The Mighty Mississippi: A Bass Angler’s Paradise


It seems like it was not long ago I was writing about going ice fishing. Now, here we are now in those proverbial “dog days.” Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to get out and enjoy some great fishing. Here on my home waters of the Mississippi River, outstanding catches have been occurring. There have been a few short periods when the rains and high water caused a change in tactics, but overall, the warm-weather months have been fantastic.

Due to successful spawns over the last number of years, bass fishing has exploded on the Mississippi. This is a tremendous fishery that continues to produce big bass. It’s not uncommon these days for one to go out and catch 4- to 5-pound bass with regularity. Because of this, many tournaments have decided that it’s time to hold their events here.

Thankfully, overfishing has not become a problem on this river. The best part is that anglers of all skill levels, from novice to pro, can enjoy great bass fishing. This majestic river is made up of several pools that are each unique and hold excellent quantities of bass. From the north to the south ends, you can experience quality fishing.

During these hot days of August, I love to concentrate my efforts on the larger bass swimming in the Mississippi River backwaters. And a number of presentations will catch fish here. This time of the year the two that standout the most are spinnerbaits and soft plastics. The spinnerbait is versatile, and can be fished many different ways in all types of structure.

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As far as your retrieve, learn to experiment. From slow-rolling it just under the surface to banging it off those stumps, try many retrieves until you find the one the fish are looking for. Also, after years of experience fishing this river, casting first with the lightest spinnerbait available is the way to go. In most instances, you will then have much better control over that bait on your retrieve. And use bigger blades on your spinnerbait in August. More noise and vibration from those blades is a plus.

Those big-river bass also go for soft plastics. But not just any plastic—I’m talking about buoyant plastics that really float. Again, versatility counts, and what these floating plastics offer is tough to beat. You can control the depth you want them to suspend in by simply adding a small split shot or two as necessary to get the proper sink rate. When you do add weight, always pinch that shot right in front of your line knot for best results. Doing this makes the plastic look more realistic and gives you better control. As far as what plastics to use, both worms and lizards work well. If you’re fishing in a rocky area, try a soft plastic crawfish imitator and hold on. The bass here just love them.

As I stated earlier, there are many methods that anglers use to catch the bass. But learning the Mississippi River’s secrets has led to the two methods mentioned, and these are hard to beat during the dog days.

I hope you can get out and experience the great bass fishing and the beauty the Mississippi River has to offer. This water welcomes anglers to test their skills. And as for the bass? They’re hungry and waiting for you.