Category Archives: Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing Information

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Big Guntersville Bass caught with Captain Mike Gerry

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 1/16/21

The fishing is picking up, we are moving into longer days, the daylight is moving the fish
around and gathering them up in groups and when you get a bite there is generally a group of
fish in the same location.

Its no secret on Guntersville that its rattle trap time but there are
other baits that are also working.

As always is the case on Guntersville you have days when the floating grass is heavy and
making it exceedingly difficult to work a rattle bait. The options for me have been Picasso
Chatter baits, Tight-Line swim jigs or just slowly working a Tight-Line football jig off the edges
of the grass lines.

We spent most of the week in 7 to 9 ft. of water looking for groups of fish.

Come fish with me I have guides and days available to fish with you, we are booking for the
spring now, lets get together and get you ready for your spring fishing. Looking for a way to
fish a group of your business partners call me we do corporate trips and would love to take
your group out this spring. We fish with great sponsor products, Ranger Boats, Mercury
Motors, Duckett Fishing, SPRO Fishing, Vicious Fishing, Lews Fishing, T&H marine products,
Power Pole, Boat Logix mounts and more.

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service
Call: 256 759 2270
Capt. Mike Gerry

Where and How To Catch January Lay Lake Bass, with Matt Herren – Includes GPS Coordinates


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

Captain Mack’s Lake Hartwell Fishing Report

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report

Jan 13, 2021

Thanks to Johnny, Derek and the crew at Lake Hartwell Fishing
and Marine for contributing to this report!

Striper fishing has been pretty good, for those who bundled up and braved the elements. The patterns are
basically the same as last week, with live baits, umbrellas and spoons all being good producers. The fish are
scattered out all over the lake, so pick your confidence area and start searching. Finding the deep bait will
probably get you around the fish, and Herring, Shiners, Shad and Trout are all effective baits. On those
medium Shiners, be sure and match the hook size to match the bait, a #6 works will probably be a good choice.

The umbrella bite has been very good, pull the rigs around the deep bait schools, over points adjacent to a
creek or river channel. or over 25-foot humps. Start the rigs out at 2015 to feet deep, adjust if needed based on
what the sonar shows. the full-size Capt. Macks rigs, either with Shad bodies or bucktail have been
effective , with the Shad body rigs being slightly more effective for the Hybrid Bass. Mini Macks are also
producing well, either on the stealth troll on trolled on lead core line at 2.5 mph.

The Bass bite is good, and the ditch bite is possibly the best overall pattern. 25 to 45 foot ditches and offshore
roadbeds are very productive, and finding the ditches with the bait will offer a pretty sure bet to hook up. There
are several baits that will produce on this pattern, heavy football jigs with your favorite twin tail trailer has
been consistently producing, along with the jigs. Shakey heads paired with a Roboworm are also very
effective, any of the morning dawn patterns will get the bite, or if you have a little sunlight to work with the
Chartreuse Magic is a great color choice.

Spoons remain a primary bait, the Berry .60 oz in the GLS pattern
will be the cloudy weather bait, silver flag should be the go when the sun is up.
While the deep ditches are very stable and offer great numbers, there are also some very nice fish being taken
on shallow rocks and depth changes. Crank baits that dive to 6 to 8 feet, Worms on the shakey, and jigs are all
likely choices for this technique. The sun and the wind will probably enhance this pattern, and the afternoon
hours may be the most productive!

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Where and How to Catch March Lake Seminole Bass, with GPS Coordinates

March 2018 Seminole Bass

with Jason Smith

        Bass in most of our lakes are moving near spawning areas, but Lake Seminole is so far south that some have already spawned, some are spawning and some are just off bedding areas ready to move in and fan beds.  You can catch them on sandy flats, in pockets and on sandbars on the main lake right now.

    Seminole is a big, shallow lake in the corner of Georgia, Alabama and Florida.  Everywhere you look makes you think you can catch a bass there. Grass and stumps are all over the lake, with lily pads and cattails lining the banks and shallows.  But if you don’t know key areas you can do a lot of casting without a bite.

    For the past year or so bass fishing has been fantastic on Seminole, with many tournaments won with 30 pound plus stringers.  If you fish a local pot tournament against fishermen that know the lake well you better have more than 20 pounds to even hope for a check.  Five and six pounders are common, and it usually takes a seven plus to win the big fish pot.

    Jason Smith lives in Albany, Georgia and has fished Seminole all his life. His mentor, Jackie Hambrick, was a well known Lake Seminole expert.  Fishing with the Albany Bassin Buddies taught him a lot about the keys to catching bass.

    Jason loves fishing so much he started Buddha Baits, selling jigs, spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, soft baits, line and rods and reels to fishermen.  He keeps in touch with local experts and this helps catch big fish when he goes to the lake.

    In a Seminole Winter Trail tournament in mid-January, Jason had 24 pound stringer and did not get a check.  That tournament shows the kind of fish being caught this year on Seminole. 

    “I love Seminole because you can catch so many quality fish,” Jason said.  March is the best month to find the sows in the spawning areas many years, and our cold winter has stacked them up even more this year, delaying the early spawners that sometimes go on the bed on Seminole as early as January.

    Jason will have as variety of his baits rigged on his rods for March fishing.  Since most of the fish will be located around grass or other weed cover, he throws most of them Buddha Braid since you need braid to get big fish out of the weeds. 

    He will have a rattle bait, a Texas rigged lizard or Senko, Swagger Swim worm, an Enlightened Swim Jig, a Carolina rigged lizard or Trick worm, a bladed Swagger Jig and an Inseine Jig and pig all ready to cast. For thick hyacinth beds he will be ready to flip them with a Baby Mama with a 1.5 ounce sinker.

    We fished Seminole the last day of January after a cold front, with bluebird skies and little wind, some of the worst possible weather.  Even under those bad weather conditions we had a decent limit with a 5.5 pounder to anchor it.  The fish were not really in the bedding areas yet but just off them, ready to move in so you can catch them.

    1.  N 30 47.304 – W 84 48.447 – Going up Spring Creek the Grassy Flats cut, marked by poles going off the Spring Creek Channel to the left going upstream, is just downstream of the Big Jim’s Cut.  Where the Grassy Flats cut hits the creek channel on the left, on your right an island is just off the creek channel. A ditch runs in behind the island and forms a good staging area going into the spawning flat behind the island, the ideal area for this time of year.

    Idle in to the point through the standing timber and start by working it with a Carolina rig and jig and pig out near the channel and ditch junction. There are stumps and grass on it.  Start out deep and work up the ditch to the shallow spawning flat.

    There is a grass edge around the point and on the ditch side. Keep your boat off it and fish a bladed jig through the grass.  Work fairly fast until you get a bite then slow down and make multiple casts with your bladed jig and follow up with a Carolina rig.

    As bass move back they follow the grass edge and feed, then  move into the shallow water behind it to spawn.  Keep a watch for beds behind the grass as you fish. There will usually be several grouped together with empty space between them.  When you spot a bed fish it with a paddle tail Baby Mama, swimming it up to the bed and letting it fall into the bed.

    2.  N 30 44.878 – W 84 50.604 – Out on the Flint River, on the south bank before the turn toward the dam, River Junction ramp is on your right going upstream.  Bass hold out on the grass line in six to eight feet of water then move to the bank in the shallow bay to spawn.

    Start by fishing the outside grass line, especially if the water is still cold.  We caught a couple of keepers out here. Then go back in behind the grass and work the bedding area. Keep your boat in about five feet of water and fan cast a swim worm behind a one quarter to five sixteenths ounce sinker.

    Also drag a Carolina rigged lizard through the shallows, searching for bedding fish. The water is often too stained on the Flint to see the beds, so probe for them with a lizard.  Since beds are usually grouped together, make multiple casts to any area you catch a fish.

    3.  N 30 45.087 – W 84 50.005 – Going up the Flint upstream of the River Junction Ramp another bay swings back, providing a more protected spawning area.  Fish it the same way as hole #2.  You will see cattails on the bank and lily pad steams in the water. Watch for them everywhere you fish since they grow on sandy bottoms where bass spawn.

    For covering water more quickly until you hit a group of bass a bladed jig works well. Jason rigs his black and blue or green pumpkin Swagger Jig with a matching three or four-inch swimbait and fishes it through the grass.  A paddle tail worm also allows you to cover water more quickly to find the key spots.
   4.  N 30 46.014 – W 84 50.517 – The big flats between Spring Creek and the Flint are huge spawning areas.  Straight across from Sealy Point in Spring Creek, a small group islands is just off deeper water that goes in on the flat and is a highway for the bass moving in.   

    The downstream island in this group is a cluster of cypress trees and is closest to the deeper water. Go in to the downstream side of the island and fan cast the whole area, keeping your boat in four or five feet of water and casting all around.  Drag a Carolina rigged lizard or fish a little faster with a bladed jig, working the whole area. 

    Always watch for beds in areas like this.  If you see a lighter spot on the bottom, look at it closely.  There are light spots on the bottom that are not beds but the active beds will be brighter, and there will often be several close together.  When you see them slow down and fish a paddle tail worm all around them and in them. The water is clearer here from Spring Creek and you can usually see them.

    5.  N 30 46.181 – W 84 50.056 – Go around the island in Hole #4 and another smaller island is on the Spring Creek side a little upstream.  It is more shallow around it and you can see clumps of cat tails, pad stems and grass all around it.  Sunny warmer days warm this water quickly and move bass into the area early

    Start on the downstream end of the smaller island and fish on the side away from Spring Creek, working upstream behind it.  The flats all around it have sandbars for the bass to spawn and there are often a lot of beds in the area.   Fish from the bank of the island all the way out to deeper water.  Just remember deeper water here is only three feet deep or so.

    6.  N 30 44.748 – W 84 52.621 – On the Chattahoochee River side of the point between it and the Flint, a group of poles in a circle way off the last island on the point mark the Indian Mounds.  On the Chattahoochee River side of the island, across from the Indian Mounds, a shallow bay forms a good spawning area.

    There are scattered stumps as well as grass in this bay and bass spawn all over it.  Keep your boat in four or five feet of water and fish the water three or four feet deep, fan casting all over the flat.  You may not be able to see the beds in the more stained river water, but they will be here, and grouped together like in other places.

    Fish from near the downstream point of the island up the Chattahoochee River side.  Watch for lily pad stems marking sandy areas. A bladed jig comes through them well and is a good choice for a search bait.  A Carolina rig is good for slowing down and working an area.

7.  N 30 45.542 – W 84 47.298 – Up the Flint River on the right bank going upstream, a wide bay swings in away from the channel markers.  On the upstream end of the bay a wood dock with no top sits out on the downstream side of the point. Downstream of the dock slightly deeper water is closer to the bank.

    Start about 200 yards down the bank from the dock and fish toward it, casting to the bank and the scattered grass.  Sometimes a red rattle bait will attract bites in areas like this when other baits are ignored. A swim jig like Jason’s Enlightened jig or Inseine Jig will also attract bites from more active fish, especially if they are feeding on bluegill.

    Work the rattlebait fast, jerking it from grass when you hit it. With the swim jig keep it near the surface and work it with twitches as you reel it along. Jason likes bluegill or green pumpkin in clearer water and black and blue in stained water and puts a matching swim bait on his jig.

    8.  30 45,.759 – W 84 46.104 – a little further up the river the channel makes a hard swing from the right bank to the left.  In the flat bay just downstream of the last channel marker before the turn a depression runs back to the bank, offering a good path for bass to follow.  It goes in between two groups of two docks.  There is one silver roof dock and one green roof dock on each side.

    Follow this depression in from deeper water, fan casting to both sides of it and down the middle of it. The water is ten to 12 feet deep not far off the bank where it goes in.  This is a good area for rattle baits and bladed jigs. When you get to the bank fish it and down both sides to the docks. A paddle tail swim worm like Jason’s new Swagger Swim Worm in tilapia or black and blue is good, depending on water color.  Keep the worm moving near the bottom, making the flapping tail wiggle to get bites. Jason will often dip the tail of his plastics in chartreuse JJs Magic for added attraction.

    9.  N 30 46.215 – W 84 46.989 – Across the river channel Fort Scott Islands are a Waterfowl Management Area.  A small island sits just off the bank where the channel comes across and hits the north bank.  Just downstream of this island is a big flat just off a slough that goes back and is a good bedding area, full of lily pad steams and cattails.

    Keep your boat off the bank in water about 20 feet deep. This is a good place to cast your jig and pig, Texas rigged worm or Carolina rig up onto the sand bar that runs along the bank and has grass on it.  Keep your bait in contact with the bottom as it comes out of the grass and follow the bottom down the drop.
Bass will often stack up just outside the grass and move into it to feed.

    10.  N 30 46.334 – W 84 48.949 – Going down the bank the “Fire Break” goes in just downstream of the island with the waterfowl management area signs out in the water.  Follow the slightly deeper water in behind the island, keeping the signs to your right. 

    Bass spawn all back in here in the shallow sandy flats.  Watch for keys like lily pad stems and cattails and fan cast the whole area.  Try a variety of baits and speeds to find fish then slow down and fish that area.

    All these places hold bedding bass right now, and others post and pre-spawn. Try them with Jason’s baits to catch quality bass all month long.

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

Clarks Hill Christmas Fishing Memories

Thursday, December 10, I drove to my place at Clarks Hill, got up Friday morning and drove up to Hartwell to get information for my January Georgia Outdoor News Map of the Month article.  Back at Clarks Hill Saturday morning, I got my first cup of coffee and went out on the deck at my mobile home at Raysville Boat Club and looked at the lake.

Christmas is a time for reminiscing and sitting there took me back over many years of spending Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays at Clarks Hill.  Memories flashed across my mind like the lights of a fireworks display on the Fourth of July.

Saturday morning was the kind of day I love, not a ripple disturbed the reflecting pool of the lake surface.  The only sound was an occasional craw of a crow or the bark of a squirrel, disturbed in his search for breakfast. I was at peace with the world.

Weather always played an important of my trips. One of the best, about 30 years ago, an unusually warm winter found me fishing in jeans with no shirt or shoes.  The water was 61 degrees and big fish were active.  I caught six largemouth weighing more than five pounds each and five hybrids weighing six pounds each in three days on Shadraps.

The other extreme was one winter when my dog Merlin woke me at midnight jumping in bed with me in my small camper.  That was unusual, she always slept on the floor. The next morning I found out why. Her water bowl on the floor was frozen solid. The small electric heater kept the air tolerable from a couple feet off the floor to the ceiling but could not keep up with the 5-degree low that night.

I called my neighbor back in Griffin and asked her to check to see if she heard water running under my house from burst pipes.  She said she did not but the well pump was running. I came home fast and found the well had run dry from pumping water out of 11 holes in pipes.  I learned to solder copper pipe that afternoon.

Another winter on Christmas Eve the wind was howling and it was sleeting. I tried to fish but it was bad, so I went behind an island to get out of the wind. I caught an eight- and one-half pound bass on a jig from a rockpile there. After landing it I figured I had had enough and went in to show it off.

Some foggy mornings I unhooked my boat battery charger, pushed off from the bank, put the trolling motor in the water and started fishing.  As soon as I got a few feet from the bank everything disappeared in a white haze. Outlines of trees were the only indication anything was near.

I could image I was the only person in the world.  The fog dampened even the sounds of crows and squirrels, and the only disturbance was the whirr of my reel and splash of the lure as I cast.  Sometimes the sound of a jumping bass, barely seen in the fog, added to the excitement.

I loved being up there by myself. Back then nobody fished during the winter.  I had the lake and boat club to myself.  One year I went to the boat club Christmas afternoon after dinner in town with my family.  For a week I slept when I was sleepy, ate when I was hungry and all the rest of the time I either fished or built brush piles.

That year I did not see another person for five days.  The only reason I saw people the sixth day was a trip to town for boat gas.

I had never built brush piles but had heard how effective they can be for fishing.  A bank I like to fish near my trailer was bare clay except for two stumps about 50 feet apart.  I could usually get a bite by the stumps if they were in the water, but that year the lake was down seven feet and the water just touched the outside edge.

Up on the bank someone had cut down some big cedar trees, cut the trunk out for posts and left the big bushy tops.  One afternoon I drug two to the edge of the water, tied the base of the trunk to the stump and flipped the top out into four or five feet of water.

The next morning I cast a crankbait to the tip of the trees and caught two pound largemouth from each.

An old roadbed crosses the creek, rising on a hump out in the middle.  There are three-foot drops, from 12 to 15 feet deep, on each side of it where it was cut into the former hill. I pulled two of the cedar tops out there and finally got them to sink by tying 5-gallon buckets of cement to them.  I put them right on the edge of the drops about 100 feet apart.

I caught fish out of them for years, including an eight and one quarter pound bass one winter.  Three years ago, I won a club tournament fishing those same two trees, they are still there.  Cedar does not rot when completely submerged under water.

I have many more fishing and hunting memories from this time of year at the lake, but those are for another time.

Where and How to Catch February Lake Lanier Bass, with GPS Coordinates

Five pound Lake Lanier February spot

February Lake Lanier Bass

with Jim Farmer

         Some of the biggest spots in Lake Lanier are already moving to staging areas on rocky points near spawning areas in early February. You can catch a personal best spot right now by fishing crankbaits on these points.

    Lanier has developed a well-deserved reputation for producing magnum spots over the past few years. Four and five pounders are weighed in during most tournaments and bigger fish are caught all year long. Right now is one of the best times to catch one over five pounds.

    With deep, clear water, standing timber and rocky shorelines, Lanier is perfect habitat for spots.  The introduction of blueback herring gave the spots an excellent food source and this big baitfish has made them grow big and fat.  All these combined to produce a trophy spot lake.

    Jim Farmer lives a few miles from Bald Ridge Creek, has a lake house on that end of the lake and fishes Lanier a lot. He also paints crankbaits and other hard baits with custom colors specifically designed for the spots on Lanier.  He guides on the lake, showing fishermen where and how to use his baits to catch big fish. 

    After retiring from the Navy Jim moved to Lanier and started making planner boards that were very popular with striper and cat fishermen.  He fished for stripers a lot but got into bass fishing a few years ago and got hooked on them. He joined the Greater Atlanta Bass Club and fished with them until he started guiding.

    Jim also fishes the Bulldog BFL trail statewide and Hammonds and charity tournaments on Lanier.  This past December he and his partner won the UGA Fishing Team fund raiser North Georgia Fall Classic on Lanier with 19.6 Pounds and had big fish with a five-pound, twelve ounce spot.

    “The biggest spots in the lake move in to spawn earlier than most fishermen realize,” Jim said. There are still a lot of fish deep and you can catch them, but Jim likes to catch big fish shallow. He uses a variety of baits but relies on his crankbaits most of the time.

    For February fishing Jim will have a couple of crankbaits that run different depths, a jerkbait, a jig and pig, a shaky head and a spoon ready to cast.  The spoon is for catching the deeper fish, but the other baits are all fished on rocky points near spawning areas.

    Jim took me out in early January, the week after the first extremely cold week we had, to show me the following ten spots. We caught a few fish, but we were a little too early for them to be really good like they are now.

    1.  N 34 12.147 – W 84 05.019 – Going into the small creek off Baldridge Creek that has Baldridge Public Use area boat ramp, stop on the rocky point on your right. It is the first one upstream of the point with 6BR marker on it, and is a good example of one of the first places big spots stage. 

    As soon as the water starts to warm a little in early February, especially after two or three warm sunny days in a row, spots go to points like this one.  This one provides a smorgasbord of food for them but they really like crayfish, a high protein food great for pre-spawn feeding.

    Start on the upstream side of the point and fish around it to the smaller rocky point on the downstream side going into the cove.  Jim says crawfish are active when the water is 50 to 58 degrees and his “Sand Key” color is designed to match their color this time of year. And it has rattles to mimic their sound on the rocks.

    The rocks here provide ledges for the fish to hide under and ambush food.  Fish around the points slowly, casting your crankbait to a couple of feet of water and bump the rocks out as deep as you can with it.  Jim caught a small keeper spot here the day we fished.

    2.  N 34 11.874 – W 84 04.743 – Going down Baldridge Creek there is a small creek on the downstream side of channel marker 6BR on your left. The downstream point of this creek, across from the marked one, is another good staging area for big spots.  It has smaller rocks but they are clean, without the “snot weed” that grows in some places and that the fish don’t like, according to Jim.

    There are two points here to fish. Keep your boat out in 16 to 18 feet of water and use your crankbait. Jim uses his 1.5 squarebill or the deeper running Castaway Tackle Goto crankbait that runs eight to ten feet deep.  Bump the rocks all around these two points.

    Jim fishes his crankbaits on light line to get them down deeper. He says you have to have good line and uses Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon in six or eight-pound test. A smooth drag is important for fighting big spots and he checks his line on almost every cast for nicks from bumping rocks.

    Crank the bait down and then work it slowly with rod pulls and twitches to make it rattle and dart. Try to imitate the movement of crayfish.  When a fish hits, sweep the rod a little to hook them but don’t set the hook hard with the light line.

    3.  N 34 12.703 – W 84 03.794 – Go up Young Deer Creek past the small island on your right with 4YD marker on it. Across the creek a point runs way out to a shoal marker and there is construction work on the bank.  Stop on the upstream point of the pocket going in downstream of the construction.

    This pocket is a good spawning area and spots stage on this first rocky point.  The point is not big but has rock and clay that crayfish live in, and shad and herring move across it, too. Fish a crankbait but also try a jerkbait and jig and pig.  The jerkbait imitates baitfish while the jig and pig look like bream and crawfish, both good food sources for spots.

    4.  N 34 13.250 – W 84 03.750 – Going up Young Deer a big island is on the left with 5YD marker on it. On the right is a creek with Young Deer Access ramp in it.  AS you go into that small creek, a shoal marker is on your right and a house with a US flag is on the bank.  This hump is a long rocky point and it holds fish in February.

    Stop on the end of this rock and clay point and fish the upstream side and end of it.  The channel swings in on the upstream side and gives the fish quick access to deep water. Jim says here and other places a few warm days pulls spots up shallow, but they drop back after a cold front for a few days.

    Bump the rocks with crankbaits and work a jerkbait over them.  Also crawl a jig and pig down the drop. Work it slowly and out deeper, especially after a cold front.  Even after a cold front bass will still hold here and feed, just a little deeper.

    5.  N 34 12.074 – W 84 02.319 – Back out on the main lake run up to the long point with Shadburn Ferry ramp on it.  The ramp is in a ditch that holds fish all winter.  Jim caught four of his five fish in the December UGA tournament here.

    Fish the rocky point with the shoal marker on it with all your baits. Also check the ditch.  A good winter pattern that started early this year is catching fish out of ditches like this one. Bass will hold in them out to 50 feet deep and you can see them on your electronics. 
    Early in the morning work the back of the ditch around the ramp with a jerkbait.  Bass move to the back to feed shallower then go back out deep as the sun gets bright.  Later in the day find the fish down deep and drop a spoon down to them. Jim likes the chrome three quarters ounce War Eagle jigging spoon.

    Drop your spoon down to the bottom, pop it up a couple of feet and let it fall back on tight line.  Be ready to set the hook as it falls, that is when most of the bites happen.  You can often watch your spoon fall and see the fish follow it.

    6.  N 34 12.251 – W 84 02.434 – An island forms the side of the ditch opposite the ramp. Go around to the other side of it and the rocky point there is a good one to fish, especially later in the month.  It is a little further back from the main lake so fish to move to it a little later.

    Pick apart this point with all your baits, fishing all the way around it.  Bump the rocks with crankbaits and a jig and pig.  Jim likes a crawfish colored River Bend Custom Baits jig by Richie Westfelt in three eights to half ounce.  His Castaway Tackle jerkbait is a 110-style medium diver that he paints in white or cold steel blue.  Try different cadences on each cast until the fish tell you what they want that day.

    7.  N 34 15.657 – W 83 57.998 – Run up above Browns Bridge and go into the first creek on your left on the downstream side of Chestatee Bay. Islands divide the mouth of this creek from the main bay.  Go into this creek that runs parallel to Browns Bridge Road point on the right with a big house on it. The point is on the upstream side of a ditch with a marker in it. This is where Jim caught the five-pound, 12-ounce spot in the UGA tournament and he caught a good keeper spot here the day we fished.

    The point Jim calls “Big House Point” drops on both sides, into the ditch and creek channel.  Bass spawn in the back of the ditch and stage on the point. Fish around it with all your baits, keeping your boat in about 40 feet of water and casting to the rocks. 

    8.  N 34 16.711 – W 83 57.130 – Go to the north-west side of Chestatee Bay opposite and a little upstream of the islands on the south-east side going back to the Long Hollow ramp. There is a double point on your right with a small pocket between them. There are three small leaning pines grouped together on the downstream point.  Start on the downstream side of the downstream point and fish all the way around it.

    Start about 100 feet from the point and work around it to the big rocks on the upstream side.  Fish stage and feed all along this bank and on the point. Try all your baits but Jim says this is a good shaky head point, with some brush piles and some other wood cover on it.

    Jim uses three sixteenths to one quarter ounce Spotsticker Screwball jig head and puts a Mattingly Customs worm by Josh Mattingly on it. He says those worms come in some unique colors that give the heavily pressured Lanier spots a different look. Jim dips all his plastic baits in chartreuse JJs Magic to give them added color and smell that attracts spots.

    This point, like the others, get a lot of sun, especially in the afternoon. Jim says that helps warm the water and make the fish more active.  Work quickly with moving baits then slowly work the shaky head all around the point, probing for wood and rocks, shaking it as you move it along the bottom.

    9.  N 34 16.833 – W 83 57.050 – After fishing around the big rocks on the upstream side of the above point go across the cove to the other side where the line of blown down trees up on the bank come toward the water.  Fish from that place out and around this point. It is flatter, with white rocks along a clay bank and is a good feeding area.

    Fish all your baits, trying both faster moving and slower moving ones.  Remember it is important to keep your crankbaits in contact with the bottom, making it dart, bump and rattle.

    10.  N 34 14.126 – W 84 02.810 – Back down the lake go up Six Mile Creek till you can see the bridge on your right. Keep straight ahead into the small double creek and stop on the point between the two arms of it.
There is riprap around it and a ridge of rocks coming out on the end of it.

    Both arms of this creek are good spawning pockets and a lot of big spots stage on the point and feed.  There is chunk rock on a clay bottom all around the point and those rocks are what you want to bump with your crankbait, jig and pig and shaky head.  Fish all the way around it with all your baits.

    All these places are holding fish right now and will get better as the days get longer and the water warms a little. Give them a try with Jim’s baits or fish your favorites. You may catch the spot of a lifetime.

    You can follow Jim on Facebook at and see his baits and the spots he catches.

NOTE – not sure this is helping – really don’t get much response if you want to stop running it.

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

Industry-funded Research on Dorsal Spine Aging Shows Promise in Largemouth Bass Conservation

Craig Springer,
USFWS – Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration
from The Fishing Wire

There are “lumpers” and there are “splitters.”

Some fisheries scientists think that largemouth bass and Florida bass should be split into two species.  Others lump them together as one species as mere diverging strains or races.  This much can be agreed upon:  bass in southern climates grow big, and fishery managers are careful to conserve the trophy fish coveted by anglers at all experience levels.

To that end, Summer Lindelien, a fish biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has endeavored the last four years to learn more about how Florida’s largemouth bass, Florida bass, and their hybrids grow over time.  Excise taxes paid by fishing tackle manufacturers and on motor boat fuels fund her research in grants administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

The research is bearing fruit that promises to yield better bass fishing in Florida—if not anywhere the 19 species and subspecies of the black bass family swim. More research is in the works and necessary to take further steps.

Lindelien and her FWC colleagues are developing a new method to determine age and growth rates of trophy largemouth bass that would otherwise be missing in population assessments and ultimately, fishing regulations.  Hard bony structures are best for determining a fish’s age, body parts such as scales and ear bones that put down rings at each year of growth.  The latter is most reliable but there is a downside:  it is 100 percent lethal.  Dorsal spines may be the alternative. The method shows great promise as Lindelien learned while a graduate student at the University of Florida. She and her colleagues also completed a six-waterbody study to refine the efficacy of reading age rings on dorsal spines and are in the midst of evaluating how dorsal spine aging error affects population dynamic metrics.

Lindelien and colleagues caught wild bass known to be hybrids of largemouth and Florida bass, 36 fish in all, varying size from 12 to 22 inches long.  Six bass each were acclimated in six tanks and three from each tank where randomly picked to have three dorsal fin spines extracted with surgical scissors and snips cut flush with the bass’s back. The fish were monitored for injury and mortality for 35 days afterward.None of the bass with missing spines perished. Overall condition between fish with spines intact and those with spines removed did not vary to any great degree at the conclusion of the month-long study. In the end, the method shows much utility as a means for black bass fishery managers to gather more data on trophy fish without deleterious effects on the fish and the fish population. The method also holds promise down the road for citizen-scientists—anglers, that is—to weigh and measure and trim a spine before releasing trophy fish, thus greatly expanding the essential data scientists need.

Lindelien is the first to confirm that removing dorsal spines is benign to largemouth bass. According to Lindelien, as the dorsal spine aging technique is refined it might be employed on other black basses, common and otherwise: Guadalupe bass in Texas, spotted bass in Kentucky, Neosho smallmouth bass of Oklahoma or the rarer Choctaw bass of Alabama and Florida where removing fish of any size is not an option.

Lindelien and her colleagues published the results of the spine extraction research in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management.

Where and How to Catch September Jackson Lake Bass, with GPS Coordinates

September 2015 Jackson Bass

with Keith Dawkins

September can be the most frustrating time of year for bass fishermen.  The water is as hot as it gets and the oxygen content is at its lowest level of the year. The days are still hot and uncomfortable and the bass are sluggish. But some lakes, like Jackson, offer you a chance to catch fish and forget the problems.

Jackson is an old Georgia Power lake at the headwaters of the Ocmulgee River.  It is lined by docks and rocks are plentiful. There are good points that run out to deep water and humps that hold bass.  Shad are the primary forage this time of year and you can find the shad and catch bass.

In the 1970s and 1980s Jackson was known for big largemouth.  Then spots were illegally stocked in the lake by misguided fishermen and they have taken over the lake. Rather than catching a seven pound largemouth now you are going to catch seven one pound spots.

Spots are fun to catch and taste good, so enjoy catching them and eat them.  You can’t hurt the population of bass in the lake by keeping every one you catch. In fact, fisheries biologists say keeping all of them, even those under 12 inches long, may help a little. They have no size limit anywhere in Georgia except Lake Lanier.

Keith Dawkins grew up fishing Jackson.  His parents still have a house there and he spends several days a month on the lake.  For years he fished the Berrys tournaments and bigger trails like the Bulldog BFL but his job now keeps him from fishing tournaments.

 “Early in September bass are out on main lake structure, feeding on shad,” Keith said.  As the month progresses they push up the points and toward the coves. By the end of the month, depending on the shad, they may be way back in them.

A wide variety of baits will catch fish.  Keith always has a Flash Mob Jr. with small swimbaits on the arms and a Fish Head Spin on the middle one.  He also likes a buzz bait, popper and X-Rap five inch bait with props on both ends for top water fishing and a Fluke or Senko rigged weightless for fishing over structure and cover.

For faster fishing a 300 Bandit with white and chartreuse is good as is a #7 Shadrap in black and silver.  When he slows down and probes the bottom he will have a Carolina rigged Trick worm and a Spotsticker jig head with a Trick worm on it.

If you are seeing fish on your depthfinder but can’t get them to hit, get right on top of them and use a drop shot worm. Drop it down to them and jiggle is slowly.  If they are right on the bottom let your lead stay on the bottom but raise it up to the depth the fish are holding if they are suspended.

Keith showed me the following ten places in mid-August.  Small spots were on them during the day. The afternoon before we went he caught some quality spots and largemouth right at dark, an indication the bigger fish were probably feeding at night. Those bigger fish will be feeding on these places during the day in September.

1.  N 33 20.606 – W 83 51.667 – The big point where the river turns downstream across from the mouth of Tussahaw Creek is a good place to start early in the morning or to fish late in the day.  It is a big flat where wood washes in and hangs up and there are a couple of small pockets on it and small points run off it.

Start on the upstream end where the biggest cove on the point starts.  There are rocks on it and it drops fairly fast.  As you fish downstream the bottom flattens out and there is a lot of wood to fish.  Stay way out on the flat in seven to eight feet of water since it is so shallow and cover all the wood with a buzz bait.

Fish all the way around the point where it turns to the left going downstream.  Also try a crankbait around this wood in case the fish don’t want a topwater bait. A weightless Fluke or Senko is also good around the wood.

2.  N 33 20.313 – W 83 51.404 – Go down the river and there is a marked hump way off the left bank. There are two danger markers on it and it tops out about six feet deep at full pool, dropping off to 40 feet deep. Keith warns that boat wakes move the markers and they may not be right on top of it, so idle up toward them slowly.  The hump has rocks, stumps and brush piles on it the bass use for cover, and they will also hold in the saddle between the hump and the bank.

Start with your boat in deeper water and fish all the way around it, casting topwater and crankbaits to the top of the hump and working them back. Also try the Flash Mob Jr. here, fishing it the same way.  Watch your depthfinder as you go around it for fish holding deeper.

Try a Carolina rig and a jig head worm on this hump, too.  Keith likes to drag both baits along slowly, letting the lead stir up the bottom to attract attention.  Keith usually uses a Trick worm on both, preferring watermelon seed or pumpkin seed colors, but if the bass want a smaller bait he will go to a Finesse worm. He will often dip the tails of both size worms in chartreuse JJs Magic for added attraction.

We caught some small spots here on a drop shot when Keith saw fish near the bottom.  If you see them off the sides of the hump try that. Also, especially during the day, you can sit on top of the hump and cast a Carolina rig or jig head worm to the deeper water, working your bait up the drop.

3.  N 33 19.317 – W 83 50.574 – On the right side of the dam going toward it the Georgia Power park and ramp are on a big point right beside the dam.  There are two DNR docks in the pocket formed by the dam and point and there are “Boats Keep Out” buoys in front of them.  There is a public fishing pier on this side of the point.

A lot of wood washes in and sticks in this pocket, and the DNR and residents sometimes pull floating wood to it, so there is a lot of cover to fish. The bottom is also rocky and drops off into deep water.  In the morning or late afternoon start in the pocket, fishing the wood. Try topwater and a weightless bait like a Fluke or Senko around it, too.

When the sun is high sit way out even with the big park point but toward the dam side, and line up with the two tallest towers on the power station on the bank.  A ridge runs out parallel to the park point and flattens out on the end, and bass hold on it.  Fish it with your bottom baits and run a crankbait and the A-Rig over it

4. N 33 19.584 – W 83 50.563 – Go back upstream to the big point on the left where the river turns back to the left.  Downstream of this point, straight out from a cream colored boat house with a metal dock in front of it, a hump rises up to about 14 feet deep. Line up the end of the point with the park side of the dam and idle along this line. You will be in about the middle of the mouth of the creek coming out on the park side.

Keith caught his biggest spot from Jackson on this hump.  Sit out in deep water and drag your bottom bumping baits on it. Try a drop shot, too. Also run a crankbait across it for suspended fish.  Keith does not always bump the bottom with a crankbait but fishes it like a fleeing shad in the water column. He may go to a deeper running bait like the DD22 if the fish won’t come up for a more shallow running bait.

5.  N 33 20.028 – W 83 50.753 – Going upstream on the right bank, on the upstream point of the third big cove upstream of Goat Island, you will see a house and dock with bright silver roofs on the point.  There is a seawall around the point and big rocks are on it. As the bank goes upstream there are huge boulders where it turns into a bluff bank.

Stay way off the bank, the rocks come out a long way, and cast a crankbait or A-Rig to them.  Then try your jig head worm and Carolina rig around them.  Fish all the way around the point.  Way off the point a hump comes up and the saddle leading out to it can be good.

Watch for schooling fish here and other similar places.  There were several schools of small keeper spots chasing shad all around this point when we fished and Keith got one on his XRap.  They will school even better in September and you can chase schooling fish most of the day.

6.  N 33 20.145 – W 83 50.852 – Going up stream along the bluff bank a narrow point comes out at the upper end of it.  There is riprap around the point and a narrow pocket upstream of it.  The point runs way out and Keith says bass hold out on the point early in the month and feed on shad. Later in the month they will push shad up into the bay on the downstream side and into the narrow pocket upstream of it.

Fish the point with your Carolina rig, A-Rig and jig head worm.  Stay way out with your boat in at least 15 feet of water to fish the point early in the month. Later fish the cover in the bay and pocket on both sides with Senko or Fluke but try you’re A-Rig in the pockets, too.  Keith likes the light Flash Mob, Jr and does not put heavy jig heads on it so he can fish it shallower without hanging up.

7. N 33 20.840 – W 83 51.985 – Go to the mouth of Tussahaw Creek to the right side going in. A ridge comes up way off this bank and tops out about 14 feet deep. You will see a light brown roof dock in front of a white cabin on the right bank and the ridge starts about even with it and runs into the creek.

Fish up the ridge into the creek until you are even with a dark brown dock.  Try you’re a-Rig and crankbait over the top of it, keeping your boat on the river side in deeper water.  Then fish it with bottom bumping baits probing for the rocks and stumps on it.  Watch here, too, for fish on the bottom and try a drop shot for them.

8. N 33 21 094 – W 83 52.213 – Go on up Tussahaw to upstream side of the first small cove. There is a tall tree stump carved into a bear standing behind a dock on the bank. Start at the dock in front of the bear and fish upstream.  Fish hold on this point and the next one upstream, too, and feed early in the month then push shad into the coves on both sides of the points later.

Fish will often hold on docks so Keith works them carefully. He will fish every dock post with a jig head worm, hitting the post and letting the bait drop straight down it.  He says spots often nose up to the post and if the bait does not fall straight down beside it they won’to hit.  Keith says he will often spend a half hour carefully fishing every post on a dock. A Senko or Fluke will also catch dock bass.

Fish the points and banks going into the pockets with A-Rig and crankbait.   When fishing the crankbait Keith says he likes to crank it a few feet then pause it. Strikes will often come just as he starts the bait moving again. Try different lengths of pause before moving it again.

9. N 33 22.180 – W 83 51.728 – Go up the Alcovy to the mouth of the South River. As you go into the mouth of it, on your right, the second point is narrow and has an old boat ramp on it.  This point comes way out and has a lot of rocks on it and holds a lot of bass. Keith caught several spots here on his crankbait.

Run your crankbait and A-Rig across the point.  If there is any current coming out of the river, which often happens after a rain, Keith says it is important to stay on the downstream side of the point and cast upstream, working your baits with the current.

Also fish a Trick worm or Senko on top of the point early. It is very shallow a good way off the bank.  Then work your bottom baits on the point, all the way out to the end of it in at least 15 feet deep.  You will get hung up in the rocks but that is where the bass live.

10.  N 33 23.028 – W 83 50.590 – Run up the Alcovy River under the powerlines.  Upstream of them a ridge runs parallel to the river channel way off the left bank upstream of the first creek on that side.  Watch on the right bank for a white deck on the bank just off the water with lattice work under it. It is very white.

If you stop in the middle of the lake even with that deck and idle toward the far bank, at a very slight angle upstream, you will cross the ridge. The ridge is on the far side of the river channel and it tops out about 14 feet deep and has stumps and rocks in some spots on it.

Keith likes to keep his boat on the side of the ridge away from the river channel and fish it. He says bass tend to hold on that side and stripers hold on the river side.  Cast you’re a-Rig and crankbait over the top of it and work your Carolina rig and jig head down that side from the top to about 20 feet deep. Also watch for fish under the boat to use your drop shot.

Since the rocks and stumps are in patches, feel for them and concentrate on that area.  The end of the ridge is where Keith catches most of his fish.

Give Keith’s places a try and see the kind of structure and cover he likes this month. There are many similar places you can find and fish on Jackson.

Frustrating End to Tournament Year

Largemouth I caught while fishing with Michael Ward

Well that didn’t go as planned and hoped!  All three bass clubs ended our tournament years at
Jackson last weekend.  The Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our December tournament on Saturday and the Spalding County Sportsman Club and Flint River Bass Club fished a two-club tournament on Sunday.

    On Saturday 20 of us fished for eight cold hours to land 30 bass weighing about 53 pounds. There were two five-bass limits and seven people didn’t catch a 12 inch keeper.

    Raymond English blew us all away again with a limit weighing 12.01 pounds and his 5.03 pound largemouth was big fish. Kwong Yu placed second with five bass weighing 7.60 pounds, third was Trent Granger with three bass weighing 6.49 pounds and Shay Smith came in fourth with for bass weighing 6.43 pounds.

    Raymond said he caught the big one on a crankbait and Kwong caught a limit in the first hour we fished.  Others said they caught fish on spinnerbaits, Carolina rigs and shaky heads.  It seems if you found a hungry fish and got a bait near it, it might hit anything that looked like food to it.

    I tried a little of everything, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs and shaky heads. I could often see fish that acted like bass in their positions and movements on my Garmin Panoptix but could not get them to hit in the stained 55-degree water.  And I fished from shallow brush and rocks to deep brush and rocks and everything in between.

    At 10:20 AM I was fishing a deep point with rock piles on it and missed a hit on my jig. I picked up a shaky head and cast back to the same place and caught a 14-inch keeper spotted bass. Since I got two quick bites and could see other fish around the rocks, I stayed there an hour trying to make them bite everything I had tied on, but never got another bite.

    Finally at 2:15 I cast my shaky head to some shallow rocks on another point, got a hit and landed a three pound spot.  That was it, I had two weighing 4.35 pounds and placed fifth.  It was a very frustrating day!

    On Sunday 19 members of the two clubs fished eight hours to land 38 bass weighing about 41 pounds.  There were three five-fish limits and eight people zeroed. 

    Travis Weatherly won with five bass weighing 7.10 pounds and his 2.39 pounder was big fish.  Jay Gerson came in second with five weighing 6.66 pounds, Russell Prevatt was third with five at 6.07 pounds and Kwong Yu had three weighing 3.68 pounds for fourth.

    Jay said he caught his fish on a floating worm early. Others said they caught their fish on a variety of baits on a variety of types of cover and structure. Like the day before, it seemed you had to put your bait right in front of the right bass at the right time to get a bite.

    At blast off I went straight to the point where I caught my first keeper the day before. There were fish all over it with no sun on it yet, so I had high hopes. I could see what looked like bass suspended, some on the bottom and baitfish everywhere. It looked perfect. I never got a bite.

    After a frustrating hour of trying to make fish that I could see bite a variety of baits, I left that point.  For the next six hours I tried everything I could think of to catch a fish. I had one bite on a shaky head on a deep rocky point but missed it.  That really frustrated me.

    At 2:30, with one hour left to fish, I cast a shaky head to a shady seawall. I though I felt a tap but could not see my line.  I took off my sunglasses and saw my line was already back under the boat.  When I set the hook, a small keeper spot came over the side of the boat.

    That was the only fish I caught all day, a 12.5-inch spot weighing .85 pounds. I came in last place of the people that caught fish.

    All three clubs start our new year with tournaments in January.  That would be a good time to join us for a lot of fun, and maybe a little frustration. 

    The Flint River club meets the first Tuesday each month and fish our tournament the following Sunday.  Dues are $20 a year and tournament entry fee is $25, with optional big fish pots each tournament as well as two other optional annual pots.

    The Potato Creek club meets the Monday after the first Tuesday and fish our tournaments the following Saturday.  Dues are $50 and entry fee is $30, with optional big fish pots for each tournament and for the year.

    The Sportsman Club meets the third Tuesday each month and fish our monthly tournaments the following

Sunday. Dues are $50 and entry fee is $25 with optional big fish pots.

    All three clubs have or will have club classics that members qualify for by fishing at least eight tournaments a year or placing in the top eight for the year in the points standings.  All three clubs meet at Panda Bear restaurant.

    Think about joining one club, or all three! 

Where and How to Catch Lake Harding/Bartletts Ferry February Bass, with GPS Coordinates

    By now most bass fishermen have had enough sitting at home staying warm and want to venture out to defeat cabin fever.  Although there is hope for warming by the end of the month and bass do respond to the longer days, they are not easy to catch most days. Fortunately, lakes like Harding will have some feeding fish this time of year.

    For a February trip, a lake like Harding on the Chattahoochee River just downstream from West Point is a good choice. It has a variety of types of structure and cover to fish and is full of spotted bass. Spots seem to feed better in cold water and cold fronts affect them but don’t usually shut them down like it will largemouth.

    Chris Blair has been a bass fisherman all his life and his father instilled a love of competition in fishing in him. He often went with his father to club tournaments and fished from the bank until he could join the Clayton County Bass Club when he turned 16.  He does well in the club and made the Georgia BASS Federation Nation state team in 2008. 

    “Harding is one of my favorite lakes,” Chris said.  “It has some big spots in it and you can catch them in a variety of ways,” he continued. There are also some good largemouth in the lake. Although February is not the best month to be on Harding, you can catch fish there as well or better than any where else this time of year.

    The bass at Harding are holding on their winter patterns most of the month of February. They are near deep water and hiding in heavy cover.  A warm day or two will make them move a little more shallow and feed better, but they won’t venture far from the deep water sanctuary. 

    Wood and rock cover is what you want to look for, and it needs to drop into at least 15 feet of water to hold bass this time of year. If even deeper water is nearby it is even better.

    Chris will fish a three eights ounce Edge Hardhead mop jig and trailer in orange and brown in clear water and black and blue in stained water.  He likes a one half ounce Edge spinnerbait in chartreuse and white with a gold Colorado and a silver willowleaf blade.   A Hellrazor blade jig in white with a Shadee Shad trailer is good for fish that don’t want quite as much flash as the spinnerbait shows.

    A Luck Craft or Bandit crankbait in Tennessee Shad that will get down deep is a good choice for more active fish and Chris will go to a one eight ounce lead head with a six inch pumpkinseed Trick worm trailer for very inactive fish.  One of these baits will attract bites most days.

    The following ten spots show the kinds of cover and structure Chris catches Harding bass from this time of year.

    1.  N 32 42 755 – W 85 07.361 – Run down the river on the right side and go past the mouth of Osanippa Creek.  On your right will be a small point with a green pine in the water beside a dead pine in the water.  They are in front of gray roof house and there is a dock just downstream of them as you start into the pocket there.

    These blowdowns are on a steep drop and there is 15 feet of water just off them at full pool. They offer the typical kind of place Chris looks for this time of year, heavy cover dropping into deep water. 

    Start fishing on the upstream side of the green tree and work a jig and pig through the branches of it and then the dead one. Fish it carefully and slowly, winter bass are not aggressive. Give them time to hit.

    As you work away from the trees throw a crankbait and jig head worm around the docks just inside the pocket. As the water warms at the end of the month bass will move into this pocket and hold on cover around the docks.

    2.  N 32 41.843 – W 85 07.104 – Down the river past the Chattahoochee Valley Rec Park just downstream of the second small pocket there is a steep bluff bank starting at a small point with a gray house with a long walkway going down to the dock. There is raw clay on the outside of the point and some big rocks and wood cover is along this bank.  

    Start at the point and work a crankbait and spinnerbait through the cover. Slowroll the spinnerbait through the limbs of trees and bump the crankbait off the ends of them. A Hellraiser is good to work off the ends of the wood, too.

    Follow up with your jig and pig or jig head worm. Bump them slowly from limb to limb. If the water is warming, fish from the shallow end all the way out but if it is cold, especially early in the month, concentrate on the deeper parts of the cover.

    3.   N 32 41.053 – W 85 11.066 – Run to the third bridge going up Halawakee Creek. The Highway 279 Bridge is upstream of the old railroad bridge.  Bridges like this one on creeks make a squeeze point where bass often stack up as they start to move toward the backs of the creeks as the water warms and the days get longer.

    Fish the riprap and pilings from one side to the other, working a crankbait and spinnerbait bumping the rocks and along the pilings.  Also fish a jig and pig or jig head worm on the rocks and beside the pilings. Even early in the month the rocks and pilings will warm from the sun and draw baitfish and bass to them.

    You will find the water is usually a little clearer in this creek than out on the main river. This can be important in cold water. Clear cold water is better than muddy cold water most days.

    4. N 32 41.092 – W 85 08.936 – Going down the creek there is a big creek on your right just before you get to the Highway 379 Bridge.  A power line crosses the mouth of the creek, jumping from one long narrow point on the upstream side to the long narrow point on the downstream side.

    Start on the upstream point at the power line and fish the bank, casting to the clay bottom that changes to riprap.  Throw crankbaits, Hellrazor and spinnerbait.  When you get to the blowdown slow down and fish it carefully with a jig and pig and jig head worm.

    You will be in 15 feet of water a cast off the bank near the point but the old creek channel swings in near the blowdown and the tip of it is in water about 25 feet deep at full pool.  It is in a perfect location to hold bass all month. The water is deep enough for early in the month and bass moving into the creek as the days get longer will hold in the tree before moving further back.

    5. N 32 41.356 – W 85 08.098 – Go under the bridge and head downstream. Straight ahead the bank runs out from your right and the river makes a turn to the left.  On the right bank right where the turn starts is a point with some post along a wooden seawall on it. The posts have lights on them.

    Stop well off the point in 45 feet of water and east toward it. Off the tip and slightly downstream of it is a huge boulder sitting in about 15 feet of water and there is rubble around it. Bass, especially spots, like to hold around this rock.

    You can bump the top of the rock with a crankbait that runs six or seven feet deep then slow roll a spinnerbait on it. Work a jig and pig and jig head worm all around the rock, throwing up to the seawall and fishing back past the rock.  Bass will hold all around the rock and feed on shad, so seeing balls of shad here and on other spots like this really helps.

    6. N 32 42.034 – W 85 06.591 – Run out of Hawalakee Creek and go across the mouth of the river. You can run across above the island with the house on it near the creek and downstream of the island with the cross on it near the other bank. Locals call this “Church Island.”

    The right bank going up across from the island with the cross is steep and drops off into deep water.  There is a white house on the downstream side of this point and it flattens out and the bluff bank along the point has big boulders in it.

    Start fishing just upstream of the dock where the big rocks start and work upstream, all the way past the next dock.  Chris will get in close to the bank and parallel it with a big crankbait and also slow roll a spinnerbait along the bottom.

    This is also a good place to fish a jig and pig and jig head worm when the water is cold. Chris says he will throw right on the bank then “creepy crawl” either jig down the rocks, barely  moving it so it stays right on the bottom and falls only s few inches at a time. The bottom drops fast here so you have to move it very slowly.

    7.  N 32 42.406 – 85 06.891 – Go up the river past the next big round point and stop at the mouth of the narrow cove on your right. The upstream point of this cove is rock and drops off on the end into the channel. There is a ledge across the mouth of the cove and it is shallow going toward the downstream point but it drops off into the river on the outside of it, too.

    Fish the  upstream point early in the month and work into the cut as the days get longer and the water starts to warm. Bass hold on the point and feed on shad then work into the cut, holding and feeding around wood cover in it.  There are usually lots of shad around the mouth of this cove so check for them.

    Chris says there is lots of good brush as you go back into this cove and it is a good place to fish later in the month.  Fish your jigs around the point and you can fish a jig head or jig and pig vertically if you see fish under your boat. As you go into the cove fish all your baits around the brush and other wood cover.

    8.  N 32 42.946 – W 85 07.012 – The downstream point of the cove with Idlehour Ramp in it holds bass.  This shallow point is a good place to start if you put in here or end your day before you take out, or both.

    Stay well off the point and make long casts across it with all your baits. Work your spinnerbait and blade jig along the bottom and bump it with a crankbait. Then drag a jig and pig or jig head worm along the bottom.

    A lot of tournaments are held out of this ramp and bass released here often hold on this point.  There are usually shad on it so it is worth fishing carefully and at different angles. Work all the way around it, keeping your boat out as far as the no wake buoy on that side, while fan casting the point.

    9. N 32 44.041 – W 85 06.662 – Up the river just before it bends back to the left at Blanton Creek is a cove. It is the last one on the right before Blanton Creek going upstream and is very shallow. But the downstream point is rocky and drops off into the channel.

    Stop out from the point and work in. You will see a big pine blowdown but it is broken off at the water level. There is brush out in front of it to fish, though. Another smaller blowdown is closer inside the mouth of the cove. 

    You will also see a log lying on the bottom out from the bank, showing how shallow this pocket is.  You don’t want to fish into the pocket. Instead, work your jigs in the blowdowns and brush and also down the steep rocky bank going downstream of this spot.  Chris says this is a very good spot hole.

    10.  N 32 44.605 – W 85.07.901 – Run up past the bluff bank on your left to where the river turns to the right.  At the end of the bluff the bank levels out and a creek enters the river.  On the upstream point of the creek is a big “For Sale” sign.

    Out in front of this sign about 40 to 50 yards is a rock pile right on the lip of the old river channel. It is very rough and comes up out of 10 plus feet of water to top out at about five feet deep at full pool.  Bass hold and feed on these rocks, especially when current is moving down the river.

    Chris positions his boat downstream of the rocks and throws a crankbait up to work back with the current.  He wants to get it down to bump the rocks but be prepared; you will get hung up here.  Fan cast all over the top of the rocks.

    These ten spots hold bass right now and through the end of the month. Check them out and you can find many more similar places to catch February bass at Harding.