts."

Gregory prefers fishing typical springtime baits during March.

"I'll fish a junebug red or red shad crawfish or lizard," she said. "Darker-colored spinnerbaits, buzz baits and plastics also seem to do better down here."

In addition to fishing the typical Texas-rigged plastic baits, Gregory will fish slow-falling Flukes or tubes in and around the grass, and she consistently draws strikes on slow days.

If the conditions are right, she will also go to topwater.

"If the bass are active, I'll fish a topwater popping bait or maybe even a Rapala," Gregory said.

Mississippi has a wide ranging choice of freshwater fisheries around the state, and the Lower Pearl is one destination that should be on your list of choices to try. In addition to the great bass fishing, you'll also find some breathtaking scenery, complemented by a wide variety of wildlife and waterfowl not found anywhere else in the state.

The following 10 GPS locations are examples of areas that Gregory searches out and finds bass this month. Try a few of these yourself, and you'll get an idea of the places to catch bass on the lower Pearl in March.

• No. 1: N30 13.540 x W89 05.656: Leaving the Highway 90 boat ramp just west of Pearlington, turn right, or south, and follow the channel markers in a southerly direction until you see the red No. 30 channel marker. Take a left, and go approximately 1/8 mile. Take a left just before the red No. 2 sign (N30 12.550 x W8935.444), and continue on until you see the No. 3 sign. Take another left, and run north until you get to the first GPS coordinates. This location is in a curve with two intersecting canals.

"This is a good spot to try when the tide's coming out," Gregory said. "In fact, it's a good spot to check anytime."

Much like in a river system when the barges are locking through and the water rushes through the cuts, so goes the ditches and channels when the tidal water flows out.

"Sometimes they'll gang up in the mouths of these cuts, and you can do really well," Gregory said.

Many of the cuts such as these may hold anywhere from eight to 12 bass.

"Most of the bass will average 12 to 14 inches in the brackish water of the lower system down here," Gregory said.

The larger bass will usually be caught farther upriver.

"I like to fish worms, lizards and even topwaters," Gregory said. "I'll cast up into the mouths of the cuts, and work the lure back toward open water."

It takes only a few casts to see if anything is holding and feeding on a particular cut. If they are biting, stay until they quit, but leave and go to the next spot as soon as possible while the tide continues to flow out and pull baitfish with it.

"And then you can hit more spots during the prime time and catch more fish," she said.

• No. 2: N30 14.155 x W89 36.505: Follow the channel north, and go to the first creek mouth with a house on the point. Fish the mouth of the bayou as you did the first spot.

"You can work the mouth of this cut and catch bass here as well, when the tide's flowing out," Gregory said. "After you've worked the cut thoroughly, work your way farther into the bayou, and target the grass, brush and any trash you might find along the banks."

Pre-spawn and spawning bass will move up into the channels and start bedding during March when the conditions are right. Gregory is very methodical, and really picks apart the shoreline structure. Watching her pitch a Texas-rigged crawfish or craw worm into structure is much like watching a great pitcher like Greg Maddux work his magic around the outside corners of the plate.

• No. 3: N32 29.301 x W88 48.521: Continuing north in Cowan Bayou, Gregory works her way about halfway into the canals, fishing as she goes. This spot has an intersecting canal with points, grass, docks and laydown trees and submerged structure along the shoreline.

"When the tide is in and the water is up in the spring, bedding bass can be found holding on several different types of structure in this area," Gregory said.

Once she establishes a pattern, she will key on those same types of spots in all of the canals. Sometimes the key may be grass, sometimes docks and other times wood structure. There are also prime spawning spots along the shoreline throughout the bayou.

When the fish are active and turned on, Gregory may fish the entire maze of canals in Cowan Bayou and catch fish pretty frequently.

• No. 4: N30 14.245 x W89 36.391: Leaving the mouth of Cowan, take a left, go north about 100 yards and hit the first cut on the left. When the tide is moving out, fish the cut and creek mouth first, continuing on into the canal itself.

"I like to fish the grass, laydowns and any structure that I can find along the way," Gregory said. "I'll fish all the way into the back before stopping.

"If the fish are there, it will be pretty much like the canal in Cowan - just keep hitting the key spots, and you'll get a bite or two."

• No. 5: N30 15.846 x W89 37.468: Leaving from the Highway 90 bridge landing, turn left and go north a couple miles until you come to the red No. 45 sign. The cut will be the second one on the right after you pass the sign.

This channel is chock full of grass, bushes and wood structure that hold bass all during the year, especially during the spring.

"I like to fish lizards and craw worms, and target the visible structure in this channel," Gregory said.

Though she likes plastics, Gregory also enjoys fishing and catching bass on silver/black Rapalas and Shad Raps.

• No. 6: N30 14.296 x W89 39.438: As a reference point again, leaving the Highway 90 Bridge landing, turn left, go north about 1/8 mile and turn into the first cut on the left into Poitivents Ditch. Run to Middle River, and turn left into Graves Ditch (N30 14.355 x W89 39.087). Go through the short ditch, turn right and go to the first cut on the left, which will be the mouth of Richardson Bayou.

While you can fish the mouth and further into the ditch, you might want to run into the back of the ditch until you get to the area where water pours through small openings in the bank on the right side (N30 14.262 x W89 39.653).

"You'll find spawning grounds back in the ditch, where the fish will be eating shad," Gregory said. "There's a lot of good spawning ground filled with structure and stumps."

Gregory will go with a red-shad worm, craw or Brush Hog around the stumps. Be sure to work the current thoroughly as bass will stack up in this area when the tide is going out. Bass feed ravenously, and you'll more than likely catch several if they're turned on.

"Be sure to fish the bank and the ditch where the water enters the main channel," she recommended.

• No. 7: N30 14.606 x W89 39.826: Leaving Richardson Bayou, head northwest, and fish the first cut to the left.

"I'll fish the mouth of the cut with a deep-diving crankbait anytime there's current coming out," Gregory said. "As with most of the creek mouths or cuts, bass will stack and feed on any available baitfish that gets swept by. After you fish the mouth, you can keep fishing the creek, and work crankbaits, lizards and worms, and pick up bass all along."

• No. 8: N30 14.824 x W89 40.029: After fishing the mouth of the creek, run to this point where the creek bends hard to the right.

"Fish the laydown logs and wooden structure in the creek bend," Gregory advised. "During one trip I had my line broken several times fishing this structure."

During that trip, Gregory modified a watermelon/chartreuse-colored lizard, and dyed the legs orange. The bass hadn't seen anything quite like that, and really ate it up.

After fishing the structure, Gregory fishes the ditch on the left side, almost in the middle of the creek bend. Fish the mouth thoroughly before continuing up the main creek channel to the right. Then continue fishing the visible structure as well as the edges of the grass.

• No. 9: N30 13.395 x W89 38.867: After leaving No. 8, go back into the West Middle River, and motor south continuing on past Richardson Bayou and Graves Ditch. Continue traveling south, and go under another smaller bridge on Highway 90. Boaters will encounter a sharp curve in the river about ½ mile south of the bridge. The Upper Black will be the first cut on the right past the bridge and curve.

During the spring, there will be a lot of grass and lily pads in this bayou, and Gregory takes full advantage of the springtime bite.

"I'll fish bankbaits like spinnerbaits, Flukes, buzz baits and frogs in the grass and pads," she said.

• No 10: N30 16.863 x W89 37.910: Bogue Homa and Logtown bayous are found on the right of the Pearl River several miles north of the Highway 90 Bridge Landing north of No. 5 and just past channel marker No. 50 on the right.

"You'll find better fish in this ditch than in those below Highway 90,"said Gregory.

Turning off the main river into Bogue Homa, you can fish the Bogue and continue in a northeasterly direction until you come to Logtown. This creek has a little bit of everything with brush, logs, stumps and cypress trees.

Not far after you leave the main river, you will run into an area that also has bridge pilings as well as a lot of wood structure.

"Fish the wood structure as well as the pilings, cypress knees and any visible cover, and you'll probably catch a few bass," Gregory said.

Check out Susan Gregory's website at www.susangregoryproangler.com for more tips.