Catching 30 to 50 bass per day is what you can expect in November on Pickwick Lake, which corners Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee and should be one of the hottest lakes in all those states this month. One of the main reasons I’m choosing Pickwick is because the shad will be moving from deep to shallow water and will be schooling on the surface, and there’s a wide variety of ways to catch those bass.
Early bass bite
In that first glow of morning, before the sun rises, I’ll either fish a shad-colored Zara Spook or a shad-colored popping lure, like a Pop-R. I’ll fish those lures on secondary, main-lake points around vegetation that’s usually on those points. I’ll only fish shad-colored lures, since bass will be feeding heavily on shad to get ready for the winter.
While I’m fishing the secondary points, I’ll also be looking for bass schooling on top. If they are close to me, I’ll cast to them with the Spook and the popper with a Team Lew’s 7-foot, medium-action rod, a 7.5:1 Lew’s reel and 20-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon line. I like the longer rod to make long casts. On secondary points, if I see bass schooling, I need that longer rod to get my bait out to the bass.
If I start catching bass on the points or from the schools, I’ll continue to fish the sites where I’ve caught the bass, as long as the bite holds up. If the bass won’t come up to take the topwater baits, I’ll cast a shad-colored Mann’s Reel’N Shad that comes packaged with a ¼-ounce jig head. I’ll be using a 6-foot-10 Lew’s medium-action baitcasting rod with a 7.5:1 gear ratio reel to cast to schooling bass that have quit feeding on the surface.
I’ll also have a Reel’N Shad rigged up on a 7-foot-2 Lew’s spinning rod and reel with 15-pound bass braid. I’ll tie 12 to 18 inches of fluorocarbon leader to the braid. I’ll change up the look of my Reel’N Shad on my spinning rod and will nose-hook the Reel’N Shad with a No. 1/0 drop-shot hook. When you nose hook the Reel’N Shad, you don’t need a big hook. Because this bait has a slit in the middle of its belly, the bait has a lot of action when the hook is only in the nose of the lure. This technique also works all day, any time you discover schooling bass, at Pickwick.
The first three or four casts, I’ll burn the bait right on the surface of the water. Then the next couple of casts, I’ll reel it somewhat slower, just under the water.
Backs of the creeks
When I reach the backs of the creeks, I’ll begin casting a ¼-ounce white buzzbait close to any visible cover at a 45-degree angle to the bank. After making several casts with the buzzbait, I’ll fish a shad-colored Mann’s C4 crankbait around the same types of structure where I’ve fished the buzzbait. I’ll be searching for schools of shad. I’ll be fishing the buzzbait on a Lew’s 6-foot-10 rod with an 8.3:1 reel on 26-pound fluorocarbon. I’ll fish the C4 on a 6-foot-10 medium-action rod and a 6.8:1 reel with 20-pound fluorocarbon.
Final bass tactic
I’ll fish an Alabama rig with a shad-pattern, 5-inch Reel’N Shad on ¼-ounce heads on shallow river ledges, 7 to 10 feet deep, that drop off into the main-river channel on the lower end of he lake. I’ll slow-reel the rig from the shallow part of the break, over the lip. Some days, I’ll find bass on the shallow parts of the ledges, and other days they’ll be out in the deeper parts. I’ll also fish the dam riprap at Pickwick with the Alabama rig and around the locks with a 7-foot-6 medium-heavy Lew’s rod with a 6.8:1 reel and 65-pound bass braid.
You should catch largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, as well as saltwater striped bass and hybrid striped bass in November. It’s a fun time to fish at Pickwick, especially a wide variety of bass species.