I like to fish rivers for bass in August, because they always have some current moving, and fish like that. The Tombigbee River that divides Alabama and Mississippi is one of my favorite rivers for August bassing. I’ll start fishing at the Columbus pool and also fish the Aliceville pool.
On most sections of the river, Mississippi and Alabama accept a reciprocal license, but in other areas, especially off the main river, you must have a license for the state in which you’re fishing.
You’ll have two options in August for catching bass on the Tombigbee River: the sandbars on the main river and the sloughs and oxbow lakes off the main river.
• Little George. The weather’s hot and bass at the mouths of creeks will be holding deep, so my first lure will be a ½-ounce blueback/pearl Mann’s Little George, a lead-headed bait with a tailspinner, I’ll fish it on a 7-foot, medium-action Shimano Expride rod with 18-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon.
I’ll start fishing the sandbars close to the banks at the mouths of the creeks and down the sandbar to where it drops off into the river channel. The bass will be almost anywhere. You can see most of the river’s often large, underwater sandbars.
I’ll fish the Little George like a jig — jerking the bait up after it hits the bottom, letting it fall back to the bottom and using a yo-yo type of retrieve all the way out to the river channel. Then I’ll reel it in and make another cast.
• Mann’s 15+ and 20+ crankbaits. After I thoroughly fish a sandbar with the Little George, I’ll fish that same sandbar with Mann’s 15+ and 20+ crankbaits in a brown back/chartreuse and shad-colors.
I’ll fish both crankbaits on 20-pound fluorocarbon, a 6.4:1 Shimano reel and a 7-foot, medium-action Shimano rod. Often, when you fish a crankbait on a sandbar, you’ll fire up the bass and cause them to start feeding. I’ll fish the 15+ on the shallow part of the sandbar, closest to the bank, and then the 20+ out in the deeper water toward the end of the bar and where it drops off into the river channel.
I use a very fast, erratic retrieve, stop-ping the lure and then fishing it fast.
• Carolina-rigged Jelly Worm. I also fish a Carolina rig slowly on each sandbar with a 7-foot-6, medium-heavy Shimano rod with a Shimano 7.5:1 reel, 50-pound bass braid, a ¾-ounce slip sinker with a bead under it and a barrel swivel underneath the bead. I’ll tie 2 feet of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader to the other end of the swivel with a 6-inch Mann’s Jelly Worm in green/pumpkin or junebug.
Even if the bass aren’t actively feeding, or if you’ve caught most of the bass in the school on the Little George and the crankbaits, I have learned you may pick up a few bass using this Carolina rig and slowing down your fishing.
You can fish the river fairly quickly. There aren’t as many sandbars in the Columbus pool as there are in the Aliceville pool. After you’ve fished the Columbus pool, I recommend you lock through to the Aliceville pool, which has numerous creek channels. The lower end of the Aliceville pool is one of the better areas to bass fish in August.
Another tactic for August is to fish the sloughs and oxbow lakes off the main-river channel, where there’s numbers of cypress trees in the water. I fishes a Super Frog there on a 7-foot, medium-heavy Shimano rod and a 7.5:1 reel spooled with 50-pound bass braid. I look for big clumps of vegetation that’s either blown in to the bases of the cypress trees or has grown up around them. The cypress trees provide shade, and the vegetation provides cover for the bass.
You can catch bass around the bases of the cypress trees, but you’ll catch more fishing the Super Frog through the vegetation and out to its edges. These areas will hold 5 to 8 feet of water, but the bass probably won’t be that deep. Usually, they’ll be holding right under the grass.