Here are Chase Morse’s Top 11 tips for catching more bass on the Pearl River system:
1.) Find water that is a little stained.
2.) Plan your trip to fish on an falling tide.
3.) Keep lure selection simple. Use jigs in dirtier water and spinners in cleaner water.
4.) Watch river stages closely to plan trips.
5.) Use braided lines to horse bass out of the wood. Tie lures directly to the line, without a leader; the water in the Pearl never gets clear enough for the line to affect the bite.
“If it does, I’m not going to be in it,” Morse said. “I’m a dirty water fisherman.”
6.) “If you pull up to a drain and catch four or five fish and then they stop biting, give it a 30 to 45 minute rest and come back,” he said. “Usually you can catch four or five more.”
7.) Don’t waste time where fish aren’t biting. Make 10 to 15 casts and if you don’t get a bite, move.
8) In January, more bass will hold in the upstream corner of a drain. In the summer, more hold in the lower corner.
9.) Don’t ignore the West Pearl River when the gauge is below 8 feet. The West Pearl seems to hold bigger fish. Target drains, even with no current, and cypress-tree points. At 9 feet or above, the water is too high to fish the West Pearl.
10.) “Every one of the four rivers falls at a different pace,” Morse said. “The first one to stop falling and stabilize is the East Pearl, then the Middle Pearl, then the Middle West Pearl and then finally the West Pearl.
“Move until you find the right water conditions. Don’t baby-sit one river just because you had success there last trip.”
11.) Watch wind direction and speed.
“Strong southeast winds that push water into the system turns off the bass bite,” he explained. “Don’t go with high expectations under these conditions.”