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Fishermen use wide variety of lures for different fish

VIDALIA — Using the right kind of bait can be the difference between coming home with a new trophy or leaving the lake empty-handed.

With summer in full swing, many fishermen are hitting the lakes, hoping their many hours on the water pay off. Depending on what species the fisherman is looking to catch, a wide variety of bait can be used.

Doug Schexnayder, a Vidalia resident, said surface bait is your best bet this time of year if it’s bass you’re trying to catch.

“The best to use for bass in May is topwater bait, and the best time to go is either the first or last hour of the day, or on the first calm, cloudy day of the summer,” Schexnayder said.

Eddie Roberts, owner of Eddie’s Marine, said a good surface lure a lot of fishermen like to use resembles a small frog.

“The SPRO frogs are hollow-bodied lures that sink in when the bass bite into it, so you can hook them when they bite it,” Roberts said.

“Those are great to use when you’re fishing around matted vegetation, like lily pads. You can move it around those, and the bass will jump right up and snatch it.”

Vidalia resident John Bruce said the warmer water temperatures make fish more active during the summer.

“They’re willing to come up and hit topwater baits, and you just see more action (during the summer) in general,” Bruce said.

“I like to use spooks and frogs, and you don’t see too many frogs going across the water in the winter time. A bass’ instinct is to hit something on top of the water. They don’t really have to know what it is, if they see movement, they hit it.”

However, it’s different for bass in the later summer months, Schexnayder said. When it starts getting into late July and early August, it’s time to pull out the jig.

“Bass in the later summer will be deeper in the water most of the days, so you’re generally better with bottom baits, like plastic worms and jigs.”

Natchez resident Vernon Smith said jigs, which are crawfish imitators, are the best kind of bait to use when you’re going for big bass.

“Most of the guys will flip this bait, and it crawls down into the water slowly,” Smith said.

“When it comes by a fish, the jig comes into his face, so it’s basically a reaction bite. Like us, fish eat at certain times of the day, so if you wait for that time, you may be waiting all day. That’s why you try to create a reaction bite with the jig.”

Bruce agreed, saying the jig is especially useful when he’s fishing in tournaments.

“It typically makes you catch bigger fish. In tournaments, you’re trying to catch the five biggest, and you can still fish bass on other baits, but the jig fish generally just run bigger,” Bruce said.

Roberts said you never fish a jig by itself, you always put soft plastic bait on the end of it.

“Color differentiation makes a big difference. You like to put something in the water they don’t normally see. You don’t usually see anything pink in the water, but fishermen say the pink bait makes them bite,” Roberts said.

In addition, a jig is also a good way to bait white perch, since they like to stay deep in cooler water, Schexnayder said.

Outside of bass and white perch, live bait is the way to go. Clyde Smedley, owner of MRK Bait Stand in Vidalia, said he thinks using live bait is the best way to fish in general.

“Fish like live bait more than they do artificial bait, in my opinion. It you’re fishing bass, the jig is good, but otherwise live bait is better. Ninety percent of the people that come into my store come for the live bait,” Smedley said.

If someone’s looking to catch bream, live bait is the best, Schexnayder said. And May and June is as good a time as any to try for them, he added.

“Those are the best months, if you’re fishing for bream. The best bait for them is generally live crickets, but you can also use worms and other things,” Schexnayder said.

For catfish, Schexnayder said they generally are bottom-feeders, and respond to any kind of live bait, especially goldfish. For crappie, he said many fishermen like to use minnows.

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