Sack Mississippi’s stream-born spotted bass in summer

Sack Mississippi’s stream-born spotted bass in summer

Creeks, streams and small rivers of any size across Mississippi will likely hold spotted bass, and these aggressive fish can make for a spectacular summer outing.

Daniel Giles parked his canoe on a set of shoals to target spotted bass downstream of the turbulence.

As we floated around a bend in the Chunky River, I spotted a rocky shoal that had turbulent water crashing over it, so I cast a small spinnerbait across the shoal and kept the slack out of the line as I let the current carry it slowly downstream. 


Suddenly, a bass smashed my lure and almost tore the rod from my hands. I held on and fought him with all my might. A few minutes later, I landed my first Chunky River spotted bass. He fought wildly, like a 4-pounder, but he was only average size. The strangest thing was, he had red eyes. I’d never seen nor heard of one like that.

I fished around the next bend and nailed another spotted bass and started hollering for my buddies. I was sure that this was a monster bass. But this one was almost a twin of the first one and taught me a lesson in their ferocity. 

Those two spotted bass were caught some 50 years ago on a Boy Scout outing on the 7-mile bend. They were the first spotted bass I ever caught, but they were not the last, as I started targeting them in small streams, creeks, and shallow rivers around the state. These smaller waterways are too small to launch traditional outboard-powered boats, thus, most remain free of heavy fishing pressure, and most have plenty of spotted bass for the taking. 

You don’t have to go too far to find spotted bass, as they proliferate in thousands of small creeks, streams and shallow rivers all over the state. Some are named, and some are so small that they don’t even have a name, but they do have feisty spotted bass that are eager to strike almost any offering during the hot summer. 

You can fish from a kayak, canoe or duck boat, avoid the crowds and still have fun catching fish. Along the way, you might just encounter a few snakes, hawks, deer, turkey and coyotes.

Daniel Dilley finds plenty of good fishing spots along creeks and smaller rivers while deer-hunting. He returns in summer to target spotted bass.

Fishing shoals, rapids

Adam Stewart of Meridian is an avid angler who practices strict catch-and-release, and he catches a ton of spotted bass each summer and fall from small creeks and streams across Mississippi.

“I like to fish the smaller creeks and rivers that don’t have a lot of fishing pressure and target spotted bass because they’re so aggressive,” Stewart said. “I’ve caught spotted bass that are about the same size of the lure up to almost 3 pounds, and they all fight hard.” 

During the summer, Stewart concentrates on fishing areas that have shoals or rocky rapids. 

“I like to fish below the shoal areas when I’m fishing the Chunky River,” he said. “I’ll cast across and retrieve pretty fast, keeping the slack out so I can feel the fish hit and keep the lure from hanging up.”

Stewart sticks with the basics when targeting spotted bass during the summer; he’ll use a jig and crawfish, a red craw crankbait and a Blue Fox Minnow when working areas below shoals. 

“I’ll use soft plastics in the areas with no current as I’m paddling downstream,” Stewart said. “In between the shoals areas, I’ll hit the stumps, submerged trees and target anything that might hold a fish. If there is no current in an area, or a deep pool, I’ll use a small Zoom Fluke or paddletail worm, pitch it into the water and let it glide down.” 

Stewart really prefers covering a lot of water so he can put his lure in front of a lot of bass, and that’s where the Blue Fox Minnow comes in handy, as it’s heavy enough for a fast retrieve through the swift waters below the shoals or rocky areas while still maintaining the feel. He prefers the ¼-ounce size that is 2 inches long and carries a single treble hook. 

While Stewart’s main target is spotted bass, he does catch redbreast sunfish and occasionally large crappie in some of the small streams. Another minnow-style lure he uses is a Mepps Minnow that has a blade at the front and small hooks that will catch any small panfish.

Aiden Dilley often fishes in the front of his father’s two-person kayak on central Mississippi streams.

Kayak bound

Daniel Dilley of Forest is another avid angler who loves catching the feisty spotted bass in small creeks in central Mississippi. He finds good fishing holes while chasing deer during the fall and winter and hits those areas during the summer. 

Dilley prefers fishing out of small kayaks, and he also likes to utilize a 2-person kayak, as he often takes one of his children fishing with him. He can maneuver the smaller kayaks very easily without causing a commotion on the water and spooking bass. 

“I like to target any wood structure that I can find,” Dilley said. “I’ll work the deep, cut banks and any ditches that pour into the creek. Bass attack baitfish that get swept into the main creek, and they will strike lures, also.”

Dilley is always looking for new structure that has fallen into creeks or floated into an area, and he usually catches bass on it, as they use it for ambush points when baitfish swim past. 

“I like to fish Texas-rigged baby Brush Hogs and shaky heads rigged with a Yum Dinger or finesse worm,” he said. “I like watermelon/red flake or pumpkin as my go-to colors, and I’ll also use a junebug/red flake color with good success.”

Summer topwater patterns

Anglers shouldn’t overlook topwater patterns during the summer. Stewart has had good success fishing topwater lures during hot weather, which is something you might not think about during the summer.

“I like to fish a Baby Torpedo during the summer. If I can find an area on the river that has shoals and turbulent water, I’ll work that lure across the top, and the bass will tear it up,” Stewart said. “In fact, bass will strike that bait almost any time of the day if you work it past them. They just can’t resist them for some reason.”

Dr. George Arrington is another avid angler from Meridian who loves to catch spotted bass on topwater lures; his go to bait is a Devil’s Horse. Arrington regularly catches 3- and 4-pounders on a Devil’s Horse, and he’s a firm believer in the topwater prop bait. 

A small crankbait fooled this Chunky River spotted bass for the author.

Swimbaits, spinnerbaits

Jack Davis of Daleville grew up fishing creeks, streams and shallow rivers, and he still loves catching and eating spotted bass — and usually catches plenty of them. 

“We had a trip to the Sucarnoochee River up near Porterville recently, and we caught and released 41 spotted bass,” Davis said. “We caught them on swimbaits all day, and my biggest was a 3-pound spotted bass. They were hitting light blue and greenish-colored swimbaits, but they seemed to prefer the light-blue color a little better.”

Davis also likes to use a chartreuse spinnerbait with gold blades, and he recently also had a fantastic trip to Pawticfaw Creek in Kemper County with his son, Jeff. 

“I went fishing with Jeff, and we really caught the spots,” Davis said. “We caught them stacked up and feeding in a creek bend about four days before a full moon. We caught 18 bass in 35 minutes; most of mine came on that spinnerbait, and Jeff caught his on a worm. It was a fantastic trip, and we hit them just right at feeding time.”

Low-budget summer fun

It doesn’t take any fancy equipment to fish small streams, creeks and shallow rivers. A spinning or baitcasting combo will suffice, but you’d better have fresh line, because the spotted bass that live in the streams will break your line around a stump or rock if you’re not prepared. 

Davis likes to fish smaller streams or creeks from the bank, if possible, but he fishes most of the larger creeks like Sucarnoochee in an Uncle Buck’s Pond Prowler. It seats two anglers comfortably, is easy to maneuver in the water — you can turn it on a dime — and it’s light enough for two men to load easily. Probably the biggest advantage to this 12-foot boat is that you can sit in comfortable chairs, which means a lot to anglers who have spent a lifetime working and fishing. 

Probably the best, all-around fishing vessel for creeks is a kayak. You can fish out of a single or two-person kayak; they’re easy to paddle and a breeze to load, as most are very light without the added weight of a trolling motor and battery. 

Popular shallow-water fishing crafts include: Ascend kayaks, Uncle Buck’s Pond Prowler, Wilderness Systems Recon 120 HD, Sea Ghost Vibe Kayak.

The post Sack Mississippi’s stream-born spotted bass in summer appeared first on Mississippi Sportsman.

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