By the time July rolls around, the temperatures are so hot that most anglers only get out on the water during the early morning or late afternoon. Diehard anglers know there’s one place you can still catch aggressive bass and that’s in small creeks and rivers. Many of these small creeks can be found across the state, but they are too small to access with motorized boats. However, they are easily fished with kayaks and canoes. When you take the bigger motorized boats out of the equation, the fishing pressure is vastly decreased making the fishing even better.
With the cool waters flowing those fish often hit all day long and they’re much more aggressive than in the larger lakes, ponds and reservoirs this time of year. An added benefit of fishing these small waters is that you can get out of the boat and take a dip to cool off from time to time and stay refreshed.
Small crankbaits like the Bandit 100 series or the 2-inch Cordell Big O in crawfish are deadly on the spotted bass that populate our shallow waters across the state. If the water is flowing, then the fish will bite the fast-moving crankbaits.
Many anglers like the small rebel crawfish cranks and beetle spins.
Perhaps the most weedless and deadly of them all is a 3 ½-inch crawfish colored swimbait rigged on a weighted belly hook with a spinner attached. The Bass Pro Shops Sassy Sally rigged with a Norman Keeper Hook can be fished around stumps, treetops and rocky shoals, as well as in deep creek bends, and they are virtually weedless when retrieved in a steady pace.
Best of all the spotted bass love them too.
Some of the best areas to key on in shallow creeks and streams are just above and below the shallow shoals’ areas where the water flows swiftly over the rocks. Spotted bass will stay on the edge of the eddies and attack any unsuspecting baitfish or lures that swim by.
Other hot spots to look for are stumps, trees and anything that is found in the water that diverts water around the object. Many spotted bass and other fish lay on the downstream side of these stumps, rocks or trees and attack any bait that is swept by them.
You’ve got to make precision casts and keep the slack out of your line and pay attention or they’ll jerk that rod out of your hand if you are not ready. They strike like tiny torpedoes and play for keeps. Pound for pound the spotted bass are some of the hardest fighting freshwater fish found in our state.
Another key spot on any smaller creek is intersecting creeks where water from the other streams flow into the main creek channel. Bass and bream will stage just below the shallow ledges where the water flows and attack the small bait or lures when they flow into the deeper water.
While there are thousands of small creeks, streams and shallow rivers across the state, some of the more well known of these in the central part of the state are the Chunky River, Okatibbee Creek, Chickasawhay River, Okatoma Creek, Little Black Creek and the Leaf River.
Whether you want to fish a few hours or the whole day you can take your pick and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the country while getting away from the rat race and congested areas. The icing on the cake is that you have the opportunity to catch plenty of bass, bream, crappie or catfish and sometimes you’ll catch all of them on a small lure during a day of fishing. It’s not uncommon for a couple of anglers to catch and release 15 to 20 fish apiece during a four-to-six-hour fishing trip.