While October is generally the time that the outdoor focus shifts to the start of hunting season — and for good reason — it should not be forgotten that it is also a great time to go fishing. Finned creatures instinctively know that winter is approaching and start to feed heavily, and they do so in more easily accessed areas as the shallow waters finally start to cool. Here’s our list of five must-visit hot spots for the month.
Bull reds, Mississippi Sound
The nearshore fishing for big redfish hits a peak in October as the bulls move up to feed on the edge of the outer marsh and the barrier islands. Huge schools of reds can change the color of the water when they are moving in search of food. It’s a blast, whether you use big gear and go for numbers or go light and enjoy the line-stretching battles.
Black drum, sheepshead, Gulf Coast
Later in the month, after a couple of cool fronts, look for loads of black drum and sheepshead to start stacking on shallow reefs and structure. Two key areas to target are the pilings of the US 90 bridges that span the openings of two big bays, Biloxi and Bay St. Louis. Pitching pieces of shrimp to the bases of those pilings can fill an ice chest of good eating “puppy drum” and sheepshead, along with a few slot redfish.
Crappie, Grenada, Sardis and Enid Lakes
The trolling action heats up in the fall on these three north Mississippi U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Flood Control impoundments. Trolling crankbaits — usually a Bandit 300 series — over the edges of the creek channels near their intersections with the riverbeds is the preferred fall method on all three lakes in October.
Bass, Barnett Reservoir
Once the shad start migrating into the shallows, the bass will follow. Usually, that movement takes place both into the dying pads, where the shad seek cover and the bass seek shad. There may be a hundred different ways to catch bass in the pads, but none are more fun, or as productive, as running a plastic frog across the vegetation. Don’t forget to check the piers in the harbors on the Madison County side of the lake. It is an overlooked pattern on Barnett, that can be very productive.
Catfish, Tenn-Tom Waterway
October is a prime catfish month on most Mississippi waters, but few can match the production of the Tenn-Tom. All of the pools offer excellent fishing, but this is a prime time to hit the upper end between the headwaters at Pickwick Lake and Bay Springs Lake.