Yeah, it’s going to be hot out there, but isn’t it true that it’s only too hot to fish when the fish aren’t biting?
You bet, so grab the sunscreen and let’s hit some July hotspots.
1. Sardis and Grenada lakes — crappie: Summer patterns on these two large North Mississippi Corps of Engineers flood control reservoirs are consistent: Crappie move out on the deep ends of the main-lake points, where they are in perfect position for trolling with crankbaits.
Hint: Trolling keeps the air moving.
2. Mississippi Sound — tripletail: Two great things about fishing for tripletail (aka black fish) in the Gulf of Mexico is that they are arguably the best-tasting fish out there, and you can catch them basically by running at high speed.
Since it’s done on the fly at the fastest speed that allows for spotting these fish around floating debris or markers, there’s always a cooling breeze.
Tripletails migrate into the shallows in the summer and like to use any surface cover — like crab pot buoys — to hide and ambush shrimp and other forage fish.
Pitching a live shrimp dangling about a foot under a popping cork does the trick.
3. Barnett Reservoir — striped bass/crappie: Let’s stay with that trend of creating breezes to stay cool. Trolling with crankbaits is a popular method for catching both striped bass and crappie relating to contour changes at Barnett Reservoir.
Bandit 200 and 300 series crankbaits will work on both, using the 300s on the deep sides of the drops and the 200s on the break lines.
The only time you will want to stop is when a school of stripers starts busting shad on top. Catching 7-, 8- and 9-pounders on every cast makes it easy to forget the heat.
4. Mississippi River — jugging for catfish: This is another opportunity to stay cool. Once the river falls to normal summer levels, juggers hit the water, and usually leave with more than they really wanted to clean.
Two men can legally fish 50 jugs, and they will stay busy chasing down hooked-up fish.
No bait beats cut skipjack shad, which can be caught in large numbers in running water using ultra-light spinning gear and small jigs, which is also fun.
5. Chotard and Albemarle Lakes — black and white bass: This connected pair of oxbow lakes offers fun fishing in the summer, and they can be highly productive for both largemouth bass and white bass.
Both species can be found blasting shad on the surface, with the largemouth being best at Albemarle and the whites being better at Chotard.
They aren’t picky eaters, either. They will hit a variety of topwater baits while feeding on the surface. When they go down, throw plastics and crankbaits for largemouths, and try a tail-spinner for the whites.