I'm addicted to big spotted bass. They fight hard, they're fun to catch and at this time of year, you often can catch a bunch of big ones - 2- to 5-pounders almost every day in November - at Bay Springs Lake.

Located in northeastern Mississippi, this lake is part of the Tenn-Tom Waterway, and is fed by the Tennessee River.

At this time of year, I like to fish topwater baits. When I'm fishing an area like a point, I'll have four different top-water lures tied on at the same time. I'll fish each of those lures on the same points until the fish tell me which lure and presentation they want that day.

So I have to be conscious of where in the water column or on the bottom I get a bite, determine how aggressive that bite is and try to catch another spotted bass using that same lure fished at that same depth with that same type of retrieve. That second fish will tell you how to catch the spotted bass.

Besides the points, fish for November bass at Bay Springs on the walls of the dam's locks and riprap.



I'll always have a Zara Spook tied on in November when I'm fishing, especially at Bay Springs, and will fish it on main-lake points for the biggest spotted bass and in pockets for largemouths.

I like the shad-colored Zara Spook on 14-pound-test, and will work the Spook fairly fast so the lure darts from side to side and comes back to the boat quickly.

The spotted bass and largemouths are both very aggressive in November, since the water's cooling off, and the bass will be feeding up. The shad will be very active, and the bass won't mind chasing a bait or pulling up from deep water on those points when they see a shad acting erratically, like the movement the Zara Spook makes.

I'll fish the Spook in the coves for largemouths, with some weighing as much as 8 pounds. I'll keep the Spook moving quickly back to my boat.

Of course, one of the disadvantages to fishing a big top-water bait is that you will lose some bass. So don't be upset when that happens. If I get a big, ferocious strike, I'm much more likely to lose the bass than if I have a fish come up under the Spook and suck the bait in so that it just vanishes from the surface.


Wake baits

Another bait that's really effective on these points and the other places I fish is the shad-colored Mann's Baby Waker, a crankbait that runs just under the water and gives off a wake like a spinnerbait. In November, I'll cast the Baby Waker out and reel it in - not doing anything fancy with it across the points.

I'll fish the Baby Waker on a 6-foot, 6-inch medium-action Pinnacle rod with a 7.3:1 Pinnacle Optimus reel and 10-pound-test fluorocarbon.


Subsurface lures

I'll fish those same points and coves at Bay Springs Lake with a 1/2-ounce Mann's Classic spinnerbait with a white skirt and a white trailer with a No. 5 gold willowleaf blade on the front and a No. 3 silver Colorado blade on the back on 17-pound-test fluorocarbon line. I'll burn that spinnerbait over the points, keeping it just under the surface but somewhat deeper than if you want the spinnerbait to create a wake on the surface.



Toward the end of November, when the water cools, the fish will be somewhat deeper and a little less aggressive. That's when I'll fish a 5-inch suspending jerkbait in a chartreuse-shad color. I'll use a jerk-it-down, let-it-sit-still-for-2-seconds, jerk-it-down, let-it-sit-still-for-2-seconds retrieve. I'll be moving the bait quicker than I will in the late winter, since the bass are still somewhat aggressive.

To fish the jerkbait, I'll change rods to a 6-foot, 6-inch, medium-action Pinnacle rod with a 7.3:1 Pinnacle Optimus reel and 8-pound-test fluorocarbon because I want the bass to suck the bait in a little longer.

I'm downsizing my line so that the bass are less likely to see it. Also, I can get the jerkbait down farther than I can with heavier line. There's very little structure, if any, that the bass can get in to break my line at Bay Springs, and the lighter line gives the bait more action than heavy line does.

Bay Springs is a deep, clear lake with gravel and rocks that provide ideal habitat for big spotted bass. In a day of November fishing, you can catch 15-20 spots weighing 2 to 6 pounds each and possibly a big largemouth. You will catch bass all day long at Bay Springs.