Thursday I met Jason Mitja at Po Boys Landing on Bartletts Ferry Lake to get information for a January Georgia and Alabama Outdoor Magazine article. It will run in both states since Bartletts Ferry, called Lake Harding in Alabama, is a border lake.
Jason is a young fisherman from Phonix City and went to Auburn and was on the fishing team there with the Lee brothers. Matt and Jordan Lee have become well known professional fishermen in the past few years and Jason hopes to follow them to the Elite trail.
When my clubs fish Bartletts Ferry I usually hope to catch a limit of spots weighing eight or nine pounds. That is usually a good catch. Back in the 1970s and 80s we caught a lot of four to seven pound largemouth there but since spots have gotten so plentiful the quality largemouth have been hard to find. I did win a tournament there in March with five weighing 13 pounds and had a five-pound largemouth but that has not been the norm.
Jason showed me some good fish are still there. Thursday was the first day of a strong cold front, usually the worst possible condition for catching largemouth. So I expected to catch some spots for pictures.
Jason picked me up and we idled to a rocky point about 200 yards away. I was dressed in my warmest clothes, the sun was bright, the wind was blowing and I just knew fishing would be bad. While telling me how to fish the point Jason pitched a jig and pig to a brushpile sticking out of the water.
He turned to say something else to me then quickly turned back and set the hook. After he landed the 3.5 pound largemouth he said as he turned to me he realized his line was moving out from the tree. That was a good start.
We fished a few more of the spots then, back in a creek, Jason threw topwater plug to the bank. He said he saw some minnows jump there. After twitching it twice a fish hit at it and missed, then came back and got hooked after Jason twitched it again. It was another three-pound largemouth.
I was surprised that the fish hit topwater but should not have been. The water temperature was 60 degrees, plenty warm enough for topwater. I just usually don’t think of fishing topwater this time of year.
By the time we had looked at all ten spots and Jason took me to the ramp he had landed another three pound largemouth on the jig and pig from a dock and we both caught some smaller keeper fish. And we had been on the water only five hours! Jason could have weighed in five bass weighing about 14 pounds, a very good catch to me, but all day he was showing me places where he had won tournaments with five weighing over 20 pounds!
Jason is fishing a two-day tournament at Bartletts this weekend and I will be interested in seeing how he does. I am on Jackson today for the last Sportsman Club and Flint River tournament of the year. I guess I better have a jig and pig and a topwater bait tied on!