• Bass 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 at 6:00am
    A buzzbait is a very productive bait when bass are in the backs of creeks on visible cover.

    Pickwick Lake’s bass bonanza

    Catching 30 to 50 bass per day is what you can expect in November on Pickwick Lake, which corners Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee and should be one of the hottest lakes in all those states this month. One of the main reasons I’m choosing Pickwick is because the shad will be moving from deep to shallow water and will be schooling on the surface, and there’s a wide variety of ways to catch those bass. 

    November 15 at 9:00am
    Needle nose and split ring pliers are invaluable for hook change operations.

    Tools and tactics

    Swapping hooks is not a complicated process, but a little know-how facilitates the task. Invariably, the biggest challenge is flexing the split ring enough to remove and add a hook. Split ring pliers, made to separate the metal ring’s overlapping sections simplify the process, while providing a gripping device. However, in a pinch, your fingernail or a pocketknife blade will suffice.

    November 15 at 6:00am
    A feature on Google Earth allows anglers to go back in time to see features on Okhissa’s lake bottom before the lake was impounded to see potential bass-holding spots.

    Google Earth helps turn back time at Okhissa

    During the construction of Okhissa Lake, several humps were pushed up around the lake bottom, and several rock beds were created with railroad ties and loads of gravel.

    November 15 at 6:00am
    Bassmaster Elite pro Kevin VanDam likes to add one hook while removing another simultaneously.

    Hooking it up - How to change hard bait hooks

    You buy a bait, remove it from the packaging, tie it to your line and make a cast. Everything should work as expected, right? Yeah, that’s generally how it goes; and as long as you’re selecting reputable products, you should expect reasonable teamwork between the piece that attracts a fish and the piece(s) that make them regret their mistake.

    November 01 at 7:00am
    Lake Okhissa is still a great bass lake, even with its ‘new-car smell’ long gone.

    Okhissa’s ‘Back to the Future’ bass

    The north boat ramp at Okhissa Lake in the Homochitto National Forest was nothing like it was in 2007 when the Bill Dance Signature Lake first opened. Instead of waiting for an endless line of eager anglers to launch their boats, I drove right up to the ramp and had my pick of the best parking spots. 

    November 01 at 7:00am
    Despite its length, you can still connect on the hookset with the Mag 12.

    The Mag 12 Buzz Worm

    That two different professional anglers can fish a new 12-inch worm completely differently — with both catching solid numbers of quality bass — is a testament to the new Mag 12 Buzz Worm from Mister Twister. 

    October 30 at 9:00am
    Anglers can catch spotted bass, along with largemouths and smallmouths, on different areas in Bay Springs.

    Bay Springs: five rods, two areas

    When I think of Mississippi lakes I like to fish in October, Bay Springs Lake comes to mind. A 9-mile-long reservoir on the Tenn-Tom Waterway northeast of Tupelo, Bay Springs has populations of all three species of black bass: largemouth, smallmouth and spotted. 

    October 18 at 9:00am
    Football jigs are one of the favorites for probing creek ditches.

    Carolina concepts

    It’s rarely the first choice for modern anglers boasting tackle bags full of the latest-and-greatest, but it’s always a good idea to keep a Carolina rig handy. Now, the slow drag may seem askew compared to more active presentations common to the fall season. But for those times between the craziness — for the dreaded bluebird days following a fall cold front or for those times when you just can’t seem to get ‘em going ­— the old ball and chain can be a straight-up day saver.

    October 15 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 at 7:00am
    Small ditches off a larger creek can be highly productive.

    ‘Digging’ the ditches

    It’s possibly the most oversimplified stage of a bass’ annual schedule, but get to know the fall feeding migrations and you’ll see there’s actually a considerable amount of strategy required to achieve consistency. For, while we tend to describe this season as a mass movement of bass to their pre-winter gorging, it’s not just a random rush to the buffet line.

    October 01 at 7:00am
    Anything unusual in a field of matted grass is worth your attention.

    Frog fishing tackle

    FLW pro Todd Castledine trusts his frogging to a 7-foot, 3-inch Falcon Cara swimbait rod with an 8:1 Lew’s Super Duty reel carrying 65-pound braided line. This outfit, he said, affords him the elements essential to effective frogging.

    September 15 at 7:00am
    Ott DeFoe likes grass edges in low-light conditions.

    Best topwater frogs for different applications

    Everyone has their favorite frog, but putting aside the debates over brand and color patterns, we can break down the basic shape/style options based on their applicability.

    September 15 at 7:00am
    Although you’ll catch a good number of 1 to 1½-pound bass using these tactics in September, you may get a really good bass, like the one pictured here.

    Bet on your most-dependable lake

    This month, I’ll primarily fish my home lake, Bogue Homa, near Laurel. I understand exactly where September bass should be, and I know the lures to fish for success. Bogue Homa has a good number of largemouths 3 pounds or better, that will be relating to the grass and the grass lines coming off its banks. 

    September 14 at 9:00am
    There’s a frog for every situation, whether bass are feeding on amphibians or finfish on top.

    Maximize your frog’s mat mayhem

    It’s a double shot of adrenaline that widens the eyes, flares the jaws, red-lines the heart rate and elicits a broad spectrum of amazed responses; not all of which may be suitable for a family audience. Unquestionably, frog fishing over weed mats can deliver some of the most aggressively exaggerated strikes you’ll ever see — but it’s not as simple as throw-frog-onto-mat-and-pull.

    September 01 at 7:00am
    Creature baits that resemble invertebrates are good alternatives for the voracious appetites of marsh bass.

    Best baits for marsh bass

    Marsh bass feed heavily on invertebrates. So anglers should fish trenasses that drain marsh ponds, small bayous that drain into large bayous right at the mouth, pipelines and ditches with water flowing to take advantage of prime ambush areas.

    August 23 at 7:00am