Monthly Archives: November 2022

There Are Many April Bass Patterns: Fishing Docks Is A Great One

April Bass Patterns: Docks & More

Here’s how to fish the cover bass hold on in the spring

    Bass fishermen look forward to April all year.  It is arguably the best month to catch bass since they are moving to shallow water to spawn, then back to deeper water.  If you go out and just cast to random places you will catch some bass, but keying on prime cover can greatly increase your catch.

    As soon as days start getting significantly longer in February, bass get the urge to spawn.  They start slowly moving toward bedding areas, no matter how cold the water.  When the water warms consistently into the 50s they move faster.  This movement is the pre-spawn.

    The spawn starts in colder water than many realize, with some bass spawning when the water is in the upper 50s, but the majority spawn when the water is in the upper 60s and low 70s.

    As soon as the females drop their eggs they head to structure and cover a little deeper near the spawning flats and don’t feed much, resting and recovering.  Meanwhile, males are guarding beds and protecting fry for a few days.

    A week or so after the spawn both males and females feed actively during the post spawn before moving deeper to their summer holes.  During all three stages of the spawn bass can be caught on a variety of baits.

    But where do you fish? If you are familiar with good spawning areas on your lake you know where to start. If not, studying a good map to locate pockets and small creeks, especially on the north side of the lake since they get more sun during the day, will head you in the right direction.

    A ditch or old channel leading into the spawning flats in the back of the pockets make them a lot better.  Bass use these channels as highways to follow to spawn, pausing along them to feed going both ways.  Stumps, brush, laydown trees, rocks and docks in the pocket give bass specific cover to feed and bed on.

    This is the time of year to cover water with faster moving baits until you find a concentration of fish or find the areas of creeks and coves they are using.  Both pre-spawn and post spawn have scattered, moving fish.  Locating them is crucial to consistent catches.

    Start at the mouth of the pocket and fish to the back with crankbaits, topwater and spinnerbaits. When you start catching fish, note the area of the pocket. Bass are likely to be in the same kinds of areas in other pockets.

     To catch bigger fish, stop and pick apart cover you find on the way into the pockets.  If you catch some fish near it, more and bigger fish are probably holding in the cover.  Docks offer a variety of things bass like, and they can be key.

    Many docks lining a bank going into the spawning pocket may look good, and you can catch fish by working them, but it can be a slow process.  The fish will be scattered among the docks.  A single dock along a bank concentrates the fish and is much easier to fish.

    Docks offer shade, cover and a good feeding area.  (for bass and crappie) Floating docks give shade, their floats will warm from the sun and warm the water around them a little, often making a big difference.  Cables for the floating docks are used as feeding cover for bass.

    Docks with posts are even better, with the shade, but the post offer vertical cover from the bottom to the top.  And the posts are sometimes set in concrete, so the bottom around the post will be hard, often uneven, and attract baitfish and crawfish.  The posts will have algae growing on them and baitfish feed on it, so they are a great feeding place.

    Many docks have the added advantage of brush piles under and around them.



from The Fishing Wire

GMAN on Earning a Living in the Fishing Industry

Forestville, WI – The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) 2023 Annual Conference kicks off in Fort Myers, Florida, January 6 through 8, and headline speaker Gerald Swindle can’t wait to get started.

“I hope you’ll be there to hear me because I plan to really bring it,” says Swindle. “This is not just a meeting for professional anglers, it’s for anyone making a living in the recreational fishing industry – and you don’t even have to be an NPAA member to attend because everybody’s welcome. This meeting is going to be a conference where we’re talking about how to make money.”

That’s something Swindle says other industry pros don’t generally discuss but it’s going to get full attention at this event, the focus of which is “Controlling Your Destiny!” With this conference NPAA is providing a first-class ticket to meet, network, speak with and glimpse the psyche of top professional anglers, industry representatives and sport fishing leaders across the country.

“This is your chance to see, hear and learn how top professionals do business,” points out the legendary bass pro from Guntersville, AL, who has appeared in 20 Bassmaster Classics, twice been named Bassmaster’s Angler of the Year, broken the magical 100-pound tournament limit twice, and earned roughly $2.5 million in prize money in the process.

NPAA president, Patrick Neu couldn’t be more thrilled than to have Swindle lined up for the event. “He’s the right guy to headline our speakers,” said Neu. “He’s an NPAA member, a social media icon, and a no-nonsense motivational speaker that knows this industry inside and out. He’s true to himself in every aspect of our sport and not afraid to speak his mind. In short, when the G-Man speaks, everybody listens.”

Swindle has plenty to say, of course, but we’ll let him speak for himself in the video link above. Just know that attendance is limited to 200 and tickets are selling fast – so, don’t wait to sign-up, meet, network, speak with and glimpse the psyche of top professional anglers, industry representatives and sport fishing leaders across the country.

The NPAA Annual Conference features business-related educational seminars, networking opportunities, and partner booths in a fun but professional format. It is a key component of the NPAA platform, which exists to help members grow their professional angling careers and run successful industry businesses. The event will also host a Benefit Banquet for the Future Angler Foundation (FAF), which introduces millions of potential new anglers and boaters each year to the thrill and fun of sportfishing and boating.

Additional seminar speakers will include Jason and Jay Przekurat, MLF Redcrest Champion Bobby Lane, Louisiana guide and Redfish Lodge owner, Mike Frenette, plus a myriad of other angling professionals from top guides to industry veterans, all sharing their knowledge freely in sessions throughout the weekend. Event central is the 5-Star rated Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport – Town Center, which is 5 minutes from the SW Florida Regional Airport (RSW) and just off I75 in Fort Myers.

The NPAA 2023 Annual Conference registration fees include all activities, meals, and a ticket for the FAF Banquet. More information on registration can be found on the NPAA Conference Page(Note: Non-members who pre-register for the Conference and opt to join the association prior to the end of the Conference will receive a $50 rebate on their Conference Registration Fee.)

For more information on joining the NPAA, attending the Annual Conference, and exploring the many benefits membership provides, visit



from The Fishing Wire

Developments In the World of Fishing Sonar

The 2022 version of the open water fishing season was an interesting one on several levels. Some of the events/developments of the fishing season were good, some not so good. One of the developments that has really caught on in the past few months is the ongoing popularization of forward-facing sonar (FFS). First, a little bit of history regarding sonar.

My first exposure to fish-finders, depth-finders, sonar, fish locators, whatever they were called, was a Lowrance Green Box. It was an amazing experience for a young, curious angler. Instead of just seeing the surface of the lake, we could now see what was on the bottom of the lake. By today’s standards it was a very antiquated look at the bottom of the lake, but back then it was groundbreaking. We could see how deep the water was directly below the boat, we could see gradual and abrupt changes in the bottom structure, and we could see where the bottom changed from sand to mud. Every now and then we even saw what we thought might be a fish. Remarkably interesting times, and truly an era of learning more about fish and fishing. Some people were worried that with this new technology, fish populations would be in jeopardy. Due to the efforts of fishery managers, they weren’t.

Later, paper graphs hit the market. They drew an outstanding picture of the bottom of the lake and showed the history of the path of the boat. An angler could see what they were going over and what they had gone over. And you could definitively see if fish were in the area. But the paper had to be changed often, and when the wind was blowing or it was raining, that was an inconvenience. Paper graphs weren’t around for exceptionally long.

The next technology was liquid crystal graphs. The early versions of LCG’s were crude by today’s standards, but a huge improvement in what we were accustomed to using. No paper changing and exceptionally good displays. I recall a day on Rainy Lake when I was just learning about LCG units. We would see on the screen in water 20 feet deep what we thought was a fish, then we would catch a fish. Those really were the fish that we were seeing! Another very interesting time and era of learning more about fish and fishing. Some people were again worried about the impact of this new technology, and again, the fisheries people prevented over-harvest.

A few years later, side-imaging came into play. This technology enabled an angler to see what was going on off to the side of the boat. More learning and more interesting discoveries about what goes on in the fish’s world.

Most recently, forward facing sonar entered the picture. It has really impacted the fishing world. It shows what is in front of the boat, and when mounted to do so, will show what is all around the boat. Fishing guide and expert angler Mike Frisch says that he has learned more about fish and fishing while using FFS this past summer than he did in the previous 10 years combined. Mike has the transducer of his FFS unit mounted to a Rite-Hite Turret mount that enables him to scan all around the boat. The Rite-Hite Turret is a slick deal. He says that when he sees a group of bass to the side or in front of his boat, he can put an Ocho Worm exactly where it needs to be, and much of the time he can see how the bass reacts. If they look but don’t eat, he knows that a different presentation is needed. And the folks in charge of our fisheries will make sure that this new technology doesn’t negatively affect fish populations.

The wonderful thing about fishing is that we make it whatever we want to make it. Some enjoy the technology, others, like me and the young anglers that I take fishing, sometimes enjoy dipping a jig along a dock with a Lew’s Bream Buster rod: A long rod with no reel and 6 feet of line tied to the tip of the rod. Extremely basic but highly effective. However you like to fish, there is a way for you to enjoy doing so.

– Bob Jensen of

How and Where To Catch January Lake Martin Bass With GPS Coordinates

January Lake Martin Bass

with Anthony Vintson

Spotted bass holding on deep rocks and brush on main lake points. Largemouth feeding around shoreline wood cover. If you want to have fun catching both on these patterns, head to Lake Martin this month.

Lake Martin on the Tallapoosa River near Alexander City is well known for its numbers of spotted bass, but as the BASS Elite tournament last February showed, there are a good many quality largemouth in the lake, and more big spots than many fishermen realize.

Anthony Vintson lives in Cullman and fishes Martin a lot.  After junior college he went in the Army for eight years and bought his first bass boat. He fell in love with tournament fishing and honed his skills on Martin, Smith and other area lakes as well as any station he was on that had a lake nearby.

Anthony is now a junior at Auburn where he is on the bass fishing team.  Auburn has produced some great pros that help mentor the team. And the team was fourth in the nation last year and is in the top ten this season. 

He fishes as many area tournaments on Martin and Smith as his college schedule allows.  This past year he had a limit weighing 15 pounds that included a six-pound largemouth in a local derby on Martin.

“January is a great month to find big schools of spots holding and feeding 20 to 40 feet deep on main lake points,” Anthony said.  Rocks and brush piles concentrate them deep. They will move up to feed but most of the time they are stacked up on deep cover.

Anthony goes out after a quick limit of spots in tournaments, hoping to put ten pounds in the boat. He then goes to more shallow wood cover to find a kicker largemouth or two.  This plan has helped him do well in many tournaments.

For spots, Anthony will tie on a jerkbait, drop shot, shaky head and jig and pig.  When trying for largemouth he likes a shaky head with a Rage Craw on it.  Those five baits will work all over the lake and cover the ways he fishes.

We fished the week after Thanksgiving on the second day of a strong cold front.  We found many schools of spots and caught a dozen small ones in the five hours we were on the lake, even though the heavy wind made it hard to stay on them. And we got some bites around wood cover, but the wind made it very hard to detect strikes.

Spots hit on all the first nine holes and there are quality fish on them as well as large numbers of smaller ones.  Anthony says you often catch several small keeper fish then a two pounder will hit. The smaller fish seem more aggressive. And the largemouth will bite much better under settled weather conditions on places like hole 10.

1.  N 32 43.599 – W 85 53.698 – Across from Ridge Marina a narrow point runs upstream from Fishbone Island.  Very deep water is all around it, with the river channel on the east side and an old channel on the west. Big rocks and several brush piles are one it, the perfect set-up for spots right now.

On this point and others Anthony will stop well off the point and ease in toward it, casting a jerkbait across the point and on the sides. He keeps two rigged, a shallow Strike King J300 in ghost shad and a J300D in chrome Ayu shad. 

He starts by casting the shallow one near the bank, switching to the deeper running one out from the point.  Spots will move in shallow to feed, especially early in the morning, and he can quickly cover the point with those two baits for active bass pushing baitfish up on the point.

As he fishes the point Anthony keeps an eye on his electronics, watching for brush and fish.  Spots will hold anywhere from 20 to 40 feet deep and will often suspend over brush piles or boulders and will hit a drop shot worm. If they are in the brush or right on the bottom, he will also try a shaky head worm and a jig and pig.

2.  N 32 43.296 – W 85 53.634 – Go down the river side of the island to the downstream point where you can see through to the other channel. It runs downstream, and the river runs in right beside it.  The big rocks on it above water run on out.  There are several brush piles here.

Work around the point with jerkbait. When you see fish or brush, use your drop shot to catch them.  Anthony rigs a green pumpkin Strike King Dream Shot worm on a VMC Neko rig hook 12 to 18 inches above a one quarter to three-ounce sinker.  The heavier sinker is used when the wind is blowing like it was the day we fished.

Anthony drops his bait right into the fish, jiggling the rod tip to make the worm move.  He will ease around the area the fish are in with a slow controlled drag, moving very slowly so his line is still at a sharp downward angle.  This moves the bait through the fish until an active one hits.

Cover both sides of the point before leaving.  If the wind is blowing down the side of the island or through the gap, try both windward and lee sides. Fish will move from the slight current on the windward side to the calmer lee side following baitfish.

3.  N 32 42.846 – W 85 53.596 – Going down the river channel, Chimney Rock, marred by graffiti, is on your right.  On the downstream end of the cliff a point covered with big boulders runs downstream, dropping fast on the river side.

There isn’t much brush here, but the fish hold on the big boulders. We saw fish suspended just over them from 20 to 40 feet deep.  That is the range Anthony expects the fish to hold when they are not up actively feeding. He will “wander” around with his trolling motor here and the other places until he finds them.

 If the fish are close to the rock let your sinker hit it then jiggle your worm. If they are holding well above it stay directly on top of them and watch your drop shot fall, stopping it so the worm is at the depth the fish area holding.

Fish all these places the same. Work around the boulders with jerkbait, then drop a worm to them.  Wind blowing on them helps the jerkbait bite a lot, and it can position the deeper fish as it funnels baitfish from the current it produces.

4.  N 32 42.193 – W 85 54.527 – Follow the river channel to the mouth of Kowaliga Creek.  The last island by the river channel before you can go over and into Kowaliga Creek has a small hump about 100 yards off the end of the island lined up with the sandy beach between two points. It comes up to 15 feet with the water down six feet like it was the day we fished it.

A hump coming up out on the end of a point like this makes it even better.  Stay off the hump and cast your deep diving jerkbait all over it. There are logs and brush piles on the hump where they hold. Fish in the cover on it will come up to hit a jerkbait at that depth.

    After working around the hump, try a shaky head worm and drop shot on it. You can cast both then get over the brush and fish with your drop shot straight down.  Anthony rigs a green pumpkin Strike King Baby Rage Craw on a one quarter ounce jig head and drags it along the bottom with little hops to make the tails wave.

    5.  N 32 42.318 – W 85 55.082 – Power lines with big airplane warning balls crosses the mouth of Kowaliga Creek.  On the left side going into Kowaliga Creek a hump comes up off the point on that side. It is under the gap between the third and fourth balls from the bank.

    This hump tops out 20 feet deep with the water down six feet and has brush on it. That is a little deep for a jerkbait but your drop shot works well here and you can catch fish on shaky head and jig, too.

    When working a drop shot to fish on the bottom, stay right over them and fish straight down then try a controlled drag. For brush piles start on the sides, especially if you see fish around rather than over the brush.  Then work into the brush so if you get hung and disturb the fish you have already fished the outsides of it.

    With fish suspended over the brush, play video game fishing, watching your bait as it drops then fishing it in the suspended fish. If you see fish holding way above the brush on these places your jerkbait may get deep enough to attract them.

    6. N 32 42.325 – W 85 54.876 – Across the mouth of Kowaliga Creek the second point on your left going back toward the river has danger markers all around it way off the bank. There used to be a long dock running out on this point so even with the water up it is very shallow. We could see the rocks above the water when we were there.

    Stop a long cast from the top of the point with your boat in about 20 feet of water and go all the way around it with both shallow and deep jerkbaits.  Watch as you go around it, there is a lot of brush and some stumps here. 

    Try drop shot around the brush under the boat. You can also catch fish here on shaky head and jig, fishing around the point casting from deep to shallow. Move your boat out deeper and watch for brush and fish, and work your jig or shaky head from a few feet deep out to 20 feet deep.  Rocks run well out from the top of the point and brush and stumps hold fish shallow enough that you do not want to get right on top of them for the drop shot.

    7.  N 32 44.320 – W 85 52.760 – The upstream point of Blue Creek is on a peninsular. There is a big rock pile off the bank on it that is marked but the big boulders on it were plainly visible with the water down.  Anthony says there is always a lot of bait here, a good sign this time of year, and holds big schools of bass feeding on them.

    Fish across the deep side of the rock pile with jerkbaits.  Also try drop shot on fish you see off it, and try dragging your shaky head and jig and pig from near the rocks to 20 feet deep.  Anthony fishes a green pumpkin half ounce Strike King jig with a matching Rage Craw trailer.

    8.  N 32 45.291 – W 85 52.850 – Up the river on the river side of the last island before the channel swings left and the lake opens up, a rock pile sits on the end of a ridge coming off the bank. The ridge and rock pile were visible when we fished and there is no danger marker on it.

    The river channel swings in right beside the rock pile. Get in close, you will be in 20 feet of water 30 feet off the bank, and fish your jerkbaits along the rocks.  Watch for fish and stumps on the bottom. There is not any brush here that we saw or that Anthony knows about, but the rocks and stumps hold fish.

    The ends of the rock pile are a good place to work jerkbaits and your jigs.  Bigger spots are often attracted to the jig and pig more than to the smaller baits, so try it if your goal is size rather than numbers.

    9.  N 32 45.615 – W 85 52.692 – Across the narrow gap where the river channel goes left, the upstream point runs downstream with the channel just off it.  Inside the point you can see the docks and buildings of Alamisco Camp.

    A good brush pile is out on this point and it was loaded with fish when we were there.  They really stack up on it when the wind blows through the gap from the north north west, like it was the day we fished.

    Fish jerkbaits over the brush first, especially when the wind is blowing.  Wind usually makes the jerkbait bite much better.  Then follow up with drop shot, shaky head and jig and pig. There are rocks and some brush other than the big pile scattered around this point that do hold fish, but the big one should be your main target.

    10.  N 32 51.023 – W 85 55.853 – For a change of pace to go after largemouth, Anthony goes up to the Wind Creek area where they are more plentiful.  There is a lot of wood cover in this area, both blowdowns and brush piles around docks, that largemouth love.

    One of the best is the left bank going in to the docks at Wind Creek State Park.  The bank across from the campground is steep and is lined with fallen trees, the ideal kind of place to find them. And tournament released fish constantly restock this area.

    Keep your boat in deep water off the end of the trees and cast a jig head worm to the wood.  Anthony fishes a quarter ounce jighead with a green pumpkin Rage Craw on it and moves it extremely slowly through the wood. 

    Although the cover is thick, Anthony uses 12-pound line since it is heavy enough to get the fish out but thin enough to get better feel of light bites.  Largemouth don’t seem to be as active as spots in cold water, so you must fish slowly and be ready to set the hook at the lightest indication of a bite.

    All these spots are good all this month. Decide if you want to catch a lot of small spots or quality largemouth and spots, and choose your baits and places based on that.  Try Anthony’s places and baits then use your favorite baits and find many similar places to fish them.

What is FIRST ICE PANFISH and Why Do I Care?


from The Fishing Wire

First Ice Panfish

Once it gets cold outside, anglers in many states immediately start wishing for more of it. If it’s going to be cold out, it might as well be cold enough to freeze the lakes and rivers. Right now, ice fishing season is quickly approaching in many regions and one of the best ways to get in on the action is by targeting first ice panfish.

A trio of Wisconsin guides, Troy Peterson, Vince Moldenhauer, and Josh Teigen, all count early ice panfish as one of their favorite bites, and each has a unique approach to fishing this time of year. They each share their thought processes and methods for early-season ice fishing.

Moldenhauer Airboats to the Ice

Guiding on the Upper Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Vince Moldenhauer has a unique approach to ice fishing the big river for perch. He uses an airboat to reach prime ice fishing waters, primarily shallow backwaters.

To access these areas, Moldenhauer hauls clients and gear to the spots, as the ice on the river is generally not thick enough to cross safely. “We’ll even cross open water to get to some of the areas,” he said.

The best areas, according to Moldenhauer, are areas where perch spend much of their time during the winter. These places are out of the current and have vegetation.

“The key to finding perch on the river is to find areas with no current and green vegetation because it creates oxygen,” said Moldenhauer. “Some perch will live out in the current, but a lot of them stack up in the backwater spots in very shallow water. It could be 1, 2, or 3 feet deep and every year, the best spots can be a little bit different based on the water levels on the river.”

Targeting river perch that can weigh 2-pounds or more, Moldenhauer prefers 3 to 5mm tungsten jigs, small 1/16 to 1/32-ounce spoons, and live bait on tip downs.

“We typically drill a pile of holes and hole hop around,” he said. “When you find the right hole where they are grouped up, you can catch a pile of them.”

While the Mississippi can generally be a stained body of water for much of the season, the places Moldenhauer targets can be exceptionally clear. Because of this, he prefers the near invisibility of Seaguar’s IceX fluorocarbon.

“Most think of the river as dirty, but it gets crystal clear in these areas, and I believe that fluorocarbon is key to getting more bites,” he said. “I prefer 6 lb., which may seem a little heavy for perch, but we are always hooking into pike and bass, and you lose fewer baits. IceX performs great for us.”

Teigen’s Approaches Based on Water Clarity

Depending on if he is fishing a clear or stained body of water, Iron River, Wisconsin guide Josh Teigen adjusts his areas when targeting perch, bluegill, and crappie through the ice.

“On stained lakes, the best fishing for us is on the main basins of the lake,” he said. “Many times, they’ll be deep and suspended 5 to 7 feet off the bottom. It’s best to drill a bunch of holes, keep it moving and use your electronics to find the groups.”

Teigen also uses sound to his advantage when targeting stained water panfish and chooses noisy lures. “We like to use louder baits to call the fish in,” he said. “One of the best is a 1/12-ounce ACME Rattle Master spoon or Acme Google Eye Tungsten Jig, both tipped with a wax worm or two.”

For cleaner water, Teigen seeks out vegetation. “On many clear lakes, the weeds will stay green all winter,” he shared. “I look for the cabbage or sand grass that ends around 18 to 22 feet of water and will fish the same baits. On the clear water lakes, the morning and evening bite seems to be the best and it’s more of a midday bite on the stained bodies of water.”

Teigen prefers Seaguar IceX fluorocarbon line for both lake types, primarily the 3 lb. test.

“I prefer to use straight fluorocarbon for panfish and you can feel the bite very easily,” he said. “IceX is very durable and has a tiny bit of stretch, which is good for crappie because they have such soft lips. The invisibility is also key because the fish in clear water can get line-shy sometimes.”

Mr. Bluegill’s Ultra-Shallow Bite

Troy Peterson is known as “Mr. Bluegill,” and he guides anglers for them, along with many other species, throughout the year. As soon as the ice forms on the lake, his approach is to stick close to shore and search for vegetation and warmer water.

“Right when the ice forms, everyone is itching to get out and you have to be quick,” he said. “The first two weeks of the season can be excellent, but the fish get pressured and areas get fished out. I look for weedy bays and houses on the lake that have pumps or artesian aquifers because that will show you that warmer water is coming into the area. The panfish will stay in the areas as long as possible until it gets too cold and they will head out deeper.”

Typically, Peterson targets panfish in depths of 3 to 5 feet of water early in the ice season and he says that necessitates a stealthy approach.

“The first thing we do is drill a bunch of holes,” he said. “That way, we can fish one and then quietly walk to fish the next one. We also use longer rods, 4 to 5 feet long, so you can fish one, turn slightly, and drop into another hole without making muchnoise. The water and ice are clear and there isn’t usually a lot of snow on the ice, so you have to be very stealthy.”

To catch his early ice panfish, Peterson primarily uses 3 or 4-mm tungsten jigs matched with small plastics such as the Eurotackle EPM Minnow or Micro Finesse Stone Fly, both just a little longer than an inch.

With these finesse offerings, Peterson prefers a light fluorocarbon line. “2 lb. IceX is what I use for all of my panfish,” he said. “It has a very thin diameter and with small plastics – you get more action with a thin and supple line. It also has good knot strength. I’ve even landed pike on that line.”

Ice fishing is a way of life for many anglers and the action can be excellent at first ice. If targeting panfish is your preference, there are many different ways to get in on the action. The above three approaches work well for three of Wisconsin’s premier fishing guides.

Seaguar IceX Fluorocarbon is a low-memory, micro-diameter line with exceptional abrasion resistance. It is available on 50-yard spools in 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 lb. test sizes.

Other Seaguar lines for ice fishing include:

  • Smackdown Smackdown Braid for Jigging Rods from 10-65 lb. test sizes
  • TactX Camo Braid for Tip-Ups from 10-80 lb. test sizes
  • Gold Label Leader material from 2-80 lb. test sizes


As the inventor of fluorocarbon fishing lines in 1971, Seaguar has played a prominent role in the advancement of technologies to improve the performance of lines and leader material for both fresh and salt water anglers. Seaguar is the only manufacturer of fluorocarbon fishing lines that produces its own resins and controls the manufacturing process from start to finished product. Today, Seaguar is the #1 brand of fluorocarbon lines and offers a full spectrum of premium products including fluorocarbon mainlines and leader material, 8-strand and 16-strand braid fishing lines. Visit for more information.

How and Where To Catch December Alabama River Bass with GPS Coordinates

December 2018 Alabama River Bass
with Cole Burdeshaw

Big spotted bass actively feeding on river points and bluff banks. Quality largemouth looking for something to eat around creek grass beds and blowdowns. The Alabama River has both this month and offers you options for catching them.

The River, as locals call it, also goes by Woodruff Lake or Jones Bluff and runs right by the amphitheater in Montgomery. It starts where the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers join near Wetumpka and runs 80 miles west to its lock and dam. It is full of Coosa spots but also has a good population of largemouth.

Cole Burdeshaw lives in Headland and helped start the high school fishing team there. He is a senior on the Auburn fishing team now but also fishes many pot and local tournaments. He won the Alabama Nation adult division Federation State Championship tournament on Eufaula in October this year.

In September he teamed up with Peyton McCord, also from Headland and on the Auburn team, to fish the Reel Money Team Trail Championship on the Alabama River. They won with ten bass weighing 29.14 pounds, taking home $10,000 first prize. He knows how to catch bass on the river.

“The Alabama River may be the most underappreciated fishery in this area, or even the state.” Cole said. There have been big tournaments here like BASS Elite and Open tournaments, FLW, Alabama Bass Trail and the Reel Money Championship and they show how good the fishing can be, but it just does not get the publicity of other fisheries.

The Alabama Bass Anglers Information Team tournament results back this up. In pounds per angler day the Alabama River ranks ahead of well-known Eufaula and Guntersville. In bass per angler it ranks above those two and Pickwick.

By late November, most of the spots on the upper end of the river have set up on the main channel. Those are the ones Cole targets in tournaments, since their average size is better and there are many more of them. But some big largemouth are in the creeks feeding and one of them goes a long way when you need a kicker.

For December spots, Cole will have a jerkbait, jig and pig and crankbait ready to cast. When looking for a kicker largemouth he chooses a swim jig and spinnerbait.

The day before Halloween Cole and Peyton showed me how they won the Reel Money Championship and places they will be fishing in December. Some of them are the same places they won the championship since bass hold on them all year. Some of them get better and better as the water cools.

They fished a little different in September than they will be fishing in December. Most of their winning fish hit topwater and fast moving jerkbaits. This month topwater may still draw a few bites, and it is a good idea to try them, but jerkbaits and crankbaits fished slowly, and a jig and pig, will get more bites in the colder water.

1. N 32 25.582 – W 86 23.268 – Across from Cooters Pond, going upstream about a half mile, power lines cross the river. Just downstream of them on the right bank going upstream, a small ditch enters the lake. This is one of the kinds of places Cole targets in December.

Cole calls these places “U-ins” since they show a small indention on maps. Runoff in these places often build up a small delta, forming a point that breaks the current. This one and most others have blowdowns and wood cover on them, especially on the banks on both sides, offering more feeding places.

Stop downstream of the downstream point with your boat in about 25 feet of water and cast a jerkbait near the bank in the ditch. Work it back slowly, with a jerk-pause or jerk-jerk-pause. Make the pauses longer the colder the water. Work the jerkbait faster at the beginning of the month and slower later in

December. Also work a crankbait in the same areas, and drag a jig and pig through it.

After fishing the mouth of the ditch work the wood cover on both sides. Since so many released bass at Cooters Pond move to this area, Cole will fish the wood all the way from the ditch almost down to directly across from Cooters Pond. Work a jerkbait over the trees, bump a squarebill through them and bump limbs with a jig and pig.

2. N 32 22.557 – W 86 27.814 – Run down to the mouth of Catoma Creek on the left side going downstream. The mouth of it has a good point for spots and the
creek has grass beds and blowdowns that hold good largemouth. This is about as far downstream as Cole goes and it is his target when looking for a kicker largemouth.
Stop out in the middle of the mouth and cast over the downstream point with jerkbait and crankbait. It is gravel and clay, an ideal bottom for spots. A sexy shad or chartreuse sexy shad 5XD will bump the bottom, which it must do for consistent bites.

On the upstream point there is a good grassbed to fish. The water around it is shallow but the river channel is not far away. It was completely out of the water when we were there but the water was unusually low. Cast a three eights ounce chartreuse War Eagle spinnerbait with a silver and a gold willowleaf blade into the grass and work it out, looking like a baitfish coming out of the grass.

Swim a dirty white one quarter to three eights ounce Dirty Jig swimjig in to the grass and fish it out. If the water is high, cast back into the grass as far as you can work the jig.

Go into the creek and fish other grassbeds the same way. Try the spinnerbait and swim jig in blowdowns, especially on outside bends of the creek. Bump a jig and pig through the limbs of the trees before leaving. You could spend all day fishing for largemouth in Catoma Creek and have a decent catch, but you will catch a lot more fish out on the river.

3. N 32 24.070 – W 86 26.643 – Back upstream around the bend where the substation sits in the water, where the river straightens back out, a ditch enters the river where a big pasture starts up on the bank. The delta of this creek runs a little upstream from the downstream point and there are stumps on it that are key to fishing here. Blowdowns are on both sides of the creek.

When current is moving across this point and others Cole picks up his 5XD first. In slack water he starts with a jerkbait. Work both cross the whole mouth of the ditch. Then bump through the stumps with a jig and pig.

Cole fishes a three eights to one half ounce green pumpkin War Eagle jig with a tilapia Fighting Frog trailer. Use the heavier jig in stronger current. Cole says the Fighting Frog is by far the best trailer he has tried
4. N 32 24.748 – W 86 24.230 – Go under the Highway 31 bridges and stop on the small creek on the left just above it. This water is usually clearer, probably from a spring, and can be a little warmer in December, making the fish a little more active. It is always flowing.

The point here is sand and gravel and holds spots. Keep your boat in 25 plus feet of water and cover the area with all your baits. It is important to keep your boat outside the point. Don’t get closer than where the bottom starts to come up, around 25 feet deep.

5. N 32 24.537 – W 86 22.025 – Go upstream past
Cooters Pond and hole 1. On the right is a point with big rocks on the bank and under the water that hold big spots. The river channel swings right by it and the rock ledge drops off fast. This vertical drop is a good place to fish your jig.

Cast right to the edge of the water and keep your line slack. Slowly move the jig when it hits bottom and let if fall. Don’t move it more than an inch or two before letting it fall. The bottom drops so fast that if you move it more that that it will fall too far from the rocks.

A jerkbait or crankbait will catch fish here. Get your boat near the bank and cast upstream, running both baits right along the bluff drop. Spots love to hold on bluff banks like this in December and this is a very good one to fish.

6. N 32 23.700 – W 86 20.839 – Going up the river, just as the buildings in Montgomery come into sight, a good ditch is on the left. A sand bar comes off the upstream point and is your target. Across and about a half mile upstream from it is the ramp and pier at Powder Magazine access.

Stop downstream of the point out from the mouth of the ditch and cast your crankbait and jerkbait over it.
As you work upstream, keep your boat in 20 plus feet of water and cast to the bank. Bump the bottom out to ten feet deep with the crankbait and work over it with jerkbait. Then drag your jig along the bottom along this bar.

7. N 32 22.955 – W 86 19.678 – Downstream of the I-65 Bridge, near the power line crossing, the right bank gets very steep and turns into a bluff that runs all the way upstream past the amphitheater. It starts on a small point with flat rock ledges on the bank then gets deeper as you fish upstream.

Your boat should be in 40 plus feet of water at the point and fishing up the bluff. Cast your jig right to the bank and fish it like other bluffs, very slowly. Work your jerkbait right against the edge.

Current is very important here and in other places, it makes the fish bite much better. Water released at the Bouldin Canal on Jordan Lake creates more current than the Jordan dam release so checking the times of generation will tell you the best time to fish here.

Cole says you can spend all day fishing from here all the way up the bluff bank to the amphitheater. This big outside bend bluff wall holds a lot of big spots and is worth fishing slowly and carefully.

8. N 32 22.959 – W 86 18.815 – A small creek enters the river just upstream of the amphitheater and a rocky point runs out from the seawall where it enters. The rocks are shallow on top and run out to the river channel where it drops into deep water. Spots feed on this point.

Stop well off the point in 20 plus feet of water and cast across it with a jerkbait. Then try a 1.5 squarebill, bumping the shallow rocks. As you work out to deeper water, work your jig and pig on the deeper water.

Several big tournaments have been won here, and it gets a lot of pressure. Be patient, the reason it is a community hole is because so many fish are caught here. Try different baits and try to be on it when current is moving over it, turning on the fish.

9. N 32 23.387 – W 86 18.9.891 – A ditch with a flat sand point on the downstream side and riprap on the deeper upstream side is downstream of the Highway 152 bridge, about half way between Hole 8 and the bridge. The point provides a break in the current that the spots use to feed.

Stop on the downstream side of the ditch and fish the back side of the point. Current eddies on the downstream sides of these points and are a feeding and holding area. Cover the whole point since the fish will move up on it to feed, and the upstream side also create eddy feeding areas.

10. N 32 23.670 – W 86 19.189 – Just above the Highway 152 bridge another ditch enters the river. Just downstream of is a small shack sits up on the bank and a handrail runs down the slope of the bank. The ditch forms a flat point on the downstream side. Cole caught a good spot here on his jerkbait.

Start in front of the shack and work upstream, or you can fish from Hole 9 to here. Fish feed along the bank between the two points and you can catch some along it, but the key places, holding more bass, are the points.

Cole likes the Megabass 110+1 since it has a stronger bill and runs a little deeper. A bright and flashy color works best since the water is usually stained in the river. It will catch bass all month, but you have to slow it down in colder water.

Fish the entrance to the ditch and a little past it. Blowdowns on the bank hold some fish on them and you can catch them here and other places with a crankbait or jig and pig.
All these places hold fish right now. Give them a try, going for spots or largemouth, or both, with your favorite December baits.

Cole and Peyton are starting to guide some on Eufaula, Martin and the Alabama River. Contact them on
Cole’s Facebook at and you can also see some of his catches there.

Do you find these Map of the Month articles helpful? If so visit – you can get an eBook or CD with an article for each month of the year on Clarks Hill and Lanier.

How To Cook Panko Crusted Perch Or Any White Meat Fish Like Bass Or Crappie



Panko-Crusted Perch

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 pound of boneless perch fillets
  • 2 to 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cup of Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, plus extra
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons of Sriracha sauce
  • 4 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. To make the spicy mayo, combine mayonnaise, Sriracha, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Add or subtract amount of Sriracha to taste. Set aside.
  2.  Assemble your dredging station: In a wide bowl, beat eggs until no whites are visible and mixture begins to form small bubbles at the edges. Pour Panko breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl/dish and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Then pour flour into another. Heat frying oil to 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3.  First lightly coat a perch fillet with flour, shaking off excess, and then dip it into the egg mixture and then finally coat with Panko. Fry on both sides until golden and drain on paper towels or a cooling rack. Repeat with the rest of the fish, adjusting heat as necessary. As you work, keep fried fish warm in the oven on the “warm” setting.
  4. Do not overcrowd the fry pan — oil temperature will drop too quickly, which will result in greasy fried fish. Also, do not allow the oil to get too hot, as Panko breadcrumbs can burn quickly. Continually keep an eye on the oil temperature with a thermometer and adjust the heat as you cook. If you’re not used to working with Panko, it helps to have an extra set of hands in the kitchen.
  5.  Serve fried fish with spicy mayo for dipping and lemon wedges on the side. For a light meal, serve the fish in butter lettuce cups with sliced cucumber, pickled carrot and a dollop of spicy mayo on top.

– Recipe and photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley, NEBRASKAland Associate Editor

Cooking Fish and Game

Where and How To Catch December Bass at Lake Wedowee with GPS Coordinates

December Bass at Wedowee

with Lee Byrd

     Many bass fishermen get so involved with the holidays they don’t think much about fishing from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  That is a mistake.  Some of the best bass fishing of they year is in late November to the end of December and Lake Wedowee is one of the best lakes to catch heavy stringers this time of year.

     Wedowee is the newest Alabama Power lake and is officially known as R.L. Harris Reservoir.  Completed in 1983, it was formed by damming the Tallapoosa River.  It covers 10,660 acres and has 270 miles of shoreline and most of the upper lake on both the Tallapoosa and Little Tallapoosa Rivers are winding channels and steep banks.

     Spotted bass are very common in the lake to the point the Alabama DNR has places a special slot limit on largemouth only.  You must release all largemouth between 13 and 16 inches long.  When first implemented this slot limit also applied to spots but they were removed two years ago and it only applies to largemouth now. Anglers are encouraged to keep spots of all sizes, especially the smaller ones.

     Lee Byrd grew up fishing in Georgia with his grandfather. He says they went “junk” fishing for anything that would bite.  He started concentrating on bass when about 12 years old and joined the Marietta Bass Club, one of the best clubs in Georgia the week he turned 18. That was natural since his father Bill Byrd was a member and a well know bass fishermen throughout the state.

     Lee moved to Birmingham 12 years ago and now concentrates his fishing on Alabama lakes. He is in the Birmingham Bass Club and fishes the Bama BFL and plans on fishing the Weekend Series this next year. He also competes in some local tournaments.  He is on the Grammer Marine fishing team and is sponsored by Champion Boats.

     Lee started fishing Wedowee in the mid-1980s, as soon as if filled.  Then four years ago a friend, Bill Roberts, from the Washington, DC area started visiting in late November for some fishing and they chose Wedowee as the best lake for this time of year.   Each year they catch a lot of big bass. Last year the first day of their trip Lee’s best five weighing 27 pounds.  The next day his best five weighed 23 pounds.

     There are some quality largemouth in Wedowee and Lee tends to focus on them. That is a results of his tournament fishing where largemouth usually weigh more than spots.  He does catch a lot of spots, too, but most of the better spots weigh two to three pounds.

     Lee says the bass are easy to pattern in late November and all during December. He concentrates on three types of structure, all related to deep water and channels.  Points where the channel swings near them, bluff banks on the main lake and creek banks where the channel swings against them all produce bass this time of year. 

     You can catch fish on almost all such places right now but Lee refines his fishing more. He looks for transitions. Changes hold bass so he wants to find a point of bluff where the rocks change to clay or where the water color changes.  Temperature changes can be just as important. Lee says he will often run up a creek and watch his temperature gauge.  If there are two bluff banks where the temperature is 58 then the next three show lower temperatures, around 51 or so, he will concentrate on the second and third bluffs where the temperature changes.

     A variety of baits work well and temperature controls what Lee throws to some extent. If the water temperature is still in the upper 50s he sticks with more active baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits. When it hits the low 50s he relies on a jig and pig to catch most of his fish at Wedowee.

     Crankbaits with a tight wobble are Lee’s choice and he likes them in shad colors.  A Baby Little N or a Suddeth work well and have the wobble he likes.  Wooden baits are good and seem to do better, especially if the fishing is tough. Also, as a change-up, he will throw a bright chartreuse crankbait. That will sometimes produce hits when the shad colors are not drawing attention.

     Lee makes his own jigs and likes a three-eights to one–half ounce jig.  He will throw a quarter ounce jig if the fishing it tough and he wants a slower falling bait.  When the sun is out he fishes a brown or green pumpkin jig with a Zoom Super Chunk in green pumpkin or blue.  On cloudy and rainy days he uses a black jig and blue trailer.  Black and blue works better in off-color water.  For some reason Lee has found black and blue is good in very clear water, too.

     The bass are usually holding eight to 25 feet deep this time of year so Lee works those depths until he zeros in on a more specific depth.  If you are regularly catching fish at a set depth, concentrate on it.  Sunny or cloudy days don’t really affect the bite much other then which color Lee throws. He says a little wind helps move the baitfish so wind blown banks can be better.

     Lee concentrates on the upper one-third of the Little Tallapoosa and Tallapossa Rivers but there are some good areas down the lake, too.  You can pick and area to launch and stay nearby, there is no need to run all over the lake to find fish.

     The following ten spots are some of Lee’s favorites.  They are on different parts of the lake so some will be near you wherever you launch. Check them out and you will find many similar places nearby.

     1. N 33 21.098 – W 85 30.851 – Just upstream and across the river from the mouth of Wedowee Creek is an excellent example of the kind of  point Lee likes to fish this time of year.  It is on the upstream side of a cove that has a single small dock with a tin roof way back in it.  There are no houses on either side of the cove that you can see and both points are natural woods.

     The upstream point is at the end of a bluff wall and is a transition from a steep rock face to a flatter clay and rock bottom.  The channel runs right along the outside of the point but it is flatter on top and the point runs out shallow across the mouth of the cove for a short distance.

     Start with your boat on the river side and cast a crankbait across it, fishing it shallow to deep.  Fish all the way around the point making fan casts to cover all of it.  You can do the same with a spinnerbait if the water is in the upper 50s. Try hopping a jig and pig down the point from all angles if the water is in the lower 50s.

     2.  N 33 20.544 – W 85 30.572 – Run into Wedowee Creek and the channel makes a sharp bend to the right.  On your left you will see a white dock at the start of the sheer rock bluff.  Start fishing at this dock and work down the bluff, past a deck that is just above the full pool mark.   Not far past the deck is a small cove. Fish around it past the small gray house sitting on top of a concrete vertical foundation.  There is a fish feeder at it and you will see some small pine seedlings in the gutter.

     Keep your boat parallel to the bluff and work your crankbait and spinnerbait parallel to the rocks.  Cast right to the bank and fish the bait at an angle that keeps it close since the bottom drops off very fast.  Also try hopping a jig and pig down the face of the rocks.

     3.  N 33 20.523 – W 85 30.692 – Across the creek there is a point and a bluff wall where the creek makes a bend back to the left.  Start at the wooden dock on your right on the point.  It has a shingle roof and the house up on the point has a big deck around it. It is near where the bottom changes from a flatter clay area to a sheer vertical rock wall.    

     Fish all your baits along this bank, trying different speeds and depths.  You can fish all the way around past the five docks to the next transition where the channel moves to the left and the bottom flattens out a little more.  All along here watch for changes – a tree in the water, a change in water color or even the shadow from the docks to fish hard since the bass will hold on any change.

     4.  N 33 19.577 – W 85 32.117 – Headed down the river the channel makes a big “U” turn, swinging to your left then back to your right. On the outside of the “U” two coves cut back in offering a change.  Start fishing on the downstream point of the upstream cove.  It has some big rocks out in the water off the bank so stop way off it and ease in until you learn how far out they go.

     You will see two big whitish rocks at the top of the rock wall just downstream of the point. They sit right at the high water mark.  This point makes a change from big rocks under water to a steep rock bank.  I caught a chunky two pound spot just downstream from the point in early November on a jig and pig.

     Fish from the point down the bank, staying on the outside of it.  Fish the rocks on the point with a variety of baits then fish down the rock wall to the floating dock with a yellow slide and blue diving board on it.  On the downstream side of this dock is some brush that will still be in the water if it is not too low. The brush makes a nice change to fish and it holds bass.

     Fish on down past the deck at the high water level working crankbaits and spinnerbaits parallel to the rocks and hopping a jig down them.  When fishing a steep wall like this cast your jig and pig to the bank and let it hit bottom. Work it back with tiny hops of your rod tip, barely moving your rod tip. The jig will fall several inches to several feet with just a tiny movement of your rod tip.

     5.  N 33 19.451 – W 85 32.250 – The point at the end of the bluff wall in hole #4 is another good transition.  The bluff bank stops and a flatter point extends out, dropping off fast on both sides but with some shallow water on top. There is a floating dock attached to a dock on post with lattice around it. There is also a yellow boat house with a wooden ramp in front of it.

     Back off the point and make long casts with a crankbait and spinnerbait to cover the water from the top of the point down. Fish all the way around it, hitting it from all angles. Then go back around it with a jig and pig. You can make bigger hops here since the bottom does not drop quite as fast.

     6. N 33 17.703 – W 85 37.674 – If you put in on the lower lake the banks look very different but the channel swings still hold bass. Go in behind the big islands on the north side of the lake.  Be careful in this area there is lots of standing timber here. With the water down you can see most of it and know where to keep your boat.

     If you are coming downstream and go in behind them on the upstream side you will see a hump on your left with a danger buoy on it. With the water down it will be lying on top of the hump. All around the hump is standing timber. Across from this hump the channel makes a sharp turn to your left and there is another marked hump on your right. 

     Ease over to this hump that marks the end of a long point. The channel swings in on both sides of it, making it an excellent place to catch bass.  The best areas are where the channel swings in closest and the bottom makes the steepest drop.  Work all around this hump and point, keeping your bait out in the timber and fishing back.

     The bass might be holding suspended down along the tree trunks so fish your spinnerbait and crankbait through the timber as well as working the bottom.  It is harder to fish a place like this but it often pays off in bigger fish.

     7. N 33 17.961 – W 85 38.141 – Shad move into the creeks when the water temperature is below 60 degrees, according to Lee, and the bass will follow them.  Run into Fox Creek past the ramp and power lines.  The creek makes a fork and the point between the two arms is an excellent point to fish.  As you go up the creek one arm goes ahead and to the left and another makes a sharp turn to the right.  On top of the point is a dead kudzu field and a dirt track comes down to the water on the left side facing it and goes up the right side where people come to the bank to fish.

     Start fishing on the left side of the point facing it and work around it.  There are smaller points sticking out from the main point and some rock piles on them.  All make transitions where the bass hold. On the upper side the channel swings in then back out, making another transition area to fish.  Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jig and pig are all good here.

     8.  N 33 20.313 – W 85 35.855 – Up the Tallapoosa River are some good spots, too.  There are fewer houses up this way and the channel is actually narrower then the Little Tallapoosa.  There is also a lot of standing timber along the banks.

     Run up past Indian Creek on your left and watch for a cove on your right.  The upstream point of the cove is the end of a bluff wall.  There is a sign nailed to a tree standing in the water across the river from the point advertising “Camping and Restrooms” with a phone number and arrow pointing upstream.  The fish often stack up on the point and they will also hold along the bluff bank upstream of the point. Work around the point with all your baits then fish up the bluff bank some, too. 

     Lee says the fish change year to year and even day to day.  If you found fish on the point the last time you fished there is a good chance they are still there, or on structure nearby. Vary your bait color, speed and depth of retrieve until you find them.

     9. N 33 21.174 – W 85 34.994 – Up the river on your right is a cove with a sign on a point back in the middle of it saying “Ratley’s Cove.”  The upstream point of the cove had a bunch of mallard decoys on it when I was there and there are big orange balls floating in the water off both points of the cove.

     Fish the bluff wall starting at the upstream point and working up. There are a lot of docks along this bluff wall and you should try all your baits, fishing all the way to the next cove. Watch for anything that is different and make casts to it.

     This bank as others on the east side of both rivers will stay shady for a good while during the day. Shade can also be a transition area and sometimes the bass like to hold in shady areas go check them out.

     10.  N 33 22.241 – W 85 35.873 – Head upstream to where the channel makes a sharp bend back to your right. There is a creek entering here and the mouth if full of standing timber. There are two big trees standing out in the water and one of them has an osprey nest in it.  A bluff bank runs above and below this creek. Fish both sides along the bank, working your baits on the rocks as well as in the trees.

     Here and in the other bluff banks Lee says to keep your boat in 25 to 40 feet of water when fishing a jig and pig. Make short casts ahead of the boat and hop your bait down the bank. Don’t get in too close. Let your jig fall on a slack line so you don’t pull it away from the bottom on each hop.  Let is sit a few seconds them make another small pull. Your jig will fall several feet even on slack line on a very small pull of your rod tip.

     These ten spots show you the kinds of places Lee likes to catch Wedowee bass this time of year.  Try them, see what he is talking about and you will find many other similar places all over the lake to fish.


Brook Trout Record Broken for Third Time in 2022

LAKE CITY, Colo. – As Colorado Parks and Wildlife celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2022, it may be long remembered as the year of the brook trout.

Only five months after CPW certified a new state record brook trout for the first time in 75 years, the record was again reestablished by Matt Smiley of Lake City. He caught an 8-pound, 9-ounce brook trout on Oct. 8 from Waterdog Lake, located on the east side of Lake City in Hinsdale County within the Uncompahgre National Forest.

The fish measured 26.25 inches in length and had a girth of 16 inches.

“The experience of this catch has been surreal, and it took a few days to soak in. It’s a really special fish,” Smiley said. “The toughest thing for me with this whole deal was deciding to keep the fish. I’ve released so many over the years, but it was one of those deals where I made a quick decision and wanted to give this fish the recognition it deserves.”

In May, Tim Daniel of Granby reeled in a 7.84-pound brook trout from Monarch Lake in Grand County. That fish, measured at 23.25 inches with a girth of 15.375 inches, broke the previous state record of 7.63 pounds from a brook trout caught in 1947 out of Upper Cataract Lake in Summit County. That had been the longest-standing fishing record in the state.

Since Daniel’s catch May 23, the record has actually been broken twice, with both caught at Waterdog Lake.

The weekend before Smiley’s triumph, Larry Vickers of Lake City had caught an 8.22-pound brook trout. While Vickers knew he had a record fish, he opted not to go through the certification process and decided to eat it to not let the meat go to waste. CPW aquatic biologist Dan Brauch was notified of the catch, and word spread across the region.

Smiley, who sells tackle for the company Favorite Fishing, has chased large brook trout in lakes across Colorado for a decade. He was eager to get in the high country for some fall fishing, and Vickers’ catch was stuck in his mind. So, he set up the Waterdog Lake trail with a 3.9-mile hike and 2,400 feet of elevation gain between him and the lake nestled in the timberline bowl beneath Mesa Seco at 11,130 feet.

After a day of catching smaller fish, Smiley was about ready to pack up and head home to watch college football. But 20 seconds after he had that thought, he felt the tug of a large fish on his Favorite Fishing Jackhammer rod and set the hook on his artificial lure.

“After fishing for a bit and only seeing smaller fish, I thought I wasn’t going to see any real good ones,” Smiley said. “But then the rod got heavy, I set my hook and could tell I had a really big fish.

“When it surfaced and I could see it, all I could think was, ‘Wow.’ I’ve caught big brookies in the past around the state, but when I saw this one, it was just different. It had way more length than any of the big ones before.”

Smiley battled the fish and waded into the water to try to get it in his net. He was able to net it, but with one forceful roll, the trout was free of the net and the fight resumed. It once again took his line out to the middle of the lake.

“I went into the, ‘I can’t lose this one’ mode,” Smiley said. “She pulled and rolled and was doing crazy things. My heart sank when she flopped right back out of the net, but she stayed hooked up and I brought her in a second time. It was a wild, crazy deal.”

Finally with the trout in his hands, Smiley had another 3.9-mile hike down the steep trail with the fish in his backpack.

He took it directly to the Lake City post office where it was weighed by Emily Dozier, who happily obliged Smiley’s request to have the fish weighed.

After further inspection from Brauch, the local CPW aquatic biologist, it was declared the new state record brook trout.

“Having sampled that water, I know the shoreline is loaded with scuds,” Brauch said. “So I am not too surprised this fish came from that lake, but it is a smaller body of water. It’s not a lake that handles a lot of use or fishing pressure and is difficult to access. Seeing two record fish in one week caught from there, it’s a cool story.”

Smiley thanked Brauch for meeting him over the weekend to inspect and certify the fish as well as his friends who helped get him in contact with CPW.

The brook trout, introduced to Colorado in 1872, is a member of the char genus of the trout and salmonid family. It is a beautifully colored fish with pink or red spots surrounded by blue halos along the sides and a distinctive marbled pattern over an olive-green back. Brook trout, which are native to Northeastern United States, often grow anywhere from 11 to 23 inches in length.

Smiley and a friend have enjoyed fishing for brook trout around the state together. Smiley said they have run into plenty of large fish over the years.

“We’ve been doing this for 10 years pretty hard across Colorado. We just love backcountry brook trout,” Smiley said. “There are several lakes with really good fish in them, and we’ve been close a few times. My friend got one five years ago that would’ve broken the record, and on the spot he released it. He had one earlier that day he lost that was even bigger. The way lakes cycle, a couple of years go by and there are no big brookies left in it as things change.”

Smiley said the decisions to keep the fish, certify it as a record brook trout and have it mounted were all difficult.

“I’ve let some really big ones go, and then you see them later and age has not been kind to them as they’ve regressed and gone the other way when they aren’t getting the nutrients they need to maintain that size,” he said. “This one, it was in peak condition, and I made the decision to give that fish the recognition it deserves. But it’s been the toughest thing for me with this whole deal. We learn none of them live forever, but it’s just a crazy deal when it all happens at once and you have to make that quick call.”

Now, the oldest fishing record in Colorado is for white bass, dating back to 1963. The oldest trout record in the state is for native cutthroat, dating back to 1964.

To see the full list of state record fish by weight in Colorado, go to:

Also see Trout Fishing in Georgia

Where and How to Catch November Bass at Seminole with GPS Coordinates

November Bass at Seminole

with Mike Prindle

     Already dreaming about the explosive topwater strikes you had during the summer and wishing bass were still hitting on top?  That excitement is not necessarily over for the year. Head down to Lake Seminole where they are blowing up on frogs around the hydrilla and will be on that pattern most of November.  Seminole is hot this year with lots of chunky three to five pound bass actively feeding in the shallow water right now.

     Seminole is far enough south that the water stays much warmer than most other lakes in the state.  Formed by the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers and fed by Spring Creek, it offers a variety of water clarity, cover and structure.  November is a good time to take advantage of the more active bass and enjoy fishing that is gone from most lakes until next spring.

     Seminole is a 37,500 acre Corps of Engineers lake that was filled in the 1950s.  It is famous for its bass fishing and is full of grass beds, standing timber, stump fields, creek and river channels and flats.  It has more “fishy” looking water than most other lakes but that can make it hard to pattern.  Anywhere you look seems like a good place to catch a bass.

     Mike Prindle moved to Lake Seminole near Wingate’s Lunker Lodge four years ago. He had a job opportunity that allowed him to pick a place to live and he chose to live on Seminole because of the great fishing. The first time he saw the lake he fell in love with it.

     He spent many hours learning the lake and now guides out of Wingate’s.  Mike also fishes several of the local pot tournaments and has done well on the BFL and other tournaments there.  After fishing with some big Florida clubs he is one of the founding members of the Hydrilla Gnats, a local bass club that holds most of its tournaments on Seminole. 

     When the Georgia Federation Nation started up a few years ago Mike was the first state tournament director, a job he held until a few months ago. The first year of the Federation Nation Mike made the state team, placed first on the team at the regional tournament and made the Federation Nation National tournament.  He now wants to focus on fishing the BASS Opens next year and is preparing for that trail.

     Mike’s catches at Seminole would make any bass fisherman jealous.  Last year he landed 16 bass over ten pounds each.  His best five fish in a tournament pulled the scales down to 27.04 pounds and he has caught five shoal bass weighing 24 pounds.   

     “Cooler water coming down the rivers in October moves the fish shallow around the grass,” Mike said. He expects to find large numbers of quality fish schooling up around grass beds near deeper water where they spent the summer.  They are aggressive and feed heavily most days, offering you a good chance to catch large number of fish.

     Early each morning Mike starts with topwater baits and likes a Culprit frog fished over and through the abundant grass beds. As long as the bass keep hitting Mike will keep throwing the frog, and that bite may last all day on cloudy or windy days.  He will work a frog with a Deep South rod and Revo reel spooled with 60 pound Power Pro Braid. He fishes the frog fast, working it over the hydrilla mats near drops.  

     When the bass stop hitting on top Mike switches to a lipless crankbait like the Xcaliber XR 50 or XR 75. He chooses the size based on the size baitfish the bass are eating so it is important to pay attention to any shad you see.  If you don’t know which size to fish, try both until the fish let you know.  Mike fishes the baits on a Deep South Rippin’ Rod he helped design and spools his reel with 50 pound Power Pro.

     If the bass are not active and want a slower bait Mike will throw an Ol Nelle spinnerbait and fish it over the grass. He uses the same rod and reel as with the lipless bait and says you need a heavy rod and braided line to get fish out of the grass.

     As the grass dies off and the mats on top disappear you can still fish a frog over them but ripping a lipless crankbait through them becomes more and more effective.  If a cold front puts the bass deep in the cover Mike flips a jig and pig into holes in the grass.

     Mike showed me his patterns and marked the following holes in early October.  The bass were just beginning to move up onto them after the first cooler weather we had and they will be strong on them by now.  Mike concentrates on the Flint River side since he guides out of Wingate’s but he catches bass on this same pattern up the Chattahoochee River.

     1. N 30 47.473 – W 84 40.234 – Just downstream of the creek with Faceville Landing in it the river makes a slight bend to the right headed downstream and several small creeks enter the river. There are several islands between the creeks and main channel and the river side of them has good grass beds. There is deep water here and the grass forms a wall of grass with some scattered clumps out from it.

     This is a good place to start in the morning.  Mike usually runs up past the last gap between the creeks and river and starts working downstream, throwing his frog up onto any grass mats still on top and working it back. He moves the frog fast looking for a reaction bite, which often comes right at the edge of the grass.

     Fish this grass line for several hundred yards. If you catch a fish concentrate on that area.  Bass are schooled up pretty good right now so you should catch several where one hits.  If you go through an area where you get several bites it is a good idea to turn and go back over it again.

     2.  N 30 47.338 – W 84 41.909 – Just downstream across the river where the channel swings to the north you will see some stumps sticking up way off the bank. One of them was marked with a white PVC pipe when we were there and several more stuck above the water with it down about a foot.  This timber is along a ditch that runs parallel to the river channel. There is a good grass bed on the ridge between the river and ditch and more on the bank side of the ditch.

     Mike especially likes places like this one.  During the flood of 1994 current washed out ditches on some of the flats and they make an excellent place for bass to hold and feed. They can come up the ditch and feed on either side of it or stay in the river and feed on that side. Mike usually fished up the ditch since there is a lot of grass on both sides.

     Work it early with a frog then switch to a lipless crankbait and work over and through the grass. When the bait hangs up in the grass rip it free to draw a reaction strike. Key on little points and cuts in the grass with all your baits.  Hit anything that looks a little different. Fish all the way to where the the ditch rejoins the main river.

     3.  N 30 46.977 – W 84 43.755 – Run down to where the river channel makes a big swing to the right near channel marker 13.5 and you will see a small island. Go in behind it and you will be on a big hydrilla flat that runs all the way past Wingate’s.  Bass will hold all over this flat but there are key areas.  The first is a point that runs out from the small island toward the bank. You will be just upstream of the first houses you can see on the bank.

     Keep your boat out in deeper water off the grass and cast up on top of it, hitting anything that makes a change. Try frogs and lipless crankbaits, but also run a spinnerbait over the grass.  You can fish it slower than the other baits and let it fall into holes in the grass.  Try to match your blades to the size baitfish the bass are feeding on.

     4. N 30 46.678 – W 84 44.445 – You can fish all the way to this spot or idle down to it. Another long point of hydrilla runs out toward the river across the flat out from a brick house.  You will see a post or two marking the channel in to the little creek where there are houses.  Start on the upstream side of the point, upstream of the post, and work all the grass in the area.

     Mike says current coming down the river hits these grass points and moves bait fish across them, creating a good feeding opportunity for bass. On one of his best days in this area he caught five bass weighing 25 pounds in 15 minutes.  When you find a good school of bass feeding you can load the boat in a hurry in this area.

     5. N 30 45.957 – W 84 45.845 – Head downstream past Wingate’s and you will see some houses on the bank. Just out from the seventh one, a white house with a tin roof, another of the flood ditches runs parallel to the bank. The ditch is about ten feet deep and there is grass on both sides of it to fish. 

     Start fishing where the ditch opens off the river and stay in the ditch. Work it until the grass gets solid or you get back to the river channel. The spots like this one where the ditches offer multiple grass edges are usually best.

     Mike will work a topwater frog until the water temperature drops below 68 degrees.  If the water is colder than that he concentrates on the spinnerbait and lipless crankbait, but it is worth a few casts to see if they are still feeding on top. As the grass dies off and breaks up the mats are harder to find but it is worth a few casts to any you find.

     6. N 30 45.918 – W 84 47.996 – Be very careful any time you get out of the marked channels, especially if you don’t know the lake. But at green channel marker 7.5 you can run across to the opposite side of the river to the islands and grass between the Flint Rive and Spring Creek. Watch as you go across because a big field of standing timber will be just downstream of where you go across.

     Stop way off the bank as soon as you start seeing hydrilla, about 75 yards off the stumps between the river channel and the bank.  Beds of grass run way off the bank here.  Start working them as soon as you hit them and fish downstream.   Fish all your baits here.

     Mike uses shad colored lipless baits in clear water and red or chartreuse in stained to muddy water.  In clearer water he likes colors like Copper Perch and Citrus Shad.  In Red is a very good color in stained water this time of year.  Depending on the amount of rain up the river the water can range from very clear to very muddy.  It will be muddier up the river and clearer the further down you go as the grass filters out some of the mud. And the Spring Creek water entering also make for clearer water further downstream.

     7. N 30 45.993 – W 84 48.621 – You can fish all along here or idle down to the first gap where the solid bank ends and the series of islands start between Spring Creek and the Flint River.  There is a hump here between two washout ditches with a lot of submerged hydrilla around it. You can see the grass under the water if the sun is out and the water is not too stained.  You will feel it as you work your lipless crankbait or spinnerbait over it.

     Fish all along this grass.  Some wind blowing across it helps stir up the baitfish and break up the water surface, making your artificials look more like the real thing.  Here and in all other spots look for schools of shad on your depthfinder or near the surface.  Concentrate on areas with baitfish. The bass follow them and stay around them this time of year.

     8.  N 30 46.041 – W 84 48.987 – On downstream you will see an island surrounded by hydrilla with a sign on a post on the downstream side of it.  The sign marker the boundary of the waterfowl refuge and this is a excellent area to fish. Mike and I caught seven or eight bass here the day we fished.

     Start out from the sign and work downstream.  There is a good wall of hydrilla that stops in a shear drop and then there are sparse clumps of hydrilla out from it. Bass will feed in the grass the move out to the wall to hold and feed. Mike says he often catches bigger bass holding out in the deeper water around the clumps set off from the thicker bed.

     Fish across the tops of mats and over submerged hydrilla.  Work your lipless crankbait along the edge and through the clumps. Cover the whole area, hitting anything that is different. Bass look for those different spots to hold.

     9.  N 30 45.376 – W 84 51.208 – As you go downstream you will see the red channel markers come toward the mouth of Spring Creek where it turns in that direction. About even with red marker 7.7 there is a small island on the creek side, about even with the mouth of Fish Pond Drain. 

     Just upstream of this island a 14 foot deep hole in the flat has two ditches feeding off it, one going toward Spring Creek and one going toward the river. A good grass bed runs along the one going toward the river. Fish along it, working the grass with all your baits. 

     10.  N 30 43.121 – W 84 51.576 – Go out to the river channel and head toward the dam. After you go around the bend you will see an open area on the bank and a campground just upstream of the Corps of Engineers offices. Go toward the campground, staying way out. White poles mark a shallow roadbed or ridge running parallel to the bank so stay out away from it.

     After you pass the poles and get even with the campground you will see hydrilla.  This huge flat was crossed by service roads and holes dug for fill dirt when the dam was being built and it a good place to catch November bass.  Out from the cqampground you can stop in 22 feet of water and the bottom will come up to five feet deep way off the bank.

       There are grass lines and clumps to fish here.  Work them like the others. Mike says this is a big shad congregation area in the fall so watch for them and concentrate where you find the baitfish.

     Check out Mike’s spots then you can find many others like them.  Seminole is an excellent lake this time of year. Plan a trip there to catch some chunky fall bass.