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John's Journal... Entry 107, Day 1


Hot-Weather Bass

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Few anglers see or ever catch a 7-pound smallmouth bass. However, in 13 years of guiding and fishing Pickwick Lake, which borders Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, Roger Stegall of Iuka, Mississippi, has caught more than 50-smallmouth bass weighing more than 7-pounds each. This week Roger Stegall talks with us about how to fish Pickwick Lake.

Question: Who sponsors you?
Answer: My sponsors include Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, Timex Sports, Strike King Lure Company, Delco battery chargers, Mossy Oak, All Star rods, Okuma reels, Stren fishing line, Motor Guide trolling motors and Mustad hooks.

Click to enlargeQuestion: In what tournaments do you fish?
Answer: I fish in the B.A.S.S. Central Division, the Eastern Invitationals, the Everstart Central Division, the Forrest L. Woods (FLW) tournament circuit and other regional and local tournaments.

Question: Roger, where do you catch the bass on Pickwick Lake?
Answer: During the Dog Days of summer -- August and early September, I consistently catch both largemouth and smallmouth bass on underwater humps, main-river drop-offs and submerged ditches and canals on Pickwick Lake. Many fishermen don't catch bass at Pickwick Lake because they remain shorebound. Sure, in the spring when both the largemouth and the smallmouth move in to shallow water, you can catch some large fish next to the bank. But, throughout the rest of the year, the larger bass will hold in the middle of the lake on underwater humps, ridges and ledges that you only can locate with a depth finder.

Question: Do you only catch smallmouth bass on Pickwick Lake?
Answer: You can catch both smallmouth and largemouth bass in the same places on Pickwick Lake. Before I've caught a smallmouth and a largemouth on the same cast on the same crankbait. Occasionally, one of my clients will cast to an underwater target and catch a smallmouth, and then, my other client will cast to the same target and catch a largemouth.

Click to enlargeQuestion: What lures work best in Pickwick Lake?
Answer: My five favorite lures for fishing deep-water structure include a...
* Carolina-rigged lizard. I like to fish with a watermelon-colored lizard with a chartreuse-colored tail.
* Strike King crankbait. I fish with either a No. 5 or a No. 6 Strike King crankbait in either the watermelon-shad color or the chartreuse color with a blue back.
* 3/4-ounce Strike King Premier Elite Spinner Bait. I modify this spinner bait into a single spin. I use a No. 5 gold blade with a chartreuse-and-white skirt or a white-shad skirt.
* smoke-colored grub or a white bucktail jig with a 3/16-ounce head.
* 1/2-ounce Premier Elite black-and-blue Strike King jig with a blue-plastic trailer.
I fish all these lures, except the crankbait, on 12-pound Stren High-Impact line. When I fish crankbaits, I fish 10-pound Stren Magnathin line. I use the lighter, smaller diameter line on crankbaits to sink the baits deeper in the water and to give the lures more action.

Question: Besides fishing the main lake, where else do you fish on Pickwick?
Answer: I fish humps on the Pickwick side of the Tenn-Tom Waterway, where at certain times of the year, the smallmouth and largemouth gather. These locations also hold a high concentration of white bass during the summer months.

Question: In what water depth do you primarily find fish?
Answer: I like to find fish in water 10- to 15-feet deep next to a deeper-water drop-off. These places produce large bass because they hold plenty of shad on which both the largemouth and the smallmouth bass feed. I usually fish at least 200 yards from the bank.

Click to enlargeQuestion: How does current affect the smallmouth and the largemouth bass on Pickwick?
Answer: Current determines the number of fish you'll catch on Pickwick Lake. I try to schedule my guide trips around the time of day that the dam pulls current through the lake. During the summer months, I often don't start fishing until 10:00 a.m. Pickwick Dam doesn't pull water for Alabama Power until mid-morning.

For more information on staying at Pickwick Landing State Park on Pickwick Lake, contact the Hardin County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at info@tourhardincounty.org, call (731) 925-8181 or (800) 552-3866, or visit www.tourhardincounty.org. Pickwick Landing State Park offers fishing, boating, hiking, camping, swimming and golf. Lodging includes the lakeside inn with over 100 rooms, cabins that sleep eight and a campground that contains 48 sites with grill and electric/water hookup at each site. A restaurant at the park offers delicious southern cuisine. Call (731) 689-3135 or (800) 250-8615 to learn more.





Check back each day this week for more about Roger Stegall on Pickwick Lake

Day 1 -Hot-Weather Bass
Day 2 -Structure Provides Good Bass Fishing
Day 3 -Stegall's Best Day Of Smallmouth Fishing
Day 4 -Learning To Fish Pickwick Lake
Day 5 -Seeking Pickwick's Smallmouth

John's Journal