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Fall means harvest time in Mississippi

By By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
Sept. 19, 2003
While most area fishermen have stowed away their gear and started making preparations for the upcoming hunting season, many anglers are having trouble deciding what to do. So many options, so little time. As the nights have begun cooling off, the crappie and bass are beginning to move up from their traditional deep-water haunts.
Some of our local hunters are breaking up green fields and planting food plots in preparation for the coming winter. Others are already putting up stands and fine tuning their bows and rifles in anticipation of harvesting that big buck. Meat for the table and antlers for the wall! Can it get any better than that?
For many local die-hard anglers it not only can get better, it does. With the cooler temperatures at night, the local waters are cooling off and the crappie and bass are beginning to start their fall feeding frenzy. Yes the smaller ponds and lakes are becoming quite productive and the larger lakes such as Okatibbee won't be far behind.
School starts
Look for the stripers and bass to begin schooling in late September and October. There will be a lot of action and excitement when the big linesides start tearing up the surface while slashing, slicing and dicing the shad.
While most folks either hunt or fish in the fall, there are alternatives. Just last weekend I participated in an afternoon dove hunt. Of course there wasn't much to do during the morning but stay around the house and work, right? Wrong, if you're a nine-year-old boy or an enthusiastic outdoorsman that is.
It didn't take much coaxing to get me out into the boat and onto a local lake with a couple of youngsters. With a 9-year-old and a 19-year-old, there's plenty of banter and fun to be had.
Although we didn't get out at the crack of dawn, we weren't far behind. Before you know it we were catching and releasing bass after bass. At first the bass were striking topwater Rattlin' Chug Bugs and Pop-Rs. Later when the action slowed down we switched to Texas rigged worms and the action really heated up again. For the next hour or so we caught bass after bass.
Quick switch
After catching and releasing about 15 or 20 bass apiece, we headed to the camp, stowed the fishing gear and switched to our Mossy Oak camouflage clothes. Shortly thereafter we were on the trail of some fast and furious doves. While picking up a bite to eat at a fast food eatery, we planned our strategy. By 4 p.m. we were burning shells and collecting doves for the supper table.
Talk about some fine eating. After the hunt Momma Kathy whipped up a fine southern meal. If you've never had doves simmered in gravy, slow cooked in a crock-pot and served with rice, potatoes, homemade biscuits and gravy, then you have missed a true southern delicacy.
If you can't decide what to do, just do both. Why choose when you can have the best of both worlds. Even after squirrel and bow seasons open up, you can do both. You can hunt the morning when it's cool and fish in the afternoon when it warms up. Do you think it gets any better than that? If it does, I don't want to know about it. Just get outdoors and do it.