Local Fishermen battle the heat

Published 12:04 am Sunday, August 7, 2011

The best news about fishing in August is the cooler days of September are not that far away.

It may be hot, but the fish are biting. The live oxbow lakes — the old river bend lakes that are still connected to the Mississippi River — are pumping out limits of game fish.

Several fishermen and ladies have stopped by our shop this week with ice chests full of big slab sac-a-lait and huge bream.

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The sac-a-lait, or what most locals call white perch but technically are white and black crappie, are stacked up around the outside edge of the green willow trees on the Old Rivers.

The people I spoke with that had limits were using blue/pearl and green/chartreuse tube jigs on a 1/32nd-ounce jig head.

I have not talked to any fishermen using live bait. That is a good thing.

It’s much cheaper to fish with jigs and a lot faster. It is a pain to keep minnows alive in this heat so go with tube jigs.

People that are not experienced with a tube jig think we jig the lure up and down. That’s wrong.

Many tend to overwork the presentation when they need to approach the fish with more of a finesse presentation.

Minnows don’t jump up and down in the water column. They swim from side to side.

Just toss the tube out past whatever cover you’re fishing and let it swim past the cover. If that does not draw a strike, just hold the jig real still over the cover.

The slight movement from your hand, boat wakes or wind is sometimes all it takes to fool the perch.

The bream fishermen and ladies are still catching limits on crickets and red worms from the Old Rivers.

Try fishing 5 to 8 feet of water. For the big fish, keep your bait just off the bottom. I like small 1/16th- or 1/32-ounce beetle spins simply because for each cricket I try to get out of a cage 10 will escape.

The Mississippi River stage at Natchez today is 32 feet and falling real slow. That’s perfect.

We need a slow fall to keep the fish biting.

The long-distance forecast predicts the slow fall will continue for the next week or so.

The white bass and sea-run stripers are feeding near the surface early and late on the Old Rivers.

Chrome/blue back Rat-L-Traps in 1/4 and 1/2 ounce are hard to beat when the fish are up, but when they go down you’ll have to go deeper.

Once the sun burns the surface activity off, try bright colored Bandit series 200 crank baits or tail spinners and spoons like the Little George, Wing Ding and crippled herring jigging spoons.

The Luhre Jenson jigging spoon in chrome with a green back is my favorite spoon. It will catch white bass, bar fish, largemouth bass and most anything that eats shad.

I have fished that spoon for 30 years, and it’s amazing what you can catch on this little 1/2 ounce chunk of lead.

One thing is for sure, if you plan to fish the Old Rivers this weekend you sure won’t be alone.

For the past week or so, the ramps were busy, and the parking lots are full at both Deer Park and Old River Vidalia.

Just be nice and don’t crowd out people that were in the area first. I usually strike up a conversation. Many fishermen and ladies are very friendly if you speak to them first and not just shut down on top of them and throw a big boat wake across their fishing hole.

It does not take much effort to be nice.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@bellsouth.net.