This month, I'll be fishing Sardis Reservoir. The lake's been on a downturn for several years, as far as the size and the numbers of bass. However, with the new regulations and the slot limit enforced by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the bass population has made a comeback.

Since the lake will be on draw-down, I'll go upstream and fish the river section by targeting current breaks on the river channel and the backs of creeks that hold baitfish. The bass will concentrate in these same areas.

The three primary October lures I'll fish are a 1/2-ounce Mann's Stone Jig, a Mann's C-4 Elite Series square-billed crankbait and a Mann's Classic Spinnerbait. I also like to target my bass fishing around October's first full moon.

I'll start on the lake and use my trolling motor to continually pull me up into the river, casting ahead of me as I move. Also, when the lake is being pulled down, you have to pay attention to your depth finder. Go slow, and work your way into the river. Once I get into the river, I'll move as far as I can upstream.


Bet on the jig first

I prefer a black/blue or green pumpkin 1/2-ounce Mann's Stone Jig with a Mann's HardNose Craw as a trailer to catch October bass. I'll use a black/blue-flake trailer on the black/blue jig and a green pumpkin/red trailer on the green pumpkin-colored jig.

I'll pitch and flip the jigs around the laydowns and the stumps. As soon as the jig touches the water, I'll disengage my reel and start pulling off 3 or 4 feet of line so the jig can fall vertically. Even though the jig is falling on a slack line, if the bass takes the jig as it's falling, I don't worry about the hook set. Even with that much slack line out, I can quickly take-up the slack and get a solid hook set because I'll be using 30-pound-test Stren Sonic Braid with a Quantum flipping stick and a Quantum PT Tour Edition 6.3:1 gear-ratio reel.

You'll also find boulders and rock piles that will break the current. However, most of the current breaks will be from the wood like stumps and blown-down trees. I'll hold my boat upcurrent of the structure to which I'll be flipping or pitching, because I want the current to pick up my jig when it hits the water and wash it into that stump, blowdown or rock pile.

The baitfish will come from upcurrent, and when they hit a current break like this, they'll often go toward the bottom. If the bass doesn't take the jig before it hits the bottom, I'll pick up the jig and drop it down twice. If I still don't get a strike, I'll reel it and make another pitch.


Cranking and crashing

I'll also cast the Mann's C-4 Elite Series square-billed crankbait that bounces off cover well upcurrent and reel it into logs, stumps and blowdowns. Don't worry about getting hung up. This square-billed crankbait has good deflection action that seems to trigger strikes.

I'll be fishing the C-4 in shad colors, like a chrome blue or a blue-back chrome and also a black back and pearl sides. The C-4 runs about 4 feet deep.

I'll cast it on 17-pound-test Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon line upcurrent and reel it fast with the current on a 7:1 gear-ratio reel, trying to elicit a reaction strike when that C-4 bounces off the cover.

The current will help push the lure over structure in which you normally may get hung up. If the bass are feeding, they'll generally take the crankbait before it reaches the cover. If the bass don't, then you probably won't spook any bass if you have to go into the cover to retrieve your lure.

If I stop the C-4 when it hits the cover, the bait usually will float up over that log, and I won't have to go over the cover to get it. Also, don't overlook the sand-bottom points that stick out and break the current, where often bass will be schooled up.

This time of year, I also will use a 1/2-ounce Mann's Classic Spinnerbait with a No. 5 gold willowleaf blade and a silver No. 3 Colorado blade in the front. I prefer chartreuse/white for the skirt. I'll cast upcurrent, and slow-roll the spinnerbait about 1 foot under the water or just out of sight of the surface. I want those blades to flutter and swim over and through the cover. You'll have to retrieve the bait fairly quickly to engage the blades because of the current. But I won't be fishing the spinnerbait nearly as fast as the C-4 crankbait.

Bass will start moving into shallow water in October because the baitfish are moving shallow, especially if Sardis has two or three cool-weather nights.

You won't catch a number of 4-, 5- or 6-pound bass at Sardis in October, but you'll catch plenty of quality 2- to 3-pound bass and occasionally a 5-pounder. If the bass are feeding, and the current's flowing well, you won't have any problems catching 15 to 20 bass a day. You'll most likely be catching largemouths with an occasional spotted bass.