By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer
Fishing enthusiasts who’ve been waiting for the fall patterns to kick in should know that moment is now practically at hand, Clay Coleman, of Clay’s Bait and Tackle, in Tupelo, says. Bass, crappie and bream are all returning to active form as they get ready for winter.
“The crappie are moving shallow, there are good sized bream being caught in Elvis Presley and Davis Lakes, and there are billions of shad at Pickwick and Bay Springs that are turning the bass bite on,” Coleman said.
Returning to shallower waters with the return of cooler weather, freshwater gamefish of every description are using this time to feed up before severely cold water kills down the shad population and drives the gamefish themselves into the depths for winter. It’s a time that brings fishermen back to the water, often after having been driven away by the heat themselves.
“You can still catch good fish and good numbers of them in the summer, but the fish are deeper,” Coleman said. “It’s hard for the guys fishing on the bank, and lots of folks don’t want to fish in the heat. Late fall is a really good time because the fish pull in shallow and start hitting shad again.”At Bay Springs and Pickwick in particular, Coleman says, bass are being caught on spinner baits or any type of shad-imitating lure. Prime time for the Alabama rig is not far away. Additionally, single swim baits, jerk baits and rattle traps are effective right now as well.
“Smaller lures are working better than larger ones because the shad are really small,” he said. “It never got cold enough to have a big shad kill last year, so there are billions of small shad.”
“The crappie are biting live minnows pretty well all up and down the Waterway,” Coleman said. “Reports from Aliceville to Bay Springs are finding folks doing well on the crappie, and they’re catching good numbers of good fish.”
Just like the bass, Coleman said, the crappie are feeding on shad, and they’ll stay shallow in the fall until water temperatures fall below 50 degrees. At that point, they’ll pull back into deep water until springtime.
The bream are biting and there are lots of big bream to be found in Elvis Presley and Davis Lakes, Coleman says.
“Folks are having lots of success fishing red worms on the bottom, or crickets too, right now, but the colder it gets, the more they’ll lean toward red worms,” Coleman said. “Just bait with red worms, add a split shot, flip it out there and let it sink.”