Undeterred by sizzling summer temperatures approaching the upper 90s, Lee Comans directed me to the spillway area of the Bluff Lake Dam as dawn broke. Working the grass along the dam, Comans pitched a jig into the edge of a grass patch, and felt the tell-tale thump of a nice bass. Reeling in his slack, he set the hook hard, and the bass took off toward our boat like a torpedo.

Our day had begun with a bang!

We hadn't gone much further when I pitched a Strike King Coffee tube into the grass, and felt a strike. I set the hook, and jerked the fish out of the water with my ABU Garcia Vendetta Rod and Revo reel combo. In seconds, I had caught and released my first fish of the day.

It was obvious that Lee Comans knew a thing or two about this lake, and he knew right where to start as he pointed us in the direction of the dam. And Comans should know a lot about the lake as he grew up only a stone's throw from the refuge.

On a previous trip to the lake, Comans and a fishing partner started fishing on the dam, and actually spent their entire fishing day catching and releasing bass all along the dam. When Comans finds a pattern, he sticks with it and really works the bass over.

Bluff is a shallow-water lake that offers excellent fishing in the spring, but also provides exciting early morning action during the summertime as well. Water depths in the lake average 4 to 7 feet deep.

"The deepest water in the lake is located right along the dam with 7 to 9 feet of water running parallel to, and about a cast or so off, the dam," Comans said.

The actual dam is lined with rocks and has quite a bit of Johnson grass lining most of the area along the road.

"Bass hide in the grass and ambush unsuspecting prey," Comans said. "The location of the bass may change from day to day, so you have to find them first and then take advantage of the situation once you find a concentration."

Comans likes to fish frogs along the floating and emerging grass patches, and usually catches a lunker or two when the bass are actively feeding and holding under the grass.

"I'll cover a lot of water until we locate the bass, and then concentrate on catching them once I find them," said Comans.

If the bass are active in the early morning, he'll also fish buzz baits and Tiny Torpedoes.

As we continued fishing, we moved into the upper reaches of the lake and entered vast areas of water that were filled with cypress trees. The shade and cover provided by the cypress trees is very important for the bass during the hot summer months, and they can be found in the timber on hot days. Much of the cypress timber is unfishable by large bass boats, however, as the trees are very dense.

Knowledgeable anglers such as Comans will fish the channels and lanes that run through the dense timber and catch bass when others won't.

With the temperatures climbing and surface activity nonexistent, Comans turned to a Texas-rigged red shad worm. We hadn't gone very far before the veteran angler drew a strike from a scattered pad and grass field.

Moving deeper into the cypress trees while fishing along the creek channel, I picked up my lightweight rig, pitched a junebug-colored Strike King Tube near a brushtop and watched as the line never stopped. I quickly set the hook and caught a bass also.

Over the next couple of hours Comans and I drew strikes from the lethargic bass. Though they were obviously subdued due to the extreme temperatures, the fish would bite if you presented the right bait at the right time.

"If you put it on their heads, they'll bite it," said Comans.

If you're looking to try a different style of summertime fishing, head to Bluff Lake on the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, and try a few of Comans' favorite spots for yourself. Though a shallow-water lake by Mississippi standards, it has a little bit of everything, including shoreline grasses, coontail moss, cypress trees and a gorgeous nature-filled scenic landscape.

During the hot weather, anglers may want to start fishing at some of Comans' holes on the western side of the lake starting with GPS spots 4 to 8 as listed below. Take advantage of the early morning and late-afternoon hours, try a few of the following spots and then find a few of your own.

 

No. 1: N33 16.306 x W88 46.676 - Leave the landing, and start fishing the south end of the dam. Anglers will find shoreline grass as well as aquatic grass that holds both baitfish and bass. On this first spot, we hadn't gone very far when Comans enticed a strike on his frog.

Continue fishing along the dam area until you arrive at the spillway area.

"You can fish both points of the spillway as there are slight submerged humps or rises that may hold bass," Comans said.

Depending upon the time of day and activity level of the bass, anglers may catch them on topwater lures, crankbaits, worms or all three. Fish the area thoroughly before moving on.

 

No. 2: N33 16.575 x W88 46.653 - Continue working the dam with worms, tubes or jigs until you get to stop No. 2. Although the dam is fairly long, we have listed three points along the dam that usually attract fish. Anglers will find that along the dam is the deepest water in the lake, with slight variations from place to place.

Fishermen should fish the dam very thoroughly while keeping an eye on their depth finders to pick out the subtle contour changes in some places that make the difference in holding bass or not.

"Every time I go fishing, I'm looking to find concentrations of bass, and that doesn't mean they'll always be in the exact same place," said Comans. "I like to work any wood cover I can find, and if there's grass present it's even better."

No. 2 also has some wood including an old tree in 9 feet of water and a few stumps.

Anglers would also be advised to work crankbaits and other deep-water lures along the outside break just off the dam, as bass will also relate to the ledge that runs parallel to the dam.

 

 

No. 3: N33 16.802 x W88 46.687 - Continue fishing until you get to the next point located near another small spillway, or water-control structure. This location is also right on the dam, and also has grass, moss and other submerged grasses that hold both bass and baitfish.

According to Comans, bass may be present in all locations along the dam, but they will usually be on a certain pattern, and that's what you must determine anytime you fish this lake.

"We'll catch them in the grass along the dam on some days, and sometimes we'll catch them right along the outer edges of the grass," he said. "I'll use a Texas-rigged worm or lizard, and work the cover thoroughly before moving to another part of the lake."

 

No. 4: N33 16.902 x W88 47.115 - Leave the dam, and head almost due west across the lake until you get to the lily pad field. This is one of the most beautiful spots on the lake and you'll find cypress trees, standing timber and a variety of grasses and moss along with lily pad fields. Although we started our day at the dam, Comans pointed to this area as a potential early morning hotspot.

"This area has everything a bass could want in the way of cover," Comans said.

With the wide range of possible locations anglers could be successful fishing a variety of topwater lures during the early morning hours when the bass are active. Buzz baits, chuggers and frogs are all productive in this type of water when the bass are active. Once the sun comes up and the temperature rises, the bass will bury down under the pads, grass and any cover they can find. When that happens, a more subtle approach will be necessary to entice the fish into biting. Lightweight Texas-rigged worms and unweighted trick worms are equally proficient at drawing strikes from wary bass.

 

No. 5: N33 16.854 x W88 47.296 - After fishing No. 4, thoroughly work your way through the cypress trees, and head to the point on the west shoreline.

"There's a creek that runs just off that point, and it runs back into the woods and back near the goose overlook," said Comans.

Almost as soon as we got into the creek, we could see that something was different in this area as small fry and other fish were skittering along the surface alerting us to their presence.

A few minutes later, Comans pitched his red shad worm near scattered lily pads, and a nice bass inhaled the tempting offering and tried to take it away from him. Rearing back on his rod, Comans drove the steel home, and the bass vaulted out of the water like a rocket. A few minutes later, Comans led the bass into the net, and our action was heating up.

 

No. 6: N33 16.874 x W88 47.378 - Continue fishing in a westerly direction, and follow the creek channel farther back into the woods where you'll find spot No. 6.

"Keep your boat in the 7-foot deep channel, and fish the grass and cypress trees along the outside bends as well as any visible wood cover or cypress trees that you see," he said.

Switching gears, I changed to a lightweight Texas-rigged Strike King junebug-colored tube, and promptly caught a bass on my first cast near a cypress tree right on the edge of the channel.

We hadn't gone very far when I pitched the lure out and my line took off again. Setting the hook, I caught yet another bass, and things were really heating up, both underwater and above water. In fact, we caught several bass in this location and lost a couple of lunkers also.

 

No. 7: N33 16.892 x W88 47.493 - Continue working the edges of the creek channel as you fish deeper into the woods. Spot No. 7 is located right where the creek channel takes a hard-right turn and changes direction.

Pitching my tube near a submerged top, I got bit in the brush, and quickly set the hook as my line sped away in the opposite direction. When the bass felt the sting of steel, he came unglued and almost jerked the rod out of my hands.

After a short battle, I landed the fish, took a photo and quickly released him to grow up some more.

The entrance to the goose overlook pond is just to the west of where the creek bends back to the right. While the lake is good in the early part of the year, the water is shallow and not conducive to midday fishing during the hot summertime.

During our trip Comans concentrated on the area along the creek channel only, and it really paid off for us. As we turned and started working our way back toward the open lake, Comans slammed the hook home on another nice bass, as it engulfed his tempting plastic-worm offering.

 

No. 8: N33 16.714 x W88 47.259 - Leave 7, follow the creek back out into the lake and follow the shoreline to the south until you get to the next point. The creek is well defined in this area with cypress trees lining the channel as it runs toward the south.

Anglers can fish the grass and moss beds off the point to the right and fish the grass on the left-hand side toward the open lake.

"I'll work a red-shad worm or lizard and cover the point pretty good before moving on," said Comans.

 

No. 9: N33 16.769 x W88 47.257 - Continue fishing in a southerly direction until you get to the next GPS stop. After leaving No. 8, anglers should fish the outside edges of the thick cypress trees, and also cover any laydowns or wood cover that may be visible.

If the fish are active, topwaters such as Tiny Torpedoes and buzz baits are really productive, according to Comans.

Of course if you're fishing in the hottest time of the year, you might want to slow down and cover an area thoroughly while enticing wary bass into biting. When the bite's tough, switch to your lightest line and lures, and you will usually draw more strikes.