Regional Reports-South

Mississippi River

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).