Fishermen wasted little time, hitting the water Thursday in numbers surprising for a supposed workday. That's what you get when it's the first day in over a week when weather would allow for safe boating access.

And the reports from crappie anglers were to be expected - good.

"The prespawn is on," said Jimmy Thomas of Jackson, who caught a limit of 30 good fish on the main lake at Barnett Reservoir. "I have been waiting a week to check out my favorite big-lake March hole, and I went straight to it after launching just before lunch.

"I spent about 30 minutes following the ledge I like to fish, where it drops from 10 feet down to 15 or 20 feet, near an old lake bed. Then I found the sweet spot and caught all of my fish on about a 25-yard stretch. We'll be eating crappie the rest of the week at my house, and I'll be back Saturday and Sunday to make sure we have some for next week."

Thomas wouldn't give up his honey hole, but said there were several other boats in the area.

"They were fishing in the deep water of the old lake bed, staying in the old standing timber," he said. "Most of them caught a few, but nothing like I was getting on the outside.

"When I ran up the lake to check on a couple of other spots, I noticed a lot of boats doing exactly what I had been doing, working he edges of ridges or old creek channels. I had a buddy who was fishing at Mill Creek, and he said he wasn't going to get the limit but that he had enough slabs to fill his need."

Thomas said the key depth was 10 to 11 feet for both fishermen.

"The fish were all suspended at that depth, in deeper water," he said. "My fish up on the ledge were holding in water between 16 and 20 feet deep. At Mill Creek, the fish were thickest when the water was 11 or 12 feet deep. My partner was catching them right off the bottom."

Prespawn patterns were also producing at Grenada and Sardis lakes. Reports there put the best catches at the mouths to creek channels, with the fish suspended 8 to 10 feet deep in water at least 15 feet deep.

The piers were still producing hot action at Eagle Lake.

"We caught a mix of white and black crappie around the piers, with the whites coming off deep cover and the blacks coming out from under the heart of the piers and boat houses," said Tommy Neely of Vicksburg. "The blacks were suspended shallow, about 5 feet in 8 to 10 feet of water."

Neely said he had some friends that looked shallower on the Louisiana side of the lake and that they found some fish starting to move.

"They were not in the spawning shallows, but they said the fish were definitely starting to move out of the deep open water toward Float Row," he said. "The shallowest water they found fish was 6 feet. You give us a few more sunny days though and they will start moving up in mass, or at least the males will."

Bass are already starting to move up on most lakes, especially on small impoundments like state lakes and private subdivision waters.

On Tuesday, in heavy winds that pushed a steady 25 to 30 mph, this writer found big females had already moved into staging areas just off the first drop from spawning grounds. My partner caught his biggest bass ever with a 6-pounder on his first cast, only to beat it twice in the next hour. His second bass weighed 8 and his third 10. Read more about those in my weekend column.

With excellent conditions forecast for the weekend, it will be interesting to hear more reports as bass fishermen return to the waters.