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Fish early for good surface bite

Last week’s cool front sure felt good. The fishing felt so too.

I heard many good reports for a couple of days after the front. As this week clicked by, the water warmed back up.

The cool front dropped surface water temperatures by about eight degrees this past Sunday.

I was on Black River/Horseshoe Lake before the sun rose. The surface water temperature was 82 degrees. Before the cooler weather, the water was averaging 90 to 92 degrees.

That is the way it will be for about a month.

The water will cool off, warm back up then cool back down. The good news is, the overall average water temperature will continue to drop.

The cooler the water gets the better the fishing will be. It is about time. This long, hot summer made conditions extremely tough on the white perch and bass fishermen and ladies.

While I was on the Black River Lake Complex you could see a lot of shad holding near the surface at daybreak. I had a fair surface bite going on but most were short striking.

By 7 a.m. I had ten strikes but only boated two bass. That really does not bother me unless I am fishing a bass tournament. When fun fishing I don’t care if I land them or they get off.

A nice bass that had to weigh over 5 ponds hammered the surface lure, jumped 3 feet in the air. I grabbed my camera and tried to catch the next jump. All I got in the picture was a huge splash and then she came unplugged.

The sun came over the treetops and ended the surface bite real quick. I made the short boat ride down Workinger Bayou to try the stained waters of Horseshoe Lake.

On bright days you are much better off fishing off-colored water this time of year rather than the ultra-clear waters of Black River Lake.

These two lakes are only minutes apart separated by Workinger Bayou, but they fish so much different. Black River Lake offers many deep water opportunities with water depths in the 25- to 45-foot range. The deepest water you can find on Horseshoe Lake right now might be 10 feet at the deepest and there is no cover in that range.

It took about three hours to fish what little cover is left in Horseshoe, and that produced only three bass, but one did weigh a little over 3 pounds.

Those fish hit a Mr. Hooty spinnerbait and semi-homemade jig. The fish on Black River Lake were hitting surface lures. When that bite died I caught a half dozen pound to pound and half bass on 1/2 ounce Rat-L-Trap in open water anywhere from 4- to 8-feet deep.

I am still hearing good reports from the cat fishermen on the Mississippi River despite the extremely low river level. The river stage at Natchez today is 10 feet and steady.

There is a very slight fall coming down river. I see sandbars in the river that have not seen daylight in years. The low river water level has pushed the big catfish to the main channel so fish the deepest holes you can find.

Launching a boat from the Natchez or Vidalia side is still a major problem. I checked on the Vidalia riverfront ramp recently. It is at least 20 feet out of the water. I hear the ramp at the Natchez Port is very difficult to use as well.

Maybe one day we will have launch ramps on both sides of the river. There is no better time to repair ramps than right now while the water is so low.

The first day of fall is fast approaching. The fishing will just keep getting better from now all the way through the winter months.

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