Category Archives: Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing Information

Columbiana Inn Bed and Breakfast

On travels around Georgia and Alabama “researching” information for Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News magazines, I get to fish most bigger lakes in both states with some really good fishermen. And on longer trips, I stay in interesting places and eat at local restaurants. Some are excellent, some not so much.

On a recent trip to Lay Lake with college fisherman Ryan Branch, we caught some good fish and had fun on a beautiful lake. I spent two nights at the charming Columbiana Inn Bed and Breakfast six miles from the Beeswax Boat Ramp. I did not have my boat, but the owners said fishermen with boats often stay there and there is good off-street parking.

I missed breakfast the first morning since I had to be on the lake before sunrise, but the next morning I was served the best omelet I have ever eaten. It was served with a fruit bowl and delicious pound cake.

The town of Columbiana is a pretty antebellum town with nice people, at least all I met were, and interesting history. There is plenty to do other than fish. DeSoto Springs are not far away and there is a covered bridge park, as well as lots to see in town.

One night I ate dinner at Paradise Point Marina restaurant and had a good, but expensive, shrimp po-boy sandwich. The view of the lake and marina was great.

I had to visit Davis Drug Store while there to get a seat cushion, mine blew out of the boat, and the lady that helped me was extremely nice. And I was told the owner was a bass fisherman!

I would recommend a trip there for fishing or sightseeing, or just a great place to relax for a few days. I was there during the week and the only guest for two nights, but there were at least six rooms reserved for the weekend, so make reservations well in advance!

May Tournament At Jackson Lake

On Sunday, May 5, nine members and guests of the Flint River Bass Club fished our May tournament at Jackson Lake. After eight hours of casting, we brought 25 bass to the scales. As usual, there were only nine largemouth weighed in. There were three limits and two fishermen didn’t catch a keeper.

Niles Murray won with five weighing 9.03 pounds and Chuck Croft placed second with five at 8.29 pounds. Tom Murray, Niles’ 13-year-old nephew fishing with him, placed third with four weighing 5.61 pounds and had big fish with a pretty 2.89-pound spot. I placed fourth with five at 4.97 pounds.

I thought it would be a perfect day, with rain and thunderstorms guessed at. But, as usual, if you planned your trip on what the weather guessers said, you missed a beautiful partly cloudy day on the lake. I hoped it would rain to keep pleasure boaters off the water.

The first few places I fished were rocky banks and points where I hoped shad would be spawning, but I guess it is over, I saw no activity. And I got no bites on a crankbait or spinnerbait.

I finally caught a small keeper spot on a shaky head worm on some rocks at 8:30. That turned out to be the pattern of the day for me, small fish on a shaky head worm.

I got my second keeper on the shaky head on a rock pile out on a flat point. I kept catching short spots, ten and 11 inches long, and invited them all home for dinner. Spots have taken over Jackson and hurt the largemouth population. There is no size limit on spots, so I try to keep ten small ones for dinner each trip.

My third keeper, another small spot, came off a seawall. Don Gober and his grandson Alex were fishing the same bank and we were talking when it hit. My fourth keeper was a small largemouth that hit on some rocks, the only largemouth I caught, at about 10:00.

It got slow for the next few hours. Even the small spots quit biting. At 2:00, with an hour left to fish, I caught my fifth fish to fill my limit. It hit as the other spots, on some rocks on a point.

With 30 minutes left to fish I decided to change and ran to a brush pile near the weigh-in site. I caught may “kicker” fish, a spot weighing just over a pound, there on the shaky head worm. Maybe I should have fished more brush but that was the only bite I got around any brush I fished.

Bassing with Spinnerbaits

Tips for Bassing with Spinnerbaits
by Marc Marcantoni, Yakima Baits Pro Staff
from The Fishing Wire

Spinnerbait


A spinnerbait is one of the most reliable lures for catching bass anywhere they are found. New materials like tin bodies, high-tech UV finishes, and better manufacturing processes make spinnerbaits deadlier than ever. Anyone can catch fish on a spinnerbait, once you learn some basic principles.

You may wonder what in nature could possibly resemble this awkward looking contraption, and why would fish eat them? Look at a spinnerbait from a fish-eye perspective, below the surface, rather than from your perspective when holding one in your hand.

Bass eat bait fish, which a spinnerbait mimics so well with its vibration and flash. These features attract fish from a long distance. The flash of the spinning blades is visible from a distance and mimics the flash of a school of bait fish. In stained water flash is less visible, but the vibration produced by the blades is felt by the sensitive nerve endings in the bass’ lateral line. Fish hunt their food by sight, hearing and feel. When they home-in on the flash and vibration, the bait fish appearance of the spinnerbait body seals the deal, resulting in vicious strikes that do not require a sensitive rod to detect.

What makes a spinnerbait unique and particularly effective is how it can be fished in heavy cover without snagging. Spinnerbaits were designed with this objective and are virtually snagfree thanks to the upturned single hook that’s directly in line with the wire arms. This allows a spinnerbait to be pulled over the top of fallen tree branches and through submerged vegetation, where bass like to hunt for bait fish. Astute anglers cast spinnerbaits beyond every type of heavy cover, and swim the lure so it comes in contact with cover and structure.


Spinnerbaits are Fish Finders

Whether fishing unfamiliar waters or your local lake, spinnerbaits are ideal for hunting your quarry. They allow you to quickly learn where fish are located. Unlike fishing soft plastics, spinnerbaits are retrieved more quickly, allowing the searching angler to cover a lot of water efficiently. Probing both shallow and deep water can be accomplished with these unique safety-pin inspired lures, and in minimal time. There is no better lure made for quickly determining where bass are located. How they attack your spinnerbait will also expose their temperament.

When bass are aggressive and jumping on your spinnerbait, stick with it. If they follow but don’t strike, consider making a change in color, size, or style of blades. If the spinnerbait is ignored, you can bet the fish are telling you to slow down and try different lures and methods better suited for inactive fish.

Where and How to Use Them

The most successful retrieve in shallow water allows the spinning blades to bulge the surface, without causing them to break through the water. A fleeing bait fish provides the same disturbance to the calm surface water of a lake, river, or pond. Predatory fish use the surface of the water as a barrier, making it easier to capture their prey by preventing escape by swimming up higher.

Added attraction can be created by momentarily stopping the retrieve just long enough to cause the spinnerbait to stutter. The momentary change of blade speed, coupled with a drop of the lure during the brief pause, will often trigger a strike from a following fish. Pausing a spinnerbait next to cover can inspire a reaction strike from inactive fish. Even better, whenever possible swim your spinnerbait so that it crashes into stumps, dock pilings, branches, or any other cover. The sudden change of direction created by the contact with the cover triggers arm-jarring strikes.

A spinnerbait is also deadly in deep water. Bait fish follow their food, not only in shallow water but in deep water too. When schools of bait fish go deep, largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass follow. This often happens where the water is calm and clear. In deep water, the key to success with a spinnerbait is to place your lure at the same depth used by the bait fish.

When the proper depth intersects with a piece of cover like a bridge piling, boulder, or deep weed edge, you want to place your spinnerbait in the same spot. Again, bump your spinnerbait into the cover, or otherwise twitch or pause the lure next to the deep cover. The change of direction is what triggers the strike.

Getting your spinnerbait to work in deep water requires understanding how to select the proper model, especially its weight, blade size and blade shape.

At times the most effective method of fishing a spinnerbait doesn’t rely on a retrieve. “Helicoptering” spinnerbaits involves pitching (a form of lobbing the spinnerbait) or casting to a target and allowing the spinnerbait to fall vertically along that target. Bass, as ambush predators, will charge out and grab it on the fall. You’ll likely see the bite before you feel it. Your line will jump or trail off one way or the other, when that happens…set the hook! The Drop Dead FredTM made by Hildebrandt® was expressly designed for this highly effective application. The design of this spinnerbait allows for a slow fall which keeps the bait working longer through the water column.


Wind is Your Friend

Many anglers find fishing in the wind to be uncomfortable, and because of that avoid it whenever possible. Wind and spinnerbaits go together better than peanut butter and jelly. Bass utilize wind to hunt more easily for bait fish that struggle in the waves. Because waves break up the light penetration, bait fish tend to locate near the surface. A quickly moving spinnerbait is the best tool to exploit wind conditions, and it is common to load the boat by fishing spinnerbaits in the wind and waves.

Current Can Also Help

Like wind, current collects bait fish and predatory fish, making current seams prime locations to fish a spinnerbait. Current seams create an edge, or barrier (like the surface or the bottom) that fish utilize to trap their prey. Study any river, tidal flat, or lake to locate current seams, and cast your spinnerbait so it runs where the moving water and calm water meet. Position yourself so that you cast up-current, and retrieve your spinnerbait in the same direction as the water flow. Predators expect bait fish to move with the current, and you will catch more bass by paying attention to this.

Selecting the Right Spinnerbait

The best spinnerbait is one that matches the conditions, and best imitates bait fish. Each component must be considered to match the water color and clarity, depth, type of cover, and activity level of your quarry. Spinnerbait models vary by the quality and thickness of the wire, the color, shape, and size of the blades, the body size and material used for the body (including the skirt), the length and size of the hook, and the quality of the swivel used. The number of possible combinations of components is endless, and no tackle box or budget can cover all the bases. The wise angler buys an assortment of models with changeable components, and then adjusts each spinnerbait to produce the flash, vibration, size and color that produces the best combination for the fishing conditions.

The most important component of a spinnerbait to consider is the blades. When selecting the proper blade, always start with a good quality blade that spins at a variety of speeds. Hildebrandt® is the industry leader in manufacturing top- quality blades. They are balanced and shaped perfectly, with precision thickness and taper. Hildebrandt® blades are matched with a genuine Sampo® ball-bearing swivel, to ensure the blades are free-spinning. The thick plate finish is polished.

To reflect maximum light, and the copper blades are lacquer coated to prevent tarnishing. The bottom line is when you purchase a Hildebrandt spinnerbait, or packages of Hildebrandt blades, you catch more fish!

Colorado blades are rounded, and produce the most vibration and lift. Because of these characteristics, they allow you to fish a spinnerbait more slowly than other blade shapes. They are the best choice for fishing in shallow, cold water, or when- ever bass are less aggressive and responding to slower presentations. The additional vibration is important when fishing stained water or low-light conditions where bass use their sense of feel to locate prey, more than their sense of sight.

Willow-leaf blades are shaped like their namesake, and produce more flash and less vibration. A spinnerbait with willow-leaf blades can be retrieved much faster, and much deeper. They are the blade of choice when fish are deep, since they do not cause your spinnerbait to lift when retrieved. They allow you to fish a spinnerbait at maximum speed, making them a great choice when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees and bass are aggressive. In clear water, a fast retrieve can trigger a bass to strike before it gets a good look at the lure. Willow-leaf blades produce the most flash, and when fished at high speeds they will produce great results in clear water.

Blade color can be silver, copper, gold, or painted. Silver is typically a good choice for clear water, and in bright, sunny conditions. Copper blades are best when fishing water that is generally clear, but with a tannic or dark stain. Gold or brass is preferable when the bait fish have yellow highlights, like golden shiners. Painted blades cover a variety of conditions. Chartreuse is used in muddy water, white in low light conditions with clear water, and combinations of both cover a variety of situations. Hildebrandt offers their Elite Pro SeriesTM spinnerbait in True LifeTM painted blades that add a striking bait fish appeal with UV finishes for maximum visibility under all light and water color conditions.

Experiment with blade color to find the color(s) that are most effective in the water you’re fishing.

Hildebrandt spinnerbaits have been purposely designed with this concept in mind. They feature an innovative, quick-change clevis so you can change your blade in seconds as you look for the most effective blade and color combination. Rather than purchasing and carrying dozens of spinnerbaits with different blades, Hildebrandt spinnerbaits allow you to carry several different weight or style spinnerbaits, all with the ability to add the desired blade shape or finish of your choice. Spare Hildebrandt blades in all sizes, shapes and finishes are available from full service tackle dealers around the country.

Skirts and trailers can also be changed, and are also readily available from your dealer.

The spinnerbait body serves several important functions. It assures your spinnerbait runs straight with the hook in the up position; it provides a life-like minnow profile to target; and also serves to hold skirts or soft plastic trailers for added enticement.

Spinnerbaits designed for largemouth bass generally have larger frames, heavier gauge wire, and larger blades. Hildebrandt spinnerbaits like the Tin RollerTM, the Okeechobee SpecialTM, and the new Drum RollerTM are popular choices and sport the quick-change blade feature. Largemouth bass spend much of their time in shallow water, especially around heavy cover so the beefier construction is critical.

When selecting the most appropriate spinnerbait, choose one that allows you to match the bait fish largemouth bass are eating. Identifying the best retrieve speed, amount of flash, and the amount of vibration necessary in triggering strikes will determine the amount of success you have. Speed and vibration are controlled by both the reel retrieve speed and by the style of blades on the spinnerbait. By changing the sizes and style (Willow-leaf or Colorado) of the blades, you can adjust the degree of flash and vibration to fine tune your presentation.

Smallmouth bass and spotted bass are frequently found in open water, and they forage on smaller bait fish, so a more compact design works better. The new Hildebrandt Double DeepTM is deadly for both species. Weighing in at one-ounce, and paired with Willow-leaf blades, allows you to achieve maximum depth and speed that isn’t possible with other designs. The overall size is more compact, and the smaller gauge stainless steel wire provides the perfect vibration, without sacrificing strength. Use a #3.5 blade when you need maximum speed and less ash. A #4.0 blade is the most commonly used size for most conditions, and a larger #4.5 blade can be used for slower speeds, more flash, and stronger vibration. Each blade size has a time and place, so carry all sizes and experiment until you dial-in the best for the day.

Give Them What They Want
When bass are aggressive and attack your spinnerbait, you’ve found the ideal combination of speed, size, and color. If they follow and turn-away instead of striking, they are telling you they are interested, but the color or size is wrong. In most cases a simple color change fixes the problem, and changing the rear blade will likely make the difference. A skirt change would be the next best choice, and finally a change in weight and retrieve speed should be considered.

Just under the surface, in and around structure, in deep water and all points in-between, spinnerbaits have earned their place as a primary bait in catching all species of bass. Apply this know-how of size, color, speed and depth, being mindful of how you approach your targets and fishing bass-holding water and you’ll find spinnerbaits will occupy a place of prominence in your fishing strategy too.

Marc Marcantonio is an accomplished tournament bass fishing professional with three IGFA world records to his name along with a long list of impressive tournament wins and credentials. Marc is also a member of the Yakima Bait pro-staff. Beyond Marc’s tournament activities he’s a frequent seminar speaker and writer.

Winning A Clarks Hill Tournament – Details

April fishing was very good last weekend( April 27 -28) for the 13 Spalding County Sportsman Club members fishing our tournament at Clarks Hill. In 17 hours of casting over two days, we weighed in 98 bass weighing about 166 pounds. There were 15 five-fish limits and the only angler to not catch a fish went home early on
Saturday.

I managed to win with ten bass weighing 23.22 pounds and Niles Murray was a close second with ten weighing 22.01 pounds. Raymond English had ten at 19.12 pounds for third. Billy Roberts came in fourth with eight weighing 15.73 pounds and his 4.28 pound largemouth was big fish.

I found a shad spawn early Saturday and caught fish on a swim bait, underspin and whacky rigged Senko, landing a limit by 7:20, only 50 minutes after blasting off. The current was moving from generation at the dam, a critical factor. There was one big rock when I came over it just right I hooked a fish on almost every

Later in the day I caught fish on a shaky head and Carolina rig. Saturday, I had five weighing 13.95 pounds, including a 3.26 pounder, but I lost a bass that looked like it weighed about 4.5 pounds when it jumped and threw may bait back at me. I landed 15 keeper bass and 5 short ones that day even though I had to go in early and lie down in the back of truck while others fished the last three hours.

Sunday started slow, with my only bite before 7:30 a four-pound striper. But then I got on the right bite and had a limit an hour later at 8:30 and put my tenth keeper in the boat at 9:00. All those fish hit an underspin with a swim bait on it. Then, in other areas, I caught fish on a shaky head, ending up catching 20 keepers and nine short fish.

It was fun getting constant bites all day after a slow start.

Bassmaster Classic Returns To Alabama in 2020

Bassmaster Classic returns to Alabama in 2020 on Guntersville
By Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire

(Photo Credit B.A.S.S.)

Bassmasters Classic


The 50th annual Bassmasters Classic has been announced for Alabama’s Lake Guntersville March 6-8, 2020, with daily weigh-ins and the associated Outdoors Expo set for Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center in downtown Birmingham.

The event has become a sort of World Series and Superbowl combined for those who love competitive bass fishing, and holding it in Alabama for the golden anniversary is bringing it to the heart of the sport—Ray Scott of Montgomery came up with the idea of a national bass tournament circuit in 1970 and the first Classic was held at Lake Mead, Nevada in 1971.

Bass Anglers Sportsman Society—B.A.S.S.—was the membership group Scott put together to support the tournament system as well as educate bass anglers and promote fishery conservation, a relatively unknown concept in fresh water at that time. The time was right and Scott’s promotional abilities, combined with smart use of media, soon built the ranks to a half-million members, largest paid fishing club membership in history by a large margin.

The group was headquartered in Montgomery for many years before being moved to Celebration, Florida, just outside Orlando, when purchased by ESPN in 2001. It came back to Alabama and its current headquarters in Birmingham in 2011 when sold by ESPN to a group of investors, including fishing TV mogul Jerry McKinnis and Time, Inc. exec Don Logan.

The Classic—which is a life-changing experience for the annual winner, awarding a prize of $300,000 in cash—is also a boon for the communities where it’s held, filling up hotels and restaurants for days leading up to and during the event. This year’s event in Knoxville, Tenn., generated an estimated $32.2 million according to the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission, and was visited by a total of over 150,000 people considering all the venues including daily take-offs, weigh-ins at the convention center and the daily gate at the Outdoors Expo. Local and state governments also benefit—the Tennessee Classic generated $2.75 million in state and local tax revenue, including taxes on sales, restaurant purchases and lodging.

The Guntersville/Birmingham event is more spread out than the Knoxville Classic, with the lake some 75 miles from the weigh-ins. The weigh-ins require a large venue, and Legacy Arena can seat close to 20,000—nothing else near Guntersville approaches that. The adjacent expo halls also have the vast square footage necessary to hold the Expo, which has become the largest consumer fishing show on the planet. Many companies in the tackle and fishing boat business use the Expo to reveal their new-for-the-year products.

It also probably does not hurt that this Classic will allow the B.A.S.S. staff to sleep in their own beds—the home offices are located on the southeast side of town.

The daily Classic weigh-ins are worth a visit even for those who have no interest in fishing. With thunderous music, mind-bending light shows and lots of stage smoke, they’re more akin to a big-budget rock music show than a fishing tournament, and the anglers are made into stars.

The program has worked very well for a lot of the top tournament anglers, who are now wealthy men, not only from tournament winnings but also from endorsement and sponsorship deals with companies in the fishing and bass boat business. (We advisedly say “men”—though women are welcome to compete in B.A.S.S. events, none have ever made their way to the Elite Circuit level.)

(Photo Credit B.A.S.S.)
Unfortunately, a lot of those wealthy men won’t be at next year’s event. They fled the home group seeking even greater financial rewards with the new Major League Fishing circuit. Van Dam, Evers, the Lee brothers, Howell, the Lane brothers, Iaconelli, Powroznik and many others are gone—understandably, for it is about business, after all, on all sides. The new MLF made-for-video circuit has proven an exciting and competitive venue so far, and live broadcast combined with the pocket viewing devices that are universal these days seem to spell success.

B.A.S.S. has responded to the new rival by reducing the size of the Elite field (and thus increasing the percentage of each angler winning a given event), vastly increased payouts (including three no-entry fee events that will pay out $1 million each), reducing entry fees and providing every angler with a check—the last place angler in each event earns at least $2500, the first $100,000.

There are not a lot of household names left in the Elite field, but Kevin Van Dam was an unknown boat salesman from Kalamazoo before he entered his first major B.A.S.S. event in 1990. The Classic and the media know-how of the B.A.S.S. team likely will create a new generation of bassing heroes, and it will all get underway next March in Birmingham. It should be well worth attending. (Visit www.bassmaster.com for details.)

Do You Remember Catching Your First Bass?

Last week I received a picture from a grandfather in Colorado of his 5 year old grandson and the first bass he caught. This picture was posted to my website and his comments “Remember when? Look at his smile.” got me to thinking about my first bass.

I really don’t remember the first fish I ever caught. I am sure it was with my mom or grandmother since most of my early fishing was with one of them. I would follow them to local ponds and fish with them all day. We would sometimes get rides from dad but if he could not drop us off, we would walk to nearby ponds. A mile or two walk was not too far to go fishing.

Both mom and grandmother had 5 gallon lard buckets they kept all their fishing tackle in. Hooks, sinkers, corks, an old pair of pliers, stringer, extra line, towel for wiping hands and anything else we might need was in there. Our cane poles were the only thing that did not fit, and these were carried over our shoulder or stuck out the back window of the car. The lard bucket was good for carrying tackle as well as a place to sit while fishing.

We kept everything we caught, no matter how small, since even the tiny bream would “make the grease smell.” Picking around bones was a normal problem while eating fish back then, we had no idea of filleting fish. And I can still taste the crispy tails of the fish fried to perfection. I miss that part of the catch while eating filleted fish.

One place we liked to fish was Usury’s Pond, a big watershed lake about 5 miles from the house. It had a concrete dam and fishing for catfish and bream was often good near it, but the place I liked best was the pool and creek below the dam. Where the water came over the top of the dam and fell to the creek bed it hollowed out a nice pool. And the creek draining from it was deep enough to hold catfish and bream.

I would often walk the creek dropping my bait into holes along the creek. My bait was a gob of red wigglers I dug behind our chicken houses and they were put on a #6 hook suspended about two inches below a split shot. A couple of feet up the line was a cork – a real cork, not a plastic or Styrofoam kind you see now.

One day I was below the dam, sitting on the sandbar and letting my worms drift with the current. Suddenly my cork popped under the water, much quicker than what I was used to seeing. When I raised the tip of my cane a fish went crazy, pulling, running and jumping. It was the first fish I had ever hooked that jumped, and I was hooked, too.

That little bass was probably no more than 10 inches long but it fought harder than anything else I had ever caught, except for some catfish. And it jumped, clearing the water in thrilling splashes. I loved that! I knew then I had to catch more bass.

Over the next few years I got my first spin cast reel, a Zebco 33, and learned to cast lures with it. Then “rubber worms” hit the market. Back then when they first came out you had two choices of colors. Creme worms came in either red or black and they were in plastic bags three to the pack. They were so stiff they kept the curve from the package even after being removed from it.

You could also buy pre-rigged plastic worms that had a two or three hook harness in it, with a spinner blade and some beads in the front. We cast them like a lure and worked them back with a steady action much like a lure. If they sunk to the bottom they would get hung up.

Eventually we learned to use a single hook and rig the worm with the hook buried in the worm. We used split shots in front of the worm for many years until bullet worm weights got popular. We even fished them with no weight, much like floating worms are fished today.

Back then when we felt a bite we let the bass run off with the worm, waiting for it to swallow the hook. I don’t know where we thought the bass had the worm, it had to be in its mouth since they don’t have any hands! Now we know to set the hook quickly before the bass spits the worm out. Back then we would let the bass run till it stopped, then set the hook.

Do you remember your first bass? Share that experience with your children this summer. Tell them about yours, and help them catch their first bass if they have not already done so.

Potato Creek Bassmasters April Lanier Tournament Details

The reason bass fishermen look forward to April was emphasized at the Potato Creek Bassmasters tournament at Lanier last Saturday. We had 26 members fishing for nine hours to land 162 bass weighing about 239 pounds. There were 16 five fish limits over the 14-inch minimum length, and two fishermen did not weigh in a fish. I did not see any largemouth at all.

Ryan Edge won with five weighing 14.12 pounds and his 5.30 pounder was big fish. Raymond English had five at 13.80 for second, Trent Grainger was third with five at 13.68 and Wes Delay came in fourth with five weighing 13.65 pounds. It took 11.57 pounds to place tenth.

We hit an ideal day with nice weather and water temperature and moon phase having big spots up shallow looking for a place to bed. It was a fun day for fishing and catching.

I thought I had a good catch until weigh-in. A ten-pound limit will usually place you in the top four in the club, and I figured I had about that weight by 8:40, but not this time!

I started on a main lake rocky point, but lack of wind was a problem. I caught several short spots on a crankbait but quickly decided to try something different.

Going back into a creek, I stopped on a long shallow point that runs out in front of three small spawning coves. I caught my first keeper at 7:20 on a Carolina rig on the point and at 8:40 I landed my fifth keeper on a shaky head in one of the spawning coves. All hit one of those baits going around the bank, casting to four to six feet of water.

A couple of the spots were good fish, over two pounds each, so I felt pretty good. Over the next two hours I tried similar places and caught five more keepers and many 13-inch spots. All of them fought very hard, as is usual for spotted bass. It was fun fishing.

At 11:00, contrary to the weather guessers prediction of no rain, it started pouring. I eased under a dock and sat there about an hour until it stopped. But something changed. The wind picked up and
I did not get a bite for the next two hours fishing shallow.

Since the wind was blowing, I went back to the main lake point and tried spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
As I rounded the point, I met another boat with two fishermen casting those baits coming the other way. They cranked up and left when we were about 50 yards apart.

As I continued down the bank, I noticed some brush under the boat in 12 feet of water and dropped a shaky head worm into it. My biggest fish of the day, a 2.97 pounder, almost jerked the rod out of my hand. That gave me three good fish over two pounds each, at 2:30 with an hour left till weigh-in.

At 2:45 I caught a short spot, then another fish over two pounds. I started to go in early but was having fun catching fish. It is amazing how catching fish can overcome pain.

In the next 30 minutes I caught two more keepers, one that culled one in the live well weighing less than two pounds, and two more short fish. Even a 13-inch spot will stretch your string and are fun to catch.

I felt good with five weighing 12.07 pounds but ended up in eighth place.

Lanier is a fun place to fish right now.

Flint River Bass Club April Tournament West Point

Last Sunday seven members of the Flint River Bass Club fished our April tournament at West point. In eight hours, from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, we landed 18 keeper bass weighing about 26 pounds. There were two five-fish limits and no one zeroed.

Don Gober won with five weighing 8.43 pounds and had a 3.92 pound largemouth for big fish. I came in second with five at 7.57 pounds, Dan Phillips had three weighing 5.61 pounds and Jack ”Zero” Ridgeway placed fourth with two weighing 1.86 pounds.

I thought the fish would really bite good based on the time of year and weather, and I’m sure they did for some. But it was hit and miss, especially for bigger bass. I was happily surprised that we weighed in 12 largemouth and only six spots – that is a better ratio than usual. Maybe largemouth are coming back.

I started fishing a favorite spawning creek but after 45 minutes I had not had a bite. Then, going around a point to the next spawning pocket, I caught a short spot then finally got a keeper spot, both on a shaky head worm.

Back in the pocket I picked up as spinnerbait and caught a largemouth just under the 14-inch limit, then got one that was just over 14 inches long. That gave me hope, but I never got another bite on that bait.

Rounding a shallow secondary point I got a bite but when I set the hook a keeper spot jumped and threw my shaky head. The next cast I landed a short spot – I lost the wrong one.

On the back side of the point a log ran off the bank with the outer end in about two feet of water. I ran a spinnerbait along it on both sides but nothing hit. I picked up the shaky head and the first cast produced my biggest fish, a two-pound largemouth. The next cast to the end of the log produced another keeper largemouth, and the third I hooked and lost as short largemouth.

That convinced me the fish did not want a moving bait, but I tried a spinnerbait around the next shallow pocket anyway. Nothing hit it. I went back to the log and caught my fifth fish, another keeper largemouth, in the same place on the end of it.

I was happy to go from no fish at 7:45 to a limit at 8:40!

I continued to fish the small spawning creek but fishermen from the big West Georgia Bass Club tournament started coming into it to fish. As I started down a bank into a short pocket, about 50 yards wide and twice that long, two fishermen ran in and started fishing across from me.

I caught my sixth keeper, another two-pound largemouth, as they started fishing. By now my legs were hurting and I could not feel my feet, so I idled around, looking at some other places, but was not willing to get up and fish.

I was back at the ramp, resting in the truck amore than an hour before weigh-in!

Fishing Paducah, KY

I spent the first week of April, 2004, in Paducah, KY fishing the rivers where the Southern Regional Bass Federation tournament will be held in a few weeks. It was very different fishing. We are allowed to fish the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers but can not lock through into the lakes.

Most places I fished I had my trolling motor on high and was still backing up downstream with the current. Fishing was tough, too. I landed my biggest smallmouth ever, a 3 pound 4 ounce fish, on Tuesday on the Cumberland River. Unfortunately, it was the only bass I landed that whole day. I did catch a 5 pound drum, two pumpkinseed bream and a gizzard shad that day. I averaged catching only one keeper bass a day while there.

I stayed at the Executive Inn, a beautiful hotel right on the Ohio River and my room overlooked it. It is about 440 miles away, so it is a long trip but it is an interesting place to fish. I thought I should be fishing for catfish after seeing some of the dead ones floating. Maybe I can make a trip for them some day.

I will leave a week from Wednesday to practice a few more days and the tournament is June 9 – 11. I hope I can catch more than one bass a day in the tournament!

Fishing Jackson Lake With Mike York

Way back in 2004 during the first week of April I spent the day fishing Jackson Lake with Mike York, checking out the bass fishing for a June Georgia Outdoor News article. We fished all day and caught a lot of small bass, never hooking the bigger fish we hoped to catch.

Mike works for the Butts County Sheriff’s Department and fishes with the Butts Bass Busters bass club. He made the state team last year and finished 24th this year at the Top Six. There are several professional trails that he fishes, too, like the Everstart and BFL trails.

Fishing at Jackson was really enjoyable during the week. Missing were all the skiers, skidoos and cruisers that usually make you rock and roll while fishing there on the weekend. It was peaceful and calm most of the day. The water was unusually clear for this time of year and we watched many small bass come up and look at Trick worms and top water plugs early in the morning. A few of them hit.

Our best luck was fishing Carolina rigged Trick worms on main lake and river points. On one point in the South River I landed three bass on three casts, then broke off. While I was tying on a new Carolina rig, Mike landed four bass. That was our best spot by far.

We started out the morning looking for bedding bass, and saw some new beds but did not see any bass on them. The cloudy sky and low light made it difficult to see very deep, even in the clear water. Mike had gotten reports that a good many bass were bedding right now, unusually late this year.

I was impressed with Mike’s knowledge of Jackson Lake and bass fishing. He says bass fishing will get better for the next several weeks as bass move onto their summer holes and stack up on points. He likes to catch them on crankbaits and Carolina rigs, and summer is his favorite time of year for fishing that pattern. If you get a chance, head to Jackson and check out the points for bass.