Central Divisional on Ross Barnett this week

RIDGELAND, Miss. — The B.A.S.S. Nation is headed to Ridgeland, Miss., for the 2015 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional on Ross Barnett Reservoir, June 10-12.

The Mississippi fishery has played host to many early B.A.S.S. tournaments, including the Bassmaster Classic in 1978.

Main lake ledges will be key targets at Ross Barnett, but competitors in the Central Divisional will have to look closely at their electronics to find the lake’s subtle shelves.

“For guys who are not familiar with the lake, it is going to be a tough deal because those ledges only drop from 3 feet to 5 feet,” said Pete Ponds, a former Bassmaster Elite Series pro who lives near the lake. “It is not a big drop like most lakes.”

Ponds suggests throwing a Scum Frog Chugger or other hollow-body plastic frogs to the lily pads in the morning to tempt bigger fish and then head to the ledges to catch schooling bass in the afternoon. The Mississippi pro catches the schooling fish along the ledges with a Bandit Flat Maxx in speckled shad or Louisiana shad hues. Another productive crankbait for the ledges is a Bandit 200 Series (parrot orange).

The schooling fish will provide plenty of action but will be smaller than the fish in the pads.

“I don’t think it will take a lot of weight to win like it does in the springtime when they catch 19 to 20 pounds,” Ponds said. “I would say 13 to 14 pounds a day would do really well in this tournament.”

The weather will also play a key role at Ross Barnett. “It is going to be very hot, but honestly that is what you are really looking for,” Ponds said. “Those hot slick, calm days are when the schooling bass fishing shines.”

Anglers who have qualified for the Central Divisional via their state B.A.S.S. Nation chapter will have the great fortune to compete on Ross Barnett, and the top competitor from each state will advance to the 2015 Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, Nov. 5-7 on Louisiana’s Ouachita River.

Each state also send two high school anglers, whose catch will be added to the adult team’s weight. This opportunity gives the young anglers a chance to compete among the region’s best adult anglers and serves as a great learning experience.

“It should be a great event,” said Jon Stewart, director, B.A.S.S. Nation. “We look forward to returning to our host city of Ridgeland.”

States included in the Central Divisional are Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Daily takeoffs will be at 5:45 a.m. CT from Madison Landing with weigh-ins scheduled at the same place at 2 p.m.