Fishing through the fall

The Tenn-Tom Waterway produces plenty of big blue and flathead catfish this month from deep holes. And eating-sized channel cats are around, too.

Just because hunting dominates this issue of Mississippi Sportsman, don’t think for a minute that fishing opportunities just suddenly dry up and go away.

No sir. No way.

“If anything, it just gets better, if for no other reason, a lot of people start hunting, and it eliminates so much of the pressure,” said angler Mike Wright of Brandon. “I can even consider fishing Barnett Reservoir on weekends again. I don’t fish there that much on weekends during the spring or summer because it’s so crowded it’s hard to find some water that doesn’t get beat to death, and I mean crappie, bass and even catfish.”

Plus, Wright said, fish feed heavy in the fall to get ahead of the cold season they know is coming.

“There’s always a fall feeding frenzy that takes place everywhere, on every type of water, because fish instinctively know they have to fatten up before winter, especially the females that will be spawning in March or April,” he said. “It’s my favorite time of the year to fish on Barnett, Eagle Lake and even to make trips to the Gulf Coast.”

With that in mind, here’s our list of five hot spots in November:

1. Coastal rivers and bays: Coastal fishermen love the fall because it brings some of the most popular nearshore fish within easy reach. There’s a feature included in this issue outlining all the opportunities, and it includes information on speckled trout, redfish, puppy drum and sheepshead.

2. Flounder, Graveline Bayou: This coastal hot spot deserves its own listing. One of the few, if not the only, pristine coastal streams and estuary areas remaining along the Gulf Coast, this bayou in the lower Pascagoula River system, which dumps into the Mississippi Sound, is the No. 1 flounder hole on the Mississippi Coast. November is a peak month for flounder in the bayou, since the fish leave the Gulf and migrate to inland waters. Fishermen who can locate an oyster bed in Graveline can usually count on taking home several fine flatfish for dinner. Market shrimp or cut bait is all that is required.

3. Bass and crappie in oxbows: Pick your preference: bass, crappie or white bass. Whichever you choose, you can find hot action in a number of Mississippi River oxbow lakes, as well as inland Delta oxbow lakes. November is a perfect month for the oxbows, with stable-water levels and clarity. Trolling deep, open water for crappie is peak at the connected oxbows of Chotard and Albermarle north of Vicksburg, as well as just across the levee at nearby Eagle Lake. It’s also very good at Lake Washington about 30 miles north at Glen Alan, but the fish are much shallower. Bass fishermen score big at Lake Ferguson at Greenville, where you can find a whole new appreciation for the practice of “deep cranking” for largemouth. Lake Whittington is another hot oxbow for bass in November. White bass are best in the lakes and streams connected to the river.

4. Catfishing on the Tenn-Tom: Everyone thinks of the Mississippi River when it comes to catfish, but overlooking the Tenn-Tom Waterway is a big mistake. This northeast Mississippi river system with its many pools between Pickwick Lake and Aliceville, Ala., is full of giant blue and flathead catfish and also smaller and perfect, eating-sized channel cats; November is a peak month. Fish near deep holes, since the cats will be moving toward them, knowing winter is approaching. They will eat if giving an opportunity.

5. Largemouth at Okhissa Lake: All you need to know about November bass fishing on this lake is included in writer Chris Ginn’s piece in this issue of Mississippi Sportsman. Ginn points out that the prolific catches that marked the U. S. Forest Service’s lake opening years a decade ago are a thing of the past. The lake has aged, and it has changed, with a lot of vegetation now dominating the key bass patterns. The lake is still full of bass worth chasing and many fishermen believe that somewhere swimming in the lake are bass that could threaten the state record of 18.15 pounds.

About Bobby Cleveland 1342 Articles
Bobby Cleveland has covered sports in Mississippi for over 40 years. A native of Hattiesburg and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Cleveland lives on Ross Barnett Reservoir near Jackson with his wife Pam.

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