By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer
The best days of the year for bass and crappie fishermen have begun to arrive, Clay Coleman, of Clay’s Bait and Tackle, in Tupelo, says. Water temperatures are bringing crappie into their pre-spawn and spawning modes, and big bass are hitting like crazy in the waters they call home.
“At Bay Springs, the crappie are still very, very deep,” Coleman said, “I mean, 30 to 40 feet deep. They did the same thing last year. But in most other places, they’re beginning to pull up shallow. Around Goat Island up at Pickwick and in our local locks on the Waterway, you can find them as shallow as three feet on warm days and around eight to 10 feet on cold days,” Coleman said. “Looking ahead to this weekend’s forecast, it’s shaping up to be just gangbusters. From the temperature to the weather to the phase of the moon, it should be on.”
For bass enthusiasts, there’s a similar transition. As schools of shad begin to appear, key techniques like the Alabama Rig will begin to lose effectiveness. For now, though, the rig is still working and the big bite is on like never before.
“The bass at Pickwick are absolutely red hot,” Coleman said. “It’s taking 30 pounds and more to win every tournament they’re having right now, and that’s 30 pounds in a five-fish limit.”
Coleman said the Alabama Rig should continue to work at Pickwick for roughly two to three more weeks this spring.
“Here at home, Davis Lake is on fire right now in a really big way” he said.
Crappie, he added, are getting serious now.
“Crappie are so finicky, you never really know from one day to the next or even one hour to the next what they’ll bite, but how cloudy or clear the water is should be the first clue,” Coleman said.
At Grenada, Coleman said, where the in-flow of the Yalobusha River and other creeks and streams keeps the water cloudy, jigs in chartreuse and red or chartreuse and black work great. On the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway where the water tends to be clear, blues and whites tend to work best.
“Whatever you do, it’s finding the one thing they’re doing on any given day,” Coleman said, “and water clarity means so much for that.”