Fishermen love hunting season, especially those who do not hunt.
“Means a lot less traffic on the water,” said Gene Turner of Jackson, who loves bass fishing on Delta oxbows and Barnett Reservoir in October and November.
“But it’s more than the fact that most people have gone hunting,” he said. “The fish are really active and because of their behavior they are pretty easy to find. Shad migrate and if you know where they go in the fall and winter months, then you have won the biggest battle. The predator fish we chase will be where the shad are in the fall.”
The oxbows are peak in the 10th and 11th months, and offer outstanding black bass and white bass fishing.
“It’s my favorite time of the year because I know one of those two fish will bite at Chotard or Albermarle,” Turner said. “I like fishing for largemouth more than anything else, but if they aren’t biting for some reason I will go after the white bass.”
For largemouth, Turner uses spinner baits around any area where he can find a drain (springs, ditches...) on the shoreline, and he targets steep banks with mid-range crankbaits, jigs and soft plastics.
“The steep banks are good in November because they want the security of deep water nearby,” he said. “They will move up and feed shallow and I like to throw the shallow crankbaits around shallow tops and brush. I will even try topwaters around those. Then as the sun goes up, I will slow down and use jigs and worms around the timber.”
And if that doesn’t work or doesn’t produce fast enough?
“Then I take a tail-spinner or a crankbait, move to the gravel or paved boat ramps and work on the white bass,” Turner said. “Eventually I will find the hot spot and can catch as many as I want to fight.”
On Barnett Reservoir, Turner keeps it simple.
“Hit the dying lily pad fields in the cuts and secondary cuts of the upper Pearl River area,” he said. “The shad migrate in there and will be thick. That means the bass will be there, too. Small bladed spinner baits are dynamite, but then small soft-plastic swimbaits, and spoons work good, too. And if it’s overcast and warm, a topwater like a buzzbait or a frog will take a big fish.”
John Alford of Brandon has a fondness for hybrid striped and striped bass on the upper river on Barnett.
“When the shad move up there, the stripes and hybrids follow,” he said. “There are some long flat stretches of river with medium depths (9-12 feet) with deeper water at the ends and for some reason that is where big schools of 2- to 3-pound stripes and hybrids like to get. Switch to light spinning gear and use tail-spinners and you can wear them out.”
Asked for a November tip good for bass on any water, Elite Series bass pro Pete Ponds of Madison offered this: “Learn how to rig and fish a drop shot on light spinning tackle. It’s a finesse trick that really catches fish that aren’t really in a biting mood, like fishing right behind a cold front under blue-bird and high-pressure conditions. Use 8- or 10-pound fluorocarbon leader off 10-pound braided line and you can have a lot of fun.”