• Freshwater Fishing

    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
    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
    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
    Tournament catfish angler Joey Pounders of Steens said it’s a fallacy that flathead catfish won’t feed during the winter. He has caught them when the temperature is in the single digits.

    Catch more cold-water kitties

    February is one of the toughest months of the year to be outdoors. On the hunting side, many seasons are finished, and what big and small game that is available has seen a lot of traffic in the woods. 

    February 01 at 7:00am
    Scott Vance is a master at catching slab crappie at any time of the year, but he excels in February’s pre-spawn at Okatibbee Lake.

    Slay slabs now!

    Scott Vance dropped a few jigs into the water, but before he could get all his poles out, the action began. 

    February 01 at 7:00am
    Pony head jigs like this Road Runner account for a lot of crappie, especially in stained water where the small spinner provides vibration and flash.

    The jig is up. But which one?

    Walk into any tackle shop this time of year and you’ll likely be overwhelmed with choices of crappie jigs to use to tempt one of the country’s favorite gamefish. How do you decide which one(s) to buy and use? 

    February 01 at 7:00am
    The senses of smell and taste were important to catching this Mississippi River blue catfish.

    The biology behind the bite

    The vulnerability of fish to hook-and-line capture has become a hot topic among fisheries scientists. 

    January 09 at 9:00am
    Shimano Curado 200 K series

    Shimano Curado 200 K series

    Shimano made some waves in the fishing industry last summer when it debuted its new Curado 200 K series baitcasting reels at the annual ICAST show, where they promptly took home the honor as the best new freshwater reel.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    When managers at Barnett Reservoir increase discharge at the spillway, crappie are pulled through the gates and congregate in the eddy currents below.

    Sure-thing spillway slabs?

    A popular idiom for simplicity is to compare something to “shooting fish in a barrel.” It has no better application than some winter fishing opportunities on the Pearl River when the waters in the spillway below Barnett Reservoir begin to rise.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    Limits of big crappie have been taken from the edge of the river channel above and below the Mississippi Highway 43 Bridge at Barnett Reservoir. It's usually a winter hot spot but this year, it started earlier and has just gotten better.

    Barnett crappie hot in December

    Crappie fishermen on Barnett Reservoir enjoyed an early Christmas present in December, with one of the best late-season runs on the fish in anyone’s memory.

    December 20, 2017 at 6:30am
    Healthy bass populations produce quality bass.

    Too much of a good thing

    The adoption of catch-and-release benefited black bass fisheries, but now many fisheries managers wish it would go away — or that at least a few anglers would harvest some bass. 

    December 11, 2017 at 9:00am
    This cross section from a shovelnose sturgeon spine has six annuli.

    Get a grip on fish growth rate

    Many anglers are interested in how many fish of a certain species live in a body of water. Estimating population size is difficult and, even with extensive effort estimates, is imprecise. Growth rate is much more informative from a fishery management perspective and can be measured very precisely.

    November 08, 2017 at 9:00am