Roberts: J.R. Roberts opens 2004 tournaments

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 11, 2004

The 18th annual J.R. Roberts Memorial Team Bass Challenge will cast off the 2004 tournament season on Lake Bruin Feb 7.

This is the largest team event held in this area. We average between 70 and 100 teams.

Entry forms were mailed out Saturday to everyone who competed last year. I keep records for this yearly event, and you can see when the fishing was great, then dropped off and then began to improve again.

Email newsletter signup

We’re on an upswing this year. The winning weights will probably be heavier than the 2003 results.

Lake Bruin’s bass population is making a comeback. The 5- to 6-pound bass that were common are still rare, but the lake is loaded with 2- to 3-pound fish.

The record-winning weight for this event pulled the scales passed 27 pounds. Danny Smith boated the huge limit 14 years ago.

The lake’s water level is about normal. It was about a foot, but the recent rains have raised water levels.

We fish Bruin a lot during the cold months. You can catch fish from 2 to 25 feet in January and February.

The shallow bite is real strong early and then it normally slows down about mid-morning.

If the wind picks up, the good shallow bite will return around noon.

The deep-water bass on Bruin can win you a tournament on a &uot;blue-bird&uot; day, but if it’s cloudy or rainy, the shallow bite will be better than the deep-water activity.

The jig is the No. 1 lure for winter bass on Bruin, followed by a flippin’ tube or one of the creature lures like the brush hawg.

Lake Bruin was a well-known Rat-L-Trap lake before the coontail moss disappered.

You can still catch a few bass on Bruin with the Trap by targeting the shallow cypress trees and the walkways leading out to boathouses. Fan-cast the lure in the open water among the piers.

The brushpiles &045; the man-made cover &045; holds the key to the most consistent bite for big bass.

If you don’t know where any man-made cover is located, get a good depth finder and spend a few hours idling around the lake.

You will eventually find some off-shore cover on Lake Bruin.

The entry fee to this non-profit tournament is $120 per team. Entry forms are available at Sports Center in Natchez and Bryan’s Marine in Vidalia.

This event is held annual in memory of my father, J. R. Roberts.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at