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Local fishermen look forward to warmer April temperatures

Carroll Huff holds his 6.5-pound bass at Lake Okhissa March 22. Huff said he uses plastic bait when he is out on the water, but likes to switch between plastic and live bait from time to time. (Submitted Photo)
Carroll Huff holds his 6.5-pound bass at Lake Okhissa March 22. Huff said he uses plastic bait when he is out on the water, but likes to switch between plastic and live bait from time to time. (Submitted Photo)

NATCHEZ — As the water temperatures continue to get hotter, the bass will move to the shallow water, making April a prime time to fish for bed fishers.

Carroll Ray Huff, who is a member of the River City Bass Club and has bed fished since 1986, said he was at Lake Okhissa, which he called the clearest lake currently, last weekend and watched a male make his bed and drag a female into it.

“I’m talking from experience here,” Huff said. “I watched a little male, about a pound, drag a 2-and-a-half pound male into the bed.”

The process let Huff know spawn time is beginning, which fellow fisherman have been waiting on for a while.

Doug Schexnayder is a Dixie Bass Club member, and he believes the bass are spawning before white perch are.

“Everything is based on water temperature this time of year,” Schexnayder said. “Right now, fish are moving shallow to spawn, and the bass will spawn first.”

Fish move to shallow water to spawn because the fish need sunlight to hit the eggs. If the sunshine doesn’t get to the eggs, chances are the eggs won’t hatch correctly.

“They like to spawn shallow, so it’s an excellent time to fish between now and Easter,” Schexnayder said.

Huff scanned the bank of Lake Okhissa last Saturday in search of a big bass. His technique is to move fast, taking mental pictures of big bass and remembering the location. He called it a chess game with fish.

“I pass up the big fish,” Huff said. “I don’t fool with it at all.”

Huff then retraced his path, blindly “throwing” at the big fish he saw earlier.

“I’m not looking at the fish whenever I’m throwing on that next trip,” Huff said. “If that fish can see you, chances are it’s not going to bite. Trust me, if you see it, a lot of times it sees you, and it sees you before you even see it.”

Plastics are Huff’s bait of choice when he fishes for bass, but every now and then, he likes to mix it up.

“Plastics like lizards and crawfish-type baits usually do the trick,” Huff said. “I pretty much only use plastics, but sometimes I’ll use worms. A lot of the time, a regular ol’ worm will attract a bass.”

Huff said his plastics don’t always guarantee a bite. In fact, some days he has to go through his tackle box, changing bait several times.

Like Huff, Schexnayder uses plastics to fish for bass, and he uses jigs if he’s struggling for a bite. Sometimes you just never know what bait will do the trick.

“Bass fishing, every bait works sometimes,” Shexnayder said, laughing.

Bass aren’t the only fish spawning right now. White perch are starting to creep closer to the shallow waters, though they don’t make beds like bass do.

“They normally get in thicker cover,” Huff said.

White perch generally swim around tree limbs, searching for anything the eggs can hang onto. Those who fish for white perch like to put out a lot of tomato stakes, Huff said.

On Huff’s bass fishing trip last Saturday, he said he caught a nice sized white perch.

“It was real shallow,” Huff said. “They’ve started to move in along with the bass. I’m just happy we have something to fish. The water stayed cold for so long, there wasn’t anything to fish for a while.”

As Easter inches closer, the waters continue to get warmer, bringing joy to fishermen throughout the area.