For Lee Sugg of Morton, Neshoba County Lake has a different appeal — one that involves the next generation of bass anglers.
“We have a club of sorts made up of bass-angling friends and relatives, and each year we seek a quality fishing experience for our children,” Sugg said. “For the past several years, we have chosen Neshoba for several reasons: First, the lake has a great bass population, with every kind of bass habitat an angler is likely to find; second, the staff at Neshoba County Lake, Chuck Hazelwood and his wife Sherry, go out of their way to see that the kids are made to feel welcome.
“Finally, the lake is just the right size for an outing of friends.”
He said the key is just to catch bass by whatever legal means necessary.
“We fish both live bait and artificial,” Sugg said. “I know a lot of bass anglers are turned off by the live bait use, but we want our children to have the opportunity to hold that big bass and feel the power they exert when hooked.”
Suggs has a source of shiners in the 8- to 9-inch-long range that are used for the bigger fish.
And the catch-and-release ethic seems to be infecting these youngsters.
“A few of the children want to save the bigger fish to have them mounted, but increasingly they are the ones who choose to opt for a replica and release the big fish after a picture is made,” Sugg said.
During a three-day outing this year, he and his kids caught 32 bass, each weighing over 6 pounds.
Fishing the flats, on the far side of the lake from the boat ramp, Sugg targets weed lines and submerged brush to locate the big bass. Fishing weedless is a necessity, not an option along the weed beds.
Sugg reported catching and releasing dozens of bass in the 3- to 5-pound range while fishing the weed edges.
“Most any color lizard is good bait to start with,” he said. “The creek channels are open, with weed mats along either side.
“The secret is to get the bait as close to the edge as possible. The weed cover provides shade for the fish. The deeper water adjoining the weeds has brush in it to hold crappie and bream. It’s only natural that bass hangout where these conditions exist.”
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