Category Archives: How To Fish

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 10/19/19

There is no doubt the fall has been an up and down season some days they bite real well and then you struggle for a couple of days doing a lot of searching and moving to get a bite. It has also been a fall of different presentations that are producing bites; its like a moving target and you just must keep adjusting until you find the right bait for that day!

The constant is that the bass are still buried in the grass and finding a way to get them to feed is not easy. We concentrated in 4 to 7 ft. of water. This week we concentrated on top water bites and the Picasso buzz bait was the best choice as the bass were blasting through the grass and exploding up on the bait well at certain times during each day.

We also fished SPRP frogs, Missile bait ‘48” stick baits weighted lightly and worked in scattered grass. We also worked Tight-Line swim jigs around the grassy areas of the dying areas.

Come fish with me I have guides and days available to fish with you; its looking like November will once again be the height of the fall bite. We fish with great sponsor products, Lowrance Electronics, Ranger boats, Boat Logix mounts, Mercury Motors, Vicious Fishing, Duckett Fishing, Navionics mapping, Power Pole and more. shing Report, Lake Guntersville 10/5/19

Guntersville Keeper Bass

Locate and Catch More Fall and Early Winter Bass

Late-Season Bass: Search and Destroy
LIVETARGET bass pro Stephen Browning discusses surefire ways to locate and catch more fall and early winter bass

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON – Fall weather can spread bass out in many waterways, making for difficult bites. Given a refined approach, however, fall can provide some of the best fishing of year – especially for big bass.

Noted professional angler Stephen Browning, a seasoned veteran of the FLW Tour, MLF, and the Bassmaster Elite Series, has amassed knowledge of late-season bass behavior that can up any angler’s game right now. Aside from decades of experience on tournament trails, Browning’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management hasn’t hurt his ability to pick apart various waters, either.

The first tip? Cover lots water. And for Browning, that means crankbaits.“For me, fall is all about chunk and winding and covering water, whether that’s main lake stuff or hitting the back of pockets, coves, and creeks. Crankbaits are definitely key in fall and into early winter,” says Browning.For Browning, the biggest factor for finding fall bass to crank is water temperature. “I’m trying to search out water temperatures that are 70 degrees or less, because experience proves that’s the point at which fish get fired up for a super fall bite.”

Winning in the Wind Secondly, he’s monitoring wind. “Besides cooler water, I’m looking for spots where the wind is blowing a little bit. There’s still a lot of fish out on the main lake and not necessarily deep into the pockets. So, I’m going to look at the wind—see where it’s hitting the banks the best. Bass will utilize the wind to kind of break things up. You can burn down a pea gravel bank or a chunk rock bank and still have the ability to catch fish. And they aren’t always target oriented. In my opinion, they don’t like to hold tight to cover when the wind’s blowing, because it’s going to beat them around. So, I think they do more roaming in the wind—if it’s windy I’m going to chunk and wind,” says Browning.For such windy scenarios and main lake fishing,

Browning turns to the LIVETARGET Rainbow Smelt suspending jerkbait—specifically the RS91S, which is 3-5/8 inches long and dives three to four feet, typically in the (201) Silver/Blue pattern, although Browning has been experimenting with the host of new colors LIVETARGET now offers in this highly effective bait.“It’s kind of a shallower-diving jerkbait, which I utilize for cranking points, rock outcrops, rip-rap, etc. when the wind is blowing. When fishing it, I’m looking for a little bit of visibility… not a lot of stain. I fish it a lot in main lake and main creek areas using the wind and water clarity as kind of a one-two punch. It’s definitely a go-to bait for these situations,” offers Browning.Browning throws the LIVETARGET Rainbow Smelt on a 6’8” medium-heavy St. Croix Legend X casting rod, Lew’s 7.5:1 Pro TI baitcasting reel, and 10-pound Gamma fluorocarbon.

Another bait Browning utilizes for windy main lake and main creek scenarios is the LIVETARGET HFC (Hunt-For-Center) Craw. “It has a very aggressive action and deflects off of cover, so I can utilize it on steeper rocky banks and really cover a lot of water. In terms of color, it depends on the water clarity and temperature. If the water is stained, a lot of times I’ll use LIVETARGET’s Red (362) or Copper Root Beer (361). The latter has a really nice copper hue to it and kind of a whitish-style belly. When the water temperature plummets into the 50s,

Browning also reaches for the LIVETARGET HFC (Hunt-For-Center) Craw, especially in the Red (362) and Copper Root Beer (361) colors. “The HFC has an aggressive action but is not overpowering. It was designed to randomly dart left and right, mimicking a fleeing craw. In late fall when the water gets really cold it can be a fantastic bait for target fishing for the resident fish that live in the very back ends of creeks and pockets.”

Water Clarity and Target Cranking Browning’s advice for those days when there isn’t much wind is to monitor water clarity. “On calmer days water clarity is a big factor. I’m going to go and try to find some stained water someplace within the fishery. The biggest thing about stained water is fish don’t tend to roam as much on you, and they’re going to be more target related—an outcrop of rocks, a laydown, a series of stumps, etc. that will give those fish a place to ambush their prey.”On those calmer days, Browning will vacate the main lake and main creek areas he fishes when windy and concentrate on the back third of pockets where they have a tendency to flatten out. There, he looks for isolated cover.“I’m looking for that isolated stump, maybe a log, lay-downs, isolated grass patches, or a lot of times people will put out crappie stakes. Especially when the water’s low, bass will utilize crappie stakes.

One of the baits I like for target fishing in the back of pockets is the LIVETARGET David Walker Signature Tennessee Craw. I’ll crank it on 12- or 14-pound fluorocarbon and only get it down to six feet so I can bang it around, which is key to getting good target bites. I’ll make multiple casts to the isolated cover from various angles giving the fish the most opportunities to ambush my presentation. That’s really key—working cover from multiple angles and making sure you spend ample time on each spot,” offers Browning.When target fishing, Browning is also a fan of the shallow-diving LIVETARGET Sunfish Crankbait—specifically the BG57M (bluegill pattern) and PS57M (pumpkinseed pattern). “The Sunfish Crankbait has a rounded bill, so it has a nice, tight wiggle to it. For me, especially when the water temperature gets cooler, it becomes another go-to bait for target fishing. I think it kind of gets overlooked by anglers who tend to concentrate on shad patterns, but bluegills are a major forage source in fall and year ‘round that bass will really home in on

.”Water clarity dictates whether Browning will choose the Pumpkinseed or Bluegill pattern, as well as the choice between LIVETARGET’s available matte and gloss finishes. “I use the Bluegill if the water is a bit clearer and the brighter Pumpkinseed in stained water. I like using the gloss finish if the sky is cloudy and the matte finish if it’s sunny. So, you’ve got two different colors and two different finishes for a variety of fishing situations.”In terms of equipment for cranking the LIVETARGET HFC (Hunt-For-Center) Craw, David Walker Tennessee Craw, or Sunfish Crankbait, he sticks to the same set-up of a St. Croix 7’4” medium-heavy, moderate action Legend Glass rod, a Lew’s Custom Pro baitcasting reel with 8:1 gear ratio and either 12- or 14-pound Gamma Fluorocarbon line. “If I’m concentrating on shallow areas, I’m going to use the heavier line – but if I need the bait to get down six feet or more, I’m going to use the 12-pound line,” Browning adds.

Topwaters Too When targeting the backs of pockets and creeks with grass, Browning urges anglers not to overlook the efficacy of employing a chunk-and-wind topwater routine.“The LIVETARGET Commotion Shad is a hollow-body shad style topwater bait that has a Colorado blade on the back end. It’s a real player in the kind of broken-up grass you find way back in pocket flats. During the fall, adding this bait to the chunk-and-wind crankbait program can really pay off. It comes in a couple of sizes, but I like the 3-½ inch in Pearl Ghost (154) and Pearl Blue Shad (158). The spinner makes a gurgling sound when you retrieve it like you would a hollow body frog, and it’s great for working over grassy areas,” offers Browning.For gear, Browning throws the Commotion Shad on a 7’6” medium-heavy, moderate action St. Croix Legend X with a Lew’s Tournament reel geared 8.3:1, and 50-pound Gamma Torque braided line.

Parting AdviceWhile monitoring water temperature, wind conditions, water clarity, and the amount of visible sunlight are all huge factors for finding fall bass in main lakes and creeks as well as pockets and coves, Browning suggests anglers stay tuned to another of nature’s cues: bird behavior.“Watch for the migration of shad, which have the tendency to move to the very back ends of the pockets in fall, but also know, as mentioned, that bass are feeding on bluegills and craws in lots of other locations. You can really eliminate a lot of water and fish more productively by keying in on bird behavior. They’re going to tell you where the baitfish are. Could be a blue heron sitting on the bank eating bluegills or picking around on crawfish, gulls, or all sorts of other birds either on the main lake or back farther in coves. Really pay attention to where the birds are. It’s definitely one of the small details that gets overlooked by a lot of anglers.”ABOUT LIVETARGETSince its launch in 2008, LIVETARGET has grown into a full family of life-like fishing lures that Match-the-Hatch® to specific game fish forage, with an expansive library of lure styles and colors for both fresh and saltwater fishing. The lures feature industry-leading designs in realism and workmanship that closely mimic nature’s different prey species. Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, LIVETARGET won ICAST Best of Show awards in the hard and soft lure categories in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Fishing Flatfish for Fall Salmon

Fishing Flatfish for Fall Salmon
by Yakima Pro Cody Herman
from The Fishing Wire

As the nights become cooler and the rains begin to fall, salmon begin their upward migration to the waters where they were born in hopes of creating future generations. These crisp fall days also push anglers off the big open water and into the smaller tributaries in search of kings and coho.

The past several years have introduced many new techniques to salmon fishermen across the country. However, one lure seems to produce year in and year out: the venerable Flatfish -20’s to T-60 sized Flatfish have produced consistent action for anglers for decades. From backtrolling smaller rivers to casting and retrieving, the Flatfish continues to be one of the most versatile lures in a salmon angler’s tackle box.

To be better prepared for the fall salmon season, let’s go through the keys of successfully utilizing Flatfish.

Size: Flatfish are commonly used for Chinook, Coho and Chum Salmon. Chinook especially seem to key in on the heavy thump and action created from this lure. In selecting the proper size, one must first determine how their Flatfish will be rigged:

Flatline, lead dropper or behind a diver. If simply flatlining, knowing the depth each size of Flatfish can dive is important. While MagLips are designed for faster currents and deeper water, the wide action of a Flatfish will dive shallower but give off a heavy vibration. By adding a lead dropper or a diver, an angler can fish deeper holes with smaller sized flatfish if the fish seem to be keying in on a specific size or action. In most cases the M-2 and T-50 sizes seem to be the most popular among fishermen.

Color: Every angler has their favorite color. And, in turn, so do the fish. One color may be lights out on your home river, but may not work as well on a different system. The best line to remember is: “Never argue with the fish!”

Always start your day with a good spread of colors. Figure out which colors the fish seem to be reacting to and lock down your colors for the rest of the day! However, as the sun gets high, cloud cover comes in or the fog rolls through, a salmon’s color preference may change quickly!

Also, on heavily pressured systems, try to use colors the fish have yet to see during the day. If everyone is running red/gold…try green/chrome. Give the fish a different look! As these salmon make their way upstream, the rods and cones in their eyes will change, just like their physical appearance. This means fish will key in on different colors depending on how long they have been in fresh water.

To keep things simple, choose colors with variations of red and green, solid colors and metallics. But…always have a couple colors that you think are “off the wall” and no salmon in their right mind would bite…that color may end up being your hot lure one day!

Scent: The larger Flatfish in M-2 to T-60 have a large enough lip and surface area to allow anglers to “wrap” bait on the bottom of the lure to add a consistent scent trail.Natural bait ranging from tuna to roe, sardines, herring and more have all been used successfully.

One new product that has gained a lot of traction among West Coast fishermen is called “Fish Nip” from Pro-Cure. This Tuna based bait stores easily in tackle boxes and remains fresh for weeks on end. It is a bait that an angler can add their favorite oils to enhance their Flatfish with a scent that lasts for hours. The most important thing to remember regardless of the wrap you use…a little goes a long way! Try not to wrap too much bait onto a Flatfish. These lures have been designed to create a fish-catching action. Adding too much weight can alter the action.

Flatfish have been a staple among salmon anglers not only because they can produce bites in difficult conditions, but because of their consistency. There are many techniques fishermen use to illicit a bite from a fish that can be difficult to catch because of its “one track mind” during the Fall months. Diversifying your approach is always encouraged…but don’t forget about Flatfish!

Fall Bass

Power-Pole Pro Tips for Fall Trophy Bass
From The Fishing Wire

As we ease into autumn, largemouth bass all across the country are priming up to feed. Here, some of our top Power-Pole pros provide insights into their favorite baits to throw when targeting the largest of the brawny bucketmouth bass:

“All the conditions start to change in fall,” says tournament pro Dean Rojas. “Water temps start dropping down into the 50s, and that sparks gizzard shad to move up into the shallows to feed on algae. The run of shad really sets off bass fishing.”Rojas’ top big-bass lure is the Spro Squarebill Crankbait.“I throw the Squarebill with a 6:1 ratio reel and present a moderate retrieve. I’ll focus on fishing areas of transition where banks slide down into deeper water,” Rojas says. “As well, the lure works anywhere in the low country and around rock piles.

”“In fall, big fish are lookin’ for big baits,” notes 2012 Bassmaster Classic winner Chris Lane. “The gizzard shad are really running in October, and they tend to hang all up on the banks around the grasslines — and that’s where you’ll intercept bass.”Lane’s go-to offering to mimic gizzard shad is the River2Sea Top Notch and Big Mistake lures, notably in the Terminator and Pac-man color patterns. The boisterous prop bait garners aggressive strikes from bigmouths, as its commotion attracts fish from afar to inspect its noise.

“Fish are definitely keying in on topwater baits in fall,” says Bassmaster pro Bobby Lane. “This time of year, they are roaming from the shallows into the depths, and I need something that can cover a ton of water. That’s when I throw the Berkley Choppo. Usually, I go with bone or black color patterns and work it on a heavy rod and reel with an 8:1 retrieve ratio.”Lane notes that bait pushes up on the shallows, and he starts by prospecting with a medium 105-size lure first, but if he’s getting short bit, will graduate to a larger 120 model.

“I can throw the Choppo in 2 feet of water or 50 feet of water — it works to attract fish from all around to strike,” he says. “I literally just got off the water right now from throwing it. It’s the perfect bait for fall bass.”Put these three lures in your back pocket and watch your hawg catches elevate this fall season.

Frog Bass

Frog Fish

Time to Get Froggy for Largemouths
By Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire

With the first day of fall officially proclaimed for Monday, Sept. 23, it’s time to get froggy at lakes across the South.Fishing with weedless frogs has become a “thing” along the weedy shorelines of many lakes since years ago when anglers discovered they could crawl frog imitations across the moss beds, hydrilla tops and lily pads and lure big bass up through the cover to eat the imitation amphibians.

The tactic works pretty much anywhere there are largemouths and a lot of surface cover—the spread of hydrilla throughout Florida, for example, has created near endless froggin’ opportunities in the Sunshine State.The specialized lures are a big part of the presentation. They have frog-like bodies of soft hollow plastic, with a double hook that rides on either side of the body, barbs up.

The idea is that the hook arrangement slides across the top of even the gnarliest weeds without snagging, but when a bass grabs the bait, it squeezes the body flat and gets stuck on the hooks.Legs of flexible silicone or rubber trail behind to create a swimming effect when the lure is twitched. It’s primarily a fall tactic for two reasons.

First, shorter hours of sunshine and longer nights allow the lakes to cool, making the shallows more comfortable for bass that have spent the summer in deeper water. And secondly, the weeds reach their maximum growth as summer ends and fall begins, often topping out and forming surface mats ideal for froggin’. 

Anglers who practice the tactic a lot, like Guntersville, Alabama, guide Mike Gerry, who fishes mostly SPRO frogs, say the best areas to fish are over water 2 to 4 feet deep where the weeds and moss have topped out and started to dry, turning the color of browned cheese atop a pizza. This means the mat is thick and has been there a while, so it’s more likely to hold bait—and bass.

Other froggin’ fans like Captain Mike Carter, also a Lake Guntersville guide, say that a good weedbed has a distinctive sound. Because there are lots of grass shrimp and other small creatures in the moss, it attracts bluegills, frogs and small baitfish, which make a clicking or popping sound as they suck in the food. These fish, in turn, attract large bass—thus a good bed has a particular sound.

There are also sometimes “blow holes” in a good bed where bass have been actively feeding, knocking openings in the otherwise matted surface.

Snagproof apparently built the first version of the weedless frog many years back, but now most manufacturers have a frog in their lineup; Strike King has the KVD Sexy Frog, LIVETARGET has the Hollow Body Frog and the new Free-Style Frog, and Booyah has the Pad Crasher. All of them catch fish when conditions are right.  

Fishing the lures is simple. Gear has to be stout because of the heavy cover—many use 40-to 65-pound test braid and a 7.5 foot medium-heavy baitcasting rig, which will have the power to derrick a large bass and several pounds of weeds to the boat.

The frog is thrown across the bed and worked back in a series of short twitches with frequent pauses, particularly when it crosses any areas of open water.The only trick to froggin’ is to avoid setting the hook too soon. When a fish hits, there’s an initial splash that sometimes triggers anglers to instantly strike, but that often pulls the lure away from the fish. It works better to hesitate just a second while the fish chomps down on the soft, realistic feel of the lure, then set the hook.

Fights tend to be short in froggin’. Either you get the fish’s head up and hydroplane it across the surface to the boat, or it bogs down in 50 pounds of weeds and you have to trolling motor in after it and put the lip-lock on it.Froggin’ does not work on a consistent basis in most lakes, which is why it’s a niche tactic reserved only for fall in many areas. In fact, even in fall on  a good froggin’ lake like Guntersville, Eufaula or Kissimmee, you can go for hours sorting through mossbeds, hydrilla jungles, maiden cane stands and duckweed puddles before you find one where a school of bass is feeding. But when you do it’s one of the more exciting types of bass fishing anywhere and you might pull three or four fish in the five-pound range out of one stretch of cover. 

The frog bite is on right now through most of the south, and usually continues until the first cold front of November, when the surface weeds start to turn black and north winds break them up, driving the fish back to the depths until they head shoreward again in March to spawn. In Florida, the tactic can work pretty much year around, though there are other, better methods for spring and summer.

How and Where to Catch December Bass at Bartlett’s Ferry/Lake Harding

How and Where to Catch December Bass at Bartlett’s Ferry/Lake Harding
with Tommy Gunn

By this time of year lake waters are getting cold and bass are not feeding as good as they did earlier in the fall. Colder water means they are less active and more likely to be holding in deeper water. But a few warm days can turn them on and you can have some excellent fishing before the weather really gets harsh.

Some lakes seem to be better now and Bartlett’s Ferry on the Chattahoochee River below West Point is one of them. Also called Lake Harding, the water levels stay fairly consistent because it is a small lake at 5850 acres and generation at West Point keeps it full. The level can change a couple of feet each day but you will seldom see it more than three feet low.

Bartlett’s Ferry is an old lake that started producing power in 1926. It was bought by Georgia Power in 1930 and it is still owned and operated by them. The shoreline is mostly rocky, steep banks on the old river in the lower lake with some creeks offering different kinds of structure over the whole lake. The river above Halawakee Creek has steep outside bends and mud flats. Almost all the shore is lined with cabins and docks.

For a long time Bartlett’s Ferry was known for its largemouth but spotted bass have come on strong there. In the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Creel Census Report in 1996 just under 63 percent of bass were largemouth but by 2005 that was down to 48 percent. The population of spots is probably even higher than that indicates since spots are often culled for largemouth in tournaments.

In the Alabama Bass Anglers Information Team report for 2006 angler success rate at Bartlett’s Ferry was seventh highest of all lakes in the report. But it ranks low on the chart overall due to the average size of the fish caught. You can catch a lot of bass at Bartlett’s Ferry but they will mostly be smaller spots.

The good news is now is the time to catch a lot of bass there and you can bring in some quality largemouth if you fish it right. There is little of the boat traffic that plagues the lake during warmer months and you can fish in peace. Add to that the varied structure and cover and Bartlett’s Ferry is a good choice for this time of year.

Access to the lake is fair with a public ramp on the Georgia side at Idlehour and a public ramp on the Alabama side at Long Bridge. There are other ramps but these are open year round and have a decent amount of parking. There are a good many club tournaments on the lake and a weekly pot tournament goes out of Long Bridge ramp.

Tommy Gunn lives about ten minutes west of Bartlett’s Ferry in Cusseta. He started fishing Bartlett’s Ferry in the mid 1980s with his cousin and they fished many of the pot tournaments there over the years. He still fishes them and also fishes the Bassmaster Weekend Series, placing 7th overall in the Alabama South division in 2007.

Tommy agrees the size of the fish has gone down in the past ten years. His best tournament catch ever was a seven fish limit weighing 28 pounds in the mid 1990s but his best catches for the past few years in the tournaments has been five fish limits weighing 17 to 18 pounds. He landed a nine and one quarter pound largemouth in the 1990s, his best from Bartlett’s Ferry, but has not seen many over eight pounds recently.

Not only does he fish as often as possible, Tommy also makes Jawbreaker Jigs. He got started making them so he could have the colors he wanted but could not find. His jigs are sold in many stores in the area around Bartlett’s Ferry and he makes both skirted jigs and plain jigs for jig head worm fishing.

“I like to fish shallow, there are almost always some fish in shallow water here,” Tommy told me. As long as the water is above 55 degrees he is confident he will have a good catch in shallow water this time of year and he sticks with it until the water gets below 50 degrees. Then it is time to go deeper.

Since he is fishing tournaments Tommy is looking for five good bites. For numbers of fish he would go deeper and catch mostly spots, but he wants largemouth for weigh-in. You can catch fish both ways now at Bartlett’s Ferry and a couple of simple patterns will put you on fish.

For shallow fishing Tommy concentrates on docks. There are hundreds to choose from on Bartlett’s Ferry and many of them hold quality largemouth, and some good spots, right now. Tommy will flip and pitch a jig and pig to docks for bigger fish and throw a crankbait between docks as he moves from one to another.

Some docks are better than others. Tommy likes an older dock with wooden post and some brush or rocks under it. The best ones this time of year are at the mouths of pockets and sloughs. They must be near deep water to hold good fish and that is the most important factor. If there is not seven feet of water just off the end of the dock and much deeper water nearby it will not be as good.

Most of his dock fishing is done with a three eights ounce Jawbreaker jig in warmer water and a quarter ounce jig in colder water. He likes a black/blue/purple or black/blue/brown combination with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk on either weight. Tommy tries to put his jig as far back under docks in places that are hard to get to and that are missed by other fishermen.

If the bite is real tough Tommy will throw a green pumpkin Trick worm on a 3/16 ounce head around the docks. That bait tends to catch more but smaller fish, but will sometimes get hit when bigger baits are ignored.

In deeper water Tommy likes a point or hump that drops off steep into the old river or creek channel. He will throw crank baits across it then back off and fish it with a Carolina rig or a jig head worm. He will start fairly shallow on the structure and work deeper until he finds fish. Rocks or brush on the structure help hold the fish in specific areas.

If the water is 15 feet deep or deeper where he is fishing Tommy will also jig a spoon for the fish. Sometimes you have to jig a spoon in their face, repeatedly moving it up and down, before they will hit. If you spot fish on your depthfinder drop a half ounce spoon straight down to them.

You can pick docks to fish by starting at the mouth of every slough on the lake and hitting them. Choose older docks with post and trash and you will do better. For deeper fish the following ten spots all hold bass this time of year and are some of Tommy’s favorites.

1. N 32 41.259 – W 85 09.095 – Put in at Long Bridge and go under the bridge. Ahead of you an island sits off the right bank. Out to the left of the island a hump comes up to within 18 feet on top and has brush on it. The creek channel swings by it and it drops fast on that side. It is an excellent place to jig a spoon or drag a Carolina rig right now.

Go up toward the island and watch behind you. A long narrow point runs off the left bank going upstream just above the bridge and you want to line up the end of it with the first bridge piling on that side. When you get even with the island you will see the hump come up. It helps to drop a marker out to stay on it.

Fish all around the hump from different directions. If there is any current it will help and you want to sit downstream of the hump and throw back up across it and fish with the current. Probe for the brush and fish it carefully when you hit some.

2. N 32 41.446 – W 85 09.401 – Upstream of the island there is a point and a cove behind it. This point leads to a ridge that runs parallel to the bank on that side. Go upstream staying way off the bank, about even with the point behind the island, and watch for a gray house with two small lighthouses to the left of it when facing it. Start going back and forth out off the bank from those lighthouses and watch your depthfinder. You will see it come up quickly on the back side, topping out at about 9 feet deep, then slope off.

Set up to fish across the ridge, bringing your Carolina rig, jig head worm or jig and pig up the sharp drop. Work the ridge casting over it from both sides. Also watch for bass holding on the side or brush on the sloping side. Jig a spoon around any fish or cover you see.

There is one sweet spot on this ridge right out in front of the gray house, according to Tommy. For some reason fish often concentrate in one small area of this long ridge and you have to fish it to find them. If you catch one bass fish that spot hard, there should be more on it.

3. N 32 41.286 – W 85 09.974 – Head up toward the old railroad trestle. Where the lake narrows down look to your left and you will see the last pocket on that side before the trestle. The downstream point of this pocket runs way out, angling upstream, and is covered with rock. There is a good drop on the inside of this point where the channel from the small creek hits the point and turns.

This is a good spot to throw a Carolina rigged Baby Brush Hog or Finesse worm. Spots love this point and those baits are good for them. Tommy likes a green pumpkin bait on cloudy days and stained water or a watermelon red bait on clear days and clear water. He will dye the tails of either color with chartreuse JJ’s Magic. Spots seem to really like a chartreuse tail.

Fish across this point from both sides and work it way out. When you get out on the end make some casts from the deep end up toward the bank and fish down the point on both sides. Also throw a crankbait in the shallow part of the point when you are in near it.

4. N 32 41.234 – W 85 10.416 – Go under the trestle and you will see a big pocket open up to your right. About 75 yards off the right point of the trestle a hump comes up to within 6 feet of the surface. If you start from the point at the trestle on the right going upstream and idle toward the far upstream point of the cove on your right you should cross it. The far point has two swift houses on it, one with gourds on cross arms and the other a condo style on a post.

When you find the top of the hump stop and cast all around, working your Carolina rig, jig and pig and jig head worm from deep to shallow. There is some brush here and the channel swings by the outside of the hump, making a good drop on that side. Fish all around this spot.

5. N 32 41.484 – W 85 07.631 – Head down the creek under both bridges and past the ramp. When the creek makes a turn to your left you will see powerlines crossing the lake from a point on your right where the creek turns back right. Go under the powerlines and watch to your left. You will see a rocky point running upstream at the mouth of the big cove on that side. There is no house on the point but it has been cleared of brush under the big pine trees.

Tommy says this is an excellent point because the creek channel swings in on the outside and the ditch on the inside is deep, making that side drop fast. There is brush and rocks all around this point. Start by throwing a crankbait working around it then back off and fish a jig and pig, jig head worm or Carolina rig down the slope. Watch and feel for brush and hit it hard when you find it.

Wind often blows in on this point and makes it better. Wind blowing across any of these spots will help, as it does when blowing in on a dock. As long as you can control the boat wind makes a spot even better.

6. N 32 41.528 – W 85 06.773 – Head downstream to the mouth of the river and go on the upstream side of the first small island with a house on it. Ahead you will see a big island with a red clay bluff bank on the downstream point. That downstream point forms a flat that drops off into the river channel on the far side of the island. There is an old state brush pile out on this point that no longer has a buoy marking it.

Work all around this flat and point, fishing Carolina rigs, jig and pig and jig head worm. Throw a crankbait and jig and pig in the blowdowns on the west side of the island, too. Watch your depthfinder and drop a spoon or other bait down to any brush you see. The point will top out at about ten feet deep way off the bank then drop fast and that is where the old state brush piles are located.

7. N 32 41.645 – W 85 06.541 – Go across toward the Georgia side of the river and you will see an opening a little to your left. The downstream point of this opening is actually the upstream point of a big island. There is trash all over the top of this point. Throw a crankbait across it then work your other baits deeper. Try a jigging spoon in the deeper areas.

Current coming down the river will rush right by this point and make it much better. Tommy likes to stay on the river side of the drop and fish from shallow to deep, especially when current is moving. Wind will often blow across this point making it better, too.

8. N 32 40.986 – W 85 06.194 – Run down to Kudzu Island, the island with a standing chimney on it on your left as you head downstream. If you look right on the edge of the water out in front of that chimney, with it lined up with the tree that is out from the others, you will see the old foundation of some kind of structure. A small point runs out from this old foundation and there is more cover on it.

Stay out from the point and fish all around it with all your baits. This point drops fast and is not very big, but it holds fish. Current coming down the river often stacks fish up on it.

9. N 32 40.733 – W 85 06.177 – Across the river on the Alabama side there is a big island in the mouth of a pocket. The outside bank of the island drops straight off into the old river channel. You will be in 60 feet of water two boat lengths off the bank. There are rocks on the drop and lots of logs and blowdowns.

Tommy says this is and excellent bank to fish after a cold front and during the winter. Bass hold in the cover and can move deeper quickly. Fish a crankbait around the cover. Then work a jig and pig through the branches of the blowdowns and be ready to set the hook and reel hard to pull a big bass out of them.

10. N 32 41.192 – W 85 05.443 – Go back across the lake and head into the big creek on that side. It does not have a name on the map but Boat Club Road runs out on a point in it. Across from the point with Boat Club Road watch for point with a dead pine on your left going upstream. Just past it is a little cove with a house in it that has a turret like room on the front. The dock in the pocket has a Coke sign on it. There were two flags on this boathouse when we were there in mid-November, one a solid yellow and the other a gray/white cross flag.

There is a hump that comes up to 22 feet deep on top on the point just past the cove with the dock and flags. Find it and fish all around it with different baits you can fish that deep. A spoon is good here most of the winter. Try the top of the hump and sides as it drops off.

These are the spots Tommy will be hitting in tournaments this time of year. Try docks all over the lake if the water is still above 50 degrees for bigger largemouth then hit these deeper spots for numbers of fish, mostly spotted bass. You can find more similar spots all over the lake and they will hold bass now.

Z-Man FattyZ

Getting the Most Out of the Z-Man FattyZ
For starters, as a form of stick-bait, the FattyZ falls into an incredibly effective soft-bait category, but it offers lots of extras.

Brian Latimer fishing the FattyZ

From Z-Man Pro Brian Latimer
from The Fishing Wire

About a year ago, I made a YouTube video titled “This is My Favorite Soft Plastic!!!” The piece showcased my love affair with the Z-Man FattyZ, how to fish it, and why I’ve found it so incredibly appealing in a variety of finesse situations. Over 26,000 views later, my take on the matter hasn’t changed; I can’t get enough of this bait.

Let’s start by investigating why this bait is my favorite from an analytic standpoint. For starters, as a form of stick-bait, the FattyZ falls into an incredibly effective soft-bait category. As we all know, it’s hard to beat that shape when the chips are down, for just about any species of bass. But, unlike other stick-baits, the FattyZ has a few unique characteristics.

First off, the body has a slight taper with a plump tail, rather than being perfectly straight, so the FattyZ has a little different fall than the rest. Being made from ElaZtech, it’s incredibly soft and subtle, but the FattyZ contains a good bit of salt – enough where the bait lies at a 45-degree angle on the bottom, rather than just resting straight up. Any rod movement gives the FattyZ a little “wag”.

Just as important – the FattyZ has a hook pocket. More about that in a minute.

I rig the FattyZ a variety of ways depending on the job at hand but do the bulk of my damage with a snag-free method; sort of a Texas-rigged shaky head. Here, I employ the Power Finesse ShroomZ jighead.

In my mind, the FattyZ / Power Finesse ShroomZ combination is a match made in heaven. They just seem to fit together. That head features a 3/0, forged hook – not a thin wire, so common in finesse-style jigs. That’s important, because I regularly put the bait in places where a lighter hook would fail.

As I mentioned, the FattyZ has a hook slot, which comes in handy for my hooking method. Just like standard Texas rigging, I pierce the tip of the bait on my hookpoint, come back out, and thread the lure up the shank of the ShroomZ. I spin the bait around and re-insert the hook into the slot. Now I’ve got a weedless shaky head and, because of that narrow hook slot, I can easily penetrate the bait without using a bulky, wide gap hook.

I choose a 1/5- or 1/6-ounce Power Finesse ShroomZ, depending on depth and wind. The jighead rests perfectly against the FattyZ and features a wire keeper to hold the bait up. A tiny drop of superglue ensures the bait will never slide down the hookshank. Ever.

The whole package is smooth and slender, so it slides through cover easily, and doesn’t get hung up. That’s a big key – especially around boat docks and cables; places where a normal worm rig just can’t make it through. Hence the need for that stout hook: if I hook a big fish, I need to move him away from the cover quick, before he can break my line. It’s important that my hook doesn’t flex.

After a bunch of trial and error, I’ve settled on one specific tackle combo for fishing this rig: a 7’1″ Favorite Sick Stick rod, twenty-pound test braid, and a ten-pound fluoro leader. Regardless of water depth or the type of bass I’m after, I use only one color FattyZ; Green Pumpkin Blue Flake. It’s that good.

Most of my fishing throughout the Carolinas takes place on lakes with fairly clear water and little heavy cover. It’s mainly boat docks, small stick-ups and laydowns, walkways, maybe seawalls, and stumps. Here, I can pick up a weedless-rigged FattyZ and never put it down. It catches every species and size of bass.

One more tip: to catch the highest percentage of bites, employ a “pull set” with this rig. Hammering the hook home will do no good – it’s better to lean into the fish and not give it any slack. That ensures the needle-point tip of the ShroomZ gets started into the fish’s mouth – his pulling back and struggling will drive it home. Just pull into the fish, and let it fight against the rod. You’ll quickly see why the FattyZ still lays claim to my title as favorite soft plastic.

Brian Latimer
Z-Man Pro-Staff

How and Where to Catch June and July Bass at Woodruff Lake/Jones Bluff/The Alabama River

June and July Bass at Woodruff Lake
with Sam Russell

Bass fishermen know summertime fishing is tough. As the waters in our lakes gets hotter and hotter the bass get harder to catch. But summertime fishing does not have to mean dawn and twilight or night fishing only. Pick a river lake like Woodruff on the Alabama River and you can work the current and catch bass anytime it is moving.

R.E (Bob) Woodruff Lake, also known as Jones Bluff, is on the Alabama River at Prattville, near Montgomery. The dam backs water in the river up all the way to its headwaters where the Coosa and Tallapoosa join. It is a narrow river lake so any power generation at the dam quickly creates current that puts bass in a feeding mood and positions them on structure and cover the whole length of the lake.

As the uppermost of the Alabama River Lakes, Woodruff is the most river-like lake and winds its way for 80 miles and covers about 12,800 acres. There are 11 Corps of Engineers parks with various facilities like campgrounds and boat ramps as well as several other private and public facilities on the water, so the lake is readily accessible for all of its length. Last year there were over 2 million visitors to Woodruff.

There are some good largemouth in Woodruff but spotted bass will make up most of your catch. In the 2006 Bass Anglers Information Team (BAIT) report there were only seven club tournaments reported on Woodruff but the success rate was good at 69.44 percent. Although there were only two bass reported over five pounds, the average weight was 1.66 pounds, respectable for a lake with a 12 inch limit.

Sam Russell was born in Montgomery and lived all his life in Prattville. He works for the City of Prattville on a seven day on, seven day off shift so he gets lots of fishing time. His father loved bass fishing and fished some local tournaments in the 1970s as well as fishing with some local bass clubs. Sam fished with him and started club fishing, too.

After a break from bass fishing Sam started back to bass tournament fishing about ten years ago. He is currently in the Prattville Bass Anglers club and fishes some local pot and charity tournaments. Last year he fished a BFL as a co-angler and placed 12th in that tournament. He also fished the Federation trail last year and although he didn’t go to the championship tournament, he was in the top ten in point standings up to the championship.

Sam likes the river system lakes and loves to catch spots. His biggest spot from Woodruff was a six pounder that hit a topwater plug. He says he though it was a striper the way it hit and fought but when he finally saw it was a huge spot his knees got weak. He still managed to land that fish. Sam has also caught a seven pound largemouth from Woodruff.

In June and July Sam will fish points at the mouths of creeks, bluff banks with wood and rock cover and blowdown trees in the water. Those three kinds of places are all over the lake and hold fish all summer long. Although you can catch fish from all of them anytime, current will make them all better and mean you catch better quality fish.

On the points Sam will start with a topwater plug like a Zara Spook. After covering the point with it he will throw a Carolina rig or a jig head worm on it. The bluff banks are also hit with topwater then fished with a spinnerbait and a jig head worm. If those patterns fail, or if he is looking for a kicker fish, Sam will flip laydown trees and shady wood cover with a jig and pig or a big worm.

A fellow club member started the W-3 Tackle Company a few years ago and pours custom jig heads. He is one of Sam’s sponsors and Sam really likes the design of the Tip-Up jig head he makes. They are a modified mushroom head with the eye of the hook forward so the jig rolls up as you pull on it, making the trailing worm move with an action the bass love.

Sam fishes a 3/16 ounce jig head with a 5 inch Senko or a Trick worm trailer on 8 pound Fluorocarbon line with a spinning rod on points. He will throw the same jig and worm on 14 pound line on a casting outfit when fishing wood cover. The Gamakatsu and Owner hooks in the W-3 baits are sturdy enough to stand up to a lot of pressure.

A few weeks ago Sam showed me the following 11 spots to fish in June and July. We were a little early for this pattern and we hit a bluebird clear day after a storm front moved though at the end of April but we still caught about 15 keepers in a half day of fishing. All were spots and most hit on the jig head worm, with a couple hitting a Spook.

There was no current the day we fished so most of what we caught was in the one to two pound range, but bigger fish will hit on these spots with current. You can call 334-682-4896 to get the generation schedule at the dam so you can plan your trip when current is moving. Give them a try to see the pattern Sam fishes and you can find similar spots the whole length of the lake.

1. N 32 21.458 – W 86 42.154 – The mouth of House Creek is typical of the kinds of points Sam likes to fish this time of year. There is a sign showing House Creek on the downstream point and the creek mouth has a no-wake buoy in the middle of it.

Start fishing the upstream point, working a topwater lure around the small grassbed there. There is a little cypress tree on the point that is worth a cast and out from it and the grass a small flat extends out then drops off into the river channel. That makes the perfect kind of feeding area to fish.

Work into the mouth of the creek on the upstream side, fishing into the creek about 50 yards then jump across and work out to the downstream point. There are some trees in the water on the downstream side and the point has overhanging trees. Cast under them and around any wood in the water with topwater then run a spinnerbait through them. Follow that up with a jig head worm.
Before you leave jump across the mouth of the creek and work upstream, hitting the docks along this bank. Sam hooked what looked like a good keeper on this point but it pulled off his Spook. If you catch a fish keep working the area, they often stack up on these spots now.

2. N 32 21.273 – W 86 41.480 – A little ways upstream of House Creek on the same side there is a bluff bank that Sam likes. As you head upstream the channel will swing slightly to your left. Watch on your right for a broken off snag tree on the bank and start fishing there. Just past it a fallen tree has pulled its roots away from the bank, leaving a bare dirt bank. Fish that tree in the water.

Work on up this bluff and hit any wood and weeds along the edge. Fish at an angle here, casting upstream and working your bait back. Sam watches his depthfinder and swims his bait back at the depth he sees fish after hitting the bottom near the bank. The bottom drops off fast here. It is important to keep your bait moving with the current so cast upstream as you work along this bluff.

Fish past the steep gray clay bank, hitting the rocks along the edge of the water. If you catch a fish keep working this bank, there should be more along it. If the current is moving fish these places carefully. If there is no current fish faster and cover more water.

3. N 32 21.333 – W 86 40.639 – A little further upstream on the same side past the boat ramp at Holy Ground Battle Park the mouth of Cypress Creek is good. We took several spots off the downstream point, casting a jig head worm out past the log and grass on the point. There are some rocks on the bottom and a few big stumps here the spots like.

As on most of these creek mouth points the current will move baitfish across them and make them better. The current positions the bass on the point so you might have to fish around it some to locate how they relate to it. Since there was no current the day we fished the bass were not as active and we had to work the bait on the bottom on the rocks to get them to hit.

Fish into the creek a short distance then fish the upstream point, too. There is a big shallow flat in the mouth of the creek that bass sometimes run shad up on, so always keep and eye out for schooling fish and have a topwater bait ready to throw to them.

4. N 32 21.823 – W 86 40.222 – Molly Branch is on the other side of the lake and has a good sandbar that runs across the mouth of the creek from the downstream side. The sign for Molly Creek is on the downstream point. This is a real good point to work with topwater. There is also some gravel and a few scattered stumps to hold fish here, so fish it with worms, too. Sam says this is a good Carolina rig hole.

The long tapering sand point runs almost all the way across the mouth of the creek. Concentrate on it rather than the upstream point here. Probe for any irregular features in the point where it makes a little cut or dip. Those are the places the bass will hold. We caught a couple of keepers here when we fished and it should be even better now.

5. N 32 24.220 – W 86 38.115 – Going upriver the mouth of Swift Creek is on your left. The upstream point runs way out across the mouth of the creek and there is a no-wake buoy lying on its side in the mouth of the creek. There is a short no-wake zone at the mouth of the creek.

Fish the upstream point, working all around it. Fish it from the river channel side, casting up to the shallow top of the point, then fish all the way around the end and up the creek side. Cast across the point from several angles probing for anything on the bottom like rock or wood that will hold fish.

6. N 32 23.613 – W 86 36.747 – Going up river watch the left bank for a gap where the underbrush has been cleared. There are four big trees with nothing growing under them and a big dead tree on the downstream edge of this gap. That marks the start of a good bluff to fish. On the upstream end of the bluff is a double ditch entering the river and there is a big log lying on the downstream point of it.

The bluff bank is marked by a high yellow clay bank. Start fishing where the dead oak stands on the bank and fish upstream. This bank gets some shade during the day and is a good example of the kinds of bluffs Sam likes, with a steep drop, wood cover along it and some shade from shoreline trees and overhanging bushes.

Fish topwater in the shade then work a jig head worm or a spinnerbait through any wood cover. When you get to the ditch, fish the log on the point carefully as well as the drop on this downstream point. This is also the kind of bank that is good to flip a jig and pig or Zoom Ole Monster worm to wood cover, especially on bright sunny days.

7. N 32 22.544 – W 86 37.041 – Across the river, on your right going upstream there is a dock with four tall white poles. It marks the start of another good bluff bank to fish. Upstream of it is a steep yellow clay bank just past a ditch that enters the river. Start fishing upsteam of the ditch and work upstream, casting to any shade from overhanging bushes and trees in the water.

Along this bank there is usually a lot of water dripping in. This can help the fishing a little since it is cooler and has more oxygen than the lake water. Bass will move close to the bank under overhanging bushes and take advantage of the inflow. You can take advantage of them by casting under the bushes where they are holding.

8. N 32 22.014 – W 86 36.340 – Upstream on the same side is Tensaw Creek. There are ledge islands on both sides of it and the points on both sides are good. The sign marking Tensaw Creek is on the downstream point. The river channel runs in right by the mouth of the creek, offering good deep water to fish holding here.

Fish the upstream point working into the mouth of the creek. The island that makes the point has some grass on it that is worth a few casts if the water is high. Fish across the channel between the island and the bank. You will see the top of a buoy in the middle of it and there is a ledge that runs across it, dropping into the channel. Fish that drop.

The other side of the channel comes up on what looks like an old roadbed or pond dam. Fish all around it, work the tree lying in the water on the end of it and into the pocket behind it. Then jump across to the other side and work out, hitting both sides of the ditch on that side and out to the main river point.

Jump back across the mouth of the creek and fish the outside bank of the island going upstream. It drops fast and there is some wood cover along it. When you get to the upstream point fish it carefully. There are good rocks here and a big log was lying on the point when we fished it. Sam said he watched Kevin Van Dam fish this spot several times in the Bassmasters Elite Series tournament held here.

9. N 32 21.712 – W 86 35.701 – Just upstream of Tensaw Creek the river makes a bend back to the left and the outside of this bend is a good place to fish. There is a small flat running off the bank for about 20 feet then it drops straight off to 60 feet deep. Wood has washed in along this drop and flat and it holds bass.

Start fishing at the first dock you see on your right just downsteam of where the bend starts and fish up the bank, casting to the bank and working your bait across the flat to the boat. Keep your boat over the channel. Topwater works well here and a spinnerbait fished through the wood will draw strikes, too. Follow up with a Carolina rig or jig head worm.

10. N 32 22.123 – W 86 35.335 – Upstream and across the lake is Bear Creek. There is a sign for it and you will see two big standing snags in the middle of the creek. Just downstream of the creek mouth is a backout with a ridge across the mouth of it from the downstream point.

Start fishing on the point on the backout and work up it, keeping your boat out in the deeper water and casting across the point. Fish to the end of it then cut across to the downstream point of the mouth of Bear Creek. Fish it and the point across from it.

This is a complex creek mouth with several drops and some grass beds wood cover and rocks, too. All can hold fish so spend some time here checking out the different angles and drops. Fish it all before leaving.

11. N 32 20.391 – W 86 35.184 – Run up to the mouth of Tallawassee Creek on your right where the river bends back to the left. There is no sign here, you can see the pole for it on the downstream point, but there is a red striped channel marker on the back side of the point that runs off the downstream point and there are two poles marking stumps on the top of the point. There is a red river channel marker just downstream of this point, too.

As we idled up to this point in the middle of the day Sam said there had been a million bass caught here. We caught three, including one of the biggest of the day, so make that a million and three now.

This point runs way out across the mouth of the creek from the downstream side and there is wood and rock cover all along it. The channel swings right by the point and makes it a ledge coming out of the channel. Fish hold all along the point on top and along the drop.

Keep your boat out in the channel and cast up onto the point, working your jig head worm through the rocks. They are rough and you will get hung up, but you will hang up on fish, too. A topwater bait would work well here, especially early in the morning and as Carolina rig works off the end of the point. Fish it carefully since it is a big, long wide, sloping point.

These 11 spots are some of Sam’s favorites and give you an idea of the kids of places he fishes. There are many more all over the lake. Use his tips and tactics to fish them and learn how to catch fish off them then you can find others to fish.

Sam has decided to do some guiding on the Alabama River lakes like Woodruff and Miller’s Ferry. Call him at 334-301-0922 if you want him to show you first hand how he catches bass on those lakes.

How about a “contacts” box somewhere in the article – if you need more space used up:

Generation Schedule for Woodruff – 334-682-4896
Contact Sam Russell for Guide Trips – 334-301-0922
W-3 Tackle Company – 334–567-8486
Corps of Engineers Office – info and maps – 334-872-9554

Finesse Fishing for Bass

Finesse Fishing for Bass: Lighten Up for Bass

Shaw Grigsby on finesse fishing

Legendary bass pro Shaw Grigsby talks the why, how, and when of finesse bass techniques
from The Fishing Wire

Louisville, KY – Bass fishing isn’t always easy. Weather conditions like cold fronts and high-pressure systems, as well as probing the same waters as lots of other anglers can make fishing tough. But there are ways to up your odds in these and other difficult conditions. One of the best? Finesse fishing – fishing smaller baits on lighter line with a more deliberate and slower approach.

When it comes to finesse fishing, one of the greatest finesse bass anglers on the scene – legendary bass pro and tournament angler, Shaw Grigsby – has a wealth of critical information to share that can boost your game on the waters you fish.

“One of my favorite fishing techniques is finesse fishing – smaller baits, lighter line, a lot of fish and loads of fun! Why finesse fishing? There are so many times that big baits are just too big for the fish,” Grigsby says. “Bass see them but they just don’t want them; they see the lure too well or the conditions are difficult, like cold fronts, high blue skies, clear water or a lot of people around you fishing, and you just can’t catch them. So downsizing and going finesse can be the key. Just lay your bait out there and kind of jiggle it and really, what it does is all these smaller baits make it look like what’s natural for the bass to eat in their environment.”

In terms of specific techniques, some of Grigsby’s favorite presentations are drop-shot rigs, shaky head worms, wacky worms, tubes, and the legendary Ned Rig, all of which he typically presents in natural colors like green pumpkin and watermelon red.

“And when you present these techniques to them, it appears so real and it’s so small that they don’t have an issue with it,” Grigsby continues. “A lot of times a big bait may appear too bulky – and maybe you’ll catch a giant fish using a big bait at times – but when you get clear water and difficult conditions, then it’s pretty much time to downsize and go finesse. And I’ve caught giants on finesse tactics. Finesse techniques catch as many big fish as they do small and average-size ones.”

Grigsby keeps a half dozen spinning rods rigged up with finesse presentation in his boat at all times. He’s a fan of medium-light power, fast-action Skeet Reese Signature Series spinning rods, typically in the 7’3” range, and Skeet Reese size-30 Victory Pro Wright McGill spinning reels, which he favors for their large spools.

The linchpin to the system, though, is his choice in line. He spools his with Seaguar FINESSE Fluorocarbon, a line designed specifically for finesse bass fishing applications. “It’s really delicate yet strong stuff that excels for all my finesse fishing,” he offers. “I wouldn’t think of using anything else. And compared to other 8-pound line, Seaguar’s 8.4-pound is remarkably thin, supple, and strong, it’s typically my first choice in every finesse fishing application.”

Seaguar has a host of FINESSE 100% fluorocarbon lines for every finesse-fishing situation including 5.2-pound, 6.2-pound, 7.3-pound, and 8.4-pound sizes. These are double-structure fluorocarbon lines, which is an exclusive and superior Seaguar line technology that combines two different resins into one line. The high-density interior resin improves tensile strength and sensitivity while the softer exterior resin enhances knot strength. That means great sensitivity, knot strength, and the strength to handle any big fish you hook while remaining super supple.

“When you’re dealing with spinning tackle, that’s what counts – having a nice supple line that still has the hook-setting power and the strength to hold them,” Grigsby emphasizes. “Because when you’re finesse fishing you never know when that next hookset could be an 8-, 9-, or 10-pound bass. It could be the biggest fish of your life because they’re suckers for those little baits. So that’s why I always carry specific technique rods and reels and use line designed specifically for finesse fishing.”

One of Grigsby’s favorite finesse techniques is fishing a drop-shot rig, which essentially consists of a small plastic bait suspended above a short length of line terminated at the bottom with a weight. “With the drop-shot, you can literally float your baits above bottom and really catch ‘em,” he says. “For most of my drop-shot set-ups I’m using Seaguar 7.3- or 8.4-pound 100% FINESSE Fluorocarbon, which holds up really well and the fish can’t see, whether I’m fishing in clear, open water or around a lot of cover.”

That brings up another point Grigsby is adamant about, and that’s not limiting finesse fishing tactics to clear waters. “You might find flooded areas with a lot of cover where the instinct is to pound with a jig, but finesse tactics – even in heavy cover – can really produce,” Grigsby advises. “Don’t overlook finesse even though you’ve got a lot of cover. It’s simple – hook ‘em, play ‘em, and get them out. Always concentrate on getting the strike, don’t worry about landing them. Landing them generally happens.”

Grigsby is a big fan of fishing wacky worm rigs in heavy cover, typically a 5-inch Strike King Ocho on a Trokar hook with weed guard on Seaguar 7.3- or 8.4-pound 100% FINESSE Fluorocarbon line. “When you throw something really light like a wacky worm into heavy cover on a finesse rig, it can really produce. A lot of times you can catch ‘em when other methods fail to produce.”

Lastly, Grigsby also carries a rod or two in his boat for Ned Rig fishing, a finesse technique that has earned an almost magical reputation across the country.

“The Ned Rig has really come along to be one of the main finesse baits to just catch ‘em,” says Grigsby. “It’s awesome. I got introduced to it about three or four years ago with its flat head – like you took an Aspirin and put a hook in it – and using something like an Ocho worm that you cut in half. I didn’t have any of the right jigheads so I just took the Ochos I had, cut them in half, and started fishing them on a regular 3/16-oz. shaky head and just caught the fire out of the fish!” he recalls. “But once you get a Ned jighead and it stands up so perfectly it works even better. Something I found out that’s really interesting is that when you discover the bass are eating this little bait, a Ned worm also works wonders on a Trokar nose hook fished as a drop shot. I started fishing it on a drop shot and the fish I caught was ridiculous. So, I now combine the two techniques quite a bit.”

No matter where you fish bass, going finesse can definitely up your odds for more and bigger fish when the going gets tough. Take a few tips from legendary bass pro and finesse expert, Shaw Grigsby, and we promise you’ll put more bass in the boat, too.

For more information, call 502-883-6097, write Kureha America Inc., 4709 Allmond Ave., Suite 4C, Louisville, KY 40209, or visit us on the Web at or on Facebook.

About Seaguar Fishing Lines

As the inventor of fluorocarbon fishing lines in 1971, Seaguar has played a prominent role in the advancement of technologies to improve the performance of lines and leader material for both fresh and salt water anglers. Seaguar is the only manufacturer of fluorocarbon fishing lines that produces its own resins and controls the manufacturing process from start to finished product. Today, Seaguar is the #1 brand of fluorocarbon lines and offers a full spectrum of premium products including fluorocarbon mainlines and leader material, fly tippet and leaders, 8-strand and 16-strand braid and monofilament fishing lines.

How and Where To Catch Seminole Bass In November

Seminole Bass In November with Steven Wells

All summer long the hydrilla beds at Seminole have been full of bass, but often the weeds are so thick you can’t fish it very effectively. In November the hydrilla begins to die back and open up, giving you access to those bass. And the cooler temperatures mean they feed even better.

Seminole is a one-of-a-kind lake in Georgia with its huge grass flats and stumpy water. So far south the dam is in Florida, it is like a Florida lake in many ways. The bass grow fat and spawn early in its warm waters. And every bit of the lake looks bassy, like you should be able to cast anywhere and hook a hog.

Unfortunately for the bass fisherman used to other lakes, looking good and being good are not always the same thing. The sheer size of the grass flats often make it difficult to locate bass unless you have an idea what they are doing and where to start. The bass are in the grass but you still have to find patterns within the grass to catch them.

Seminole is right in the corner of Georgia, Alabama and Florida on the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. It covers 37,500 acres and has been famous for its bass fishing for many years. Jack Wingate and his Lunker Lodge are one of the reasons for that fame and many happy bass fishermen have passed through his restaurant and dock over the years.

Steven Wells grew up right on the lake in Faceville, and is kin to Jack. He loves to fish and was on the lake so much Jack talked him into guiding there. Jack told him “As much as you like to fish you might as well let somebody else pay for your gas.” Steven also manages Outland Plantation, a hunting preserve near the lake, so he gets to spend all his time outside studying nature.

His time fishing paid off in another way this year when he married Pam Martin, a top angler on the Women’s Bass Fishing Association professional trail. She guides on Seminole out of Wingates with Steven when she is not off on the national tournament trail. She and Steven share patterns, tips and fishing spots and help each other out on the lake.

“If you are not fishing the hydrilla you are not fishing where the bass live, they get in the hydrilla,” Steven told me. We were fishing on a hot early October day and he was showing me patterns and places that would be good in November when the water cooled down a little.

In November you should start with topwater, then switch to spinnerbaits and lizards as the sun gets up,” Steven told me. He likes to fish a topwater bait around the hydrilla early in the morning, varying his bait according to the wind. If it is dead calm he throws a Mirror Lure topwater bait but if there is some ripple he switches to a Pop-R.

“Throw the plug within inches of the grass mat,” Steven said. You have to get it close to the edge, especially early in November when the grass is still thick. Work it slowly in place, keeping it as close as possible to the grass while making it act like a hurt baitfish. The longer you can keep it close to the grass the better your chances of getting bit.

Steven chooses a silver plug and throws it using 12 pound Stren line. The lighter line helps the bait work better and will still bet most fish out of the grass if they head back into it after you hook them. You can also make longer casts which are needed if the water is real clear.

Later in the month when the grass mat on top is breaking up, Steven will throw a buzz bait since it can be worked better. He likes a white one and ties it on 14 to 17 pound Stren line. If the grass is thick under the water he uses the heavier line to horse big bass out of the cover. The lighter line allows longer casts.

As the sun gets up Steven will switch to a spinnerbait and work it through openings and channels in the grass. Some of his favorite places will have clumps of grass out from the main mat even early in November and he tries to run it right beside those clumps, too.

Steven always chooses willowleaf blades since they come through the grass better and he varies the color depending on the water color. White with silver blades is better in clear water and gold blades and chartreuse skirts are best in stained water. The spinnerbait is fished on 14 to 17 pound Stren like the buzzbaits and for the same reasons.

“Bring two packs of watermelon seed lizards and leave everything else at home and you won’t go too far wrong,” Steven said. His go-to bait and what he uses most of the day is a Texas rigged Zoom watermelon seed lizard. He uses a 1/8th ounce lead unless the current or wind forces him to go heavier since the slower fall seems more attractive to Seminole bass.

Tie your lizard on 12 or 14 pound Stren since you will be fishing right in the grass. If the water is heavily stained Steven will go to Junebug lizards and sometimes he dies the tails of both colors chartreuse. Lizard fishing is slow so he likes to start with topwater and spinnerbaits, but the lizard will produce all day long.

“Cast the lizard right on top of the hydrilla and slide it to the edge, letting it fall when it hits open water,” Steven said. You must watch your line carefully since bass hitting on the fall often don’t give much indication they have taken the bait. If you see your line tick or move at all, set the hook hard to pull them away from the grass.

Steven shared 8 of his favorite November spots with me and they will all produce fish this month. They are just a few of the hundreds of similar places but there are key things to look for. Most of these are within a few miles of Wingates and Steven says some of the best fishing on the lake is a couple of hundred yards either side of the channel going in there.

1. N 30 47.355 W 84 43.050 – Upriver from Wingates at channel markers 13.8 through 13.3 the Flint River makes a sweeping turn across the lake. Along the downstream edge of the channel the water is shallow and hydrilla grows in a thick mat all along it. People use a cut-through behind a small island to run down to Wingates so sometimes there is a channel in the grass there.

Start at the first red channel marker just downstream of the grass island and work the edge of the hydrilla all the way past the turn back up river to the third red marker. The grass drops off deep here so you must cast topwater baits right to the edge of it. Concentrate on any cuts or holes in the edge and try to work your topwater bait in it as long as possible.

After the sun gets up switch to a lizard. You may need a 3/16 or even a 1/4 ounce lead here if there is any current since you want the lizard to drop straight down the side of the grass. The bass will hold all along the vertical face of the grass and suck in food, and your lizard, as it falls.

Cast your lizard up on top of the grass and pull it off. That insures it is as close to the wall of grass as possible. Watch your line carefully. When it stops falling, make sure it is not a fish then twitch it to make if fall on down. If it is on the bottom twitch it a couple of more times then reel in for another cast.

If you start here early, it is worth a pass with topwater then another pass with the lizard, especially if you catch a few fish on the first pass. The fish may be scattered the whole length of the bed or concentrated in one place, so pay attention to where you get bites.

2. N 30 46.736 W 84 44.381 – Just upstream of the Wingate cut there is a rockpile out on the old river channel where the ferry used to cross. You can see the old road bed on most maps. The grass bed along this edge is another good place to fish. The fish hold in the grass and also hold on the rocks and move into the grass to feed.

Fish the outside edge of the grass here. There is a wide band of grass and there is some open water behind it, but the best fishing in November is usually on the outside edge. Work it with topwater first then come back with a lizard. The water is not as deep on the outside edge of the grass here and a light sinker is usually best.

3. N 30 46.397 W 84 45.351 – The poles marking the Wingate cut have grass around them out where they get to the river channel and this can be an excellent place to fish. If you start upstream of the marker poles you should work the outside edge of the grass. Below the cut there is a bed of grass on a ridge and it has water 9 feet deep on the back side of it. This is a good place to work both sides of the bed.

The outside edge has clumps of grass growing out from the main bed and a spinnerbait or buzz bait is good in that area. The inside edge drops to 9 feet and a lizard falling down that drop is an excellent way to get a bass to bite. You can fish down the outside edge then cut through and fish the inside edge going the other way to cover both sides. If you catch a fish, concentrate on that area since there should be others nearby.

4. N 30 46.143 W 84 45.710 – Further downstream out from a couple of docks and pontoon boats on the bank the grass bed continues in closer to the bank. The river channel is a long way away here and the big flat has some grass on it, but as you get closer to the bank you will find a thick ridge of hydrilla. There is standing timber out toward the channel but it will be well behind you when you are fishing the outside edge of the grass.

On the outside edge clumps grow up well out from the mat. This is a good area for spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. The inside edge has enough water to be worth fishing and the lizard should be better here. Work all around the ridges of grass and fish both sides. Again, if you catch a fish work that area carefully since there should be others nearby.

5. N 30 45.943 W 64 46.122 – Straight downstream from areas #4 you will see a red channel marker where the channel swings back across the lake. Where it turns and runs down the bank is another good ridge of grass to fish. It is right along the channel and drops off fast. Fish the outside edge of it, keeping your boat in the channel and casting to the edge of the hydrilla.

6. N 30 46.036 W 84 48.063 – The Tractor bank is a well known local fishing spot. It is called that because the DNR used to keep a tractor there to use in the management area. You can follow the channel downstream then cut across to the north bank just downstream of a tall dead tree standing in the water. Be careful, there are a lot of stumps in this area and you need to find the clear area before running it if you don’t know it.

You will see a point of land with a cove on the upstream side. In the mouth of the cove is a small grass island and you will see a yellow sign on a pole out in the water upstream of it. There are big grass beds all along this bank. Start fishing near the management area sign and work down the bank. You can fish all along here, concentrating on areas where you catch fish.

Watch here for scattered clumps of grass out from the main bed and fish them with spinnerbait, buzzbait and lizard. It often pays off to drop a lizard down beside one of these clumps after running a buzz bait or spinnerbait through the area to catch a bass that is attracted by the faster bait but will not hit it.

There are also scattered stumps near the bank here so watch for them and cast to them. You also need to keep your boat out in 10 feet of water or more when running this bank because of the stumps in closer to the bank.

7. N 30 45.550 W 84 47.903 – Back across the lake at red channel marker 7.3 a ridge runs out from the bank and hydrilla grows on it. Fish both sides of this grass bed. It runs down to channel marker 6.9 and there are several sand bars in the area.

This is a spawning area for bass and most of these grass beds are good in November because they are near spawning areas. At Seminole bass are often moving near spawning beds to hold until the water warms, which can happen in January here. When looking for similar places to fish keep in mind that you should look for fish near spawning areas.

8. N 30 44.134 W 84 51.837 – Down near the dam where the bank turns south, a huge area of grass runs all the way from the swimming area at Chattahoochee Municipal Park down to the Coast Guard station at the dam. There is an old road bed running parallel to the bank and some real shallow places on it are marked by danger poles. Grass grows all along the ridge the roadbed is on and also behind it.

You could easily fish this area all day. Work both the inside and outside areas of grass. This is a big spawning area full of sandbars so fish will be positioning themselves here in November. Concentrate on areas where you catch a fish and look for keys. Is the bottom a little deeper, are there cuts in the grass or is it a solid mat? All those keys can point to concentrations of bass in similar areas.

Seminole is a great place for a November trip. It will be much warmer and the bass more cooperative than in more northern lakes if we have a cold month. And just fishing legendary Seminole is a thrill. Check out these patterns and spots and you will be able to find many more like them.