Category Archives: Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing Information

Lake Jordan, Lake Russell and Spot Problems

Last week I went to Lake Jordan just outside Montgomery, Alabama, and Lake Russell near Elberton, Georgia. Both are about three hours from Griffin and both have spotted bass, but they are totally different fisheries.

Jordan is a Coosa River lake and is full of the famous Coosa spots. Its waters are very fertile, the water has a greenish hue from algae, and the shoreline is covered with grass. Grass cover for bass is important for several reasons, among them giving young bass a place to hide from predators and giving adult bass great feeding areas.

Twenty-pound five-fish stringers of spotted bass are common in tournaments there. The fertility and cover make them grow fast and fat, and current moving in the lake brings them easy food, so they don’t have to expend much energy to feed.

Spots are native to Jordan, so they are well adapted to that environment. The population is in balance, with predator and prey at the right levels for the environment. Largemouth are also fairly common in the lake since they fill a slightly different niche and, since the spot population is balanced, they do not over compete with them.

We had a disappointing trip although the conditions seemed perfect. Even though it was Memorial Day, the clouds and threat of rain kept pleasure boaters off the lake. And the low light conditions, combined with current moving in the lake that day, should have put the fish in a feeding mood.

We caught a few fish and they were fat and healthy. The fish did not do what we thought they should, which is not unusual when fishing!

Lake Russell was very different on last Friday. The only common thing was the lack of pleasure boaters.
Shoreline development is not allowed on Russell and it is not near a big city, so it was not crowded. We saw a dozen or so fishing boats but no pleasure boaters even though it was a warm, sunny day.

Russel is not fertile. Its waters are very clear and shoreline grass is rare. Dammed in 1984, Russell is the newest lake in Georgia. It does have current since it has power generators and a pump back system at the dam. Power is generated during the day, so water flows downstream, then at night the same water is pumped back from Clarks Hill immediately downstream.

Since the water is recirculated, it does not carry a nutrient load like the water flowing down the Coosa River. Moving water does give bass easier feeding opportunities on Russell, but there is less food to move.

Spots are not native to Russell. In its early days it took 20-pound limits of largemouth to place in most tournaments. But midnight stocking of spots by bucket biologists introduced them in the 1990s and they have overcrowded the lake. It is rare to catch a largemouth there now.

Some fishermen think they can transport spots to lakes where they are not native and they will do as well as they do at Lake Lanier, a premier spot fishery. But Lanier is very fertile from run-off from chicken processing plants and has more food that spots like. Spots have just about taken over from largemouth at Lanier, too, but they grow fat there.

Not on Russell. We caught a lot of spots, but most were 11 to 13 inches long. You can easily catch 100 spots a day there but if your best five weigh 10 pounds you have caught a good limit of spots, and that weight would place in most tournaments.

Those little spots are fun to catch and good to eat. There is no size limit on spots anywhere in Georgia except Lake Lanier, to encourage fishermen to keep them. A trip to Russell to keep ten spots a day to eat is not only fun and good eating, it will not hurt the fishery.

Closer to home, Lake Jackson was an incredible fishery for big largemouth until the 1990s when spots started taking over. Fishermen put them in the lake and they have badly overpopulated it. We saw the first spots in our tournaments there in the early 1990s but they were rare. Now most of the fish we weigh in are spots.

Spots are more aggressive than largemouth and bed deeper, so they are not as affected by changes in the lake as much. But they do not grow as big as largemouth. An acre of lake can support only so many bass.

Where an acre of water at Jackson used to have, say 100 pounds of largemouth, ranging from one to five pounds or more, now it has 100 spots weighing a pound each.

If you catch spots on any of our lakes except Lanier and a couple of other far north Georgia lakes where they do well, keep a limit to eat.

March West Point Tournament

The last Sunday in March 15 members and guests of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our February tournament at West Point. The unusually warm weather had the fish feeding. We landed 66 keeper bass weighing about 101 pounds. All but 8 of the keepers were spotted bass. There were 11 limits, and no one zeroed.

I won with five weighing 12.22 pounds and my 5.35 pound largemouth was big fish. Robert Proctor came in second with five at 11.09 pounds, Billy Roberts placed third with five weighing 9.40 pounds and Javin English was fourth with five at 8.87 pounds.

I went over on Wednesday trying to find some kind of pattern. Thursday afternoon, after catching some bass, I cast a shaky head worm to a rocky point and got a thump. When I set the hook, my rod bowed up and the fish pulled my boat around the small creek for 15 minutes before I was finally able to land a 22-pound flathead catfish. That was a highlight of the trip.

I thought I had a good plan, but Sunday morning started very frustrating. I lost two keepers before finally landing a small keeper at 9:15. At 10:35 I went to the point where William Scott and I had missed a bunch of bites the weekend before and put my fifth keeper in the live well ten minutes later. I was able to hook almost every fish that bit there and had ten keepers in the livewell at 11:15.

After getting my limit I started casting a jig and pig, hoping to catch a big fish, and the big one hit on a nearby point at 11:30. After that I really relaxed, and fished some new places, trying for another big one, but caught only one more keeper the rest of the day.

Fishing Lake Eufaula In March

Bass Statue in Eufaula[/caption]

I had a great trip to Lake Eufaula in March. I met Eufaula, Alabama mayor Jack Tibbs to go fishing and get information for a Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News article. And when my club went back in May, I won on some of the places that will be in the August article – they were good in March, good in May and will be good in August!! Jack has been fishing all his life and fishes many tournaments on Eufaula. He came up with an idea for a spinnerbait designed to fish deep ledges on Lake Eufaula, the Ledgebuster, and developed a tackle company from that start.

Strike Zone Lures now makes all kinds of lures, including spinnerbaits, jigs, worms and others. It is very successful nationwide.

We landed about a dozen bass on Wednesday and the biggest five weighed between 20 and 21 pounds. Although Jack caught most of the fish, I landed the biggest, just under six pounds, and Jack had one about five pounds. I also had one at about four and one-half pounds. All the largemouth hit in three feet of water or less on spinnerbaits, swim jigs and even topwater frogs.

The town of Eufaula is historic, with many antebellum mansions and historic sites. I stayed at beautiful Lakepoint State Park Lodge in a spacious room with a nice view of the lake and marina. Thursday morning before heading home, I relaxed on my private deck, drinking coffee while watching squirrels and more than a dozen different kinds of birds looking for breakfast.

The two nights I was there I enjoyed excellent food. The first night I met Jack and his wife at El Jalisco Mexican Restaurant on Broad Street downtown. I got there first and the owner met me at the door. She was friendly and helpful, explaining some of the menu items.

When Jack arrived, he was greeted by almost everyone in the front of the restaurant and the owner was surprised he was the person I was meeting for dinner. We had to sit in the very back booth, so Jack and I could talk. Otherwise we would have never been able to talk due to all the people coming up to our table to speak to him.

Service was good and the food excellent. I had my favorite, Chili Relleno, and, although a little different than what I am used to, it was very good.

The next night we went to the Cajun Corner Grill, on the corner of Broad Street and Highway 431. Although busy, service was good and I really enjoyed the Gumbo and fried scallops. The salad that came with the meal was a surprise, not the usual bland house salad. It had good cheese, cranberrys, orange slices and mushrooms on it.

One highlight of the trip was a visit to the big bass monument. Since becoming mayor, Jack has pushed to take advantage of the biggest resource of the area, the lake. Fishermen come from all over the US to fish Eufaula and bring in a lot of money to the local economy.

This year the city unveiled the bass monument, with the town’s motto “The bass capitol of the world” on it. That self-proclaimed motto is hard to argue with since Eufaula is known for its quality bass fishing, but people flock to the lake to catch crappie, too.

Eufaula is about 2.5 hours away and is worth a trip for the food and sights, but the fishing is always the highlight.

Georgia Bass Slam

How many kinds of bass have you caught? What are the differences between striped bass and black bass? How about the differences between largemouth and smallmouth bass? Some differences are very noticeable, others not so much. And scientifically, some of what we call bass in general are not related at all.

Georgia fisheries biologists classify ten different species of black bass in our state. Black bass species include largemouth, smallmouth, shoal and spotted bass that most of us are familiar with, but the others are very similar.

We also have Suwanee, Redeye, Chattahoochee, Tallapoosa, Altamaha and Bartram’s bass. To make it even more confusing, largemouth are divided into Florida largemouth and common largemouth and spotted bass are divided into Alabama and Kentucky spots.

The way scientists classify fish into genus and species is confusing, even to me. I taught life science for seven years way back in the 1970s so maybe it has been too long for it to make sense to me. Put simply, all in one species and interbreed, but those in the same genus usually can not.

All black bass are in the genus Micropterus but that genus also includes bluegill and other sunfish. White and strip bass are in the genus Morone, and they can be crossed to create the infertile hybrids that biologists stock in our lakes.

Hybrids, like mules that are a cross between a horse and a donkey, most hybrids are infertile and cannot reproduce. But many crosses between black bass species happen in the wild. Spots and largemouth do interbreed in Georgia and produce a hybrid offspring.

Of more interest to fishermen, Georgia has a “ Georgia Bass Slam” awards program. If you document catching five of the ten different species in one calendar year you get awards from the state. As their web site says, you get “a Personalized Certificate, Two passes to the Go Fish Education Center, Some fantastic and fun stickers (for vehicle windows/bumpers) to advertise your brag-worthy achievement, All successful submissions for the calendar year will go into a drawing for an annual grand prize, and Anglers will be recognized on the state website, at the Go Fish Education Center, and through a variety of social media platforms.”

There is good information about the different species of black bass and all other Georgia fish at https://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/identification. It includes areas each can be caught and the state record. Rules for catching and entering your catches for the Bass Slam program are at https://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/angler-resources/GeorgiaBassSlam

This is a fun program and four of the included species are within an easy drive of Griffin. We can catch largemouth and spots at Jackson, shoal bass in the Flint River and Altamaha bass are in the Ocmulgee River from the Jackson dam to Macon.

For redeye, the best place to catch one is Lake Hartwell. You can catch smallmouth in Blue Ridge Lake and below the Clarks Hill dam in the Savannah River where they have been stocked, and Bartram’s are in the Broad River above Clarks Hill.

All species of bass will hit a variety of baits, but some baits are better for certain ones. I caught spots, largemouth and redeye bass at Hartwell, all on a Carolina rigged Baby Brush Hog. I should have documented them as the rules require and would have been three-fifths of the way to meeting the requirements this year.

I caught a spot and several largemouth at Eufaula on a shaky head worm, but I don’t think they would have counted since I was on the Alabama side of the lake, in Alabama waters.

Many of the species are native to only small parts of Georgia but have been midnight stocked by bucket biologists in places they should not be. Stocking non-native fish often causes problems. Spotted bass are the worst. They are native only in the Tennessee River basin in far northwest Georgia but have been put in most of our lakes and rivers.

Spots are more aggressive than largemouth, spawn deeper so they are not affected as much by changing water levels during bedding, and often take over a lake, hurting the largemouth population. And they don’t get as big as largemouth. They are fun to catch but can really mess up a good largemouth fishery.

At Jackson, spots started showing up at our club weigh-ins in the early 1990s. Before that time, any tournament we had from October through March there usually produced at least one six pound largemouth. And often we had several big ones weighed in. In one tournament I had an eight-pound, four ounce bass and it was third biggest, two bigger eight pounders were weighed in. And in another my seven-pound, four ounce largemouth was fourth biggest. A seven-pound, twelve-ounce bass beat it as did two nine pounders!

I often say where there used to be 100 largemouth in an area weighing from one to eight pounds at Jackson, now there are 100 spots weighing one pound each. That is the kind of change stocking non-native species can cause.

Spots are even a worse problem at Blue Ridge Lake. Before spots were illegally introduced, it was common to catch several smallmouth on a trip there. Now you can fish for weeks without ever catching one, the spots have taken over from them.

If becoming a Georgia Bass Slam winner interests you, check out their web site for the rules, go fishing and get your rewards!

Tips on Fishing Topwaters

Tips on Fishing Topwaters from a Top Pro Angler

Cliff Crotchet and son


Cliff Crotchet and son. (Photo courtesy of Bassmaster.)

By David A. Rose
from The Fishing Wire

When I daydream about catching bass, my initial vision is of mist rising off a lake’s dead-calm surface, followed by the most primeval eruption as a big ol’ bucketmouth viciously attacks my topwater lure. And I’m guessing it’s a very similar image for most anyone that loves catching largemouth bass.

Without a doubt, the feeling of your heart skipping a beat results from an instant infusion of adrenalin, induced by the sudden surface assault. And while that feeling of exhilaration is the very reason so many anglers love catching bass that way, there is also a major problem when it happens… the impulsive quick hookset comes so naturally that we end up pulling the lure away from the fish’s face before it’s gobbled it up. It’s happened to all of us. But it doesn’t have to be as common of an occurrence.

Three primary factors influence your topwater success once a fish has committed: your chosen line, hooksetting technique, and rod in your hand.

Seaguar bass pro Cliff Crochet is known for his topwater proficiency. The Pierre Part, Louisiana, resident has been fishing the Bassmaster Elites and Opens for 9-plus years, with 104 tournaments under his belt. He’s won one, and has numerous top-10 and -20 finishes, earning him near a half-million in winnings. And he knows all too well the frustration of being too hurried to set the hook when a fish blows up on his bait.

“I’ve had the bad habit of setting the hook too quickly and aggressively in the past,” says the 35-year-old angler. “But it was learning to use the right line for the topwater situation that helped me land more fish with topwater baits.”

Generally, Crochet uses all three line types for topwater – braid, fluorocarbon and monofilament. And which line he chooses isn’t just dependent on the lure he’s using, but the situation in which that lure is being presented.

“Monofilament is the best line choice overall in open-water areas because of its stretch and how it floats rather than sinks,” Crochet claims. “The elasticity of the line allows the lure to hesitate just enough that the fish has a better chance of getting it in its mouth as soon as it strikes. So the line compensates for the mistakes I make if I set the hook to fast.”

Crochet’s go-to monofilament is Seaguar Rippin’ Premium Monofilament, with 20-pound test his first choice for waking, popping and chugging baits.

“The monofilament made today is nothing like the lines I used while growing up, some of which was stiff and brittle, while others stretched like a rubber band,” Crochet states. “Rippin’ is superior to any monofilament I have ever used. It’s super strong, yet, soft and thin in diameter; this means I can cast my topwater lure further, which is crucial in shallow water situations. And when my bait gets hit, it has just the right amount of stretch that the fish can suck it up right away.”

Wake me up

Running mere inches below the surface, some consider wake baits, ChatterBaits and gurgling spinnerbaits the descendants of topwater baits. Regardless, they, too, require specialized gear and techniques.

Crochet’s choice when going subsurface is a 7-to-1 reel spooled again with 20-pound Rippin’ Monofilament for open water or short weeds, but to the same pound test in Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon when fishing over thicker grass, stumps and rocks. The near-neutral buoyancy and low stretch of fluorocarbon allows you to swim your baits at the precise depth below the surface. Crochet says two inches off where you want your bait running is huge, and fluorocarbon can assist in precise bait placement.

Cliff’s notes

One of the biggest mistakes many anglers make when it comes to topwater fishing is thinking it’s a warm-water, early-morning or late-evening-only bite.

Crochet says no matter where you’re fishing, once the water reaches the mid-50’s bass will start looking to the surface for forage. You just may want to stick with lures that can be fished at a slower pace. And it’s during the spring period when the middle of the day can be the best surface bite as the water will be at its warmest.

Lures that are fished at a fast pace, however, such as buzzbaits, will get bit more once the water temperatures tickle the mid-60’s and above.

Lastly, Crochet says to let your fishing situation dictate what line to use. Monofilament in areas where you don’t have to worry about losing fish around structure; braid where getting fish up and out is necessary (just remember to pivot, lean back and keep reeling as a hook set); fluorocarbon for subsurface when a little extra “oomph” is needed, or, when the fish are being picky about how far under surface they want you lure to be presented.

May Eufaula Tournament

In the May Sportsman Club tournament last weekend at Eufaulaq, 13 members fished for 18 hours in two days to land 58 bass weighing about 126 pounds. Five of the keepers were spotted bass. There were eight five-fish limits and two members did not catch a fish.

I won with ten weighing 27.35 pounds and had a 4.30 pound largemouth for big fish. Raymond English placed second with ten weighing 24.64, his partner Kwong Yu had ten at 24.52 for third. Wayne Teal had nine weighing 18 pounds for fourth.

I got real lucky, spotting some birds feeding in grass along the shoreline at first light the first day. When I went there I was surprised to see gizzard shad spawning. I though it was too late for that.

In the two days I caught five bass early on frogs in the grass, then caught some on worms. Saturday, I had a good limit at 9:40, including two over four pounds each, and Sunday had my limit at 8:00 with two three pounders. So as the sun got up and hot I got under the bridge, staying somewhat cool and trying to catch a bass big enough to upgrade my limit.

I stayed under that bridge for more than nine of the 18 hours we fished and caught exactly four keepers. Two of them did help my weight, but it got kinda boring fishing the same place so long. But at least I was not out in the sun!

Fishing Lay Lake and Blue Ridge Lake

I love my job. Who would not love going fishing and getting paid to write about it? But it does get hectic at times. I have been on the road so much the last two months I met myself on the highway Monday – twice!

After a five-day trip to Clarks Hill I got home a week ago Monday then went to Lay Lake in Alabama Wednesday for two days to get information for my June Map of the Month article in Alabama Outdoor News. Then I got up this past Monday at 4:30 AM to drive to Lake Blue Ridge for my article in Georgia Outdoor News for June.

Lay Lake is a Coosa River lake south of I-20 near Birmingham. It is different from our Georgia lakes, with shorelines covered with grassbeds. And the Coosa Spots grow big and fat and fight harder than you would think possible.

I met 21-year-old David Gaston, a tournament fisherman and guide on the lake. We got out at daybreak and found shad spawning in the grass and bass feeding on them. Unfortunately for us, they were feeding on very small threadfin shad and we had a hard time catching them on our bigger baits.

I did manage to catch a spot weighing about 2.5 pounds on a swim jig, my first fish ever on that bait. Swim jigs have a bullet shaped head to come through grass and, with a trailer on them, look like a fleeing baitfish.

Those jigs work great on any lake with grass, but we just do not have grassbeds on many of our lakes. I do not fish that bait much, so it is unlikely for me to catch fish on a bait in my tacklebox. Fishermen tell me they work good around docks and shallow brush, cover we have here, so I am going to learn to fish it more.

Another difference with those lakes is the current in them and the relatively shallow ledges where flats run out to the river and creek channels. Most of our channels are in much deeper water and harder to fish. There, you can cast crankbaits up to five or six feet of water and bump the bottom with them out to the drop into 25 to 30 feet of water where the bass hold.

David showed me many such ledges on our trip since that is the best kind of places to fish after the sun gets high in June. We caught several bass on out trip.

Even more impressive was the pond on David’s family’s land. They feed the bass in it bologna and crawfish. The bologna surprised me, I had never heard of that, but David said I could easily catch a ten to 12-pound bass if I wanted to. He had one over seven pounds for pictures.

I didn’t fish the pond. There is something about catching easy bass that does not give me a thrill. That is the same reason I have never gone shiner fishing in Florida. Although I have always wanted to catch a 12-pound bass, and my biggest ever is one that weighed nine pounds seven ounces, I just don’t think I would really fulfil my goal with one that I did not make much personal effort to catch.

Lake Blue Ridge is totally different. A beautiful mountain lake near the Georgia/Tennessee/North Carolina junction, it is deep and clear, with little shoreline cover. It is the lake in Georgia where you have the best chance of catching a smallmouth bass, but their population has been decimated by the introduction of spotted bass.

I met Barron Adams who grew up in Mineral Bluff near the lake and now fishes tournaments and guides on Blue Ridge. The water was also much colder than on Lay and the shad had not started spawning. Neither had the bass. We saw one on a bed but many more cruising the shallows getting ready to spawn as soon as the water warms a little more.

This has been a crazy spring, with warm weather in February that made many central Georgia spawn early, then cold weather that stopped everything. Now the shad are starting to spawn and so are the herring, so fishing should be fantastic for a few weeks. I am afraid the water will get hot fast, shorting the time bass are in the shallows this year.

At Blue Ridge David caught a nice three pound largemouth and a two-pound spot, as well as some smaller bass. He also caught a big crappie and a small trout that was either a rainbow or brook trout. Neither of us know enough about trout to be sure which one it was.

We marked ten spots with deep brush and rocks where the bass live and feed in June. The baits to use are very different for June on Blue Ridge than Lay, with the best baits those that you can drag along the bottom 25 to 35 feet deep.

The fishing can be good there, but it is worth a trip just for the scenery. And there are many local points of interest in the area to visit other than the lake.

Either lake would be a good weekend trip for a fisherman and family. But traffic to Blue Ridge is awful since you have to go through downtown Atlanta. It took me 2.5 hours to drive up but over three to get home.

Downtown traffic was not bad that morning since I got through town before 6:30 AM but southbound traffic on I-75 and I-575 was already backed up by 6:30. And coming home it was bumper to bumper at less than 20 miles per hour from the junction of I-85 and 75 on the north side of town all the way to I-285 on the south side. And I saw four wrecks in that area.

If you go to Blue Ridge, plan your trip to avoid rush hours. I do not see how people stay sane driving in that mess daily to go to work!

Fishing Lake Hartwell

Five pound largemouth and nice spot from Hartwell

I went up and camped, practicing and fishing a Flint River Bass Club weekend before last and a Potato Creek Bassmasters tournament last weekend. The first day there, the day before the Flint River tournament, I spent all day fishing shallow, looking for the big largemouth that inhabit the lake but saw mostly turtles.

I did catch eight bass, all small male bass, on six different baits. I saw some big largemouth cruising the shallows but if I cast within 30 feet of them they took off, running from the bait even if it entered with barely a ripple! There was no pattern to where they were or what they would hit, not a good sign for the tournament. Saturday morning I went to a point where I caught bass last year this time, and in the first 30 minutes landed two six-pound hybrids and five keeper spotted bass, filling my limit.

All the spots were small so at 7:00 I went to shallow docks, trying to catch a kicker fish. After fishing docks for almost two hours with one bite, a short spot, I decided to fish one more dock then try something else. But a cast to it got a bite, and I landed a 5.08 pound largemouth.

It was a miracle fish. I had cast over a dock cable and the fish ran back under it. Normally the cable will cut your line when a fish pulls against it, but I managed to net the fish, unhook it then get my line back over the cable.

When I stopped shaking and put the fish in the live well I counted and had fished 31 docks. But the big one made me keep trying. After two more hours of casting to 30 more docks without a single bite I went back out on the main lake and caught more small spotted bass that did not help. With just an hour left to fish I caught three big spotted bass that culled three of the four remaining small fish I had caught first thing that morning.

The first day I led with 13.54 pounds. The second day I tried everything I could think of except shallow docks. I caught only a hybrid on the point where I had the limit the day before. I landed exactly five small spots weighing 6.41 pounds and dropped to second with 19.95 but my 5.08 was big fish. New member Gary Cronin won with ten at 20.07, Don Gober was third with nine weighing 14.60 and Brent Drake placed fourth with ten weighing 13.77.

I spent four days trying to find some pattern the next week but caught only two or three fish a day. I started Friday in the tournament on my favorite point but caught only a short fish. On shoal markers I managed to land 11 keepers, the best five weighing 9.77 pounds and putting me in first. But as the weekend before, on Saturday I could land only four small spots weighing 6.10 and dropped to fourth with nine weighing 15.52.

Lee Hancock won with ten at 17.74 and had big fish with a 3.75 pound largemouth. Ryan Edge was second with ten at 17.34 and Kwong Yu placed third with ten at 16.55.

The lake was very crowded since there was a BFL tournament there Saturday and fishing was much tougher than it should be this time of year, even for them. It took only 14-14 to win it and 10-3 for tenth even though many of those guys are experts on Hartwell.

Bass Tournament on Lake Sinclair

Last Sunday 11 members of the Flint River Bass Club fished our April tournament at Lake Sinclair. We landed 46 keepers weighing about 92 ponds. There were eight five fish limits and one fisherman zeroed.

New club member Bubba Siren won with five weighing 15.10 and had big fish with a 5.35 pound largemouth. Doug Acree was second with five at 14.02 pounds, my five at 10.65 pounds was third and Chuck Croft placed fourth with five at 10.05 pounds.

For me it was a tough day. At my first stop I was excited to see shad spawning in the grass and on a seawall, often a sign bass will be feeding. And I quickly got a hard hit on my spinnerbait, but it was a three-pound hybrid. Within a few minutes I landed two more that size.

My luck got much better when I cast a chatterbait behind a dock. The wind took my line over the post, and as I started reeling it up to the post to try to get it off a nice bass hit. I was able to pull the fish completely out of the water against the post, use my trolling motor to ease over and get it. I could not believe it did not come off.

Then it got tough. I fished several places for the next 90 minutes and caught a couple of small fish, but at 9:10 I cast the chatterbait to some boat house rails, got a good thump and caught my biggest bass, a 3.06 pounder.

It took over two more hours with a few more short fish before A nice two pounder hit my chatterbait in a ditch, the kind of place I expected them to be. For the next two hours I fished places like that without a bite.

At 1:00 I was fishing a seawall with a jig head worm and caught my smallest keeper. That gave me four. I decided to spend my last hour in a small cove I like, but when I got to it there was a boat fishing there so
I went to another cover where I have never caught a fish.

With ten minutes left to fish another two-pounder hit my chatterbait on a seawall, giving me my limit. That I why I never give up and cast right to the last minute in tournaments!

Bad Clarks Hill Tournament

Last Saturday and Sunday, 13 members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club and one youth competitor fished our Clarks Hill April tournament. We weighed in 84 keeper bass weighing about 129 pounds. There were eight five-fish limits and no one zeroed.

Wayne Teal won with ten weighing 18.98 pounds and had big fish with a 4.18 pound largemouth, George Roberts was second with ten at 16.47 pounds, Raymond English placed third with ten at 14.47 pounds and Kwong Yu was fourth with eight weighing 12.94 pounds. Cooper Terry won the Youth Division with three weighing 6.02 pounds and had big fish with a largemouth weighing 3.06 pounds.

This has been a very frustrating spring for me and this tournament added to it. I fished Thursday and Friday trying to figure something out, and caught one bass, a big crappie and a gar in two days. I thought some fish would be in the shallow flooded grass where I caught some quality bass a month ago but could not get a bite around it.

That grass was rotting, and I decided it was using up the water oxygen and keeping the fish out of the shallows. I never saw even a bream swimming in it. So I tried to find fish on other cover. I definitely outsmarted myself since the tournament was won in that grass.

Saturday morning I went to a rocky point where I can usually catch some bass this time of year, but did not get a bite in the first hour. Back in a cove I did miss one fish on a weightless Trick worm and caught a small keeper and that should have told me something, but those were the only two bites, and they were both small, so that added to my thoughts of no oxygen in them.

On a rocky hump I caught a decent keeper but that was the only one there, a place where bass should be schooling up. I tried another shallow cove and as I went around it I saw some brush out in 20 feet of water on my 360 scan depthfinder. A cast to it produced a three pounder so that made me fish deeper for several hours, but not more bites.

In desperation I went back shallow and caught my fourth keeper on a whacky rigged worm under a dock, but that was my last bite for the day. My four that day put me in third place so I had some hope for Sunday.

Sunday morning, I got no bites on the rocky hump where I started, and nothing in the brush or around the docks. I decided to make a major change and ran to a bridge, but no bites there, either.

I thought about fishing a nearby point where I had caught fish before, but almost left without going to it. As I fished around it two rental jon boats rounded it, full of kids banging paddles against the side of the aluminum boat. Again I almost left, but a cast right behind those boats as they left produced a keeper.

I caught my second one a little later on that point, but that was it. I dropped to sixth place with my two little keepers.