Both species are proceeding nicely toward their annual goal of reproduction, with more and more fish being found in shallow water.
Bass fishermen in the southern half of the state, including Barnett Reservoir, are starting to see the big females moving up and that has triggered a nice bite on swim baits and swim jigs.
"I caught two over 5 pounds on the same day at Lake Bill Waller last weekend in three feet of water on a swim bait," said Timmy Brown of Hattiesburg. "I had caught about 10 buck bass in about a foot of water in holes around vegetation on a lizard but couldn't find a big fish or see a big fish on any beds. The water wasn't that clear.
"So I moved out and went to a soft plastic swim bait, a 6-inch Basstrix in a Tennessee Shad color, and I caught those two 5s almost back to back," Brown said. "I only had one of those lures with me and I broke it off on what I hope was a bigger fish about an hour later. Those were the only three bites I got but I can't wait to get back this weekend."
According to Brown, that kind of bite won't last long. He figures the big sows will start joining the bucks on the beds as soon as another warm stretch hits the area.
"They're ready," he said. "Just let it get a little warmer."
Swim baits also produced a pair of big fish reported from Calling Panther Lake near Crystal Springs and Neshoba County Lake near Philadelphia.
Details were only available on the catch at Calling Panther, where Ronnie Johnson caught an 11-pounder (caught, weighed and released) on a swim bait at the mouth to a cove on the southeast side of the lake.
"I decided to fish the swim bait all day in areas where I thought big females might be staging before the spawn," Johnson said. "I got two bites all day, caught that one and lost the other. Both were in a similar area, hanging around points at the mouths to coves in about 6 to 8 feet of water."
At Barnett Reservoir, Dan Thomas checked the popular area known as Behind 7 (a cove behind the old No. 7 sign) Tuesday (March 19) and despite the wind was able to boat several fish on a swim jig.
"If I hadn't had Power Poles it wouldn't have been possible but I was able to move around, put the poles down and fish an area thoroughly and then move some more," Thomas said. "I wanted to fish a swimming lizard but the wind made it almost impossible. I was going to leave but I remembered where I read last year that (Elite Series bass pro) Pete Ponds had caught some Behind 7 in March on one of his Talon swim jigs and I had three so I tried.
"If I threw it shallow, I caught buck bass. But when I moved out to the edge of that main ditch, the fish were much better. I think I caught four or five between 4 and 5 pounds. What worked for me was that red, black and white combination."
Crappie fishermen are beginning to see some movement, too, but mostly from Central Mississippi to the coast.
James Reynolds of Jackson caught "several slabs, about 20 I guess, on the walls and rocks in Main Harbor Wednesday" at Barnett Reservoir. "I was looking for places with those new sea walls and rocks that the sun would hit all day. It took a few hours but around noon and on into the afternoon, the water warmed up enough (mid 60s) and the fish started moving up.
"I was just using a single jig pole and a chartreuse jig and they started knocking the fire out of it. I had a limit, but only 20 of them were the big slabs you look for."
Shallow crappie were also reported at Calling Panther and Lake Okhissa in Southwest Mississippi, Eagle Lake north of Vicksburg and at Okatibbee Lake near Meridian.
"I talked to a lot of fishermen at Sardis and Grenada and the other northern lakes, and they are still fishing deep and catching them," said Ron Garavelli, chief of fisheries for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. "I think some guy said he found a few moving up into the shallows on the upper end but most of the fish being caught are still on the lower ends of the lakes trolling deep."
The Tenn-Tom Waterway pools vary in their crappie reports. A few shallow fish are reported in Aliceville at Columbus, but from Aberdeen up to Bay Springs the fish are still deep.