SOUTH REGIONAL

Greers Ferry Hybrids, Old Man River's sandbars, Nighttime Trout in Florida and more.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Greers Ferry Hybrids
A bevy of offerings for feisty fish

Arkansas Greers Ferry hybrid striped bass will hit topwater lures with explosive strikes and you might tangle with a school of white bass this month. Super Spooks, Pop-Rs and broken-back Rapalas in natural shad, bone or chrome are great choices. Higdon Bay and Hurricane Bay are two top areas. Watch for schooling activity and work the outer edges before casting into the middle.

Most hybrids come deeper, though, around schools of shad, and are best caught on quarter- or half-ounce Cotton Cordell jigging spoons or quarter- or half-ounce Rooster Tail inline spinners in chrome or white with a nickel blade. Let the spinner sink and then retrieve it slowly. At night, try a live-bait Carolina rig with an 8- to 10-inch gizzard shad hooked on a 4/0 or 5/0 Daiichi circle hook and 15- to 20-pound-test line. Drop the rig near channel breaks and offshore timber or around lighted boat docks.

The majority of Greers Ferry hybrids are in the 3- to 10-pound class, although in 1997 Jerald Shaum of Shirley, Ark., caught a 27-pound, 5-ounce whopper that stands as the world record. The 32,000-acre lake located near Heber Springs was first stocked with hybrid bass in 1976 and also has given up a world-record walleye and a world-record brown trout. Hybrids offer you a great opportunity for fun and a few choice fillets for the grill.

Contact: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (888-782-4555). -Alan Clemons

Roughing It
Hit Old Man River's sandbars for a summer adventure

Mississippi In August, with the mighty Mississippi River at low and predictably safe levels, the timing is perfect for an overnight camping and fishing trip on one of its many sandbars. Sure, it's hot, but you can usually count on an evening breeze to reduce the suffering. (Tom Sawyer didn't have air conditioning either. Heck, he didn't even have DEET.)

"The cats move up shallow at night and feed. Look for long sandbars on the inside bends of the river. They hold the most fish and usually offer several good campsites well off the water. Short casts with cut bait or night crawlers can put you right at their dinner table," says Sidney Montgomery, who grew up fishing the river and still spends as much time as possible on its waters.

In the daylight, jug for catfish and chase white bass in the waters behind jetties. Any jetty with a slight break in its top will allow a spillover current that attracts and holds white bass. They'll take jigheads and grubs, crankbaits and tailspinners.

Obviously, boating on the Mississippi River, especially at night, requires caution. Take a good map of the section of the river you're planning to visit. Also do some homework on the Internet. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District office Web site (www.mvk.usace.army.mil/) offers river stages and forecasted stages, and information on ordering maps. Fishing on the river requires a Mississippi license or one from either of its neighboring states (Arkansas to the northwest, Louisiana to the southwest).

Contact: Hadad's, Vicksburg (601-636-5102). -Bobby Cleveland

**Nighttime Trout **
They love the spotlight

Florida The nighttime is the right time for sea trout action around coastal docks, especially those with lights shining brightly in the water.

This is choice light-tackle fun. Eight-pound-class spinning gear with 20- to 30-pound-test shock tippets will protect against barnacle-encrusted dock supports that can make quick work of light line. Use a stiff-action plug or spinning rod, something with 15- or 20-pound-test line, and a high-quality reel with a smooth drag.

Top destinations include the Jacksonville area, along much of the Indian River, Charlotte Harbor, Tampa Bay and Pensacola.

Contact: Larry Minid, Jacksonville (904-285-7003); Geoff Page, Venice (941-408-9712); Terry Parsons, Sebastian (561-589-7782). -Bob McNally

**'Round-the-Clock Bass **
Tactics for night or day

Kentucky Improve your chances for quality bass on Yatesville Lake by fishing at night. Bass that hold from 10 to 15 feet deep during the day will move up to 4 to 6 feet at night to feed, with most holding around wood cover.

Be prepared with six-inch Texas-rigged lizards in smoke, melonseed or green pumpkin, half-ounce spinnerbaits in natural shad colors and medium-running crankbaits. Try a combination of chartreuse/blue or pearl/green back for the crankbaits.

During the day it's a typical summer pattern-fish hold close to channel breaks and old roadbeds in 8 to 15 feet. Jigs, Carolina-rigged lizards and mid-depth crankbaits are great options. There is a 15-inch size limit.

The lake also is rated "excellent, one of the best in eastern Kentucky" for bluegills by state fisheries biologists. Target shoreline treetops and vegetation lines with crickets or Keystone minnow imitations under bobbers.

Contact: Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (800-858-1549) . -A.C.

Coastal Kings
The mackerel are marauding close to shore

South Carolina The best king mackerel fishing off South Carolina occurs summer through early fall when big kings (and baitfish) are most abundant near the coast. A major plus to this king mackerel fishing is that it's available close to shore, right around tide-line rips and water-color changes at inlets and sounds, and near the beach. Lots of huge kings are caught by people fishing from small, 16- to 20-foot boats. Although kings can be caught with lures that are cast or trolled, most anglers use natural baits, primarily menhaden (pogies). Big schools of menhaden are found in "balls" near the surf and are easy to catch with a cast net. Use tandem-hook bait rigs to slow-troll the menhaden. Hook a bait through its nose with the second hook back in its body.

Many savvy mackerel anglers stagger the depth at which baits are worked. Fish some single-hook rigs from "free lines" near the surface. Take others deep with small sinkers. The best technique is to use downriggers to completely cover the water column.

Contact: Charter captains Reid Bost (843-454-0312), Richard Brackett (843-442-1389) and Fritz von Kolnitz (843-345-9969). -B.McN.

Mountain Smallies
Light tackle, heavy action

Tennessee Beat the heat by wading in the cool mountain streams of eastern Tennessee, where a fly rod or light tackle and downsized lures can provoke spunky smallmouths. One top waterway is the Little Pigeon River, which flows into Tennessee at Waterville near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Most smallies average a pound, although some bruisers will push four and give you fits with light tackle. Topwaters and minnow imitations are top choices. Subsurface offerings such as finesse jigs that mimic crayfish also do well around shoreline cover and in deep holes. It's possible to catch 60 to 80 fish in a day.

"The fishing in August is some of the best action of the year," says guide Larry Self of Greenville. "Not only are small lures a plus, but things really heat up on topwater lures like Rapalas and Heddon Tiny Torpedos."

A spinning rod with 6-pound-test will work fine. Try a 6-weight fly rod and dry flies. Have a selection of Clouser minnows and Woolly Buggers in brown or black as well. Turbines at Waterville Dam can begin generating without notice and create dangerous or life-threatening conditions if you're caught unaware.

Contact: Larry Self (423-422-7553; lself@xtn.net). -A.C.

Alabama
Top Water on Guntersville: Hydrilla and milfoil have matted up, offering a topwater bass bite around the edges. One of the hottest areas is mid-lake between Goosepond Colony and Seibold Creek, where back-channel ridges and creek mouths hold fish. Work a Mann's Rat or Strike King Pop'n Frog on braided line around grass lines. Bass also will be deeper, about 8 to 10 feet, and can be caught by Texas-rigging a nine-inch Big Dead Ringer worm with a quarter-ounce slip sinker and swimming it through the top of the grass. Junebug, black and red shad are top colors. Try flipping a one-ounce black/blue jig in grass openings, too. Contact: Doug Campbell (256-582-6060).

Weiss Lake Striper Action: Most striped bass weigh 3 to 7 pounds, but some fish between 15 and 20 pounds have been boated. The bigger stripers can be caught by trolling large stickbaits, such as a Cotton Cordell Ripplin' Redfin, around creek mouths. For white bass, work medium-running crankbaits on main-lake ledges. Shad colors or pearl/blue back and pearl/green back work best. Contact: Alabama DCNR (334-242-3465).

Largemouths on the Ledges: Largemouths and spotted bass head to deep main-lake ledge structures but will whack a one-ounce or two-ounce Ledgebuster spinnerbait slow-rolled down the slope. Cast to the top of the ledges, usually 15 to 20 feet deep, and work the bait slowly through timber. Use line up to 25-pound-test and a stout flipping stick. Also, try a Mann's 20+ crankbait. Crappies can be taken around treetops and brush in 7 to 10 feet with live minnows under corks. Lakes Martin and Jordan are two top destinations for this sort of fishing. Contact: Jackie Thompson (334-686-9595); Tracy Beall (334-687-2245).

Key Dates
August 16-18: Ninth annual Buckmasters Expo, Montgomery Civic Center, Montgomery. Contact: Buckmasters (334-215-3337).

Arkansas
Rigs on Bull Shoals: Finding the right mojo is the key and the lightweight mojo rig-basically a Carolina rig without a swivel or a glass bead-in deep water may be it. Try along chunk-rock banks in 20 to 40 feet of water with heavier mojo rigs-five-eighths-ounce or larger-to get the lure deep. Hula Grubs are good choices in green pumpkin, watermelonseed or pumpkinseed. Drag the rig slowly on the bottom. Smallies and spotted bass won't leave it alone. Contact: AGFC (501-323-6300).

Bully on Bullfrogs: Bullfrog season is open and hunters can take 18 a day. Anyone 16 or older must have a state fishing license. Flooded sloughs, such as those on the White or Arkansas rivers, are good areas. Gigging is the most popular method. Contact: AGFC (501-323-6300).

New Waterfowl Lands: Federal officials approved the purchase of 50 acres for the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge near Bald Knob, adding to the 15,000 acres already being protected as a winter migratory bird resting area. It comprises primarily tupelo brakes, hardwood bottoms and croplands along bass bite around the edges. One of the hottest areas is mid-lake between Goosepond Colony and Seibold Creek, where back-channel ridges and creek mouths hold fish. Work a Mann's Rat or Strike King Pop'n Frog on braided line around grass lines. Bass also will be deeper, about 8 to 10 feet, and can be caught by Texas-rigging a nine-inch Big Dead Ringer worm with a quarter-ounce slip sinker and swimming it through the top of the grass. Junebug, black and red shad are top colors. Try flipping a one-ounce black/blue jig in grass openings, too. Contact: Doug Campbell (256-582-6060).

Weiss Lake Striper Action: Most striped bass weigh 3 to 7 pounds, but some fish between 15 and 20 pounds have been boated. The bigger stripers can be caught by trolling large stickbaits, such as a Cotton Cordell Ripplin' Redfin, around creek mouths. For white bass, work medium-running crankbaits on main-lake ledges. Shad colors or pearl/blue back and pearl/green back work best. Contact: Alabama DCNR (334-242-3465).

Largemouths on the Ledges: Largemouths and spotted bass head to deep main-lake ledge structures but will whack a one-ounce or two-ounce Ledgebuster spinnerbait slow-rolled down the slope. Cast to the top of the ledges, usually 15 to 20 feet deep, and work the bait slowly through timber. Use line up to 25-pound-test and a stout flipping stick. Also, try a Mann's 20+ crankbait. Crappies can be taken around treetops and brush in 7 to 10 feet with live minnows under corks. Lakes Martin and Jordan are two top destinations for this sort of fishing. Contact: Jackie Thompson (334-686-9595); Tracy Beall (334-687-2245).

Key Dates
August 16-18: Ninth annual Buckmasters Expo, Montgomery Civic Center, Montgomery. Contact: Buckmasters (334-215-3337).

Arkansas
Rigs on Bull Shoals: Finding the right mojo is the key and the lightweight mojo rig-basically a Carolina rig without a swivel or a glass bead-in deep water may be it. Try along chunk-rock banks in 20 to 40 feet of water with heavier mojo rigs-five-eighths-ounce or larger-to get the lure deep. Hula Grubs are good choices in green pumpkin, watermelonseed or pumpkinseed. Drag the rig slowly on the bottom. Smallies and spotted bass won't leave it alone. Contact: AGFC (501-323-6300).

Bully on Bullfrogs: Bullfrog season is open and hunters can take 18 a day. Anyone 16 or older must have a state fishing license. Flooded sloughs, such as those on the White or Arkansas rivers, are good areas. Gigging is the most popular method. Contact: AGFC (501-323-6300).

New Waterfowl Lands: Federal officials approved the purchase of 50 acres for the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge near Bald Knob, adding to the 15,000 acres already being protected as a winter migratory bird resting area. It comprises primarily tupelo brakes, hardwood bottoms and croplands along