Keith Lee launched his boat on the beautiful waters of Lake Pushmataha, and quickly headed to a favorite cove chock full of pads and bass. As Lee worked the pads with a golden shiner-colored Senko, he promptly caught his first bass. As he retrieved the Senko back to the boat through the pads and vegetation in a fast retrieve, the bass just couldn't stand it.

A few casts later, Lee pitched his lure in the area of a swirl, and twitched the bait just before starting his retrieve when a bass exploded from the depths and crushed the Senko.

Lee continued to get strikes and catch bass after bass. One particular bass gave him the slip; he jerked too soon and missed on the hook set. About that time, his eagle-eyed partner beat him to the punch with a well-timed cast right onto the spot. In a split second, the bass struck the worm. Lee's daughter Morgan set the hook, and landed the bass like a seasoned pro. Lee had been beaten by his own daughter, and she didn't let him forget it the rest of the day. Of course, that was icing on the cake for the proud dad.

In addition to being a very good bass angler, Lee operates Lee's Bait and Tackle near Meridian. The experienced angler has been fishing competitively for the last 15 years, and has learned a thing or two about catching bass. Now that he has teenage daughters, he continually looks for good fishing lakes to carry them to, and Lake Pushmataha fit the bill perfectly.

"Kids can get burned out on bass fishing real quickly," said Lee. "And that's how I found this lake. A friend of mine told me if I wanted to bring the girls to a place to catch a lot of fish, then I should take them to Lake Pushmataha up near Philadelphia."

Lee's been fishing the lake for the last three years with fantastic results.

"Once the water warms, the bass will relate to the pads and vegetation, and offer great fishing action," Lee said. "And there are usually very few boats on the lake.

While fishing with Lee, we encountered a couple of his friends who also attested to the lake's charm. On their best day on the water, they caught and released 98 bass. While that won't happen every day, it's not unusual for anglers to catch 30 to 40 in a day's fishing either.

The majority of bass will weigh from 1 to 3 pounds, but it's not unusual to catch a lunker in the spring, and several 8-pounders have been caught as well.

Lee prefers fishing plastic in the pads and grass. His favorite lures in the pads are Senkos, trick worms and Zoom Horny Toads. And on the day I accompanied him to the lake, he caught quite a few on a Tiny Paca Craw rigged on a Spot Remover.

The following 10 spots are indicative of areas that Lee catches fish from when he's fishing the lake this month. Try a few of these spots yourself, and you'll get an idea of the typical areas to catch bass in April.

And the lake is just full of pads, vegetation and submerged brush with plenty of deep water nearby. It's got the makings for some mighty fine springtime fishing. Try some of these hotspots and find out for yourself.


No. 1: N32 48.072 x W89 14.994 - Leaving the boat ramp, head due south along the dam until you get to the cove just to the west of the fishing pier. There is a submerged brushtop right off of the dam that holds baitfish and bass. During April, this cove will have emerging lily pads and subsurface vegetation that holds good numbers of bass.

"I'll throw a War Eagle spinnerbait along the submerged top, and work it over real good," Lee said. "If I don't catch one on the spinnerbait, I'll switch to a finesse jig along the rocks and also in the brushtop."

Lee also works the emergent vegetation over thoroughly before leaving the cove.

"I like to pitch an off-white Senko, and work it real fast in short, steady jerks through the pads and grass."

Lee has caught as many as 12 bass in this area by working the Senko in and around the grass.


No. 2: N32 48.081 x W89 14.906 - After fishing the cove, troll to the pier on the east side of the cove where it sits just off the end of a point. The pier will have 3 to 5 feet of water on the backside with lily pads and vegetation in some areas. The T-shaped pier runs out into deep water, and has water 18 feet deep within just a few feet of the end of the pier. Lee will continue working the Senko along the pads and grass in the shallow water.

When he moves toward the deeper side of the pier, he'll switch to a Tiny Paca Craw on a Spot Remover head.

"The Spot Remover has a flat head that makes the Paca Craw stand up in a defensive position with both claws straight up like a real crawfish," Lee said.

Lee probes the area on the deeper side of the pier, and has had great success with the Spot Remover on the spotted bass that hang out along the pier and deeper water.

"On one trip, my daughter Morgan caught several spotted bass right off the end of this pier," Lee said. "There's a lot of spotted bass around this pier, and I'll usually work it over seven or eight times until the bass stop biting."

He also releases almost everything he catches so he can afford to stay in one area and catch fish after fish.


No. 3: N32 48.013 x W89 49.852 - Head farther south until you get to the next point on the right. This point will run way out into the lake, and will have vegetation near the bank running much farther out until the point drops into the deeper water. There will be lily pads on the surface with subsurface vegetation running well out along the point. The water on top of the shallow point will be 3 to 5 feet deep.

Lee works this area over with a custom-made lure that has a buzz blade on the front with a Zoom Horny Toad on the back. The homemade buzzer is deadly on the ravenous springtime bass.

"You can sit right here on this point and catch a mess of fish," he said.


No. 4: N32 47.750 x W89 14.773 - Leaving this point motor further south until you come to a large open cove on the right. The water in the middle of the cove will run 17 to 21 feet deep and 3 to 5 feet deep along the banks in the sides and rear of the cove. There will also be pads along the right side of the cove as well as some cattails and subsurface vegetation.

Lee usually runs to the back of this cove on the northwest side, and begins fishing any wooden structure that he can find along with the grass. If he finds both wood and grass, then he's in a prime strike zone for sure. Senkos and spinnerbaits will be the ticket in this cove as well.

"I like to fish the shallows when it's overcast, or when there's a little ripple on the water," Lee said. "When it's hot, bright and sunny, the fish will bury up under the pads and feed on baitfish."

In times like that, Lee will slow down and try to give them something they want.


No. 5: N32 47.674 x W 89 14.628 - Leaving No. 4, head farther south and stop at the next point that has a pier jutting out from the end of the point.

Lee fishes a crankbait or Strike King Red Eyed Shad around the structure off of the point and around the point as well.

"I'll fish a crankbait first and then switch to a jig or Tiny Paca Craw, and work the deep brush thoroughly," he said.

If the bass aren't on the deep brush, move to the point, and fish your way around the point and next pier into the small cove. There's plenty of brush and pads in this cove, and the water temperature should be just right in April for spawning.


No. 6: N32 47.317 x W89 14.680 - After fishing No. 5, head south until you see the last cove on the right, or southwest side of the lake. About two-thirds of the way back into the cove, you'll find a beaver hut with a lot of wooden structure in a pile around the hut. Lee advises working the beaver hut and structure with stout line and tough equipment as the bass are buried in the cover.

"I'll throw a finesse jig, Shaky Head worm or watermelon Brush Hog," he said. "You've got to pitch the lure into the tangled stumps and wooden cover, and work it slowly. But be ready to set the hook and get them out in a hurry."

While there are sure to be a few lunkers hanging around the brushpile, Lee consistently catches bass up to 3 pounds around the brush.

As you enter the cove heading toward the beaver hut, you'll see flooded brush along the middle of the cove. Bass will bury up and relate to the structure here as well.

"I'll work the structure with a shallow-running Bandit crankbait in the 100 or 200 series," Lee said. "Then I'll work the rest of the cover in the cove by running the shallow crankbaits through any visible brush."

And finally the back of the cove will be in 3- to 4-foot depths with lots of lily pads and vegetation on the surface. While most of the rest of the cove is overrun with pads and grass, the fish are still there - you just have to work to get them.


No. 7: N32 47.356 x W89 14.625 - Directly to the southeast entrance of the cove lies a large tree right off of the point. There are other logs and stumps around the tree, which also hold good numbers of bass.

"I'll work the logs and stumps with a watermelon Brush Hog or jig," Lee said.

After working the wooden cover thoroughly, he'll change tactics before leaving.

"I like to throw a Norman Mad N around this structure and bump around in there," Lee said. "In fact, I have caught as many as 20 bass around this point and structure, by working the area over with the crankbaits."

After working the visible structure, it would be a good bet to follow the point all the way into the deep water and to work the entire point before leaving.


No. 8: N32 47.544 x W89 14.503 - From No. 7, head northeast to the next point on the northeast side of the cove.

"This is a hit-or-miss point depending upon whether the bass have moved up," said Lee. "They'll come up from the deep and feed on the edge of the drop, and then go back into the deep if there's a weather change, or they quit feeding."

Work either side of the point with something like a Norman Deep Little N crankbait thoroughly before moving. Then continue fishing north past the small cove and another small point. Lee also likes to work a Pop-R over the shallow waters of the point.

"Usually the bass will strike as the lure comes out into the deep water," he said.

Continue fishing north until you've worked the smaller coves and get to the next pier.


No. 9: N32 48.052 x W89 14.690 - After leaving our last point, Lee heads north to the next prominent point that sticks the farthest out into the lake. This is a point that has about a 100-yard-long stretch of bank with a flat running along the outside edge. This point will have pads and vegetation along the bank with wood structure on the flat as well.

"I like to fish a Texas-rigged lizard with a 3/16-ounce tungsten sinker along the bank and flat," Lee said.

Occasionally Lee will also pick up bass staging a little farther off the bank on a Redeye Shad or crankbait.


No 10: N32 487.166 x W89 14.685 - Continue on until you get to the next cove on the right. This is a large cove with a prominent point on the left that will have cattails along the shore.

"I'll start on the left-hand side, and work a white or pink trick worm in the cattails and around any type of wood structure also," Lee said. "Those cattails are just perfect for a trick worm. Just throw it up in there and jerk it around and hold on."

Lake Pushmataha is set in one of the most beautiful and scenic locations that you'll find anywhere in Mississippi. With forests of rolling hills and hollows surrounding the lake, it's not unusual to see deer, fox squirrels and turkeys while fishing. And occasionally you'll hear an old Tom cut loose with a gobble right near the water.

If you're looking for fast paced bass action, with an opportunity to catch large numbers of bass during April, then head to Lake Pushmataha just west of Philadelphia and try some of Keith Lee's spots for yourself. And don't forget to bring a child or friend along and let them experience the trip of a lifetime.