I love those big spotted bass at Bay Springs Lake, located near Booneville in Tishomingo County on the Tombigbee Waterway. In November, the water has cooled down, and those big spotted bass really get fired up. You'll have a lot of fun catching them on top and getting your rod bent to the breaking point.

The aggressive spotted bass at Bay Springs will be following the shad, and at this time of year, the shad will be heading toward the backs of pockets and holding on points in very shallow water. During November, the bass stay near where they eat. Wherever you locate shad, you also will find spotted and largemouth bass. As cold weather hits, the largemouths become more lethargic than the spots.

This month, you can catch 4- or 5-pound spots, but the majority of the bass will weigh 1 1/2 to 3 pounds each. These fish are tremendous fighters and a lot of fun to catch. If I can catch 10 to 12 bass, I've had a good day of fishing. However, catching 20 bass in one day isn't uncommon.

I'll be fishing topwater lures this month, but you also can catch the spots on a Mann's HardNose Stone Jig and a Mann's C-4 Elite Series square-billed crankbait.

The topwater bite primarily will be the most-productive tactic for the first part of November when most people generally have put-up their topwater lures and will be fishing jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. I've learned that at the first of November, when the water temperature is in the upper 50s, the spots will become really active and bite topwater lures. This month, I prefer to fish 1/4- or 1/8-ounce buzz baits and walking baits.


Buzz baits

Most anglers don't throw a 1/8-ounce buzz bait, but I've learned that in the fall, spotted bass will eat up these small baits. The spots don't make violent strikes like largemouths do. A spot will come up under that little buzz bait and suck it into its mouth. I'll be fishing a white buzz bait in the back ends of pockets and around any type of visible cover.

I let the bass tell me what type of retrieve they want. I'll start with a fast retrieve and then slow my retrieve down until the bass begin to bite. Once I start catching the spotted bass on one type of retrieve, I'll continue to use that retrieve until the fish stop biting. Most of the time I'll keep the buzz bait coming on a steady retrieve.

I'll be fishing the buzz bait on 15-pound-test Berkley fluorocarbon line with a 7:1 gear-ratio Quantum reel and a medium-heavy Quantum rod.


Walking baits

I'll next fish the Heddon Zara Spook Jr. Spotted bass have small mouths, and the Zara Spook Jr. is one step down from its daddy, the Zara Spook. I'll be fishing it mainly on points and in the back ends of pockets.

Most people think topwater lures, like buzz baits and Spooks, are only early morning and late-afternoon baits, but at this time of year, you can fish these lures all day. If the Bay Springs Lake area has really cool mornings and evenings, these baits may be most effective in the middle of the day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.



My third choice of lure for this month at Bay Springs will be a Mann's C-4 Elite Series square-billed crankbait that runs in depths of 2 to 4 feet. This month, the majority of the spotted bass will be holding shallow. I prefer the C-4 because I can cover a lot of water quickly with it. Also, it deflects off cover, and produces that wounded baitfish phenomenon that really turns on the spotted bass. I like shad colors, such as grey ghost or blue/chrome. I'll be fishing this crankbait on 15-pound-test fluorocarbon line, just like the walking baits, in the backs of pockets and on main-lake points.



Don't overlook the secondary points in the creeks and the bays during November. Spotted bass are point-oriented at this time of year, and they'll move to the backs of the creeks and the bays. If you can't catch the spots with topwater baits and crankbaits, don't hesitate to use a 1/4- or 1/2-ounce Mann's Stone Jig in black/blue, bouncing it across the bottom of points or hopping and dragging it in the back of the pockets.

Even though I love to fish a jig and a crankbait, I'll spend more time with topwater baits this month since they generally produce more big spotted bass in November than surface lures do.