• Fishing

    Rat-L-Traps are not inherently snag-free, but bass pro Cliff Crochet said you can make one simple alteration to throw the lures around hard structure and catch more fish.

    Remove back hook from Rat-L-Trap to catch more fish

    Rat-L-Traps are absolute fish-catchers. There’s just something about the lipless crankbaits that bass and redfish love — or hate, whatever. They will just crunch them.

    November 16, 2017 at 6:00am
    The Tenn-Tom Waterway produces plenty of big blue and flathead catfish this month from deep holes. And eating-sized channel cats are around, too.

    Fishing through the fall

    Just because hunting dominates this issue of Mississippi Sportsman, don’t think for a minute that fishing opportunities just suddenly dry up and go away.

    No sir. No way.

    November 13, 2017 at 6:00am
    This photo shows various magneto, holy joely and ultraviolet Matrix Shad that had lost their original colors transitioning back to like-new condition after being exposed to sunlight for several hours.

    Revitalize faded soft plastics

    Stuff in boats gets wet — that’s just part of fishing.

    But if you keep your soft plastics in the original bags they come in — and they get wet — you’ll likely find some of the translucent lures you purchased have turned into faded, milk-colored lures that no self-respecting bass or speckled trout would give a second look.

    October 27, 2017 at 7:00am
    Don’t be afraid to change colors of leaders, lures or hooks during a day’s fishing trip to see what fish prefer.

    Don’t get stuck in a rut: Be flexible with colors

    “You’ll catch more fish using a pink fluorocarbon leader than a clear one. I spent a day trying this theory out, and I caught seven fish on pink line for every one I caught on clear line. Ever since then, I only use pink leaders,” one angler said to another as they struggled through a slow day of fishing.

    October 26, 2017 at 7:00am
    Guide Justin Carter believes you can’t use too long a leader, even if it’s invisible fluorocarbon, when trying to fool saltwater fish like reds.

    Short isn’t sweet: Keep fluoro leaders long

    Braided line has many virtues, and it’s popular among both freshwater and saltwater anglers. It’s also popular among anglers to use fluorocarbon leaders due to their invisibility. No other material virtually disappears in water better than fluorocarbon. 

    October 24, 2017 at 4:30pm
    Guide Rod Thomas caught this nice red off a set of ocean jetties, fishing a live bait below and behind a planer board.

    Overlooked saltwater tool: Side planers can provide options

    Like a lot of fishing guides, Rod Thomas of Capt. Ponytail Guide Service got his training on the water. Unlike a lot of guides, he got plenty of training holding a video camera as well as a fishing rod, filming outdoors TV shows.

    One thing he learned is something a lot of inshore saltwater guides are missing from their repertoire: how and when to use a side planer board.

    October 24, 2017 at 2:30pm
    If you get snagged when you’re fishing with braid, reel in and pull the line away from the rod and let it snap back down. Braid doesn’t stretch, so there’s a chance the shock could travel down the line and free your hook.

    Use “bow and arrow trick” to free snagged hook

    Nothing is more frustrating than getting your hook hung up — especially when the fish are biting. 

    October 19, 2017 at 4:30pm
    October is a time of transition for most salt water species, like the sheepshead. It opens the door to some productive action very close to the shoreline.

    The Sound of better close-in fishing

    Mississippi’s coastal fishermen, especially guides, look forward to October, because as the temperature cools, the cost of reaching a jackpot catch goes down.

    October 16, 2017 at 7:00am
    Pete Ponds uses his own designed Pete Ponds Finesse Swim Jig from Talon to catch bass at Barnett Reservoir when the shad begin to stack in the pad fields.

    Bass chasing shad — that’s a good thing

    Bass fishermen who prowl Mississippi’s biggest waters — from Pickwick Lake to the coastal rivers, from the Tenn-Tom to the Big Muddy — love October.

    October 13, 2017 at 7:00am
    Will Major Brister, 9, caught his largest bass to date, this 8 1/2-pounder, while visiting his grandparents, Buddy and Gwendy Clairain, in Ebenezer. He was fishing with his grandfather in a private pond, using his new baitcasting outfit to present a watermelon/red Fluke.

    Five fishing hot spots for October

    1. Bull reds, Mississippi Sound: The bigger redfish don’t usually get to the bridges, taking up residence instead along the barrier islands and the edge of the Biloxi Marsh. Huge schools can change the color of the water when they are moving in search of food. It’s a blast, whether you use big gear and go for numbers or go light and enjoy the line-stretching battles.

    October 12, 2017 at 7:00am
    Bassmaster Elite Series pro Cliff

    How to catch more fish with Rat-L-Traps

    Rat-L-Traps flat-out catch fish, but they're not what one would call weedless. So fishing them around hard structure normally means risking loss of the lure.

    October 05, 2017 at 11:00am
    Todd Macko, founder of the Barnett Reservoir Spillway Fishing Group on Facebook, looks at a load of trash he hauled from kayakers to be off-loaded at the spillway collection sight during Operation Clean Sweep.

    Clean Sweep removes 18 tons from the Pearl

    Operation Clean Sweep, a trash removal effort on the length of the Pearl River from its headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico on Sept. 23, has been deemed a huge success by organizers.

    October 02, 2017 at 10:05am
    Sherman Roberts of Biloxi set a new state record for the Oyster Toadfish.

    Record oyster toadfish certified

    Sherman Roberts may not own the biggest entry in the Mississippi Salt Water Fishing record book, but the Biloxi fisherman can certainly claim one of the most curious.

    September 20, 2017 at 10:10am
    Florida’s Capt. Joshua Lim shows off a 25 ½-inch, 6-pound speckled trout caught this summer in Pensacola Bay with a Matrix Shad rigged as a shrimp imitation twitchbait.

    Turn a Matrix Shad into a shrimp-imitation twitchbait

    Many coastal anglers are probably familiar with Matrix Shad soft-plastic paddletail lures and how deadly they are when jigging for speckled trout.

    September 19, 2017 at 6:00am
    Public access to the popular spillway fishing below the Barnett Reservoir Dam near Jackson will be closed this weekend during Operation Clean Sweep.

    Barnett Reservoir spillway to close during cleanup

    The popular spillway fishing area below the Barnett Reservoir dam will be closed to recreation on Sept. 23-24 to accommodate a river-long clean up, the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District announced.

    September 18, 2017 at 3:00pm
    Crappie can’t avoid Terry Blankenship just because it’s summer and they’re deep.

    Top 7 tips for catching slabs in brush

    Terry Blankenship’s passion is finding and catching crappie year-round. And the fish don’t stand a chance when the summer heat pushes fish out to deep, flooded brush and standing timber.

    September 18, 2017 at 6:00am