Category Archives: Map of the Month – Alabama

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.
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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.

Ten Holes To Catch February Bass on Lake Guntersville, with GPS Coordinates and Tips

February Bass at Guntersville 

with Randall Tharp

Say the word “Guntersville” and bass fishermen all over the US perk up their ears. The lake has an almost mystical reputation for big stringers of bass, especially in late winter.  This reputation has been built up over the years by the great catches there in tournaments and most of the national trails visit the lake each year.

From its dam near Guntersville in northeast Alabama the lake extends 76 miles up the Tennessee River into Tennessee. It is Alabama’s largest reservoir with waters covering 67,900 acres and 890 shoreline miles.  It stays very stable since the TVA requires a set depth in its channels. Water will seldom vary more than two feet in depth which is good since vast areas of the lake are very shallow flats.   

Built between 1936 and 1939, Guntersville has seen a lot of changes the bass population.  The lake is very fertile and full of hydrilla and milfoil but one of the main reasons the bass are so big now is the size limit.  On October 1, 1993 a 15-inch size limit was placed on bass.  That size limit now includes smallmouth and largemouth and it allows smaller, faster growing bass to reach quality size. 

According to the Alabama DCNR there are growing numbers of bass bigger than 15 inches in the lake each year and they are in good shape.  The numbers of bass 12 to 24 inches long has consistently increased each year since the size limit went into effect. In the BAIT survey Guntersville has the highest weight per bass and the shortest time to catch a bass over five pounds of all lakes reported.

All this does not mean Guntersville is a piece of cake when it comes to catching keeper bass.  The BAIT survey shows Guntersville ranking pretty far down the list in percent of angler success, number of bass per angler day and pounds of bass per angler day. If you don’t know the lake every acre of it looks like it holds bass and you can spend a lot of time with nothing but casting practice.

Randall Tharp knows the lake well.  Although he has been fishing all his life he got started tournament fishing with a club about seven years ago and really liked it.  He started fishing Guntersville in 2002 and now has a place on the lake.  He has learned its secrets and has had great success there. 

In 2007 Randall placed first in the point standings in both the Bama and Choo Choo Divisions of the BFL.  He came in third in the Bama BFL on Guntersville last February then placed first in that division in September and second there in the Choo Choo Division the same month.

The past few years reads like a dream come true in Randall’s resume on Guntersville.  In 2006 he placed second in the Bassmasters Series Crimison Divison in March and eighth in that series Volunteer Division the same month, won the seventh Annual Kickin’ Bass Coaches tournament there in June, got a fifth in the Bassmasters Series Crimsion Divison in September, and second in the Choo Choo BFL in September.

He also won the 2005 BITE Tournament on Guntersville in April and was second in the BITE Championship there in November.   Guntersville has played an important part in Randall’s tournament winnings and has helped him get Ranger Boats and Chattanooga Fish-N-Fun as sponsors.  He is planning on fishing the Stren Series and some other bigger trails like the BASS Opens if he can get in this year.

Randall gets excited when thinking about fishing Guntersville this time of year because he knows what lives in the lake.  He says from now to March is the best time of year to hook a monster bass here and expects to catch some of the biggest fish of the year. When asked what it would take to reach “monster” status he said a 10 pound bass would qualify and he expects to catch one that big.  He has seen bass in the low teens caught this time of year, too.

There are lots of ways to catch Guntersville bass from the end of January to March but Randall usually sticks with shallow water. He says the colder it gets the more shallow the big bass hold, and he seldom fishes deeper than 10 feet. You will be surprised at the numbers of big bass in less than three feet of water on the coldest days when the water is in the 30s, according to Randy.

Right now Randall will have a Rapala DT 6 or DT 10, a Cordell Spot or Rattletrap, a one quarter to three eights  ounce jig and pig to cast, a Texas rigged Paca Craw with a heavy weight to flip in any thick grass he finds and Pointer jerkbait read to try.  He likes shad colors in the crankbait and the red in the lipless baits.  Worms and craws are usually green pumpkin and he also casts a black and blue jig and pig.

Although the grass is not growing much right now there is still some “stubble” on the bottom that will hold bass. Randall looks for flats near a drop and it helps to have grass on the bottom.  He finds those kinds of places back in the creeks and out on the main lake but winter winds often make it impossible to fish open water.  He likes to have some protected areas as well as open water to fish.

Bass don’t have to move much on Guntersville, according to Randall. They live in the same areas year-round, not migrating long distances like they do on some lakes. They will follow baitfish some but the grass provides so many bluegill on Guntersville that Randy thinks they are the major food source for bass.

Bass are predictable this time of year and Randall finds them in similar places each year.  They move some but will usually be near a creek channel or ledge where there are good shallow water flats with grass stubble.  They may concentrate in one area then move a little but they won’t move from the main lake to the back of a creek in a day or so.  That helps when practicing for a tournament, but it also means many fishermen find the same fish.

No matter which bait you use it is important to fish as slowly as possible in the cold water.  When your crankbait gets stuck in grass pop it loose gently and let it float up. Do the same with a Spot or Trap, popping it a little and letting it flutter back down. The bass don’t seem to want to chase a bait far, especially if it is moving fast, but Randall says they still hit hard. This time of year, even with the water in the 30s, will provide bone-jarring strikes and it feels like the bass will rip the rod out of your hand.

Randall and I fished on Guntersville in December and the bass were real scattered in the remaining hydrilla although the beds were getting sparse.  Randy still landed about 20 bass that day and had two over five pounds. He could have weighed in five between 19 and 20 pounds, an excellent catch on most lakes but Randall was disappointed the big ones did not hit!

Check out the following ten spots.  They run from near the dam to far up the river.  Bass will hold on all of them this winter and there are other similar spots all over the lake. You just have to fish and find where the concentrations are to load the boat with big fish.

1. N 34 35.939 – W 86 33.106 – The long causeway crossing Brown’s Creek and the shallow humps downstream of it is one of the best places to catch a big bass this time of year.  He says if he had to pick one place to land a ten pound bass he would never leave Brown’s Creek.  Randy landed his best bass from Guntersville, 10 pound, 11 ounce hawg, from this area on a jerkbait.  You can find areas on the riprap that is also more protected from the wind than the main lake.

Work around the riprap, especially the downstream side, with a jerkbait and both kinds of crankbaits.  Also cast your a jig and pig on the rocks.  Some days the fish will be near the rocks and others they will be holding a little deeper, the rocks in some places run out 18 to 20 feet deep.  You can see on a good map there are points and drops near the riprap and hydrilla grows on the more shallow spots.

Downstream of the causeway but near it there are humps that rise to three or four feet deep and hydrilla forms mats on them in the summer. There will still be enough grass near the bottom to hold bass now.  You may have to fish around the area while watching your depthfinder to locate these shallow spots.

Throw a Spot or Trap across them and follow up with a crankbait. Fish them very slowly.  Once you locate some fish you can slow down and fish a jig and pig across these shallow areas.  You should feel the grass on the bottom and that will help you locate the best spots. These humps are exposed to the wind.

2. N 34 40.711 – W 86 20.501 – Run up to the mouth of Town Creek and stop at the ramp on your right going in. Start fishing that bank working a lipless crankbait over the hydrilla that remains in the area.  There is deep water near the point at the ramp and bass move up and down this bank feeding.

When you reach the back of the creek where Minky Creek splits to the left jump across and fish that creek, working it as you go in. You will see three big brick houses here and there are milfoil beds to fish. This creek is shallow and holds good fish this time of year.

Fish it all the way back in Minky Creek. Remember Randy says big bass are often in three feet of water or less this time of year and may be way back in the creek.  Fish Traps and Spots and crankbaits.  If you don’t get bites on them try a slower moving jig and pig or jerk bait.

3. N 34 42.026 – W 86 25.223 – Across the lake follow the channel markers going into Siebold Creek and stop when you get to the island on your left not far off the bank.  Start fishing the islands from there to your left toward the back of that arm.  There are humps, points and islands to fish along this side.

Fish are in this area now getting ready to stage for bedding. You can often catch several on a Trap or Spot from an area then work it with a black Enticer one-quarter ounce jig with a blue or black Zoom Chunk.  Cast and fish it in the grass stubble on the bottom. Work it as slowly as possible.

Randall says fish the Trap and Spot right on the bottom, crawling it along and getting it stuck in the grass. Then pop it gently loose and let it fall back to trigger a strike.  You will get many more hits if you fish it with an irregular action than if you just chunk and wind.

4. N 34 45.843 – W 86 19.364 – The bank downstream of Little Mountain Park has humps, grass and duck blinds.  Randy says get on this bank, put your trolling motor down and fish, there are always lots of big bass holding in this area.  Some of the humps come up to only a foot deep and there are cuts and holes that are nine to 10 feet deep.  

The shallows near those holes are usually the hot spots.  Some ditches cross the flat, making deeper holes. There is a grassline where the water drops deeper along here and the edge of the grass is the key.  Fish a crankbait along the drop when you can.  There is milfoil here and the breakline is always good.

You can work this whole area from the point at Meltonsville to the marina at Little Mountain.  Fish over the grass with Trap and Spot but be sure to cast a jig to the duck blinds, too. Just make sure no hunters are present!  By now that should not be a problem.

5. N 34 50.405 – W 86 17.087 – Pine Island is a huge grass island in the middle of the river out from Waterfront Grocery Fishing Tackle and Supplies.  This is Randall’s favorite spot on the river year round. The river channel splits and goes on both sides of the grass and drops off 35 feet deep but the top of the island is only three or four feet deep.  There is also a cut in the middle of the island that is more than 12 feet deep.

This area is so vast it is hard to fish. You can spend many hours here fishing what seem to be excellent grass lines and drops without catching anything, then hit a spot that is loaded with quality bass.  For some reason they will school up in one small spot that seems to us to be just like the rest.

Fish a Trap, Spot and crankbait along the breaklines and over the grass until you find the sweet spot. Once you locate a good school of fish they should hold there for a good while.  The head of the island creates a current break and the shallows near deep water make excellent structure for bass.

6. N 34 30.943 – W 86 09.017 – Run up to channel marker 372.2, a big marker on a pole.  The South Sauty Creek channel runs into the river channel just upstream of this marker and the channel edges and grass lines along it are good this time of year. Work all your baits along both creek channels looking for concentrations of bass.  Cuts and points on the old channels are good holding spots for the fish.

 If you start near the channel marker and fish upstream you can follow the river channel. The break for the creek channel is not far from the channel and if you look almost straight up the river but a little to your right you will see the creek channel markers.  It doe not run out straight from the creek but swings out then runs down parallel to the river for a long way.

Randall says you can start at the channel marker and fish up into the creek or stay on the river. You can fish the river ledge and grass stubble along it for seven miles going upstream and find schools of bass all along here. That gives you a good idea of the amount of water you have to cover to find schools of fish at times.

While fishing this spot and others Randall says to watch for any action on the water. Often a bass will chase a baitfish making it flick on top of the water giving away the position of a school of bass. It is always worth your time to go to any activity you see and fish around the area.

7. N 34 61.747 – W 86 11.057 – Run back into North Sauty Creek past the second bridge. Fish above the bridge around the lily pad stems, stumps and milfoil with lipless crankbaits and a light jig and pig.

This creek offers three causeways to fish and is more protected than the open river.  Randall says you can start at the second bridge and work the creek edges all the way past the first bridge and out to the river channel. The first bridge has some riprap to fish.  Also fish the bridge and riprap at Goose Pond on the side creek coming in.

The creek channel that winds across the flat downstream of Goose Pond Marina out to the main river channel is a good place to work carefully. There are a lot of tournaments at the marina and lots of fish are released there, restocking the area constantly.  The concentration of keeper size bass is good here from those that are released. Randy says lipless crankbaits, shallow running crankbaits and a light jig and pig will catch them here.

8. N 34 60.472 – W 86.00.655 – Run up the river to the power lines. Both the outside channel ledge and the inside channel ledge from here to BB Comer Bridge have good grass stubble on them and holds a lot of fish.  This time of year Randy likes to fish the back side of the ledge so work in behind the grass, too.

Keep your boat in 10 feet of water and cast out toward the river channel. You will be covering the ledge in about five or six feet of water.  Work Traps and Spots as well as a lipped crankbait across this area. As in other places, watch for any change like a cut or rise and slow down when you catch a fish.

9. N 34 64.971 – W 86 00.000 – Go into the mouth of Rosebury creek back to the ramp on your left.  Start fishing the bank across from the ramp working toward the back of the creek.  Keep your boat near the creek channel and cast to the edges, working your bait over them.  Fish all the way to the causeway in the back of the creek. There are stumps and milfoil to fish here.

This creek is where Randall has his camper and was his first stop in one of the BFL tournaments. He limited out here then went looking for bigger bass to cull. He often finds good numbers of bass back in this creek this time of year.

10. N 34 76.768 – W 85 90.325 – Go up to Mud Creek and in past the boat ramp. When the channel markers stop be careful but keep going to the second bridge and under it.  The big area where the creek splits into Owen Branch and Blue Springs Branch often holds big bass this time of year. Back in this area are huge stumps near the creek channel and you don’t want to hit them with your motor, but they are what attracts the bass.  There is also lots of shallow milfoil in this area. 

Keep your boat in the channel and follow it, casting to both sides to hit stumps and other cover along the drop.  You will be in about six feet of water and casting to very shallow water but Randall says this is where he found fish holding for several weeks   when the water was 36 degrees and his rods were freezing up.

These places show you the kinds of cover and structure Randall looks for this time of year. You can fish them to get an idea of what to look for then find some similar spots of your own. These are big areas but the fish can be anywhere in them so take some time to find where they are holding. Once you get on them it will help you find them in other spots.

Where and How to Catch December Bass At Miller’s Ferry, with GPS Coordinates

 December Bass at Millers Ferry 

with Skip Spurlin

     The Alabama River has some great bass lakes on it and Millers Ferry ranks high among them.  All the river lakes contain excellent populations of largemouth and spotted bass and this is a good time to catch both species on Millers Ferry.  As the water cools they follow patterns that you can take advantage of right now.

     Millers Ferry is officially known as William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir and covers 105 miles of the Alabama River south of Selma.  It contains about 17,200 acres of water and over 500 shoreline miles.  A Corps of Engineers Lake that officially opened to the public in 1974, it has more than three million visitors each year.

     Skip Spurlin grew up near Millers Ferry and has fished it for a long as he can remember. It was the lake he fished in his youth with his Uncle Jerry Hollinghead, Grandfather J.C. Hollinghead and father Gordon Spurlin.  He has learned what the bass are doing there over the years with them and fishing on his own.  The patterns they follow each fall make finding and catching bass a good bet.

     Skip now lives in Opp and fishes several tournament trails including the BFL and Airport Marine tournaments.  He also fished some of the Fishers of Men tournaments and a lot of local pot tournaments and charity tournaments on Millers Ferry.  He is on the Airport Marine Ranger Pro Staff.

     Some of Skip’s best catches at Millers Ferry include a spot weighing a 5.5 poounds, a good fish anywhere, and a 7.5 pound largemouth.  His best tournament catch on the lake was a five fish limit weighing 22 pounds.  There are plenty of quality spots and largemouth in Millers Ferry.

     “Fall fishing is all about the shad,” Skip told me.  The shad move off the river into the pockets as the water cools in November and the bass follow them.  Then in late December the shad will head back out to the river and bass will say on them.  You can catch them on the points at the mouths of creeks and pockets coming and going.

     Skip and I were on Milers Ferry in late October, the first cold front of the year and the coldest day up until then, and the shad were already back in some of the creeks.  That seemed a little early but you need to follow them and not worry about why they are moving when they do, just stay on them like the bass do.  Find the shad and you will find the bass.  At times you can see them feeding on top and other times you will need to watch your depth finder to spot the balls of shad in deeper water.

     “When you catch a bass on a buzzbait it will be a fat one,” Skip said.  Each morning Skip will start with a white or black Lunker Lure buzzbait around wood cover in the mouths of pockets.  He will throw this bait on shady banks back in the creeks as long as the fish are hitting. 

If they don’t want a topwater bait he will try a silver blade white spinnerbait in the same areas.  He will also offer them a Trick worm or Senko around the shallow cover if they don’t seem very active, working the Trick worm by cover and dropping the Senko beside logs and letting it sink to the bottom.

     As the sun gets higher or if the bass are not hitting the  spinnerbait and buzzbait he will try a crankbait.  Skip likes to start shallow with a bait like a Rattle Trap and will throw it around the mouths of creeks and pockets.   He likes a one half ounce shad colored bait in clear water and a gold bait in stained water.

     After trying the Trap shallow work deeper with a Norman’s Deep Little N then a DD22 in the same colors. Probe for drops, cover and fish around shad in the mouths of creeks on points with these baits.  The point between the river channel and creek channel is often an excellent crankbait hole this time of year.

     If nothing else works Skip will go to a jig head, Carolina or Texas rigged worm, but they tend to catch smaller bass.  He likes a Zoom Speed worm for largemouth and a Zoom Trick worm for spotted bass.  On sunny days a green or green pumpkin color is best and on cloudy days he will switch to the same worms in Junebug or redbug colors.

     Skip likes the Gee’s Bend area this time of year.  He and I put in at Roland Cooper State Park and fished the following holes in late October. There were shad and bass on several of them but we had a tough bluebird sky/cold front day to fish.  Each will be even better now and you can catch bass on them on through December or even later. Just remember to find the shad to find the bass.

1. N 32 03.363 – W 87 15.031 – Going upstream from the opening at the ramps at the state park you will pass a long island on your right.  Watch to your right for an opening going back into a big area at the state park golf course. There is a small island in the middle of the opening and a green channel marker is lodged in some stumps on the downstream point.

     Start here early throwing a buzzbait and spinnerbait around the wood and grass cover on the point. Work back into the pocket behind the point and around behind the island.  Fish school up on shad in places like this and feed early around shallow cover.  Make several casts to the best looking spots.

     Later in the day or if nothing hits shallow work around the island with your crankbaits. Work deeper if you don’t get bit shallow.  The water drops off fairly fast on the river side of the island so work this areas back to the downstream point.  You can also fish a plastic bait around the cover here.

     2. N 32 04.194 – W 87 14.206 – Run up to the next cut on your right and go into it.  Be careful if you run in on plane, there are some stumps near the channel.  Go around the point on your left and head to the left.  Near the back of the creek you will see a concrete seawall and dock on a point on your right. Start fishing on this point.

There is a good grass bed to fish around this point and some wood cover. Work up this bank hitting grass beds and wood cover with buzzbaits and spinnerbaits. This bank stays shady for a good while so it will be better a little later in the morning. Fish all the way up to the last dock on that side. Just past it you will see a causeway coming across the small creek. 

If the fish don’t hit a buzzbait or spinnerbait work a plastic bait around the cover. A Trick worm or Senko can be good in the shallows if the bass don’t want to chase your faster moving lure.  If shad have worked this far back into the creek there should be bass feeding on them.

3. N 32 04.246 – W 87 14.629 – Back out at the main river stop on the upstream point of this creek. The point between the creek and river has a lot of visible brush off the bank on the river side and you will see a long cedar tree growing on the point. On the map this point is near mile marker 46.

Fish around the shallow cover with spinnerbaits and buzzbaits on the point between the two channels.  Also work a jig head worm or Texas rigged worm on it. Skip says the bottom is nasty here with lots of rocks that will eat your bait.  You can’t fish a crankbait here without getting hung up on every cast.

Current is critical on these points.  Bass will feed much better when there is some current moving. The current will move the shad across the points and position the bass.  You will catch some bass without current but not as many and not as big as when it is moving. This point is mostly a spot hole.

4. N 32 04.385 – W 87 14.770 – Across the river is an opening going back to flats of an old oxbow and Skip likes to fish the left bank going it. Start about even with the point on the island between the river and the oxbow and fish all visible cover.  The left bank going in is the side the old river channel was on and is deeper and better.

Fish from the area across from the river side island to a point where there is a deep pocket going further in. You will see a field across this pocket and that is as far as Skip usually fishes this spot.  The sun gets on the water early here so he likes to start here in the mornings.

This is a good area for pattern that works on some spots. Look for patches and pockets of water hyacinth and flip them with a heavy jig and pig. You need a half to three quarters ounce jig to get down under the mat. Skip says this pattern can be good all day since bass hold in the shade on sunny days.

5. N 32 04.687 – W 87 14.508 – Another good pattern on Millers Ferry is to flip and pitch to shoreline cover along outside bends in the river.  Back out on the main river head upstream and the river will start bending to your left a little.  Watch for a big oak tree leaning over the water on your right and start fishing there, working upstream.

Flip a jig and pig to all wood cover along the outside bend. The bottom drops off fast and there are lay down trees and logs as well as stumps along this bank.  Also watch for any change in the bottom like a ditch or the change from dirt to clay. Those things can concentrate the fish.

Skip likes to flip a three eights to one half ounce jig to the wood along the bank.  He chooses a black and blue Eakins or Lunker Lure jig with a Zoom sapphire blue Super Chunk.  Fish it on heavy line like 15 to 20 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon to pull bass out of the cover.

6. N 32 05.367 – W 87 14.905 – Up the river you will come to the mouth of Buzzard’s Bay on your right. You can see a lot of standing trees back in the bay and there is a red channel marker just off the upstream point.  The upstream point is where you want to fish.

Skip likes crankbaits and plastics on this point. There is a good break in eight feet of water and wood washes in and hangs up on it. Bass will hold in the cover and school up on the flat behind the break.  Start with your boat out in 15 feet of water and cast up shallow, covering the flat and drop. Then move on the shallow side of the break and work your plastic baits through the wood cover, fishing deep to shallow.  

Skip will throw a Carolina rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog on this point.  He likes green pumpkin and dips the tails in JJs Magic chartreuse dye.  The Carolina rig is good for fishing the cover on the bottom. Moving water makes shad pull up on the flat on this point and bass will follow them, too.  Watch for surface activity while fishing the deeper water.

7. N 32 02.394 – W 87 16.671 – Run down the river past the state park and watch on your left for a line of tall post that run along the bank.  They were put there for a seawall or some other structure but stick up by themselves with some wood along their lower edges. 

Start fishing at the downstream side of these posts and work upstream.  This is another good outside bend area and working upstream helps you position your boat if there is any current. Current really makes the bass bite better so you want to be fishing it when the current is moving.

Skip says you can take a limit of spots weighing 15  pounds if the current is moving and everything is right. Flip a jig and pig to shoreline cover here like in hole number 5.  There are also riprap banks and docks along this area to fish. 

Fish upstream to the double dock with the workboat tied to it.  There was an American flag flying here the day we fished.  Skip says flip to all the post on this dock, that wood washes in and hangs up here and holds bass. Work this whole bank probing for wood cover as the water drops.

8. N 32 02.315 – W 87 16.920 – Just downstream of the posts on the same side is a cove that holds shad and bass this time of year.  There is a big gray house on the upstream point with a gazebo out on the point.  Across from that point they are clearing brush on the lot on the downstream side. That is the side Skip likes to fish.

Start fishing on the riverside of the lot they are clearing. There is wood and grass along that bank that holds bass as they move in and out of the pocket following the shad. Try all your baits along this bank, hitting visible grass and wood cover.

9. N 32 02.903 – W 87 18.535 – Further downstream on your left is the opening to go back to Ellis Ferry landing.  The downstream point of this creek has a two story white house behind and a little downstream of it.  This point has a bar that runs across and upstream of it and is an excellent place to find spots schooled up.

Fish a crankbait and jig head worm on this point, covering it from all angles. Watch your depth finder to see how the bar runs and work it out to deeper water.  A jig head worm is especially good fished along the bar out toward deeper water.

10. N 32 02.493 – W 87 18.493 – Go back into the creek until you see the ramp at Ellis Ferry ahead of you as you round a point on your right. Start at that point across from the boat ramp and work into the creek. Ahead of you there is a causeway that cuts off part of the bay. This is a good bank to start on if you put in here.

Shad will often hold along the grass beds on this bank and they were thick in there in late October.  Bass were schooling on them when we fished it and it will be even better now.  Fish this bank with buzzbait and spinnerbait early, then work a Trap a little later.  It is a shallow bank so stay way out and make long casts.

Fish the docks and grassbeds back until the water out from the bank where your boat is sitting is only two feet deep.  Watch for action on top and make casts to it. Also hit dock pilings and brush under the docks.  There are enough tournaments held from this ramp that the area is constantly restocked, adding to the fish that are moving in following the shad.

Try these ten spots Skip likes to fish and see what kind of structure and cover he is looking for. Check other areas of the lake that are similar and find the shad on them and you will catch bass.

How and Where to Catch May Bass at Lake Seminole with GPS Coordinates

May Bass at Seminole with Jim Merritt and Brian Key

     May is a magical month at Lake Seminole. The grass beds are thick enough that you can see them and fish the edges easily. The weather has stabilized so you can fish the big water.  And the big bass have moved into their summer pattern, stacking up in places where you can find and catch them.

     Brian Key and Jim Merritt live in Bainbridge and fish team tournaments together. They have had great success on Seminole and May starts their favorite time to fish there. Their patterns and places pay off year after year in tournaments and will work for you.

     Jim moved to Bainbridge in 1979 and started fishing Seminole. He guided there for several years and learned the lake’s secrets.  Brian lived near him and they got to know each other. Fishing with the Bainbridge Bass Club, they paired up for a 24 hour tournament and found out they compliment each other well in tournaments, so they started fishing team tournaments together.

     Brian and Keith fish the R & R Team Trail as well as the Wingate Open and other team tournaments in the area like the Wingate Summer trail.  In 1999 they had a string of 3 wins in a row in R & R and other tournaments like the Wingate Open and the Memorial Day tournament, and did it again in 2001. After winning three in a row two years ago they had a poor tournament, then won a fourth that year at Seminole.

     Not only are the patterns Jim and Brian fish consistent, they produce big bass.  Jim has been in on three catches of 10 bass weighing over 50 pounds in tournaments. In 1990 he brought in 10 weighing 55 lbs. 13ozs. and he and Brian had ten fish weighing 57-3 in 1999 and 55 pounds even in a two day tournament in 2001.  Their best one day catch of 5 bass in a tournament weighed 37 pounds and they have won the big fish pot in Wingate’s tournaments three times. 

     Starting in May there are two basic patterns Jim and Brian fish to win tournaments.    Their primary target is grass beds on the river ledges, and they fish them a couple of different ways.  They will also fish the standing timber in Spring Creek if the ledges just don’t produce, something that seldom happens.

     The best grass beds are the ones that come to a point or have cuts in them and grow right on the ledge, dropping into 20 plus feet of water.  Current running across the grass and ledge helps. Jim says  you can be sitting on a ledge near the dam and hear the siren go off, warning of water release, and within a few minutes the bass will start biting.

     Before sunrise Brian and Jim hit grass points with spinnerbaits and top water. Jim tells a story of how he discovered his favorite spinnerbait. About 15 years ago some guide clients brought some spinnerbaits with big #7 willowleaf blades and he thought they were “tourist” spinnerbaits. When the sun came over the trees the clients had 7 bass to his 2.  The next day he was loaded up with spinnerbaits with #7 blades.

     Brian and Jim like to get near the grass ledges and keep the boat out in 20 feet of water. They cast the spinnerbaits up over the grass and bring it back to the edge. Bass usually hold right on the edge of the grass. A 1/2 ounce white spinnerbait with a big #7 silver blade and a smaller Colorado blade in either silver or copper is their choice.

     While one is working a spinnerbait the other might throw a Baby Torpedo top water plug. If the bass are not real active, they might try a Texas rigged worm with a 3/16 ounce sinker, worked down the edge of the grass. But Jim and Brian and looking for active fish and expect to “get rich” as Brian says, on a ledge with feeding bass.

     After the sun gets up they switch to their bread and butter tactic of catching bass.  Both will throw a Carolina rigged Hummer Hawg trick style worm in green pumpkin or a lizard in the same color. Hummer Hawg makes lizards and trick style worms using suggestions Brian and Jim have made so they really like their worms.

     The Carolina rig has a long leader, five or six feet, but the key is the lead.  Brian and Jim make a special 1 1/4 ounce lead that is long and has a pointed end. This lead comes through the grass better and they can pop it free, a technique that seems to turn on the big bass. They fish this rig from 6 inches of water to as deep as it gets.

     Jim and Brian use a long 7 foot rod and would like one 8 feet long for more leverage.  They found the perfect Carolina rig rod when Davy Hite showed them a Pflueger Trion 7 foot rod while they were fishing together. The rod has plenty of backbone but a light enough tip for the action they want. And best of all, I was able to order one from Berry’s Sporting Goods in Griffin for $44.95 retail.  You should be able to get one at a similar price.

     They like to team it up with a Pflueger Solar reel and Brian favors the PFLSOLARALP.  It has served him well in many tournaments and is affordable.  That combination works well for him.

     With the Carolina rig Jim and Brian throw the bait up into the grass and drag it to the edge, then pop it free and let it fall. They make long cast and work the bait to edge of the grass, then reel it in for another cast when they don’t fee the grass anymore.

     Both Brian and Jim warn to be careful when pulling through the grass. Fish, especially big bass, will grab the bait and hold on without moving. All too often you will pull your lead away from the grass only to realize you pulled your worm away from a fish. Be careful when you feel weight and make sure it is grass, not a bass, before pulling it free.

     The fall-back pattern is to go to standing timber and fish it with a Texas rigged worm.  They both like a 3/16s ounce sinker and use smoking blue, green pumpkin or grape with red fleck worms.  They drop a worm beside every piece of wood and let it fall until a fish hits.  The key to fishing the timber is to keep your boat in 20 feet of water and fish the deeper timber.

     Hydrilla used to grow in the timber in Spring Creek and you could follow the edge of it. Now, you just fish all the timber since bass might be anywhere.  There are no spots marked on the map for fishing timber, if you get into Spring Creek you can’t help but find it, it is everywhere.  And all of it can hold bass,  you just have to fish a lot of it.

     The following 8 holes are all good, and the lake is full of more just like them. Jim and Brian say they found these spots by getting out there and fishing. You can find more by getting on a ledge and following it, fishing all the grass you find until you find hotspots of your own.

     Note – the following number channel markers are numbered on the Atlantic Mapping Lake Seminole Map, but not all channel markers have numbers on them on the lake.

     1.  N 30 47.118 W 84 44.142 – One of Brian and Jim’s “get rich quick” spots is the bend of the river above Wingates near the island on the left side going upstream.  Head up the Flint to the island just downstream of the entrance to Ten Mile Still landing.  Just off black channel marker 10.2  you will see the end of a log sticking out of the water. Jim and Brian call this “leaning log hole” from that log.

     Look for the grassbed in this spot where it comes out to the river ledge and ends.  You will be sitting in 20 feet of water in the channel and throwing up on top of the grass. If you are here before sunrise start with topwater and spinnerbaits. Run the spinnerbait out to the edge of the grass and let it fall if they won’t hit it on a steady retrieve. Cast the topwater bait to the edge and work it slowly right on the edge of the grass as long as possible.

     2. N 30 46.397 W 84 45.351 – This is the spot where the old ferry used to dock and there is riprap on the edge of the old river channel. Grass grows right to the edge so you have rocks, a drop and grass all together. It is an excellent place to find fish. Look for red channel marker 11.2 and line it up with the little cut on the bank. That cut is the entrance to the slough upstream of Wingates. If you work from the channel marker toward the  mouth of the slough you will go right over the old riprap. 

     Sit in the river channel and work your spinnerbait and topwater along the grass. Follow up with a Carolina rig, but if the current is strong you will get hung in the rocks a lot.  You can work a lighter Texas rig along the rocks in the current by casting downstream and working it upstream along them.

     3. N 30 45.893 W 84 46.636 – Head down the Flint past Wingates to the green channel marker across from red channel marker 8.8.  The green buoy does not have a number on it. If you are heading downstream there is a grass point on the right of that channel marker a little upstream of it where there is an old wash out in the river ledge. You can see it on a map. The edge of that washout has a grass point on it that holds bass.

     If the sun is up, use your Carolina rig. If there is current running down the Flint bass will stack up here on the upstream side of the grass point, holding on the edge of it waiting on the current to bring baitfish to them.

     Keep your boat out in the channel and cast up into the grass. Let the heavy sinker go to the bottom, falling through the grass fast.  It will pull the worm down and then the worm will fall slower after the lead hits bottom.  Move the lead along, popping it through the grass when it hangs up. When the lead breaks free of the grass stop and let the worm follow it down right on the grass edge.  That is where you are mostly likely to get bit.

     4. N 30 45.954 W 84 49.496  – Going downstream, cut behind the line of standing timber near channel marker 7.3 and stay toward the bank to your right.  As you pass the islands and can see through to Spring Creek, stop and look for the grass line on your right.  You will see a big snag on your left with a osprey nest on it about six feet above the water when you are in the right area.

     This is really a triple shot hole. There are three excellent grass points on this grass bed within 1/4 mile.  The osprey nest is about even with the middle one. The first is back toward the big island upstream and the last one is downstream near the small island.

     Fish each of these grass points with spinnerbait and topwater early, then switch to your Carolina rig. The long leader is important in the grass since you will be throwing up into fairly shallow water.  The long leader lets the worm work better further away from the lead. The heavy lead will also stir up mud on the bottom and move grass, attracting the fish.

     5. N 30 44.250 W 84 53.133 – Run down to the main lake and go across to the Florida side to the entrance to Sneads Landing.   Near the green channel marker just upstream of the first two sets of poles going into Sneads, there is a good grass point on the river ledge on the Georgia side of the channel.

     You will be about 150 yards from the poles toward the island on the Georgia side. You can see the shallow river ledge on the map, and grass grows on it to the drop.  Fish it early with fast moving baits but slow down after the sun comes up and use the Carolina rig.

     6  N 30 44.024 W 84 53.121 – About 100 yards below the poles near the first green marker going downstream, look for a blowout on the river ledge on the Florida side of the channel. If you look upstream, you can make a triangle with the red and green markers and your boat – you want to be sitting at the peak of the triangle downstream of the two markers. The grass will form two points, one on each side of the drop where the current cut away the old ledges.  Both points hold bass.

     Fish both points on the grass bed, sitting in the channel and casting up onto the ledge. Current here running down the Chattahoochee River will make the bass feed, so listen for the siren at the dam and sick around if you hear it.

     7. N 30 43.504 W 84 51.694 – Run down to near the dam on the Georgia side, just downstream of the Chattahoochee Park swimming area. There is a long sand ridge running parallel to the river and bank, about 150 yards off the bank. There are two cuts through this ridge where the bass stack up.

     The first one is out from the second dock on the bank.  If you get straight out from this dock and ease along, you will see a dip in the sand ridge where a little channel cuts through it.  There are grass points on both sides of the cut, and bass hold on both of them.  Fish them just like the other grass beds.

     8.  N 30 43.079 W 84 51.591 – Ease down the ridge toward the Coast Guard station. Watch the radio tower behind the station and line it up with the first building if you are going toward the dam.  On this line is a hole that is a borrow pit made when they were building the dam. It is right on the sand ridge and grass grows on both sides of it, too.

     You will see the bottom drop from 12 feet on top of the ridge to 22 feet in the pit. Fish the grass on both ends of the ridge where it drops off. Here as in other places look for something a little different in the grass that the bass key on. A small point, a cut or a sudden drop in the grass will hold the fish and you should concentrate your casts to that spot.

     On the outside of the pit toward the channel there is an old road used in construction leading out of the pit. It forms a ridge on the channel side, and will have grass on it, too. Fish it as well as the points of grass on the bank side.

     These 8 holes are just a few of the spots on the river and creek ledges that hold bass in May at Seminole. And if you get tired of running the ridges, go to the timber in Spring creek for a different kind  of fishing. All of the timber and ridges may harbor a 10 bass, 50 plus pound catch for you like it does for Jim and Brian. Use their methods on spots you find for a fantastic catch of May bass at Seminole.

     Jim and Brian sell their Carolina rig 1 1/4 ounce sinkers for 25 cents each plus shipping. Call them at 229-246-6046 or 229-254-3884 to order some.

Where and How To Catch November Lake Seminole Bass

Seminole November Bass with Steven Wells with GPS Coordinates to ten spots

     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.

Where and Hot to Catch June Bass at Neely Henry

with Karen Rae Elkins

    There is something special about Coosa River lakes in June.  The bass, both spots and largemouth, are stacking up in predictable places and feeding.  Neely Henry is one of the best on the chain for a trip this month.

    The Alabama DNR calls Neely Henry one of the best-kept fishing secrets in Alabama.” Running 77 miles from its dam to the Weiss Dam, it covers 11,235 acres that vary from a river run on its upper end to shallow flats and creeks on the lower end.

    Built in the late 1950s, many of the creeks and ditches are silted in and the shallows are full of grass. It can be a dangerous lake to run since there are few markers and many creeks have stump fields and shallows that will eat lower units.  Be very careful when running this lake.

    Largemouth are in the lake in good numbers in the 15 to 18 inch range according to the Alabama DNR. The DNR also calls the spot population “exceptional” for large fish and the numbers of spots in the 14 to 20 inch range is one of the best in the state.

    Karen Rae Elkins was born in Huntsville but moved closer to Neely Henry Lake when ten years old.  She grew up fishing and loves it. The farm she lived on had five ponds and she would fish for anything that would bite, but one day she got her fathers’ bass fishing equipment, caught some bass and was hooked herself.

    Her father owned The Fishing Hole bait and tackle store in Anniston so she was exposed to a lot of fishing talk. When her father retired he asked her to fish tournaments with him and they competed on the Guys and Dolls and Cartersville Couples Trails, as well as in many local tournaments.

    When the Women’s Bass Tour was started Karen saw how many lakes in her area were on the schedule so she signed up.  She really likes the camaraderie and fun from this trail and says it has made her a better fisherman.  

    This spring Karen agreed to run the Team Trails tournament trail on the Coosa River and is also starting a Youth Tournament Trail in this organization. She fishes the tournaments as well as running them.

    Karen’s best five fish limit came a few years ago on Neely Henry when she brought in 18.18 pounds. And she won a tournament on April 4 this year with five weighing 14.4 there. She likes fishing and likes competition so tournaments are a good fit for her.

    Sponsors mean Karen is able to fish more than she would be able to without them and her sponsors include: Mojo Weights, Reel Grip, Bo’s Jigs, Team Trail Tournaments and JJs Magic.  She also supports the Magic Foundation and Second Chance, to organizations that are very important to her.

    “The bass are feeding in the grass in June and are fun to catch,” Karen told me.  The spawn is over and the bass are hungry.  She likes to start out shallow in the mornings catching these bass, then moves to points, humps and ledges later in they day when water is moving.  And a third good pattern is fishing docks.

    For fishing the grass Karen likes the Mojo rig and says it gives her a slight edge over the more common Texas or Carolina rigs most fishermen use. The Mojo rig gives the bait a little different look.  It is a thin cylindrical weight with a rubber band you insert so you can “peg” it on your line.

    “Start with your weight six inches from the        bait then move it closer if you aren’t getting bites” Karen said. A variety of plastics will work in June and she tries different ones until the fish tell her what she wants.  A Sweet Beaver is always a good choice but she also catches bass on Zoom Finesse Worms and Brush Hogs and Strike King Lizards.

    A few basic colors work well on Neely Henry. Watermelon Red, Junebug and Green Pumpkin are all standard colors.  And Karen always dips her baits in JJ’s Magic, saying that attracts the bass and makes them hold the bait longer.  She will often dip the tails in either red or chartreuse but if she does not want this flicker of color she uses the clear to add scent.

    Around docks Karen flips a Bo’s Jig and really likes the color named for her. The “Karen’s Jig” color has green pumpkin, black and root beer strands in it.  She tips it with a Sweet Beaver or a Zoom Chunk and works the jig under the docks, around all pilings and in any brush around the docks. This works well when the sun is bright.

    If current is moving bass will stack up on points, humps and ledges to feed. Karen likes a crankbait that runs seven to ten feet deep for fishing those areas and her favorites include Lucky Craft CB Square and Jackall Muscle baits.

    Karen showed me around Neely Henry a few weeks ago and the bass were just starting to move onto their June holes.  We put in down the lake and fished early, then took out and went up to Gadsden and fished the river some.  The lake is varied and the patterns can differ.

    The following spots all hold bass this month:

    1.  N 33 53.547 – W 86 06.603 – Back in Canoe Creek just downstream of Canoe Creek Marina you will see some brush tops out in the middle. This brush is on a hump where the channel swings across the creek and grass grows on it in June, too. It is a good place to find bass, especially if there is any current moving down the creek.

    Going up the creek watch for a nice house on your right with a gray dock with a “For Sale” sign on it. Stay on that side of the creek since the shallow hump is out in the middle. When you get near the gray dock look to your left and you should see the brush on the hump. If you get to the marina you have gone too far.

    Karen will start on the channel side and fish all around the hump, pitching her Mojo rigged Sweet Beaver of Brush Hog into holes in the grass and moving it through the thinner areas of grass.  For some reason Junebug with a chartreuse tail seems to work especially well here.

    Drag your bait through the grass and work it slowly and carefully. Be ready to set the hook when you feel any weight or your line moves at all. If there is current try to throw your bait so you work it with the current in a natural movement.

    2. N 33 51.375 – W 86 03.217 – Running down the main river from Canoe Creek you will see the opening to Greens Creek on your left.  Off the upstream point are two small islands.  Idle in to the point but do not go between the islands. There are lots of snags here. 

    When you get to the point you will see an older dock to the left of two cement boat ramps that are side by side. Start at that dock and work around the point, fishing around to the inside of the point.  Fish the grass here with a Mojo rig, work a crankbait over the shallows and pitch a jig and pig to the docks.

    The jig and pig is especially effective if the water is clear and the sun is bright, driving the bass to the shade.  Fish all the cover carefully. Karen says she has caught several five-pound-plus bass on this point.

    3. N 33 50.619 – W 86 04.472 – Beaver Creek is a good big-bass creek and Karen has several types of cover and structure she fishes in it.  As you go into the mouth you will see Greenport Marina on your right.  There is a seawall in front of the store and storage area then a long point runs upstream. There are picnic tables on the point. Off the end of this point is a hump or island, depending on the water level. When we were there it was slightly under water.

    Start near the store and fish the seawall toward the point.  Fish the Mojo rig and crankbaits along here. This is the only place Karen will rig an Old Monster worm on her Mojo rig. The extra big worm attracts quality bites on this spot.  Work from right on the seawall out to several feet deep. There are patches of grass to fish and some other cover.

    When you get out near the end of the point fish the hump and around it into the cove behind it.  Work the whole area carefully but Karen says the best area is the seawall at the store, so pay extra attention to any cover here.

    4.  N 33 50.175 – W 86 05.807 – You can run into Beaver Creek on plane until you see the silo ahead on your right. Stay to the left side going in.  When the silo comes into view it is a good idea to slow down and idle the rest of the way due to stumps and shallows. 

    When you get back about even with the silo on your right you will see a grass point on your left.  There are cattails, rocks, grass and stumps starting at this point working upstream and the channel swings on this side making it even better.  Shallow grass near deeper water is usually better, but keep in mind deeper water here might mean seven feet deep.

    Fish along the left bank working your Mojo rig through the grass.  Try to hit any stumps you can see and also probe for hidden stumps with your weight.  Fish on up this bank and there will be a grass island on your right and some big rocks on your left. There is a spring in the rocks that keeps the water cooler and moving some here.  Fish around the rocks and the island, too. This is one of Karen’s best tournament holes.

    5.  N 33 50.054 – W 86 06.448 – Idle on back into the creek until it narrows down. The bottom back here is sandy and there is lots of grass and stumps to fish. And overhanging trees in some areas provide shade. Work all the cover in the water, including the fence rows running off the bank, with a Mojo Rig and a crankbait. 

    Fish slowly and carefully. Some big bass hold up back here in June.  When you catch one bass work the area hitting every bit of cover, there is often more than one in a spot.  You should go as far back as you can get your boat if you are catching fish.

    Karen says two or three kinds of cover together makes for a hot spot to catch a bass. Look for wood in the grass, combining two kinds of cover.  If there are also rocks or a drop it makes it even better. Fish any combinations of cover carefully.

    6.  N 33 44.973 – W 86 03.559 – Run downstream and watch for a big round point on your right. On the upstream side is a boat ramp and there is a dock on the downstream side. The house has a “For Sale” sign. 

    This point has deep water just off it where the old channel swings by but it comes up quickly with a shallow ledge on the downstream side.   Current coming down the river hits this point and moves across it, creating an eddy on the downstream side.     Fish a deep diving crankbait here, casting up near the bank and working it across the shallow water, making it dig bottom, and then over the drop into deeper water. Fish with the current, moving water makes the fish bite much better here and other spots. Fish all around this point, covering both the upstream and downstream sides.

    7.  N 33 48.742 – W 86 04.032 – At the mouth of Shoal Creek the downstream point is good and all three kinds of cover you want to fish is one it. Current hits this point, too, and there is deep water just off shallow water. There is a wood house with a tin roof and three dormers on it.  AS you go into the cove on the upstream side there is a gray boathouse with turquoise doors on it.

    Start at the dock and flip a jig to it, especially if it is sunny.  Work a crankbait all around the point and the upstream cove. Then fish a Mojo rig in the grass.  Work each as you come to them to cover the area completely.

    Current hitting this area makes it better but wind blowing in helps, too. Wind will create a chop on the water, breaking up the light and making it more likely a bass will hit an artificial bait, and it also moves water, creating a current. Wind is your friend as long as it is not too strong to control your boat.

    8.  N 33 48.634 – W 86 03.764 – Across the river is a big bluff rock wall and a small rock island off it.  The bluff wall is on the upstream side of the opening to a big cove and the water is very deep off it.  Three was an old trotline hanging on the rocks with some dried fish on it the day we fished. It looked like some kind of voodoo charm!  This is a great spotted bass hole and Karen works all around it.

    This is a good spot to rig a Finesse worm on your Mojo Rig and throw it right on the bank.  Move it slowly and let if fall down the face of the rocks. Don’t move it much or it will fall too far, dropping past fish too quickly.

    There is a stump row on the downstream side of this point, too, another combination of types of cover. Fish them with the Mojo Rig but also flip a jig and pig right against the rocks and work it out, trying to hit stump.

    9.  N 33 48.891 – W 86 05.325 – Run back into Shoal Creek and watch on your left for a yellow house with a brown roof and a boathouse with two doors in front of it.  All the way across the creek is a big flat and hump with stumps on it. On the bank on that side you will see a mobile home on the bank. Idle straight toward the mobile home and watch your depthfinder.

    You will be in about 10 feet of water on the flat then it will come up to about five feet deep. You will still be a long way off the bank, in front and upstream of a red door dock in front of the trailer.  There is a stump rod on this shallow hump and a small ditch runs out near it.

    Karen will work back and forth along this drop fishing crankbaits and a Mojo Rig. She will work it a long time because she says you never know when bass will move up on this spot and feed. And it constantly replenishes itself from the deeper water nearby.

    10. N 34 00.816 – W 85 57.072 – It is a long run upstream of the bridges in Gadsden so it is a good idea to trailer up here if you can. Going upstream from Gadsden watch for a rock bluff wall on your left just as you see the trailers at Tillison Bend Park. You will be upstream and the same side of the mouth of a fairly big creek that has a blowdown across it.

    Start at the beginning of the rock wall and fish it all the way past the first three docks, a very long way upstream. Karen says it takes a long time to work this spot correctly and you can spend most of a day on it. It is worth it, this is where she caught the 18 pound limit in a June tournament.

    Karen keeps her boat in close to the wall in about 11 to 12 feet of water and makes three casts before moving up the wall. On cast will be in toward the wall as a slight angle with the Mojo Rig. She then makes a long cast to the wall ahead of the boat and works it back at an angle to the boat The third cast will be straight ahead of the boat and is worked back to the boat.

    Fishing like this covers all the water from the face of the wall out to 12 feet deep or so. To do it right can take hours working along here. When she gets to the docks Karen fishes a jig and pig around them.  Current always makes this spot better. Karen says she does not even fish it if the water is not moving.

    11. N 34 01.170 – W 85 58.766 – Run back downstream and you will see a golf course on your left and more holes across the river on your right.  You are close enough to see the sharp bend back to your left going to the bridges and the water station in the bend.

    Watch for a creek opening on your right that goes back to the golf course. You will see some big PVC pipe going into the water and some smaller pipe running out above the water and dropping down on the river side. As you idle into the creek there is another set of pipes and they are for the pump house you see on the bank that waters the golf course.

    When you get back a ways from the river the creek splits and straight ahead it will go around and under a wooden golf cart bridge.  Go back to the bridge area and fish all the grass and stumps in the back of this creek. Karen will pitch a jig to wood cover in the grass and also run a shallow diving crankbait over the grass that is under the water.

    Another trick Karen uses in this and similar spots is to Mojo Rig a big lizard like the Zoom Magmum or the Strike King 3X lizard. These big baits draw strikes from big bass. Work them through the grass back in this creek in June.

    12. N 33 59.205 – W 85 59.855 – Run downstream past the bridges and watch for a big three story yellow house with white roof and trim on your right. The house sits on the beginning of the upstream point of Big Willis Creek on that side and looks like it is in a park.

    Across the river from the house is a small ditch that is not real noticeable as you run by. You will see the bank flatten out and go back a little. This old ditch has filled in but it creates a shelf in front of it that holds good fish.

    Keep your boat out from the bank and cast a crankbait to the bank. Dig the bottom coming out the shelf to the edge of the drop. This is a good spot that does not get a lot of pressure since it is not real noticeable.

    13. N 33 58.493 – W 85 59.664 – Run down the river past the old closed park on your left and watch for a small creek opening on that side. There are to white PVC poles on either side of the opening and a pasture or field on the downstream side of it. The poles mark two big stumps.

    Karen fishes the mouth of this creek and works the stumps with her baits. She fishes on down the bank a hundred feet or so, fishing the grass and wood cover. Bass often stack up here and current helps.

    Also work into the small creek. There are stumps, fence rows and grass beds to fish in it.

    14.  N 33 57.190 – W 85 57.768 – Run down the river until you see a long narrow island well off the left bank. This small island sits in front of a river ledge with trees on it that separates the river from a big slough behind it.  There are houses and docks in the slough and a bunch of wood duck nests, especially on the downstream end around the docks there.

    There is a small opening on the upstream end of this slough and Karen often starts there in the morning, fishing into the shallows, working grass and stumps. When you get to the other end where it opens back up there are two PVC poles, one with green paint on one side, that mark the channel going it.

    Karen will fish the edges of this cut and the area around it, probing for stumps and trash. She will also work up the river side of the ledge, it drops off pretty quickly and is hard clay. Bass hold all along it.

    These 14 spots offer a wide variety of kinds of places to fish, with some on the main lake and more up the river. There are many more similar spots. Check these out to see Karen’s patterns then explore to find more, just be careful.

    Karen guides on Neely Henry and you can contact her to get her to show you first hand how she fishes here.  Call her at 256-454-3804 or her web site at www.karenslake.com. You can also get information about her Team Trails tournaments.

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.

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

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.

How and Where to Catch September Lake Eufaula Bass

September Bass at Eufaula
with Dwayne Smith

September is one of the worst months for bass fishing in many of our Georgia lakes. The water is at its hottest and bass are deep and hard to find. But at Lake Eufaula the numerous ledges are full of bass and the grassbeds all over the lake entice some bass to feed shallow. You can take advantage of both patterns and catch bass there this month.

With 45,180 acres of water, there are lots of places to fish at Eufaula. Stretching 85 miles from the dam to Columbus, this long lake is mostly river bottom with lots of shallow areas and good drops into channels. Those are perfect places for bass to hold and feed this month.

Eufaula is a shallow lake with big flats everywhere. Grass grows on many of these flats and points leading to the channels, and willow bushes grow all over the lake, even on some mid-lake ledges. Bass like to feed around this shallow cover and can be found there all year long, but this pattern gets even better in late September when the water begins go cool.

Dwayne Smith won the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Top Six tournament at Eufaula last April. He won it early, catching a limit of bass on spinnerbaits first thing each morning. Fishing with the Blackshear Bass Club for the past six years has taught Dwayne a lot about the lake since they fish it about four times a year, and he put his knowledge to good use in the Top Six.

Making the Top Six team each year that he has been in the club is something Dwayne is proud of doing, and he likes fishing the Top Six. He also likes Eufaula and can catch fish there most of the year. He says September can be a good month if you know were to fish.

“Start early in the grassbeds, then move to the drops as the sun gets on the water,” Dwayne said. That is a simple pattern but it works well for him most of the year, and September is no exception.

Dwayne will start each morning throwing a half-ounce white Terminator spinnerbait with a gold willowleaf and a silver Colorado blade. He likes a split tail white trailer and says the bait looks so good in the water sometimes he wants to eat it himself! The spinnerbait is fished in the shallows all over the lake, anywhere there is grass or willows.

Dwayne may start out on the main lake on humps but the sun hits those areas early. As the sun comes over the trees he will often move to the shady bank to get some more time with his spinnerbait. But when the sun gets bright, it is time to move to deeper water.

“Look for shallow water near deep water,” Dwayne said. A drop from the shallows to the channel is going to hold bass, and the steeper the drop the better it usually will be. Dwayne will fish a Carolina rig on these places, casting up shallow and working his bait down to deeper water.

A black Trick worm rigged behind a one ounce sinker on a 24 to 30 inch leader is Dwayne’s standard Carolina rig. He likes heavy line on both spinnerbait and Carolina rig, and uses 15 pound Trilene Big Game line on everything, including his leader.

You will often see bass busting shad on top during September, so Dwayne also keeps a chrome half-ounce Rat-L-Trap rigged and ready to cast toward them. And he will have a big Fat Free Shad on another rod to run across shallow drops in case the bass want something moving a little faster than a Carolina rig. He likes shad colored crankbaits if the water is clear and something with some chartruese in it if the water is stained.

I fished with Dwayne in early August to get a look at the way he fishes Eufaula. He showed me ten of his favorite places to fish in September to share here, and he explained how he fishes each. The following ten spots will give you some grassbeds and shallows to fish this month as well as drops to move to when the sun gets bright.

1. N 32 03.171 – W 85 03.321 – The bank straight across from the mouth of Little Barbour Creek has a good grassbed and is on the east side of the lake, so it stays shady for a good while each morning. Dwayne will start right across from the mouth of the creek and fish upstream all the way to the small creek.

Keep your boat out and easy cast from the bank and throw your spinnerbait back into the edge of the grass. Fish it back out, running it by any clumps of grass or any wood cover out from the bank. Dwayne fishes the spinnerbait fast, keeping is down under the water but running it back quickly at a steady speed. Making a lot of cast as fast as possible is important since this pattern does not last long.

2. N 32 01.997 – W 85 03.413 – Head downstream and the channel will make a sharp bend to the Georgia bank, then swing out toward the Alabama side. Right where the channel leaves the east bank there is a small island. A point runs off this island and follows the edge of the channel as it cuts across the lake. There is a red channel marker just off the island.

Dwayne likes to keep his boat upstream of the drop running off the island and casts up onto the flat formed by the point. He will work his Carolina rig or crankbait back to the boat, fishing some of the top of the flat and then covering the edge of the drop.

If there is current moving the lip of the drop is probalby the best spot. If the current is not moving Dwayne will work the Carolina rig down the drop and probe for any wood stuck there. He will work from the island out to the channel marker, fishing the edge all along there.

3. N 32 01.546 – W 85 02.876 – Head on downstream and the channel goes to the Alabama bank then makes a sharp turn back to the Georgia side. The mouth of Rood Creek is where the channel hits the Georgia bank, but just upstream is a small creek with a split near the mouth. The river channel runs near the mouth of it and the double opening has deep water in it.

The point on the split in the mouth of this creek has a hump off it that has stumps on it. It is only four feet deep on top and drops off to 25 feet or deeper all around. Keep your boat out in the deeper water and fish around the hump, making casts up on top of it and fishing down the slope.

This is a good place to run a crankbait across the top of the hump, then fish a Carolina rig on it. You will get hung up on the stumps but there will often be bass holding by them, too. Fish this spot carefully, taking time to cover it from all angles.

4. N 32 00.670 – W 85 03.605 – Downstream of Rood Creek the channel swings toward the Alabama bank and then right back to the Georgia side. A little further downstream it angles across the lake to the Alabama side, and just upstream of where it hits the bank is an opening to a big flat split by an island. This big area is actually the ends of two old oxbow river runs cut off from the lake by an island. Dwayne calls the big flat grassy area behind the island “The Barn.”

This very shallow water has lilly pads and other grass along the bank. Out in the middle you will see clumps of hydrilla. Bass will feed here year round, but move in more as the water starts to cool near the end of September.

Start fishing near the mouth and cast to every cut and hole in the grass and pads. Watch for dark clumps out in the middle of the open water and fish them with your spinnerbait, too. Run your spinnerbait along and through every fishy looking spot.

5. N 31 59.003 – W 85 04.129 – Head downstream past the mouth of the Witch’s Ditch and the lake will open up. The island that runs parallel to the river on the Georgia side, the one that cuts off the Witch’s Ditch, ends and the lake will open up. Just downstream of the end of this island is a red channel marker and there is a good river ledge here where the channel makes a small turn toward the Alabama bank.

Position your boat just downstream of the marker and you will be in about 40 feet of water. You can cast up onto the top of the ledge to 12 feet of water and fish the stumps on it. Fish all long this ledge, trying a crankbait and then the Carolina rig. When you hit a stump, pause your bait and let the bass have a good look at it. If you don’t get bit, cast right back to the same place to fish that stump again.

6. N 31 58.304 – W 85 03.888 – As you go downstream the channel will swing all the way to the Georgia side just below the mouth of Bustahatchee Creek. The red channel marker 103.1 will be near the bank and just upstream of it you will see some small willows sticking up out of the water about 200 feet off the mouth of a small creek called “The Watermelon Hole.” There is a big irrigation pump in this small creek and you can usually hear it running.

This hump was the site of a house before the lake was backed up, and the old brick foundation is still there. Fish all around this hump and the willows with your spinnerbait then back off a little and fish it with your Carolina rig. The river channel is just off the outside of it and the creek channel runs by it, too. Fish the drops into each with your Carolina rig and feel for the bricks. When you hit them fish them slowly.

Watch for schooling fish here. While we were fishing it some big shad scooted out of the water and Dwayne threw his Rat-L-Trap to it. He hooked a stong fish that fought more like a bass than a hybrid, and I was ready with the net when it got close to the boat. Unfortunately, the bass made a strong run and pulled loose before we saw it.

7. N 31 58.221 – W 85 03.924 – Just downstream of this hump, right at channel marker 103.1, the channel makes a sharp bend back toward Alabama and the mouth of Cowikee Creek. The water in the channel is 58 feet deep and it comes up to a shallow flat with a small point running out on it. You can see the small point as a buldge on the bank in the grassline.

Keep your boat out in the channel and cast up onto the flat. Some wood cover sticks here at times but the main feature is the drop. Fish the lip of the drop with crankbait and Carolina rig.

Dwayne told me this was a good spot hole as we pulled up on it, and he caught a small keeper spot here on his Carolina rig. Fish all long the lip of this drop as the channel swings away from the bank.

8. N 31 58.103 – W 85 05.776 – Run into the mouth of Cowikee Creek and head upstream until you get to the island on your right just outside the channel. The channel will make a wide sweeping bend all the way across the creek from the far bank to the end of this island and then back to the far bank. Stop just outside of the red pole channel marker that has a small number 271 on it that is standing off the end of the island. Keep your boat in the channel.

The outside bend here has brushpiles and stumps all along it. Dwayne will fish from this pole all along the outside bend all the way to the next red pole marker downstream. Near the channel marker at the end of the island Dwayne hung a strong fish on his Carolina rig but it got him down in the brush. He sawed it back and forth for a short time before it broke off.

9. N 31 54.845 – W 85 07.082 – Dwayne runs the Alabama side from the mouth of Cowikee Creek all the way to Old Town Creek Park. This is very shallow water and is dangerous if the lake is down any at all, which it may be in September. You are much safer following the channel.

When you get to Old Town Creek Park swimming area, just downstream of the fishing pier, a ledge runs way out from the swimming area toward the Georgia bank. It is called the “Closeline” because it runs so straight and far. Dwayne will keep his boat on the upstream side of this drop and fish all along it, casting up onto the top of the flat and working his Carolina rig down the drop.

There is some brush on this drop and the drop runs about even with the bank at the swimming area. If you look at the bank you can tell how it continues on out in the lake. If there is any current this is an excellent place and you can fish it out 100 yards or more. Current helps here just like on all other holes where there is a drop.

10. N 31 53.025 – W 85 07.843 – The last hole Dwayne showed me is a long point with rocks on it running out from the Alabama side. It is easy to find because there is a railroad on top of this point. The point he likes to fish is the railroad causeway on the Alabama side.

Dwayne will start on the upstream side of the causeway and work around the point with a crankbait or spinnerbait, casting up near the rocks and fishing back out. If there is current running around this point the bass will stack up on the rocks to feed on shad moving downstream. It is a good place all day long and is easy to find.

Give these spots a try and then use what you see on them to find others. There are acres of grassbeds on Eufaula and many of them hold bass. And the miles of river and creek ledges hold bass this time of year. Eufaula is one of our best lakes in September. Spend some time there.