Category Archives: Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing Information

GPS Coordinates for Catching Lake Jackson Bass

March Bass at Jackson Lake 

with Barry Stokes

     For many years Jackson Lake was known for its big bass.  Then spots got into the lake and it seemed the big lunker largemouth got very rare, but you could catch a pile of keeper size spots.  Stringers with several six to eight pound bass are not seen like they were years ago, but 20 pound tournament catches still happen.

     Filled in 1911, Jackson is the oldest big reservoir in the state.  This Georgia Power lake on the headwaters of the Ocmulgee River covers 4750 acres and its shoreline is lined with cabins, docks, rocks and wood cover.  Most of its channels are silted in but there are plenty of sandy spawning coves on the lake.

     Barry Stokes grew up near Jackson and fished farm ponds but did not get to fish Jackson much. He watched bass boats go by his house headed to the lake and was determined someday to be in a bass boat on Jackson like those guys.  He made those wishes come true in the early 1990s and joined the Conyers Bass Pros bass club. Later he joined Bear Creek Bass Club.

     In the past 15 years Barry has learned the lake well and, starting in 2001, fished as many pot tournaments on it as he could. He fished the old R&R, Dixie Bass and Charlie’s Bait and Tackle trail as well as the night and weekend pot tournaments on Jackson. Now he fishes the Berry’s trail, ABA, and any other tournaments on the Jackson.  He also fishes the BFL, HD Marine and other tournaments on Sinclair and Oconee. He is usually waiting around on a check after weigh-in in them. 

     Barry has learned the lake so well he now guides on Jackson as well as Sinclair and Oconee.  He knows how to pattern the bass on the lake and has learned how to catch them. His best day ever on Jackson he landed a 12 pound lunker and had five fish weighing 30 pounds.  In one string of tournaments he won 11 of 13 tournaments and had big fish in all 13.

     Over the years Barry has figured out good patterns for March bass.  In late February they start staging on rock, clay and sand points near spawning coves and feed up on crawfish and baitfish.  He can usually catch them four to eight feet deep on those points. 

     As the water warms during March Barry follows the bass from the points back into the spawning pockets. Some bass will bed in early March if the water temperatures go up and stay stable for a week and bass move into the bedding areas in waves all spring.  There will often be a lot of pre-spawn fish on the points, some moving back and even some on the beds this month.

     “Details are the key,” Barry told me.  He keeps a variety of baits tied on and also has others ready to try. He will vary the details like lure color, depth and speed he retrieves them all during the day until he finds the key. If the fish quit hitting he will start varying the details again until he unlocks the new pattern.                    Barry will have several kinds of crankbaits in different colors, a Ol Nelle spinnerbait, a Net Boy Jackson Jig and pig, a Net Boy Shaky Head, a Terry Bowden’s Cold Steel lizard worm and a Cold Steel Walking Stick all rigged and ready when he heads out this month.  The colors will vary with water color, with brighter colors for stained water and more natural colors for clearer water.  But he will vary all the details during the day.

     One of the details Barry pays attention to that many bass fishermen get lax on is speed he works the baits.   He will vary his speed until he hits what is working. Too many bass fishermen have a speed of retrieve they are comfortable with when using certain baits and don’t very it. Barry constantly changes. 

As the water warms the fish will get more active this month and chase a bait better, but some cold days they want a fast moving bait, too.  As a general rule you should fish slower in cold water and faster in warmer water, but Barry says pay attention to details and vary your speed constantly.

Barry and I fished the following ten spots in mid-February and bass were already on them.  We caught 20 to 25 bass that day and Barry caught almost all of them on crankbaits, but I managed a few of the bigger fish on a jig and pig.  These spots will pay off all month long as fish move up on them then move back to spawn.

1. N 33 25.195 – W 83 49.875 – Run up the Alcovy to the cove on the left called “Parker Neck” and look at the upstream point.  There is a small concrete piling/pier on the up stream side right on the edge of the water and a blowdown runs out off the end of the point.   The house on the point is brick half way up with green wood above it.

This point is an excellent staging area. The bottom is rocky and the pocket on the downstream side, Parker Neck, is a good spawning place.  Fish hold out on the point on the rocks and in the blowdown feeding then move into the cove to spawn as the water warms.

Barry starts out on the end of the point at the blowdown and fishes the tree and the rocks with a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig.  He will then work the bank going downstream all the way past the cut to the next point with a gazebo on it.  Fish the above baits but also try a shaky head worm, and a Texas or Carolina rigged Lizard Worm along this bank. Work the sand where the bass will be bedding.

2. N 33 24.301 – W 83 49.746 – Headed downstream Price Neck is on your right and a good rocky point is on your left. The point you want to fish has a small cabin on it with lattice work around the crawl space.  There is a white painted tire laying in the yard. Back in the pocket on the downstream side there is a house that runs right to the water’s edge.

This point runs out shallow toward the downstream side and there is some brush on the downstream side.  The bass spawn in the cut on the downstream side.  Stay way out and fish a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig around the rocks and brush, then work into the pocket with the other baits. Try to vary your colors and speed until you find what the bass want.

One trick Barry uses is to Texas rig a Cold Steel Walking Stick, a Senko like bait, and fishes it around all the cover in the pockets. It skips under docks well and has a little different action and look than the jig and pig that most anglers will be throwing. This is another example of the types of details Barry uses to catch bass behind other fishermen.

3. N 33 23.035 – W 83 50.279 – Downstream of the bridge and Berry’s there is a point on your left heading downstream that has a beige house with a brown roof on it. There is a three globe light pole in the yard and a dock on the point with a deck on the bank. The deck has lattice panels around it. There are big rocks on the point and the bass spawn in the pocket on the upstream side.

Barry says this is a numbers game point. Spots stage and spawn here and you can often pick up several fish.  Crank the point then try a spinnerbait. Start on the downstream side and parallel the point fishing from near the bank casting out toward the lake. Then work out around the point fan casting both baits.  It gets real shallow on top so don’t get in too close.

After working the point work into the spawning area dragging a worm on the bottom. Barry likes a green pumpkin Lizard Worm this time of year and dips the tail in JJs Magic chartreuse dye to give it some color. Spots seem to especially like the wiggling chartreuse tails.

4. N 33 22.225 – W 83 51.113 – Go under the power lines and you will see a swimming beach and picnic area for Turtle Cove on your left. There are three buoys in front of the beach and the point that runs out downstream of it is a good staging area. The point is red clay and rock, an excellent combination for holding bass this time of year.  They are often feeding on crayfish on this kind of point.

The point runs at an angle downstream across the mouth of a cove.  Start near the swimming area where the sand transitions to clay and rock. That kind of change often holds bass. Work it then keep your boat way our and go downstream, fan casting around the point. 

There is a real good drop on the inside of this point where the small creek coming out of the pocket runs by it. Fish that drop and the blowdown on the inside of the point.  Flip a jig in it and work a spinnerbait through it.  Then work on into the creek for spawning bass.  This is an excellent spawning area and holds a lot of bass.

5. N 33 22.044 – W 83 51.376 – Go past the next cove downstream and you will head straight in to a high bluff bank.  The old river channel swings in right by it and it drops off fast. There are three small points along this bluff bank you should fish in March.  Start on the outside one at the dock on the rock sea wall in front of the series of decks running up the hill to the house. 

It is rocky and holds the first transitioning fish coming up out of the river channel. Stay out and fan cast it then work toward the next dock. There is a rock ledge that runs out under the dock. You will see the dock with a walkway that runs behind a tree leaning out.  The dock has the numbers “3108” on the walkway.

Stay out from the dock on the downstream side and cast toward the walkway and tree. You can see how the rocks run parallel to the bank coming out. Run a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig along these rocks, then work around the dock and fish the other side. Also drag a plastic bait along the bottom here.

The next point going into the creek is a round clay point and you should fish all around it, then fish into the creek, concentrating on any sand you come to.  The Lizard Worm is a good choice on sandy spots since spawning fish will hit it.  You may not see the bed but can catch fish off the beds with this bait.

6. N 33 22.202 – W 83 51.771 – Round the point headed into the South River and you will see a sharp narrow point on your right.  It comes out and drops off fast on both sides but is shallow on top. There is no house on the point but you will see four benches on it and there is a concrete boat ramp on it.  There are two pines on the point with black protectors around their bases.

The point is rock and clay and bass spawn in pockets on both side of it. It is steep and gives bass quick access to shallow water. They can hold deep and quickly move shallow without moving far.

Start on the downstream side and work around the point, staying way out. Fish along the upstream bank leading into the next pocket up. Rocks, clay and sand along this bank hold bass and they will move along it feeding and working into the spawning pocket. Barry will usually stop fishing about where the seawall starts unless he is going back into the pocket for spawning bass.

7. N 33 22.294 – W 83 61.856 – The next point up also has good deep water access.  This point has a brown cabin and there was a US flag flying on the dock in front of it when we were there.  There are two floodlights on a tree right at the dock. There is a big blowdown on the upstream side and a rockpile out on the point.

The wind can be important here and on other spots this time of year. Some wind blowing across the point or into it helps and Barry will fish wind-blown points as long as he can hold his boat on them.  Wind creates current that moves the food baitfish eat and they will follow it. Bass wait on the baitfish.

Start at the blowdown and fish it. Then get out about even with the flag pole and cast across the point, aiming your casts parallel to the bank toward the cove.  You will hit some rocks on this point and that is where a school of bass will often hold.

The downstream pocket is full of wood and a good spawning area. Especially near the end of the month Barry will fish into it, running his Ol Nelle spinnerbait along the wood. He likes a double Colorado blade bait with white skirt, especially in clearer water, but will go with double willow leaf and chartreuse and white skirt in stained water.  He will also flip a jig around the wood before leaving.

8. N 33 21.446 – W 83 51.763 – Head back down the river and it will narrow down. Straight ahead you to the right you will see a pink house with tin roof on a flat point that runs out upstream of a bluff point. There is a green picnic table in the front yard.

Get on the downstream side of the point and cast in toward the seawall. The bottom is very rough here and often holds a lot of bass. Fish this bank into the pocket, working the dock and fishing to the boat ramp. Be sure to his this boat ramp and any others you come to before leaving.

9. N 33 21.393 – W 83 51.391 – The lake opens up just at this point and the far left bank going downstream has a creek coming out. In the mouth of this creek is a hump that is marked with three danger buoys.  It is deep on both sides and bass stage on this hump before going in to spawn.

Barry likes to stay out on the lake side and cast up onto the hump, bringing his baits back shallow to deep. Wind often blows in here and makes it better.   There are rocks and clay on this hump and you should fish all the way around it before leaving. Try all your baits in different colors and speeds. Assume the bass are here and you just have to figure out the details to get them to hit.

10. N 33 22.047 – W 83 53.882 – For something a little different run up Tussahaw Creek under the bride on up to the last pocket on the right before the weekend “no wake” section. You will see a green metal roof dock in front of a brown house. There is a little narrow point here downstream of two small pockets. The point has a cross tie seawall and a big Pampas Grass clump on it. Downstream of the point you will see a white cabin with a red roof just past a blue cabin.

There are some stumps on this clay point and the bass will stage on it.  Fan cast all around this point and try all your baits here. The water is often clearer in the Tussahaw so you may need to change colors to draw strikes. 

These are some of the places Barry will be fishing this month. They will pay off for you, too.  Barry has caught a lot of bass off all of them and gives credit to Jesus Christ, his lord and savior, for his successes.

Call Barry at 770-715-2665 for a guided trip on Jackson, Sinclair and Oconee or visit his web site at www.barrystokesfishn.com.   You can see Cold Steel products at www.teamcoldsteel.com/, JJ’s Magic at www.jjsmagic.com/ and Net Boy Jackson Jigs at www.netboybaits.com/.

Winter Fishing

The last Monday in December I went to my place at Clarks Hill.  Tuesday morning drove up to Lake Russell, about 45 minutes north, to meet Trad Whaley to get information for my February Georgia Outdoor News Map of the Month article.    

Russell is a beautiful lake with no shoreline development.  Sandwiched between Lake Hartwell’s dam and the upper end of Clarks Hill on the Savannah River, it is almost always very clear.  The lake is full of standing timber and spotted bass have taken it over.   

We caught several spots on the patterns Trad showed me, and he got a nice 3.5 pound largemouth on a pattern he said works good for them after a rain.  That pattern is going to the back of creeks with some water inflow and fishing the stained, incoming water.   

Stained is a relative term.  The water we were fishing that Trad called stained was clear enough to see a crankbait down more than a foot. But it was not as clear as the rest of the lake.   

I was surprised to see a dozen trucks and bass boat trailers at the ramp, but Trad told me they were practicing for a big high school tournament that is this weakened.    Back at Clarks Hill, I fished a little the next two days.  The water around Raysville was muddy, with my plug disappearing about two inches deep.  It was very different from Russell.   

Each day on the water I saw several other fishing boats.  That is a big change there.  I spent Christmas Holidays at Clarks Hill for about 30 years starting in 1974.  I often went days without seeing another person even at the boat club, and never saw boats on the water back in the 1970s and early 80s.   

There were several reasons folks didn’t fish in the winter back in the 1970s.  Most of us did not know bass and crappie could be caught in the cold water.  Everyone I knew quit fishing when hunting seasons opened.   

We didn’t have the clothes for winter fishing.  After one winter of trying to wear the warm clothes I wore while hunting and finding them unsuitable, I ordered a snow mobile suit in 1976, maybe one of the first in Georgia. 

   There were no hybrids and stripers in our lakes.  I caught a fish the day after Christmas in the late 1970s on a crankbait and had no idea what it was. It looked a little like a white bass but was bigger and more streamline.  I found out it was a hybrid or striper that the DNR had started stocking in Clarks Hill a couple of years earlier.  They feed heavily in the winter.   

Now most of the boats on the lake are fishing for hybrids and stripers. Guides stay busy this time of year fishing live and artificial baits for them, and they catch a lot.   

When I joined the Spalding County Sportsman Club in April 1974, I was told the club had tournaments during the winter. That surprised me. But I won one in October, later than I had ever bass fished, that year.  Then in January I drew Alan White as my partner for the Jackson tournament. We still had draw tournaments back then and I agreed to go in his boat since I had no idea about winter fishing.   

We took off from Kerseys in the sleet and 30-degree temperature that morning and ran almost all the way to the 212 Bridge over the Alcovy River, a very long cold ride in Alan’s 14 foot Singfisher boat with a 40 horsepower motor and stick steering.  

  We both had the only baits we really knew to fish in the winter ready.  Both of us had chrome Hellbenders tied on and had a couple of Lazy Ikes and Countdown Rapalas ready to fish.   

Alan caught three bass and I caught one, all on the Hellbenders.  Alan’s three weighed about ten pounds and included a six-pound bass. I was surprised to see such a big bass in January.  If that was a surprised, weigh-in was a shock. There were five other bass weighing more than six pounds brought to the scales!   

Ray Lisle had one weighing over six pounds he caught on a Countdown Rapala and one other fisherman had one. But Jeff Hobbins had three over six pounds each!  He was showing everybody his plug, a new-fangled Rebel Wee R, something we had never seen before.  And it was a weird color, bone and orange, now a staple in muddy water.   

I caught a few bass at Clarks Hill the first two winters I had my bass boat, but the next year, December 1976, really showed my how well bass bite at times. I kept seeing something a foot off the bottom out on a hump that I knew had a slick bottom. It showed up as a line on my Lowrance flasher depthfinder.   

After trying a bunch of baits, including my Wee
Rs, I tied on a Little George, another new-fangled lure, and dropped it down and started jigging it up and down.  I landed 22 bass in that one spot that day and the next!   

I caught my first eight-pound bass in a 1977 January Sportsman club tournament at Jackson while fishing with Bobby Jean Pierce.  It hit a chrome Wiggle Wart plug. Two years later I landed another eight pounder at Jackson in January, this one in a Flint River Bass club tournament while fishing with Cecil Aaron. It hit a spinnerbait.   

My biggest bass ever, a nine-pound, seven-ounce fish, hit a crankbait in a February Flint River tournament in 1991 I was fishing with Larry Stubbs.  And the last eight pounder I caught hit a crankbait in a January Flint River tournament at Jackson in 2010 while fishing with Jordan McDonald.   

Fishing can be good in the winter but too many folks know it.  Don’t expect to have the lake to yourself!

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Guntersville Keeper Bass

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 1/11/20

This might be one of the best years I have seen for January fishing in many years. Yes, it’s so far, a small sampling of the year but all signs and days on the water are making me think we are in for a great spring.

The key I believe is we really haven’t seen any real cold weather and it’s keeping the water temperature in the high 40’s and low 50’s from the start of the day on. Be aware of you are a fair-weather guy if the weather continues to stay warm the best of the fishing may be early this year.

The baits we stuck too were mainly search baits, SPRO Aruka shad rattle baits, Picasso Shock Blade chatter baits, Tight-Line swim jigs rigged with Missile Bait swim baits, Picasso Spinner baits were my best catchers of the week.

We found fish in less than 12 ft. of water and worked an area thoroughly when we got a bite.

Come fish with me I have guides and days available to fish with you, no one will treat you better or work harder to see you have a great day on the water. Let’s get you set up now for this season; call today. We fish with great sponsor products, Lowrance Electronics, Ranger Boats, Boat Logix Mounts, Mercury motors, Duckett fishing, T&H Marine products, Power Pole, Navionics mapping and more.

Where and How to Catch Lake Seminole August Bass

August 2015 Seminole Bass
with Laura Ann Foshee

Hot August weather, grass and bass just go together on some lakes. Throwing a frog to grass beds and getting explosive strikes is just about the most thrilling way to fish. And Lake Seminole is one of the best lakes anywhere to fish grass beds. Even better, right now Seminole is at the top of its cycle with lots of quality bass feeding in the lake.


Seminole is a big Corps of Engineers lake in the corner of Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Formed by a dam on the Apalachicola River just downstream of where the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers join, it is very shallow and full of a variety of kinds of grass that form thick beds that bass love.

    Laura Ann Foshee is a rising senior at Gardendale High School near Birmingham.  She fishes with the high school team there and they fish both the FLW High School Trail and the BASS High School Trail.  They are also in the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association.  She does well with the team, finishing second in both the FLW State Championship and the TBF open which qualified me for the SEC Championship in September on Lake Lanier.  She also fishes some local pot and charity tournaments.

Laura Ann’s uncle is Scott Montgomery, owner of Big Bite Baits. He got her excited about fishing when he took her with him practicing for a tournament and she caught a big bass. He and members of the Big Bite Baits Pro Staff have taught her a lot about fishing. She also raises money for the Outdoor Ability Foundation and Pink Fishing, two charities that she cares deeply about.


She received the highest honor any high school fisherman can get this year when she was named as one of the 12 members of the BASS All American High School Bass Team, and is the only female angler to make the team this year.


By late July bass at Seminole are well into their summer pattern, setting up on ledges in deeper water. At Seminole, many of these ledges come up to a shallow grass bed where they move in to feed. Some bass will move back to deeper water after feeding, usually early in the morning and late in the day when light levels are low, but others will stay in the heavy grass shade and feed all day.


A variety of baits will catch those feeding bass. Early in the morning a popping frog, buzz bait or walking bait will get hit on top. Those baits will work later in the day if there is cloud cover. Some wind just rippling the water helps, too, as does current moving down the lake.


On brighter days a Sugar Cane eight inch paddle tail worm or Fighting Frog swam right at the top of the grass will catch them. A big Texas rigged worm like the Kriet Tail ten inch worm is good to work through the grass. And punching the mats with a Texas rigged Fighting Frog is also a good way to get bites from big bass, especially on calm, sunny days.


In late June Laura Ann and fellow Big Bite Pro Staff member Matt Baty from Bainbridge showed me how to catch these bass. First thing that morning Laura Ann caught a five pounder on a Spro popping frog and she and Matt also missed some big bites as well as catching several keeper bass. Then, just before we left, another five pounder hit a swimming Fighting Frog.


The following ten spots had bass on them when we fished and will be even better now. They are in the order we fished them, leaving Wingates Lunker Lodge and working downstream, then going up the Flint River and working back down to Wingates.

1N 30 45.844 – W 84 46.235 – If you put in at Wingates you can run the flat downstream without going all the way to the channel if you are careful. The channel is on the opposite side of the Flint River across from Wingates but swings across the lake and comes close to the south bank at red channel marker 8.8.


Go to it and you will see a good grass line running from the channel marker upstream. Start there or on the upper end of it in front of a house sitting up on the ridge with a dock in front of it. This house has a cleared bank in front of it and the dock is the first of four docks fairly close together.


Keep your boat in 10 to 12 feet of water out from the grass line and cast a popping frog into the grass and work it out. Laura Ann expects the bass to be swimming the grass line and feeding, so she works her frog from the grass to the edge and pauses it for a beat, expecting a reaction bite when the frog clears the grass. This is how she caught the five pounder here.

2 N 30 46.314 – W 84 46.086 – Follow the channel upstream across to the opposite bank. Near the bank just downstream of the black channel marker where the channel comes to the bank there is a small island. Go to the upstream end of this island and start fishing the grass line working upstream. This is the Fort Scott Island area.
The channel edge here has rocks that hold a lot of bass and the grass itself has points, cuts and ditches in it the bass use for ambush points. Cast your frog into the grass. You can also cast a buzzbait or walking bait to the edge of the grass and into cuts in it.


Laura Ann likes a Strike King half-ounce white buzz bait and a bone Spook for fishing the more open water over the submerged grass. Another effective way to get bit is to cast these baits across the ends of points of grass that stick out from the main bed. A very good one is near the channel marker as you work upstream from the island. We got a good keeper bass here.

3 N 30 46.163 – W 84 46.995 – Going downstream past the small island a big bay opens on your right. This is Carl’s Pass where you can go between the islands all the way to Spring Creek when the grass is not too thick. A channel comes out of the middle of this bay and turns and goes downstream to come back in near the bank at the downstream end of the bay.


Bass use this ditch to move in and out and feed along the grass lines on it. Keep your boat in the ditch in about six feet of water and fish the grass with topwater. Laura Ann likes a white frog first thing in the morning since bass are usually feeding on shad, but later in the day she will switch to a more natural color frog since the bass are usually feeding on bluegill then.


If you have a good GPS with a good map chip you can see this ditch and follow it. If not stay out from the visible grass and work from the middle of the cove toward the downstream side of it, fishing the grass edges and changes in it. A keeper bass hit a buzzbait here when we fished.

4 N 30 45.181 – W 84 50.577 – River Junction Access is a boat ramp on the south bank near where it turns toward the dam. Go down to it and stop well out in front of it at the pole marker showing the channel in to the ramp. There is a small number 508 on this marker.


If you leave hole number 3 you can follow the north bank down and hit the channel markers coming out of Spring Creek, or go back upstream and follow the markers from hole number 2, but there is standing timber in the middle of the open water between the north bank and the river channel, so it is not a good idea to go straight across.


The green marker pole is on a small hump just off the river channel that has a good grass bed on it. Keep your boat in 10 feet of water and fish all the way around it. The points on either end are usually best, especially if there is any current moving down the river.


Fish topwater on this hump, especially if you are there early in the morning or late in the day, or if cloud cover keeps the light low. A light breeze rippling the water helps, too. So the best time to fish grass beds is a hazy to cloudy day with a slight breeze just rippling the water.

5 N 30 45.554 – W 84 47.555 – Go back up the river to red channel marker 7.4. The grass line along the drop here is good so fish both sides of the marker along it. The grass is thick from this edge all the way to the bank and you can get in the grass and punch through it with a Fighting Frog behind a one to one and a half ounce tungsten sinker.


For a different look Laura Ann also likes to punch mats with a Big Bite Tube on the same rig. Drop your bait so it falls through the grass to the bottom and be ready to set the hook if you feel anything different, like it feels a little heavy.


If you are fishing near the time of a full moon another pattern can often catch big bass and this is a good place to try it. Go into the bank. You can punch the mats as you work in. When you get a long cast from the bank, throw a Spro bream colored popping frog to the bank. If the bream are bedding some big bass will often be hanging around the bream beds and hit it.

6 N 30 47.019 – W 84 43.648 – Upstream of Wingates a huge flat runs for a long way on the south bank. You can run this flat if the grass is not too thick. On the bank you can see some houses and docks, and Brocketts Slough is a big slough with a spring in it. Across from it the river makes a definite wide horseshoe bend to the north bank.


Stop way out from the mouth of the slough. Bass hold along the grass bed here along the seven foot contour line. Follow this grass line for about 200 yards, keeping your boat in eight or more feet of water and cast to it. Try topwater as well as punching the mat here. Fish any changes in the grass that will give the bass a holding and feeding spot. Points, cuts and holes are all good.

7 N 30 47.227 – W 84 42.883 – If you go upstream on the flat the grass will be very thick, possibly too thick to run. But if you do you will see a small gap ahead of you near a red channel marker where the river swings back across the lake on the upstream side of the horseshoe bend. The gap is where boats cut through to run the flat so there is a channel in the grass made by them.


The river channel is just off this grass bed at the gap and is a good place to fish. Current coming down the river hits it and it drops off fast. Stay in the channel and fish the grass with all your baits.
When boats come by and cut through the grass line, don’t get mad, just fish behind them. Their props and wakes disturb the baitfish in the grass and make them move and that will often turn on the bass and make them feed. Fish all around the cut when a boat goes through it.

8 N 30 47.365 – W 84 41.753 – From the bend in hole 7 the channel runs fairly straight up to Butlers Creek as it narrows down. On your right, out from the creek mouth, the grass forms a point running downstream. The creek channel comes in and turns downstream to join the river channel and the point of grass is an excellent feeding spot. There is always some current here due to the narrow area and that makes it better.

Fish the point of grass on the river side and on the creek side. Start with your boat in the channel and fish the outside edge, working along the point until the grass ends. Then move in and fish the grass line on the inside, following it as it curves toward the mouth of the creek. Try topwater and punching the mat. But also swim a paddle tail worm or Fighting Frog over the submerged grass and through any openings in it.

Rig your Fighting Frog behind a one quarter ounce tungsten weight Texas rigged. Keep it down so it bumps grass as you swim it along. If it hangs up on the grass jerk it loose and keep it moving. Bass will suck it in as it swims along so be ready to set the hook if your rod loads up at all.

9 N 30 47.327 – W 84 43.967 – Go downstream to red channel marker 12.6. A good grass line runs along the channel edge between this marker and marker 12.5. Start at either marker and fish all along the grass between the two. Keep your boat in the channel and cast to the grass with all your baits.
Laura Ann uses Sunline FX2 Braid for fishing grass since the bass will bury in it. Fifty to sixty pound test works well.


And she fishes it on Lews Tournament Lite Reels and custom rods wrapped by TigeRodz with Rainshadow Revelation & Eternity rod blanks to suit her different kinds of fishing.
.

10 N 30 46.318 – W 84 45.291 – Go down to the entrance to Wingates. There are three double sets of poles marking the channel in to it. Stop at the middle set of poles and fish all the grass around it. A ditch goes both ways from this set of poles and fish feed along it, and it is restocked with tournament released fish at Wingates.


The other five pounder hit a Fighting Frog swam along the top of the grass here. Try it and topwater, too. But also work a big Texas rigged worm through the grass. Laura Ann likes the green pumpkin ten inch Kreit Tail worm with a chartreuse tail. A light tungsten sinker, one quarter ounce or lighter, will make your worm come through the grass better. Move it along with pauses and let it fall into holes in the grass.


All these places hold bass right now and there are a lot of quality bass from four to six pounds on them. Give them a try and you can see the types of grass to fish and find many more similar grass beds all over the lake.
You can keep up with Laura Ann’s fishing by following her on Facebook and Twitter at lauraannfoshee or on Instagram at Foshizal_Fo_Sho.

Where and How To Catch July Lake Hartwell Bass

July 2015 Lake Hartwell Bass
with Trad Whaley

Hate the heat of July? Think it is too hot to go fishing? You should plan a trip to Lake Hartwell and enjoy catching quality fish on topwater plugs to make you forget how hot it is!


Lake Hartwell is a big Corps of Engineers lake on the Savannah River. The lower lake is full of long points, humps, standing timber and brush piles. Blueback herring are a favorite food of the bass in the lake, making them grow to good average sizes and making the bass feed on specific patterns this month.


The water on the big water is very clear and topwater plugs draw bass from the depths to smash them. Bluebacks tend to come to the surface on sunny days so the bass’s attention is focused toward the top, so surface activity is attractive to them. That combination insures good topwater fishing all month.


Trad Whaley lives in Abbyville, South Carolina and has fished Hartwell all his life. Although he has not been fishing a lot of tournaments lately he is well known in the area on the tournament trails. His father Danny is also a well-known tournament fisherman and taught Trad a lot about catching bass on Hartwell.


When he was just eight years old Trad started fishing team tournaments with his father and learned how to catch fish in competition. It paid off. Trad has won two BFLs on Hartwell and placed seventh in an FLW series tournament there. He also won many local tournaments over the years.

Right now Trad is concentrating on helping kids learn to catch bass. He is one of the coaches for the Abbyville High School Team and his nephew, Carter McNeil, who Trad taught about fishing, is one of the 12 students on the BASS High School All American Team this year. And Trad’s daughter Caelyn is a good bass fisherman winning tournaments although she just finished Middle School this year.


For July Trad relies on a small selection of lures. He will have a top-water walking bait like a Spook or Sammy, a top water popper, a frog, a wobble head jig and a Fluke ready for fishing near or on the surface. And he always keeps a drop shot worm ready for casting or dropping down to fish or brush piles he sees on his depthfinder.


“In July bass on Hartwell are on main lake structure feeding on herring,” Trad says. They will school on top in the morning then move to brush piles when the sun gets high. They will still come up to hit a bait fished over the brush even in the bright sun.


We fished Hartwell in mid-June and the bass were feeding. In just a few hours we caught or lost four or five bass in the four pound range and several more not much smaller. The following ten spots were holding bass then and will have even bigger schools on them now.

1 N 34 20.745 – W 82 49.680 – If you put in near the dam at daylight go to the riprap on the Georgia side of the lake. A small island sits off the riprap and the gap between the island and the riprap focuses any current and bass feed on herring on the rocks and the shallows around the island on top before the sun gets on the water


Bait is the key here and on other places. Trad asked me if I could smell the herring as we idled to the rocks to start out day. That is one way to know they are in the area. You can also see them on your depthfinder or, hopefully, see bass chasing them on top before the sun gets bright.


Fish the rocks and the shallows near the island with your Spook or Sammy. Always keep close watch for anything on the surface and cast to it. Make long casts, the bass are often spooky in the clear water. Walk your bait fast back to the boat and fan cast the area if you are not seeing surface movement.

2 N 34 20.752 – W 82 50.300 – Watsadlers ramp sits on the point on the north side of the first pocket at the dam on the Georgia side. A series of humps run off this point and there are shoal markers on some of them. Trad starts on the big flat between the ramp and the first shoal marker and fishes out to the humps marked by two shoal buoys.


Again start with a walking bait and watch for surface activity. Bass will scatter in the shallow water and chase herring before the sun gets bright, then move to brush piles on the humps. If you watch your depthfinder you will find many brush piles on every hump. In fact, there are so many it is often hard to fish them all.


Trad likes the Sammy 100 in chrome or similar colored Spook. He will also cast a Zoom white or transparent Fluke to surface feeding fish or fan cast it in these areas early. Sometimes the bass want something worked just under the surface and a Fluke is perfect for this. Make long cast with it and fish it back fast with a lot of action.

3 N 34 22.816 – W 82 50.602 – Powder Bag Creek is the first big creek north of the dam on the Georgia side. The upstream point of it runs way out and Long Point ramp is on it. Out from the downstream edge of this big point are three shoal markers forming a triangle. Line up the two just upstream of the one downstream and stop on the hump that comes up to 16 feet on top. You will be straight out toward the middle of the lake from the point and markers.


Fish all around the hump with topwater and Fluke, keeping your boat in 25 to 30 feet of water and casting to the top of the hump. This hump has a hard bottom like the others marked and that makes them better, but the brush piles on them are more important so keep a close watch for them as you fish.


If you find brush piles mark their location to fish over them. Bass concentrate around and over the brush even at first light and roam from there, so they are hotspots all day. If you get right on top of one before seeing it, remember where it is to fish later in the day.

4 N 34 23.138 – W 82 50.430 – Channel marker 7 sits upstream and out from hole 3. Upstream from it, out right on the river channel, a danger marker with “Danger Tree” on it marks standing timber on the edge of a hump. The trees, hump and brush piles on it make an ideal place for bass this time of year.


Keep your boat near the marker in 25 feet of water and cast over the trees and the hump. Work a topwater bait over them. Bass will school here but will also come out of the trees and brush to hit on top when the sun is up.
Some wind blowing across this spot and others makes it better. Trad says the perfect day is when the sun is fairly bright and the wind is making the water ripple. If the waves and ripples are big enough to make working the walking bait ineffective he will throw a popping bait like a Pop-R to make more noise to attract the fish.

5 N 34 23.076 – W 82 50.841 – Go back in toward the point just north of channel marker 9. There is a shoal marker on the upstream side of the big point behind it, the same point hole #3 is on the downstream side. Stop out upstream of the shoal marker in 25 feet of water and fan cast over it.
Trad will often idle in fast toward the hump here and in other places and stop before he gets to the 25 foot depth. He says the boat moving in will often push the schools of bait toward the hump or point and turn the bass on.


Fan cast all over the hump from the deeper upstream side. Trad got a solid four pounder here on his Spook and there were several more that size and bigger following it as he fought it to the boat. If two people are fishing it often pays off for the second person to cast to the fighting bass to catch followers.

6 N 34 23.238 – W 82 51.134 – West of hole 5 is the mouth of Gum Branch. Go toward it and the big white house sitting on a point back in it a little ways. There is a marked hump with bushes on top of it just inside the big point. Stop out in 25 feet of water and fan cast all around the downstream side and end of it. I lost a four pounder that hit my topwater plug three times before taking it here.


Work topwater first but also try a wobble bait like a Pulse Jig with a Fluke on it. Sometimes, especially when the sun is higher or if the wind is fairly strong, the Pulse Jig will draw strikes better than the topwater. Make long casts, let it sink a little then reel it in slowly. When you feel weight just keep reeling until the rod loads up. Trad says if you set the hook as soon as you feel the fish you will miss it.

7 N 34 23.430 – W 82 51.321 – Toward the mouth of Gum Branch an island sits west of channel marker 11. A flat around it drops off into the channel and bass hold on it and feed. There are a couple of ditches on it and many brush piles. The island helps concentrate any current in this area.
Stop in 25 feet of water and fish the flat on the river side. Try topwater then a Fluke and a Pulse Jig. Watch for brush piles on your depthfinder and fish them with a drop shot when you see them. Trad caught several bass out of brush here but they were smaller and there were several spotted bass. He says you can catch keeper size bass all day by fishing brush with dropshot but they tend to be smaller than the fish you will catch on topwater.


Trad hits many places fast during a day of fishing. He will pull up on a place like this and do what he calls his 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 punch – topwater, Fluke, pulse jig then drop shot. He quickly fishes all four baits then moves on to the next spot. We hit about 15 places in four hours and he says that is not unusual.

8 N 34 24.408 – W 82 51.270 – Go across the mouth of Lightwood Log Creek to the islands on the upstream side of it. Stop on the island closest to the bank, between it and the one further out. A point comes off this island toward the outer island and fish hold on it and feed.


The two islands concentrate current here and current always makes these spots better. For that reason, week days are better fishing since there is less current during the weekend. Many fishermen have seen this change from week day practice to a weekend tournament.


Fish all your baits here. With the drop shot, Trad uses a fairly heavy three eights ounce sinker and puts a Zoom Meathead or Tiny Fluke about 18 inches above it. He drops it to the bottom around the brush and moves it very little, with light shakes of the rod tip to make the bait dance. He will also drop the bait down to suspended fish and hold it at their level, shaking it a little right in front of them.

9 N 34 25.669 – W 82 51.527 – Going upstream a small double creek enters on the Georgia side between channel markers 19 and 21. In the mouth of this creek, out even with the island downstream at Lightwood Log Creek and the upstream point of the double creek, is a hump that holds bass.


This hump is near the river channel and comes up to a feeding table. It has brush on it to fish. Keepyour boat in deep water and cast to the top of it all around it. Trad says be ready to follow up with a Fluke if a bass boils on your topwater plug but doesn’t take it. We had several fish hit up to three times before taking the plug the day we fished. Following up quickly with a Fluke will often catch a bass that misses the topwater.

10 N 34 26.692 – W 82 51.527 – There is a big island right at the mouth of the Tugaloo River on the left going upstream at channel marker T1. A point runs off this island toward the channel. It slopes off on one side with a sharper drop on the other and current moves across it making it a good feeding spot.


Keep your boat out in 25 feet of water and fish across the point with the current if it is moving. Trad says the key depth here and on all other places in July is 18 to 25 feet deep. Fish hold at that depth in brush so watch for brush in it, but fish over it, too.


All these places held fish a couple of weeks ago and are even better now. Try Trad’s baits and learn from these places for the kind of structure and cover you want to fish in July and you can find many more all over the lower lake.

How and Where to Catch June Lake Russell Bass, with GPS Coordinates To Ten Spots

June 2015 Russell Bass

with Carter McNeil

    June is finally here and its time for vacations and fishing. If you want to catch a lot of spotted bass on a beautiful lake with a natural shoreline and clear water, head to Lake Russell. And keep some of the small spotted bass for a fish fry!

    Russell is a Corps of Engineers lake on the Savannah River between Hartwell and Clarks Hill.  Shoreline development is restricted, so it is one of our prettiest lakes.  And it doesn’t get as crowded with pleasure boaters as most of our lakes.

    The lake has a lot of good rocky points and humps that spots love. And the channels are marked by poles where they drop off so it is easy to find them and fish. Brushpiles have been put out on many of them and there is standing timber all over the lake, giving bass ideal habitat.

    Spots were illegally introduced into Russell not long after it was filled and they have overcrowded the lake, as happens all too often on lakes where they are not native.  They are fun to catch and eat but they tend to harm the largemouth population and fill the lake with “rats,” spots around 12 inches long. Since there is no size limit on them you can keep ten a day to eat and actually help the lake.

    Carter McNeil lives near in Russell in Abbyvile South Carolina and fishes with the Abbyville Panthers High School team. He also fishes many pot and open tournaments on Russell and other area lakes.  His Grandfather Danny Whaley and uncle Trad Whaley brought him up fishing and taught him a lot about bass and he fished his first tournament when only ten years old.

    Their training has paid off. Carter is going to Bethel College this year on a fishing scholarship and will be on their fishing team. And he had an incredible honor this year when he BASS named him to their High School All American Bass Team, one of only 12 fishermen nationwide to get that recognition.

    In their press release on the All American Team, BASS says about Carter: “He and his partner won the B.A.S.S. Nation High School Southern Divisional on the Pee Dee River in April and took third place in the 2015 Costa Bassmaster High School Classic Exhibition. McNeil is the founder and president of his fishing team and a frequent volunteer for Corps of Engineers projects aimed at planting aquatic vegetation on South Carolina’s Lake Russell.”

    Carter likes fishing Russell and does well in tournaments there.  In June he says the bass will be set up on their summer holes, points and humps out from spawning creeks, and can be caught on a variety of baits. 

    “Shallow water that drops off fast into deep water is key this time of year,” Carter said.  Any hump or point that falls into the channel will hold fish, and the key depth to catch them is eight to 15 feet deep. So he wants his boat to be in at least 20 feet of water when casting to water eight feet deep.

    A variety of baits to cover those key depths is fairly simple. A Norman’s Deep Little N, a drop shot worm, a shaky head and a Pulse Jig all work well and are really all you need for a good day of fishing.  You will catch a lot of bass on those baits but for bigger fish he will have a big worm like a Zoom Old Monster Texas rigged to flip standing timber.

    The following ten spots are good right now and give you an example of the kinds of places you want to fish in June.

    1.  N 34 08.284 – W 82 41.570 – Go up the Savannah  River to Channel Markers 43 and 45 and stop about one third of the way across the river out from them.  There is a hump that comes up right by the channel and tops out about ten feet deep.  There is some brush piles on the hump and standing timber around it.  You will be at the tip of a triangle with the two channel markers on the bank as the base.

    When you find the hump stop off the river side of it with your boat in 30 feet of water and cast to the top in about ten feet.  Carter starts with a Deep Little N in a baitfish color like sexy shad or glimmer blue, with some chartreuse in it.  Cast past the top of the hump so the bait is hitting bottom on top in ten feed and fish it back to the boat. Carter got a keeper spot on the crankbait here the day we fished.

    Carter reels his crankbait fairly fast and sweeps his rod every few feet to make the bait dart forward. He says fish will often follow the bait and when it speeds up will eat it.  Fan cast all over the hump from the river side with a crankbait, then fish a jig head worm, drop shot and Pulse Jig around it, too.

    2.  N 34 08.039 – W 82 41.513 – Go in toward the small creek with the big island in the mouth of it just downstream of channel marker 43. Behind and downstream of that channel marker a ditch comes off the bank in the mouth of the spawning creek that is behind the island and bass move to it in June.  Stop in about 20 feet of water and cast to the top of the flat along the ditch.

    This is the kind of “feeding table,” a flat area that drops into deep water that Carter concentrates on in June.  Fish your crankbait over the top of the flat and ditch edge then try your other baits.  Remember that bass seem to feed best in eight to 15 feet of water so work that depth hard.

    Carter keeps a Robo morning dawn worm on a drop shot rig ready to drop down to fish he sees on his depthfinder.  He likes a fairly heavy lead to get to the bottom fast and stay there as he gently twitches his rod tip to make the worm jiggle in place. His leader is about a foot long.

    3.  N 34 07.677 – W 82 40.182 – Across the river and a little downstream a fairly big creek enters the lake between channel markers 42 and 44.  In the mouth of the creek, not far off the upstream point of it, you will see four shoal markers.  Out from the downstream point of the creek there is a hump that is good.  It is way off the red clay small bluff bank on the point. 

    This hump tops out about 15 feet deep and an old road bed crosses the deep side of it.  Sit out on the river side in 30 feet of water and cast across it. Carter will switch to a DD 22N on deeper places like this so he can bump the bottom.

    The bottom here is hard, a key since Carter says bass like hard bottoms.  Fish along this long hump downstream. It will drop off some on a more narrow area then come back up on the end of that section of it.  Fish that area where it comes back up shallower before leaving.

    4.  N 34 07.163 – W 82 40.277 – Back across the river and downstream channel marker 35 sits on the upstream side of a point where the channel hits it. On the back side the point drops off fast and there are some brush piles here and on almost all the other places, too.

    Stop in at least 20 feet of water on the back side of the marker and cast your crankbait and jig head up on it. Rocks here hold mostly spots and we got a couple of small ones when we fished it. Work from the end of the point toward the bank a short distance, keeping most of your cast in the area around the pole.

    Current moving across this point in both directions, from generating power and pumpback at the dam, make this and other places much better.  Baitfish move across the shallow water with the current and the bass wait on them to feed as they pass.

    5.  N 34 06.090 – W 82 39.937 – Downstream on the same side Indian Creek enters the lake between channel markers 29 and 31.  There is a small island on the downstream side and underwater timber signs warn that the creek is full of standing trees. You can see many of them sticking a little out of the water.  

    In tournaments or other times when bigger bass are the goal Carter will go to timber like this and flip it with a big worm.  He rigs a big worm or lizard Texas style behind a one quarter ounce sinker for a slow fall and flips it to the trees, letting it fall on the shady side of the trunk. The bigger the wood the better.  Fish will hold on these trees at different depths at different times of the day and the higher the sun the deeper they go.

    Carter will work through the trees, targeting the bigger ones, going into the creek. He lets his worm fall watching his line for a tick or if the worm stops falling before hit should.  That is the time to set the hook!  He seldom lets his worm go all the way to the bottom, expecting the fish to be suspended in the tree.

    6.  N 34 05.817 – W 82 39.543 – Further downstream on the same side of the river there is a big double cove between channel markers 27 and 29. The middle point of this cove is a good feeding flat table and it drops off into deeper water on the downstream side. Carter says many fishermen ride past places like this a little off the main points so they don’t get fished as hard as the spots marked by poles.

    Stay on the downstream side of the middle point out in 20 plus feet of water and cast up on the point to eight to ten feet of water with all your baits.  When fishing a Pulse Jig Carter puts a white or translucent Fluke on a half-ounce head and counts it down to the depth fish are holding. He then reels it back with a steady retrieve, keeping it at that depth.

    The Pulse Jig is a wobble head jig and is a more subtle bait than the crankbait, but you can fish it faster than a jig head or drop shot.  Keep it near the bottom and don’t set the hook when you feel a hit. Just keep reeling until your rod loads up then sweep it to bury the hook.

    7.  N 34 04.238 – W 82 39.332 – In the mouth of Beaverdam Creek, just upstream of Elbert Park, usually called the Highway 72 ramp, the first big cove on the left going upstream has three islands in the mouth of it. The downstream one has a shoal marker on a point running off it toward the channel.

    This big long point has some rocks on it and fish feed on it.  Stay out in about 20 feet of water and cast up on the top of the point to about eight feet and work your baits back.  Stay on the river side of the point. 

    “Wind is your aggravating friend,” Carter said.  Some wind blowing across these spots helps like the current does, making baitfish move across them.  It makes boat control and positioning more difficult but can help the fishing as long as it is not too strong to allow you to fish.  We caught a couple of small spots here, too, so fish were on it in mid-May.

    8.  N 34 04.909 – W 82 40.477 – Going into Beaverdam Creek channel marker 8 sits on a hump off the bank and there is a shoal marker between it and the point.  Carter says this is one of the biggest community holes on the lake and there is a race to it in tournaments since it holds so many fish.

    The water drops off on the downstream side of the channel marker and forms a ledge going toward the bank. Stay on the downstream side in deep water and cast up on the hump around the channel marker then work all the way to the point. There is a big flat that is an excellent feeding area and fish hold all over the edge of the drop so fish it carefully.

    9.  N 34 04.880 – W 82 41.725 – Further up Beaverdam Creek channel marker 9 sits on the creek side of a small island.  It marks a point coming off the island and dropping into the channel.  Carter says it is a real good rocky point and has some brush on it, too.

    Stop on the downstream side near the island and fish that side of the point out to and past the channel marker.  This is the deeper side and holds the most fish so Carter works it rather than the flatter upstream side.

    Fish all your baits.  With the shaky head Carter slides it along the bottom until he hits brush or rocks, then stops it and shakes it a little before moving it more. He uses a quarter ounce homemade head and likes a Zoom red bug Trick worm on it.

    10.  N 34 05.260 – W 82 42.390 – Going upstream Beaverdam Creek makes a fairly sharp bend around an island on the left side. On the right just off a point channel marker 18 shows where a good flat drops off into the channel.  The channel swings in right by it making it even better.

    Stay out in deep water and cast along the shallow flat that runs parallel to the channel around the marker. Here and other places keep a watch on your depthfinder for fish holding out in the deeper water. Carter got a spot here by dropping his drop shot worm down to fish he saw holding well off the flat.

    Check out these places, fish them the way Carter suggests and try his bait.  Once you get the pattern down you can find many similar places all over the lake and catch fish from them.

How and Where to Catch October Bass at Lake Allatoona, with GPS Coordinates

October Allatoona Bass

with Brian Cox

    October is a great month to go bass fishing anywhere in our state. But mention Lake Allatoona and most fishermen will give you a strange look and ask why go to the “Dead Sea.” That misconception about Allatoona keeps many from enjoying the great fishing there.

Allatoona gets crowded since it is just outside Atlanta.  On the weekends in the summer pleasure boaters make it hard to fish during the day. But right now the lake is not nearly as crowded and the spots are biting. Largemouth can be caught this month, too. 

Brian Cox grew up in Woodstock and his father and grandfather taught him to fish.  He got the bass fishing bug at 12 years old and started fishing Allatoona when he was 15.  He now lives near the lake, guides on Allatoona and fishes several tournament trails and pot tournaments on the lake.

Three years ago Brian was won the point standings for Angler of the Year in the ABA trail, winning about ten tournaments that year.  He also fishes the Bulldog BFL and AFT tournaments and does well in them.  For the past year he has taken some time off from tournament fishing to spend more time with his kids but is getting back into it now

Kids are important to Brian. He loves taking them out on trips and seeing their delight in catching fish. He hopes to start a fishing camp for kids, where they will go for a day camp or for a multi-day camp and learn about fishing.

“October is great on Allatoona,” Brian said.  The bass are moving more shallow and feeding, and you can catch them on a lot of patterns and baits.  Brian’s favorites include a buzzbait, Zara Spook, crankbait, Fluke, jig and pig and jig head worm. With those baits you can cover any condition any day in October.

Rocks, from pea gravel to chunk rocks are a key, and brush piles and blowdowns increase your odds that bass will be feeding on a spot.  Wind makes a big difference and it helps all kinds of places, but clay banks can also be good when the wind is blowing in on them. Points and banks in the mid lake area are where he concentrates his time.

    Brian took me to Allatoona in early September to show me the following ten spots and how he catches bass on them. The fish were just starting to hit on some of them but by now all will hold bass.

1.  N 34 08.088 – W 84 40.365 – Bass follow the shad and the shad move into creeks and cuts during October, especially later in the month. A good place to check for shallow bass is in the back of the creek just downstream of the Bartow-Carver Camp ramp. This creek goes back and splits into several fingers. Brian likes the one to the right going into the creek.

There are many trees in the water cut by the Alltaoona Tree Cutting Project and by fishermen back in this creek. Brian starts near the mouth of the fork and works all the way around it. He fishes an Albino Shad Zoom Fluke over the trees and along the bank in here.  You can keep your boat near the middle of the cut and fish all the wood in the water.

After working the wood with a Fluke, Brian will follow up with a shaky head worm. He likes a one quarter ounce head with a green pumpkin Finesse worm on it.  A jig and pig will also catch fish in the trees.  Dip the tails of the jig trailer and the Finesse worm in chartreuse JJ’s Magic to make the fish bite better. Spots seem to love a flash of chartreuse.

If you see shad on the surface or balls of them on your depthfinder fish the area slowly and carefully. Brian says this time of year find the shad and you will find the bass, so if baitfish are present the bass will be, too.

2.  34 08.415 – W 84 40.116 – Come out of the creek and stop on the downstream point of the second pocket below the ramp.  This bank is shady in the morning and Brian says it is a great place to throw a buzzbait.  He will start at the point and work all the way down the bank to the back of the pocket.

For some reason the fish here will put their nose right on the bank so Brian casts so his Strike King white one half ounce buzzbait hits on the bank. He pulls it off the bank without a splash and is ready for a bite as soon as it gets in the water. 

If wind is blowing in on this bank it is even better. Some chop on the water really helps the bite anywhere you are fishing on Allatoona. Also keep a watch or surface activity here and be ready to throw a Spook or Sammy to them.

3.  N 34 09.512 – W 84 39.881 – Another good bank for topwater and a jig and pig or jig head worm is in Illinois Creek. Go past the buoy at the bend and watch the right bank past it.  There are big rocks on this bank and it drops off fast, and bass hold on it and feed on passing shad.

There are some key spots along this bank where big boulders are under the water.  Keep your boat out in 30 feet of water and work the jig and pig or jig head worm from the edge all the way out to the  boat. When you see or hit the big rocks with your bait out in 15 to 20 feet of water fish that spot carefully.

Fish a topwater bait along this bank, too. With all your baits cast at an angle ahead of the boat. The bank is so steep you will be fairly close to the shore even in 30 feet of water so cast to the bank ahead of the boat and work your bait back at an angle to hit the big boulders.

4.  N 34 07.848 – W 84 39.712 – Run up to the Atlanta     Yacht Club and go into the creek on the downstream side of it.  Go all the way to the split in the back and fish the right side split of it.  Start near the point and keep your boat out in the middle of the cove and cast to the bank. There are stumps, brush and rocks back in here that hold the bass.

A jig or jig head worm works well but this is a good crankbait area, too.  Brian likes a chartreuse and brown crankbait that will hit the bottom when fishing this area. Fish all your baits all the way to the middle of the creek and make some casts ahead of the boat to cover the channel, too.

5.  N 34 08.431 – W 84 38.211 – Running up the river, channel maker 19.5 will be on a point on your left.  There are several pockets along this bank across from Gault’s Ferry ramp but Brian likes to fish the upstream point of the second one upstream of the channel marker. 

It is ideal, with deep water just off it and clay and rocks on the bank and a blowdown you can see half way into the cove. There are also some trees and brush out from the bank underwater that hold bass.

Start with a buzzbait or Spook casts to the bank and worked out, then go back over the area with your crankbait.  Fish over the tip of the blowdown you see and try to find the hidden brush.  You can also probe the brush with a jig and pig or jig head worm.

Brian says there are three kinds of rock that hold fish right now. Pea gravel is good, especially when wind is blowing on it. Chunk rocks the size of softballs are good as are boulders.  Banks like this one where there is a transition from one kind of rock to another is even better. Fish the edge of the rock change hard.

6.  N 34 07.595 – W 84 38.053 – Across the river and upstream is Harbor Town Marina. In a cove just upstream of it is a youth camp with a dock on the downstream side.  The point across from the dock is a good one, with clay, rock and a few boulders on it. There are also some blowdowns on the downstream bank..

Start on the point and fish topwater, crankbaits and jigs from the point about half way into the cove.  You will be fishing the bank across from the dock.  The transition areas are key places and you want to make sure shad are in the area. Also keep an eye out for surface activity.

Work the tips of the blowdowns, too.  Try topwater and crankbaits over them then probe them with jigs and jig head worms.  Try to hit the ends of the limbs and raise your bait up and let it fall back several times, and jiggle your rod tip to make the bait dance.

7. N 34 08.179 – W 84 38.146 – Just upstream from #5 the river makes a big bend and a huge flat runs out from the left bank going upstream.  The flat has small islands on it and some danger markers. If you idle parallel to the flat near the channel, out from the shoal marker near the willow tree on an island just underwater, you will cross a point running off the flat downstream.

This point has pea gravel and other rock on it. The point runs out 30 to 40 yards and drops off into very deep water. It is ideal since it comes out of deep water and leads to a good feeding flat.  And there is usually some wind here.

Keep your boat out in 25 to 30 feet of water and make long casts across the point with jigs and worms. Work the bait up one side, across the top and down the other side.  If this doesn’t work, cast your jig so it falls straight down on top of the point. Brian says those two methods, working your bait to and through cover or letting it fall straight down into it, are both good.

8.  N 34 08.412 – W 84 37.574 – Above the channel bend there is a huge flat off the left bank going upstream.  A key area on this flat is a ditch that comes out of a small cove near a danger marker on top of a hump way across the river from channel marker 22 E. The ditch runs out to the river and offers the bass a perfect path.

When wind is blowing across this flat Brian will fan cast it with a crankbait, staying out inabout 15 feet of water.  You can catch fish from the danger marker all the way back to #7 working it with a crankbait. Make long casts and try to hit bottom as much as you can with your bait.

Also keep a topwater ready. Brian says fish school up in this area a lot. If you have your Spook or Sammy ready and hit where they are breaking you will catch fish.  Some may be hybrids but bass school up here all over this flat.

9.  N 34 08.025 – W 84 37.323 – Across the river a big clay bluff point sits on the upstream side of Kellog Creek.  There are laydowns and boulders on it as well as clay.  Channel marker 22 E sits on the point and it is an excellent one to fish this time of year.

Brian keeps his boat in about 15 feet of water on the downstream side of the point and casts across it with a jig and pig.  Most of the boulders are on the upstream side of the point so casting past them and working back through them moves the bait in a natural way.  Also fish the blowdowns on the point.

10.  N 34 07.948 – W 84 36.843 – Go into Kellog Creek and watch for a big block rock seawall on your left past the first couple of coves.  It is just upstream of a house with a huge catfish replica on the roof of the garage. The seawall point holds a lot of big spots and Brian says he has caught several four pounders here.

Start with topwater here and fish all the way around the point to the next small cove. Work it carefully and give the big fish time to chase down your bait. You can also probe it with a jig and pig or jig head worm, or run a crankbait on it.

All these places are great right now throughout October.  Try Brian’s favorite baits and your own, and you can find similar places to fish these patterns, too.

To see first-hand how Brian fishes Alltoona call him at and check his website at 770-855-7388 http://www.metroatlantafishing.com/ for more info.

Jackson Tournament and Fool On the Lake

Saturday, December 7, 17 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our last tournament of the year at Jackson.  After eight hours of casting, we brought in 38 12-inch keeper bass weighing about 54 pounds. Almost all of them were spots. There were five five-fish limits and seven fishermen didn’t have keeper.   

I won with five weighing 7.89 pounds, Mitchell Cardell placed second with five at 7.11 pounds, Raymond English was third with five at 7.01 pounds and Trent Grainger came in fourth with five weighing 6.42 pounds. Doug Acree had big fish with a 3.27 pounder.   

I started on deep rocky banks and fished them all day.  My first keeper hit a jig and pig slowly crawled down the dropping rocks at 7:30 and was a 2.98-pound spot, so I had a good start.  About an hour later I caught two more keepers on the jig on back to back cast on the end of a rocky point.   

At 9:30 I missed two bites on the jig by a log on a bluff bank, then landed my fourth keeper on a shaky head thrown to the same log.  I guess the smaller bait got in the fish’s mouth better.   

For the next three hours I tried hard but got no bites.  Then I tried to skip my bait under a dock, got hung on it and got a bad backlash.  After easing up to the dock and getting my bait, I let the boat drift against the dock while picking out the backlash.  My jig was hanging off the end of the rod, down in the water about six feet deep by the dock.   

My fifth keeper grabbed the jig and about jerked the rod out of my hand, setting the hook on itself.  It was on of those fish just meant to be caught.  I got another keeper at 1:00 on the same bank as the first one I caught that morning.   

With about an hour left to fish I was working up a long point in the middle of a wide cove. My boat was about 50 yards off the bank and pointed toward the bank as I cast to it.   

I heard a boat enter the cove behind me to my right.  He slowed way down, making a huge wake, went behind me, up the left side of the point then across it in front of me, about 20 yards off the bank.  Then he sped up and went further back in the cove.   

I don’t know whether he was an idiot, inconsiderate slob, or mad because I was fishing “his” place. He was in a bass boat, and I hate other fishermen that are so stupid.  I kept hoping he would run aground on the rocks up shallow on that point.    If you fish much, you just have to put up with fools like that.

How and Where to Catch September Lake Lanier Bass with GPS Coordinates

September 2013 Lanier Bass

 with Rob Jordan

    Tired of summer doldrums fishing for bass in deep water and not catching much? There is light at the end of September, when water starts cooling and bass get more shallow and active on our lakes. But why wait several more weeks?  You can catch some big spots at Lanier right now.

    Lanier is a big lake at 40,000 acres and since it is just northeast of Atlanta it gets heavy pleasure boat traffic, especially on weekends. And it gets a lot of fishing pressure.  The lake is known for its big spotted bass that took advantage of the introduction of blueback herring.  Five pound spots are caught often and most tournaments are won on spotted bass, with five-fish limits weighing 15 pounds common.

    Rob Jordan grew up fishing Lanier and now lives in Swanee.  His cousin Jim Murray, Jr. got him started tournament fishing and taught him a lot about catching bass.  Rob also worked with Jim painting custom lures and Rob has a business making realistic looking baits.  He also guides on Lanier and fishes tournaments.  Next year Rob plans on fishing the FLW Everstart and BASS Opens.

    This year Rob fished the Savannah River BFL trail and is right on the qualifying point to fish the Regional at Lanier with one tournament to go.  He hopes to do well in the Regional on his home lake.

    Rob’s best five spots in a tournament on Lanier weighed 21.5 pounds. This summer he has had big fish in two night tournaments.  Two years ago he placed third in the Weekend Series on Lanier and was in the top ten in the BFL there that year.  He knows the lake and how to catch good spots.

    “Lanier is a fantastic lake but you have to understand the waters and when the bass bite to do well,” Rob said.  It is a unique lake and you won’t catch the big spots by fishing like you do on other lakes.

    “The biggest spots are hard to catch since they roam the lake, living in water 50 to 60 feet deep,” Rob told me.  Weather and moon phases are keys to figuring out the bite. And you have to fish in the right places to catch the quality spotted bass.

    September is a transition month for spots on Lanier and you can catch some really big fish, especially late in the month.  Last year Rob got a six pound, six ounce spot toward the end of September on a guide trip.  But you can catch quality fish starting right now.

      A wide variety of baits will catch spots on Lanier this month. Rob will have a drop shot worm and a shaky head worm ready for slower fishing.  When the bite is good he likes a swim bait or a top water plug. All these baits are fished in deep water, with his boat often sitting in 80 plus feet of water and fishing water that is 30 feet deep.

    Rob will try a variety of depths and lures until he finds where the bass are feeding, and that depth will usually be consistent all over the lower lake.  The key is a long point or hump that drops off into very deep water. Standing timber in the deep water and brush or rocks on the humps and points make those places much better.

    Rob took me to the following ten spots in early August and we caught fish on most of them.  They are good right now and will get even better as the month progresses.

    1.  N 34 10.029 – W 84 02.492 – Green channel marker 3SC in Shoal Creek sits on a rocky hump right by the channel.  There is also a danger marker on it and one small bush stuck out of the water when we were there.  The hump is right off an island, too.  It always holds bass, according to Rob, and it typical of the type place he fishes this month.

    There is brush all over and around it as well as the natural rocks to hold feeding fish. Rob says it is important to locate the brush piles and fish them, so ride it with your electronics and mark the brush. Good electronics will even show the fish in the brush and how they are setting up on it.

    Start on the upstream end and work the whole area, keeping your boat out in the channel.  Wind rippling the surface of the water is critical here and on other spots to make the fish active, and overcast days help, too.

    If there is some wind and some clouds try a big swim bait like the Bucca Bull Herring hard swim bait or a Zman Grass KickerZ over the brush. Topwater plugs like a big Spook or Sammy will draw the bass up to the top from the brush.

    If the water is slick or it is sunny Rob will fish a Zman StreakZ on a drop shot or a Big Bass Baits jig head with a worm on it in the brush.  It is important to get the baits right on the fish so work each brush pile carefully, especially if you see fish in or around it.

    2.  N 34 11.681 – W 83 03.607 – Run over to Young Deer Creek and right in the mouth of it on the left side going upstream marker 1YD sits on a hump with a danger marker and some bushes on top.  Again, it is right on the channel where deep water is very close to shallow water. 

    Your boat should be in about 100 feet of water and you want to fish brush around 30 feet deep. Rob says 30 foot deep water is usually a good depth in September but they may feed a little shallower later in the month. If you are not catching fish in the deeper brush, or if you see them in more shallow brush, try it.

    Rob says bass are caught here every day. There are a lot of brush piles and big rocks on the hump to cover.  Try all your baits around them.

    A big swim bait is Rob’s go-to bait if he wants quality fish. In a tournament where five bites from big fish is all you want, try the Bull Herring worked slowly over the brush.  Rob’s custom painted versions are best since the spots on Lanier see so many swim baits but all will catch bass.

    3.  N 34 11.766 – W 84 03.499 – Across the mouth of Young Deer Creek channel marker 2YD sits on a deep rocky point that is excellent.  Rob fishes the downstream end of the point where it runs out parallel to the channel.  You will be sitting in 70 to 100 feet of water when fishing the end of the point.

    First try the swimbaits and topwater. Always keep a topwater plug ready to cast immediately to surfacing fish.  We caught a couple the day we fished when they came up near us. They may not stay up long so be ready.  If the spots are consistently schooling on top but not staying long, Rob will stand in the front of the boat with a topwater bait ready to cast, waiting on them to come up again.

    4.  N 34 12.494 – W 84 01.432 – An island sits in the mouth of Six Mile Creek and marker 4SM sits just off it. The creek channel is on one side and the river channel on the other.  Rob says this is one of the best big spot holes on the lake and he caught a six pounder here. 

    There are stumps and brush piles on the point on the downstream side of the island where the big spots live. Rob says a big swim bait or topwater is the way to go here for the big ones.  Work both baits all around the point, concentrating on brush piles and stump beds you find with your electronics.

    Rob fishes both hard and soft swimbaits with a steady retrieve and keeps them near the surface is there is cloud cover or wind on the water.  When a fish hits he sets the hook with a sweep of his rod, not a hard set, and does not drop the rod tip. 

    If there is little wind or if the spots just don’t seem to eat the big bait, Rob will drop down to the smaller size Zman SwimmerZ soft swim bait.  He fishes the soft baits on a three sixteenths to three quarter ounce jig head depending on how the fish set up. The lighter head is better for running the bait shallow but the bigger head will allow you to fish it a little faster and deeper.

    5.  N 34 13.464 – W 84 01.406 – Further up Six Mile Creek it narrows way down right at channel marker 7SM.  There are several good humps and points in this area. The left side going upstream, between the last cove on that side to the point where the creek narrows way down, have the better ones.

    The danger marker on the left sits between two long points that are excellent. Sit out in 45 feet of water and cast up into 25 to 30 feet of water.  There are a couple of road beds, an old house foundation and brush piles on the points.  Fish them all.

    The pinch point where the creek narrows way down funnels fish into this area as they move up the creek in the fall. Rob says when the water temperature drops into the 70s it is like a switch turns on and the bass get into action chasing bait. Swim baits and topwater are even better when it cools down.

    6.  N 34 14.772 – W 83 56.843 – Run up the river to the mouth of Flat Creek. A big island sits in the mouth of it and red channel marker 26 is on a point where the river channel swings in toward it. Rob says bass live here year round and it is always good, but in September even more bass get on the point while moving into the creek.

  Sit out in 40 feet of water and cast up on the point with all your baits, starting shallow and working deeper. There are rocks and brush piles here that hold the fish. If you can’t find the brush with your electronics, drag a jig head worm along the bottom until you hit rocks or brush and work it.                 

    7.  N 34 13.602 – W 83 55.772 – For a change of pace run into Mud Creek all the way to the narrow creek channel in the back.  Rob fishes docks back in places like this. Spots and some big largemouth can be found back around docks in creeks as the water cools.  Fish all the docks from the ones on the left past the big rocky point where it narrows down all the way around the creek.

    Try a one eighth to three sixteenths ounce jig head with a Zman finesse worm on it.  Fish all of each dock, from the deepest water in front of it to the back under the walkway.  The bass may be feeding anywhere around the docks. 

    The bass will be on the outside deeper docks early in the month but move further back as the water cools. Since the weather this summer has been fairly cool and the rain and cool weather in the middle of August kept the water temperatures down, they may move further back sooner this year.

    8.  N 34 13.967 – W 83 56.271 – Going out of Mud Creek Old Federal day use park with a boat ramp is on your left.  Past it a long point runs out toward the main lake and there is an island off the bank, with danger markers between it and the main point. 

    Stop about even with the island in Mud Creek and idle over the ridge that runs out on that side toward the Mud Creek channel.  This ridge runs way out and has rock and brush on it, and bass stack up on it all summer long. Even more move to it as they follow shad back into the creek in the fall.

    Sit in about 40 feet of water and cast up on top of the ridge to 20 to 30 feet of water.  Try all your baits.  When using a drop shot in the brush Rob likes to pitch it ahead of the boat a little rather than fishing it straight under the boat. He will let the lead hit bottom, raise his rod tip to keep the bait up off the bottom and twitch it in one place, moving the lead very slowly as he works it around the brush.

    9.  N 34 13.447 – W 83 57.774 – Out off the end of the point with Old Federal Campground there is a big flat point with a danger marker off a small island with bushes on top.  There are brush piles all over it but Rob’s favorite area of this big point is downstream of the island and danger marker. 

    As in other places, start with topwater and swim baits over the brush piles you locate with your electronics, then try the dropshot and shaky head.  Rob likes a light one sidxteenths to one eight head, as light as conditions will allow, since the slow fall will often draw a strike.

    Rob lets the shaky head hit bottom then slowly drags it along with an occasional snap of the rod tip to make it wiggle and jump. Many people shake it in one place, as the name implies, but Rob moves it slowly along the bottom without constant shaking.

         10.  N 34 11.424 – W 83 58.442 – In Flowery Branch across from the Van Pugh ramp a long underwater point runs off the upstream side of the danger marker between the small island and the main point.  This point actually runs off Van Pugh park out to the island then on out toward the creek channel.

         Stay out on the creek end of the point and work it with all your baits.  Resident fish live here and more move in during the fall.  If you are fishing a tournament use big baits for a few quality bites. Use smaller topwater baits like the Sammy 100 early in the fall but go bigger later. For numbers the shaky head or drop shot will get more bites.

         All these places hold bass right now and will get better as the month progresses and the water gets cooler. Give them a try and you can find many more just like them.

         For a guide trip with Rod to see first hand how he fishes Lanier call him at 770-873-7135 and check his web site at http://robjordanfishing.com  Also check out his custom painted baits at http://www.xtremelurecreations.com

Fishing Lake Chickamauga

Chickamauga Bass with Jeremy York

Chickamauga has been the best bass lake in the Southeast, if not in the whole country, the past few months.  Many eight pound plus bass have been landed and in most tournaments you didn’t even need to weigh in if you had five bass weighing less than 25 pounds.

The bad news is the patterns producing those incredible stringers working the first three months this year are over. The good news is those bass are still there, hungry in May and can be caught on a variety of new patterns. 

Chickamauga is a TVA Lake just outside Chattanooga on the Tennessee River.  It runs 59 miles from the dam up to the Watts Barr Dam, with many big feeder creeks.  Although it is not in Georgia or Alabama, many fishermen in our state are less than three hours away and make the trip often. If you are not one of them you are missing out on some incredible bass fishing.

Jeremy York owns Angler’s Warehouse near Athens, Georgia.  Two years ago one of his pro staff invited him to sample the great bass fishing that was just being discovered on Chickamauga. He went up and caught some big bass and fell in love with the lake. He now makes the three hour drive several times a week in the winter and does some guiding on the lake, about 25 trips so far this year.

Jeremy is a tournament fisherman and fishes the pro trails as well as local and regional tournaments. In the BFL on Chickamauga in March he weighed in five bass weighing 30.25 pounds – and came in third!  In another tournament he had five weighing 27 pounds and came in 14 place.

In five guide trips in March he and his clients had their five best weighing 26, 39, 36, 30 and 32 pounds.  That is better than a six pound average for four of the five trips.

In five trips this year he and his clients have landed an eight pound plus fish in each.  One of his best trips was with a father and son. Within a few minutes of starting the father landed an 8.75 pound largemouth, he landed a 6.5 pounder and then the son landed an 8.68 pound fish, all within the first hour. 

Jeremy found a pattern that works great from the beginning of January through March.  When the water temperature hits 48 degrees the bass really turn on and 48 to 52 is the ideal water temperature.  It starts slowly as soon as the water reaches 45 degrees. The pattern holds until the water gets to about 58 degrees, usually around the first of April, and the bass head toward the bedding areas.

Although this pattern is over this year, it is worth remembering for next year.  Jeremy came up with the idea for the Extreme Bait Ball Rig that is sold by Picasso. It is an Alabama rig with teasers on the arms, so it looks even more like a school of baitfish. That is what he caught the big bass on from January through March.

He rigs it with one eighth ounce Buckeye Jewell heads on the hook arms and rigs them and the teaser attachments with either a 3.5 or 4.5 inch Shadalicious blue gizzard or Texas shad swimbaits. For bigger bass he runs the 4.5 inch bait on the hooks with smaller ones on the teasers, or runs the bigger size on all. 

The ideal rig for throwing this heavy bait is an I Rod Bama Rig Special Genesis II rod with a Revo SX reel spooled with 80 pound Power Pro braid. He tried several reels and all wore out in a few trips except the Revo. 

There are three things to remember when throwing this rig.  Lob it, don’t make a usual cast.  Keep reeling when you feel something until the bass almost jerks the rod out of your hand. You will hit stumps with it and if you set the hook you are unlikely to get the rig back. And finally, when you do hang up, keep your line tight as you go to it, go past the hangup and pop it loose with small pops of the rod tip.

Jeremy took me to Chickamauga the second week of April and warned me the great bite was probably over. Although he got a nice 4.5 pounder first thing that morning on the rig, fishing was slow. We went into the spawning pockets and they were full of bass just starting to fan beds. The fish were very spooky and we could not get them to hit, but we saw many in the six pound plus size starting to bed.

Adding to our problems that day the water rose almost two feet while we were there.  The lake is scheduled to be at full pool by April 15th each year and it was four feet low when we got there.  But it was filling fast.

When the water temperature is right Jeremy fishes transition areas like stump flats near the mouths of spawning areas.  There needs to be deep water nearby with a shelf or flat with stumps on it. A ditch or cut running across the flat is key. The bass feed on those types of places during the winter and pre spawn.

Other good types of cover are banks where big rocks transition to chunk rock to sand, often found at the mouths of feeder creeks and coves. Big largemouth and smallmouth both like this kind of area and will hit the rig fished there.  On one trip this year he got a six pound smallmouth and a six pound largemouth.

On the stump flats keep your boat out in deeper water near the cut or ditch and cast up to four or five feet of water. Work your rig back steadily, keeping it above the stumps but near the bottom. On the transition banks stay out a long cast from the bank and cast near it, fishing the rig back to cover water two to six feet deep.

File this information away for next year. But now for the good news. Those big bass are still in the lake and you can catch them right now. Fishing will be good from now through May and you can use a variety of baits to catch them.

Right now about half the bass, especially the bigger fish, are on the beds or have been in the last few days. You can sight fish for them or drag a Carolina rigged lizard through the bedding areas. If sight fishing, look for stumps, the favorite place for a bass to bed on Chickamauga.

Jeremy likes a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog on a light Texas rig, a white swim bait with a weighed keel hook or a whacky rigged Senko rigged weightless for sight fishing.  He will cast well past the bed and pull the bait to it, letting it drop into the sweet spot.  Let it sit and shake it and the bass will usually eat it if they are hard on the bed.

Good areas for sight fishing are in Soddy Creek, which usually has the clearest water on the lake, and other creeks on the lower half of the lake.  The pockets up the river are full of spawning bass, too, but they are harder to see since the water is usually more stained there.

Another good area is Dallas Bay around Chester Frost Park. Jeremy says there have probably been 100 eight pound plus bass released there in tournaments this year and they will not leave the bay since the spawn is approaching. They will stay in the bay, feed until spawning and then gradually work back out to the river, feeding on post spawn areas.

The stump flats on both sides of the ramp are good spawning areas to check since they are littered with stumps.  Be careful, the flats run way out. Try to follow the ditches and cuts going back into them since the bass will follow them. Often the biggest bass will be bedding on stumps closest to the deeper water in the cuts.

Bass move into the spawning areas in waves and about half of them are there now the last week of April.  More will move in during the next few weeks, depending on water temperature and moon phase.  They will stay on the bed for about a week then move off and spend about a week recovering. They won’t feed much during that week but will start feeding heavily after that so there will be a lot of hungry fish all during the month of May.

To catch post spawn fish Jeremy will try a variety of baits. A Spook or similar walking bait worked over the stump flats will draw explosive strikes. Keep your boat in the cuts and cast ahead of you down the cut and fan cast the flats on both sides.  Cover a lot of water, fishing fast until you find feeding fish.

A swim jig worked over the same areas will also catch fish, especially if the fish are not real aggressive. Swim it in the same places you worked your topwater.  You can also work a spinnebait over those areas or try to bump the stumps with a square bill crankbait.

Toward the end of May there will still be a few bedding bass but the bream spawn comes into play. Bass will feed on the bream that are bedding in the same areas as the bass use, so fish a swim jig around the bedding bream to catch those bass feeding on bream.

Another big key in May is the shad spawn.  Chickamauga has two kinds of shad, both threadfin and gizzard shad, and golden shiners, all favorite foods of bass.  The shad will spawn on gravel and shell bed flats and rocky banks this month and the bass often go wild feeding on them. Jeremy says the shell beds on flats near the river channel are a huge key to the shad spawn so seek them out.

Look for the schools of shad running the banks early in the morning or working the flats.  Jeremy likes to see smaller areas of shad spawning. If there are shad spawning on 100 yards of bank there might be 20 bass feeding on them and they will be real scattered out. If there are shad on only about 20 feet of bank, those same 20 bass will be concentrated and easier to catch.

A spinnerbait, rattle bait or swim jig all work well on the shad spawn. Work them over the flats, running them right on the bottom.  On the banks, cast right to the bank, even up on the rocks and pulling your bait into the water.  The bass will be facing the bank so you want to cast as shallow as possible.

The shad usually spawn early, the first couple of hours of light on sunny days, but will stay shallow much longer on cloudy days.  If it is sunny and the shallow activity stops, back off and fish a little deeper to catch the bass following the shad out a little ways off the bank where they hold until the next morning.

Why is Chickamauga so hot with big bass right now? Jeremy says the stocking of Florida and Northern strain largemouth as produced a cross, an F1 hybrid that grows very fast and is very aggressive.  Tennessee DNR reports show they stocked both Florida and Northern strain largemouth as well as F1 hybrids in 2002.  Those fish have reached trophy size and their offspring are reaching bragging size every year.

Jeremy thinks the next two years are going to be fantastic, with some huge bass caught in Chickamauga each year. All those eight to ten pound bass will mostly still be around for a couple of years and could be two to three pounds heavier. And all those five and six pounders will also be two to three pounds heavier.

For the future, there are a lot of four and five pound bass coming along, too. There is a 15 inch size limit on largemouth and an 18 inch size limit on smallmouth on Chickamauga and those limits have contributed to the larger fish in the lake.  That size restriction also insures a good supply of quality fish for the future. So the fishing should stay really good for the foreseeable future. You definitely want to head to Chickamauga and get in on catching them.

A three day non resident Tennessee fishing license is $16 and can be bought on line before your trip.  A ten day license is $25 and an annual license, good until February 28, 2014, is $80.  You might want an annual license since you are sure to fall in love with fishing Chickamauga.