Meridian Star


July 5, 2014

Back to the good ole days of bass fishing

MERIDIAN — As an excited youngster began to reel in yet another lunker bluegill, his howls of delight were suddenly tempered by the piercing, blood-curdling scream of another youngster right next to him. Just as the young angler pulled the bull bream near the bank, a dark shadow appeared from out of nowhere and exploded on the bream, blasting a shower of water onto the children standing nearby. Suddenly all of the children were screaming for fear of their lives and the “freshwater” shark that had just attacked the bream and shattered the serenity of the morning.

    The young angler held on for dear life but neither he nor his outfit was up to the task of subduing the freshwater shark that latched onto and swallowed his bream. While the young children were in a frenzy, wiser heads prevailed with the knowledge that there were no sharks in this lake, which is located hundreds of miles from saltwater. But don’t try to tell that to the kids who witnessed the brutal attack, however.

    As an experienced angler, I realized instantly that a monster Florida bass had found an easy mark. The youngster was holding onto his favorite rod and reel combo with all his might. And just as he was about to be pulled into the lake his line broke, sending the young lad tumbling backwards.

    Scenes such as this are repeated over and over around the country each summer as fishermen head to the waters in search of tasty bream. You can bet that most of the bass in a lake learn very quickly where they can get an easy meal. And feast on bream they do, as happened during the Sandy Ridge Bream Tournament one year which was held at the farm of Frank Tillman.  Without fail somebody was going to lose a bream, or stringer of bream, to a hungry lunker bass.

    But before you think landing a lunker with a bream is easy, then think again. “Mike, we kept losing bream to these big bass so I decided to try my luck with a bream rigged on a bass outfit one day,” said Frank Tillman. “Each time I hooked a bream and cast it out, something different would happen. Sometimes the bass would swallow the bream and head for brush or the fence. If I put too much pressure on them they would spit the bream out, or straighten the hook. If I let them go they would get hung up!” And so it goes with landing a lunker bass. Once you get a bite you’ve got to land them. And landing a ten to fifteen pound bass isn’t a cakewalk.

    During my early years we caught hundreds of bass in ponds and lakes on live bait. Back in those days we used shiners, minnows, baitfish, suckers, or whatever else we could get our hands on. Usually the minnows were found at area bait shops or minnow farms. We’ve made many a stop at Covington’s, or Snowden’s minnow farms before heading to the lake. And of course we always caught fish. We got lots of bites, caught a few big ones and lost even more. It didn’t matter your age, or if you were male or female, you had an equal chance at getting bit and catching lunker bass.

    Of course with the advent of the soft plastics and more realistic bass lures, most bass anglers began to use artificial baits and most still do until this day. However, with the introduction of the Florida bass in Mississippi back in the 1980s and early 90s a new trend developed. Many anglers were unaware of the trend at first, but expert fishermen quickly became aware of it. While record size bass were being caught during the spring around spawning time, they were difficult to entice into biting.

    Oh yes, it could be done by those in the know who utilized extreme patience, skill and ability. However, after the spawn, most of those Florida bass seemingly left the shallows and disappeared off of the radar until showing back up the next spring during the spawn again.

    A few experts kept right on catching those big hawgs all summer on shiners, or minnows, but kept it a secret. Do you want to catch a monster bass? Then buy a few magnum minnows, or catch a few bream and head to the nearest lake or honey hole and hold on to your hat!

    Contact  Mike Giles at

601-917-3898 or e-mail him at

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