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Bass Fishing Information

How and Where To Catch September Bartletts Ferry Bass

September Bartletts Ferry Bass

 with Bo Talley

    Frustrated with late summer fishing?  Tired of hours of casting in hot waters and not finding fish?  Head to Lake Harding, known in Georgia as Bartlett’s Ferry, if you want some fast action all day long.

    Bartlett’s Ferry is a small Georgia Power Lake on the Chattahoochee River just downstream of West Point Lake.  There is good current flow when water is being released at the dam or when power is generated at West Point.  The lake level changes a foot or so rapidly due to its size but is usually near full pool until the winter draw down in October.

    It is an old lake, full of docks, grass beds and best of all, spotted and largemouth bass.  You can catch large numbers of keeper size bass there right now, with a chance for much bigger fish.

    Bo Talley grew up in Bibb City, within the city of Columbus, and has fished Bartlett’s Ferry for many years. He works on motors in Phenix City for Randall Marine, which he says has the best selection of bass fishing tackle in the area.  They specialize in working on bass boats and cater to the fisherman.

    His job puts him in contact with a lot of area fishermen and Bo fishes many tournaments, including the Bulldog BFL trail and most pot tournaments on Bartlett’s Ferry and other area lakes. He plans on fishing the Everstart Series next year and has acquired some sponsors, including Quantum Rods and Reels and JJ’s Magic.  His boat is being wrapped by John Allen at Pestey John’s Pest Control.

    Bartletts Ferry is one of Bo’s favorite lakes and he does well there.  In one tournament he caught two six pound spots and his biggest largemouth from the lake is a 6.9 pounder.  His best five-fish limit weighed 26 pounds.

    “In September bass are in a transition, holding a little more shallow and feeding in the shallows longer,” Bo said.  He targets shallow grass beds for both spots and largemouth this time of year, and also catches bass on bluff walls.

    A wide variety of baits work right now, including a Strike Zone Grinder Buzzbait in white or white and chartreuse.  Bo likes a smaller bait this time of year and a quarter ounce is standard.  Bass will also hit a Spook and a Spro Frog on top, Bo’s favorite way to catch fish.

    A KVD Sexy Shad crankbait is also one of his favorites now. It works well for bass holding off the shallow grass beds, waiting to move in and feed.  He says you can fish faster now than you have the past few months and catch fish.

    For slower fishing a Zoom green pumpkin Swamp Crawler with its tail dipped in JJ’s chartreuse on a three sixteenths ounce Buckeye Spot Remover is his go-to bait. He will also cast and flip a Tommy Gunn half ounce Jawbreaker jig in the blue/green color trailed with a green pumpkin chunk.  

    We fished Bartletts in early August and caught a lot of keeper size bass. The bigger bass just did not hit that day but they will be hitting better now on these spots. Fish them and you will catch a lot of bass and have a good chance of catching some quality bass as the water starts to cool a little.

    1.  N 32 44.660 – W 85 08.069 – If you put in at the free Georgia Power ramp at Idlehour or at Blanton Creek Park, you can stay in the river and catch fish all day without running around a lot, an important factor with the price of gas.  Run up the river from either ramp to where the river makes a bend back to the right upstream of Blanton Creek. Just before the bend there are houses and docks on your left and they end right at the bend.

    On your left you will see two openings into a shallow lake area behind an island running parallel to the river.  The second opening is where Bo usually starts first thing in the morning.  Stop out in front of it and fish a buzzbait and Spook around both sides and in the middle of the ditch. Work from the bank and opening out to a long cast from the bank.

    Bass will hold along this ditch and opening before moving into the shallow grass to feed. Fish the grass at the ditch with a frog or buzzbait then work into the lake area, fishing the grass on both sides.  It is very shallow in there so you can’t always fish very far into the lake area on either side, but work the edges and the bank at the back straight in where you can reach it.

    Fish back out to the opening and fish the mouth of the ditch on both sides with a crankbait.  Fan cast the whole area before leaving. Bo says this is often a good way to pick up a quality fish holding here this time of year.

    2.  N 32 44.570 – W 85 07.939 – Fish downstream, casting to the bank with topwater and crankbaits, to the next opening.  The mouth of it is full of grass under the water that looks like hydrilla and along the edges above the water.  There were a lot of baitfish here when we fished and that is the norm that draws in the bass.

    Fish into the lake area working your bait over the submerged grass and through the grass sticking out of the water.  Fish your buzzbait, Spook or frog all the way to the boat. We got several hits near the boat from bass holding in the grass that goes all the way across the mouth.

    Fish into the pocket as far as you can go.  Watch for any activity and cast to it with a topwater bait.  It is so shallow in here bass will often give themselves away when they move.  Fish back to the seawall with lot numbers on it on your left, then fish back out to the river.

    3.  N 32 44.517 – W 85 07.737 – You can fish the shoreline all the way downstream from this pocket, hitting shallow wood and grass, to the point of the next small creek downstream, or idle down to the dock with a deck on top.  When you get near the dock the water gets a little deeper.

    Fish topwater around the grass then try a jig head worm from the grass edge out to the boat.  Bo says this is a good area for spots and he caught a good keeper on his jighead here.  Cast to the edge of the grass and work your bait back to the boat since you may get a hit anywhere out from the grass from bass holding well off it. You can also fish a shallow running crankbait through the area, too.

    Fish to the mouth of the small creek and work both sides of it and back into it about 100 feet.  The docks on the upstream side are worth skipping your jig head under, especially if the sun is on the water.

    4.  N 32 46.005 – W 85 08.242 – Run on up the river to where the channel swings back to the right.  You will see an island in the main channel and several cuts on your right. One of them is the “false river” that runs around and joins back with the main channel well upstream.

    Look to your left before you get to the island and you will see the mouth of a double pocket, with a big shallow lake to the right and a more narrow opening straight ahead.  It opens up in the back and there is big new house behind it.

    Stop out from the upstream point of this opening. A good ledge runs across it parallel to the river.  Keep your boat out in deep water and fish across the top of the ledge with topwater, fishing from the bank down past the mouth of the opening.

    After fishing it on top go back over it with a crankbait.  Start by casting from the river side across the top, then work to the end of it and into the cut, fishing from the river side into the ditch mouth. Also cast a jig head worm on this ledge.  Fish school up on this ledge so it is worth a lot of casts.

    After fishing the ledge fish the grass in the mouth of the right hand pocket and the shallow wood around the mouth of the left side with a buzzbait before leaving this spot.

    5.  N 32 46.027 – W 85 07.947 – Run across the river and upstream. You will see three openings on your right going upstream. Bo goes to the third one, a cut that runs back a short distance into Johnson Island.  Starting on the upstream point, fish the grass and wood on both sides with topwater.

    Fish on down the bank downstream of the cut. Bo says there is a good ledge here so keep your boat well off the bank. Cast a topwater bait, crankbait and jig head worm under the overhanging brush and work back out across the ledge. Bo got a keeper spot here on a Spook when we fished.

    The second opening you will come to is an opening into the false river and current comes out of it, making good eddies when it hits the river. The same thing happens at the next opening, the main mouth of the false river.

    The ledges off the upstream points of both openings are good so cover them carefully. Then work into the openings, flipping a jig and pig to the bank and fishing the wood cover along it. The downstream bank and point of the last opening going downstream, the main opening, is deep and a very good place to flip a jig and pig.

    6. N 32 44.541 – W 85 07.153 – Head back down the river to where the houses are on your right going downstream.  On your left is a long island running parallel to the river. Where it ends a very shallow ledge runs downstream so be careful, but idle in to the upstream point of the second pocket downstream of the end of the island.

    Fish the grass on both sides of this opening down to the next small cut. The water is very shallow here but it holds a lot of bass. The wind was blowing into this grass when we fished and Bo says that usually makes for a better bite. We got several bass along this grass on top and on a jig along the edge of it.

    7.  N 32 44.514 – W 85 07.036 – The upstream point of Blanton Creek is not far downstream. Start on it and fish the grass here back into the creek all the way to even with the no wake buoys.  A buzzbait and frog are both good here but also work a jig head worm or jig and pig along the edge of the grass, too.

    8.  N 32 44.174 – 85 06.662 – Go across the mouth of Blanton Creek to the grass bed between it and the next small creek on your left going downstream. Start fishing the grass about 100 yards upstream of the small creek and fish to it.  The water is a little deeper here since it is the beginning of an outside river bend and Bo says he catches a good many good fish here.

    Keep your boat out in about nine feet of water and cast back into the grass with a buzzbait or frog.  Current will hit this grass and make it better, too.  Work anything unusual in the grass like cuts, points and holes in it.

    Bo will fish a buzzbait all day long. Sometimes sunny days seem better and others cloudy days are better, but fish all day either way. It was cloudy the day we fished and we caught several bass on top right in the middle of the day.

      9.  N 32 44.037 – W 85 06.656 – For a change of pace stop on the downstream point of the small creek just downstream of Blanton Creek. It is a bluff wall dropping almost straight off into the river.   Keep your boat out in about 23 feet of water and flip or pitch a jig and pig to the bank. Work it slowly down the drop.

    Bo likes a half-ounce jig and pig for this fishing. He moves it very slowly so it hits every small outcropping on the bluff on the way down. When your bait falls a foot or so and stops, shake your rod tip without pulling the bait off the small ledge or rock.

    Try to show your bait to a fish holding in any crack or hole in the rocks.  Fish slowly, making a pitch every few feet.  Bo says he catches some pretty decent fish doing this here and on other bluff walls. This is how he got the two six pound spots.

    10.  N 32 43.254 – W 85 07.289 – Run down to where the river opens up and the channel splits. Right where it opens up there is a small creek on your right going downstream. A narrow grass covered point runs across them mouth of this creek from the downstream bank and Bo says it is called the “Hog Pen” since there was a hog pen here. You can still see some of the posts on the point and there are cypress trees on it.

    Bo likes to start on the outside end where it comes off the bank and fish upstream.  He fishes a buzzbait in the grass along it and flips a jig and pig or pitches a jig head worm to the edge of the grass. Fish all the way around the end of the point and into the creek, working that side to you get to the bank opposite of where you started.

    These ten spots all held bass in August and will be even better now. There are many bluff walls on the lake and a lot of grass beds in other areas to fish, too. Head to Bartlett’s Ferry this month and you will have a lot of fun catching bass.

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Also See:

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Lanier Weekly Report

Lake Lanier Weekly Fishing Report

September 22, 2023 

Water Level: 4.98 feet BELOW full pool and falling. 

Water Temp: Water Temps are topping out around 81 on Lowrance in the afternoons.  AM temps have been in the upper 70s. 

Water Clarity: The clearest water is still on the main lake and in the mouths of the main lake creeks.  

I spent the past 5 of the last 7 days on Lanier. Lanier is fishing very well right now with the opportunity for both numbers and size of fish. The fish have started their fall transitions and they are on the move.  Locations varied from day to day and even from hour to hour.  Forward facing sonar can help eliminate water if you have it.  If you don’t have it, make a few casts at a spot and if you do not see fish come up or get bit, move to the next spot.  

It is difficult to narrow down the best two baits for this week.  That being said, top water ruled the roost.  A ~4in walking topwater bait in chrome was a great producer this week.  The Ima Skimmer, Vixen, Gunfish all produced well this week.  Vary your retrieve speed from medium to fast to see what the fish want on a particular day.  Some days they wanted it slower than others.  

The Lanier Baits Jerk shad also produce a lot of bites and fish this week.  I am still rigging this bait with a small nail weight in the nose and keeping it just below the surface.  A constant retrieve with small twitches of the rod tip has generated most of the strikes.  This is a bait that should continue to produce well into October and is great for anglers who may not have mastered the coordination needed for a walking bait.  

I am focusing on primary/secondary points and humps in the first 1/2 of the major creeks. Additionally, if I have a lot of confidence in a location, I may hit it two or three times over the course of the day.  Several times this past week, a spot would be vacant the first time and loaded the second time.

With October right around the corner, it is time to start preparing for, and stocking up for the winter bite while there is still a good selection of those key baits in stock.  CAST Prodigy, Keitech, Spotchoker Underspin, guppy heads, damaki baits, and jigging spoons will soon be in short supply at local tackle shops.  Now is the time to conduct an inventory and stock up before the rush. 

In celebration of the start of my 3rd year guiding, I am giving each client that takes a trip between 14 September 2023 and 25 October 2023 a spool of CAST braid.  

If you are looking for more detailed information on my trips over the past week, I publish a daily video covering the conditions, the where, the what, and how I caught fish each day I am on the water. You can sign up at 

I am booking for October so reach out if you are interested in getting in on the top water action or learning the fall swim bait fishing. I am open Oct. 2-4, 6, 8, 9, 11-14. 



#TritonBoats #advantageboatcenter #hammondsfishingcenter #LanierBaits #trixstercustombaits #stcroixrods #castfishingco #gillfishing #Spotchokerimage0.jpeg


How and Where To Catch September Bass at Lake Blue Ridge 

September Bass at Lake Blue Ridge 

with Bob Borgwat

     September bass fishing in Georgia is tough.  The bass are still on summer patterns but the water is as hot as it gets and the oxygen levels are at their lowest point.  And it is still uncomfortable fishing most days.  So it makes sense to head to the cool north Georgia mountains and Blue Ridge Lake to find some cooler air, beautiful scenery – and smallmouth bass.

     One of our TVA lakes, Blue Ridge is the highest lake in Georgia and has 3290 acres of clear mountain water.  Its 100 miles of shoreline stretches almost 12 miles up the Toccoa River and several major creeks feed it. The shoreline is steep wooded mountain sides with some development but many miles of natural rock and trees.

     Big winter drawdowns are the norm at Blue Ridge so the shoreline changes a lot in the fall.  Lake levels 40 feet below summer pool are common and every few years the TVA pulls the lake down about 70 feet to work on the power plant at the dam.  The lake is likely to be low most of September.

     Blue Ridge has one quality that sets it apart from all other Georgia lakes. It is where you have your best bet to catch a Georgia smallmouth bass.  Smallmouth are native to some of the north Georgia lakes but the illegal introduction of spotted bass in most of them have just about wiped out the smallmouth.  Unfortunately, Blue Ridge now has spots in it and there is no way to know how long the smallmouth population will hold up.

     Blueback herring have also been introduced illegally into Blue Ridge and right now, as is usually the case soon after they are introduced, spots are growing fast and fat on them.  Smallmouth also seem to be taking advantage of this new food source.  They are open water feeders like spots and the average size of smallmouth seems to be increasing.  Only time will tell what will happen but spots and bluebacks are now a fact of life at Blue Ridge.

     Bob Borgwat has a house on the river above Blue Ridge and runs Reel Angling Adventures, a guide service in the north Georgia area.  He guides for bass on Blue Ridge and has been fishing the lake since 1991.  He fishes the lake year round and says September is not the best month for bass on it, but there are patterns that should pay off now.  And once you learn the kinds of places that hold bass now they will be good year round.

     All three species of bass in Blue Ridge, smallmouth, spots and largemouth, live deep most of the year.  They are on their deep holes now and will stay there all winter, leaving just long enough to spawn in the spring then returning deep.  And the bass tend to be mixed on these holes, with all three kinds present.   

     During the first of the month bass at Blue Ridge will be near the thermocline, holding as deep as oxygen in the water will allow.  They will feed at that depth but come to the shallows some at night and early in the morning to feed. When the lake turns over they will scatter on the deep structure and be harder to pinpoint. 

     Bob likes fishing the turn over and after it happens.  You can tell when the lake turns over by the change in water color.  It may happen as early as late September and the water will get a cloudy green color on the main lake.  After roaming some the bass will stabilize in schools and be easier to locate the rest of the winter.

     You don’t need a lot of rods rigged and ready for bass at Blue Ridge this month, according to Bob. He likes to throw a top water bait early in the mornings then switch to a Carolina or Texas rigged finesse type four inch worm.  He will also throw a bucktail jig and a jig and pig this time of year.

     “All my lure color choices are organized around blueback colors,” Bob said.  Topwater poppers and walking baits in colors like Tennessee Shad that match blueback herring are good.  Bob likes the BPS or Spro bucktails that have some blue or gray hairs on top and white on the bottom. He will often trim them if they are bulky since he likes a sparse jig to imitate the longer, thinner baitfish. 

     The worm Bob uses is a very soft four inch finesse worm made out west.  He likes green pumpkin with the very tip of the tail chartreuse.  He usually rigs them on fairly light three sixteenths to one quarter ounce leads on both Texas and Carolina rigs.

     A one quarter to three eights brown jig and an Uncle Josh #11 pork rind trailer are his picks for a jig and pig. Although he likes the real pig trailers he admits plastic is much easier to use and will go to it if the bass are not too picky.

     Jigs and worms are thrown on eight pound test line and Bob likes spinning gear for fishing these light baits and light line.  Bob fishes both the worm and jig and pig on the bottom and says it is very important to stay in contact with the bottom.  These baits are fished with a crawling, short hopping motion while the hair jig is fished with a swimming motion but still kept in contact with the bottom.

     Bob and I fished the following spots on a foggy morning a few weeks ago. It was surprisingly cool to me after sweating on middle Georgia lakes.  The fog and cool air made us stick with topwater all morning, probably way too long for the water temperature.  It had not started cooling any and the fishing was tough. These spots will get better and better as the water cools and the fish get more active. Bob says he fishes them year round.

     1. N 34 52.699 – W 84 16.575 – Heading toward the dam the open water narrows down and there are three rocky points in a row on your right.  All three drop into very deep water and have rock and some wood on them.  All are good places to find smallmouth, spots and largemouth right now.

     Start on the first point downstream of the Lakewood Landing ramp cove and work toward the dam. Fish topwater plugs as you work down these points first thing in the morning. Stay way out in the clear water and make long casts near the bank, fishing your bait back to the boat.  Bass will hold deep here but come up for a topwater early in the morning.

     After fishing the three points with topwater early, or when hitting them or later in the day, work them with worms and jigs. Watch your depthfinder for baitfish and make sure you fish out at least as deep as the bait is holding. Concentrate on areas where the balls of herring or shad are holding, the bass will be nearby.

     Swim your hair jig just off the bottom, staying in contact with it.  That is hard to do since the bottom drops so fast.  Light line helps and you must fish slowly to stay in the effective zone.  Do the same with a worm or jig and pig, making slow pulls and short hops to keep the bait right on the bottom.

     2. N 34 52.145 – W 84 16.429 – Going up the lake on your right, across the mouth of the cove with the marina in it, you will see an island with a big square marker with the number one on it. This marks miles from the dam and this point is a good place to start first thing in the morning with topwater then follow up with your other baits. 

     Start on the rocky point on the downstream side of the island and work to your right, going into the cove formed by the island and mainland.  They will be connected when the water is low this time of year.  This point runs out to 30 feet deep at full pool then drops fast into 60 feet of water.  There is good chunk rock on this point to hold bass.

     As you work into the cove a shallow point and flat comes out on the tip of the island toward the cove, then drops off.   This is and excellent place to catch schooling bass so always be ready for them.  They push baitfish back into the pocket formed by the island and mainland.

     There is a dock that usually has a sail boat tied to it on the mainland side of the cove and it is worth a few casts before leaving this spot. Work past it a short distance, hitting any wood that is still in the water, too.

     3. N 34 50.884 – W 84 16.174 – Run up the river past marker number four and the mouth of Charlie Creek where the river makes a sharp bend to your left around an island.  The river side of this island is a good bluff bank to fish.  Start at the downstream tip of the island and work upstream, casting topwater to the bank. Keep an eye on your depthfinder for brush piles, there are several out in deeper water.  There are also a couple of blowdowns to hit.  I got a keeper largemouth on a popper here when Bob and I fished.

     Work to the upstream point of the island and fish it.  Then work back, fishing the bottom with your jig and worm.  Hit any brush piles you saw as you worked up. There are a couple that were out in 20 feet of water near the upstream point the day we fished so they are about 25 feet below full pool level.   

     4. N 34 50.926 – W 84 16.100 – When you are on the upstream point of the island you will see a standing dead pine on the bank across the cove behind the island. There are a couple of small rocky and sandy points on that side and you will see one small tree just off the bank. If you idle straight across from the point of the island toward that small tree you will see a ledge that is usually 40 feet deep at full pool.   There are big scattered stumps on this ledge.

     Bob says there are many spots like this on the lake where big stumps are down deep. Those stumps hold bass.  As the water drops they get easier to fish because they are not as deep, probably around 25 feet deep right now.  Work them with a jig or worm, fishing slowly and trying to make contact with the stumps.

     If you idle over this area you will cross stumps and often see fish suspended on top of them or holding around them. We saw several like that the day we fished.  Mark them and back off to fish them.  The stumps are so scattered the only way to hit them if you don’t mark them is to drag your bait along the bottom.

     5. N 34 50.791 – W 84 15.946 – Going upstream there is another island on your left that is really a long point with the water down.  It is on the outside bend of the river and drops off very fast.  You will see limbs over the water if it is at full pool and some dead brush and tree tops on the downstream point of this island. Bob says this is a good spot point.

     Fish around it early with topwater then work it with your other baits.  Fish way out and watch for brush and baitfish.  Sometimes you will find layers of different kinds of bass on places like this, with some largemouth in more shallow water, spots a little deeper and smallmouth out even deeper.  But you may catch any of the three species at any level here, especially if they are under baitfish.

     6. N 34 50.541 – W 84 16.283 – Across the lake going upstream is a point with the marker number five on it on your right.  There is a straight bank upstream of the marker that drops off right into the river, running from that point up to a small pocket.  This bluff bank, from just above the point with the marker up to the pocket, is a good area for smallmouth.

     Start at the point and work up, casting your worms or jigs to the blowdowns along the bank as well as working the bottom with both baits. There is a lot of rock here to hold fish.  Bob hooked a keeper smallmouth on his Carolina rig here the day we fished, the only one we saw.

     7. N 34 50.329 – W 84 16.329 – The river makes a turn to the left going up just before you get to marker number six and there are a series of points along the left bank going up that Bob calls “Ten Points.”  All the points are good places to work topwater early then drag the bottom. I got a small spot here on top the day we fished.

     The first pocket above the point has several blowdowns in it, three big ones and several smaller ones, all mixed up. If they are still in the water bass will hold in them to feed.  You will also see a patch of dead standing trees on the bank on the second point going up. They look like beetle killed pine trees. Start at the point and work upstream, fishing any wood cover and the rocks on the bottom.

     8. N 34 49.089 – W 84 15.980 – On up the river between markers seven and eight is Long Creek on your right. The main lake point on the upstream side of this creek is a perfect example of the kinds of points that hold bass on Blue Ridge.  It drops off fast into deep water and has rocks and brush on it to hold bass. Bob says there also a huge stump on the point that is great when the water is over it.    

     The point has a block rock seawall around it and there is a wooden deck on the upper upriver side of it.  Out on the point are some chairs where the owner sits and enjoys the lake.  Start fishing the bluff wall near the deck and work down to the point, around it and into the cove to the first dock. 

     All along this area the water drops fast and there are rocks and brush, and that stump, to hold bass. Fish all your baits here.  If you catch a bass at a certain depth try making parallel casts to the bank, keeping your bait in that depth water. Others should be holding at that depth.

     9. N 34 48.939 – W 84 16.010 – Idle into Long Creek to the back and you will see a waterfall entering to the left of a house back there. Bob says bass sometimes stack up back here and he always fishes it, no matter what time of year.  There are several docks to fish as well as rocks and wood on the bottom.

     Two of the docks are what Bob calls “hard” docks – docks with posts in the water.   Both are on the left going in. Start fishing at the fourth house from the back on the left, the one with the screen room on posts over the water. Hit all post, many have collars of concrete at the bottom where a bass will hold.  Work the bank, hitting the seawalls, wood in the water and the docks.

     10. N 34 49.137 – W 84 15.814 – Across the lake and upstream you will see a buoy on the upstream point of a cove on your left.  Bob suggested this spot to the rangers as a good place for a brush pile and the buoy marks it.  There is scattered brush at a variety of depths around the marker.

     Fish topwater over it then work around and through the brush with your other baits.  As you fish around the marker watch your depthfinder. There is brush a good ways out from it in all directions so don’t get in too close and get on top of it.

     The water may get muddy this far up the river after a heavy rain, Bob warns. It muddies up quickly when the water is down like it will be this fall and he does not like fishing muddy water. If it is muddy up the river head back down to clearer water on the main lake.

     Bob says the TVA plans to draw down Blue Ridge about 100 feet sometimes between now and 2010 to make repairs at the dam.  That will be an excellent time to find hidden stump beds, rock piles and other features to fish when the lake comes back up. You will need a small boat to put in but it will be worth your time to scout. And the fishing should be great, with the fish restricted basically to the old river channel.

     To get Bob to show you first hand how to catch Blue Ridge smallmouth book a trip with him by visiting his web page at or call him at 866-899-5259.

How and Where To Catch Fall Lunker Largemouth

Fall For Lunker Largemouth

from The Fishing Wire

By Bob Jensen

The fall season is a time for trophy fish.  In fact, fall is a good time for fish in general.  Fish of all sizes go on the bite as the water starts to cool and the days get shorter. They instinctively know that, in many areas, their metabolism is going to slow down and they won’t be chasing food like they have been for the past several months.  They need to put some fat on now to get them through the winter.  Largemouth bass in many regions eat often in the fall.  Here are some ways you can improve your odds of catching a truly big largemouth bass in the next couple of months.

In most bodies of water, the bass are going to be close to deeper water.  They might be in the deep water, or they might be in shallow water that’s close to deep water.  They like to be close to a deep water sanctuary in the fall.  In a river they might be up on grass flats, but the grass flats close to the channel or deeper water will often be the best areas.

In a lake, they might be in the rushes, but the rushes that provide quick access to deep water will be where most of the bass are.

If the bass are in the shallow areas, they will likely be willing to eat your bait.  This time of year, when the fish are shallow, they’re going to be on the bite.  Shallow water fish can be spooky, so make long casts.  It’s tough to beat a Premier Pro-Model spinnerbait.  It has two Colorado spinners that put out flash and vibration.  The vibration put out by the blades will enable bass in stained water to find the bait easier, and, in clear water will attract bass from farther away.

A swim jig like a Tour Grade Swim Jig, tipped with a Rage Grub tail has become the go-to in many areas.  This set-up will often outperform the spinnerbait, especially in clear water.  The swimming jig is much the same as the spinnerbait except it has no blade.  Thunder Crickets will be good also.  When the bass are active, they’ll hit almost whatever you put out there.  It’s when they’re not so active that we need to experiment with different baits to figure out what they want.

When the bass move out of the shallows, pay attention to the areas that drop off from the shallows the quickest.  This is jig or crankbait territory.  Sometimes the bass will be right on the bottom along a weedline, other times they’ll be suspended up a bit.  And there are also times when they’ll move away from the drop-off and relate to suspended baitfish like shad or bluegills.

The best bite is often at mid-day.  I recall days when an overcast sky was good, but I also remember days when the bass were really liking the warmth that a bright sun was providing. The best plan is to go fishing regardless of whether the sky is cloudy or clear.  If you don’t go fishing, you’re not going to catch anything. Put a bait in the water and your chances for fishing success go up significantly.  Fall is a great time to be fishing and catching.  Discover that for yourself sometime soon.

How and Where To Catch March Bass at Bartletts Ferry/ Lake Harding with GPS Coordinates

March Bass at Bartletts Ferry/ Lake Harding

with Nick Roberson

     March is a great month to go fishing just about anywhere in Alabama.  Warming waters turn fish on and they move shallow and feed.  It is hard to pick one place to go but Bartletts Ferry/Lake Harding on the Chattahoochee River just south of Lanette offers a variety of kinds of fishing for both spots and largemouth that is hard to beat right now.

     Lake Harding is a 5,850 acre Georgia Power Lake not far downstream from West Point Lake.  It was filled in 1926 and the waters near the dam are deep and rocky.  Up the river above the Hawalakee Creek junction it is mostly river channel with some big creeks and a good many old oxbow lakes off the channel. Both Alabama and Georgia fishing licenses are good on all the waters.

     Bartlett’s Ferry has been known as a good producer of both spots and largemouth for many years.  Last year there were large numbers of keeper size 12 to 14 inch bass and this year those fish will be in the two pound range. In the 2007 Creel Census Report Bartlett’s Ferry ranked sixth in Bass Weighed-In Per Hour and seventh in Percent of Anglers With Five Or More Bass, and there are more keeper bass now than there were two years ago.

     Nick Roberson lives near Opelika and fishes Harding often.  He started going fishing with his father when he was old enough to walk.  About 14 years ago he got into bass tournament fishing when a group at his work place started having tournaments.  For the past few years he has fished with the West Georgia Bass Club, a team tournament trail that fishes a variety of west Georgia and east Alabama lakes and is Triton Gold certified, and other tournament on area lakes.

      Last year Nick and his partner won the West Georgia Bass Club tournament on Harding with 14 pounds and ended up 5th overall in the point standings for the year out of 170 teams.  Nick has also won both the Diehard and Lazy Days tournaments on Harding and had done well in other tournaments there.  His best Harding bass was an 8 pound, 8 ounce hawg caught in a tournament and his best five fish in a tournament weighted just over 22 pounds.

     “Last year I found fish on the beds in February here,” Nick told me. After a warm winter bass were spawning up the river in oxbow lakes in February and Nick expects to find them there every year from late February to early March.  He says bass in the river spawn a lot earlier than most folks realize.       Nick says bass on the main lake spawn a little later but he normally finds bedding fish there by mid to late March. 

     Nick plans his fishing on Harding around the spawning bass.  He will start in the mornings on the main lake, hitting points and banks near spawning pockets for the prespawners and will always watch for spawners, too.  Then after lunch when the sun has been warming the water all morning he will head up the lake to fish there. In the river he goes into spawning areas and fishes for the bass on the beds and any cruising the spawning areas, too.

     A variety of baits work well on the lake and Nick will have a Jawbreaker jig and pig, a jig head worm, a spinnerbait and a crankbait tied on. He will also throw a topwater bait much earlier than most folks and a jerk bait rounds out his lake arsenal.

     Up the river Nick relies on Senkos and spinnerbaits.  Most of the oxbow lakes are very shallow and full of grass so the Senko works best most of the time. He will pitch and cast his bait to visible beds but will also work the grass, dropping it into holes where a bass might be bedding.  That works best when the water is murky and you can’t see the beds as well. 

     Nick fishes all his baits on baitcasting outfits and his reels are spooled with Suffix line.  He fishes with Tommy Gunn, maker of Jawbreaker jigs, a lot and he likes Tommy’s jigs and jig heads.  For the jig and pig he will use black and blue combinations with a black or green trailer.  His favorite worm for the jig head is a Zoom scuppernong Trick worm.

     Colors for crankbaits and jerk baits depend on water color, with natural colors best in clear water and bright colors used when the water is stained.  Nick uses a pink spinnerbait a lot and says it is his best color.  He likes two gold willowleaf blades on it.

     A Boy Howdy, an old topwater lure with spinners on both ends, is Nick’s favorite. He surprised me by throwing it in early February in water temperatures at 50 degrees, and caught a bass on it the day we fished.  He says bass will hit on top even in the winter if you fish the right bait the right way.

     The following ten holes will produce bass from now through the end of March on Harding.  We fished the lower lake spots the second week of February on a cold, rainy day and fish were already on them and will be on them even better now. We landed about 20 bass that day and our best five would have weighed between 11 and 12 pounds. That shows Harding has a lot of bass in the two pound range for us to catch that many on such a bad day.  The bass had not moved into the spawning areas up the river in early February but they will be there now.

     1. N 32 41.321 – W 85 08.142 – This main lake point and bank is a good place to start. Nick won a weekly tournament here and it holds fish year round. Heading down Halawakee Creek from the bridge the creek bends back to the left. Straight ahead the bank runs out from your right and you will see a point with a seawall around it. Trees on the bank have faces on them and there are post with ropes around them and black metal light poles around it.

     Start on this point and work to your left.  There are three good docks to fish and bass hold on them and on the block seawall.  The first dock has three metal park benches on it.  Fish the seawall then the dock and the pocket behind it.  Be sure to hit the rails coming from the boathouse. Bass often hold on rails like these.

     This pocket runs out to a natural rock point that holds fish, too. Fish it and the next two docks.  Try your jig and pig and jig head worm around the docks, probing for brush, and on the rocks and rails.  Run a crankbait or spinnerbait beside the docks and along the point. And don’t hesitate to work your favorite topwater plug slowly in this area, too.

     2.  N 32 41.486 – W 85 08.347 – Back across the creek and slightly upstream, the last point where the creek opens up has riprap around it and a small dock on the upstream side. There is a yellow cabin on the point and there are palm trees planted near the water.  The point comes up shallow then drops off.  There are some stumps and rocks around this point that hold March bass.

     Start out in front of the small upstream dock and work a jig and pig or jig head worm slowly down the bottom. Cast up near the seawall and make short hops. When you hit a stump pause it there for a few seconds then hop it away from the stump. Sometimes a bass holding by the stump will react as the bait jumps away from it.

     Work all the way around the point then try your crankbait and jerk bait over it, too. Jerk baits work better when the water is clear and this creek is usually clearer than the river or the main lake.

     3. N 32 40.893 – W 85 06.636 – Run down past the mouth of the river and watch for a rocky point on your right.  It is between two long deep coves and a brown top gazebo sits under a big pine on the downstream side. The upstream side of the point has a big pine and a big hardwood leaning a little over the water.   Start at the small wooden seawall on the upstream side at the leaning pine and work around the point and into the downstream pocket a short distance.

     There are a lot of big rocks under the water on this point and bass stack up on it all during the winter. They will start to move into the coves to spawn but some will be out here all during March.  As you fish past the gazebo there will be riprap on the bank and a house with a screen room on it.

     Fish around the rocks down the steep bank. Keep fishing down this bank, working the riprap and docks.  Some of the docks have brush around them and there is a lot of brush around the dock in front of the big house a short way down the bank. Nick says he has caught some big bass from this brush over the years. Fish all your baits here but your jig and pig is the best bet for bigger bass.

     4. N 32 40.299 – W 85 04.650 – Run into the big creek to your left right at the dam. Toward the back there is an island in the middle with a house on it and it is before you get to the condos in the bank of the creek. Just before you get even with the downstream end of the island you will see a small pocket on your right.  Start fishing at it and work toward the condos.

     The first little pocket will hold bedding bass as will the next one and other bass will hold on the steep bank around rocks, docks and brush.  Nick and I both caught bass in this area in February.  Work all your baits here, running a crankbait beside the docks and off the rocks on the bank.  Hop a jig and pig or jig head worm down the bank.  Fish rails coming out of boathouse and brush around the docks. 

     As you work into pockets here fish slowly and watch for signs of bedding bass.  You may see a light spot marking a bed or just see the black tip of a bass’s tail.  If you spot a bass on the bed throw a jig into it and let it sit.  Fish slowly with a jig for bedding bass here you don’t spot, too. Nick says bass will bed in this pocket even in early March.

     Work all the way to the little peninsular with the picnic stuff on it at the condos.  Nick says you should have a limit of keepers just along this bank in late February and March.

     5. N 32 40.568 – W 85 04.668 – Run across the creek on the upstream side of the island and you will see a big cove on the other bank. On the right going into this cove is a seawall then riprap on the outside of a small cove. Start fishing at the end of the seawall and work around that little point into the cove.

     Fish around the cove, watching for bedding bass and fishing slowly for the ones you don’t see.  If you spot bass on the bed work all the way to the back of the pocket.  Fish on around past the dock with a winch and crane to pull in a fish barrel.  There is some brush around that dock to fish.

     6. N 32 44.477 – W 85 06.688 – Head up the river to Blanton Creek and go to the boat ramp on your right. Bass move in here first as they start moving back to spawn up the river and hold here until everything gets right.  Start fishing where the riprap starts just outside the ramp and work around the pocket past the three docks out to the point in the campground.

     There is some brush here and rocks for the bass to hold on as they move up the creek.  Nick likes to work a jig and pig slowly through the rocks and brush for bigger bass. This is the spot where he caught his 8 pound, 8 ounce fish.  He says there will be “quadruple” the number of bass here than down on the main lake. 

     Nick says he will work this bank and other places several times. If he catches a fish on the first pass he will go back over it with the same bait. If he does not catch one on the first pass he will often go back over it with a different bait like a spinnerbait to offer them a different look.

     7. N 32 44.672 – W 85 08.053 – Come out of Blanton Creek and head up the river.  When the river makes a bend to  your right, straight ahead on the outside bend you will see a house on your left then no houses.  A good oxbow starts here and runs up parallel to the river.

     You can enter near the last house but you are better off going upstream a little and finding the opening not much wider then a couple of boats that goes in.  Be careful in this area, there is a hump off the bank that is under water when the lake is high.  You can idle in if you are careful or put your trolling motor down and work your way in.

     When you get back in the lake or old oxbow there will be lots of shallow water and grassbeds.  This spot and others here are better if the lake is full. The day Nick and I looked at it the lake was almost two feet low and it was hard to get in here. 

     Nick likes to pitch a Senko to visible bedding bass or work holes in the grass with it if he is not seeing beds.  Fish both sides of this oxbow all the way to the upper end.  Nick says he gets most of his hits from the middle opening up to the upper end. Water can run in up there, too, but you can’t get your boat in there.

     8. N 32 45.109 – W 85 08.219 – Across the river and upstream you will see two openings within a few feet of each other.  The downstream one has a tree on the downstream side across the mouth of it so be careful going in. Nick says some folks start fishing here, working the outside edges with crankbaits and jigs,  but he usually goes on back into the backwaters.

     As you work in you will do downstream parallel to the river.  This ditch is not real wide but not far from the opening is a small ditch on your left. Go through it and the oxbow opens up much bigger.  Both sides join together and this oxbow opens up downstream so there is a lot of water to fish in here.  Work both sides and watch for grassbeds and stumps to fish. There are a lot of stumps to your left when you go through the small ditch.

     9. N 32 45.108 – W 85 08.255 – Just upstream of the opening in hole 8 is another opening that is very shallow right at the river opening.  It goes in and this oxbow runs up the river channel.  Get across the shallow flat at the entrance and you will find deeper water to fish on back in it.

     In this one and in others fish until the bass tell you where they are holding.  In this one and the others the river side of the oxbow will be more shallow. It usually has willows and grass on it. The bank side will be deeper and often has wood cover to fish. Work both sides until you find where the bass are holding and bedding and they usually are in similar places in all the oxbows.

     10. N 32 46.000 – W 85 08.275 – Up the river and on the left just as the channel goes slightly to the right is another small opening. As soon as you go in you can go into a lake to your right. The channel also runs straight ahead and the point between the two is covered with stumps.  Go into the right one and work around it hitting the grass and stumps in it.

     If you go straight back you will go a good ways in a ditch then it opens up into a lake to fish.  The Senko is Nick’s best bait up here this time of year but try a spinnerbait, too.  The bass will sometimes be active enough to hit it and sometimes will give their location away by swirling at it without taking it. You can then work a Senko around that spot for them. Also watch for movement in the grass or baitfish jumping to show you where bass are holding.

     These spots give you five to fish on the lake and five up the river.  Nick will be fishing them this month and they are all good places. Check them out and you can then find some more similar spots, especially on the lake, to fish.

     The West Georgia Bass Club is a Triton Gold Certified Team Tournament trail that fishes west Georgia and East Alabama lakes. There is an annual $25 membership fee per team and the entry fee is $50 per team in each tournament. They pay back one in seven boats and have a classic at the end of the year.  For the schedule and rules go to

How and Where To Catch September Smith Lake Bass with GPS Coordinates To Ten Spots

September Smith Lake Bass

with Rex Chambers

    Night time is the right time most of September for catching the big spots on Smith Lake.  But if you don’t like fishing at night, the good news is September is also the end of the summer doldrums of daytime fishing. As the days get shorter and the water starts to cool a little, those bass start schooling more and you can catch them on ledges and points in the daytime, too.

    Smith is a 21,200-acre lake an hour north of Birmingham, near Cullman and Jasper.  It has more than 500 miles of mostly steep, rocky shoreline and has a good population of largemouth. But it is becoming famous for its big spotted bass. Since the introduction of blueback herring the spots have grown fast, with many quality fish.

     Rex Chambers has lived near Cullman all his life. After a 25-year career with the Cullman Police Department, the last three years spend as a water patrolman on Smith, he retired and started guiding full time.  He has been guiding part time for over 35 years, helping other guides on corporate trips even before he was a teenager.   

 In addition to guiding Rex has fished tournaments on Smith since his teen years. He won his first tournament as a teenager and has fished many charity and pot tournaments on the lake over the years.  Now he fishes many of the Tuesday night three-hour tournaments as well as both North and South divisions of the Alabama Bass Trail and some BASS Opens.

“In the three hour, three fish limit Tuesday night tournaments, often with 100 people entered, it usually takes at least nine to ten pounds to win,” Rex said.  In five fish tournaments if you have less than 17 pounds it usually will not get you a check.  The lake is full of three pound plus fish.

“Smith is a horse of a different color, you have to be able to do it all to be consistent,” Rex said.  It has it all, both largemouth and smallmouth and all kinds of structure and cover.  If you aren’t versatile you can’t consistently catch quality fish here.

In early September the big fish are still deep on their summer holes.  Early in the month they feed mostly at night but start responding to changing conditions by feeding more during the day, chasing schools of baitfish on top and setting up in more shallow water. But they are still close to very deep water and hold deeper than most fishermen like to fish, even later in September. Early and late in the day is the best time to catch them.

Rex relies on a variety of baits to catch September Smith bass.  For schooling fish and to draw them to the top he will use a walking bait like a Spook, Sammy, Sexy Dawg or Gunfish. And the Whopper Flopper will draw some vicious strikes.  Some fish can be caught on crankbaits like a Black Label Balsa in shad colors as they move up and feed.

The staple bait is always a shaky head for numbers of fish and it will catch quality fish, too.  Rex likes a one quarter ounce head with green pumpkin worm on it.  A Carolina rig with anything from a four inch lizard to a Baby Brush hog, three feet above a half ounce sinker is good.  But a V and M jig with a Wild Craw trailer in greens and browns will usually catch bigger fish than the other two bottom baits.

Rex showed me the following ten places to catch September bass in late July. As he predicted, fishing during the day was very tough. We did see a few fish chasing shad on top. But the weekend before we went, Rex and his partner had won a night tournament with some quality fish.  Daytime fishing has improved now and will get better and better all this month.

1.  N 34 04.760 – W 86 57.758 – If you put in at Smith Lake Park all these places are close by, and the first one is right at the park.  Going downstream from the ramp there is a small cove just past the open field at the park on the left.  A point runs out in the middle of it and has a big tree near the water.  The point splits and runs out on both the left and right when you are facing the tree.  These points drop fast into very deep water and have brush piles on them.

Keep your boat out in 30 plus feet of water and cast a shaky head or jig and pig up to eight or nine feet of water.  Work both with short hops between sliding them along the bottom.  You will catch more fish on the shaky head but get fewer bites and bigger fish on the jig.

Work both points from the ends, casting up on top of them.  Work your baits out to at least 25 feet of water. When you hit brush work it carefully with both baits.  Watch your electronics for brush under the boat and fish it even if it is 30 feet deep.

This point and others are good both night and day.  Fish them any time but in early September night fishing is best, followed by low light conditions early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

2.  N 34 04.282 – W 86 57.970 – Across the lake the Ryan Creek channel hits Goat Island, runs along the upper side of it and turns at the end, creating a long channel ledge.   There is a sycamore tree on the point and a shelter on the point in the trees.  The channel is 50 feet deep just off the point.

Keep your boat out in deep water and cast a topwater bait over the point from a couple of feet deep out to 25 feet deep. A walking bait will pull bass up from brush on the point as well as draw strikes from suspended fish.  Then work a crankbait over the same area for fish that don’t want to come all the way to the top.

Probe the bottom with your jig and pig, working from shallow to deep.  Watch your line and feel your bait carefully and let if fall straight down when it comes off the ledge where it drops into the channel.  Work the jig from a few feet deep out to at least 25 feet deep.

3.  N 34 04.059 – W 86 57.511 – Back across the lake and a little downstream Devil’s Den is deep cut going back from the outside bend of the Ryan Creek channel on the left.  On the downstream side of it is a riprap point with no house on it.  The riprap drops down then flattens out to a ledge that runs out to about 22 feet deep before dropping into 70 feet of water in the channel.

Stay out in 70 feet of water and cast both a shaky head and a Carolina rig up to 10 feet deep. Work them back until they drop into the channel.  There are rocks and brush piles here to hold both daytime and night time fish.  Probe the brush carefully when you hit it.

4.  N 34 03.436 – W 86 58.775 – Further down this same bank you will pass Nip-I-Diddy Slough then the bank turns into more of a bluff bank.  Watch for a for-sale sign near the water on a tree and start fishing here.  A small point runs out to the channel that is not far from the bank. Rex said there is all kinds of timber on the bottom here and we could see the logs lying on the bottom on his Hummingbird side imaging unit.

Along this bluff the point forms a small ledge that holds a lot of bass.  There are rocks and brush along it. Fish it both night and day with shaky head and jig.  Rex will also fish a big spinnerbait here and in other places at night, slow rolling it close to the bottom just over the brush and other wood cover.

5.  N 34 03.224 – W 86 59.107 – A little further down the bluff bank there is a small point where the bank turns a little and goes back into a small pocket. The channel runs along the outside of this point forming a good ledge that is loaded with timber, rocks and some brush piles on the bottom.

Stay out on the end of the ledge and throw up onto it shallow. Rex almost always fishes his baits from shallow to deep on these places.  Work your shaky head, jig and Carolina rig along the bottom, bumping the cover out to at least 25 feet deep.

6.  N 34 02.350 – W 86 59.030 – Just downstream Simpson Creek joins Ryan Creek, forming the “T” area.  Going up Simpson Creek a long narrow creek is on your right near the junction. The upstream point of this creek drops off fast and is good topwater spot all month long.

Keep your boat in 40 to 50 feet of water and cast up to the bank, working your bait back to the boat.  Rex caught a small spot here as we talked about this place.  Although it was early for schooling fish we did see a little activity on top during the morning.  Fish all around the point from deep water with topwater.

7.  N 34 02.176 – W 86 59.137 – Going into the narrow creek on your right is a small double cove. The bank on the point between the two coves has been cleared and there are docks on either side of the point.  The ditches coming out of the coves makes this point drop fast on both sides and the end drops off into very deep water.

There are rocks on this point that hold fish.  It is a good place to find fish moving in and out of the small creek following bait as they hold here.  Stay out on the end of the point and fish your shaky head and jig from 10 feet deep out to 30 feet deep.

8.  N 34 02.148 – W 86 58.723 – Going up Simpson Creek a small cove has a house up on the hill on the upstream point.  There is a wooden staircase going up to it and a red roof docks is in the water on the point.  The creek channel runs parallel to this point and it comes up to a few feet deep out from the dock then drops back into deep water on the cove side.  The point drops almost straight off into 90 feet deep on the creek side.

Sit on the creek side and cast to the top of the ledge.  Move bottom bumping baits very slowly to follow the rocks down the sharp drop.  Keep them in contact with the bottom down to 30 feet deep.

Smith Lake has very little current so it is usually not a factor, but wind blowing in makes these places better, especially for top water.  Rex says the more wind the better for topwater so don’t let the wind keep you from fishing these places.    

9. N 34 01.599 – W 86 58.130 – A little further up Simpson Creek the next bigger creek on the right had Mallard Point Marina on the upstream side near the mouth. The marina has been torn down and houses are being built on its old site.  There is still an old no-wake buoy off the old marina boat ramp.

A big flat run out near this buoy along the left bank going in.  There are stumps and rocks on it and it drops off into 35 feet deep water on the edge at the creek channel. 

Go in near the old buoy and idle over the flat to see how it run out then drops. Fish your jig and Carolina rig, keeping your boat out in the creek channel and casting up onto the flat. Work your baits all over the flat to the edge, probing for the rocks.  This is a big flat so take time to fish all over it, fish feed here.

10.  N 34 04.344 – W 86 58.790 – Back up Ryan Creek behind Goat Island, on the left side going up the creek, Church House Point is the upstream point of the second narrow cut on the left.  There is an old wooden church almost completely hidden in the trees on this point.  The point has a steep rock ledge with brush on it.

This is a good spinnerbait hole at night. During the day fish your shaky head, Carolina rig and jig and pig on it. Fish will hold in the rocks and brush here and feed both day and night.  This is also a good place to fish a crankbait. Get it down as deep as possible, bumping the rocks and brush.

All these holes are good day and night. Give them a try with the baits Rex likes or the ones you prefer. They will show you the kind of places you need to find to catch Smith lake bass this month.

To book a trip with Rex to see first-hand how he fishes Smith Lake, call him at 256-736-3763, email him at or visit his website at

Where and How To Catch January Lay Lake Bass with GPS Coordinates for Ten Spots

How To Catch January Lay Lake Bass with Matt Herren

 Its cold outside, the rut is making it a good time to go deer hunting and you might not be thinking much about fishing. But the big spotted bass at Lay Lake are on a very predictable pattern and you can catch some of the biggest spots of the year right now.

Lay Lake on the Coosa River east of Birmingham is known for its big spotted bass.  The Alabama Power Lake dammed in 1914 produces three and four pounds spots consistently and bigger fish are caught each year. There is also a good population of largemouth but in the winter the spotted bass fishing is more consistent.

Matt Herren grew up fishing Lay Lake and other Coosa River lakes in the area. His father took him fishing in ponds and on Lay Lake as a kid and they watched some tournament weigh-ins and got interested in tournament fishing.  They started fishing wildcat tournaments on Lay Lake in 1988.

From his success there he entered the Redman tournaments in 1989 and came in second in the points standings in the BAMA Division that first year.  By 2003 he was fishing the FLW Tour and now fishes the BASS Elite trail. 

Since turning pro, Matt has qualified for six BASSMaster Classics, including the 2016 tournament, and six FLW Championships.  This past year he tied for 10th place in the Angler of the Year point’s standings in BASS. In his career he has won over 1.2 million dollars in tournaments.

“In January the shad are moving up the river an into the creeks and the big spots are following them and feeding,” Matt said.  He prefers to go after quality spots up the river if possible rather than fishing further down the lake.  He said you can catch fish any day in January further down the lake but for the big ones he wants to fish up the river from the Locust Creek area to the Neely Henry Dam.

The day we went in early December the river was not fishable. We checked the Neely Henry Dam and all floodgates were open and all generators running. The river was three or four feet high and the current extremely strong.  When it is like that the fish hunker down and are very hard to catch since you can’t even control your boat very well. So we made lemonade, fishing from the Highway 280 Bridge downstream, and Matt caught some fish under very tough conditions.

No matter which way he goes Matt will have the same baits rigged.  His prime bait is a three eights to one half ounce Santone Lures Texas Finesse Jig tipped with a Reaction Innovations Petite Twerk or Smallie Beaver trailer. He goes with browns and greens if the water is clear or darker colors like black and blue if the water is stained.

A Santone three eights to one and one half ounce white or chartreuse and white spinnerbait is good for covering water faster, and he uses heavier baits the deeper he is fishing. A DT 6 or DT 10 crankbait in shad colors is also good for covering water and finding fish.

A Megabass 110 jerkbait and a Santone Piglet Shaky Head round out his arsenal of lures. The shaky head will have a Reactions Innovations Pocket Rocket worm on it.  With those lures fished on a Kistler Rod with the action for that lure, teamed with Gamma fluorocarbon line, covers all the types of cover and structure he wants to fish in January.

The following places give you a variety of kinds of spots to fish, no matter what the conditions. If the river is high and fast fish the first six and similar places downstream. If it is normal, with some current but not so fast you can’t fish effectively, fish upstream from the Highway 280 Bridge.

1.  N 33 17.626 – W 86 21.462 – We put in at Pop’s Landing in Tallaseehatchee Creek in Childersburg and started fishing at the mouth of it.  When the current is strong the fish will often hold in the mouths of sloughs and creeks like this and feed in the eddies there.  Start by casting a spinnerbait right to the rocks on the riprap bank on the downstream point since the fish will often be right on the bank. 

As you get out into the river work downstream on the same side and fish all the way to the Highway 280 Bridge.  If the current is strong point your boat upstream and let it drift downstream holding it as slow as you can with your trolling motor. Cast at an angle upstream, letting your bait work back to the boat with the current. Fish a crankbait and spinnerbait here, then follow up with a jig and pig.

Cast the jig right to the bank and use a heavy enough jig to keep it on the bottom in the current. If the water is high try to get your bait down to the rocks along the edge of the normal full pool channel. Bass will often hunker down behind those rocks and feed on baitfish and crawfish washed to them.

When you get to the bridges work the eddies behind the pilings on both the railroad and highway bridge. Matt got a keeper spot on his jig behind one of these pilings when we fished.

2. N 33 16.711 – W 86 23.289 – Running down the river the houses and docks stop and you will go a good ways down to the mouth of Bailey Creek opening on your left without seeing any docks.  There is a picnic pavilion on the point and a dock just inside the upstream point, with riprap around it.

Stop on the upstream side of the slough and work the point as you go downstream. Cast into the slough and work a spinnerbait, crankbait and jig and pig back out to the eddy of the current. Also fish the downstream point of the slough.

If the current is real strong you can position your boat inside the mouth of the slough and cast your bait out, working it into the eddies on both points like a baitfish coming from the river into the slough.

3.  N 33 16.353 – W 86 24.664 – Running down the river just before it starts a bend to the right you will see some big rocks on the bank on your left. This marks the start of a bluff outside bend of the river and is an excellent place to catch spots in January.

Start at the first visible rocks and fish downstream, keeping your boat in about 25 feet of water and casting to the edge of the water. Work your bait back out to about 15 feet deep.  A jig and pig and a shaky head worm are both good here.

You can fish a long way down this bank since it is a sweeping outside bend and the rocks run all along it. Rocks are the key this time of year, if they have baitfish on them. Watch your depthfinder and if you are not seeing balls of bait don’t spend a lot of time in the area.

It is good to fish your bait with the current no matter how fast the current is moving. Some current is good and will make the fish bite better, even if the water is very cold.  If the current is normal work upstream, casting ahead of the boat at an angle as you work into the current.

4.  N 33 16.976 – W 86 25.636 – Across the river and downstream Deer Lick Creek enters the river as it starts a big horseshoe bend to the left. This big creek has a house trailer on the downstream point well back from the river.  The upstream point of it has a defined underwater point coming off it and bass will feed on it in all current situations.

Stop upstream of the slough and fish the upstream point as you go past it. Then swing around into the slough and fish across it, casting your jig and pig and jig head worm out into the river and bringing it up and across the point.  There are some stumps on the point that hold fish so probe for them with your baits.

5.  N 33 14.547 – W 86 27.443 – Run on down the lake to the power plant on your right.  This coal fired steam plant discharges warm water into the river and that warmer water draws shad and bass to it in January.  Stop just upstream of the discharge and fish downstream.

Cast a spinnerbait or crankbait into the discharge and let the current carry it downstream as you fish it back. The river current and the discharge current will make eddies here that the bass hold in to feed so concentrate on them.

Also, fish a jig and pig or jighead in the discharge and downstream of it, too. The warmer water will say near the bank going downstream, making it better this time of year. 

6. N 33 13.382 – W 86 27.840 – Further down the river the channel splits into three parts with islands separating them. The main marked channel is to the left side going downstream.  Just upstream of the first marker where the channel goes to the left is a bluff bank. There is a house trailer sitting on top of the bluff upstream of the channel marker.

Stop out in front of this trailer and fish downstream, letting the current take your boat downstream backwards. Fish to the shallow gravel point where the bluff runs out and there is a small cove. 

Fish the bluff bank and the big rocks on it with a jig and pig and jig head worm.  Your boat should be in 25 feet of water a short cast off the bank. The current was almost too strong to fish here the day we went, even this far downstream, but Matt got a good keeper spot and we both missed fish in the current.

When you get to the shallow gravel point near the channel marker fish all over it with your jig and pig and jig head worm, too. Fish will run in on this point to feed.

7.  N 33 19.766 – W 86 21.839 – The following places are all upstream of the Highway 280 Bridge and you can fish them for big spots as long as the floodgates are not open. One or two generators running produce enough current to improve the fishing but more than that makes it tough.

Go to the water intake tower on the right going upstream. It is just downstream of the golf course.  This big structure breaks the current and bass will stack up on the downstream side of it as well as in front where pipes or indentions create an eddy.

Keep your boat downstream and cast a spinnerbait and crankbait up past the building and let them come back with the current. If you can hold your boat on the downstream side just downstream of the structure cast a spinnerbait to the wall and let if flutter down it. Also fish your jig head worm and jig and pig down the walls in the eddies.

8.  N 33 20.157 – W 86 22.112 – Across the river and a little upstream is the mouth of Locust Creek. If the current is very strong you can fish it like the ones downstream but if the current is right start at it and work upstream.

Matt likes to slowly work up the river bank, casting at an angle ahead of the boat, all the way to the powerlines. He will work a crankbait or spinnerbait from the edge of the water back to the boat. If the fish are holding deeper along the bank he will go to a heavier spinnerbait to get down to them. He will also work a heavier jig and pig or jig head worm to keep it on the bottom deeper.

9.  N 33 22.176 – W 86 20.567 – Something different that is always good in the winter, no matter what the conditions, is the back end of Flipper Creek where there is a big spring.  The spring keeps the water a steady temperature, must warmer than the river water in the winter, which draws shad and bass, and it will be clearer if the river muddies up.

Go in the mouth of Flipper Creek and to the very back of it. You will be right beside the road and railroad that are in the back end of it just up the bank.  Fish all the way around the area in the back, working all your baits around the wood cover here. Also cast right down the middle of the area to cover the bottom there.

10.  The following spots are between the upstream railroad bridge and the Logan Martin Dam. Most of them are very similar and they are easy to find.  The first is the railroad bridge itself. Matt says to fish all the pilings on it with spinnerbait, crankbait and jigs.  Work the eddies caused by these pilings, just like at the downstream railroad bridge and the Highway 280 bridge.

Rateliffes Island is a big island that splits the river upstream of the railroad bridge. Just upstream of it is the mouth of Kelly Creek on your left and you can fish the mouth of it like the other creek mouths if the current is strong.  If the current will let you, Matt says fish the banks on either side of it for a half mile both ways. Work up the current casting ahead of the boat and fishing all your baits back with the current.

Just across from Kelly Creek and a little upstream the right bank going upstream is an outside bend of the river Matt says fish it for a mile going upstream, as long as the rocks hold up on the outside bend.  This is a typical bank that drops off fast and has rocks that you need to fish. Baitfish in the area makes it much better.

A little further upstream there is a small island not far off left the bank.  Fish the banks on both sides of it and behind it, too.  As in all places, look for current breaks to hold fish.

Matt warns that you should always wear your life jacket when up the river. The current is dangerous and the cold water can make you lose control of your muscles fast. Don’t take chances.

You can catch some quality spots right now on Lay Lake. Follow Matt’s suggestions for baits to use and kinds of places to fish and you will soon forget it is winter.

Matt does not guide but he is setting up an on the water electronics school. He will show you how to set up your Hummingbird electronics like his boat is equipped and show you how to use them to find fish. He can do the same for Lowrance units. You can contact him through his Facebook page at

Where and How To Catch March Lake Demopolis Bass

with Will Ayres

 Grass and bass go together in March like liver and onions on Lake Demopolis.  Longer days and warming water both draw bass to the shallows to feed and get ready to spawn.  They chase bait in the grass and you can catch them with a variety of baits.

Demopolis is a river lake with its dam just downstream of the junction of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers.  It is the second largest lake in the Black Warrior-Tombigbee system and runs 48 miles upriver on the Black Warrior River and 53 miles up the Tombigee River. Both rivers have creeks, sloughs and ditches running out from them.  These calm waters are where largemouth head to spawn so they can be found in or near the mouths of them this month.

There are spots in the rivers, too, and you can catch some big ones, but you need to have rocks for spots. So you have two good patterns in March, grass for largemouth and rocks for spots. Some baits are good for both and some are better for one or the other, but your bait choice is controlled more by the cover than the species you seek.

Will Ayres grew up in Demopolis and has lived there all his life.  When he was 12 years old he got his first boat and his dad would pick him up from school towing the boat and take him to the river where he would fish until dark.  He knows it well and fishes as many tournaments on Demopolis and Millers Ferry as he can.

When he was 16 Will joined the River City Bassmasters. He also fishes the McNider Marine trail, Bass Addiction team trail and other local and pot tournaments.  Since he has a young son with a daughter on the way, Will sticks with his local area. When the kids are older he hopes to move up to bigger tournaments but last year, fishing just two lakes, he won $26,000!

“Baitfish are the key especially early in March,” Will said. Warmer days kick in the largemouth pre-spawn feeding spree and the bass want a lot of food. And they will be near the spawning areas.  To catch them you need only a few baits.  Will rigs a Rat-L-Trap, a spinnerbait, a jig and pig and a Texas rigged worm to cover all his fishing bases.

For spotted bass fishing Will with have a 5XD crankbait in sexy shad color and a Davis three eights ounce shaky head jig with a green pumpkin or Junebug Trick worm on it. He likes to dip his worms in clear JJs Magic to give them a strong garlic smell and sometimes dips the tails in chartreuse for a flash spots love.

Will took me out the first week of February. The weekend before we went, he and his partner landed a limit of bass weighing 17.6 with a 5.5 pound kicker.  The fish were already on the pattern they will be on in March and were feeding when we went.  We caught about 40 keeper bass on the following holes and the best five weighed about 16 pounds.

N. 32 32.081 – W 87 51.192 – Going upstream the Black Warrior River splits to the right and the Tombigee River goes straight ahead.  Go into the Black Warrior and just a couple of hundred yards upstream on your left sawgrass starts lining the bank. In the middle of it a slough opens behind the grass. There are two ditches coming out of the slough with the one downstream much wider.

Stop just downstream of the lower opening and fish upstream.  While fishing watch for birds feeding along the edge of the grass and baitfish action against it. If either are present it means bass are likely to be feeding or holding just off the bank waiting to feed. 

The morning we fished there were a couple of birds on the bank and we saw baitfish dimpling the surface, and a few swirls as fish had breakfast.  In the next hour we landed at least a dozen keeper largemouth. The fish were hitting a red Trap for Will but he said the weekend before his spinnerbait worked better here, so try both.

Throw your Trap and spinnerbait right against the edge of the grass as you fish to the first opening.  At the opening throw into it across the points on both sides.  Fish on up to the mouth of the second ditch and a little way past it. Some current moving here helps.

Watch back in the slough, too, for baitfish, birds and bass activity.  The water is very shallow but it is the kind of place bass spawn so they will be back in here, especially later in March. Go into it and work all three of your baits in here, fishing the grass edges in the slough.

2.  N 32 31.088 – W 87 48.981 – Running up the Black Warrior you will see a big cement plant on the right bank.  It is on an outside bend of the river and there is a barge landing there. Downstream of the landing a tall bulkhead wall rises from the edge of the river.  Just downstream of the bulkhead is a small ditch and on the right side of it you can see an old railroad causeway.

This is a good place to catch spots but some largemouth feed here, too.  There are rocks on the bottom and current hits the bulkhead and old railroad causeway debris in the water, moving baitfish along the bank and drawing in bass. 

Stop just downstream of the ditch and cast a crankbait or Trap right to the edge of the water around it. Work up to the bulkhead and get you boat in close to it and fish crankbait and jig head parallel along it. There are rocks and other cover along the base of the wall.  Will stops when his boat gets to the upstream end of the wall, making a few casts to the bank past it.

3.  N 32 31.430 – W 87 48.302 – Run upstream to French Creek on the right and go into it. It is a huge creek but the opening is very small with a no wake buoy in the mouth of the ditch and another one back where the ditch opens up. Idle past the second one then go to the point on the right side just downstream of where the houses on the bank start.

This point has grass along it near the bank and some stumps out on the flat bottom.   Will says this is a good place to catch big largemouth and spots in March. They move in off the river and stop on this point as they work into the creek to spawn, holding here and filling up on baitfish.

Keep your boat out a long cast from the edge of the water and cast your Trap and spinnerbait close to the bank. Run both baits by any patches of grass out from the edge. Keep your bait moving slowly all the way to the boat since there are scattered stumps off the bank to hold fish.  Fish all the way around the point to the bank of it near the fist house.

4. N 32 31.546 – W 87 48.097 – Across the creek one docks floats way off the bank.  Go across just upstream of it. Be careful until you lean this creek, it is shallow.  Just upstream of the dock a flat anvil shaped point runs out and has big oak trees on either end of it.

Start out from the upstream end and fish downstream around that end of the point. Throw your Trap and spinnerbait against the bank and run them past clumps of grass just like in Hole 3.  Bass hold and feed along this bank, too, as they move in to spawn.

5.  N 32 31.403 – W 87 47.725 – Carefully going up French Creek, you will come to where it splits into two arms. The left arm goes back under a powerline. Go into this small creek and stop on the outside of the first point in it on your left, before you get to the powerlines.  It is covered with grass and is a good stopping point as the bass move into this creek to spawn. The point is fairly deep and has some rock on it, too.

This point is better from the middle of the month to the end. More and more fish will move back as the water warms and you can catch numbers of fish. But fish it early, too, since the bigger bass often move in to spawn earlier than the majority of bass. You may not get many bites on your Trap or Spinnerbait but could be grown one.

6.  N 32 31.320 – W 87 47.720 – Go across the mouth of the small creek to the upstream point of it. This flat point runs out to a small island and has grass all along the point, gap between the bank and island, and the island itself.  Fish the point and out to the island and around it with Trap and Spinnerbait.

Some wind blowing in on places like this helps move baitfish to the area and position bass to feed on them. A gentle wind will also move the warmer surface water to banks like this, warming them a little deeper than the main lake or points out of the wind. That can make them even more attractive to bass.

7.  N 32 33.422 – W 87 47.580 – Go back out to the river and head upstream. You will go under a set of big powerlines over the river then a straight before it  makes a right bend. While you are running up the straight stretch, when you see an orange roof house and dock ahead of you in the bend on the left bank, slow down and watch to your right.  You will see a small ditch that leads back to a big oxbow lake just off the river. We had to go through the ditch with the trolling motor since the lake was down a little. Go through it and when it opens up the water will get deeper.  This oxbow runs way back along the river and is a big spawning area.

Go in and ease to the point on the right where the oxbow bends to the right. A lot of standing timber starts at this turn and bass will hold in it. The point on the right is a prime feeding place for big fish and numbers of fish this month. We caught several keepers along this point and on the bank across from it, too.

Fish the whole area with all your baits.  Work the grass as well as the stumps sticking out of the water.  You can fish all the way to the back and Hole #8 or fish around the point, the key area, then idle through the stump field to the point in the back.

8. N 32 33.329 – W 87 47.542 –  Almost in the very back, where the oxbow makes a left then right bend, there is another very good point on the left. It is one of the last feeding areas before the bass bed, and they will bed all over this area.  Fish all around it on both sides and the outside bend across from it with all your baits.

I caught a couple of bass in here on a black and blue jig and pig. Will makes his own jigs that come through the grass and he gave me one.  I put a blue Zoom Fat Albert twin tail on it but Will prefers a black or blue Little Critter Craw.  He fishes the jig or a Texas rigged green pumpkin or June Bug Trick worm behind a three sixteenths ounce sinker

Both jig and pig and Texas rig are fished around the grass and wood cover, moving them slowly along the bottom until you hit cover, then shaking them before hopping the baits over the cover. Feeding bass will hit both as will bass already on the bad that you cannot see due to the stained water.

9.  N 32 34.342 – W 87 47.004 – Run up the river and watch on your right for red channel marker 226.8.  The numbers are on a small, faded sign near the red marker and hard to see.  Upstream of the marker a ditch goes out on the right and opens up into creek that is an excellent spawning creek and fills with feeding bass in March. Will says it is a great place to catch numbers and size.

This creek is small enough to fish all the way around it, and we did.  Start on the left at a cut going back – there is a matching ditch on the other side.  Fish the grass all the way to the back and out the other side.  You could stay in this protected creek all day.

Will picked up an individual fish as we worked around this creek on both Trap and spinnerbait, then we hit a small pocket behind a little point on the left going out.  The wind was blowing into the creek and the calm area behind the point held a school of fish.

Will caught fish after fish on spinnerbait and I caught a couple on a Chatterbait. We would see baitfish dimpling regularly and a swirl of a feeding fish every so often. We sat in one place and caught at least a dozen keepers without moving.  You can hit a school like that at any time on any of these places.

10.  N 32 35.169 – W 87 46.844 – Way up the river the Alabama Power Green County Plant sits on the left side of the river.  There is a canal going off the river on the left running up to the plant, and it has an outflow of warm water from the plant.  The right side of the canal is natural rock and the left side is riprap up to the barge unloading piers. The plant changed from coal to gas so there are no longer lines of barges with coal waiting to unload along this side.

Start on the downstream point of the canal.  Spots love this point and the canal itself. Will says so many tournaments were won with limits of big spots from this area the canal was put off limits by some groups.

Fish the point with Trap and crankbait if current is moving, then fish it with your shaky head.  Work into the canal, fishing up all the way to the plant.  Stay in near the bank and cast a crankbait up ahead of your boat to make it come back with the current as you go upstream. The current and warmer water both attract fish.

Will caught a couple of small spots here on a crankbait, but there was no current moving when we were there.  If the current is not moving you can stay in the area and wait on a discharge to turn on the fish, then load the boat when it happens.

All these places were already holding bass a few weeks ago and will be better now, and get better and better as March progresses. Check them out and you can find many similar places on Demopolis to fish this month.  

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry


Also See:

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack


Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 7/29/23

I haven’t put up a report for 2 weeks as I had a little personal travel that I was doing but
fishing is really good the first three hours of the morning if it overcast it lasted maybe another
hour or so. The fish have been feeding early until the heat and sun set in.
Baits are fairly common summertime baits, big worms, Missile Bait worms, SPRO Pop-r’s,
Tight-Line jigs and swim jigs. We have been using a few others just to see what they might
chase bit these are the baits catching fish for us. You have to get on the water at or before
first light to maximize the chances of catching fish in the heat.

Different Ways to Rig a Senko

In the summertime you have to be able to adjust to the lethargic action from most bass this
time of year; one way to do this is to fish a Senko and there are many ways to present it that
can help you catch fish.

One of the most common ways in the summer so you get a slow drop into the grass is to
Texas rig it weightless; I like using a 4.0 hook as the size of the hook adds just enough drop
from the size to make it slowly fall into the holes of the grass. Doing this allows you to be
patient, feel the bite and let the bait do the work for you.

One way to use a Senko especially when fish are suspending is to hook it directly in the end of
the worm and use a very light weight to let it drop through the deeper water at a slow rate.

Suspending fish will react to this presentation, you can rig it like a drop shot and hang the
weight below the Senko or just use a light slider weight either pegged or not and let the fall
of the bait drop through the fish. Finding schools of fish on your electronics and then
dropping the end hooked Senko through them is a great way to catch numbers. Your
electronics can be key in the summer for this to gain immediate positive results.

I also like wacky rigging it on a Shakey head that is maybe only 1/8 oz. in weight, doing this
gives the Senko more action and entices the bass to react to the different movement of the
wacky rig. Using this in water of 10 ft. or more can be deadly as the bait moves and sways
back and forth to the bottom. The 1/8 oz. amount of weight is just enough to get the bait to
drop to the depth where the fish are and cause the bait to move and cause a reaction. Shakey
heads are just great in the summer and this presentation just makes it better. Summers in the
summer catch fish and using different set-ups just make it better.

Big Worms for Summer

Over my many years of guiding I have found that most fisherman believe that using a big
worm in the heat of the summer is not the smartest of decisions; well, I believe it’s all in
technique and if you choose it correctly their very effective. There are so many little things to
consider when using a big worm in the heat of the summer but when you make the correct
decision based on the conditions you can have a great day in the heat.

First of all, the best summer technique for a big worm is dragging it on the bottom, bottom
hugging a big worm instead of moving it in an up and down is the key to success as most bass
in the heat are located on the bottom especially past 9am or so in the morning as the sun
comes up. However, this technique requires some thought especially if the deep water has
developed a thermocline on the bottom, which with the correct sensitivity of your electronics
you can actually see. Thermocline destroys the oxygen on the bottom and fishing it with any
bait is a waste of time; you have to move shallower when this occurs for the fish to bite as
they will move to better levels of oxygen. Another key is current, big worms in the summer
are very effective when there is current as it moves the bait as you drag it on the bottom
creating a movement bass will strike.

I like any big worm from 8 inches to 10 inches in the summer and the more tail action you get
from it the better the bait works for you. I also believe that the worm that floats up from the
bottom the better the worm works in the heat of the summer. So, dragging a floating worm
with lots of tail movement really makes for a great bait in the warm water as it projects off
the bottom making for a tantalizing bait. Color can also be key don’t be stuck on one color, if
you’re not successful try a different color to see if it changes the bite for you. Big worms, big
fish in the summer, try it you like it!

Come fish with me I have days available to fish with you, no one will treat you better, we are
a professional guide service with great equipment and experienced Captains. We fish with
super sponsor products Lowrance Electronics, Ranger Boats, Boat Logix mounts, Mercury
Motors, Duckett Fishing, Vicious Fishing, Lew’s Fishing, Strike King, Power Pole, Dawson Boat
Center and more.

Where and How to Catch April Bass at Lake Martin with GPS Coordinates

April Bass at Martin with Kelley Jaye

    April is the month most bass fishermen dream of, with big sow bass in shallow water on the bed and bass of all sizes roaming the shallows feeding.  It is a dream month for bass fishing, and you can make your dreams come true at Lake Martin.

    Martin is a big clear water lake north of Montgomery on the Tallapoosa River.  It is known for its spotted bass but it has a good population of largemouth, too.  By late March many largemouth buck bass will be in the shallows scouting for bedding spots and the big females will be close behind.

    Spotted bass will be feeding on deeper points and will start looking for bedding areas in April. They bed deeper and are hard to catch by sight fishing but are aggressive and will hit many baits fished where they are holding.  Spots are fun to catch and you can catch a bunch of them right now, but for tournament fishermen you want to fish for largemouth for a heavy stringer.

    Kelley Jaye has lived in Reeltown since he was 12 years old and has been fishing Martin since then. He has done well in tournaments on the lake, finishing second in the BFL Super Tournament there a couple of years ago.   This year he is fishing the FLW Everstart and BASS Open tournaments as well as local tournaments on Martin.

    On March 5 he came in 5th in the BFL on Martin with five spotted bass weighing 14.9 pounds.  Since the largemouth were not bedding yet he stuck with a jerk bait all day and caught the big spots.

    “April is a great month for both spotted bass and largemouth,” Kelley told me.  Spots are concentrated on points and can be caught on topwater baits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, jig head worms, a jig and pig and a Carolina rig.  Largemouth will slam a topwater bait early in the morning then you can sight fish for them on the beds with a jig head worm, Trick worm and a lizard.

    In tournaments Kelley will go to the bedding pockets first thing and go around them with a buzzbait or big stick bait like a Spook.  He works around the shallows fast looking for a reaction strike.  After the sun gets up he goes back around the shallows and throws a Trick worm or weightless lizard to bedding bass.

    To catch a lot of bass Kelley will fish secondary points in the bigger creeks and coves, looking for schools of spots.  A spinnerbait or jerk bait worked across the point early will get hit, as will a topwater bait.  After the sun gets up a jig head worm, jig and pig or Carolina rig will catch them.

    Kelley does not have any sponsors at this time so he uses baits and equipment he likes best.  He prefers a G Loomis rod and a Johnny Morris DBS reel with BPS fluorocarbon line for jigs and jig head worms or Suffix Monofilament line for topwater.

    For April Kelley will have a peanut butter half ounce Chompers jig with a twin tail brown trailer and a BPS quarter ounce jighead with a Zoom green pumpkin Speedworm tied on for spot fishing after the sun gets up.  He likes a Rogue jerk bait, a Spook and a one half ounce white and chartreuse spinnerbait with one gold and one silver blade for early fishing on the points.

    For largemouth the Spook works early as does a buzzsbait.  For later fishing he ties a five-0 hook and threads a Zoom Green pumpkin Trick worm on it.  He also likes a Zoom six or eight inch lizard rigged weightless for throwing around visible beds.  He expects to find largemouth bedding down to about four feet deep. If he needs the lizard to go a little deeper or if it is windy he will tie a swivel ahead of it to get it down.   

    We fished in early March the day before the BFL and Kelley showed me the following spots for April fishing. We caught about 15 spots, they were already feeding on points and they hit spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, jig head worms and jig and pig. By now even bigger spots will be feeding and the largemouth will be moving in.

    1. N 32 43.104 – W 85 50.155 – The very back of Spain Branch has a good spawning flat and is the kind of place you want to look for largemouth. Go back to the powerlines where they cross on the right side and start fishing. There are a lot of stumps on the point that comes out just past the powerlines and all over the flats in the back of the creek.

    Work around it before the sun gets bright with a topwater bait like a Spook or buzzbait. Make long cast and work the baits fast. You want to cover as much water as quickly as you can, searching for a reaction strike from a big largemouth.  If you can see stumps cast to them but it will be hard to spot cover or fish under water before the sun gets up.

    After sun up go around the cove watching for bass on the bed. Throw a weighless lizard to bass that don’t run off when you cast to them.  You don’t need to waste time casting to beds when the           fish swims way off when you spook it. Kelley says they are ready to hit when they stay within five or six feet of the bed, come right back, and pay attention to your lizard.

    2.  N 32 45.145 – W 85 51.456 – Across Blue Creek just upstream of the point with Union Ramp on the South Side of the creek and the long point coming toward it on the other side, there is an island just off the bank.  Downstream of this island is a shallow spawning pocket where bass move in early. There are a few stumps and some brush in it and it has a hard bottom, a requirement to draw bedding fish.

    Start on the right side at the metal roof dock with a kids slide on the bank to the right of it facing it.  Work the brush there and around the next small red dock. There is a good bit of brush the left of the red dock that will be in six or seven feet of water at full pool, and bass will hold in it before bedding.

    When the water temperature is 60 to 62 degrees first thing in the morning and warms to 65 to 67 in the afternoon Kelley says he knows he will find largemouth back in these pockets.  He expects to find two to four beds in a small pocket like this when the spawn is on.

    3.  N 32 43.624 – W 85 51.043 – Go back across to Cooper Branch and go past the two long points on your left going in.  Just past the second one the very back of the cove where Center Port Road bends around it is a good spawning area.  It is protected and lined with docks all the way around it.

    You will see twin houses with tin roofs on the right side going into the cove. One is brown and one is green. Start working the docks in front of them and work around the cove, fishing topwater early around the docks and brush then coming back and looking for bedding bass.

    Bass like to bed beside a stump or dock post so look closely at those kinds of areas.  Bass on the bed can be hard to spot but practice helps. Look for the black tip of the tail or any movement.  Watch them to see if they hang close to the bed or move off so you will know if they are ready to hit.

    4. N 32 42.878 – W 85 50.901 – In the back of Cooper Branch a point comes out with small cabins on it. This is Lake Martin RV Resort.  A good creek enters on the left side of it, facing it. This long narrow creek splits in the back and holds a lot of bedding bass.

    Go in and you can fish the steep bank on your right, there is a good bit of brush on it. Start across from the cabin with a patio house down the slope from it then a dock. All three have green roofs.  Work around both sides and the back for bedding bass.

    Where the creek splits past the green roof dock the cove straight ahead, the left fork, has a good channel coming out cutting through a flat.  Channels help draw bass in and coves with a ditch or channel are best. Kelley says bass will stage on the ditch and work in to the bedding spots, the use it working back out, too.

     5.  N 32 42.797 – W 85 41.503 – Come out of the cut above and go past the RV Resort, following that bank to your left.  You will round a point and see a big gray house with lots of tin roofs at different angles on it. It sits on a narrow rocky point that is a good example of the kind of places spotted bass hold and feeding in April. They may bed on these points, too.   

    Kelley likes to sit on the channel side of the point and throw across it, working it from shallow to deep. Start with a spinnerbait, jerk bait or topwater bait early in the morning.  If fish are hitting the jerk bait Kelley will often keep throwing it all day. He says sometimes big spots will eat the jerk bait all day. You won’t get m any bites but can catch some quality spots this way.

    Drag a jig head worm or jig and pig across the point, too. Kelley says he seldom uses a Carolina rig because he seems to catch bigger bass on the jig head worm, or jig and pig, but if you use one try a half ounce sinker with a green pumpkin lizard or Finesse worm following it.

    Kelley likes a quarter ounce BPS jig for his shaky head worm fishing and a half ounce Chompers jig with a twin tail trailer.  Work both slowly across the point with small hops and drags, covering the entire bottom on the point.

    6. N 32 42.527 – W 85 51.333 – Keep going toward the back of Cooper Branch and it splits to the left and right. Stay to your left going in and this narrow channel goes way back. There is a no wake buoy in the mouth of it and a danger marker in the center near the back. The danger marker is on a flat point that comes off the right bank.

    A good channel comes out of this cove and the flats on both sides of it are good bedding areas. It is very shallow back in here, especially if the lake is down some.  Bass will bed anywhere in the back of this creek so fish all around it.

    7.  N 32 43.127 – W 85 51.665 – Come out of the above cove and past the danger marker. Watch to your left and when you pass three coves running back to the left, there is a big point with some big new houses on it on your left.  Watch for the point with the gray house and you will see a big stump on the right tip of that point just off the seawall.

    Way off this point a hump comes up to about ten feet deep with the lake down six feet like it was when we were there. There is a big log and some trees on this point and it is a good place to work a jig head worm, jig and pig or Carolina rig.

    Kelley keeps his boat out in deep water and works all the way around the hump, throwing up on top of it and working his bait out to deeper water.  Probe for the log and brush and concentrate additional casts when you hit cover.

    8.  N 32 43.452 – W 85 52.246 – Go toward the mouth of Cooper Branch and into the last big cove on your left.  Ahead and on the right side of this big cove are several points. One with a “For Sale” sign on it has no house but there is a sculptured concrete sea wall around it.  This point has shale rock on the downstream side and two flat points run off the upstream side, across the cove above it. These points have smaller rock on them.

    All three areas hold bass. Fish them will all your baits. Stay out in deeper water and cast toward the bank, working your bait from shallow to deep. Also go past the point and cast back across it bringing your bait at a different angle.

    Some wind blowing in on this and other points makes them better for spinnerbait and jerk bait but more difficult to fish with a jig or jig head worm. Heavy wind will make them almost impossible to fish because you can not hold the boat in position.  Choose your bait based on the wind.

    9. N 32 44.896 – W 85 51.930 – Go back across Blue Creek and into the bog pocket across from Union Ramp. It is behind a big island.  The pocket splits into two arms running north. Go in the left one and start fishing just inside the right point. It has a smaller side cove to the left and a bigger cove to the right. It has a big brown house on the main point and a dock inside the point on your right going in.

    Fish all around this pocket with a Trick worm and watch for beds.  Fish the points, especially the one between the two coves, with jerk baits, jig head worm and jig and pig.  The smaller left hand cove has lots of trash in it from cleaning the lots so fish it carefully.

    10.  N 32 44.889 – W 85 51.762 – Go around the big main point between the two big coves and watch for a flat secondary point on your left. It is in front of a brown house with a rock patio. Just past the house the dock has two orange floats in front of it.

    Stay well off the bank and fish the point with a jig head worm and a jig and pig.  Hop and slide both baits down the slope of the point.  Keep your boat out in deep water and throw shallow, and fish all the way around the point.

    These places all are holding bass right now on Martin. Check them out to see the kinds of places Kelley fishes and you can find many similar places all over the lake to catch spots and largemouth.