Category Archives: Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing Information

Fishing Bartletts Ferry with Tyler Morgan

Last Saturday I spent the afternoon on Batletts Ferry Lake just north of Columbus with Tyler Morgan. Tyler is a young tournament fisherman from Columbus and is very good. In the past few years while fishing 33 FLW tournaments like the BFLs as a boater and non-boater, he has finished in the top ten 16 times, an incredible record.

Tyler was showing me how and where he fishes the lake, marking ten good spots for April fishing for the Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News Map of the Month articles. Bigger fish had been up in shallow water getting ready to spawn due to the unusually warm weather, but the cold fronts pushed them back out.

There were still a lot of smaller male bass feeding shallow, waiting on the weather to warm and bring the females in to them. They will start fanning beds to invite the females as soon as conditions are right. We caught 15 to 20 bass but the biggest was about 2.5 pounds.

Tyler impressed me with how he fishes. He covers a lot of water fast, running backs of coves with baits that will draw a strike from hungry bass. He could skip a frog or swim jig far back into cover like overhanging bushes and tree tops, places most fishermen, and I, never get a bait into.

He kept his trolling motor on a fast speed and went down the bank too fast for me to fish a slower moving bait like a jig and pig or shaky head. That is the way I fish. At my age I have to sit down, make a cast and slowly work the bait back out. None of that for him, although I did catch four or five bass that he accidently left for me.

Top Reasons To Visit the Bassmasters Classic

Top 15 Reasons To Attend The Bassmaster Classic

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Two weeks from now, thousands of fishing fans will be converging in Greenville and Anderson, S.C., to take part in the biggest event in sportfishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic.

What makes the Classic more than just a bass fishing tournament?

As fans from across the country have discovered, there’s so much to do on and off the water.

Of course, the main event is the crowning of the 2018 world champion of bass fishing — the angler among the 52-man field who catches the heaviest limits of bass from Lake Hartwell during the three competition days, March 16-18.

The attraction for many, though, is the Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods at the TD Convention Center (1 Exposition Drive in Greenville) — the largest of its kind. Many manufacturers will be introducing new products during the expo.

Expo hours are Friday, March 16, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, March 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. All events are free to attend. To help schedule their day, visitors can use the online floor plan to find out which booths you want to visit and what new product introductions you don’t want to miss — available at

Here are more reasons you’ll not want to miss this year’s Super Bowl of Bass Fishing:

Killer Photo Ops. When you walk around the expo, you never know who or what you’ll see. Drop by the GEICO booth to take a selfie with the Gecko and the Miss GEICO racing boat. Swing over to the Carhartt booth for a shot with Jordan Lee’s Classic trophy from last year. Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro will be in the Skeeter booth on Friday, and the first 100 fans will get a signed baseball. Yamaha will give you the chance to be on the cover of Bassmaster Magazine! And fishing legends Bill Dance, Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston and Hank Parker will be booth jumping every day to shake hands with as many fans as possible!

Play To Win. There will be scads of opportunities to play fun games and win free fishing stuff. For example, the Toyota booth will feature the Highlander Cargo Challenge, where the fastest bass fans will win prizes. Plus, a spin of the Tundra prize wheel will make everyone a winner. If you can shoot a basketball, dribble over to the Humminbird/Minn Kota booth to play a quick game of “Triple Threat” to win prizes. Be sure to try your hand at Skeet Reese’s and Edwin Evers’ “Office Fishing Game” at the General Tire booth to reel in fun prizes. Oh, and enjoy the Carhartt experience in their booth … everybody wins something!

Learn From The Best.

Go There And Get The T-Shirt To Prove It! Memorializing your trip to the 2018 Classic is easy if you swing by the B.A.S.S. apparel booth, with exclusive Classic shirts and hats available. Some are even in green to cover you for St. Patrick’s Day. And HUK Performance Fishing clothing will be selling their newest offerings, including a new women’s clothing line.

Help Cheer On Your Favorite Competitor At Morning Takeoffs. Come to the world class Green Pond Landing and Event Center at Lake Hartwell (470 Green Pond Road) in Anderson at 7:30 a.m. ET each competition and help send off some of the world’s best bass anglers.

Get Into The Drama Of Daily Weigh-Ins. The doors of Bon Secours Wellness Arena (650 N. Academy Street) in Greenville will open each day at 3 p.m. for B.A.S.S. Life and Nation members and at 3:15 p.m. for the general public, Friday-Sunday. Find a seat, then sit back, relax and enjoy the slate of pre-weigh-in entertainment.

Get Hooked On Fishing.
Bring your kids to check out the Bassmaster Get Hooked On Fishing presented by Toyota and Shakespeare area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday to Sunday. Activities include casting lessons, a kid’s fishing pond, a long-jump dog competition, lure decorating, live animals and more. It’s free!

Experience LIVE Coverage. Watch the tournament leaders catch bass in real time on the exclusive Classic LIVE program on and on WatchESPN. Watch hosts Tommy Sanders, Mark Zona and Davy Hite as they provide insightful commentary and analysis of the competition as well. The program will also include LIVE cut-ins with Dave Mercer, Classic and Elite Series emcee, along with guest anglers from the GEICO Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

Get To Know A Pro. Come by the TD Convention Center on Thursday, March 15, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for Fan Appreciation Day. Anglers will be available for meet-and-greet and photo sessions.

Ride Like The Wind.
Want to know what it feels like to ride like the wind? Come to the takeoff site at Green Pond Landing to test out the latest boats and engines from Mercury, Nitro, Skeeter, Triton and Yamaha.

Fish With A Pro. The Abu Garcia booth will have a signup to win daily prizes and the winners from there will go on stage during Sunday’s weigh-in for a grand prize fishing trip with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Justin Lucas.

Crazy Sweeps. There are amazing sweepstakes opportunities at the expo this year. Toyota has the RAV4 Adventure Sweepstakes where bass fans can enter to win a prize package including an Ascend Kayak, Bass Pro Gift Card, and gear from Quantum and Carhartt. Humminbird and Minn Kota are offering a “Triple Threat Giveaway,” where one winner will receive a prize package consisting of a Humminbird SOLIX, Minn Kota Ultrex and Minn Kota Talon. The winner can then outfit their boat with the same technology that the pros use to find fish, get to fish, and stay on fish — a triple threat. Yamaha will be offering four grand prizes from their booth, including an all-expense-paid trip to fish with one of the following anglers: Jeff Kriet in his 47-foot Freeman offshore boat; a Texas lunker hunt with Justin Lucas; Guntersville with Jordan Lee; and Brandon Palaniuk on the St. Lawrence River. General Tire is giving you a chance to swap day jobs with Edwin Evers and Skeet Reese with their Reel Job Sweepstakes. Winners will spend a day “working” with the Elite Series pros.

Bring Your Reel For Free Fill-Ups. With 12 line-spooling stations in its booth, Berkley plans to spool approximately 1.5 million yards of line during the three days of the show. Any attendee can bring up to three reels to be spooled with the premium line of their choice across the Berkley, SpiderWire and Stren brands.

The Latest And Greatest.
Visit the Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchors booth to see their new and current products that the pros are using on the Bassmaster Elite Series. They will also be selling their latest apparel, hats and accessories.

See The Rising Stars. See the fifth annual Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Classic Saturday, March 17, at nearby Lake Keowee, with the weigh-in at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. And don’t miss the ninth annual College Classic Sunday, March 18, at the same locations.

Participate In History.
B.A.S.S. was founded in 1968, forever changing the sport of bass fishing. Help celebrate the 50th birthday of B.A.S.S. throughout Classic Week.

2018 Bassmaster Classic Title Sponsor: GEICO

2018 Bassmaster Classic Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bassmaster Classic Premier Sponsors: Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia, Berkley, Huk

2018 Bassmaster Classic Local Sponsor: Mountain Dew

January Club Tournament At Jackson

Sunday, January 7, only five Flint River Bass Club members braved the icy cold to fish our January tournament at Jackson. When we took off at 8:00 AM it was a brisk 24 degrees, the wind was blowing and the water temperature was 45 degrees. At the 3:30 PM weigh-in we had 12 keepers weighing about 23 pounds. There was one limit and one zero. I was surprised there were five largemouth, usually spots are about all that hit in water that cold.

I got lucky and made a good decision or two and landed five weighing 10.97 pounds for first and had a 3.64-pound spot for big fish. Jordan McDonald had three at 5.91 pounds for second, Niles Murray was third with three at 5.18 for third and Doug Acree placed fourth with one at 1.38.

Knowing how cold it was going to be, I decided to set up a “milk run” of rocky points near the ramp. I did not want to ride far in the cold and wind, and rocky points are a good place to fish this time of year. So at blast-off I idled to a point near the ramp and started casting.

On my second cast a keeper spot hit my crankbait and I was thrilled. I knew I would not zero! Then a few minutes later I caught a largemouth on the same crankbait. It weighed almost three pounds so I was really happy. At 8:15 I landed another keeper spot on a jerk bait. That was a really good start, but it got tough after that.

I idled to another point and tried to fish it but the wind was blowing on it and my hands started burning. I missed a bite on a jig head worm. I thought I felt a bite but ice in my rod guides made the line scrape as I reeled it in, and I was not sure.

I dipped my rod into the water to melt the ice and before I could get back in position the fish took off and spit the hook. That was disappointing. A few minutes later I landed a largemouth that was just shorter than the 12-inch line on my keeper board.

After trying to fish some brush on a point in the wind I gave up and went back into a small creek that was somewhat protected from the wind. I would cast out a crankbait, reel it a few feet then have to dip my rod into the water to melt the ice. I just kept working around the creek, casting and dipping, out of the wind.

At 11:00 I got my next bite, the big spot. It hit the crankbait on a shallow rocky point. Four in the livewell with two decent fish. I started hoping I might catch a limit.

At noon I cast a jig and pig to some brush near a dock, got a bite and missed the fish. Knowing sometimes you can get another bite on different bait I picked up my jig head worm and caught another keeper largemouth, filling my limit.

For the next three hours I cast my crankbait and other baits. It was finally warm enough that ice did not form in my guides. At 2:00 I caught a keeper spot on the crankbait that was slightly bigger than the one in the livewell so I culled.

At 3:00 I went back to the point where the big one hit. With ten minutes to weigh-in Niles and Zero rode by headed to the ramp. Then, as Jordan came by, I caught my last fish with five minutes left. It was a keeper spot that hit my crankbait and culled my smallest fish.

I never got my boat faster than idle speed all day. And it worked!

Two Cold Water Fishing Trips

Bass do bite in cold water this time of year, if you are at the right place at the right time, and have a bit of good luck. Two trips last week reinforced this idea to me. Last Sunday the Flint River Bass Club fished our January tournament at Jackson and I went to Lanier on Wednesday to get information for my February Georgia Outdoor News Map of the Month article.

The trip to Lanier accomplished two goals. I got my information for the article, but also got Jim “LJ” Harmon to work on the electronics in my boat. LJ is a Humminbird Electronics guru, using them to find deep bass at Lanier, but he also wires and sets up new units, and goes out on the water with folks to fine tune their units.

Last November LJ went out with me for an hour or so and had my units reading better than I had been able to do in a year of messing with the controls. This problem was with power. The two units on the front of my boat pull a lot of power. They were hooked up through the wiring harness for the boat and went dead sometimes when I cranked the motor.

Even worse, they picked up interference when the trolling motor was on, making it hard to read them. LJ ran new wires for them directly to the battery. He fussed at me, saying “you have more crap in this boat than a Jiffy John!” But he got it done, even in the messy weather.

While LJ worked on my boat I went out with Jim Farmer to fish. Jim hand paints crankbaits and is an expert on catching Lanier spots on them. The weather was messy but much warmer than it had been. And the places we fished are for February, so it is still early for them, but we caught some nice fish.

Bass Boats Have Come A Long Way In 44 Years

My first bass boat was a 1974 17-foot Arrowglass with a 70 horsepower two stroke Evinrude motor, foot controlled 12 volt trolling motor with about 40 pounds of thrust and a Lowrance flasher depthfinder on the console. It would run about 35 miles per hour top speed. It had an Anchormate on both ends, a winch that raised and lowered a ten-pound mushroom shaped anchor. There was on car battery that cranked the boat and ran everything on it.

The trailer was a single axle one with 12-inch tires. I carried a paper lake map with me that showed the basic outline of the lake. I did order a contour map of Clarks Hill, a 52-page book with pages two feet square, that showed depth contours in five-foot intervals. I put sections of it on the wall in my lake trailer.

The Arrowglass had a live well of sorts, that would fill about four inches deep with water to keep fish alive, but it did not work very well. The boat was top of the line at the time, and cost just under half my annual teacher’s salary when bought new.

When I joined the Sportsman Club that April I had the second biggest motor in the club, there was one 100 horsepower, and the second longest boat. Most boats were 14-foot Sing Fishers with 40 horsepower motors and stick steering.

Now I have a top of the line 2016 20-foot Skeeter with a 250 horsepower four stroke motor that will fly down the lake at over 75 miles per hour if I get in a hurry. The trolling motor is a foot controlled 36-volt 112 pound thrust one that will zip the boat along on high and hold it in any wind as long as the waves are not so high they lift the front of the boat get the motor out of the water. It requires four big deep cycle batteries to run everything.

There are two live wells that hold about 20 gallons of water. Pumps pull water from the lake to fill them and constantly put in fresh water. Other pumps recirculate the water, keeping it oxygenated, and with the pull of a valve will pump the water out of them to drain then faster than just opening the plug, which can be done remotely.

On the back are two Power Pole shallow water anchors. With a push of a button I can extend or retract poles that go down eight feet deep to hold the boat in one place. There are two Humminbird Helix 10 depthfinders on the front and two more on the console, each with 10-inch screens. The trailer is a dual axle with 14-inch tires. It cost almost 20 times as much as my first boat, even though I bought it used. Although my salary had gone up a bit before I retired, the used boat cost almost a full year’s pay.

The change in deptfinders is unreal. My old Lowrance had a light that spun around a dial marked in depth numbers and flashed when its sonar pulse hit something. Thats why they were called “flashers.” The bottom showed as a constant bright line and anything above the bottom, like a fish or brush, flashed at its depth.

My Helix 10s are like TV screens. Just the electronics on my new boat sell for more than three times the total cost of my first boat. They are networked together and can be divided into windows and all four will show everything that shows up on any of them. A GPS map shows bottom contours of the lake with great detail and I can highlight a depth.

If I want to fish from 5 to 10 feet deep I can highlight it in red and keep my boat just outside it to fish that depth consistently. I can also see shallow spots to avoid as I run down the lake and put in waypoints to exactly mark a brush pile or anything else I want to go back to.

The depthfinder part is an LCD that shows a moving picture of whatever is below the boat, in color. It will show in detail brush, stumps and fish. The down and side scan paint a picture that looks like a photo, with brush, stumps and rocks looking just like they would look if you were able to see them. Fish show up as small white dots.

Even more amazing on the front is a 360 Scan transducer. The image it produces looks like a radar screen with a line going around a circle picture. It scans all around the boat, showing rocks, brush and fish ahead, to the sides and even behind the boat. I have mine set on 60 feet, so I see everything within that distance of the boat.

My first boat was a tri hull that was stable while fishing but pounded through waves and jarred you if the water was rough. My new boat is stable while fishing but will cut through two to three-foot waves with little bouncing. It is three feet longer and much heavier, which helps a lot.

Do I need all the stuff I now have? No. Do I like having it? Yes. Do all the advancements help me catch more fish? Maybe. After all the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

Fishing Lake Seminole with Buddha Baits

On Wednesday, January 31, I went to Lake Seminole and met Jason Smith to get information for the March Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News Map of the Month articles. Since Seminole is a border lake with parts of it in both Georgia and Alabama the article runs in both states.

Jason lives in Albany and fishes Seminole often. He is owner of Buddha Baits and makes and sells fishing tackle. He makes jigs, spinnerbaits, and worms, and also makes rods. He will start selling a line of reels this year and also has a branded fishing line.

Jason fished a local pot tournament on the Seminole Winter Trail at Seminole a couple of weeks ago and weighed in five bass weighing 24 pounds and did not get a check! Seminole has been on fire for big bass this winter, with five pounders common and many bigger fish.

Seminole is different from any lake in our area. It is very shallow, with miles of grass beds, sand bars and stump fields. The dam in in Florida on the Apalachicola River, just past the junction of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers. It is so far south that bass often bed there in January, much sooner than lakes around here.

We started as the sun rose, fishing a deep creek channel bend. The cold winter has kept the bass deeper this year, but they are full of eggs and ready to move up and spawn. This creek bend was just off a point that leads back into a spawning flat, a classic setup for pre-spawn bass.

Jason caught a five pound plus largemouth on his Inseine Jig and I missed a bite on my jig. (note – I landed a 4.85 pound largemouth on one of Jason’s spinnerbaits at Lanier in my next club tournament) With a big bass in the livewell for pictures, we started running around the lake, marking spots for the March map and fishing some of them. It was still a few weeks early for the bass to be on these spawning areas, but they were nearby, and we caught several on grassbeds out from the spots we marked.

It was a cold day, especially when fishing in the wind or running down the lake at 60 mph. But sitting in the sun after the wind died was very warm. Warmer weather over the next few weeks will warm the water and move the bass to the places we marked.

Seminole is about four hours from Griffin, but the roads are good, with four lane most of the way. Bainbridge has good motels and restaurants. I stayed at the Days Inn and was impressed with the friendliness of the staff and how helpful they were, filling every request I made quickly and efficiently.

Plan a trip there in the next couple of months and you may catch a limit of five-pound bass, or one so big you want to have it mounted. Just be considerate of other fishermen.

Cold Water Bass Fishing

I always thought bass fishing was a warm weather activity until I moved to Griffin and joined a bass club. The third tournament I fished was in January 1975. That day on Jackson was cold with rain and sleet. I caught only one bass but at weigh-in there were six weighing more than six pounds each. I was shocked!

Over the next few years I found out how good bass fishing in cold water could be. I landed my first two bass weighing more than eight pounds each in January tournaments on Jackson. And I learned how to jig a Little George at Clarks Hill to land dozens of bass a day.

On a Wednesday in early January I went to Logan Martin Lake near Birmingham to get information for my February Alabama Outdoor News article. It was cold, windy and cloudy but we caught fish. Logan Martin is on the Coosa River and is known for its big spotted bass. They bite better than largemouth in cold water, but we managed to land several largemouth as well as some spotted bass.

I should have caught more than I did. I was fishing a jig head worm and jig and pig while Tim Ward, a local expert, fished a chatterbait and crankbait. We landed bass on all four baits. But I stupidly broke my line setting the hook on one fish.

We were fishing rocky banks and points and I know to check my line often when bumping a bait over rocks. But my hands were so cold I did not, and paid the price in a lost fish. Another time I thought I was pulling my jig over a rock but, when it pulled back, I knew it was a bass. Again, I blame my lack of touch on cold hands.

Logan Martin is about 145 miles and three hours away but it is a fun lake to fish, even in the winter.

What Are Some Rattlebait Tactics for Winter Bass

Rattlebait Tactics for Winter Bass
By Frank Sargeant
from The Fishing Wire

Stirring bass out of their lethargy when water temperature is in the low 40’s, as it is now across much of open-water territory in the south and west, can be a challenge, no doubt about it. But making use of the fast-sinking lures known as lipless crankbaits or sometimes as “rattle-baits” because all have some sort of metallic beads inside to produce noise is one proven tactic that consistently produces.

Rattlebaits Picture from The Fishing Wire

The lures sink as fast as jigs or weighted plastic worms, but can be fished considerably faster, and the noise they generate seems to wake up the fish in a way that others do not in cold water.

Among the many versions is the Cordell Spot, perhaps the original, and the Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap, now the most widely-known and used. Other good ones include the Strike King Redeye Shad, Rapala Rippin Rap, Yo-Zuri Vibe, X-Calibur Xr 50 and many more.

The lures suitable for bass fishing weigh anywhere from 1/4 to 1 ounce, with the heavier ones usually preferred for winter fishing because they stay deeper when activated.

The lipless lures go through the scattered grass left by winter’s cold easily in most cases despite their treble hooks. In fact, the favored fishing tactic at this time of year is to find scattered grass in 8 to 12 feet of water and fish the lures with a sort of lift-and-drop retrieve that is somewhat similar to fishing a jig.

The lure is allowed to sink to bottom, then pulled upward with the rod 2 to 3 feet, which causes it to vibrate and activate the rattles inside. It’s then allowed to flutter back toward bottom. The strike often comes on this drop, much like in vertical jigging. (It requires a finger on the line and a sensitive rod to sense the bite many times, since it’s only a light tap.)

Experts in the tactic say it simulates a cold stunned shad trying to maintain equilibrium. When the bite comes, the hooks are set and it’s game on.

To be sure, the lures frequently pick up dead grass, but this can often be felt as the action of the lure stops, and can sometimes be cleared by “ripping” the lure upward very hard for a pull or two before going back to the lift and drop retrieve.

Best locations are often on the edge of submerged creek channels, where the dead grass stands on the shoulder of a deeper drop. Old road beds with ditches a few feet deeper than the roadway can also hold fish, as do shell bars off the larger channels. Use of a big-screen sonar and GPS mapping system makes it easy to scout out likely areas. Creek channels coming out of shallow flats that are spawning areas in late March and April can be particularly productive. As in all bass fishing, it’s a matter of doing a lot of scouting before the serious casting begins.

Most anglers fish the lures on 12- to 15-pound test fluorocarbon, which gives a better feel for the lure than more stretchy monofilament. Some of the lures give better action if an added snap swivel is added above the split ring; otherwise, a turtle-style loop knot is best for allowing maximum movement. Most anglers use a medium action rod, relatively slow, so that the hooks are more likely to stay put–glass composite rods, rather than pure graphite, are favored by serious rattlebait fans.

Favorite colors include silver, white and pearl, which imitate shad, as well as a brownish orange that some anglers believe looks somewhat like crawfish. Whatever the bass might think it is, the lipless crankbaits clearly look like food–they’re one of the best offers you can make until things start to warm a bit towards spring.

Griffin Bass Clubs Annual Results

The fishing year for all three Griffin bass clubs ended with our December tournaments. All year we compete not only each day but get points for each tournament, based on where we place, and the top fishermen each year in the point standings get plaques and bragging rights for the next year. And the top six in two of the clubs qualify for the state federation Top Six tournaments.

In the Flint River Bass Club, I won with 1310 points, weighing in 48 bass weighing 85.9 pounds over the year. Niles Murray was second with 960 points, 35 bass and 65.73 pounds. Don Gober placed third with 780 points, 26 bass and 27.21 pounds. Alex Gober was fourth with 740 points, 21 bass and 27.21 pounds. Chuck Croft was fourth with 620 points, 22 bass and 32.63 pounds. Sixth was John Smith with 450 points, 10 bass and 13.41 pounds. Niles won big fish for the year with a 6.62 pounder caught at Oconee in March.

In the Potato Creek Bassmasters Raymond English won with 1065 points, 67 bass and 113.18 pounds. I was second with 1000 points, 55 bass and 99.05 pounds. Kwong Yu placed third with 770 points, 47 bass and 92.75 pounds. Lee Hancock was fourth with 945 points, 45 bass and 91.24 pounds. Niles Murray placed fifth with 650 points, 41 bass and 73.67 pounds. Sixth place was Donnie Willis with 635 points, 45 bass and 69.62 pounds. Tom Tanner caught an 8.09 pounder in March at Wedowee for big fish.

I won the Spalding County Sportsman Club standings with 313 points, 61 bass and 102.08 pounds. Zane Fleck was second with 279 points, 49 bass and 70.95 pounds. Raymond English placed third with 274 points and 49 bass weighing 94.4 pounds. Fourth was Russell Prevatt with 247 points, 36 bass and 58.87 pounds. Fifth was Billy Roberts with 179 points, 32 bass and 44.48 pounds. Sixth place was Kwong Yu with 177 points, 37 bass and 68.97 pounds. Kwong also had big fish of the year with a 6.4 pounder caught at West Point in February.

In both Flint River and Potato Creek, first place gets 100 points for first, 90 for second down to 10 for tenth place. Bonus points are also awarded for meeting and tournament attendance. In the Sportsman Club first gets 25 points, second 24 down to 1 for 25th place, with bonus points for meeting and tournament attendance as well as big fish and limits in each tournament.

All three clubs start over with our January tournaments. Flint River meets the first Tuesday of each month with a Sunday tournament the following weekend. We also have three two-day tournaments. Potato Creek meets the Monday after the first Tuesday and fished the following Saturday, with three two-day tournaments. Spalding County meets the third Tuesday and fishes the following Sunday with two two-day tournaments.

This is a good time to join and club and compete, not only in each tournament but for the point standings for the year. Both Flint River and Spalding County send their top six to Federation tournaments, but the Potato Creek club has its own special tournament, the Classic, for money taken in over the year.

If you look over the results above and think “I could do better than that,” come on our and join us. Join one club or all three as Niles and I do. Several others are in two of the three clubs.

Dues and tournament fees are not expensive. Annual dues in Flint River are $60 and you also have to join BASS. Potato Creek has $50 dues and is not in a federation. In the Sportsman club the dues are $75 but that includes an annual membership in the FLW.

Entry fees are $20 for each tournament in Flint River. We also have optional daily big fish pots of $5 and two other pots, a cumulative big fish pot of $5 that is taken up at each tournament. The first person to catch one over six pounds wins it all. If no one breaks six pounds, or if it is not broken again after a six pounder is caught, the person with the biggest fish after it is broken wins it. There is also a $5 points pot. The person winning the point standings for the year gets half of it and the other half is drawn for from everyone that has been in it all year.

In Potato Creek entry fee is $30 with a $5 big fish pot and a $5 cumulative pot. Sportsman Club has a $25 entry fee with a $5 cumulative pot.

January Tournament at Sinclair

On Sunday, January 21 at Sinclair 13 members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our January tournament. We landed 18 keeper 12 inch bass weighing about 38 pounds in 7.5 hour of casting. There was one limit and four people did not have a fish.

I won with five weighing 12.14 pounds, Wayne Teal placed second with two weighing 7.83 pounds and his 5.91 pound largemouth was big fish, Jay Gerson fished with Wayne and had three at 4.05 for third and Russell Prevatt’s 3.29 pounder placed fourth.

January showed how important a trolling motor is to me. I won two of the three I fished with limits in both and had big fish in one of them but placed eighth in the other one. The two I won my trolling motor worked, in the other one it did not. I had to fish where the wind blew me or sit in one place and cast with the power poles holding the boat in place.

I fished some of the same places at Sinclair but could ease along slowly, making casts, with my trolling motor. The week before I blew past the brush piles with only one bite where I caught all five of the fish I weighed in Sunday. I had three more keepers
I culled, the first from behind a dock I had tried to fish the week before but without a trolling motor could not cast to that specific spot. Two of the other keepers I did not weigh in came while easing around a cove where I could not fish the weekend before because the wind blew me around too much.

We started at 8:00 AM fishing a shallow bank I like. I had heard fish the weekend before were caught shallow on crankbaits but did not get a bite until 9:20 AM when the first small keeper hit my crankbait behind the dock. At 10:00 we had not had another bite, so I decided to try some deep brush.

We pulled up to a brush pile that was in water that dropped from 10 to 30 feet very fast. I had tried to fish it the weekend before, but with the wind all I could do was pull into shallow water behind it, put my power poles down and try to make cast to it. I never got a bite that day but Sunday, while moving a jig and pig very slowly through the brush, I caught two of my biggest fish.

We tried some other places and I caught one keeper on a crankbait and one on a shaky head worm but ended up culling both. When we went back to the deep brush and I caught my biggest of the day, just over three pounds. By then I realized the bright sun and lack of breeze drove the fish to deep water, so we fished it the rest of the day.

I caught two more good keeps on the jig that culled my smaller fish, both out of deep brush where I tried to fish without a trolling motor the week before but could not because of the wind. I had to fish extremely slowly, and the fish did not hit hard, I would just feel my line get “mushy.” That’s when another advancement, quality, light-weight, very sensitive rods, help a lot.

What a difference having a working trolling motor made!