Ridgeland; Mississippi’s Little Big Town
If you are looking for a great family destination for vacation Ridgeland Mississippi is a great option. As an outdoor writer, I’m often invited to areas to write about them. It’s usually outdoors-related, and this trip was no different. I, along with several writers and professional anglers, found ourselves in a great big little town, Ridgeland Mississippi. I soon realized that this experience was going to be more than fishing as I toured the city of Ridgeland.
Ridgeland Mississippi is in Madison County, Mississippi, and is part of the Jackson Mississippi metropolitan area. It offers so much to local Mississippians and visitors alike. From excellent restaurants and shopping to hiking one of the more than 20 trails in Ridgeland you and yours will never get bored. Fishing and boating on Ross Barnette Reservoir, also known as the Rez is also a popular thing to do while in Ridgeland. So, if you love to fish a little more than the rest of your family, I’m with you there, Ridgeland offers more than enough for the whole family to enjoy with you or while you wet a line.
A huge thanks go out to Brad Wiegmann for the invite and Big Mike Jones and Richard Parker of Bass Tactix for coordinating the event along with Katie Coats, Director of Marketing & Public Relations for Visit Ridgeland-Ridgeland Tourism Commission it was a blast. Thank you Hampton Inn and Suites for a beautiful room and delicious breakfast each morning.
Bass Fishing Mississippi
It was the first time for me to Ross Barnett Reservoir aka The Rez. I wasn’t sure what to expect but when I was paired up with Briana Tucker for a day of bass fishing, I knew we should have a good day on one of the best places to fish in Mississippi. Briana fishes the Bassmaster Opens and won the Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge in 2016 and had just recently captained a high school team to victory at the Bass Tactix Mississippi State Championship on the Rez. I was even more excited when Briana told me what she planned to throw that day. A frog! I told her that I had to find a rod if we were going to fish in frog country and we rounded me one up for the day.
It was hot and the fishing was a little slow but the run up the lake was gorgeous and the area we fished was a froggers paradise. Shallow stumps, evident by the constant thud on the bottom of Briana’s Falcon boat and Suzuki outboard. I could see the lilypads up ahead. I knew where we were headed. We managed a couple of fish and had a great time on the water walking a frog through the pads with anticipation of the explosive strikes that a Spro frog can trigger. If you love throwing a frog for some big bass, the Ross Barnett is a froggers paradise.I look forward to returning one day when I can stay a little longer.
The next day we attended a bass tournament weigh-in at the ramp hosted by Ridgeland Mississippi. It was a high school event put together by Richard Parker. Richard, an avid bass angler himself, is a retired Army Warrant Officer that started the Bass Tactix tournament trail in 2015. Bass Tactix’s mission is to set an example to our youth and provide opportunities for serving Jesus Christ by sharing love, talents, skills, and fellowship. Bass Tactix is sanctioned by The Bass Federation and Fishers of Men tournament trails. Young anglers from kindergarten thru twelfth grade are able to compete for big money scholarships and awesome prizes as well as opportunities to compete in the TBF and MLF Big 5 Series.
The weigh-in was buzzing with excitement. Young anglers were telling the stories of their catches and some about the ones that got away. The parents were into the excitement too, as the anglers brought their bass to the scales. Justin Murray, age 17, and John Parker Jackson, age 13, both from Liberty Mississippi took home $141,000 in scholarship money and prizes, weighing 8.77 pounds. The Liberty Mississippi team says they fished a buzzbait and crankbait to land their bass that was on a good shad bite way up the Pearl River.
Big bass honors went to Court Schirmer, age 12. Court is from Madison Mississippi and he was throwing a crankbait along the rip rap. Court’s big bass weighed in at 4.39 pounds.
Restaurants In Ridgeland Mississippi
When looking for a family fishing destination you always want to find a place with good food. Ridgeland Mississippi does not disappoint. It is home to some great restaurants with great food to enjoy. During my visit to Ridgeland, I was fortunate to visit a few of the best. I was told about many more great restaurants in Ridgeland, so if you are a foodie, you might consider Ridgeland as your next destination. Here are the restaurants that I enjoyed during my stay.
Local 463 is owned and operated by Derek Emerson. Derek is an award-winning chef who moved to Mississippi as a teenager from Beverly Hills California and attended culinary school in Memphis. Derek then honed his skills in Atlanta at several well-known restaurants including Dick & Harry’s which was voted “best new restaurant” by Atlanta Magazine. Chef Derek creates southern comfort foods using fresh regional and local ingredients. I had the wood-grilled 8oz filet and I can honestly say it was the best filet mignon I have ever had. The excitement around the table about the other dinners begs for a return to Local 463, however, I’m not so sure I won’t order the filet again.
1000 Highland Colony Parkway Ste. 5002
Crab’s Seafood Shack
Crab’s Seafood Shack is located right on the water at the Rez. The best legs in town is their slogan. If they are anywhere near as good as their blackened redfish I would say it’s right on. Crab’s Seafood Shack has plenty of appetizers like fried pickles and crab dip. There are enough entries to choose from that find yourself passing to your friend, when asked for your order, while you contemplate the best option. If you’re in for a lunchtime break from fishing and looking for a cold beverage and a little lunch with a view, then be sure to head upstairs to the Blue Bar.
135 Madison Landing Cr., Ridgeland, MS 39157
Cock of the Walk
I am no stranger to the Cock of the Walk restaurant. Cock of the Walk in Nashville Tennessee was one of my mom’s favorite places to take me to eat. I could hear the excitement in her voice as she described the fried pickles, fried okra, and cornbread. She loved the Cock of the Walk catfish but could easily order just vegetables and cornbread for dinner. I always ordered the catfish with her. On this visit I chose the Down River Chicken. Man was it good. Cock of the Walk is located right on the water at Ross Barnett Reservoir making the atmosphere fun and exciting. They also have private rooms and group rate menus for large gatherings.
141 Madison Landing Cir.
Ridgeland, MS. 39157
A restaurant called the Bulldog Burger must live up to that name, and they certainly do. A fun sports bar atmosphere with chef-driven gourmet burgers, the perfect combination. I had the Smokehouse burger. It is a smoked pork belly with a big ole onion ring, smoked gouda cheese and mango habanero BBQ sauce. Need I say more? I heard nothing but Oohs and Aahs about the various burgers ordered. When asked how my Smokehouse Burger tasted I told them that it was “I don’t need no menu cause I know what I’m getting’ GOOD!”
879 Lake Harbour Dr
Ridgeland, MS 39157