Go slow and cover water completely with three go-to bass baits
Editor’s Note: Knowing what lake to fish, which places your chances are best for catching bass, and which lures have proved successful in the past on a lake at the time of year you’re fishing often can take you from fishing for bass to actually catching them.
Bogue Homa, near Laurel, kicks off some of the best bass fishing in Mississippi for prespawn, spawning and postspawn bass in March, when bass start into the sparse dollar pads. Numbers of big largemouths, some 9- to 10-pounders, live there. But in late spring and summer, Bogue Homa’s vast aquatic vegetation makes determining where to fish difficult.
Dollar pad payday
In March, you can reach where the bass are spawning with your boat and your lures. I generally fish depths of 4 feet or less. I’ll have three rods rigged and laying on my casting deck with: a 3/8-ounce chartreuse/white buzzbait with a chartreuse blade and a trailer hook; a 3/8-ounce black/blue bladed jig with a black/blue trailer; and a 6-inch Mann’s lizard, black with a blue tail.
Bogue Homa has numbers of stumps and a boat lane. I’ll take the center boat lane going east to the back end of the lake to fish the clearest water. You even may spot some bass on their beds before you cast to them. I prefer to fish the east bank, since the west bank has numbers of underwater ditches coming into the lake, and the water will be more stained.
- Buzzbait – Fish it on 50-pound bass braid on a 7.5:1 gear-ratio reel and a 7-foot medium- heavy rod to catch the biggest bass. Bogue Homa has numbers of stumps. I’ll target small clumps of dollar pads where the bass will spawn in and around them. Often, underwater stumps will be mixed in with the dollar pads. If the dollar pad patches aren’t too thick, I’ll swim the buzzbait through those patches. Next I’ll cast the buzzbait repeatedly on the left side, the right side and the back side of those pads. You’ll catch a good percentage of the bass on the trailer hook.
- The bladed jig – If I don’t get a bite, I’ll lay my buzzbait rod down, pick up another 7.5:1 gear ratio reel with a 7-foot, medium-heavy rod rigged with a bladed jig and repeat the same casts.
- Lizard – Next I’ll pick up a 7-foot-6 rod rigged with the lizard on 20-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon with a 1/8-ounce weight and make the same series of casts over, around and through that same dollar pads.
Slowly but surely
Using three different baits is a much-slower process of fishing than most anglers like. Many will take one or two lures, cast each lure about twice and, if they don’t get bites, move on to the next patch of dollar pads. However, when those big ladies come in to spawn, I’ve learned to slow down and thoroughly fish each clump of pads with these three lures until I get a bite.
The stumps may make moving from one clump of pads to the other difficult, but that ½-mile from the lake’s back end on the eastern side is the best bassing in March and may require four hours to cover thoroughly.
Once you get about 200 yards from the back of the lake, you also can start casting to the bank and retrieving these same lures back to the boat. If the water’s up, fishing around the cypress trees and knees in that shallow water can produce big mama bass spawning around the trunks. You may see a bass move in the pads or around the cypress trees and knees. Even if they don’t bite, mark those sites as waypoints, and return to fish there a couple of times during the day. If you catch a male bass fishing the dollar pads, return there later. That male bass preparing the bed means the female can’t be far.
You’ll catch lots of males weighing from 1½ to 2 pounds. but last March, I caught two 9-pound bass using these techniques and fishing the eastern section of the lake. Since I released them both, they still should be there to catch this spring.