By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer
When the weather gets hot, knowing where to look can be the key to some of the best action local waters see all year. Bream, catfish and bass are all still on the menu.
“The bass are definitely on their summer pattern,” Clay Coleman, of Clay’s Bait and Tackle, in Tupelo, said. “They’re catching big numbers on Pickwick right now. They’re wearing them out on the river ledges.”
Depending on availability, bass will either be on humps in deep water or in grass patches in the shallow.
“On the deep humps, really go big,” Coleman said. “We’ve been catching them lately on the Strike King 10XD diving plugs. That’s a diver that will run 25 feet deep. We’ve caught them before on the 6XD which will run 17 to 19 feet deep, but the 10XD is new. Otherwise, you can use a really big worm on a Texas rig, or a Carolina rig with a big jig. They’ll eat pretty much anything you stick in front of them right now, but you have to get it down to them.”
Run big, deep
Along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway where there’s not a lot of deep water, a different bass strategy comes into play.
“What deep water there is along the Waterway is in the barge channel, and the boats pushing the barges keep that water so stirred up, it’s the same temperature at 12 feet as it is at two feet,” Coleman said.
The bass use the deeper water because it’s cooler, and the cooler water holds more oxygen. To find cooler water here, the fish take the opposite approach, using the grass patches.
In the grass
“The grass shades it a little bit and keeps it cool,” Coleman said, “and the grass itself is making oxygen. There’s a lot of small bait fish and frogs in there for the bass to eat. They’ll really hit an artificial frog thrown in there.”
For catfish, now is the time as well.
“The catfish really like the warmer water,” Coleman said. “It’s not as warm as it’ll get yet, but it’s headed that way.”
One target hot spot still developing for the season is the rock wall areas at Pickwick.
“The catfish transition up out of the channels and stage on the mussel beds, then they move onto the sheer-cut rock walls,” Coleman said. “When they’re doing that you catch them on fly rods. Catching a 12- or 15-pound catfish on a fly rod is some kind of big-time fun. They’re not on the rock walls yet, they’re on the mussel beds, but that time is coming.”
In the pan
For those of a panfish bent, Coleman says the long, cold spring pushed a treat into June.
“The cold weather pushed the early bream spawn back and it looks like they’ll be bedding again soon,” he said. “There’s a big bedding coming on right now.”
Bream bedding typically occurs in the period seven days before through seven days after the full moon, which next occurs on Sunday.