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Mississippi Sportsman

Find the big ones at Lake Okhissa

Paul Elias
December 01, 2009 at 9:29 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

During most of the month, jigs will be hot for bruisers on Lake Okhissa.
During most of the month, jigs will be hot for bruisers on Lake Okhissa.
Lake Okhissa, a 1,100-acre lake tucked inside the Homochitto National Forest near Bude, is my December pick for bass fishing. A fairly new lake, Okhissa has plenty of deep water and flooded timber. The bass generally prefer to hold in the brush, especially in the winter months. When the water starts to get cold, the bass will begin grouping into bigger schools, as they move out to their winter habitat.

The state has put some F1 hybrid bass in this lake, and these bass grow quickly and are very aggressive. Once you figure out the migration pattern of the bass, you usually can find fish at those same locations for several days.

Dance the jig

I like to fish jigs because I get bigger bites, and can keep them in front of the bassís faces longer than I can other baits. This month, Iíll be fishing a 1/2-ounce Mannís Stone Jig on 15-pound-test Berkley fluorocarbon around shallow points and a 3/4-ounce Stone Jig on 30-pound-test Stren Sonic Braid, if the bass have pulled out into deep water.

If I catch a bass in that brush, I need to have the power of that 30-pound-test braided line to pull the fish out of the brush, especially if I catch a 10- to 12-pounder, which is a real possibility on Okhissa.

As soon as you set the hook, you need to turn the fishís head up and have it coming to you, especially a big bass. Since several 10-pounders have been caught out of Okhissa, every time I get a bite off the end of a point, Iím expecting that fish to weigh 5 pounds or more.

My favorite colors at this time of year are black/blue and green/pumpkin. Iíll be concentrating mainly on fishing deep drop-offs on the sides of points this month.

When I first arrive at the lake, Iíll plan to fish as many deep points as possible with jigs. Iíll mainly be looking for the points with the steepest drop-offs. Bass like to go deeper in the winter than they do at any other time of year. The sharper the drop-off, the easier for the bass to go really deep or move very shallow, depending on weather and water conditions.

They like to move up and down on points like theyíre riding an elevator. This way, they have to expend less energy to get from one water depth to another. Also, their dinner table (the shad) move up and down at this time of year, depending on water temperature, and the bass have to be where their food is.

Successful point tactics

By December, the bass in Okhissa have pulled out of the shallow bays in the backs of coves, and are all searching for the same thing ó quick access to deep water and food. With the jig, I can work the top side of the point and the lip of the break, and then let the jig fall off the lip of the break. Somewhere throughout that cast, if a bass sees that jig or hears it, Iím satisfied itíll come and eat the jig.

When Iím fishing points in Okhissa in December, Iíll usually be about 75 yards away from the point, casting up to that 8- to 10-foot-deep water, slowly working the jig over the lip of the break and letting it fall into 20- to 25-foot-deep water. I fish around the side of the point all the way out to the end of the point and then around to the other.

Jigging spoons

The jigging spoon consistently pays bass dividends at this time of year. I like to work the 1-ounce Mann-O-Lure down into the brush and on top of the brush. Many times, you may find the bass suspending. You can drop that Mann-O-Lure right on their heads and get the bass to bite. If you just lift your rod tip, let it fall, lift it and allow it to fall again, then you often can aggravate the bass into biting the Mann-O-Lure. I use this tactic when I actually can see the fish on my depth finder.

Little George

Iíll make short casts with the 1/2-ounce Mannís Little George in the holographic color, a lead-headed tailspinner, and peel-off 25-pound-test Berkley fluorcarbon line, so that it free-falls to the bottom. This bait imitates a dying shad.

Most of the time the strike will come on the fall. If not, Iíll hop it off the bottom and let it fall back, much like I will a jig. I like to use this bait when I find the bass not holding in the brush at Okhissa.

In December, the real secret to catching Okhissa bass is to bring to the dinner table the baits the bass want to eat when they want to eat them. Bass feed sporadically during the wintertime. Therefore, once you locate a school of fish, I suggest returning to fish that same school several times during the day.

When you can get on a school of feeding bass, you usually can expect to catch seven or eight fish out of that school before they quit feeding. I wonít be surprised if I catch 25 bass during a day of fishing at Okhissa in December.

If the area has had a warm front, and the bass arenít on the points, Iíll fish a jig down the steep banks. Remember that the bass are looking for quick access to deep water. Therefore, if this section of Mississippi does get some warmer days during December, the bass may pull-up shallow on those steep banks. However, the bass still want to be close to deep water. Best of all, you wonít see much competition for bass on this lake this month.

View other articles written Paul Elias