Two different patterns always produce bass for me during September on Ross Barnett. The early September pattern is a spotted bass pattern up the river. This pattern won't catch really big bass, but you will catch numbers of hard-fighting fish. I believe the spotted bass fights about twice as hard as a big largemouth.

Then I fish the second pattern for bass toward the later part of September as the lake's lily pads start breaking up and dying off. You'll have some outstanding largemouth action then fishing the frog.


Bet on the sandbar spots

The spotted bass is very aggressive. What it lacks in size, it often makes up for in fighting ability. The spot is a current feeder and likes to fight the current. Consequently I believe spots build bigger muscles and are stronger than largemouth bass. However, because spots do expend so much energy fighting the current, that's probably one of the reasons they aren't as large as largemouths the same age. Largemouths expend little energy getting their daily bread, and probably add-on more weight quicker.

The spotted bass upriver in Ross Barnett during September will be holding on the ends of sandbars. We'll catch them fishing two lures - Mann's Little George, a lead-headed tailspinner, and Mann's HardNose Finesse Worm on a drop-shot rig.

Most of the sandbars you'll fish will be visible, and you may see spotted bass schooling on the surface at the ends of these sandbars. The spotted bass will be holding in the channel and moving up on the sandbar to feed on the baitfish holding there. You can expect to catch the spotted bass in waters 3- to 9-feet deep.

I like to swim the 1/2-ounce Little George, let it fall back to the bottom and then use the yo-yo technique by pulling the Little George up and letting it free-fall back to the bottom. Sometimes I'll just hop the Little George up off the bottom. My favorite Little George is the blue back/pearl sides. The Little George, an older lure, is still deadly effective. Spotted bass love it. I'll fish the Little George on 15-pound-test fluorocarbon with a Pinnacle 7-foot medium-heavy-action rod and a Pinnacle reel.

When you find spotted bass schooled-up on those points, you can really get into some hot bass action. Most of the time they'll hit the bait on the initial fall. You may catch four or five spots off one sandbar point.


Double-down on spots

Anytime I go upriver at this time of year to fish for these spotted bass, I'll also tie-on a drop-shot rig, although that's primarily a West Coast and a northern tactic that few folks in Mississippi enjoy fishing. But since I like to catch fish, I use this system to produce September bass on sandbar points.

I'll fish with 14-pound-test Stren Sonic braid on my reel and tie 10-pound-test fluorocarbon leader to the braided line to create my drop-shot rig. I'll use a 3/16-ounce sinker on the bottom of the line and a 5-inch Mann's HardNose Finesse Worm either in watermelon red or green pumpkin about a foot up the line. I'll cast this drop-shot rig out to the sandbars, let the sinker go to the bottom, shake the worm, allow it to sit still, drag it maybe a foot, shake it and let it sit still again. This slow fishing can result in fast spotted-bass action.

Remember, when you're shaking your line to cause the worm to dance just up off the bottom, don't move your lead. Fishing this shaky-head rig on a slack line means you won't feel the spotted bass take the bait. Instead, you'll probably feel just a little resistance to the line. Then reel, and let the hook set itself.

I usually expect to catch 20-25 spotted bass that weigh from 1/2 pound to about 1 1/2 pounds each. A spotted bass that weighs 2 1/4 pounds to 2 1/2 pounds will be a good-sized one. However, the fight you get out of these little fish will make you think you've got on a much-bigger bass.


Bigger bass on lily-pad points

As the lily pads break up and die back in Ross Barnett, fish the Mann's HardNose Swim Toad and the Mann's Super Frog on as many of those pad points as possible. The frog bite will be good all day long, because the bass have shade and cool water under those lily pads. The sun won't affect them like it does bass not in shade.

As usual when fishing the frog, you'll get a lot of bites but only catch about half the bass that attack the frog.

One of the biggest problems associated with fishing the frog is being patient enough to make sure that the bass has the frog in its mouth before setting the hook. I'll be fishing the frog on 30-pound-test Stren braid on a Pinnacle light flipping rod with a Pinnacle reel. Using this method, I'll catch about 90 percent largemouths weighing 1 1/2 pounds to 6 or 7 pounds.

If you fish the frog all day long, you should get about 20 to 25 blow-ups and be able to put at least 10 of those bites in the boat.

You'll enjoy fishing Ross Barnett in September and catch numbers of spotted bass at the first part of the month and take fewer but bigger largemouth bass toward the end of the month.