My pick this month is Pickwick Lake on the Tennessee River in Northeast Mississippi. Pickwick is an unusual lake because it borders three states - Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. Although I'll launch on the Mississippi side of the lake, I'll run upriver to Alabama waters. You'll need an Alabama fishing license as well as a Mississippi fishing license if you're going to catch some of those big smallmouths, largemouths and stripers that will be concentrated below the dam at the headwaters of Pickwick Lake.

Several things happen in October at Wilson Dam. If the weather stays fairly warm, as it usually does, TVA will be running a lot of current. At this time of year, big smallmouth move up to the base of Wilson Dam. But don't just bet on smallmouth. Productive tactics will produce smallmouths, largemouths and saltwater stripers in October. That's what makes fishing the headwaters of Pickwick so much fun. On one cast, you may catch any one of those three types of fish.

I like to fish a drop-shot rig on spinning tackle to catch big smallmouths in October. I'll use a Quantum Tour Edition PT Signature Series Mike Wurm 7-foot drop-shot rod and a Quantum Energy PTi E30 spinning reel with a Mann's HardNose Finesse Worm green/pumpkin and watermelon/red on 10-pound-test monofilament line tied 10 inches above a 1/4-ounce drop-shot weight with a No. 2/0 RoboWorm ReBarb hook.

Below the spillway, you'll find a lot of rocks, ledges, drop-offs and eddies that you can drop-shot around in the back current. When a hydroelectric plant is generating current on the surface, the current looks like it's going downstream. However, off to the side of the current, there's a back current where water's moving back toward the dam and the spillway.

The bass generally will be positioned below the spillway and looking downriver, yet the current that's bringing the bass their bait is coming upriver. If several gates are open at the dam, there's about a 1/4-mile stretch of water where you'll find back current, and that's where I like to fish.

Another place smallmouth will stack up at this time of year is the first bridge below the dam. I'll be fishing the pilings that support the first bridge below the dam. Often smallmouths will suspend on these pilings.

If you're fishing a drop-shot rig on the bottom, the fish will be there, but you won't catch them. To catch these fish, use the current that's coming downriver to pin your drop-shot rig up against the side of the piling to regulate the depth that your drop-shot worm is swimming. You'll catch those suspended smallmouth holding beside and right behind the piling.

Sometimes the smallmouth may be right on the bottom or 4 feet off the bottom. You may be able to see these fish with your depth finder. However, when there's a lot of current's coming downriver, you'll have distortion on your depth finder. Instead, work the drop-shot beside that piling from about 2 feet under the water all the way down to the bottom.

Top-water lures can be extremely deadly in this tailrace area. I like the Zara Spook and the Rebel Pop R because smallmouth, largemouth and saltwater stripers are looking up to see the baitfish swimming above them. Many times fish will blow up on schools of bait in this below-the-dam region. I'm still fishing that back-current section off to the side of the main current. At any of the eddies close to the dam, you can expect topwater lures to produce fish, especially when current's coming through the dam.

I caught the two biggest smallmouth of my life below Wilson Dam, which is why I'm so passionate about fishing here in October. Fishing around one rock below the dam, I caught a 6-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth and a 6-pound, 5-ounce smallmouth with a jerkbait.

Most people don't think about fishing a jerkbait in the fall, especially around a dam. But that suspending jerkbait can be extremely deadly. I like to work the jerkbait around some of those big boulders up close to the dam by jerking the bait down, letting it suspend and riding that back current around rocks and boulders visible above water as well as underwater.

In most jerkbait situations, you jerk the bait down, twitch it and let it sit still until the bass decides to eat it. However, when you're fishing a back current, instead of the jerkbait's sitting still, it's gliding along with the current like a baitfish that's holding its position in the water column but not having to swim to move. When the smallmouth, largemouth or saltwater striper hits that jerkbait, the fish will usually take all the treble hooks in its mouth before you feel the fish and are able to set the hook.

I like shad-colored jerkbaits with blue backs. Most anglers fishing in this section by Wilson Dam will either be fishing jigs, crankbaits or live shad. I've found that by fishing drop-shots, topwater lures and suspended jerkbaits, I can present the bass a different type of lure that they don't see every day. That's why I catch so many fish this month at Pickwick below Wilson Dam.

This month, you'll also see large schools of shad moving to the backs of bays and pockets, carrying smallmouth or largemouth under them. So this is a prime month for fishing a buzz bait. To take bass in those bays and creeks, make multiple casts - seven to eight - to any structure with a wide variety of lures.

I'll run a buzz bait past that piece of structure, a topwater lure, either a tube or a worm, and lastly, I'll fish a jig. I want to fish every story of water around that structure until I get the bass to bite. Although this tactic is primarily for largemouths, you'll catch some smallmouths with it.

When you're fishing close to the dam, using the techniques I've suggested, you really don't know what you'll catch - smallmouths, largemouths or saltwater stripers. But all these fish are fun to catch, and they'll stretch your string.