The corners of the state will be hotspots this year, but the areas in between will certainly hold their own.
The whipping winds have kept many coastal anglers at home wondering what could be the last several days. In the meantime, freshwater fishing has been productive and offers an escape from the blustery weather. In fact, one of the stingiest places around, the Pearl River canal system, has been anything but stingy.
Pool 1 near Hickory hosted a Liars and Lunkers tournament recently, and the fish that came to the scales surprised Covington bass pro Jason Pittman. He and his dad had already weighed in with over 11 pounds. I asked him if he thought his weight would hold.
“We may get beat,” Pittman said, “but somebody’s going to have to beat us. Eleven pounds is strong for this place. There were only two limits over 11 pounds caught here all last year.”
Pittman’s heart started getting heavy as he watched the last few bags come to the scales. He could tell that this wasn’t a typical day in the nondescript and otherwise featureless waters of the Pearl River canals system. His 11-pound limit of bass was pushed back to fourth place.
Launching at the Pool 1 lock gives anglers access to Pool 1 above the lock or the West Pearl below the lock. Largemouth rule Pool 1, and Kentucky bass rule the river. In either case, bass fishing is definitely on the rebound from the lows this area experienced after Katrina.
“Most of the fishing right now is pretty simple,” Pittman said. “You can really get by with three lures out here and do well. Bring some kind of shallow or medium diving crankbait, a spinnerbait and a Texas rigged worm.”
Finding a spot to fish that is different than other spots is the challenge. Pittman likes to focus on the many fallen trees that jut from the bank out towards the middle of the canal. He favors hardwoods over pines, and he focuses on those that disappear below the surface rather than jut out above the water way off the bank.
“You just kind of move to the tip of where you think the tree ends and work both sides and above it with the crankbait and spinnerbait,” he explained. “That will pick off any active bass around the tree. Then you work it over with the worm.”
Another option in Pool 1 is to fish the shallow cypress flat called Becky Lake. This lake is a maze of trees, stumps and vegetation that holds some of the largest bass in the entire Pearl River canals system. Spinnerbaits and worms work well, but anglers should also try other lures like Senkos, topwater frogs and jigs.
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