• Fishing

    Instead of 24-hour predictions from the NOAA Marine forecast, the Windfinder app provides wind estimates for specific locations every three hours.

    Smartphone app provides more reliable wind forecasts

    You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Ya gotta go to know.”

    If you’re not familiar, it just means that you really don’t know the fishing conditions until you actually launch the boat and head out.

    February 15 at 3:30pm
    If you’ve located bass holding on or near the bottom, it’s hard to beat a chunky jig-and-pig in February.

    Techniques and presentation are critical

    Getting a lure to the depth at which bass are holding and keeping it in the strike zone are two requirements a fisherman must satisfy to entice a strike. How neat it would be to have a lure with a built-in transponder that would transmit its exact depth and location in relation to the bass. Such baits doesn’t exist, but finding structure or drop-offs on the sonar and the ability to feel them with a rod and line will suffice. 

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Wes Vowell broke the Neshoba County Lake record with this 14.3-pound sow caught in February 2017.

    Mississippi’s prespawn hot spots

    The Magnolia State has hundreds of bodies of water where bass can be caught, but some are simply better than others at different times of the year and bass cycles.

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Having a quality depth finder on your bass boat and knowing how to use it to locate baitfish and bass is a key to better prespawn fishing.

    Get the right gear

    For prespawn bass, angler Donnie Stuart of Pelahatchie favors 17-pound braided line with a fluorocarbon leader as long as the rod he is using when not using a slip-cork. For the rod with the slip cork he uses a 10- to 12-pound monofilament. 

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Baits like hard- or soft-plastic jerkbaits or swimbaits can be fished for suspended bass early in the prespawn cycle.

    Throw what bass want

    According to Tom Holman, a biologist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, gizzard shad tolerate cooler water better than threadfin shad. When shad die, they sink to the bottom, which is why catfish caught in winter are often gorged with threadfin picked up off the bottom.

    February 15 at 7:00am
    B’n’M Poles recently released its lineup of George Young Jr. Signature terminal tackle for catfish enthusiasts.

    B’n’M offers catfish gear

    Several years ago, West Point-based B’n’M Poles, famous for crappie rods, entered the catfishing market with their own line of catfish rods for serious catfish anglers. The lineup includes the Silver Cat and the Silver Cat Magnum in longer sizes, as well as its new Bumping rod.

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Grapple anchors work best when the claws dig into the bottom structure, but they can also get hung and can be lost.

    Strong design solves anchor problem

    Steve Strong, a veteran catfish angler, has lost count of the anchors he has sacrificed to the Mississippi River. With its myriad of rocks, logs and debris, the river bottom is tough on anchors. At over $100 a pop for commercially made anchors, he, like many catmen, makes his own anchors using steel tubing and half-inch rebar.

    February 15 at 7:00am
    In a typical six-rod set up, place at least two baited lines (1 and 6) on the break line itself. Other lines will target structure such as downed trees (2) , rock piles (3), and holes or depressions (5). The final line (4) should be straight down, to catch fish responding to active chumming.

    Thoroughly work each spot

    Fan-casting to tempt winter catfish is more than just a random presentation of baits. Once the boat has been anchored, catfish anglers must target specific features within reach of the boat.

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Mitch Glenn’s Pico Ringed Pointer tale grub on a Scott Vance custom-painted jighead with red sickle hook and a Berkley Crappie Nibble is a deadly prespawn combination on crappie.

    Top prespawn lure picks

    We polled several successful crappie fishermen, and these products were among their recommendations for cold-water crappie in the prespawn mode:

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Writer Mike Giles caught prespawn crappie last February on shallow grass at Okatibbee Lake, a tactic most fishermen overlook that early in the year.

    Prespawn crappie in the grass

    I grew up fishing for bass and crappie year-round and have learned a few things about finding and catching prespawn crappie. 

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Curl-tail grubs are a popular choice for umbrella rigs like the YUMbrella Flash Mob.

    Grubs on umbrella rigs

    Discussions of grubs cannot exclude their group presentation on the umbrella rig. Although banned in Bassmaster Elite and FLW Tour competition, the multi-armed “egg beaters” remain a vital tool for bass anglers from fall through early spring.

    February 15 at 7:00am
    Shooting under docks to get to hard-to-reach crappie is normally best done with a round-head jig that flutters when it falls.

    When to tip a jig with a minnow

    For all the discussion about crappie jigs, live minnows account for at least half of the fish caught by anglers. No discussion about jigs is complete without a discussion of how and when to pair live minnows with jigs.

    February 15 at 7:00am
    In February, Ross Barnett bass will be in the prespawn mode; you may catch a good number of bass that will weigh 4 pounds or more.

    February bassing at Ross Barnett

    I think February is the best month of the year to fish Ross Barnett Reservoir for bass, which are in the prespawn mode and moving shallow. In many sections of the country — and Mississippi — you will often be fishing for bass in deep water in February, but on Ross Barnett, you’ll catch most of your fish in water 3 feet deep or less.

    February 12 at 9:00am
    Robert Allen with a Marshall County hawg.

    February fishing hot spots

    The second month is a transition period for many Mississippians, who trade their bows and firearms for poles and rod and reels. Any little stretch of decent warm weather and, wham!, it’s on.

    February 12 at 7:00am
    A large pallid sturgeon caught on a trotline in the Mississippi River near Natchez.

    Mississippi’s oldest fish

    The Mississippi waters of the Mississippi River are home to pallid sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon. Unlike many other sturgeon in North America and worldwide that migrate between the ocean and freshwater to complete their life cycle, the pallid and shovelnose sturgeon complete their life cycles entirely in rivers. 

    February 05 at 9:00am
    Cold-water bass fishing on Barnett Reservoir will be tested by Bassmaster Central Open anglers.

    Lots of B.A.S.S. traffic on Barnett

    The Barnett Reservoir area will be more colorful in February, as will the streets and hotel parking lots in nearby communities.

    February 01 at 7:00am