Meridian Star

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Outdoors

May 17, 2013

Big O bass action heating up

MERIDIAN — Lady Okatibbee; she’s been known as the Dead Sea and the Big O as in zero fish, and many other names we can’t divulge here. Oh how we love to hate her. But no matter how bad things seem to get at the Lake, she always seems to surprise some people. And still others have mastered the art of finding and catching bass on the big pond.

     Mother Nature, as some refer to another lady, smiled upon the Big O a few short years ago, rewarding her with a drought. Oh yes, we couldn’t see the sun for the clouds back then. People moaned and groaned about how hot it was, and how low the water got. Yes, record temperatures and record low water kept anglers away in droves.

    And then it happened. It went unnoticed at first, but with the low water, seeds took root on the flats and shorelines of this popular flood control lake. And the rains came down, and kept coming and the grass, and weeds and willows grew.

     And the water rose up and thousands of bass, crappie and other smaller fish invaded the newly flooded grass fields. When the spring came and the spawn followed, fish of all species flourished. Bass, crappie and catfish spawned like never before, and their prey also had record hatches and survival rates as they had cover to hide in.

    The lake has enjoyed a rebirth of sorts, at the hand of Mother Nature, as the Big O now enjoys a much better reputation and provides thousands of anglers with a place for a little catch and release fishing, in addition to the rest, relaxation and fun in the sun water sports! And of course thousands of crappie and catfish are caught and released to the freezer and frying pan every year, providing succulent meals for folks near and far.

     With the recent rains the lake has reached flood levels again and inundated campgrounds and other popular outdoor venues around the lake. And of course the shad, and baitfish and other species followed.

    Shad skittered along a flooded grass field edge as I worked my way back into the salad patch and made casts along the edges of the vegetation. Wham! On my second cast a small bass smashed my plastic offering.

    A few minutes later another bass slashed through the grass and sucked my frog in. Over the next hour I enjoyed a late afternoon chock full of stress relief, as the bass were pounding on my lures. No monsters mind you, but a pleasant surprise on an afternoon when I’d made an unexpected trip to try out a boat.

     Are you hungry for a few fillets, then look no further than Okatibbee Lake. The actions still hot on the catfish, and crappie are moving back deeper, but still biting. Crappie are my favorite eating fish but bass are really my favorite fun fish and I practice catch and release on them. I caught and released quite a few bass and enjoyed another beautiful sunset on Okatibbee Lake, right smack dab in the middle of the Southern Promised Land right in our own backyard.

    Contact  Mike Giles at 601-917-3898

or e-mail him at mikegiles18@comcast.net

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