Whether you’re planning on hitting the steelhead or spring fishing in Mississippi for white bass, these are the top places you definitely won’t want to miss. And don’t forget your catfish baits because the flatheads are waiting for you in the Big Black River.
White bass provide the hottest springtime fishing action available in Mississippi. And I can think of no better time and place to pursue these vicious fighters than during their annual spring spawning run up Bayou Pierre near Port Gibson.
Following the mass exodus of schooling fish as they make their way up Bayou Pierre to spawn is the most productive technique. Your best bets for finding these giant schools of fish is along the sandbars, run outs, and where the murky backwater meets the clear current from upstream. Although white bass attack most any lure, small rattling crankbaits in shad or crawfish colors work best.
Grenada Lake has long been considered one of the top trophy crappie lakes in the country. The hot lures for crappie at Grenada Lake are pink or black/chartreuse jigs tipped with minnows. But if you prefer lunker largemouth bass, Natchez State Park Lake in Adams County is an excellent choice.
Big Black River
For big flathead catfish, trotlines and the Big Black River are the perfect combination. Each spring, floodwaters cause the Big Black to get out of her banks. Foraging catfish move into the flooded timber in large numbers. Catfish anglers take advantage of this feeding frenzy by setting multiple trotlines in likely spots along the main channel. Chicken livers, cut skipjack, live goldfish and pond perch are the baits of choice when a boatload of catfish is the objective.
Great catfishing can be had the entire length of the Big Black River. However, caution is advised since the Big Black River is always potentially dangerous, especially during the spring floods.
Excellent speckled trout fishing can be had this month by wade-fishing the barrier islands along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. And don’t forget that redear sunfish are moving onto their beds in farm ponds across the Magnolia State. Crickets or worms fished in the beds yield fantastic catches of shellcrackers.
Bluegills are the most popular sport fish in the Magnolia State and definitely one of the most abundant. All 18 of the state fishing lakes operated by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks are great choices for bedding bluegills. Bream fishing is best a few days on either side of the full moon. And while crickets are the bait of choice, jigs and flies like the “bream killer” can be deadly when fishing active bream beds.
Some of the better state fishing lakes for bream include: Lake Mary Crawford in Lawrence County, Lake Claude Bennett in Jasper County, and Tippah County Lake near Ripley. A complete list and description of all the state fishing lakes can be found by logging onto www.mdwfp.com
During the past several years, Neshoba County Lake near Philadelphia has been one of the most productive big bass lakes in the Magnolia State. And despite the heavy fishing pressure, Sardis Lake remains a good choice for crappie this month.
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MSRP: Pricing starts at $22,195.
The 186 VLO measures in at 18 feet 9 inches with an 89-inch beam. The boat is built on a fiberglass, foam-filled hull and weighs in at 1,450 pounds and can hold a payload of 1,320 pounds. Maximum room is devoted to rod and tackle storage and fishing deck. VLO comes with a cus-tom-built, single axle trailer with submersible lights, a swing jack and a swing-away tongue.
The YUMphibian creature bait has two small swimming arms at the top, a pair of longer curl tails at the end, and two big “flappers” at the mid-point. Pitch it, flip it, or work it deep. Customize by pinching off appendag-es to create less water disturbance for finicky or pressured fish. 4 1/2, 5 1/4 and 6 inches in 10 color options.
Suzuki’s two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki’s Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
Shakespeare’s new Micro Series Combos provide lightweight actions and are suited perfectly for panfish. They come in spinning and spin-casting models with high-quality components and each is spooled with Stren monofilament.
Ranger Boat is introducing a line of aluminum boats called The Tourna-ment Series. There are three models:
• RT 178 sports a 17-foot, 8-inch bass configuration.
• RT 178C has a similar platform (17 feet, 8 inches) but designed for crap-pie and multispecies angling.
• RT188, an 18-foot, 8-inch bass de-sign rated for 115 horsepower.
Rapala is hoping the new Scatter Rap Series lures and their “evasive action” will be as popular as the original “wounded minnow” style action that the company is famous for. The new lure has a “Scatter Lip” that creates an evasive, erratic, aggressive sweep-ing action. Ideal for multispecies gamefish, the Scatter Rap Series is available in 14-16 classic and new color patterns. Baits 5- to 9-feet deep.
YUM’s F2 MightEE Worm is 10 1/2-inches long, has an arrowhead shaped bulge toward the end and is made for big bass. Because the worm tapers to a smaller circumference before blow-ing back out to the bulge, the tail sec-tion wags back-and-forth in the water with each breath of current.
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano’s new Flex ‘N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
Honda Marine’s BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There’s enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
Triton’s 21 TrX measures 21 feet and features a 95-inch beam. The bow has a 20 percent larger fishing area than last year’s model. A bow panel is ready for flush-mount electronics up to 12 inches, and has an organizer for pliers and baits. Stows 24 rods in the bow, 10 more in the center locker and another 14 in the port side. tri-tonboats.com.
MSRP,Package of 12 Juice Worms $3.49.
Designed by Boyd Duckett, the new Havoc Juice Worm gives anglers more action which produces more strikes than any other worms on the market. The slim ribbed 8-inch body has a long, flexible ribbon tail that produces a unique swimming action. 20 colors.
G-Loomis’Jig and Worms Serie GLX rods offer sensitivity to feel the bite and the power to control the fish. GLX models feature Fuji Titanium SIC guides, along with a new proprie-tary reel seat and split-grip handle configurations.
Crestliner’s VT19 has a .100 gauge aluminum hull, is 19 feet long with a 91-inch beam. Rated for 150 horse-power and has a top speed of 60 mph. 1,085 pounds and a maximum pay-load of 1,300 pounds. An elevated starboard console has a windscreen, switch panel, gauges and in-dash Lowrance depth finder. 30-gallon aerated livewell. Motor Guide trolling motor.
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you’re standing in deeper waters. It’s adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
MSRP, Jacket $249.99-$269;
Cabela’s Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
MSRP, $18,178-$22,950, no motor, trailer.
Carolina Skiff’s DLV Series is an unsinkable, all-fiberglass, modified-V hull designed for offshore or shallow-water fishing. The series has five siz-es, from the 17-foot DLV 178 with a 90-horsepower outboard to the 25-foot DLV 258 that powers up with a 200hp. High-speed bilge pump, cush-ion seat set, built-in cooler and plenty of storage.
Abu Garcia’s Revo SX baitcasting reel is now 25 percent lighter than before. The SX frame is crafted of a strong alloy while the handle sideplate are built with weight-reducing C6 carbon. Holds 145 yards of 12-pound mono.
Anglers who use jar baits know it’s a pain to carry more than a few. Berk-ley now has two Jar Bait Folders to keep the baits at hand and make them easy to transport. Model 1170 holds 10 jars. Model 1490 holds 16. Both have various pockets and a D-ring for pliers.
Berkley says they’ve improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.