Category Archives: Map of the Month – Alabama

Where and How To Catch February Bass at Demopolis with GPS Coordinates

with Boyd Duckett

     Bass fishing in February can be either feast or famine.  Cold fronts and harsh temperatures turn off the bass but a three day warming trend can herd the big bass to shallow area where you can catch them  better than any other time of year.  Improve your odds by heading south. Demopolis Lake is a good bet for February bass in shallow water.

     At 10,000 acres Demopolis is the largest lake on the Black Warrior/Tombigbee River system. It extends up the Black Warrior River 48 miles and 53 miles up the Tombigbee River from an overflow dam near the city of Demopolis.  Since it is an overflow dam and the land is very flat the lake can rise or fall quickly depending on upstream rains, and there are no controls on the water level.

     Demopolis offers tough fishing at times but the 14 inch limit means the average size of bass weighed in at club tournaments is good.  In the 2007 BAIT reports Demopolis ranked 17th in angler success but 5th in average bass weight. You will catch a lot of bass under the 14 inch length limit that must be released and are not brought in during tournaments.

     Boyd Duckett grew up in North Carolina and started fishing with his brother when they found a pond back in the woods near where they lived. He began tournament fishing when 17 years old and jumped in at the pot tournament level on local lakes. A move to Nashville, TN for business allowed him to learn fishing deep in highland reservoirs, a change from what he was used to fishing.

     In 1991 Boyd moved to Demopolis and within a few years his tournament fishing seemed to get a lot better with him winning many events.  In 2002 he got serious about his tournament fishing and entered bigger tournaments. That paid off in 2007 with a Bassmasters Classic win and he now fishes the Elite Series as well as the PAA events.  He will be fishing the Classic this month on the Red River after qualifying through the Elite Series.

     In 2007 Boyd set a one-season record, winning $860,000 that year, more than any other fisherman had won in one year on the BASS trail.  He was also the first fisherman in 36 Classics to win one on his home state lake when he won at Lay Lake that year.

      Boyd learned a lot about Demopolis fishing it in local tournaments with Bill Champion.  He agreed to share some of the keys to February fishing there and says water level is critical to catching bass in February.  If the water is rising from upstream rains the fish will move far back into newly flooded cover and you can not get to them.  Falling water pulls them to the edges and makes them easier to catch.

     Since Demopolis is so shallow Boyd says the bass will move to the spawning areas as soon as there are a few warm days and the bigger bass move in first.  They will head into sloughs and creeks, working their way to the very backs of them to spawn. You can follow them this month and use a variety of methods to catch them.

     Water clarity is very important, too.  Rising water forces muddy river water back into the sloughs and you need to go back in them until you find a good color to fish. Some are so long that muddy water almost never gets all the way back in them.

     Boyd will tie on a Berkley Little Chigger Craw behind a heavy Tru-Tungsten weight for flipping mats and heavy cover, a Rat-L-Trap for searching for active fish and a Falcon spinnerbait for covering water where the Trap is ineffective. He also likes a shallow running crankbait like the Mann’s 1 Minus to run over shallow grass back in the pockets.

     Boyd showed me the following spots a few weeks ago and fish were already in some of them.  They will get better all month as more and more bass respond to the warming water and move in.

     1.  N 32 31.159 – W 87 52.209 – Running upriver from the dam the second small ditch on your left runs back and opens up into a big slough that runs parallel to the river.  Boyd called this the “Meat Hole” because of all the bass caught in it.  When we were there the rising water had filled the ditch with hyacinths and it would have been hard getting in but Boyd says it is well worth the effort.

     The ditch going in is only about 2 feet deep with the river stage at 20.5 feet so you need it at least that high to get in.  When you get back where the slough opens up, there will be a lot of flooded brush and tree bases standing in the water. Boyd says to fish the first 5 feet of cover from the edge back, working it with a spinnerbait when you can and flipping or pitching a Little Chigger Craw tight to cover where it is thick.

     If the river stage is over 22 feet this spot and others gets very hard to fish since the water will be many yards back into thick woods you can’t get to. Bass follow the rising water and get where you can’t catch them.  When the level is between 20.5 and 22 this is one of the best places on the lake.

     2. N 32 31.920 – W 87 50.953 – Culpepper Slough runs off the right side of the river upstream of the marina and dock at Demopolis and goes back under Highway 43.   There is standing timber in the middle of the slough going in so be very careful. It is a good idea to idle in until you learn it.

     Go back to the bridge and start fishing. Bass will move up the slough and hold around razor grass, tree bases in the water and under matted vegetation. One of Boyd’s favorites is what he called “alligator grass,” a plant with small leaves on long stems. The roots are on the shallow side and the plant grows toward deep water, making a covering shelf bass love to hold under.  The plants warm from the sun and the water temperature will usually be several degrees warmer under the mat than in the surrounding water.

     Near the back of the slough on your right you will see the old causeway for Highway 43.  Fish all along the slough on both sides. There are lots of mats of grass to fish here.  Flip a heavy weighed Chigger Craw and let it fall through the mat.  Boyd says be ready, you can’t drop your rod tip and set the hook since the weight is so heavy. The fish will spit it out quick so set the hook on any tick or hesitation as your bait falls.

     Work all around this slough and go back as far as you can. You can’t go too shallow in February if there have been a few warm days. Hit all the cover you come to including grass mats, tree trunks and razor grass edges.

     3.  N 32 32.496 – W 87 50.947 – Run up past where the two rivers join and watch for an opening on your left.  The ditch leads into Dobbs Swamp, a huge area where you could spend all day fishing. As you go in the channel will split off to your left, the coordinates above are just upstream of that split going left.

     Start at the split and fish into the lakes and sloughs on that side, fishing open water with Rat-L-Trap and spinnerbaits and pitching a plastic bait to heavy cover.  Keep working back until you find clearer water if the mouth is stained up.  Here and in other areas river stages of 20 to 21 feet are best.

     Watch for old beaver dams across channels.  At high water they will be covered but most have grass and trees growing on them.  If the water is dropping and a current is moving across them the little cuts and channels with current always hold bass.  For some reason rising water creating a current on the upper side of them does not hold the bass but Boyd says you are guaranteed a bass if the water is dropping and you fish the current on the downstream side of them.

     4. N 32 33.126 – W 87 51.633 – Come back out and go up the right side at the split.  You can run a long way back in a narrow channel then it will end at mats of hyacinth. Push through it and lakes will open up on your right and ahead of you.   The one on the right is choked with hyacinth and the one a head is more open, with hydrilla in the middle.

     Both can hold fish but after warm days the one ahead will be better, and the water will be even clearer.  It was very clear in here the day we fished and individual bass were chasing shad. Boyd said two days before we fished, on a cloudy day, there was a lot of schooling activity here and he caught a bunch of bass. The day we fished he landed three fish on a shallow running crankbait fished slowly over the grass.

     In this and other areas, if the water is still in the low 50s Boyd will flip the edges of the razor grass beds with a Chigger Craw.  Bass will hold in these spots until it warms a little more. Also concentrate on the mats if the sun is shinning and the water is warming.  Bass are more likely to be active and in the hydrilla if the water is warming, too.  When it gets above 55 degrees Boyd will go as far back into these areas as he can, pitching to all the heavy cover.  He says you can not go too far back in February; the bass will be very shallow.

     5.  N 32 31.033 – W 87 49.004 – Run up the Warrior River until you see the cement plant on your right and an old rail road trestle running down the side of the river. It is being dismantled.  Go under it at the small ditch and a steep bank slough opens up.  The water in here is usually clear and it is deeper than any of the other sloughs in the area.  Boyd calls this the “Citadel.”

     Boyd says this is a good early February hole since the water stays clear and warms fast.  He will start just inside the slough and work all the way around it, hitting all the shoreline cover.  There is another ditch opening to your left not far from the mouth that is very good if the water is in the mid 50s and warmer.  It opens up into about an acre size lake and holds some big bass.

     6.  Run into French Creek, the big creek on your right above the cement plant.  It opens up and goes back to a bridge.  Run to the bridge and start fishing on the left side as soon as you go under it.  Fish all the way to where the bank turns back to the right at coordinates N 32 31.315 – W 87 47.331 or go to this spot and start fishing back toward the bridge.

     Boyd says this is a good early spot since it is a steep bank with a lot of wood cover along it.  You will see a metal gate running off the bank, too.  When the water temperature is 50 to 51 he likes to fish all along this 400 yard stretch, working the cover slowly and carefully. 

     Bass moving up will hold along this bank before moving on toward the back of the creek.  And French Creek tends to have bigger bass than most other areas so it is a good place to work during tournaments.  Florida strain largemouth were stocked from the bridge here for three years back in the mid 1980s and, although they have been diluted over time, their offspring still produce bigger bass than most other areas on the lake.

     7.  Go back to the bridge and start on the other side, the upstream side on your right going upstream.  Fish along the road bed around the point and into the small creek entering there. The bank is deeper from the bridge around the point and has wood cover then gets shallow in the creek.  Keep fishing the grass mats and razor grass edges all the way to the rail road bridge in the back of this small creek.  (no coordinates here –  pretty obvious what to fish from one  bridge to the next!)

     This creek is a good spawning area so the bass will first move up on the steeper bank then work their way in to the back to spawn.  You can follow them as the water warms this month.  Boyd says the bigger fish tend to spawn early on Demopolis and thinks the full moon in mid-March will be a heavy spawn. The bass should be moving into these areas all during February getting ready for it.

     8.  N 32 31.035 – W 87 47.149 – From the bridge run the left side of French Creek to the back to a dead cedar tree lying on the left bank. Start fishing at it and work toward the back of the slough, around the cove here. There are some power lines crossing in the very back of it.

     The left side of this cove where the cedar tree lies on the bank is a little deeper with some wood and grass patches.  The right side has razor grass beds.  Boyd says he will keep working around this cove over and over as long as he catches a bass on each pass.  He says you can often stay right here and limit out on good fish as they move in.

     9.  N 32 32.242 W 87 47.871 – Run up the river from the mouth of French Creek and you will pass a creek on your right that sometimes holds bass but often gets muddy since it opens up back on the river on the upper end.  Upstream of it is another slough that runs parallel to the river and is a good one.  Start fishing toward the back near the small island on the left side. Across from it is a ditch.

     Work both sides of this slough from the island to the ditch.  You will come to a beaver dam across the slough and then it opens up above it.  It is hard to get across this dam but when the bass are spawning it is a good area. In early February fish up to the dam then back out.

     If there is any current coming across the dam there will be bass in the small channels. The day we fished we spent a lot of time here since Boyd had caught a bunch of fish here two days earlier. We saw individual fish chasing shad and big groups of shad, a key to fishing since bass will follow the bait until they make their spawning move.

     Boyd impressed me the way he picked apart the cover and carefully worked different baits until he found what they wanted.  On a tough day with rising water and a hard cold front after cloudy, warm days for a week Boyd caught about 15 bass. Most of them and the biggest hit a spinnerbait he crawled on the bottom here. He kept working slower and slower until he found what the bass wanted.  If the fishing is tough keep working until you find what works that day.

     10.  N 32 33.587 – W 87 47.272 – Yellow Creek is a creek on the right after you go around the bend with Slough Creek on the left.  Boyd will go back into it to the left side of what used to be an island and is still shown as one on some maps.  It has silted in on the right side and is now a big razor grass flat. Go back to where it looks like there is a split then stay to your left.

     Go in and make a 90 degree turn to your left at the entrance.  Start on the left bank past the long point and work to the pocket upstream. Throw a spinnerbait in the more open water and flip a plastic bait to the edges of the razor grass. Stay to the left and work way back in here, especially if the water is warming.

     Fish these ten spots and see the kinds of places Boyd finds bass in February on Demopolis.  There are others similar to them but remember this lake fishes small.  Some of these places are worth fishing all day. Boyd says keep moving until you find some feeding fish then stick with them.

Can You Catch Largemouth Bass In January On The Mobile Delta

with Wayne Miller

     Cold weather this time of year makes many people want to go south for warmer climes.  Bass fishermen are no exception.  To find warmer water and more comfortable temperatures this time of year, and biting bass, plan a trip to the Mobile Delta.  It contains a wide variety of waters to fish and the bass are biting right now.

     The Mobile Delta region is an amazing place, especially to fishermen used to lakes and rivers in the north half of Alabama.  Looking at a map shows a maze of rivers, creeks, sloughs and lakes to fish.  The two main rivers, the Mobile River and the Tensaw River, twist and turn, with smaller rivers splitting off them and channels connecting all of them. 

     Tides affect water levels some every day but wind direction can make a big difference in how much. With no hills to block the wind it can create problems for the fisherman.  The good news is there are always protected places to fish and you can get out of the wind. Rain upstream changes water temperature and clarity as well as the amount of salt in the water.

     Usually a strong out-going tide is best for bass fishing. Dropping water will create current and position bass on cover, making them easier to find. Since the tide changes every day and wind make a big difference, check with Wayne to see what it is doing when you plan a trip. 

     Navigation can be a problem to the newcomer to the area and you have to watch for shoals, shallow flats, floating logs and barge traffic. And you can get turned around in a hurry if you don’t have a good GPS if you don’t pay close attention to where you are going.  It is a good idea to choose a small area to fish, put in at a ramp near there and go slow until you learn that area.

     Even with these problems the Delta is a great place to catch January bass.  They stay active due to the changing conditions and feed all month long.  They grow fast and fat but die young so you are likely to catch a lot of two to three pounders but a six pounder is a trophy.  Patterns are fairly simple and you don’t need a dozen rods rigged with different baits.

     Wayne Miller works at one of the big chemical plants and owns Fish’n Fever Tackle in Saraland.  His job at night allows him a lot of time to fish during the day since he seems to need little sleep.  Wayne spends a lot of time following the bass on the Delta and talking with bass fishermen there.  He guides for bass there, too.

     Fish’n Fever also sponsors a tournament trail on the Delta that averages more than 95 boats in each tournament. The tournaments in the warmer months attract a lot of fishermen and his championship at the end of the trail in October is always a hard fought event.  He also runs a winter trail in the area. You can get tournament info as well as river stages and weather reports at http://www.fishnfevertackle.com/

     Over the years Wayne fished a lot of BASS tournaments like the Top 150 trail. He also competes in local tournaments and has done well.  His best five bass limit from the Delta was just over 20 pounds and he has a 7.5 pound bass from the area, a huge bass here. Touring pros often contact him for information before tournaments here.

     In January the bass are in the creeks and lakes, according to Wayne.  They pull off the main rivers and are likely to be found holding in deeper holes and outside bends of the creeks away from the main current.  They like wood and water plants like eel grass, milfoil and spatterdocks. Cypress trees also attract bass where they grow in the water.

     The primary food for bass in January is crabs.  That may be a surprise to more northern anglers but think about it.  The Delta abounds in small crabs about the size of crayfish, a food most bass fishermen are very familiar with in upland lakes.  They also eat small baitfish this time of year.  Although shrimp are a favorite food for bass here, the shrimp are gone in January and not a factor.

     Wayne says three rods are all you need to catch bass now. Rig one with a jig and pig, one with a crankbait and the third with a spinnerbait and you can cover all bases for bass.  No matter what the cover you have a bait that will catch bass from it.

     Jigs like the Davis Bait Company Paca Jig, Strike King Pro Model and Lunker Lure Triple Rattleback are all good.    A one-quarter to three-eights ounce jig in black and blue, peanut butter and jelly or purple/brown work well. Wayne tips them with the Net Bait Paca Chunk in matching colors.

     For crankbaits Wayne likes the Bandit 100 and 200 Series in Spring Craw, Humblebee, Red Craw and Red Splatterback.    The Bagley Balsa series in black and chartreuse, crawfish orange and crawfish chartreuse are all good since they look like crabs.  A one-quarter to three-quarter ounce Rat-L-Trap in crawfish colors also work well.

     Spinnerbaits in colors that represent baitfish and crawfish are also good.  Wayne chooses a Hildebrant Snagless Sally in crawdad/professor with a #4 blade in the three eights ounce or #4.5 blade in the half ounce or a Mann’s Hank Parker three eights and  three quarter ounce with chartreuse/white  skirts and two gold willowleaf blades.  He also likes the War Eagle three-eights or one-half ounce Screamin Eagle. He says the further up the rivers you go the bigger your spinnerbait should be.

     If you love throwing plastic baits, as a fourth choice Wayne would have a 7.5 inch Culprit worm in Christmas color or a Zoom lizard in watermelon seed with a chartreuse tail ready.  You can Texas rig these plastics for flipping heavy cover or use a short Carolina rig for fishing wood on flats.

     Since the water is usually not real clear and barnacles are often on any wood cover you fish Wayne sticks with fairly heavy baitcasting tackle.  His reels will be spooled with braid or mono that is 14 pound test or heavier.  You need heavy, abrasion resistant line to get Delta fish out of cover that might be covered with sharp barnacles.

     Wayne showed me the following ten spots to catch January bass on the Delta. We fished when the shrimp were still in the area and the bass were keying on them, but they are gone now. We did catch some fish on spinnerbaits, jig and pigs and crankbaits but landed over 35 keepers on live shrimp.  You can catch bass like that now on artificials on the following places and patterns.

(Note – the following coordinates are in degrees, minutes and seconds [DGS), not the usual tenths of degrees {DS}.  You can set your GPS to either and it will convert them. Be sure you are set to DGS when you put these in then you can change back to DS and they will be correct.)

     1. N 30 43 50.4 – W 87 58 28.9 – Lower Crab Creek is one of Wayne’s favorite winter holes on the lower Delta.  It runs from the west side of the Tensaw River over to the Spanish River and Delvan Bay but you have to come in from the Tensaw end.  The GPS coordinates are at the Tensaw end where you enter. 

     You can start fishing right where you enter and work the whole creek or you can run it to the end near Delvan Bay.  The creek channel is well defined all along the length of the creek.   There is eel grass and milfoil and a little wood cover all along it that holds bass but Wayne’s favorite area is near the bay end. He will run down to near the first split on that end and start fishing, concentrating on the holes and points there.

     Some of the holes and outside bends are six to eight feet deep and that makes it ideal for bass to stack up there this time of year. Anytime a smaller creek splits off, but especially if it is on the outside bend, Wayne will make repeated casts to the area.  He also throws his crankbait right down the middle of the creek near those splits.

     Fish the whole creek but concentrate from the first split to the bay end.  Pitch a jig and pig to the grass and work a spinnerbait through it. Try your crankbait along the outside edges of the grass and across points and mouths of creeks.  Run it right down the middle of the creek, too. Wayne says he often catches 12 to 15 bass out of one spot here.

     2. N 30 43 33.2 – W 87 58 27.0 – On the east side of the Tensaw River across from and a little downstream of Crab Creek is Conway Creek.  The north side of this creek has deeper outside bends with water up to 12 feet deep.  The south side is flatter and shallower with grass. All along the length of this creek you will find eel grass, spatterdocks and milfoil to fish. There is also some wood cover to fish.

     Work the creek trying both sides and all the cover. Concentrate on the type area you catch fish. Wayne says the north side is usually better this time of year because it is deeper. Work all your baits around any cover you encounter. When you catch a bass slow down and fish that spot hard since the bass usually school up tight this time of year.

     3. N 30 44 18.0 – W 88 02 40.7 – Chickasaw Creek, also called Chickassbogue Creek because of the boat works in it, is on the west side of the Mobile River just north of the big bridge.  It has a deep main channel with many shallow creeks branching off it.  There are logs all along it but the further up you go the more wood you will find and there a cypress trees in the very back to fish.

     Fish crankbaits and spinnerbaits over the logs but also slow down with your jig and pig and work them carefully. Bass will be more sluggish in the colder water. Pitch your jig and pig to the base of cypress trees and try to find the root ball of bigger trees. Bass will often hold right by the trunk of the tree so try to hit it with your bait and let it fall straight down.  If they are in the roots you may have to really slow down to get in them.

     4. N 30 48 09.5 – W 88 00 52.2 – Moving to the middle Delta, Bayou Sara splits off the west side of the Mobile River on the west side of Twelve Mile Island. It has a deep main creek channel and a good bit of mixed grass near the river. There are a lot of cypress trees the further up it you go.  The water here is usually clear and it is a good place to try when the Delta is flooded with dirty water in other places.

     Wayne says to fish your crankbait and jig and pig here.  Work all visible cover. Also try dragging a short Carolina rig along flats and the outside of grass to find hidden cover and to attract sluggish bass.  Pitch a jig and pig to all cypress trees.

     Pay careful attention to where you get bit. Bass often hold on similar trees and similar places so if you are getting hits only on the outside tree, concentrate on them. If your bites are coming right beside the trunk make sure your bait falls straight down on a slack line.

     5. N 30 55 41.6 – W 87 54 43.1 – Mifflin Lake is on the west side of the Tensaw River near the I-65 crossing.  It has a deep channel with log covered flats and some stretches of deep cypress trees. Wayne says this is an excellent place to work a jig and pig and a crankbait in the winter and early spring.

     Fish the logs on the flats with both baits. Bass will be on them pre-spawn and are looking for bedding areas.  As the water warms in late winter, which comes early this far south, more and more bass will stack up on these flats.

     6. N 30 53 56.6 – W 87 53 38.3 – Dennis Lake is off the east side of the Tensaw River a little further downstream of the I-65 crossing and is a smaller version of Mifflin Lake.  Fish it the same way.  Smaller creeks like this one are better on windy days since you can find more protected water to fish. 

     Much of the shoreline here is lined with cypress trees to give you more protection and lots of targets.  Work each tree slowly and carefully until you find the keys.  Fish the whole area from the mouth to the back but watch for deeper holes that hold concentrations of fish.

     7. N 30 51 11.1 – W 87 54 45.9 – McReynolds Lake is on the west side of the Tensaw river just north of the railroad bridge and is a big lake with many small creeks branching off it.  Most of the cover here is grass of different kinds but some banks are covered with laydown logs and there are a few cypress trees to fish.  Spend some time in this area to locate fish, paying attention to the depth and type cover and you should be able to find fish in similar places all around it. This is a good place to spend a whole day.

     8. N 30 51 54.5 – W 87 59 12.5 – Dead Lake is on the west side of the Mobile River between the I-65 and Railroad bridges.  It is one of the smaller lakes in the middle Delta but there is lots of log covered banks and cypress trees to fish. 

     This is a good place to fish when a north wind blows water out of the Delta.  Dropping water on flats here make the bass move to the deeper ends of the logs and are easier to pattern. This is true of several of the areas so when the water is dropping more than  normal concentrate on the deepest end of the cover. 

     9. N 31 00 47.3 – W 87 54 00.9 – Tensaw Lake on the upper Delta is on the east side of the Tensw River north of the interstate bridge.  It has s deep channel covered with logs and deeper cypress trees.  Fish it from the creek mouth all the way to the upper end with crankbaits and a jig and pit. Wayne says this is another excellent winter and early spring spot.

     10. N 31 03 22.6 – W 87 59 53.6 – Cedar Creek off the west side of the Mobile River just downstream of where the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers join to form it. Wayne says it is a deep creek lined with cyress tree cover and is a good spot to work with bigger baits. It is a clear creek that produces bigger than average fish.  Stick with your bigger crankbaits and spinnerbaits here, and a jig and pig, for bigger bass.

     Many of these creeks and sloughs are big enough to spend a full day fishing. Often in tournaments the fishermen that gets to one of these spots and stays there all day brings in a winning stringer. Give them a try, check out similar areas and have a great winter bass trip.

     For current information, booking a guide trip with Wayne, tournament info and maps visit Fish’n Fever, check out the website or call Wayne at 251-675-6030.  If you know the area you want to fish he can also suggest nearby ramps to use.

Where and How To Catch December Bass at Lake Wedowee with GPS Coordinates To Ten Holes

with Lee Byrd

     Many bass fishermen get so involved with the holidays they don’t think much about fishing from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  That is a mistake.  Some of the best bass fishing of they year is in late November to the end of December and Lake Wedowee is one of the best lakes to catch heavy stringers this time of year.

     Wedowee is the newest Alabama Power lake and is officially known as R.L. Harris Reservoir.  Completed in 1983, it was formed by damming the Tallapoosa River.  It covers 10,660 acres and has 270 miles of shoreline and most of the upper lake on both the Tallapoosa and Little Tallapoosa Rivers are winding channels and steep banks.

     Spotted bass are very common in the lake to the point the Alabama DNR has places a special slot limit on largemouth only.  You must release all largemouth between 13 and 16 inches long.  When first implemented this slot limit also applied to spots but they were removed two years ago and it only applies to largemouth now. Anglers are encouraged to keep spots of all sizes, especially the smaller ones.

     Lee Byrd grew up fishing in Georgia with his grandfather. He says they went “junk” fishing for anything that would bite.  He started concentrating on bass when about 12 years old and joined the Marietta Bass Club, one of the best clubs in Georgia the week he turned 18. That was natural since his father Bill Byrd was a member and a well know bass fishermen throughout the state.

     Lee moved to Birmingham 12 years ago and now concentrates his fishing on Alabama lakes. He is in the Birmingham Bass Club and fishes the Bama BFL and plans on fishing the Weekend Series this next year. He also competes in some local tournaments.  He is on the Grammer Marine fishing team and is sponsored by Champion Boats.

     Lee started fishing Wedowee in the mid-1980s, as soon as if filled.  Then four years ago a friend, Bill Roberts, from the Washington, DC area started visiting in late November for some fishing and they chose Wedowee as the best lake for this time of year.   Each year they catch a lot of big bass. Last year the first day of their trip Lee’s best five weighing 27 pounds.  The next day his best five weighed 23 pounds.

     There are some quality largemouth in Wedowee and Lee tends to focus on them. That is a results of his tournament fishing where largemouth usually weigh more than spots.  He does catch a lot of spots, too, but most of the better spots weigh two to three pounds.

     Lee says the bass are easy to pattern in late November and all during December. He concentrates on three types of structure, all related to deep water and channels.  Points where the channel swings near them, bluff banks on the main lake and creek banks where the channel swings against them all produce bass this time of year. 

     You can catch fish on almost all such places right now but Lee refines his fishing more. He looks for transitions. Changes hold bass so he wants to find a point of bluff where the rocks change to clay or where the water color changes.  Temperature changes can be just as important. Lee says he will often run up a creek and watch his temperature gauge.  If there are two bluff banks where the temperature is 58 then the next three show lower temperatures, around 51 or so, he will concentrate on the second and third bluffs where the temperature changes.

     A variety of baits work well and temperature controls what Lee throws to some extent. If the water temperature is still in the upper 50s he sticks with more active baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits. When it hits the low 50s he relies on a jig and pig to catch most of his fish at Wedowee.

     Crankbaits with a tight wobble are Lee’s choice and he likes them in shad colors.  A Baby Little N or a Suddeth work well and have the wobble he likes.  Wooden baits are good and seem to do better, especially if the fishing is tough. Also, as a change-up, he will throw a bright chartreuse crankbait. That will sometimes produce hits when the shad colors are not drawing attention.

     Lee makes his own jigs and likes a three-eights to one–half ounce jig.  He will throw a quarter ounce jig if the fishing it tough and he wants a slower falling bait.  When the sun is out he fishes a brown or green pumpkin jig with a Zoom Super Chunk in green pumpkin or blue.  On cloudy and rainy days he uses a black jig and blue trailer.  Black and blue works better in off-color water.  For some reason Lee has found black and blue is good in very clear water, too.

     The bass are usually holding eight to 25 feet deep this time of year so Lee works those depths until he zeros in on a more specific depth.  If you are regularly catching fish at a set depth, concentrate on it.  Sunny or cloudy days don’t really affect the bite much other then which color Lee throws. He says a little wind helps move the baitfish so wind blown banks can be better.

     Lee concentrates on the upper one-third of the Little Tallapoosa and Tallapossa Rivers but there are some good areas down the lake, too.  You can pick and area to launch and stay nearby, there is no need to run all over the lake to find fish.

     The following ten spots are some of Lee’s favorites.  They are on different parts of the lake so some will be near you wherever you launch. Check them out and you will find many similar places nearby.

     1. N 33 21.098 – W 85 30.851 – Just upstream and across the river from the mouth of Wedowee Creek is an excellent example of the kind of  point Lee likes to fish this time of year.  It is on the upstream side of a cove that has a single small dock with a tin roof way back in it.  There are no houses on either side of the cove that you can see and both points are natural woods.

     The upstream point is at the end of a bluff wall and is a transition from a steep rock face to a flatter clay and rock bottom.  The channel runs right along the outside of the point but it is flatter on top and the point runs out shallow across the mouth of the cove for a short distance.

     Start with your boat on the river side and cast a crankbait across it, fishing it shallow to deep.  Fish all the way around the point making fan casts to cover all of it.  You can do the same with a spinnerbait if the water is in the upper 50s. Try hopping a jig and pig down the point from all angles if the water is in the lower 50s.

     2.  N 33 20.544 – W 85 30.572 – Run into Wedowee Creek and the channel makes a sharp bend to the right.  On your left you will see a white dock at the start of the sheer rock bluff.  Start fishing at this dock and work down the bluff, past a deck that is just above the full pool mark.   Not far past the deck is a small cove. Fish around it past the small gray house sitting on top of a concrete vertical foundation.  There is a fish feeder at it and you will see some small pine seedlings in the gutter.

     Keep your boat parallel to the bluff and work your crankbait and spinnerbait parallel to the rocks.  Cast right to the bank and fish the bait at an angle that keeps it close since the bottom drops off very fast.  Also try hopping a jig and pig down the face of the rocks.

     3.  N 33 20.523 – W 85 30.692 – Across the creek there is a point and a bluff wall where the creek makes a bend back to the left.  Start at the wooden dock on your right on the point.  It has a shingle roof and the house up on the point has a big deck around it. It is near where the bottom changes from a flatter clay area to a sheer vertical rock wall.    

     Fish all your baits along this bank, trying different speeds and depths.  You can fish all the way around past the five docks to the next transition where the channel moves to the left and the bottom flattens out a little more.  All along here watch for changes – a tree in the water, a change in water color or even the shadow from the docks to fish hard since the bass will hold on any change.

     4.  N 33 19.577 – W 85 32.117 – Headed down the river the channel makes a big “U” turn, swinging to your left then back to your right. On the outside of the “U” two coves cut back in offering a change.  Start fishing on the downstream point of the upstream cove.  It has some big rocks out in the water off the bank so stop way off it and ease in until you learn how far out they go.

     You will see two big whitish rocks at the top of the rock wall just downstream of the point. They sit right at the high water mark.  This point makes a change from big rocks under water to a steep rock bank.  I caught a chunky two pound spot just downstream from the point in early November on a jig and pig.

     Fish from the point down the bank, staying on the outside of it.  Fish the rocks on the point with a variety of baits then fish down the rock wall to the floating dock with a yellow slide and blue diving board on it.  On the downstream side of this dock is some brush that will still be in the water if it is not too low. The brush makes a nice change to fish and it holds bass.

     Fish on down past the deck at the high water level working crankbaits and spinnerbaits parallel to the rocks and hopping a jig down them.  When fishing a steep wall like this cast your jig and pig to the bank and let it hit bottom. Work it back with tiny hops of your rod tip, barely moving your rod tip. The jig will fall several inches to several feet with just a tiny movement of your rod tip.

     5.  N 33 19.451 – W 85 32.250 – The point at the end of the bluff wall in hole #4 is another good transition.  The bluff bank stops and a flatter point extends out, dropping off fast on both sides but with some shallow water on top. There is a floating dock attached to a dock on post with lattice around it. There is also a yellow boat house with a wooden ramp in front of it.

     Back off the point and make long casts with a crankbait and spinnerbait to cover the water from the top of the point down. Fish all the way around it, hitting it from all angles. Then go back around it with a jig and pig. You can make bigger hops here since the bottom does not drop quite as fast.

     6. N 33 17.703 – W 85 37.674 – If you put in on the lower lake the banks look very different but the channel swings still hold bass. Go in behind the big islands on the north side of the lake.  Be careful in this area there is lots of standing timber here. With the water down you can see most of it and know where to keep your boat.

     If you are coming downstream and go in behind them on the upstream side you will see a hump on your left with a danger buoy on it. With the water down it will be lying on top of the hump. All around the hump is standing timber. Across from this hump the channel makes a sharp turn to your left and there is another marked hump on your right. 

     Ease over to this hump that marks the end of a long point. The channel swings in on both sides of it, making it an excellent place to catch bass.  The best areas are where the channel swings in closest and the bottom makes the steepest drop.  Work all around this hump and point, keeping your bait out in the timber and fishing back.

     The bass might be holding suspended down along the tree trunks so fish your spinnerbait and crankbait through the timber as well as working the bottom.  It is harder to fish a place like this but it often pays off in bigger fish.

     7. N 33 17.961 – W 85 38.141 – Shad move into the creeks when the water temperature is below 60 degrees, according to Lee, and the bass will follow them.  Run into Fox Creek past the ramp and power lines.  The creek makes a fork and the point between the two arms is an excellent point to fish.  As you go up the creek one arm goes ahead and to the left and another makes a sharp turn to the right.  On top of the point is a dead kudzu field and a dirt track comes down to the water on the left side facing it and goes up the right side where people come to the bank to fish.

     Start fishing on the left side of the point facing it and work around it.  There are smaller points sticking out from the main point and some rock piles on them.  All make transitions where the bass hold. On the upper side the channel swings in then back out, making another transition area to fish.  Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jig and pig are all good here.

     8.  N 33 20.313 – W 85 35.855 – Up the Tallapoosa River are some good spots, too.  There are fewer houses up this way and the channel is actually narrower then the Little Tallapoosa.  There is also a lot of standing timber along the banks.

     Run up past Indian Creek on your left and watch for a cove on your right.  The upstream point of the cove is the end of a bluff wall.  There is a sign nailed to a tree standing in the water across the river from the point advertising “Camping and Restrooms” with a phone number and arrow pointing upstream.  The fish often stack up on the point and they will also hold along the bluff bank upstream of the point. Work around the point with all your baits then fish up the bluff bank some, too. 

     Lee says the fish change year to year and even day to day.  If you found fish on the point the last time you fished there is a good chance they are still there, or on structure nearby. Vary your bait color, speed and depth of retrieve until you find them.

     9. N 33 21.174 – W 85 34.994 – Up the river on your right is a cove with a sign on a point back in the middle of it saying “Ratley’s Cove.”  The upstream point of the cove had a bunch of mallard decoys on it when I was there and there are big orange balls floating in the water off both points of the cove.

     Fish the bluff wall starting at the upstream point and working up. There are a lot of docks along this bluff wall and you should try all your baits, fishing all the way to the next cove. Watch for anything that is different and make casts to it.

     This bank as others on the east side of both rivers will stay shady for a good while during the day. Shade can also be a transition area and sometimes the bass like to hold in shady areas go check them out.

     10.  N 33 22.241 – W 85 35.873 – Head upstream to where the channel makes a sharp bend back to your right. There is a creek entering here and the mouth if full of standing timber. There are two big trees standing out in the water and one of them has an osprey nest in it.  A bluff bank runs above and below this creek. Fish both sides along the bank, working your baits on the rocks as well as in the trees.

     Here and in the other bluff banks Lee says to keep your boat in 25 to 40 feet of water when fishing a jig and pig. Make short casts ahead of the boat and hop your bait down the bank. Don’t get in too close. Let your jig fall on a slack line so you don’t pull it away from the bottom on each hop.  Let is sit a few seconds them make another small pull. Your jig will fall several feet even on slack line on a very small pull of your rod tip.

     These ten spots show you the kinds of places Lee likes to catch Wedowee bass this time of year.  Try them, see what he is talking about and you will find many other similar places all over the lake to fish.

Where and How To Catch June Lay Lake Bass with GPS Coordinates for Ten Spots

with Ryan Branch

Big largemouth feeding in the grass.  Coosa spots gorging on points in current.  Both species are easy to pattern and catch this month on Lay Lake.

    Lay is a 12,000-acre Alabama Power reservoir on the Coosa River south of I-20, running from its dam to the Logan Martin Dam.  Its shoreline is lined with a variety of grass and lily pads, and docks are on most banks.  Many creeks and sloughs enter it on both sides.

    Ryan Branch grew up near Birmingham in Destadia Hills where he fished on the local high school team and now fishes with the West Alabama College team.  Although his parents didn’t fish, local angler Bill Bonner took him under his wing, acting as boat captain and getting him into tournament fishing in the Anglers for Kids group.

    Ryan credits much of his skills to reading magazines and the internet.  He said he would pick a lure, watch and read all he could about fishing it, then go to local ponds to hone what he had learned.  He took it step by step to reach his current skill level.

    Lay is Ryan’s favorite lake and he fishes it often.  He has learned to catch both largemouth and spots on the lake, and June is a great month to catch both. 

    “I like to cover water all day, looking for feeding fish on a couple different pattern,” Ryan said.  His favorite way of catching them is flipping grass but he catches fish on a variety of patterns and baits.

    For June, Ryan ties on a frog, swim jig, and flipping bait for the grass.  He also rigs a shaky head, swim bait and drop shot for fishing current for spots. He has a few other baits to cast in specific situations, too.  Largemouth win most tournaments but it is easier to catch numbers of spots.

    We fished Lay in early May and caught fish on most of the following ten spots.  Although Ryan said the bass were in a post spawn “funk’” not feeding much for about a week, we still caught fish all day and had some quality fish.  These spots will be much better now and for the rest of the month.

    1. N 33 10.631 – W 86 31.629 – If you put in at Beeswax Ramp, go under the bridge. The creek splits and a big grass bed is in the mouth of the right fork.  Bass released at the ramp constantly restock this area, so it has a high concentration of fish.

    There is a channel running down the right bank as you face up the right channel, and another channel runs down the middle. There are points with grass on them on both sides of the channels.

    Ryan starts on the point on the right closest to the bank and fish a bluegill colored Spro Popping Frog early in the morning, and other low light conditions. He switches to a black frog when the sun is up, working the frog through the grass and across the points in it.

   
    Watch and listen for activity in the grass. If you see any movement, grass moving, swirls or splashes, cast to it. Also hit any openings back in the grass. If you hear bream “popping,” indicating they are feeding in the grass, the bass are likely to be feeding on them.

    When the sun is bright on the grass, drop a punch bait through the grass. Be sure to hit the thickest spots and any isolated clumps out from the main grass bed, too.

    2.  N 33 11.680 – W 86 30.238 – Run up the river and go into Bulley Creek. There is a small island about half way back and the channel runs between it and the right bank.  Stop at the house with the cut yard running down to the water and start fishing upstream along the right bank.

    Fish your frog in the water willow grass here. This bank stays shady for a while in the morning so it can be better for the frog later than places that get early sun.  After fishing up the right bank to across from the upper end of the island, go across to the island and fish it, too. Work the channel side around the downstream point and up the opposite side until it gets very shallow.

    Try a swim jig in this grass and all other grass.  Ryan casts a white Super Cotton three eights ounce jig with a matching Zoom Z Craw when the bass are eating shad but switches to a March Madness black and blue jig and trailer with the main food is bluegill. Also punch the thicker mats.

    3.  N 33 11.410 – W 86 29.932 – Back out at the mouth of Bulley Creek, the downstream point is flat and shallow but slopes out and drops into the river channel.  The creek channel swings in by the point, too.  Spots group up on the point and feed, especially when current is moving.

    Stop out on the river side of the point with your boat in about seven feet of water and fan cast the point, toward the bank as well as toward both channels.  Ryan fishes both a shaky head worm and drop shot here. He rigs a morning dawn color Reaction Innovation Flirt worm 10 to 12 inches above a one quarter to three eights ounce sinker, using the heavier weight in stronger current.

    Work around the whole point and check the upstream point at the green channel marker 43.  Drag the drops shot slowly, twitching the rod tip to make the worm wiggle.  Bump the bottom with a shaky head worm the same way. Ryan caught a good keeper spot here when we fished.

    4. N 33 14.567 – W 86 27.455 – Up the river the discharges from the power plant produces current that attracts spots and largemouth.  Its on the outside bend of the river and the water is 25 feet deep just off the bank.  The current is so strong it can be hard to fish, but worth it.

    Ryan stops about 20 yards off the bank about 50 yards downstream of the lower discharge and casts a green pumpkin three quarters ounce Buckeye Ballin Out jig with a matching Zoom Z Craw trailer close to the bank.  Cast upstream and work it back to the boat with the current, keeping it on the rocks, working down them to 20 feet deep.  He says you will get hung but can catch some good fish doing this. Work your jig all the way up past the upstream discharge.

    Also throw a Tennessee Shad Kitech 4.3 swim bait on a half-ounce Dirty Jigs jig head.  Cast it to the seams and eddies in the current and swim it back with the current in a natural movement.  Be ready to set the hook fast, the current pulling your line lets the fish know to spit it out fast. I lost a 3.5-pound spot that hit my swim bait and jumped and threw it because I didn’t get a good hookset.

    5.  N 33 14.617 – W 86 26.820 – On up the river, Yellowleaf Creek enters the river on your left.  The
downstream point is another good place to find spots and the occasional largemouth schooled up feeding in the current.

    Stop out on the point in about 20 feet of water and idle over it, looking for brush and fish.  Wood washes in and hangs on the point but it changes often with the current changes, so you need to find it. When you locate either, back off and cast drop shot, shaky head and jig and pig to it, working all around the area holding fish.

    Ryan rigs a green pumpkin or Junebug Trick worm on a one quarter to one half ounce Davis head.  Use the heavier head in current but the lighter head will get hung less if the current allows you to work it. Current does help the bite here and similar places.

    Ryan says he catches about 95 percent spots here, but some largemouth do user the area.  He added you can catch 30 fish here on a June day with current moving, and he landed a couple nice spots the day we fish, although it was early for them to be on this pattern.

    6.  N 33 12.037 – W 86 28.994 – Going back down the lake Dry Branch is on your right. Across from it and a little downstream, a small pocket has a downstream grassy point running out across the mouth of it. It is very shallow but creates a good ledge where it runs out and drops into the river channel.

    Keep your boat in the channel in 20 feet of water and cast your drop shot, jig and pig and shaky head toward the grassy point. Work those baits from three to 15 feet deep, keeping in contact with the bottom.  Angle your casts upstream to move your bait in a natural motion with the current. 

    Fish from the dock on the river just down the from the point up to the middle of the cove where the grass on the point ends.  Work slowly and probe for any wood cove hung on the bottom.  When you hit it make several casts to it with different baits.

    7.  N 33 08.560 – W 86 28.980 – Going down the river past Beeswax Creek, Kelly Creek enters on your right where the river makes a bend to the left. The point turns into a bluff bank going downstream.  There are rocks and brush on the point, and current is concentrated by the outside bend.

    Stop out even with the point in about 20 feet of water and cast to the point, working shaky head, drop shot and jig and pig down the slope.  Fish from the end of the point in the mouth of the creek about 200 yards down the bluff bank.  This place holds mostly spots with the rock and current.

    When fishing a drop shot, Ryan keeps his sinker on the bottom and slides it along slowly, shaking his rod tip constantly to make the worm dance. With the shaky head, he starts with aggressive shakes and moves it fast, but he will slow down dragging it along with little action if he does not get bit. Try different actions until the bass show him the action they want.

    8.  N 33 09.237 – W 86 26.803 – The Cedar Creek Road Bridge is a good concentration area for bass this month. Late spawners are joining earlier ones that stopped to feed on the bridge, and shad have been spawning here in May, so many bass are still holding around the riprap, especially early in the month.

    Ryan fishes the long, left side riprap and says the downstream side is best.  Some current coming under the bridge will concentrate them on the corners, but they feed all along the rocks.

    Try your shaky head worm, but Ryan will also fish a white and chartreuse chatterbait and shad colored squarebill here.  Try to bump the rocks with both those baits then follow up with your shaky head in any area you get bites on the faster moving baits.

    9.  N 33 16.634 – W 86 29.553 – Down the river around the bend to right, as the channel turns left, a small double creek with Okomo Marina in the back enters on your right.  It is lined with docks and has some grass in it.

    Start at the downstream point and work the docks inside the cove.  Ryan fishes them with a green pumpkin three eights ounce Ballin Jig with matching trailer and a Texas rigged green pumpkin Baby Brush Hog behind a three eights ounce sinker.  In muddy water, go to black and blue on both baits.

    Also skip your baits into shady areas along the seawall here. Pay attention to where you get bites and look for a pattern on the docks and in the shade. Bass tend to set up in the same places on docks all down the bank, so concentrate your pitches to those places when you get the pattern.

    When you get to the back, punch the mats with your punch bait. Ryan rigs a black and blue Sweet Beaver behind a one-ounce tungsten bait to punch them. He caught our best bass of the day here, a largemouth pushing five pounds.  It hit in a small mat out from the main bed.

    10.  N 33 04.974 – W 86 30.874 – A little further downstream, a big island sits in the mouth of Spring Creek.  The river side of it drops off fast with a clay bank back off the water. It has a good grass bed running from the point where there is a danger marker for stumps down the outside bank. 

    Ryan says there is usually a lot of baitfish in this area, concentrating the bass. Fish your frog and swim jig in this grass.  If you see a thick patch, punch it.  Work this area slowly and carefully if you get bit since schools of bass often hold over deep water and run in to the grass to feed.

    Try these places with Ryan’s bait choices or yours, find the pattern and use it on other places for Lay bass this month.

Ryan is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ryan.branch.3511

How and Where To Catch April Alabama River Bass with GPS Coordinates

with Sean Murphy

Alabama River spots spawning on main river sandbars and rocks.  Largemouth spawning in sloughs and creeks.  This is a great time to catch both during prespawn, post spawn and bedding.

The Alabama River runs from the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers near Montgomery 105 miles southeast in twisting, turning loops.  It is well known for big spots but has a good population of quality largemouth, too.

Sean Murphy is a senior at Auburn on the fishing team.  He grew up in Lutz, Florida near Tampa and got started fishing at a very young age, but the first bass he caught in a pond near home hooked him on bass.  He chose Auburn mainly for its Aviation program but the bass fishing team there helped him make his decision.

“Team members took me under their wing and taught me a lot about catching bass,” Sean said.  Fishing Alabama lakes and rivers is very different from Florida waters and he had to learn to adapt to new methods to catch bass.  He has learned well.

“Both species of bass on the River are in the spawning mood in April,” Sean said.  The spots don’t like to move far from the river current to spawn, but largemouth will go back shallow in sloughs and creeks.  Spots will bed on sandbars and rocks near the river, but largemouth look for hard bottoms a long way from the current.

For the two different methods of fishing Sean will have two groups of baits ready.  For largemouth, a bladed jig, jig and pig, Carolina rig and spinnerbait cover the bedding areas around grass and pads. When trying for spots he uses a rattlebait and medium diving crankbait. The jig and pig and Carolina rig work for them, too.

We got on the river in early March when it was running eight feet high and the current was so strong it was almost impossible to fish on the river.  If those conditions persist, fishing for largemouth will probably be your best bet but you can catch spots even under those conditions if you work at it.

1. N 33 26.346 – W 86 23.445 – Cooters Pond near Prattsville is a good central ramp for these spots. It is near the mouth of a big slough and a creek enters in the back at the golf cart bridge.  There is standing timber and stumps all through it where largemouth stage, then move to the shallows to feed.

Idle toward the bridge, it is very shallow and dangerous if you don’t know it.  From the timber patch on the left facing the bridge to it and down the other side is a big lily pad field.  Lily pads indicate a hard bottom where bass like to spawn.

Cast a bladed jig and jig and pig around the timber for both pre and post spawn largemouth.  If a cold front pushes the fish back from the bedding areas, they will move to the trees until conditions get better, too.  Sean likes a three eights ounce black and blue bait in stained water and a green pumpkin jig in clearer water, with a matching three-inch swim bait trailer.  He will also pitch a jig to a visible tree, let it sink beside it then work it back to the boat, hitting hidden wood.

Run your bladed jig through lily pad fields, too. Early in the month stems may be all you see, but they indicate places to cast just like the pads do.  Fish all around the bridge on both sides and watch for the small channel coming under it.

2.  N 32 25.838 – W 86 23.914 – The canal going out to the river from the Cooter Pond ramp offers a highway for largemouth moving in and out to feed.  Across from the downstream end of the old docks there is a hole near the opposite bank where the channel runs right by it. It was 20 feet deep the day we fished, so at normal pool it is about 12 feet deep.

Bass stack up in this hole and it, like hole 1, is constantly restocked with released bass.  Sean gets in close to the wood on this bank and flips a jig and pig to all the cover. There are limbs right on top and many deeper ones you can’t see. Work them all.

Sean flips a custom made Spotsticker  green pumpkin and blue three eights to three quarter ounce jig, depending on current, and puts a three-inch swim bait trailer on it. If the water is heavily stained, he goes with black and blue.  He wants to get his jig right in the bass’s face, so he covers the water thoroughly and carefully.

3.   N 32 25.759 – W 86 23.496 – Go out to the river and go upstream past the island where the canal comes out.  Cooters Pond opens up here and there is a good sandbar off the upstream point.  Spots bed on the sandbar and sandy bottom along it to the point of the island back in the slough a short distance. 

Idle in even with the upstream point and fish from it to the end of the island.  Spots stage here both pre and post spawn, and bed on the sand, so it is good all month.  There are scattered stumps on it, too, that are key places for them.

This is a good place to bump the bottom with a crankbait and drag a Carolina rig all over it. Sean rigs a dark colored lizard about six inches above a three quarters ounce sinker and covers the whole area with it. Fish from two feet deep back to the boat.

4.  N 32 24.675 – W 86 24.094 – Run down the river until you see the highway 31 bridge.  On your left a small creek enters the river and is a holding and spawning area for both spots and largemouth.  Spots will be on the upstream point largemouth will be there, too, as they move in and out. 

Fish both crankbait and Carolina rig on the point, bumping bottom from all angles.  Sean fishes a shad or chartreuse with black back colored bait that runs six feet deep. Drag a lizard all over it, too.

For bedding largemouth, work into the creek as far as you can go, depending on water level. Pitch your jig and pig to all the wood cover on both sides. Try to get it right on the bank under overhanging limbs and drag it along the bottom.  Run a bladed bait through any grass.  Here and other places you may see fish on the bed if the water is clear, and you can sight fish for them.

5.  N 32 24.684 – W 86 24.261 – Spots love to hold on offshore rocks and there is a good ledge just downstream of hole 4.  If you idle downstream toward the bridge about 50 feet off the left bank and watch a side scan sonar, you can see the rocks as they come off the bank and drop down.  There is a wooden structure that looks like a box deer stand and the rocks are just upstream of it.

When you find them, sit downstream of them and cast a jig and pig upstream far enough to get it down to the rocks.   If the current is running strong, you need to go to a heavier jig, up to three quarters an ounce.  Fish it slowly, keeping it right on the rocks and it comes down current with a natural action.

6. N 32 24.098 – W 86 26.637 – Go under the highway 31 bridge. There is an open pasture along the right bank. Where it stops at the end of a small bluff bank a small creek enters the river.  The downstream point of this creek runs upstream and has stumps on it.  It is a good holding area for both species and spots bed on it, too.

Stop just downstream of the ditch and cast a crankbait and Carolina rig upstream, working them back with the current.  In places like this Shawn will also fish a rattlebait like a gold with black back Rat-L-Trap over the point for both species.  Probe with your Carolina rig for stumps and stop it when you hit one. Both species will hold on the downstream eddy of them and spots will be there, too.

Then work into the ditch, fishing the wood cover on the upstream side as well as on both sides of it. Sean says he moves more and covers water with bladed bait and spinnerbait when looking for largemouth in most places but sits in one place more and covers specific areas for spots since they tend to stack up more in one place

A spinnerbait works better here and other places with lots of wood cover since you can bump it without getting hung up as easily.  Sean chooses a three eights ounce white Spotsticker spinnerbait with silver willowleaf blades around all wood cover as well as pads and other grass.

7.  N 32 24.923 – W 86 22.071 – Go back up the river past Cooters Pond. In the long straight section past the bend, power lines cross the river. On the right side the base of the tower is in the water near the bank.  There is gravel and rocks around the bottom of it and wood is usually hung up on it from the top of the water down to the bottom.

Spots hold here and will spawn around it, too, and Sean says he can almost always catch a fish on it.  The key area is the outside corner. He will position his boat downstream of it and cast rattlebait or crankbait up past the wood and concrete pilings and work them with the current along them.  Fish both baits through the eddies formed by wood and pilings, too.

8.  N 32 24.495 – W 86 22.028 – A little further upstream the river opens up a little as it swings to the left.  There is a round point on the right where it opens up that drops fast and has rocks on it. Spots hold on this deep point, they like a place where they can change depth quickly. Work your jig and pig from the edge of the water down ten feet or deeper.

As you round the point going upstream, the water is shallower near the bank.  Largemouth hold on wood and any grass all along this bank and Sean will fish upstream all the way to the house several hundred yards away. Cast spinnerbait, bladed jig and jig and pig to all the wood cover and grass along this bank.

9.  N 32 23.904 – W 86 21.278 – A little way upstream the river narrows back down some and a big slough is off to the right behind an island.  The opening to has a smaller island in it.  It is sandy and spots bed here, and both species stage on the point of the small island.  

Fish the point with all your baits, using crankbait, spinnerbait, rattlebait, crankbait and Carolina rig on the sand. Then fish back into the slough with your largemouth baits. Work all the wood cover and watch for bedding fish if the water is clear enough to see them.

If the water is stained but warm enough for them to be bedding, a Carolina rigged lizard or jig and pig dragged slowly along the bottom will get bedding fish you can’t see to hit.  Fish fast if you think they have not gone on the bed yet, but slow down it the water is warm enough for them to be on the beds, especially around the full moon this month.

10.  N 32 23.787 – W 86 21.120 – Going upstream, a golf course runs along the bank. There is a small wooden deck right on the water and the bank on both sides of it is riprap.  There is natural rock along the bank, too.

Fish all the rocks with crankbait, spinnerbait and jig.  Watch for a drain pipe on the bank, it is a key place for bass to hold. Work all this bank carefully, spots and some largemouth stack up on it in April.

Just upstream of this bank an island sits not far off it. The area behind the island is shallow and is a good spawning area. Work it for largemouth bedding on the sandy bottom.

All these places are good right now and will be all month long.  Give them a try, look at the kinds of places Sean fishes, and you can find many more on the river.

You can see some of Sean’s catches on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sean.murphy.3781

Where and How To Catch February Millers Ferry Bass with Ten GPS Coordinates

February Millers Ferry Bass with Billy Black

Spots schooling up on creek and slough mouths withh largemouth moving into shallows to feed.  Pre-spawn is a great time to fish Millers Ferry, it is getting started now and is stronger all this month.

Millers Ferry, also known as William B. Dannely Reservoir, is on the Alabama River south of Selma.  It is mostly a river run lake with many acres of shallow sloughs, backouts and creeks.  The shallows are full of wood and grass cover where largemouth live.  Alabama spots prefer to live on or near them main river.

Billy Black lives in Monroeville where he is fire chief.  He fished the river for anything that would bite when younger but got into bass fishing in the late 1980s.  In 1991 he helped form the Monroeville County Bass Anglers and they fish several tournaments each year on the river. 

He fishes the Alabama BASS Federation Tournaments and Fishers of Men trails most years, and has fished the Alabama Bass Trail tournaments as well as area charity and pot tournaments. He knows Millers well.  

“In late January both spots and largemouth start getting the urge to spawn,” Billy said.  Spots set up on river points at the mouths of sloughs and creeks, staying near current and deeper water. Largemouth move further back into the shallows, feeding around wood and grass cover to get ready for bedding.

    Billy is prepared to fish both patterns this time of year. In a tournament he usually tries to catch a limit of spots then go looking for bigger largemouth to cull up.  You can catch more spots but the largemouth, although providing fewer bites, will be bigger.

    “The problem with Millers, like other river lakes, is rain upstream can blow them out and mess up fishing for a few days,” Billy said. That has been a problem since December, when heavy rains made the river rise and get muddy repeatedly.

    For spots, Billy rigs a crankbait, Carolina Rig and jig and pig, for fishing points and deeper water.  For shallow largemouth he likes a squarebill crankbait, bladed jig, swim jig spinnerbait, jig and pig and punch bait for covering the different kinds of cover.

    We fished the day after Christmas.  Billy warned me the river was full and stained, but much more rain was predicted over the next two weeks, making it worse. We put in at Ellis Ferry and the water was at the top of the ramp, but the dock was above water. The next week the dock was covered, and water came half way up in the parking lot.

    The following places are good right now and get better all month for both species.

    1.  N 32 03.308 – W 87 18.710 – The upstream point at the mouth of Gee’s Bend has a marker buoy where the ferry crosses it.  The river channel swings in on the outside and the creek channel is on the back side of this long point, offering good access to deeper water both ways.  Largemouth stop and feed here on their way into the flats and spots hold on it all the time.

    This point has a clay bottom with scattered shell beds, and there is usually some brush that has washed in and hung up on it.  Current coming down the river makes the bite, especially for spots, much better.

    Stop near the buoy and try a crankbait and Carolina rig on it.  Billy uses a chartreuse with black or blue back Strike King 5 or 6 XD or Bomber to bump the bottom.  Start out in deeper water, keeping your boat well off the point and cast across it, bumping the top.  Watch your electronics for brush on the bottom and mark it when you see it.

    Fish all the way around the point, covering both sides and the end.  Then drag your Carolina Rig all over the point, too.  Concentrate on brush and shell beds you find. Also try a jig and pig in the brush here.

    You can spend all day here and catch fish as they move up and feed or hit it several times during the day hoping to be there at the right time.  Billy said a six-pound, four-ounce bass here in his last tournament so it offers the possibility of big fish as well as numbers.

    2.  N 32 02.771 – W 87 15.963 – Upstream around the bend Bridgeport Landing is on your right.  A line of small islands goes across the mouth of the big slough here and the river channel runs right along the outside bank of the downstream one.  The water comes up fast and the point is very shallow out on the point.

    Stop out from the point in the river and fish crankbait and Carolina rig from the shallows down the drop. Billy will rig a Junebug Fluke or Baby Brush Hog on a 12 to 18-inch leader with a one-ounce sinker.  Fish it so it stays on the bottom on the steep drop.

    Work up toward the end of the point with grass on it, then cast upstream parallel to the bank.  There is always wood cover on the bottom and fish hold on it.  Switch to a jig and pig to more effectively fish the brush with fewer hang-ups. Try to bump through all the wood you can hit, moving your bait with the current.

    3.  N 32 03.329 – W 87 15.500 – Across the river a little upstream, Gold Mine Slough is on your left.  The first small entrance to it between two islands is another example of the kind of places bass use, with current hitting it and a ditch dumping into deep water with shallow points and a drop.

    The mouth of the ditch is only about two feet deep, but the channel is about 20 feet deep. Keep your boat in the deep water and cast crankbait and Carolina Rig into the ditch, bumping the bottom down the drop out to 12 feet deep. Cover both points on the ditch.

     After fishing across the drop, move in near the downstream point and cast upstream, running both crankbait and Carolina Rig across the ditch mouth, moving them with the current. There is some key wood here to hit.  Then work on up across the ditch upstream, casting to the wood and grass on the bank with a bladed jig and jig and pig.  Some fish move in to it to feed.

    4.  N 32 03.431 – W 87 15.432 – Across the river upstream there is an entrance to Ladell’s Slough in front of the campground at Roland Cooper Sate Park.  There is a small island in the middle of it and there was a big log jam off the downstream point just inside the slough when we fished. The water drops fast from four to 25 feet deep across the mouth of the entrance.

    Fish across it like the others, working from the downstream point upstream.  Make a few casts to the log jam with a jig and pig but concentrate on the drop.    Fish across it as well as parallel to it with crankbait and Carolina Rig.  Billy says it is important to keep your crankbait bumping the bottom as much as possible.

    5. N. 32 04.954 – W 87 14.221 – At the upstream point water several feet deep runs along the left bank if you go into it but it runs a long way parallel to the river. We went into the slough behind the upstream point and fished the grass and wood along the bank to see if fish were here, then idled through the shallows and stump fields to the highway 43 Bridge back in the slough.  When you get to the bride start in the pocket on the downstream side to the left facing upstream. Work the wood and brush out to the bridge, then fish all around the bridge, hitting riprap and pilings.  

    You will catch mostly largemouth back in here as they move in to spawn.  The bridge is a pinch point that concentrates them and offers them as good feeding place. 

    Billy uses a Strike King 1.5 or 2.5 squarebill and a chatterbait around the rocks, pilings and wood here He likes a Jackhammer chartreuse and white bait with a matching trailer in stained water but switches to a green pumpkin bait with matching trailer in clearer water.

    Hit both sides of the bridge and try upstream of it around the grass and stumps. This slough is full of stumps above the bridge so be careful. 

    6. N 32 04.240 – W 87 14.592 – Go back out to the main mouth of Ladell’s Slough just past the standing timber downstream of the bridge.  It drops deeper in the middle without a ledge across the mouth but the points on both sides are good.  The bottom is sandy with some hard clay spots in it.

    Go back to crankbait and Carolina Rig to bump and drag the mostly clean bottom.  Fish the upstream point from the middle of the ditch, fan casting all over it from the inside to the outside.  Billy drags he rig along the bottom letting the current move his bait.

    Try that angle on the downstream point, too, but current will set the bass up to be facing upstream.  Work out to the river side of that point and cast to the middle of the ditch, moving it up the slope. 
You will catch both spots and largemouth here since it opens up to vast spawning areas.

    7. N 32 05.590 – W 87 15.607 – Foster Creek is the next creek upstream on the left.  After going through the narrow opening it opens up and the channel is to the right after going around a shallow point on that side.  The bank just past the first little pocket on the right side drops off into ten feet of water, has lots of wood and grass, and the water is usually clearer in here than on the river.

    Billy says the biggest Miller’s Ferry bass ever weighed in his club came from here, an eight pounder. This bank faces south so it warms faster than some other areas, and this draws the largemouth to it.

    Billy keeps his boat in ten feet of water and fishes up the bank, working into the creek.  He starts with a spinnerbait and chatterbait, covering water.  A white War Eagle spinnerbait with silver blades is his choice.  Run both all around wood cover and along grass edges.

    If the bass don’t seem to be chasing a faster bait, Billy slows down with a swim jig, fishing it all through the cover.  If that is too fast, he will go to a punch bait, a Junebug Baby Brush Hog behind a one to one- and one-half ounce sinker, and drops it through the thick mats of grass.  Fish up the bank until the water near it gets shallow near the next pocket on the right.

    8. N 32 08.902 – W 87 15.775 – Chilatchee Creek further up the river on the left has Chilatchee State Park on the left as you go into the creek. Billy was able to follow the channel around to the left but be very careful until you learn it.  The water is very shallow in some areas.

    Go around the big island in on the right side and stop about even with the little one out in the middle of the creek. The channel makes a sharp bend near the right bank here and the is a lot of wood cover and grass along it.  About half way up the point this bank is on, a big tree with root ball and limbs sticking out of the water was lying out off the bank.

     Work the shallow cover here like in Foster Creek, covering water with spinnerbait, chatterbait and swim jig.  There is a lot of hyacinth covering the edge of the bank and is an excellent place to punch your Brush Hog through it.  It gets a lot of afternoon sun and warm fast.

    Fish from one end to the other on the big round point.  The water is deeper along the point and bass hold here rather than moving back into the very shallow pockets on both sides. Billy caught a solid keeper largemouth here on his punch bait.

    9.  N 32 03.145 – W 87 15.103 – Go back down the river to Roland Cooper State Park into the creek between it and Bridgeport Landing.  There is a small campground ramp on the left with rental boats on it, but the main ramp is on back in the creek. Stop downstream of the small ramp where there is a grass yard leading up to the bathrooms.

    A lot of tournaments are held here and restock the area often.  The bank from downstream of the ramp up just past it has six feet of water near it, deep enough to hold fish, and there is a lot of hyacinth along the edge, wood cover and some rocks just upstream of the ramp.

    Fish it like all shallows, covering water with faster moving baits first. If you catch a fish or two on them it is worth going back over it, picking it apart with a punch bait or jig and pig.  Billy fishes a black and blue jig with a matching trailer in the thinner grass and other cover, but the punch bait is needed for the hyacinth.

    10.  N 32 03.363 – W 87 17.857 – Go into Gee’s Bend past the ferry landing on the left.  The bank past it has a line of docks that are good staging areas for largemouth.  Billy says you won’t get a lot of bites, but they are usually quality fish.

    Run a squarebill along the post, bumping them and making it deflect.  Then probe for brush in front of the docks and under them with a jig and pig.  There is about six feet of water on the ends of them. Work the whole line of docks but be careful, dock owners have run a rope along and between the front of most of them.

    Give these places on Millers Ferry a try for both spots and largemouth. You will catch both, and there are many similar places to fish.

How and Where To Catch January Lake Martin Bass With GPS Coordinates

January Lake Martin Bass

with Anthony Vintson

Spotted bass holding on deep rocks and brush on main lake points. Largemouth feeding around shoreline wood cover. If you want to have fun catching both on these patterns, head to Lake Martin this month.

Lake Martin on the Tallapoosa River near Alexander City is well known for its numbers of spotted bass, but as the BASS Elite tournament last February showed, there are a good many quality largemouth in the lake, and more big spots than many fishermen realize.

Anthony Vintson lives in Cullman and fishes Martin a lot.  After junior college he went in the Army for eight years and bought his first bass boat. He fell in love with tournament fishing and honed his skills on Martin, Smith and other area lakes as well as any station he was on that had a lake nearby.

Anthony is now a junior at Auburn where he is on the bass fishing team.  Auburn has produced some great pros that help mentor the team. And the team was fourth in the nation last year and is in the top ten this season. 

He fishes as many area tournaments on Martin and Smith as his college schedule allows.  This past year he had a limit weighing 15 pounds that included a six-pound largemouth in a local derby on Martin.

“January is a great month to find big schools of spots holding and feeding 20 to 40 feet deep on main lake points,” Anthony said.  Rocks and brush piles concentrate them deep. They will move up to feed but most of the time they are stacked up on deep cover.

Anthony goes out after a quick limit of spots in tournaments, hoping to put ten pounds in the boat. He then goes to more shallow wood cover to find a kicker largemouth or two.  This plan has helped him do well in many tournaments.

For spots, Anthony will tie on a jerkbait, drop shot, shaky head and jig and pig.  When trying for largemouth he likes a shaky head with a Rage Craw on it.  Those five baits will work all over the lake and cover the ways he fishes.

We fished the week after Thanksgiving on the second day of a strong cold front.  We found many schools of spots and caught a dozen small ones in the five hours we were on the lake, even though the heavy wind made it hard to stay on them. And we got some bites around wood cover, but the wind made it very hard to detect strikes.

Spots hit on all the first nine holes and there are quality fish on them as well as large numbers of smaller ones.  Anthony says you often catch several small keeper fish then a two pounder will hit. The smaller fish seem more aggressive. And the largemouth will bite much better under settled weather conditions on places like hole 10.

1.  N 32 43.599 – W 85 53.698 – Across from Ridge Marina a narrow point runs upstream from Fishbone Island.  Very deep water is all around it, with the river channel on the east side and an old channel on the west. Big rocks and several brush piles are one it, the perfect set-up for spots right now.

On this point and others Anthony will stop well off the point and ease in toward it, casting a jerkbait across the point and on the sides. He keeps two rigged, a shallow Strike King J300 in ghost shad and a J300D in chrome Ayu shad. 

He starts by casting the shallow one near the bank, switching to the deeper running one out from the point.  Spots will move in shallow to feed, especially early in the morning, and he can quickly cover the point with those two baits for active bass pushing baitfish up on the point.

As he fishes the point Anthony keeps an eye on his electronics, watching for brush and fish.  Spots will hold anywhere from 20 to 40 feet deep and will often suspend over brush piles or boulders and will hit a drop shot worm. If they are in the brush or right on the bottom, he will also try a shaky head worm and a jig and pig.

2.  N 32 43.296 – W 85 53.634 – Go down the river side of the island to the downstream point where you can see through to the other channel. It runs downstream, and the river runs in right beside it.  The big rocks on it above water run on out.  There are several brush piles here.

Work around the point with jerkbait. When you see fish or brush, use your drop shot to catch them.  Anthony rigs a green pumpkin Strike King Dream Shot worm on a VMC Neko rig hook 12 to 18 inches above a one quarter to three-ounce sinker.  The heavier sinker is used when the wind is blowing like it was the day we fished.

Anthony drops his bait right into the fish, jiggling the rod tip to make the worm move.  He will ease around the area the fish are in with a slow controlled drag, moving very slowly so his line is still at a sharp downward angle.  This moves the bait through the fish until an active one hits.

Cover both sides of the point before leaving.  If the wind is blowing down the side of the island or through the gap, try both windward and lee sides. Fish will move from the slight current on the windward side to the calmer lee side following baitfish.

3.  N 32 42.846 – W 85 53.596 – Going down the river channel, Chimney Rock, marred by graffiti, is on your right.  On the downstream end of the cliff a point covered with big boulders runs downstream, dropping fast on the river side.

There isn’t much brush here, but the fish hold on the big boulders. We saw fish suspended just over them from 20 to 40 feet deep.  That is the range Anthony expects the fish to hold when they are not up actively feeding. He will “wander” around with his trolling motor here and the other places until he finds them.

 If the fish are close to the rock let your sinker hit it then jiggle your worm. If they are holding well above it stay directly on top of them and watch your drop shot fall, stopping it so the worm is at the depth the fish area holding.

Fish all these places the same. Work around the boulders with jerkbait, then drop a worm to them.  Wind blowing on them helps the jerkbait bite a lot, and it can position the deeper fish as it funnels baitfish from the current it produces.

4.  N 32 42.193 – W 85 54.527 – Follow the river channel to the mouth of Kowaliga Creek.  The last island by the river channel before you can go over and into Kowaliga Creek has a small hump about 100 yards off the end of the island lined up with the sandy beach between two points. It comes up to 15 feet with the water down six feet like it was the day we fished it.

A hump coming up out on the end of a point like this makes it even better.  Stay off the hump and cast your deep diving jerkbait all over it. There are logs and brush piles on the hump where they hold. Fish in the cover on it will come up to hit a jerkbait at that depth.

    After working around the hump, try a shaky head worm and drop shot on it. You can cast both then get over the brush and fish with your drop shot straight down.  Anthony rigs a green pumpkin Strike King Baby Rage Craw on a one quarter ounce jig head and drags it along the bottom with little hops to make the tails wave.

    5.  N 32 42.318 – W 85 55.082 – Power lines with big airplane warning balls crosses the mouth of Kowaliga Creek.  On the left side going into Kowaliga Creek a hump comes up off the point on that side. It is under the gap between the third and fourth balls from the bank.

    This hump tops out 20 feet deep with the water down six feet and has brush on it. That is a little deep for a jerkbait but your drop shot works well here and you can catch fish on shaky head and jig, too.

    When working a drop shot to fish on the bottom, stay right over them and fish straight down then try a controlled drag. For brush piles start on the sides, especially if you see fish around rather than over the brush.  Then work into the brush so if you get hung and disturb the fish you have already fished the outsides of it.

    With fish suspended over the brush, play video game fishing, watching your bait as it drops then fishing it in the suspended fish. If you see fish holding way above the brush on these places your jerkbait may get deep enough to attract them.

    6. N 32 42.325 – W 85 54.876 – Across the mouth of Kowaliga Creek the second point on your left going back toward the river has danger markers all around it way off the bank. There used to be a long dock running out on this point so even with the water up it is very shallow. We could see the rocks above the water when we were there.

    Stop a long cast from the top of the point with your boat in about 20 feet of water and go all the way around it with both shallow and deep jerkbaits.  Watch as you go around it, there is a lot of brush and some stumps here. 

    Try drop shot around the brush under the boat. You can also catch fish here on shaky head and jig, fishing around the point casting from deep to shallow. Move your boat out deeper and watch for brush and fish, and work your jig or shaky head from a few feet deep out to 20 feet deep.  Rocks run well out from the top of the point and brush and stumps hold fish shallow enough that you do not want to get right on top of them for the drop shot.

    7.  N 32 44.320 – W 85 52.760 – The upstream point of Blue Creek is on a peninsular. There is a big rock pile off the bank on it that is marked but the big boulders on it were plainly visible with the water down.  Anthony says there is always a lot of bait here, a good sign this time of year, and holds big schools of bass feeding on them.

    Fish across the deep side of the rock pile with jerkbaits.  Also try drop shot on fish you see off it, and try dragging your shaky head and jig and pig from near the rocks to 20 feet deep.  Anthony fishes a green pumpkin half ounce Strike King jig with a matching Rage Craw trailer.

    8.  N 32 45.291 – W 85 52.850 – Up the river on the river side of the last island before the channel swings left and the lake opens up, a rock pile sits on the end of a ridge coming off the bank. The ridge and rock pile were visible when we fished and there is no danger marker on it.

    The river channel swings in right beside the rock pile. Get in close, you will be in 20 feet of water 30 feet off the bank, and fish your jerkbaits along the rocks.  Watch for fish and stumps on the bottom. There is not any brush here that we saw or that Anthony knows about, but the rocks and stumps hold fish.

    The ends of the rock pile are a good place to work jerkbaits and your jigs.  Bigger spots are often attracted to the jig and pig more than to the smaller baits, so try it if your goal is size rather than numbers.

    9.  N 32 45.615 – W 85 52.692 – Across the narrow gap where the river channel goes left, the upstream point runs downstream with the channel just off it.  Inside the point you can see the docks and buildings of Alamisco Camp.

    A good brush pile is out on this point and it was loaded with fish when we were there.  They really stack up on it when the wind blows through the gap from the north north west, like it was the day we fished.

    Fish jerkbaits over the brush first, especially when the wind is blowing.  Wind usually makes the jerkbait bite much better.  Then follow up with drop shot, shaky head and jig and pig. There are rocks and some brush other than the big pile scattered around this point that do hold fish, but the big one should be your main target.

    10.  N 32 51.023 – W 85 55.853 – For a change of pace to go after largemouth, Anthony goes up to the Wind Creek area where they are more plentiful.  There is a lot of wood cover in this area, both blowdowns and brush piles around docks, that largemouth love.

    One of the best is the left bank going in to the docks at Wind Creek State Park.  The bank across from the campground is steep and is lined with fallen trees, the ideal kind of place to find them. And tournament released fish constantly restock this area.

    Keep your boat in deep water off the end of the trees and cast a jig head worm to the wood.  Anthony fishes a quarter ounce jighead with a green pumpkin Rage Craw on it and moves it extremely slowly through the wood. 

    Although the cover is thick, Anthony uses 12-pound line since it is heavy enough to get the fish out but thin enough to get better feel of light bites.  Largemouth don’t seem to be as active as spots in cold water, so you must fish slowly and be ready to set the hook at the lightest indication of a bite.

    All these spots are good all this month. Decide if you want to catch a lot of small spots or quality largemouth and spots, and choose your baits and places based on that.  Try Anthony’s places and baits then use your favorite baits and find many similar places to fish them.

How and Where To Catch December Alabama River Bass with GPS Coordinates

December 2018 Alabama River Bass
with Cole Burdeshaw

Big spotted bass actively feeding on river points and bluff banks. Quality largemouth looking for something to eat around creek grass beds and blowdowns. The Alabama River has both this month and offers you options for catching them.

The River, as locals call it, also goes by Woodruff Lake or Jones Bluff and runs right by the amphitheater in Montgomery. It starts where the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers join near Wetumpka and runs 80 miles west to its lock and dam. It is full of Coosa spots but also has a good population of largemouth.

Cole Burdeshaw lives in Headland and helped start the high school fishing team there. He is a senior on the Auburn fishing team now but also fishes many pot and local tournaments. He won the Alabama Nation adult division Federation State Championship tournament on Eufaula in October this year.

In September he teamed up with Peyton McCord, also from Headland and on the Auburn team, to fish the Reel Money Team Trail Championship on the Alabama River. They won with ten bass weighing 29.14 pounds, taking home $10,000 first prize. He knows how to catch bass on the river.

“The Alabama River may be the most underappreciated fishery in this area, or even the state.” Cole said. There have been big tournaments here like BASS Elite and Open tournaments, FLW, Alabama Bass Trail and the Reel Money Championship and they show how good the fishing can be, but it just does not get the publicity of other fisheries.

The Alabama Bass Anglers Information Team tournament results back this up. In pounds per angler day the Alabama River ranks ahead of well-known Eufaula and Guntersville. In bass per angler it ranks above those two and Pickwick.

By late November, most of the spots on the upper end of the river have set up on the main channel. Those are the ones Cole targets in tournaments, since their average size is better and there are many more of them. But some big largemouth are in the creeks feeding and one of them goes a long way when you need a kicker.

For December spots, Cole will have a jerkbait, jig and pig and crankbait ready to cast. When looking for a kicker largemouth he chooses a swim jig and spinnerbait.

The day before Halloween Cole and Peyton showed me how they won the Reel Money Championship and places they will be fishing in December. Some of them are the same places they won the championship since bass hold on them all year. Some of them get better and better as the water cools.

They fished a little different in September than they will be fishing in December. Most of their winning fish hit topwater and fast moving jerkbaits. This month topwater may still draw a few bites, and it is a good idea to try them, but jerkbaits and crankbaits fished slowly, and a jig and pig, will get more bites in the colder water.

1. N 32 25.582 – W 86 23.268 – Across from Cooters Pond, going upstream about a half mile, power lines cross the river. Just downstream of them on the right bank going upstream, a small ditch enters the lake. This is one of the kinds of places Cole targets in December.

Cole calls these places “U-ins” since they show a small indention on maps. Runoff in these places often build up a small delta, forming a point that breaks the current. This one and most others have blowdowns and wood cover on them, especially on the banks on both sides, offering more feeding places.

Stop downstream of the downstream point with your boat in about 25 feet of water and cast a jerkbait near the bank in the ditch. Work it back slowly, with a jerk-pause or jerk-jerk-pause. Make the pauses longer the colder the water. Work the jerkbait faster at the beginning of the month and slower later in

December. Also work a crankbait in the same areas, and drag a jig and pig through it.

After fishing the mouth of the ditch work the wood cover on both sides. Since so many released bass at Cooters Pond move to this area, Cole will fish the wood all the way from the ditch almost down to directly across from Cooters Pond. Work a jerkbait over the trees, bump a squarebill through them and bump limbs with a jig and pig.

2. N 32 22.557 – W 86 27.814 – Run down to the mouth of Catoma Creek on the left side going downstream. The mouth of it has a good point for spots and the
creek has grass beds and blowdowns that hold good largemouth. This is about as far downstream as Cole goes and it is his target when looking for a kicker largemouth.
Stop out in the middle of the mouth and cast over the downstream point with jerkbait and crankbait. It is gravel and clay, an ideal bottom for spots. A sexy shad or chartreuse sexy shad 5XD will bump the bottom, which it must do for consistent bites.

On the upstream point there is a good grassbed to fish. The water around it is shallow but the river channel is not far away. It was completely out of the water when we were there but the water was unusually low. Cast a three eights ounce chartreuse War Eagle spinnerbait with a silver and a gold willowleaf blade into the grass and work it out, looking like a baitfish coming out of the grass.

Swim a dirty white one quarter to three eights ounce Dirty Jig swimjig in to the grass and fish it out. If the water is high, cast back into the grass as far as you can work the jig.

Go into the creek and fish other grassbeds the same way. Try the spinnerbait and swim jig in blowdowns, especially on outside bends of the creek. Bump a jig and pig through the limbs of the trees before leaving. You could spend all day fishing for largemouth in Catoma Creek and have a decent catch, but you will catch a lot more fish out on the river.

3. N 32 24.070 – W 86 26.643 – Back upstream around the bend where the substation sits in the water, where the river straightens back out, a ditch enters the river where a big pasture starts up on the bank. The delta of this creek runs a little upstream from the downstream point and there are stumps on it that are key to fishing here. Blowdowns are on both sides of the creek.

When current is moving across this point and others Cole picks up his 5XD first. In slack water he starts with a jerkbait. Work both cross the whole mouth of the ditch. Then bump through the stumps with a jig and pig.

Cole fishes a three eights to one half ounce green pumpkin War Eagle jig with a tilapia Fighting Frog trailer. Use the heavier jig in stronger current. Cole says the Fighting Frog is by far the best trailer he has tried
.
4. N 32 24.748 – W 86 24.230 – Go under the Highway 31 bridges and stop on the small creek on the left just above it. This water is usually clearer, probably from a spring, and can be a little warmer in December, making the fish a little more active. It is always flowing.

The point here is sand and gravel and holds spots. Keep your boat in 25 plus feet of water and cover the area with all your baits. It is important to keep your boat outside the point. Don’t get closer than where the bottom starts to come up, around 25 feet deep.

5. N 32 24.537 – W 86 22.025 – Go upstream past
Cooters Pond and hole 1. On the right is a point with big rocks on the bank and under the water that hold big spots. The river channel swings right by it and the rock ledge drops off fast. This vertical drop is a good place to fish your jig.

Cast right to the edge of the water and keep your line slack. Slowly move the jig when it hits bottom and let if fall. Don’t move it more than an inch or two before letting it fall. The bottom drops so fast that if you move it more that that it will fall too far from the rocks.

A jerkbait or crankbait will catch fish here. Get your boat near the bank and cast upstream, running both baits right along the bluff drop. Spots love to hold on bluff banks like this in December and this is a very good one to fish.

6. N 32 23.700 – W 86 20.839 – Going up the river, just as the buildings in Montgomery come into sight, a good ditch is on the left. A sand bar comes off the upstream point and is your target. Across and about a half mile upstream from it is the ramp and pier at Powder Magazine access.

Stop downstream of the point out from the mouth of the ditch and cast your crankbait and jerkbait over it.
As you work upstream, keep your boat in 20 plus feet of water and cast to the bank. Bump the bottom out to ten feet deep with the crankbait and work over it with jerkbait. Then drag your jig along the bottom along this bar.

7. N 32 22.955 – W 86 19.678 – Downstream of the I-65 Bridge, near the power line crossing, the right bank gets very steep and turns into a bluff that runs all the way upstream past the amphitheater. It starts on a small point with flat rock ledges on the bank then gets deeper as you fish upstream.

Your boat should be in 40 plus feet of water at the point and fishing up the bluff. Cast your jig right to the bank and fish it like other bluffs, very slowly. Work your jerkbait right against the edge.

Current is very important here and in other places, it makes the fish bite much better. Water released at the Bouldin Canal on Jordan Lake creates more current than the Jordan dam release so checking the times of generation will tell you the best time to fish here.

Cole says you can spend all day fishing from here all the way up the bluff bank to the amphitheater. This big outside bend bluff wall holds a lot of big spots and is worth fishing slowly and carefully.

8. N 32 22.959 – W 86 18.815 – A small creek enters the river just upstream of the amphitheater and a rocky point runs out from the seawall where it enters. The rocks are shallow on top and run out to the river channel where it drops into deep water. Spots feed on this point.

Stop well off the point in 20 plus feet of water and cast across it with a jerkbait. Then try a 1.5 squarebill, bumping the shallow rocks. As you work out to deeper water, work your jig and pig on the deeper water.

Several big tournaments have been won here, and it gets a lot of pressure. Be patient, the reason it is a community hole is because so many fish are caught here. Try different baits and try to be on it when current is moving over it, turning on the fish.

9. N 32 23.387 – W 86 18.9.891 – A ditch with a flat sand point on the downstream side and riprap on the deeper upstream side is downstream of the Highway 152 bridge, about half way between Hole 8 and the bridge. The point provides a break in the current that the spots use to feed.

Stop on the downstream side of the ditch and fish the back side of the point. Current eddies on the downstream sides of these points and are a feeding and holding area. Cover the whole point since the fish will move up on it to feed, and the upstream side also create eddy feeding areas.

10. N 32 23.670 – W 86 19.189 – Just above the Highway 152 bridge another ditch enters the river. Just downstream of is a small shack sits up on the bank and a handrail runs down the slope of the bank. The ditch forms a flat point on the downstream side. Cole caught a good spot here on his jerkbait.

Start in front of the shack and work upstream, or you can fish from Hole 9 to here. Fish feed along the bank between the two points and you can catch some along it, but the key places, holding more bass, are the points.

Cole likes the Megabass 110+1 since it has a stronger bill and runs a little deeper. A bright and flashy color works best since the water is usually stained in the river. It will catch bass all month, but you have to slow it down in colder water.

Fish the entrance to the ditch and a little past it. Blowdowns on the bank hold some fish on them and you can catch them here and other places with a crankbait or jig and pig.
All these places hold fish right now. Give them a try, going for spots or largemouth, or both, with your favorite December baits.

Cole and Peyton are starting to guide some on Eufaula, Martin and the Alabama River. Contact them on
Cole’s Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008241942210 and you can also see some of his catches there.

Do you find these Map of the Month articles helpful? If so visit http://fishing-about.com/keys-to-catching-georgia-bass-ebook-series/ – you can get an eBook or CD with an article for each month of the year on Clarks Hill and Lanier.

Where and How To Catch December Bass at Lake Wedowee with GPS Coordinates

December Bass at Wedowee

with Lee Byrd

     Many bass fishermen get so involved with the holidays they don’t think much about fishing from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  That is a mistake.  Some of the best bass fishing of they year is in late November to the end of December and Lake Wedowee is one of the best lakes to catch heavy stringers this time of year.

     Wedowee is the newest Alabama Power lake and is officially known as R.L. Harris Reservoir.  Completed in 1983, it was formed by damming the Tallapoosa River.  It covers 10,660 acres and has 270 miles of shoreline and most of the upper lake on both the Tallapoosa and Little Tallapoosa Rivers are winding channels and steep banks.

     Spotted bass are very common in the lake to the point the Alabama DNR has places a special slot limit on largemouth only.  You must release all largemouth between 13 and 16 inches long.  When first implemented this slot limit also applied to spots but they were removed two years ago and it only applies to largemouth now. Anglers are encouraged to keep spots of all sizes, especially the smaller ones.

     Lee Byrd grew up fishing in Georgia with his grandfather. He says they went “junk” fishing for anything that would bite.  He started concentrating on bass when about 12 years old and joined the Marietta Bass Club, one of the best clubs in Georgia the week he turned 18. That was natural since his father Bill Byrd was a member and a well know bass fishermen throughout the state.

     Lee moved to Birmingham 12 years ago and now concentrates his fishing on Alabama lakes. He is in the Birmingham Bass Club and fishes the Bama BFL and plans on fishing the Weekend Series this next year. He also competes in some local tournaments.  He is on the Grammer Marine fishing team and is sponsored by Champion Boats.

     Lee started fishing Wedowee in the mid-1980s, as soon as if filled.  Then four years ago a friend, Bill Roberts, from the Washington, DC area started visiting in late November for some fishing and they chose Wedowee as the best lake for this time of year.   Each year they catch a lot of big bass. Last year the first day of their trip Lee’s best five weighing 27 pounds.  The next day his best five weighed 23 pounds.

     There are some quality largemouth in Wedowee and Lee tends to focus on them. That is a results of his tournament fishing where largemouth usually weigh more than spots.  He does catch a lot of spots, too, but most of the better spots weigh two to three pounds.

     Lee says the bass are easy to pattern in late November and all during December. He concentrates on three types of structure, all related to deep water and channels.  Points where the channel swings near them, bluff banks on the main lake and creek banks where the channel swings against them all produce bass this time of year. 

     You can catch fish on almost all such places right now but Lee refines his fishing more. He looks for transitions. Changes hold bass so he wants to find a point of bluff where the rocks change to clay or where the water color changes.  Temperature changes can be just as important. Lee says he will often run up a creek and watch his temperature gauge.  If there are two bluff banks where the temperature is 58 then the next three show lower temperatures, around 51 or so, he will concentrate on the second and third bluffs where the temperature changes.

     A variety of baits work well and temperature controls what Lee throws to some extent. If the water temperature is still in the upper 50s he sticks with more active baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits. When it hits the low 50s he relies on a jig and pig to catch most of his fish at Wedowee.

     Crankbaits with a tight wobble are Lee’s choice and he likes them in shad colors.  A Baby Little N or a Suddeth work well and have the wobble he likes.  Wooden baits are good and seem to do better, especially if the fishing is tough. Also, as a change-up, he will throw a bright chartreuse crankbait. That will sometimes produce hits when the shad colors are not drawing attention.

     Lee makes his own jigs and likes a three-eights to one–half ounce jig.  He will throw a quarter ounce jig if the fishing it tough and he wants a slower falling bait.  When the sun is out he fishes a brown or green pumpkin jig with a Zoom Super Chunk in green pumpkin or blue.  On cloudy and rainy days he uses a black jig and blue trailer.  Black and blue works better in off-color water.  For some reason Lee has found black and blue is good in very clear water, too.

     The bass are usually holding eight to 25 feet deep this time of year so Lee works those depths until he zeros in on a more specific depth.  If you are regularly catching fish at a set depth, concentrate on it.  Sunny or cloudy days don’t really affect the bite much other then which color Lee throws. He says a little wind helps move the baitfish so wind blown banks can be better.

     Lee concentrates on the upper one-third of the Little Tallapoosa and Tallapossa Rivers but there are some good areas down the lake, too.  You can pick and area to launch and stay nearby, there is no need to run all over the lake to find fish.

     The following ten spots are some of Lee’s favorites.  They are on different parts of the lake so some will be near you wherever you launch. Check them out and you will find many similar places nearby.

     1. N 33 21.098 – W 85 30.851 – Just upstream and across the river from the mouth of Wedowee Creek is an excellent example of the kind of  point Lee likes to fish this time of year.  It is on the upstream side of a cove that has a single small dock with a tin roof way back in it.  There are no houses on either side of the cove that you can see and both points are natural woods.

     The upstream point is at the end of a bluff wall and is a transition from a steep rock face to a flatter clay and rock bottom.  The channel runs right along the outside of the point but it is flatter on top and the point runs out shallow across the mouth of the cove for a short distance.

     Start with your boat on the river side and cast a crankbait across it, fishing it shallow to deep.  Fish all the way around the point making fan casts to cover all of it.  You can do the same with a spinnerbait if the water is in the upper 50s. Try hopping a jig and pig down the point from all angles if the water is in the lower 50s.

     2.  N 33 20.544 – W 85 30.572 – Run into Wedowee Creek and the channel makes a sharp bend to the right.  On your left you will see a white dock at the start of the sheer rock bluff.  Start fishing at this dock and work down the bluff, past a deck that is just above the full pool mark.   Not far past the deck is a small cove. Fish around it past the small gray house sitting on top of a concrete vertical foundation.  There is a fish feeder at it and you will see some small pine seedlings in the gutter.

     Keep your boat parallel to the bluff and work your crankbait and spinnerbait parallel to the rocks.  Cast right to the bank and fish the bait at an angle that keeps it close since the bottom drops off very fast.  Also try hopping a jig and pig down the face of the rocks.

     3.  N 33 20.523 – W 85 30.692 – Across the creek there is a point and a bluff wall where the creek makes a bend back to the left.  Start at the wooden dock on your right on the point.  It has a shingle roof and the house up on the point has a big deck around it. It is near where the bottom changes from a flatter clay area to a sheer vertical rock wall.    

     Fish all your baits along this bank, trying different speeds and depths.  You can fish all the way around past the five docks to the next transition where the channel moves to the left and the bottom flattens out a little more.  All along here watch for changes – a tree in the water, a change in water color or even the shadow from the docks to fish hard since the bass will hold on any change.

     4.  N 33 19.577 – W 85 32.117 – Headed down the river the channel makes a big “U” turn, swinging to your left then back to your right. On the outside of the “U” two coves cut back in offering a change.  Start fishing on the downstream point of the upstream cove.  It has some big rocks out in the water off the bank so stop way off it and ease in until you learn how far out they go.

     You will see two big whitish rocks at the top of the rock wall just downstream of the point. They sit right at the high water mark.  This point makes a change from big rocks under water to a steep rock bank.  I caught a chunky two pound spot just downstream from the point in early November on a jig and pig.

     Fish from the point down the bank, staying on the outside of it.  Fish the rocks on the point with a variety of baits then fish down the rock wall to the floating dock with a yellow slide and blue diving board on it.  On the downstream side of this dock is some brush that will still be in the water if it is not too low. The brush makes a nice change to fish and it holds bass.

     Fish on down past the deck at the high water level working crankbaits and spinnerbaits parallel to the rocks and hopping a jig down them.  When fishing a steep wall like this cast your jig and pig to the bank and let it hit bottom. Work it back with tiny hops of your rod tip, barely moving your rod tip. The jig will fall several inches to several feet with just a tiny movement of your rod tip.

     5.  N 33 19.451 – W 85 32.250 – The point at the end of the bluff wall in hole #4 is another good transition.  The bluff bank stops and a flatter point extends out, dropping off fast on both sides but with some shallow water on top. There is a floating dock attached to a dock on post with lattice around it. There is also a yellow boat house with a wooden ramp in front of it.

     Back off the point and make long casts with a crankbait and spinnerbait to cover the water from the top of the point down. Fish all the way around it, hitting it from all angles. Then go back around it with a jig and pig. You can make bigger hops here since the bottom does not drop quite as fast.

     6. N 33 17.703 – W 85 37.674 – If you put in on the lower lake the banks look very different but the channel swings still hold bass. Go in behind the big islands on the north side of the lake.  Be careful in this area there is lots of standing timber here. With the water down you can see most of it and know where to keep your boat.

     If you are coming downstream and go in behind them on the upstream side you will see a hump on your left with a danger buoy on it. With the water down it will be lying on top of the hump. All around the hump is standing timber. Across from this hump the channel makes a sharp turn to your left and there is another marked hump on your right. 

     Ease over to this hump that marks the end of a long point. The channel swings in on both sides of it, making it an excellent place to catch bass.  The best areas are where the channel swings in closest and the bottom makes the steepest drop.  Work all around this hump and point, keeping your bait out in the timber and fishing back.

     The bass might be holding suspended down along the tree trunks so fish your spinnerbait and crankbait through the timber as well as working the bottom.  It is harder to fish a place like this but it often pays off in bigger fish.

     7. N 33 17.961 – W 85 38.141 – Shad move into the creeks when the water temperature is below 60 degrees, according to Lee, and the bass will follow them.  Run into Fox Creek past the ramp and power lines.  The creek makes a fork and the point between the two arms is an excellent point to fish.  As you go up the creek one arm goes ahead and to the left and another makes a sharp turn to the right.  On top of the point is a dead kudzu field and a dirt track comes down to the water on the left side facing it and goes up the right side where people come to the bank to fish.

     Start fishing on the left side of the point facing it and work around it.  There are smaller points sticking out from the main point and some rock piles on them.  All make transitions where the bass hold. On the upper side the channel swings in then back out, making another transition area to fish.  Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jig and pig are all good here.

     8.  N 33 20.313 – W 85 35.855 – Up the Tallapoosa River are some good spots, too.  There are fewer houses up this way and the channel is actually narrower then the Little Tallapoosa.  There is also a lot of standing timber along the banks.

     Run up past Indian Creek on your left and watch for a cove on your right.  The upstream point of the cove is the end of a bluff wall.  There is a sign nailed to a tree standing in the water across the river from the point advertising “Camping and Restrooms” with a phone number and arrow pointing upstream.  The fish often stack up on the point and they will also hold along the bluff bank upstream of the point. Work around the point with all your baits then fish up the bluff bank some, too. 

     Lee says the fish change year to year and even day to day.  If you found fish on the point the last time you fished there is a good chance they are still there, or on structure nearby. Vary your bait color, speed and depth of retrieve until you find them.

     9. N 33 21.174 – W 85 34.994 – Up the river on your right is a cove with a sign on a point back in the middle of it saying “Ratley’s Cove.”  The upstream point of the cove had a bunch of mallard decoys on it when I was there and there are big orange balls floating in the water off both points of the cove.

     Fish the bluff wall starting at the upstream point and working up. There are a lot of docks along this bluff wall and you should try all your baits, fishing all the way to the next cove. Watch for anything that is different and make casts to it.

     This bank as others on the east side of both rivers will stay shady for a good while during the day. Shade can also be a transition area and sometimes the bass like to hold in shady areas go check them out.

     10.  N 33 22.241 – W 85 35.873 – Head upstream to where the channel makes a sharp bend back to your right. There is a creek entering here and the mouth if full of standing timber. There are two big trees standing out in the water and one of them has an osprey nest in it.  A bluff bank runs above and below this creek. Fish both sides along the bank, working your baits on the rocks as well as in the trees.

     Here and in the other bluff banks Lee says to keep your boat in 25 to 40 feet of water when fishing a jig and pig. Make short casts ahead of the boat and hop your bait down the bank. Don’t get in too close. Let your jig fall on a slack line so you don’t pull it away from the bottom on each hop.  Let is sit a few seconds them make another small pull. Your jig will fall several feet even on slack line on a very small pull of your rod tip.

     These ten spots show you the kinds of places Lee likes to catch Wedowee bass this time of year.  Try them, see what he is talking about and you will find many other similar places all over the lake to fish.

Where and How to Catch November Bass at Seminole with GPS Coordinates

November Bass at Seminole

with Mike Prindle

     Already dreaming about the explosive topwater strikes you had during the summer and wishing bass were still hitting on top?  That excitement is not necessarily over for the year. Head down to Lake Seminole where they are blowing up on frogs around the hydrilla and will be on that pattern most of November.  Seminole is hot this year with lots of chunky three to five pound bass actively feeding in the shallow water right now.

     Seminole is far enough south that the water stays much warmer than most other lakes in the state.  Formed by the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers and fed by Spring Creek, it offers a variety of water clarity, cover and structure.  November is a good time to take advantage of the more active bass and enjoy fishing that is gone from most lakes until next spring.

     Seminole is a 37,500 acre Corps of Engineers lake that was filled in the 1950s.  It is famous for its bass fishing and is full of grass beds, standing timber, stump fields, creek and river channels and flats.  It has more “fishy” looking water than most other lakes but that can make it hard to pattern.  Anywhere you look seems like a good place to catch a bass.

     Mike Prindle moved to Lake Seminole near Wingate’s Lunker Lodge four years ago. He had a job opportunity that allowed him to pick a place to live and he chose to live on Seminole because of the great fishing. The first time he saw the lake he fell in love with it.

     He spent many hours learning the lake and now guides out of Wingate’s.  Mike also fishes several of the local pot tournaments and has done well on the BFL and other tournaments there.  After fishing with some big Florida clubs he is one of the founding members of the Hydrilla Gnats, a local bass club that holds most of its tournaments on Seminole. 

     When the Georgia Federation Nation started up a few years ago Mike was the first state tournament director, a job he held until a few months ago. The first year of the Federation Nation Mike made the state team, placed first on the team at the regional tournament and made the Federation Nation National tournament.  He now wants to focus on fishing the BASS Opens next year and is preparing for that trail.

     Mike’s catches at Seminole would make any bass fisherman jealous.  Last year he landed 16 bass over ten pounds each.  His best five fish in a tournament pulled the scales down to 27.04 pounds and he has caught five shoal bass weighing 24 pounds.   

     “Cooler water coming down the rivers in October moves the fish shallow around the grass,” Mike said. He expects to find large numbers of quality fish schooling up around grass beds near deeper water where they spent the summer.  They are aggressive and feed heavily most days, offering you a good chance to catch large number of fish.

     Early each morning Mike starts with topwater baits and likes a Culprit frog fished over and through the abundant grass beds. As long as the bass keep hitting Mike will keep throwing the frog, and that bite may last all day on cloudy or windy days.  He will work a frog with a Deep South rod and Revo reel spooled with 60 pound Power Pro Braid. He fishes the frog fast, working it over the hydrilla mats near drops.  

     When the bass stop hitting on top Mike switches to a lipless crankbait like the Xcaliber XR 50 or XR 75. He chooses the size based on the size baitfish the bass are eating so it is important to pay attention to any shad you see.  If you don’t know which size to fish, try both until the fish let you know.  Mike fishes the baits on a Deep South Rippin’ Rod he helped design and spools his reel with 50 pound Power Pro.

     If the bass are not active and want a slower bait Mike will throw an Ol Nelle spinnerbait and fish it over the grass. He uses the same rod and reel as with the lipless bait and says you need a heavy rod and braided line to get fish out of the grass.

     As the grass dies off and the mats on top disappear you can still fish a frog over them but ripping a lipless crankbait through them becomes more and more effective.  If a cold front puts the bass deep in the cover Mike flips a jig and pig into holes in the grass.

     Mike showed me his patterns and marked the following holes in early October.  The bass were just beginning to move up onto them after the first cooler weather we had and they will be strong on them by now.  Mike concentrates on the Flint River side since he guides out of Wingate’s but he catches bass on this same pattern up the Chattahoochee River.

     1. N 30 47.473 – W 84 40.234 – Just downstream of the creek with Faceville Landing in it the river makes a slight bend to the right headed downstream and several small creeks enter the river. There are several islands between the creeks and main channel and the river side of them has good grass beds. There is deep water here and the grass forms a wall of grass with some scattered clumps out from it.

     This is a good place to start in the morning.  Mike usually runs up past the last gap between the creeks and river and starts working downstream, throwing his frog up onto any grass mats still on top and working it back. He moves the frog fast looking for a reaction bite, which often comes right at the edge of the grass.

     Fish this grass line for several hundred yards. If you catch a fish concentrate on that area.  Bass are schooled up pretty good right now so you should catch several where one hits.  If you go through an area where you get several bites it is a good idea to turn and go back over it again.

     2.  N 30 47.338 – W 84 41.909 – Just downstream across the river where the channel swings to the north you will see some stumps sticking up way off the bank. One of them was marked with a white PVC pipe when we were there and several more stuck above the water with it down about a foot.  This timber is along a ditch that runs parallel to the river channel. There is a good grass bed on the ridge between the river and ditch and more on the bank side of the ditch.

     Mike especially likes places like this one.  During the flood of 1994 current washed out ditches on some of the flats and they make an excellent place for bass to hold and feed. They can come up the ditch and feed on either side of it or stay in the river and feed on that side. Mike usually fished up the ditch since there is a lot of grass on both sides.

     Work it early with a frog then switch to a lipless crankbait and work over and through the grass. When the bait hangs up in the grass rip it free to draw a reaction strike. Key on little points and cuts in the grass with all your baits.  Hit anything that looks a little different. Fish all the way to where the the ditch rejoins the main river.

     3.  N 30 46.977 – W 84 43.755 – Run down to where the river channel makes a big swing to the right near channel marker 13.5 and you will see a small island. Go in behind it and you will be on a big hydrilla flat that runs all the way past Wingate’s.  Bass will hold all over this flat but there are key areas.  The first is a point that runs out from the small island toward the bank. You will be just upstream of the first houses you can see on the bank.

     Keep your boat out in deeper water off the grass and cast up on top of it, hitting anything that makes a change. Try frogs and lipless crankbaits, but also run a spinnerbait over the grass.  You can fish it slower than the other baits and let it fall into holes in the grass.  Try to match your blades to the size baitfish the bass are feeding on.

     4. N 30 46.678 – W 84 44.445 – You can fish all the way to this spot or idle down to it. Another long point of hydrilla runs out toward the river across the flat out from a brick house.  You will see a post or two marking the channel in to the little creek where there are houses.  Start on the upstream side of the point, upstream of the post, and work all the grass in the area.

     Mike says current coming down the river hits these grass points and moves bait fish across them, creating a good feeding opportunity for bass. On one of his best days in this area he caught five bass weighing 25 pounds in 15 minutes.  When you find a good school of bass feeding you can load the boat in a hurry in this area.

     5. N 30 45.957 – W 84 45.845 – Head downstream past Wingate’s and you will see some houses on the bank. Just out from the seventh one, a white house with a tin roof, another of the flood ditches runs parallel to the bank. The ditch is about ten feet deep and there is grass on both sides of it to fish. 

     Start fishing where the ditch opens off the river and stay in the ditch. Work it until the grass gets solid or you get back to the river channel. The spots like this one where the ditches offer multiple grass edges are usually best.

     Mike will work a topwater frog until the water temperature drops below 68 degrees.  If the water is colder than that he concentrates on the spinnerbait and lipless crankbait, but it is worth a few casts to see if they are still feeding on top. As the grass dies off and breaks up the mats are harder to find but it is worth a few casts to any you find.

     6. N 30 45.918 – W 84 47.996 – Be very careful any time you get out of the marked channels, especially if you don’t know the lake. But at green channel marker 7.5 you can run across to the opposite side of the river to the islands and grass between the Flint Rive and Spring Creek. Watch as you go across because a big field of standing timber will be just downstream of where you go across.

     Stop way off the bank as soon as you start seeing hydrilla, about 75 yards off the stumps between the river channel and the bank.  Beds of grass run way off the bank here.  Start working them as soon as you hit them and fish downstream.   Fish all your baits here.

     Mike uses shad colored lipless baits in clear water and red or chartreuse in stained to muddy water.  In clearer water he likes colors like Copper Perch and Citrus Shad.  In Red is a very good color in stained water this time of year.  Depending on the amount of rain up the river the water can range from very clear to very muddy.  It will be muddier up the river and clearer the further down you go as the grass filters out some of the mud. And the Spring Creek water entering also make for clearer water further downstream.

     7. N 30 45.993 – W 84 48.621 – You can fish all along here or idle down to the first gap where the solid bank ends and the series of islands start between Spring Creek and the Flint River.  There is a hump here between two washout ditches with a lot of submerged hydrilla around it. You can see the grass under the water if the sun is out and the water is not too stained.  You will feel it as you work your lipless crankbait or spinnerbait over it.

     Fish all along this grass.  Some wind blowing across it helps stir up the baitfish and break up the water surface, making your artificials look more like the real thing.  Here and in all other spots look for schools of shad on your depthfinder or near the surface.  Concentrate on areas with baitfish. The bass follow them and stay around them this time of year.

     8.  N 30 46.041 – W 84 48.987 – On downstream you will see an island surrounded by hydrilla with a sign on a post on the downstream side of it.  The sign marker the boundary of the waterfowl refuge and this is a excellent area to fish. Mike and I caught seven or eight bass here the day we fished.

     Start out from the sign and work downstream.  There is a good wall of hydrilla that stops in a shear drop and then there are sparse clumps of hydrilla out from it. Bass will feed in the grass the move out to the wall to hold and feed. Mike says he often catches bigger bass holding out in the deeper water around the clumps set off from the thicker bed.

     Fish across the tops of mats and over submerged hydrilla.  Work your lipless crankbait along the edge and through the clumps. Cover the whole area, hitting anything that is different. Bass look for those different spots to hold.

     9.  N 30 45.376 – W 84 51.208 – As you go downstream you will see the red channel markers come toward the mouth of Spring Creek where it turns in that direction. About even with red marker 7.7 there is a small island on the creek side, about even with the mouth of Fish Pond Drain. 

     Just upstream of this island a 14 foot deep hole in the flat has two ditches feeding off it, one going toward Spring Creek and one going toward the river. A good grass bed runs along the one going toward the river. Fish along it, working the grass with all your baits. 

     10.  N 30 43.121 – W 84 51.576 – Go out to the river channel and head toward the dam. After you go around the bend you will see an open area on the bank and a campground just upstream of the Corps of Engineers offices. Go toward the campground, staying way out. White poles mark a shallow roadbed or ridge running parallel to the bank so stay out away from it.

     After you pass the poles and get even with the campground you will see hydrilla.  This huge flat was crossed by service roads and holes dug for fill dirt when the dam was being built and it a good place to catch November bass.  Out from the cqampground you can stop in 22 feet of water and the bottom will come up to five feet deep way off the bank.

       There are grass lines and clumps to fish here.  Work them like the others. Mike says this is a big shad congregation area in the fall so watch for them and concentrate where you find the baitfish.

     Check out Mike’s spots then you can find many others like them.  Seminole is an excellent lake this time of year. Plan a trip there to catch some chunky fall bass.