Category Archives: Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing Information

Hot July Fishing At Eufaula

The weekend of July 18 and 19, 14 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our July tournament at Lake Eufaula.  To say it was hot is somewhat misleading. It was miserably hot. My shirt was soaked with sweat before 7:00 each morning. It was so hot and the fishing so bad that only six of the 14 members were still around for weigh-in at 1:00 Sunday.

In 15 hours of casting we brought in 37 keeper bass longer than the 14-inch limit that weighed about 73 pounds.  There were three five-bass limits and two people did not have a keeper.

Raymond English had a great catch Saturday, five weighing 16.68 pounds, and added five more Sunday for a total first place weight of ten weighing 24.71 pounds and had a 5.78 pound largemouth for big fish.  My five at 15.11 pounds, including a 5.36 pounder, was second. Kwong Yu placed third with seven weighing 12.56 pounds and had the third limit on Sunday.  Mike Scoggins had three at 6.71 pounds for fourth.

Raymond said he caught his fish on a Trick worm, as did Kwong.  Mine hit a buzzbait early.  We started at 5:30 each morning in the dark and I never had a bite after 7:00 either day.

It was tough but our catch included a high percentage of three to six-pound bass, caught in shallow water. Eufaula is full of them!

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Happy Captain Mike Gerry Client

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 8/1/20

As the heat turns on and up it generally becomes very tough to get bites this time of year; so
far, this has not been the case. Sure, there some days where they might not be pulling water,
or the elements made that day tough but for the most part fishing has been good and well
worth your time on Guntersville. Overall fishing is good, and the good times are rolling!

The bass are responding mostly to different versions of soft plastics, one day they want a big
worm, another a small finesse worm like Missile bait 48 stick bait or even a heavy weighted
punching type bait like Missile Bait D-Bombs. The wind as also offered the ability to use some
faster moving baits like Picasso Spinner baits, and Tight-Line swim jigs.

We have fished mainly
in the 8 to 15 ft. range looking for structure.
Come fish with us I have guides and days available all summer long to fish with you, no one
will treat you better or work harder to see you have a great day on the water. We fish with
great sponsor products Lowrance Electronics, Ranger Boats, Mercury motors, Boat Logix
mounts, Duckett Fishing, Vicious Fishing, Navionics mapping, T&H Marine and more.

Waves and Bad Luck At Lanier In June

 Somebody in the Flint River Bass Club thought it would be a good idea to hold our June tournament on Lanier on Sunday, June 7.  In it 14 of us fished for eight hours and caught eight 14-inch keepers.  Ten of us zeroed!   

Lanier gets crazy on any warm day, and Sunday was no exception. Wake boats that cruise slowly and make huge wakes have to go back in creeks to get away from the ocean-going cruisers on the main lake.  Those big boats make waves even wake boats don’t want to face.   

Boat ramps are crowded, not a problem when we launch before daylight but we often sit in line for a long time waiting on folks that back their jet skis or ski boats down on the ramp then block it while they transfer everything from their vehicle to the boat and get the boat ready for launch.   

I have been on double ramps when we loaded eight bass boats on one ramp while an inconsiderate pleasure boater blocked the other one.  And it is often irritatingly entertaining watching some try to back their boat down the ramp as they repeatedly go off to the side and have to pull up and try again.   

On my “Fazebook” page, I posted about ten of us zeroing and got as response “I don’t see how anyone can zero a tournament.”  I said “Its easy, just don’t catch a keeper.”    Not only is it hard to fish from all the waves on the lake when its like Lanier was Sunday, bass definitely react to all the activity.  Trying to cast and work a bait is very hard when you are just trying to stay in the boat, and the bass get very skittish and inactive with all the noise and waves.   

Bass club fishermen fish under all conditions, from freezing cold winter days to miserably hot summer days.   And we go to different lakes every weekend.  Fishing the same waters week after week helps you keep up with what the bass are doing there, but all we have to go on is what they did the last time we fished there, often a year ago. Practice can help, but most of us don’t get to spend time on the water before a tournament due to work or health.   

Bass change their habits and activities daily, sometimes even hourly.  They follow seasonal patterns that we all know, but conditions change their daily activity within their patterns.  Trying to figure out what is going on in eight hours is tough.   

In the tournament, everything went wrong for me and I was one of the zeros.     I had no idea what the bass were doing other than some posts I had read saying they were hitting on windy rocky points. I ran to one of my favorites, a place where I have caught a lot of fish, and four spots over four pounds each, in fall and spring tournaments there.   

For thirty minutes I did not get a bite, then on a cast with a jig and pig, as I tightened up my line to move the jig, the line was slack. That often means a bass has sucked in the jig and is swimming toward the boat. Too often if you set the hook with too much slack line, you do not get a good hook set. 

I kept trying to get my line tight enough to set the hook.  That is an iffy situation. And unfortunately, I tightened it up too much, the fish felt the pressure and I felt it spit out my lure.

Another time I felt a tap and lowered my rod tip to quickly set the hook. Before I could, a big carp jumped and came down on my line, jerking it and making the bass let go of the jig.  That has never happened to me before!

In the tournament, guest Tim Puckett won with three bass weighing 4.87 pounds and had big fish with a 2.21 pounder.  Travis Weatherly came in second with three weighing 4.17 pounds, Chris Lee placed third with one weighing 1.66 pounds and Brent Drake came in fourth with one weighing 1.21 pounds.  That was it, the rest of us did not have a fish to weigh!

Some Bass You Catch, Some You Lose

 If you fish for bass very much, you will have many experiences landing some bass you should not and losing some you should land.  Some seem stupid, some funny and some just weird.  I had four such experiences this past weekend in two tournaments.   

Saturday at West Point in the Potato Creek tournament, I pulled up on a hump where I have caught a few bass in the past.  My first cast produced a hit and I landed a 2.52 pound spot, a good size one for West Point.   

A few casts later with the shaky head I got another bite, set the hook and fought another 2.5-pound spot half way to the boat. It jumped and threw the hook. Why did it come off when the first one did not? 

Then a few cast later, this time with a jig and pig, I hooked another 2.5-pound spot, fought it to the boat and could see it down about four feet deep. Then it just came off.  Why? I will never know.   

Sunday in the Spalding County tournament at Sinclair I was fishing down the bank with my boat about six feet out from a grass bed.  I saw a nice bass swimming along in two feet of water, headed the same way as the boat but a little faster.   

I have seen cruising bass like that many times and have never caught one of them. But I cast ahead of the bass anyway with my shaky head. The line started moving away from the bank and I set the hook and landed a 3.4 pound largemouth.   

A few minutes later I cast to a boat dock post and as my shaky head sank the line started moving under the dock. I set the hook hard enough to make the drag slip a little. I have it set that way to keep from breaking my line.  The fish felt strong as it ran under the dock but it just came off the hook.   

I kept fishing and landed my fifth fish at about 1:00 and decided to head back toward the ramp. But I stopped at the dock where I had lost the fish, cast the same bait to the same post, and as it sank it started under the dock.  This time I landed a 3.52 pounder!  I am sure it was the same fish. 

I can not remember ever going back and catching the same fish after losing it.

Docks make for some interesting experiences.  A couple of years ago I cast a Chatterbait behind a dock and my line went over the corner post. As soon as the bait hit the water a bass grabbed it.

I automatically set the hook and reeled a two pounder up out of the water. Somehow it hung there until I could get the boat close enough to get the net under it.

The same thing happened at Weiss. I cast a shaky head behind a dock and the wind blew my line over a post. When I got a bite I set the hook and reeled a three pound bass up in the air.

As I tried to get close to it, the line suddenly came off the post and the bass took off, pulling hard. I knew my line was frayed from the post but somehow the line held and I landed the fish.

One of the oddest things happened at West Point years ago. I cast a jig to a small brush top right on the bank. I felt a tap and set the hook.  The line did not move, I thought I had just hooked the brush. I pulled trying to get it free but could not.

I got close enough to the brush in the muddy water to push my jig off the limb it was hung on with my rod tip, and as I did and raised my rod tip, a two pounder was still hooked. I think I stunned it yanking it against the limb and it never fought!Sometimes you land those weird fish, sometimes you lose them.

One Weekend, Two Tournaments

In the Potato Creek Bassmasters June tournament at West Point on June 13, 28 fishermen landed 65 bass weighing about 108 pounds in nine hours of casting. There were six five bass limits and ten people did not have a fish.

Niles Murray won with five weighing 11.44 pounds. Kwong Yu placed second with five at 10.05 and had big fish with a 4.02 pounds. Caleb Delay came in third with five weighing 8.58 pounds. Tom Tanner came in fourth with five at 8.18 pounds.My five weighed 6.42 pounds. 

The two I lost would have added at least three pounds to my weight but it was not to be.

In the Spalding County Sportsman Club June tournament at Sinclair the next day, 16 members and guest fished 9.5 hours to land 50 bass weighing about 88 pounds.  There were eight five bass limits and two people zeroed.

I won with five at 11.45 pounds, those two lucky fish really helped.  Gary Hattaway placed second with five at 10.88 pounds, Jay Gerson came in third with five at 10.88 pounds and Wayne Teal placed fourth with five at 9.21 pounds.  George Roberts had big fish with a 4.01 pound largemouth.

Why Is Eufaula Fishing So Tough For My Club?

Two weekends ago, May 30 and 31, 2020. 15 members and guests of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our May tournament at Lake Eufaula.  In 17 hours of casting, we landed 81 bass weighing about 161 pounds. There were eight five bass limits and one fisherman didn’t catch a keeper.   

Kwong Yu won with ten keepers weighing 23.60 pounds and had big fish with a 5.54 pound largemouth. He also had a 5.09 pound largemouth in his catch.  RaymondEnglish placed second with ten bass weighing 19.73 pounds, Jay Gerson had nine bass weighing 17.54 pounds for third and guest Dan Dupree fishing with Raymond had seven bass weighing 13.60 pounds for fourth.  Glenn Anderson, fishing with Kwong, had nine bass weighing 11.20 for fifth place.   

Eufaula is known for its big bass but we had a hard time finding them. 

Parker Guy, the high school fisherman I did a Map of the Month article with that is in this month’s issue of Georgia Outdoor News, has been fishing the lake every day.   

He fished a tournament Sunday and won with five bass weighing 18.5 pounds and had big fish in it with a six pounder! it helps to know the lake.

Where and How to Catch Neely Henry Bass

July Bass at Neely Henry

with Waine Pittman

     Its hot and muggy but that is no reason to stay home in front of the air conditioner.  Catching a big spot or largemouth will make you forget the heat, and there are few better places to do that right now than the Coosa River on the upper end of Neely Henry Lake.

     Neely Henry is just downstream of Lake Weiss at Gadsden.  From the Tillison Brend Park Ramp upstream the river is narrow but there are feeder creeks with grassbeds and other cover.  Docks are scattered on the river and in the creeks.  Current runs in the river most days from power generation at the Weiss dam and the Neely Henry dam. 

     Current seems to make the spots and largemouth grow big fat and strong.  Hook a three pound spot in the current and you will swear you have one twice that big or a striper.  The current also makes them hold in predictable places and you can catch both species without dredging the depths in July.

     Waine Pittman lived the dream, as the BASS Federation Nation motto goes.  In 2008 he qualified for the Georgia Top Six in his club, the West Georgia Bass Hunters.  At the state tournament he placed 4th at Lake Seminole, making the State Team.  At the Federation Nation Southern Divisional at Santee Cooper he was the top man on the Georgia team, qualifying him for the Nationals.

     In a dream trip that almost turned disastrous due to the weather Waine was the top man on the Southern Division team which made him the Southern Division representative at the BASS Masters Classic, arguably the most important tournament there is each year.

     Waine is sponsored by Nitro Boats, Mercury Motors, Minkota Trolling Motors, JJ’s Magic, Cull Buddy, Triple Fish line, Net Bait lures, Cold Steel Lures, TC Cranks, Costa Eyewear and Tillman Eye Center.  He uses Revo reels exclusively and says they are the best reels available.

     I asked Waine what his favorite lake was and he didn’t hesitate to say “Neely Henry.”  His club fishes the lake every year, usually in July, and he also fishes pot and local tournaments on Neely.  He loves to fish the river for big spots and largemouth and knows how to catch them. 

     Waine started tournament fishing while in college and likes tournament fishing.  Next year he plans on fishing the Southern Division BASS Opens tournaments all his kids are now out of high school.

     Waine has a 5.5 pound spot and a 7 pound largemouth from the river, and his best tournament catch there was a five-fish limit weighing 23 pounds.  The river is the perfect place for Waine to skip, pitch and flip a jig and pig, his favorite way of fishing.  And it catches fish there.

     “By late June bass are set up on their summer pattern,” Waine said. That means they are holding in the river and bigger creeks on ledges and deeper cover and running in to shallow water to feed. Creek mouths are a key area this time of year, giving bass a short route to grass beds in the creeks and to cover that breaks the current on the river banks. 

     Waine will start at daylight on shallow grassbeds near creek mouths, then move to the river banks after the sun gets up.  He fishes the grass fast with spinnerbaits, frogs and buzzbaits on one pass then come back and flip them with a Net Bait Paca Punch.  After an hour he moves out to the river channel and flips them with a jig he makes.

     Flipping, skipping and pitching a jig and pig with a Paca Chunk SR. behind a five-sixteenths ounce jig works well.  That combo has a lot of action and works catches fish in the current on the river.  Flipping is his bread and butter method of catching bass.

     Waine showed me the following ten spots where he catches bass in the river in early June. We were a little early for the pattern but caught some good spots and largemouth, but not the quality fish Waine hoped we would catch. By now the bigger fish will be more active on these spots.

     1.  N 34 00.779 – W 85 55.412 – If you put in at Tillison Bend Park Ramp run up to the mouth of Cove Creek, the first creek upstream of the ramp on the same side of the river. Go into the creek to the 4th dock on the right, in front of a brick house, and fish upstream. There is a good grass bed by this ramp and it is a good place to start.

     Fish the small patch of grass quickly then work on upstream, fishing the seawall and small point at the next dock. Past it is a big point. Fish it then go around the point. A huge grassbed lining the bank starts there and runs into a cove, out of it on the other side and on up the bank.

     Throw your buzzbait to the bank and work it back across the gap.  Try a spinnerbait, too.  A frog works well over this water willow grass in the thicker parts of it and that is where the biggest bass will hold. Waine likes the Cold Steel frog since it is thin and tough.

     Waine usually fishes around the first pocket with those baits then turns and fishes the same grass with the Paca Punch. That bait is a solid body bait that stays up on the hook well and has lots of action.  He will drop the bait into holes in the grass and also punch through the thicker mats.  A half ounce sinker is heavy enough to get through most of this grass and works well.

     We hooked a couple of good largemouth here the day we fished. Both hit spinnerbaits the first few minutes before the sun came up.  Sometimes you can punch the thicker grass can catch fish in the bright sun, and if the fish are actively feeding a spinnerbait run through the grass will catch them even in the bright sun.

     2.  N 34 00.870 – W 85 55.309 – Go back to the mouth of the creek and start on the upstream point, fishing upstream. Pitch a jig and pig to all the cover along this bank. Trees and brush create eddies in the current that the bass use as ambush points 

     Always fish upstream. That gives you better boat control and also helps work your bait with the current in a natural action. Fish at an angle ahead of the boat, pitching or flipping your bait so it hits on top of the cover and falls in behind it with the current.

     Work on up to the first few docks along this bank, hitting them where the posts breaks the current.  Current is critical when fishing the river. When it moves, the bass bite, but you need a strong trolling motor to fish it. Waine uses a 36 volt Minkota for this reason.

     3.  N 34 00.744 – W 85 54.500 – A little further up the river on the opposite side, just where the river starts a gentle bend to the right, a small double mouth creek enters the river. There are grass beds in the mouth that hold good bass. Waine said he pulled up here one day and on back to back casts caught a 4.63 and a 4.75 pound spot. There was a big bass chasing shad here when we got to the spot but we could not get it to hit.

     Keep your boat out in the river and cast into the creek, working your fast moving baits over the grass. Fish both sides of the small island splitting the creek at the river edge.  Waine says he does not work back into the smaller creeks like this one since the bass will be set up right on the river this time of year.

     4.  N 33 59.479 – W 85 54.044 – Further up the river Tidmore Bend makes a big horseshoe bend.  Going upstream, watch for an old dead snag tree leaning out over the water.  Start well downstream of this snag and work up to it. You should stop across the river from the blue roof house on the far bank if you can’t see the snag.

     This inside bend is typical of a good type place to fish.  There is a little less current here so bass like to feed here when it is running strong, but still enough to make them active.  

     Waine says he usually catches bass in less than five feet of water, so he concentrates his casts to the base of trees in the water and brush or little cuts on the bank. It is worth fishing on out to the ends of the bigger trees some to see if bass are holding deeper, but unless you get some bites keep your bait in the more shallow feeding zone.

     5. N 34 05.552 – W 85 51.845 – Waine usually runs way on up the river from here, going past the Appalachian Highway Bridge. Upstream of the bridge Coats Bend makes a sweeping turn to the left.  Go all the way past it to where the next bend starts turning to the right.  A small island sits just off the bank and a small creek enters behind it. This is an excellent place to fish.

     Start just downstream of the cut behind the island and fish upstream, pitching your bait into the ditch and working it out. Cover both points. The downstream point will have current hitting it and turning into the ditch, creating a good feeding eddy. The upstream point has current swirling around it to make the bass feed. There is grass on both points that you should hit hard, but also fish out in front of it.

     Fish upstream a short distance, hitting the cover on the river bank. Fish will feed along it as they move to the mouth of the creek to feed so it is worth checking out.

     6.  N 34 07.637 – W 85 48.102 – Run all the way to the bend where the Weiss Re-Regulation pool empties into the river and stop on the right bank going upstream.  Fish the right bank along the inside bend of the river, starting well downstream of the turn.  Fish up to the turn past the dead snags in the water.

     Along here the current is very strong out in the river but you will actually find water moving upstream from the eddy behind the point.  There are cuts in the bank that create additional eddies and the wood in the water breaks the current, too. 

     Waine got a good keeper spot here on his home made jig and says it is a very good bank.  It is worth hitting every little hole and piece of wood along this bank.  Fish it slowly. With the current eddying around you can fish here fairly easily in both directions.

     7.  N 34 07.217 – W 85 49.057 – Headed back down the river go to the mouth of Ballplay Creek, on your left going downstream.  It is on the straight section of the river about half way before you get to the turn back to the right going downstream. There is a lot of wood in the mouth of this creek, especially under the overhanging tree on the downstream point.

     Waine says it is nasty under that tree and you will probably get hung up, but it is worth it since it holds good bass.  Start fishing just downstream of the creek mouth and work into it, hitting the cove under the tree as you go into the creek. This one is deep enough to fish into the creek about fifty feet then fish back out on the opposite bank. 

     Time of day is not real important but sun seems to help position the bass a little.  We caught more fish while the sun was bright than when it was cloudy. But current is more important than anything else, and Waine will fish this pattern from an hour after first light the rest of the day.

     8.  N 34 06.632 – W 85 51.505 – Going back down the river on the outside slight bend to the right watch for a small building on the left bank. Just downstream of it is a ditch with wooden retaining walls on it. This is the location of an old cotton mill.  You want to fish the right side of the river, across from the ditch.

     Idle in slowly here, especially if the water is down some. Old walls and humps come up to a couple of feet deep about 50 feet off the bank and make eddies in the main river current.  Waine will fish a Bandit 200 shad colored crankbait here as well as a spinnerbait.  You can reel the crankbait down to bump the tops of the cover and run a spinnerbait over it.

     This is a good place to pull in and make a couple of dozen casts to see if the bass are on the structure.  Waine says he will not stay long if he doesn’t get bit quick. Stay out a long cast from the bank and work your baits at an angle, casting toward the bank then coming back downstream. Also fan cast upstream to hit the cover further out. You can see it on your depthfinder.

     9.  N 34 04.074 – W 85 49.733 – Go back down past the big bend and the island in hole 5.  Just before you get to Coats Bend you will see some houses and docks on the right side. If you are headed upstream they are the first docks on the left above the bridge, but a long way from it. 

     Stop in front of the dock with a Rebel Flag with the words “In God We Trust” on it. It is in front of a big unusually shaped house. The house is long and thin running at a 90 degree angle to the river then wide at the end away from the river. There is also a high car unloading area with columns supporting the high roof. It looks like the front of a hotel.

     The three docks from the flag upstream are good ones to fish. Wood washes in and hangs on them, and small diversion walls just upstream of some of them make good eddies at the docks. Fish the posts of the docks and all the wood around and under them, and also make some casts behind the docks between them and the bank, with your jig and pig.

     10.  N 34 01.954 – W 85 50.274 – Running down the river there is a small creek on the left on the outside of Coats Bend.  The creek forks a little way back. It is upstream of the bigger Dry Creek. This smaller creek has a dock on the upstream point that has steel I Beams supporting the deck and a paving stone or wall stone wall on both sides of the walkway coming down to it.

     Fish both points at the mouth of this creek.  Then work on back into the creek, fishing the overhanging brush and wood in the water.  Waine says the water is deep enough here to work all the way back to where the creek widens out on the left fork going in.  He got a keeper spot off the point where the creek splits.

     All these places hold good bass and there are many more creek mouths, inside bends and other kinds of cover to fish in the river. Head to it this summer and get in on the incredible fishing when the current is running.

Where and How to Catch December Neely Henry Bass

December Bass at Neely Henry

with Johnny Osborne

    Thanksgiving Holidays. Christmas Holidays. Lots of people hunting. What a great time to be on the lake!  Compared to much of the year there are few people on the lake and the bass are biting from the end of November through December.  A good choice for catching spots and largemouth right now is Neely Henry.

    Located on the Coosa River just downstream of Lake Weiss, Neely Henry is a long river-like lake with just over 11,000 acres of water.  It runs 77 miles from dam to headwaters and has a wide variety of structure and cover, although many creeks and ditches are silted in.  Dammed in 1950, this old lake has lots of grass and there is still a lot of wood cover in the lake.

    According to the Alabama DNR there are a lot of 15 to 18 inch largemouth in the lake and the spotted bass population is “exceptional” for large fish.  The numbers of spots in the 14 to 20 inch range is one of the best in the state.   Just over half the bass weighed in during tournaments are spots, according to the BAIT survey.

    Johnny Osborne grew up in the area and has lived near Neely Henry all his life, except for a stint in the navy.  He has fished all his life and in the 1970s a co-worker got him started tournament fishing.  Fishing has been a passion all his life.

    This year Johnny fished the BFL series and made the regional tournament.  He also fishes the BASS Weekend Series and the ABA as well as many local tournaments.  He does some guiding on the lake and has helped many pros locate hotspots for big tournaments.

    Last year in the in the St. Jude’s Charity Tournament on Neely Henry he and his partner had five spots weighing 19 pounds, 2 ounces.  His best five from Neely Henry weighed over 26 pounds and his best tournament catch was five at 24-14.  He has landed a 6 pound, 3 ounce spot and an 8 pound, 2 ounce largemouth on Neely Henry.

    “Bass are following baitfish and feeding shallow from Thanksgiving through Christmas,” Johnny said.  You can catch them on a variety of baits and in several kinds of cover and structure.  Current makes a big difference and they bite much better when it is moving.

    Most of Johnny’s fishing this time of year concentrates on the mid-lake area, from City Ramp in Gadsden to the Rainbow Landing area.  Bass move to creek openings and shoreline cover and feed on shad as them move with the current, and you don’t have to make long runs to cover the area.

     Johnny will have a Stanley spinnerbait with a one gold and one silver willowleaf blade and a chartreuse and white skirt and an Academy XPO chartreuse crankbait for faster fishing. 

    For slower fishing he will rig a jig head that he pours himself with a watermelon red worm with a chartreuse tail, and have a Arkie tube Texas rigged and ready.  The tube is his favorite bait and Johnny likes a green pumpkin color.  He will also rig a Trick or Finesse green worm on a Carolina rig with a 32 inch leader behind a three-quarter ounce lead.

    A topwater bait like a Pop-R or a Sammy is also ready for low light times like early in the morning or during cloudy days.  Johnny says he catches bass at Neely Henry on top until the water gets to the low 50s so you can catch them on top most of the month.

    Put in at City Ramp or Rainbow Ramp and you can fish these spots without a lot of running. There were fish on them a couple of weeks ago when we fished and they should be even better now.

    1.  N 33 59.191 – W 85 59.996 – Head downstream from City Ramp and go under the bridges. On your right you will see a campground then a big white house on a narrow point between the river and Big Wills Creek.  The end of that point runs parallel to the river and is deep on both sides and is covered with rock.

    Stop on the river side and cast across the point.  You can run a crankbait or spinnerbait over it if there is current running and the fish are active.  If there is little current, work around the point casting a jig head worm up almost to the seawall and working it back down the point and across it at different angles.

    The day we fished there was not much current here in the early afternoon but we caught over a dozen bass on it on jig head worms. All were spots and the biggest was about two pounds. Johnny says you often get a lot of keeper size spots here since they stack up on this point.

    Before leaving Johnny will fish up the river side of the point for a hundred feet, working the steep drop along this bank.  Bass will feed here, too, especially if there is a good current running along the bank.

    2.   N 33 58.191 – W 86 00.004 – The mouth of Big Wills Creek is very wide since it makes a big bend, hitting the bank at the point above then swinging across to the far bank before turning and entering the river near the downstream point. Since the channel enters here, the downstream point of Big Wills Creek is good, too. 

    Stop on the river side of the point.   You will be across from the playground and old ramp at Dub Parker Boat Launch.  Fish the point that runs upstream parallel to the river and the flat on either side of it. Bass hold on the point and feed on the flats.

    Johnny starts on the river side and casts up on top of the point with a shaky head or his Texas rigged tube.   When sitting here you can see a three door white dock on the far bank of Big Wills Creek and the restaurant on the road across from it, but you will be a long way from it.

    Fish from the bank to the drop into the old creek channel.  Bump the bottom, probing for any cover where bass will be hiding.  Current running across this point makes it much better.

    3.  N 32 58.220 – W 85 59.331 – Run down the river and watch for the opening to a slough on your right.  It is near the end of a gently bend of the river to the left and is just downstream of a brown roof dock with a big wind chime on it.  The house behind it also has a brown roof with a white chimney. There was a “for sale” sign in the yard in early November.

    Keep your boat out in the river and fish the downstream point of this slough. The river channel runs right up to the mouth of the slough.  There was a stump sticking up out on the point and there is a hump in the middle of the slough. 

    Run a crankbait across the shallows, casting from the river channel and working your bait from shallow to deep. Bump the bottom as long as you can on each cast.  Make sure you work out from the point to cover the hump, too.

    After trying the crankbait try both a shaky head and tube. Drag them along the bottom, hoping them and then letting them sit still for a few seconds to wave in the current. 

    4.  N 33 57.475 – W 85 58.119 – Head downstream until you can see the upper end of Freeman’ Island, the big island in the middle of the river.  On your right you will see a small island just off the bank and upstream of it a big brown brick and wood house on that side.  The upstream point of the island has chunk rock on it and the flat from the island to the dock and ramp at the house holds feeding bass.

    Start at the island staying on the river side of the island and cast across the upstream point.  Keep working toward the dock, staying way out and making long casts. The flat has stumps on it and bass hold around them. 

    This is a good area to fish a Carolina Rigged worm since the heavy sinker will allow you to fish it quickly and find the stumps.   Your jig had worm and tube will work well, too.  Fish the area carefully, some big bass hold here.

    5.  N 33 56.910 – W 85 57.480 – Downstream of Freeman’s Island on the left going downstream you will see a electric pole on the bank surrounded by a chain link fence. It is not easy to see in the brush but it is the outlet for the Tyson plant wastewater holding pond.  Waste from the chicken processing plant dumps into the river here and it has a colorful local name that recognizes the “stuff” that comes out.

    This outflow draws in big schools of baitfish and big bass feed here.  You will see a path on the bank coming down to the water and out from it a pipe runs out to dump waste. This pipe is covered with riprap and you can see humps of rocks if you ride over it, but be careful if the water is low.

    Keep your boat out from the bank and end of the pipe and make casts to the bank with a crankbait, running it back across the rocks at different angles.  Johnny likes the Academy crankbait since it works well, runs right and is not too expensive.  You will lose crankbaits here on these rocks, but can catch some big stringers of bass.

    There are three different drops along here and bass will hold along any of them.  Johnny says a lot of six to eight pound bass have been caught here and many tournaments won on this spot so don’t pass it by.

    6.  N 33 57.037 – W 86 01.005 – Run a good ways down river past the right turn bend to where the river starts a left turn. On your right a creek enters upstream of the bend and Tommy’ Marina in the back of it.  There are some danger markers on the upstream side of the opening. 

    The mouth of this creek has several humps and drops across it where the river runs in close and many bass hold here.  Be careful, you can go from 20 feet of water to nothing in a few feet, and not all the humps are marked.

    Work this area with Carolina rig and shaky head and tube. The humps and drops are covered with stumps and chunk rock and you will get hung up a lot. Johnny says a crankbait would work well here but you lose too many to make it worth throwing them.

    Current running across these drops makes a big difference.  The fish will feed when the current is running so position your boat so you can cast upstream and work your bait back with a natural movement with the current.  Work around the area until you find the bass feeding.

    7.  N 33 56.737 – W 86 01.407 – Go around the bend and downstream toward the bridges.  Stop just upstream of the upstream boat shed on your right at Bucks Marina and work upstream.  There is a house here with satellite dish in the yard and a boat shed with a pontoon under it with a yellow and white cover.

    Fish all along this bank, working the cover and cuts along the bank, staying out in 20 feet of water or so.  Use your shaky head, tube and Carolina rig.  There is a good bit of wood cover on the bottom here so probe for it. 

    The channel makes a good ledge along this bank and bass hold on the lip of it and run in to feed.  It was along this bank where Stacey King got 2nd place in a PAA tournament and where Johnny’s fishing partner, Gary Howington caught a huge seven pound, six ounce spotted bass.

    Work the bank and all cover from the boathouse all the way upstream to gray and white dock with a boat with a Mercury motor on it. Just downstream of this dock is a ridge or hump and this is where Stacey King caught his fish.

    8. N 33 56.499 – W 86 01.610 – Go to the upper bridge of the Highway 77 crossing and stop out from the riprap on the left side going downstream. Johnny says this is a great place to find bass pushing shad into the corner and feeding, especially in the morning.

    Throw a spinnerbait, starting on the end of the riprap and working it into the grassy pocket and fishing upstream about 50 feet. Work it at different speeds as much as you can in the shallow water. Watch for fish busting bait on top.  Current makes this spot much better.

    This pocket and pattern gave Johnny the bass he needed to win the two day BFL finale last year on Neely Henry. He said he was surprised to get here each morning and find it open, with no boats ahead of him stopping here.

    Work the upstream pocket then go around the point and fish the downstream pocket, too. Sometimes the current will make the bass go into this pocket and eat the baitfish here.

    Johnny will fish down to the second bridge, the bigger one, and work around the second piling from the left bank going downstream. There is a big rock pile around this piling and it is a good place to throw a jig head worm or a tube and catch spotted bass.

    9.  N 33 56.051 – W 86 02.322 – Go downstream to the first small island on the right bank downstream of Rainbow Landing. It is several hundred yards down that bank. Start at the small pocket just upstream of the island and fish upstream all the way to the ramp.

    Some bass released in tournaments at Rainbow Landing stay here and feed along this bank. You can fish it in either direction but current usually makes boat control better going upstream, and current helps the fishing. 

    Fish all the shoreline cover including docks, wood and rocks along this bank. It is shallow and your boat will be in only a few feet of water, but you can often catch a lot of bass here.  There are several private boat ramps along here and Johnny says you should never pass a boat ramp on Neely Henry without casting to it.

    We got our best two bass on our trip here, a 3 pound spot and a 3.5 pound largemouth. Both hit a jig head worm. Fish topwater baits along this bank and also work it with a crankbait, tube or jighead worm along this bank and work it carefully.  If you are catching fish it is worth more than one pass.

    10.  N 33 55.283 – W 86 03.615 – Past the small island in the hole above the river channel moves to the left bank then makes a swing back to the right bank below a big flat.  Near where it swings back to the right bank there is a small marina with boat sheds. Start fishing just upstream of the boat sheds and fish upstream.

    There are a series of small points and three riprap areas along this bank to hit as you go upstream.  Work the riprap and points with your tube and jig head if there is not much current and throw a spinnerbait and crankbait when the current is strong.  Watch for any wood cover along this bank and fish it carefully. 

    Johnny says big spots often get on these riprap banks and you can catch a big stringer quickly when you hit the right spot.  Fish all the way upstream to the brick house on the upstream side of the third patch of riprap.

    These places will give you a good idea of the kind of places Johnny catches bass on Neely Henry this time of year. Give them a try then find similar places on the lake that will hold fish, too.

    You can contact Johnny at 256-492-1162.

April Fishing Memories

I bought my first bass boat in March, 1974 and Jim Berry invited me to join the Spalding County SportsmanClub. He and I fished the April club tournament at Clarks Hill, camping in a tent at Mistletoe State Park.

I placed third in the “B” division with six bass weighing seven pounds.   

The lake and the club have gone through many changes over the past 46 years but going to Clarks Hill in April for a two-day tournament has remained consistent. I think I have fished it every one of those 46 years.   

Back then, the club had 78 members and we often had 30 to 40 fishermen in our tournaments and there were many father-son teams. We made a big production of it, with most of us camping together and having as big fish fry one night. We sat around campfires, often with adult beverages, and had a lot of fun.   

I still have the old scoreboard. I have no idea how I ended up with it, maybe because I was elected secretary/treasurer of the club in 1975, a position I still hold. Nobody else wants it.   

The old scoreboard is two 4×4 foot plyboard boards with plexiglass covering them. There was a stand made from metal conduit to hold them upright. I can still barely see the names and weights from that first Clarks Hill tournament on it, the last tournament where it was used.   

It took 20 keeper bass weighing 26 pounds to win that tournament. Now we have a five fish limit each day rather than the ten back then, after dropping to seven for a few years then to five.   

The lake has changed a lot, too. About 25 years ago blueback herring got in the lake and their population exploded, and bass took advantage of this high protein food source, growing big and fat. Then hydrilla got in the lake and covered much of the shallows, giving young bass places to hide and grow.   

Through spraying and introduction of 80,000 grass carp, the hydrilla has pretty much been eliminated.

Coots eating the hydrilla picked up a bacterium that killed bald eagles that ate the coots, and around 80 dead eagles were found over a ten year period, so the hydrilla was eliminated.   

A few years ago, spotted bass got in Clarks Hill and their population is growing.  We seem to weigh in more of them each year, and they are expanding from the Savannah River to Little River. I am afraid they will ruin the largemouth fishing like they have on Russell, West Point, Jackson and Bartletts Ferry.   

Last weekend the Sportsman Club fished our
April tournament at Clarks Hill. In 16.5 hours of casting, 15 members brought 109 bass weighing about 187 pounds. There were 15 five fish limits and no one zeroed.

Raymond English won with ten weighing 26.33 pounds and had a 6.0 pounder for big fish. Sam Smith had ten weighing 21.05 pounds for second, my ten at 18.2 pounds placed third, and Kwong Yu had nine weighing 16.41 pounds for fourth. Those weights are very similar to what won back in 1974, but back then it took 20 bass to weigh as much as ten in this tournament!

Where and How to Catch Lake Blue Ridge June Bass

June Blue Ridge Bass

with Barron Adams

    Lots of spots, some quality largemouth and your best chance to catch a Georgia smallmouth.  Fish rocks and brush in deeper water while watching for schooling fish on Blue Ridge Lake this month to catch all three types of bass.

    Blue Ridge is a pretty 3300-acre TVA lake on the Toccoa River in the north Georgia mountains near the state line where Tennessee and North Carolina meet.  Its deep clear waters for years harbored the best smallmouth population in the state, but the invasion of spots has decimated their population.  There are still some, mostly bigger fish it seems, in the lake.

    Barron Adams grew up in Mineral Bluff fishing the lake with his grandfather. He loved catching smallmouth and largemouth there and in other lakes.  He fished some club and local tournaments but got serious about tournament fishing about eight years ago.  He fishes the Chattanooga Bass Association tournaments and this is his second year on the FLW Costa Series. He finished 18th in the Southeast Division and hopes that will qualify him for the FLW Tour next year since several fishermen ahead of him in the points double qualified for it.

    Barron still fishes almost all Wednesday night tournaments on Blue Ridge and guides there and on Chatuge and Nottely. He knows Blue Ridge well and what the bass are doing there.

    “By June most bass have finished spawning and are on deeper cover like rocks and brush piles on points,”
Barron said.  This has been a cold spring and bass spawned late. On the full moon in early May there were a few bedding and a lot cruising the shallows.  And we saw balls of shad in the shallows getting ready to spawn.

    Although bass are holding deep now, they come up on shad and blueback herring, feeding on top especially early in the morning and late in the day.  Barron will always have a walking bait ready to cast to them. For deeper fish he relies on a shaky head, jig and pig and drop shot.

    “A few years ago, I could count on catching several smallmouth each trip,” Barron said. But they are rare now, and he seldom catches small ones, a bad sign that they are not reproducing well.  Spots have crowed them out, as fisheries biologists predicted. But you can still catch a few mixed in with the more common spots. And there are some good largemouth with them, too.

    We fished the first week of May during the full moon and saw a few bedding bass, but most were cruising, waiting on the water to warm.  They were late, and as soon as the water warmed enough a lot went on the bed at one time.  Now you should concentrate on deeper cover like the following ten places to catch all three species.

    1.  N 34 52.163 – W 84 16.381 – The main lake point on the upstream side of the creek with Lake Blue Ridge Marina in it has red Toccoa River Marker 1 on it.  It runs way out and has god brush on it.  Stop way off the point in 60 to 70 feet of water and ease in with your trolling motor.

    Keep an eye on your electronics, watching for brush piles around 25 feet deep.  Fan cast with a shaky head or jig and pig as you move in.  When you see brush, cast both to it but have a drop shot worm ready to fish straight down in it. Barron rigs a Morning Dawn Robo worm about 16 inches above a three eights ounce lead and drops it straight down into the brush.

    Here and at all other times keep a topwater walking bait like a Spook ready to cast to bass chasing shad and herring on top. Barron uses a bone colored Spook and works it through any surface activity.

    2.  N 34 52.314 – W 84 15.579 – Across the lake and a little upstream red marker 2 is on another main lake point that is good.  It, too, runs way out so stop at least 100 yards off the point in deep water.  As you move in, make long casts with shaky head and jig and pig to the point, bumping the bottom.  Watch for brush piles to fish with your drop shot.

    The fish can be spooky even in 25-foot-deep brush piles.  If you get right over one and see fish, but can’t get them to bite, mark the brush and back off a long cast away.  Then fish the brush with shaky head or jig and pig.  Long cast are often critical with the clear water on Blue Ridge.

    3.  N 34 51.204 – W 84 15.349 – Going up Star Creek, just as it starts its turn to the left there is a big cove on your right.  On the downstream point just inside it is a covered dock and further into it a small wooden dock, with a private ramp between the two. The downstream point and the middle point inside the cove where it splits both come way out so stop about in the middle of the cove outside the downstream point.

    Sit in about 35 feet of water and make long casts toward the middle back point.  A long cast will get your bait up into 10 to 11 feet of water. There is brush and tires on the bottom and the top of the points offer good schooling areas. 

    Rake the shallow points with shaky head and jig and pig.  Since the cover here is shallow, work all of it from a distance.  You can locate the exact position of the cover with good electronics like the Lowrance HDS Carbon units Barron uses.  Finding it with side scan will let you make accurate casts to it without getting too close to it.

    4. 34 51.059 – W 84 14.993 – On up Star Creek Red Marker Star Creek 9 is on your right.  Just upstream of it is a small pocket.  The downstream point of it is a long shallow flat that comes out and drops in to the creek channel.

    This is an excellent place to throw a topwater plug early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Make long cast up on the flat and work it back to the boat.  Bass on the flat and in brush on it will come up and hit it.

    The brush on this point is also good for fishing shaky head and jig and pig.  Barron uses a three eights ounce head made at Tri State Tackle Shop beside Dunkin Donuts on Appalachian Highway near the Blue Ridge dam.  He likes their heads since they have a sturdy 5/0 Gamakatsu hook.  He puts a Zoom avocado or green pumpkin Trick worm on it and drags it along the bottom with little shakes of his rod tip.

    5. N 34 51.709 – W 84 15.726 – Back out at the mouth of Star Creek the point between it and the river has Red Toccoa River marker 3 on it.  It is a flat point that comes out and drops into both river and creek channel and has a very steep drop on the river side that bass like.

    Fish topwater over it then work the bottom and brush with shaky head and jig and pig, probing for rocks and brush.  All three species of bass like both kinds of cover and hold on it during the day.  Keep your dropshot ready here as on other places.

    6.  N 34 51.278 – W 84 16.567 – Going up the river a narrow point on the right is between the river and a big creel on the right. There is a green roof dock on the creek side of the point and a kid’s playhouse on the point. Barron called it Rocking Chair Point due to the red rocking chair by the playhouse.

    Herring spawn on this point and others, and with the cold spring we had, some herring and shad may still be spawning early this month.  It is a good place to throw a topwater at first light.  Even after the spawn baitfish move over the point and bass feed on them, so have your topwater ready at all times. 

    There is brush on this point out to 35 feet deep and bass in the deeper brush are less likely to be spooked by the boat, so it is good for a drop shot. Also fish your shaky head and jig and pig in it. Stop on the downstream side of the point, keep your boat in 40 plus feet of water, and fish around it to the dock.

    7.  N 34 50.584 – W 84 16.850 – In the mouth of Charlie Creek a small island sits way off the bank.  There are rocks on the right side of it when you are on the creek side.  Fish school around it and the rocks are a good place to fish both shaky head and jig and pig.  Barron fishes a one-half ounce Dirty Jig football head jig in the watermelon color with a green pumpkin Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer.  He dips the tails of his trailer as well as his shaky head worms in JJs Magic and says the spots especially like the flash of color it gives them.   

    Barron fishes his jig and pig on a G Loomis seven foot two inch 855 NRX medium heavy rod and spools his Daiwa Type R reel with 17 pound Segar Invix  fluorocarbon line.   He says this combination allows him to feel bites and get the fish out of the brush he is fishing.

    Drag the jig along the bottom, letting the tails of the trailer swim and flash. Hop it when you hit rocks, and in brush yoyo it up and down on limbs.   When you get hit in brush set the hook fast and reel fast to get the fish out of the cover.

    8. N 34 50.393 – W 84 16.973 – Where Charlie Creek bends to the right near the back a state brush pile marker sits off the right point.  State brush piles are all over the lake and, other than rocks and fishermen brush piles, are much of the limited cover on Blue Ridge.  All of them 25 to 35 feet deep hold bass in June.

    The brush is not all under the marker but scattered around them. Here, the best brush is between the marker and bank.  All of the brush is good for fishing jig and pig and shaky head, but a drop shot will often get bites when the other baits won’t.

    Barron drops is sinker to the bottom and starts by holding his rod tip still, letting the Robo worm suspend off the bottom with little motion. If that doesn’t draw a bite he will twitch his rod tip gently to make it shake in place a little.  Fish like that all around the brush first then let your sinker hit the top of the brush and fish the worm on top of it, especially if you see fish suspended over it on your electronics. 

    9.  N 34 50.160 – W 84 16.447 – Going up the river Red Marker 9 is on a point on your right. The bank downstream of it is a bluff bank with blowdowns on it and there is a state brush pile on the point and more in the mouth of the pocket past it.

    Barron says bluff banks with blowdowns almost always hold bass in June, but they are scattered in the tips of them, especially when there are a lot of blowdowns. A good tactic is to fish the ends of the trees with your drop shot worm.  Work slowly up the bluff bank, hitting the ends of every blowdown along it.

    When you get to the point, try dropshot, shaky head and jig and pig in the state brush piles.  There is a lot of brush here and the fish may be scattered in them or concentrated in one, so fish them all or use electronics to find the fish.

    10. N 34 50.855 – W 84 16.556 – At the mouth of Charlie Creek, between it and the river, a small island sits off the bank.  There is a ridge of white rock running off the creek side that you can see.  Those rocks run out deep and hold bass since they are right on the drop on the creek side.

    Stop way off the rocks and cast shaky head and jig and pig to them.  Fish the rocks out to the deep end. Bass also school on top here so be ready to cast a topwater to them.  Barron says they tend to school on the flatter river side of the island in the mornings but over the deeper creek side during the day.

    Check out these places and there are many more all over the lake like them.  A good lake map has the state brush piles marked to help find them, and good electronics will help you find the unmarked brush to fish.

    Call Barron at 706-455-0863 for a guided trip to see exactly how he catches Blue Ridge bass.

    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.