Pickwick Lake, on the Tennessee River in the northeastern corner of Mississippi, has productive August bass fishing due to current running through it because of the high demand for hydroelectric power, its Asiatic clam and mussel beds where largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass like to feed and its abundance of grass, which provides shade, ambush sites and plenty of oxygen for the bass.

I ledge fish at Pickwick or catch the bass in the grass.

I'll primarily fish the lower end of the lake, putting in just outside of Corinth in the dam area. My main pattern this month will be fishing the tops of the mussel shell bars in water 15- to 22-feet deep with a Mann's 20+, HardNose Snake and Stone Jig.


Fishing the ledges of mussel bars

Using a lake map, my GPS and my Lowrance depth finder, I'll locate the mussel bars where bass are holding on or near the point of the bars. I'll fish a shad-colored Mann's 20+ (my favorite is the grey ghost) on 10-pound-test Berkley fluorocarbon line with a Quantum Energy PT 5.1:1 gear-ratio reel and a Quantum Tour Edition PT Paul Elias Signature Series rod on the ends of the bars in the 15- to 18-foot-deep water.

I'll get my crankbait down to the bottom and let it bump the mussels there. The bait will dive over the end of the bar. I'll start fishing about 75 to 100 yards off one side of the point, and fish around the point of the bar to 100 yards on the other side.

Over the years, I've learned that bass often will concentrate where the shells are the thickest - places you can identify with your depth finder since they will show up much darker than the rest of the shells around them. I get the bait down quickly, allow it to tag the bottom and retrieve it really fast.

If the bass are holding right out on the end of the point, I'll kneel down and stick most of my rod underwater to get my crankbait down to the deepest depths. I get more reaction strikes by reeling the Mann's 20+ fast over the mussel bars and often can catch several bass out of one school, primarily largemouths, but also some smallmouth.

Sometimes you'll strictly catch spotted bass on the deeper ends of these mussel bars - not big spots, but those weighing 3 pounds or less. With this technique, you can catch keeper-sized largemouth and smallmouth bass up to 5 or 6 pounds.

Next I'll fish a Carolina-rigged 10-inch HardNose Snake because it's a super floater up off the bottom when you Carolina rig it with a No. 5/0 hook. Many times when the bass are suspended up off the bottom, this technique will produce fish if the crankbait doesn't.

Coming from the hook, I'll have 18 inches of 20-pound-test Berkley Big Game line as my leader, and tie the other end of the leader to a barrel swivel that has 30-pound-test braided line as the main line and a 1-ounce Carolina-rigged weight above the barrel swivel. I'll put a bead between the barrel swivel and the weight to keep the weight from banging against the knot.

I drag the dark, moccasin-colored HardNose Snake slowly across the bottom. I can feel those mussel beds, and expect my bass bites to come either on the point of the mussel bar or 10 to 15 yards on either side of the point.

I also will fish the bars with a 3/8-ounce black/brown-colored Mann's Stone Jig with a HardNose green-pumpkin-colored Flippin' Craw as a trailer. I'll fish this jig on 17-pound-test Berkley fluorocarbon line, dragging the bait really slowly across the bottom and the tops of those mussel shells.


Fishing the grass in August

If I can't get the bass to bite on the mussel bars, I'll move to where the bass will be holding in the really thick grass near the channel. I'll flip a 1 1/2-ounce Tru-Tungsten sinker with a Texas-rigged moccasin-colored HardNose Snake and a No. 6/0 hook rigged Texas-style. I'll be using 40-pound-test Berkley braid as my main line.

Also, I'll fish the 5-inch HardNose Freefall Worm. However, I have to pay close attention to when that worm breaks through the grass and starts to free-fall because that's usually when the bass will it, and I need to set the hook. If the bass doesn't take the bait as soon as it breaks through that umbrella of grass, I let the bait free-fall to the 5- to 7-foot-deep bottom. If the bass doesn't take the bait as soon as it hits the bottom, I'll hop the bait up off the bottom about three times and let it fall back.

Fishing the grass generally enables you to catch bigger largemouth than you will on the shell bars.

I'd rather fish the ledges because there's more chunking and winding fishing the ledges than the grass. But if you have the patience to move slowly and fish deliberately and patiently, you can catch big largemouth in the grass by flipping. I like to fish Pickwick in August to catch largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass at the same time and in the same place.