Category Archives: Map of the Month – Alabama

Where and How To Catch February Logan Martin Bass, with GPS Coordinates

        Although winter still has a firm grip on fishermen, bass are responding to longer days.  They are starting to feed up for the coming spawn and venture from deep water to nearby shallows to eat. At Logan Martin this means they are on deep rocky banks that have shallow cover and on shallow points that drop into channels.

    Logan Martin is on the Coosa River east of Birmingham and I-20 crosses it near Pell City.  It is full of fat Coosa Spots and quality largemouth. Rocky river channel shorelines with docks and points at mouths of creeks and coves line the lake and both species are feeding on them this month.

    Tim Ward grew up fishing Logan Martin. He and his family stayed at a campground in Clear Creek often and he had a small boat to explore the nearby area and learn to catch bass.  He really got into bass fishing when he was 13 and fished his first tournament when 18.  His experience club fishing led him to join the Auburn Bass Team and he fished with the team from 2011 to 2015.

    Now Tim fishes with the Marathon Bassmasters in Birmingham and is working on fishing on the pro side of big tournaments by fishing as a co-angler in BFLs.  He placed second in a Bass Nation tournament and won a couple of BFLs on the co-angler side. He also fished the ABT Southern Division.

    Logan Martin is Tim’s home lake and he fishes it often.  He knows that the bass start feeding more and more in late January and all during February, even if the water remains cold.  Toward the end of the month when the water does start warming they are even more active.

    “All during February Logan Martin bass still want to be near deep water, but will move shallow to feed,” Tim said. Rocky river channel banks with a shallow ledge along it is a good place to find them, as are points that drop into deep water. Rocks are the key but wood cover on them helps.

    To cover those kinds of places, Tim relies on a variety of baits. A jerkbait, crank bait, rattle bait and chatterbait all allow him to cover water and find feeding fish. If he is not finding active fish, a shaky head will always catch fish on Logan Martin under any conditions. 

    The water is usually a brownish stained color this time of year, with clearer water in some creeks. The water color controls his choice of colors.  Shad colors are good in clearer water but brighter colors like chartreuse are better if the water is stained. In muddy water Tim says red is hard to beat.

    We fished on a cold, cloudy windy day in early January and caught some spots and largemouth on several of these places. 

    1.  N 33 29.288 – W 86 14.998 – Going up the river from Cropwell Branch the river makes an “S” bend and Powel’s Campground is on the left bank going upstream.  The right bank across from it is an outside bend with docks on it and wood cover washes in. It is a good example of the kind of river bank he likes.

    As the river turns back to the left there is a big bay on the right with a smaller bay just upstream of it.  Start at the upstream point of the upstream bay with a dock on it.  The dock has a covered boat slip and there is a matching smaller covered deck on the bank.  There is a small private ramp on the upstream side of the dock. 

    Start at the point and fish upstream, casting to the bank and covering any wood cover and all the docks along this bank.  Your boat will be in 20 feet of water or deeper a fairly short cast off the bank, but there is a small shelf the docks sit on, and bass move up out of the channel to feed all along it.

    Tim will fish all the way up to the next pocket if he is getting bit. But if he fishes a hundred yards of this bank without a bite he will move to another place.  He does not expect to catch a bunch of fish in one spot.  He is looking for individual feeding fish holding on the cover along this bank.

    2.  N 33 30.754 – W 86 15.618 – Going back down the river there is a double creek entering on the outside bend on your right. There are two islands in the mouth of it. The downstream point runs way out to the creek and river channels and fish hold and feed on it until moving in to spawn.

    We rode over this point and Tim’s electronics lit up with baitfish holding near the bottom in 20 to 25 feet of water.  Baitfish are always a good sign that bass are in the area.  We did not stay long since the wind was blowing strong but if you can fish a place like this you should stay on it and cover it carefully.

    Keep your boat in 25 feet of water off the end of the point and fan cast all over the point. Cast toward the bank will be in eight to ten feet of water and you can cover it out to about 12 feet deep with a crankbait that dives that deep, Tim’s choice this time of year. He likes a chartreuse and cream color and wants his bait to bump the bottom from 6 to 12 feet deep.

    Also try a rattlebait in places like this.  Cast it to eight feet deep and work it out to 15 feet deep, the range Tim expects bass to hold right now.  Work it back by slow rolling it near the bottom or pumping it up and letting it fall back.

    3.  N 33 29.529 – W 86 17.354 – Going down the river past the mouth of Cropwell Creek the first opening on your right is a cove with docks in it, and there is another smaller pocked just downstream of it.  Fish stage on the points of both these pockets and spawn in them.

    The downstream point of the downstream pocket is rocky with a dock on it. The upstream side is flatter with docks along it, too.  Tim likes to fish both sides of this pocket this time of year.  Cast a chatterbait and squarebill crankbait to the dock posts.  Try to bump the post with the squarebill.  Tim uses a Strike King 1.5 in chartreuse and black. Bump it off dock posts and any other wood cover on the bank.

    Also work a shaky head around the docks and wood cover, and probe for brush around the docks with it.

The first dock on the upstream side has a yellow bench on it and there is a good brush pile out from it. 
We missed a couple of bites in that brush pile, the wind made it hard to fish a shaky head.

    4.  N 33 26.822 – W 86 17.321 – Run down into Clear Creek to the bridge.  The riprap on the bridge holds fish all month long and more move to it as they work up the creek toward spawning areas.  Fish both side of the riprap on both ends of the bridge.

    Fish the rocks with a jerkbait and crankbait.  Tim says a Megabass 110 in sexy shad is hard to beat. The water in here is usually clearer, as the creek name implies.  A shad colored crankbait bumped along the rocks in 8 to 12 feet deep will also catch fish. Both baits allow you to cover the riprap quickly.

    Work the rocks with a shaky head, too. On the rocks a fairly light head will get hung up less. Tim uses a three sixteenths to one quarter ounce head and he puts a green pumpkin or Junebug Zoom Trick or Finesse worm on it.  He also dips the tail of the worm in chartreuse dye.  Fish it with a drag and shake action. 

    5.  N 33 26.928 –  w 86 16.688 – Going up the left arm of the creek a long point comes off the right bank and runs over half way across it. The creek channel runs along the upstream side and the end runs out to where the channel swings around it. There are big rocks and a danger marker on the end of the point.

    Keep your boat in 25 feet of water and fish the end and upstream side with a jerkbait and crankbait.  Try different cadences with the jerkbait but Tim says the typical jerk, jerk, pause works well most days.  Pause the bait longer in colder water.   Also try your shaky head here. We caught a keeper spot here on a shaky head.

    6.  N 33 26.839 – W 86 18.577 – Going down the lake from Clear Creek there is a big cove on your left. Arms run off both sides in the back. There are good channels running into them and there are a lot of docks along the banks. Bass move into this cove to spawn and hold along the channels, moving up to the shallows to feed this month.

    Tim said this is one of his favorite places and we fished all the way around it, and caught a good largemouth and two spots, as well as missing several bites.  Start on the left as you enter the pocket at the dock on your left in front of a brick boat house at the mouth of the arm that goes back to the left. There is a flag pole on the bank beside the dock and a cement boat ramp going to the boathouse.

    The water is shallow along the banks here and Tim choses chatterbait and squarebill around the docks and gravel banks.  The largemouth hit a chatterbait and the spot hit the crankbait here. Hit any cover along the bank.

    Also fish your shaky head here. Some of the docks have brush in front of them where the fish feed. Probe for the brush and work it thoroughly with your shaky head.  Fish all the way to the last dock on the right side.

    7.  N 33 26.927 – W 86 18.704 – The upstream point of this big cove has riprap around it, a white bird house on the bank and big rocks up shallow.  Rocks also run out to deep water on the point that runs across the mouth of the cove.

    There were fish and bait fish on it when we rode over it and we caught a largemouth out in 15 feet of water. Stop out in 25 feet of water off the end of the point and fan cast it with a shaky head, crankbait and rattlebait.  Then work toward the bank, covering the shallows around it with square bill and shaky head.

    8. N 33 26.659 – W 86 19.208 – A little further down the lake toward the dam a long point runs out from the left bank, drops into a saddle and comes up to a small island. There is a yellow smiley face flag on it and there are rocks all around it and a big tree off the bank on the downstream side. The river channel runs right off the outside point of it.

    Start at the saddle on the upstream side and work around the island with your jerkbait.  When you get to the outside point keep your boat in 15 feet of water and cover the point with both jerkbait and shaky head.   This point is one of the few places Tim expects bass to school up and he says you can catch a lot of fish on it.

    9.  N 33 26.469 – W 86 19.673 – Across the lake a big island with a causeway sits near the right bank going toward the dam. The outside bank of this island drops off fast with rocks and docks on it. There is a small pocket half way down the bank.

    Tim starts on the upstream side of the pocket at the dock in front of a house with red umbrellas by it and fishes around the pocket. Tim says this is a good place to catch a big fish this time of year.  Fish all around the pocket and docks on both sides with chatterbait, jerkbait, squarebill and shaky head. Tim uses the Z Man half ounce bait with a chartreuse and white skirt.

    10.  N 33 27.487 – W 86 17.826 – Back up the lake on your right at the mouth of Clear Creek, Clear Creek Harbor Marina has a riprap breakwater point running off the right bank.  Bass hold and feed all along this riprap on both sides, and concentrate on the end. We lost a decent fish that was right on the edge of the water.

    Fish all the way around the riprap point with crankbait and jerkbait. Get in close to the rocks and parallel them, especially if there is wind blowing in on them. There was a good chop on the water here when we fished, perfect for this time of year.

    If the wind is not blowing stay off the rocks and cast a shaky head to the edge of the rocks and work it all the way back to the boat.  This is a good spawning pocket so fish gang up along the rocks as they get ready to move in and spawn.

    All these places are excellent this month, and many similar places hold fish right now.  Check Tim’s favorites to see when he looks for and you can find many similar spots all over the lake.

Where and How To Catch January Lay Lake Bass, with Matt Herren – Includes GPS Coordinates

 

Its cold outside, the rut is making it a good time to go deer hunting and you might not be thinking much about fishing. But the big spotted bass at Lay Lake are on a very predictable pattern and you can catch some of the biggest spots of the year right now.

Lay Lake on the Coosa River east of Birmingham is known for its big spotted bass.  The Alabama Power Lake dammed in 1914 produces three and four pounds spots consistently and bigger fish are caught each year. There is also a good population of largemouth but in the winter the spotted bass fishing is more consistent.

Matt Herren grew up fishing Lay Lake and other Coosa River lakes in the area. His father took him fishing in ponds and on Lay Lake as a kid and they watched some tournament weigh-ins and got interested in tournament fishing.  They started fishing wildcat tournaments on Lay Lake in 1988.

From his success there he entered the Redman tournaments in 1989 and came in second in the points standings in the BAMA Division that first year.  By 2003 he was fishing the FLW Tour and now fishes the BASS Elite trail. 

Since turning pro, Matt has qualified for six BASSMaster Classics, including the 2016 tournament, and six FLW Championships.  This past year he tied for 10th place in the Angler of the Year point’s standings in BASS. In his career he has won over 1.2 million dollars in tournaments.

“In January the shad are moving up the river an into the creeks and the big spots are following them and feeding,” Matt said.  He prefers to go after quality spots up the river if possible rather than fishing further down the lake.  He said you can catch fish any day in January further down the lake but for the big ones he wants to fish up the river from the Locust Creek area to the Neely Henry Dam.

The day we went in early December the river was not fishable. We checked the Neely Henry Dam and all floodgates were open and all generators running. The river was three or four feet high and the current extremely strong.  When it is like that the fish hunker down and are very hard to catch since you can’t even control your boat very well. So we made lemonade, fishing from the Highway 280 Bridge downstream, and Matt caught some fish under very tough conditions.

No matter which way he goes Matt will have the same baits rigged.  His prime bait is a three eights to one half ounce Santone Lures Texas Finesse Jig tipped with a Reaction Innovations Petite Twerk or Smallie Beaver trailer. He goes with browns and greens if the water is clear or darker colors like black and blue if the water is stained.

A Santone three eights to one and one half ounce white or chartreuse and white spinnerbait is good for covering water faster, and he uses heavier baits the deeper he is fishing. A DT 6 or DT 10 crankbait in shad colors is also good for covering water and finding fish.

A Megabass 110 jerkbait and a Santone Piglet Shaky Head round out his arsenal of lures. The shaky head will have a Reactions Innovations Pocket Rocket worm on it.  With those lures fished on a Kistler Rod with the action for that lure, teamed with Gamma fluorocarbon line, covers all the types of cover and structure he wants to fish in January.

The following places give you a variety of kinds of spots to fish, no matter what the conditions. If the river is high and fast fish the first six and similar places downstream. If it is normal, with some current but not so fast you can’t fish effectively, fish upstream from the Highway 280 Bridge.

1.  N 33 17.626 – W 86 21.462 – We put in at Pop’s Landing in Tallaseehatchee Creek in Childersburg and started fishing at the mouth of it.  When the current is strong the fish will often hold in the mouths of sloughs and creeks like this and feed in the eddies there.  Start by casting a spinnerbait right to the rocks on the riprap bank on the downstream point since the fish will often be right on the bank. 

As you get out into the river work downstream on the same side and fish all the way to the Highway 280 Bridge.  If the current is strong point your boat upstream and let it drift downstream holding it as slow as you can with your trolling motor. Cast at an angle upstream, letting your bait work back to the boat with the current. Fish a crankbait and spinnerbait here, then follow up with a jig and pig.

Cast the jig right to the bank and use a heavy enough jig to keep it on the bottom in the current. If the water is high try to get your bait down to the rocks along the edge of the normal full pool channel. Bass will often hunker down behind those rocks and feed on baitfish and crawfish washed to them.

When you get to the bridges work the eddies behind the pilings on both the railroad and highway bridge. Matt got a keeper spot on his jig behind one of these pilings when we fished.

2. N 33 16.711 – W 86 23.289 – Running down the river the houses and docks stop and you will go a good ways down to the mouth of Bailey Creek opening on your left without seeing any docks.  There is a picnic pavilion on the point and a dock just inside the upstream point, with riprap around it.

Stop on the upstream side of the slough and work the point as you go downstream. Cast into the slough and work a spinnerbait, crankbait and jig and pig back out to the eddy of the current. Also fish the downstream point of the slough.

If the current is real strong you can position your boat inside the mouth of the slough and cast your bait out, working it into the eddies on both points like a baitfish coming from the river into the slough.

3.  N 33 16.353 – W 86 24.664 – Running down the river just before it starts a bend to the right you will see some big rocks on the bank on your left. This marks the start of a bluff outside bend of the river and is an excellent place to catch spots in January.

Start at the first visible rocks and fish downstream, keeping your boat in about 25 feet of water and casting to the edge of the water. Work your bait back out to about 15 feet deep.  A jig and pig and a shaky head worm are both good here.

You can fish a long way down this bank since it is a sweeping outside bend and the rocks run all along it. Rocks are the key this time of year, if they have baitfish on them. Watch your depthfinder and if you are not seeing balls of bait don’t spend a lot of time in the area.

It is good to fish your bait with the current no matter how fast the current is moving. Some current is good and will make the fish bite better, even if the water is very cold.  If the current is normal work upstream, casting ahead of the boat at an angle as you work into the current.

4.  N 33 16.976 – W 86 25.636 – Across the river and downstream Deer Lick Creek enters the river as it starts a big horseshoe bend to the left. This big creek has a house trailer on the downstream point well back from the river.  The upstream point of it has a defined underwater point coming off it and bass will feed on it in all current situations.

Stop upstream of the slough and fish the upstream point as you go past it. Then swing around into the slough and fish across it, casting your jig and pig and jig head worm out into the river and bringing it up and across the point.  There are some stumps on the point that hold fish so probe for them with your baits.

5.  N 33 14.547 – W 86 27.443 – Run on down the lake to the power plant on your right.  This coal fired steam plant discharges warm water into the river and that warmer water draws shad and bass to it in January.  Stop just upstream of the discharge and fish downstream.

Cast a spinnerbait or crankbait into the discharge and let the current carry it downstream as you fish it back. The river current and the discharge current will make eddies here that the bass hold in to feed so concentrate on them.

Also, fish a jig and pig or jighead in the discharge and downstream of it, too. The warmer water will say near the bank going downstream, making it better this time of year. 

6. N 33 13.382 – W 86 27.840 – Further down the river the channel splits into three parts with islands separating them. The main marked channel is to the left side going downstream.  Just upstream of the first marker where the channel goes to the left is a bluff bank. There is a house trailer sitting on top of the bluff upstream of the channel marker.

Stop out in front of this trailer and fish downstream, letting the current take your boat downstream backwards. Fish to the shallow gravel point where the bluff runs out and there is a small cove. 

Fish the bluff bank and the big rocks on it with a jig and pig and jig head worm.  Your boat should be in 25 feet of water a short cast off the bank. The current was almost too strong to fish here the day we went, even this far downstream, but Matt got a good keeper spot and we both missed fish in the current.

When you get to the shallow gravel point near the channel marker fish all over it with your jig and pig and jig head worm, too. Fish will run in on this point to feed.

7.  N 33 19.766 – W 86 21.839 – The following places are all upstream of the Highway 280 Bridge and you can fish them for big spots as long as the floodgates are not open. One or two generators running produce enough current to improve the fishing but more than that makes it tough.

Go to the water intake tower on the right going upstream. It is just downstream of the golf course.  This big structure breaks the current and bass will stack up on the downstream side of it as well as in front where pipes or indentions create an eddy.

Keep your boat downstream and cast a spinnerbait and crankbait up past the building and let them come back with the current. If you can hold your boat on the downstream side just downstream of the structure cast a spinnerbait to the wall and let if flutter down it. Also fish your jig head worm and jig and pig down the walls in the eddies.

8.  N 33 20.157 – W 86 22.112 – Across the river and a little upstream is the mouth of Locust Creek. If the current is very strong you can fish it like the ones downstream but if the current is right start at it and work upstream.

Matt likes to slowly work up the river bank, casting at an angle ahead of the boat, all the way to the powerlines. He will work a crankbait or spinnerbait from the edge of the water back to the boat. If the fish are holding deeper along the bank he will go to a heavier spinnerbait to get down to them. He will also work a heavier jig and pig or jig head worm to keep it on the bottom deeper.

9.  N 33 22.176 – W 86 20.567 – Something different that is always good in the winter, no matter what the conditions, is the back end of Flipper Creek where there is a big spring.  The spring keeps the water a steady temperature, must warmer than the river water in the winter, which draws shad and bass, and it will be clearer if the river muddies up.

Go in the mouth of Flipper Creek and to the very back of it. You will be right beside the road and railroad that are in the back end of it just up the bank.  Fish all the way around the area in the back, working all your baits around the wood cover here. Also cast right down the middle of the area to cover the bottom there.

10.  The following spots are between the upstream railroad bridge and the Logan Martin Dam. Most of them are very similar and they are easy to find.  The first is the railroad bridge itself. Matt says to fish all the pilings on it with spinnerbait, crankbait and jigs.  Work the eddies caused by these pilings, just like at the downstream railroad bridge and the Highway 280 bridge.

Rateliffes Island is a big island that splits the river upstream of the railroad bridge. Just upstream of it is the mouth of Kelly Creek on your left and you can fish the mouth of it like the other creek mouths if the current is strong.  If the current will let you, Matt says fish the banks on either side of it for a half mile both ways. Work up the current casting ahead of the boat and fishing all your baits back with the current.

Just across from Kelly Creek and a little upstream the right bank going upstream is an outside bend of the river Matt says fish it for a mile going upstream, as long as the rocks hold up on the outside bend.  This is a typical bank that drops off fast and has rocks that you need to fish. Baitfish in the area makes it much better.

A little further upstream there is a small island not far off left the bank.  Fish the banks on both sides of it and behind it, too.  As in all places, look for current breaks to hold fish.

Matt warns that you should always wear your life jacket when up the river. The current is dangerous and the cold water can make you lose control of your muscles fast. Don’t take chances.

You can catch some quality spots right now on Lay Lake. Follow Matt’s suggestions for baits to use and kinds of places to fish and you will soon forget it is winter.

Matt does not guide but he is setting up an on the water electronics school. He will show you how to set up your Hummingbird electronics like his boat is equipped and show you how to use them to find fish. He can do the same for Lowrance units. You can contact him through his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/matt.herren.52

Where and How to Catch March Lake Seminole Bass, with GPS Coordinates

March 2018 Seminole Bass

with Jason Smith

        Bass in most of our lakes are moving near spawning areas, but Lake Seminole is so far south that some have already spawned, some are spawning and some are just off bedding areas ready to move in and fan beds.  You can catch them on sandy flats, in pockets and on sandbars on the main lake right now.

    Seminole is a big, shallow lake in the corner of Georgia, Alabama and Florida.  Everywhere you look makes you think you can catch a bass there. Grass and stumps are all over the lake, with lily pads and cattails lining the banks and shallows.  But if you don’t know key areas you can do a lot of casting without a bite.

    For the past year or so bass fishing has been fantastic on Seminole, with many tournaments won with 30 pound plus stringers.  If you fish a local pot tournament against fishermen that know the lake well you better have more than 20 pounds to even hope for a check.  Five and six pounders are common, and it usually takes a seven plus to win the big fish pot.

    Jason Smith lives in Albany, Georgia and has fished Seminole all his life. His mentor, Jackie Hambrick, was a well known Lake Seminole expert.  Fishing with the Albany Bassin Buddies taught him a lot about the keys to catching bass.

    Jason loves fishing so much he started Buddha Baits, selling jigs, spinnerbaits, bladed jigs, soft baits, line and rods and reels to fishermen.  He keeps in touch with local experts and this helps catch big fish when he goes to the lake.

    In a Seminole Winter Trail tournament in mid-January, Jason had 24 pound stringer and did not get a check.  That tournament shows the kind of fish being caught this year on Seminole. 

    “I love Seminole because you can catch so many quality fish,” Jason said.  March is the best month to find the sows in the spawning areas many years, and our cold winter has stacked them up even more this year, delaying the early spawners that sometimes go on the bed on Seminole as early as January.

    Jason will have as variety of his baits rigged on his rods for March fishing.  Since most of the fish will be located around grass or other weed cover, he throws most of them Buddha Braid since you need braid to get big fish out of the weeds. 

    He will have a rattle bait, a Texas rigged lizard or Senko, Swagger Swim worm, an Enlightened Swim Jig, a Carolina rigged lizard or Trick worm, a bladed Swagger Jig and an Inseine Jig and pig all ready to cast. For thick hyacinth beds he will be ready to flip them with a Baby Mama with a 1.5 ounce sinker.

    We fished Seminole the last day of January after a cold front, with bluebird skies and little wind, some of the worst possible weather.  Even under those bad weather conditions we had a decent limit with a 5.5 pounder to anchor it.  The fish were not really in the bedding areas yet but just off them, ready to move in so you can catch them.

    1.  N 30 47.304 – W 84 48.447 – Going up Spring Creek the Grassy Flats cut, marked by poles going off the Spring Creek Channel to the left going upstream, is just downstream of the Big Jim’s Cut.  Where the Grassy Flats cut hits the creek channel on the left, on your right an island is just off the creek channel. A ditch runs in behind the island and forms a good staging area going into the spawning flat behind the island, the ideal area for this time of year.

    Idle in to the point through the standing timber and start by working it with a Carolina rig and jig and pig out near the channel and ditch junction. There are stumps and grass on it.  Start out deep and work up the ditch to the shallow spawning flat.

    There is a grass edge around the point and on the ditch side. Keep your boat off it and fish a bladed jig through the grass.  Work fairly fast until you get a bite then slow down and make multiple casts with your bladed jig and follow up with a Carolina rig.

    As bass move back they follow the grass edge and feed, then  move into the shallow water behind it to spawn.  Keep a watch for beds behind the grass as you fish. There will usually be several grouped together with empty space between them.  When you spot a bed fish it with a paddle tail Baby Mama, swimming it up to the bed and letting it fall into the bed.

    2.  N 30 44.878 – W 84 50.604 – Out on the Flint River, on the south bank before the turn toward the dam, River Junction ramp is on your right going upstream.  Bass hold out on the grass line in six to eight feet of water then move to the bank in the shallow bay to spawn.

    Start by fishing the outside grass line, especially if the water is still cold.  We caught a couple of keepers out here. Then go back in behind the grass and work the bedding area. Keep your boat in about five feet of water and fan cast a swim worm behind a one quarter to five sixteenths ounce sinker.

    Also drag a Carolina rigged lizard through the shallows, searching for bedding fish. The water is often too stained on the Flint to see the beds, so probe for them with a lizard.  Since beds are usually grouped together, make multiple casts to any area you catch a fish.

    3.  N 30 45.087 – W 84 50.005 – Going up the Flint upstream of the River Junction Ramp another bay swings back, providing a more protected spawning area.  Fish it the same way as hole #2.  You will see cattails on the bank and lily pad steams in the water. Watch for them everywhere you fish since they grow on sandy bottoms where bass spawn.

    For covering water more quickly until you hit a group of bass a bladed jig works well. Jason rigs his black and blue or green pumpkin Swagger Jig with a matching three or four-inch swimbait and fishes it through the grass.  A paddle tail worm also allows you to cover water more quickly to find the key spots.
   4.  N 30 46.014 – W 84 50.517 – The big flats between Spring Creek and the Flint are huge spawning areas.  Straight across from Sealy Point in Spring Creek, a small group islands is just off deeper water that goes in on the flat and is a highway for the bass moving in.   

    The downstream island in this group is a cluster of cypress trees and is closest to the deeper water. Go in to the downstream side of the island and fan cast the whole area, keeping your boat in four or five feet of water and casting all around.  Drag a Carolina rigged lizard or fish a little faster with a bladed jig, working the whole area. 

    Always watch for beds in areas like this.  If you see a lighter spot on the bottom, look at it closely.  There are light spots on the bottom that are not beds but the active beds will be brighter, and there will often be several close together.  When you see them slow down and fish a paddle tail worm all around them and in them. The water is clearer here from Spring Creek and you can usually see them.

    5.  N 30 46.181 – W 84 50.056 – Go around the island in Hole #4 and another smaller island is on the Spring Creek side a little upstream.  It is more shallow around it and you can see clumps of cat tails, pad stems and grass all around it.  Sunny warmer days warm this water quickly and move bass into the area early

    Start on the downstream end of the smaller island and fish on the side away from Spring Creek, working upstream behind it.  The flats all around it have sandbars for the bass to spawn and there are often a lot of beds in the area.   Fish from the bank of the island all the way out to deeper water.  Just remember deeper water here is only three feet deep or so.

    6.  N 30 44.748 – W 84 52.621 – On the Chattahoochee River side of the point between it and the Flint, a group of poles in a circle way off the last island on the point mark the Indian Mounds.  On the Chattahoochee River side of the island, across from the Indian Mounds, a shallow bay forms a good spawning area.

    There are scattered stumps as well as grass in this bay and bass spawn all over it.  Keep your boat in four or five feet of water and fish the water three or four feet deep, fan casting all over the flat.  You may not be able to see the beds in the more stained river water, but they will be here, and grouped together like in other places.

    Fish from near the downstream point of the island up the Chattahoochee River side.  Watch for lily pad stems marking sandy areas. A bladed jig comes through them well and is a good choice for a search bait.  A Carolina rig is good for slowing down and working an area.

7.  N 30 45.542 – W 84 47.298 – Up the Flint River on the right bank going upstream, a wide bay swings in away from the channel markers.  On the upstream end of the bay a wood dock with no top sits out on the downstream side of the point. Downstream of the dock slightly deeper water is closer to the bank.

    Start about 200 yards down the bank from the dock and fish toward it, casting to the bank and the scattered grass.  Sometimes a red rattle bait will attract bites in areas like this when other baits are ignored. A swim jig like Jason’s Enlightened jig or Inseine Jig will also attract bites from more active fish, especially if they are feeding on bluegill.

    Work the rattlebait fast, jerking it from grass when you hit it. With the swim jig keep it near the surface and work it with twitches as you reel it along. Jason likes bluegill or green pumpkin in clearer water and black and blue in stained water and puts a matching swim bait on his jig.

    8.  30 45,.759 – W 84 46.104 – a little further up the river the channel makes a hard swing from the right bank to the left.  In the flat bay just downstream of the last channel marker before the turn a depression runs back to the bank, offering a good path for bass to follow.  It goes in between two groups of two docks.  There is one silver roof dock and one green roof dock on each side.

    Follow this depression in from deeper water, fan casting to both sides of it and down the middle of it. The water is ten to 12 feet deep not far off the bank where it goes in.  This is a good area for rattle baits and bladed jigs. When you get to the bank fish it and down both sides to the docks. A paddle tail swim worm like Jason’s new Swagger Swim Worm in tilapia or black and blue is good, depending on water color.  Keep the worm moving near the bottom, making the flapping tail wiggle to get bites. Jason will often dip the tail of his plastics in chartreuse JJs Magic for added attraction.

    9.  N 30 46.215 – W 84 46.989 – Across the river channel Fort Scott Islands are a Waterfowl Management Area.  A small island sits just off the bank where the channel comes across and hits the north bank.  Just downstream of this island is a big flat just off a slough that goes back and is a good bedding area, full of lily pad steams and cattails.

    Keep your boat off the bank in water about 20 feet deep. This is a good place to cast your jig and pig, Texas rigged worm or Carolina rig up onto the sand bar that runs along the bank and has grass on it.  Keep your bait in contact with the bottom as it comes out of the grass and follow the bottom down the drop.
Bass will often stack up just outside the grass and move into it to feed.

    10.  N 30 46.334 – W 84 48.949 – Going down the bank the “Fire Break” goes in just downstream of the island with the waterfowl management area signs out in the water.  Follow the slightly deeper water in behind the island, keeping the signs to your right. 

    Bass spawn all back in here in the shallow sandy flats.  Watch for keys like lily pad stems and cattails and fan cast the whole area.  Try a variety of baits and speeds to find fish then slow down and fish that area.

    All these places hold bedding bass right now, and others post and pre-spawn. Try them with Jason’s baits to catch quality bass all month long.

Do you find these Map of the Month articles helpful?  If so visit https://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 Neely Henry Bass

July Bass at Neely Henry

with Waine Pittman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where and How to Catch December Neely Henry Bass

December Bass at Neely Henry

with Johnny Osborne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You can contact Johnny at 256-492-1162.

Where and How to Catch September Neely Henry Bass

September Bass at Neely Henry

with Dustin King

    September finally offers bass fishermen some hope that things are getting better.  The first of the month it is still uncomfortably hot during the day and bass are still on their summer patterns, but slowly things get better.  Days get shorter and cooler, water temperatures start to drop and bass get more active.  If you want to take advantage of these changes head to Neely Henry.

    Neely Henry is a river lake on the Coosa River at Gadsden.  It has lots of big largemouth and Coosa spots to catch, and they get more active in September.  The grassbeds that line much of the shallows become more attractive to bass and the shallow ledges see more feeding activity.  You can find just about any kind of fishing you want on Neely Henry this month.

    Dustin King grew up on the lake and still lives in a house on its shoreline.  He guides on Neely Henry and fishes most tournaments on it. After fishing with a local club for a couple of years Dustin now fishes some of the trail tournaments like the BASS Weekend Series, BFL and Coosa River Team Trail.  He has a 5.5 pound spot and a 6.5 pound largemouth from Neely.

    Even at his young age Dustin has done well enough to have a good many sponsors, including Go2Bait plastics, Lews Reels, Greg’s Custom Rods, Rock Hard Tackle jigs, Tackle Doctor spinnerbaits and Topwater Clothing.

    “In late August bass are still suspending off river and creek ledges and running in to feed for short periods of time,” Dustin said.  If you hit the right ledge at the right time you can catch some good fish fast, but feeding often does not last long. You have to be there when they feed.

    “Later in the month, bass move toward shoreline grassbeds and tend to hold a little more shallow,” Dustin told me. Both spots and largemouth tend to be a little easier to catch when holding out from the bank and they feed more around the grass beds and for longer times on the deeper holding areas.

    A variety of baits are always rigged and ready for September fishing in Dustin’s Skeeter.  He will have a Tackle Doctor spinnerbait, a big deep running crankbait, a Rock Hard Shaky Head, and a Carolina rig ready. A topwater bait like a Spook or Pop-R and a rattle bait like a Rat-L-Trap is also handy for throwing as schooling fish that often come up during this month.

    In early August Dustin had a guide trip and let me ride along to get information.  We fished the following spots that will still be holding bass most of September and looked at some places that will get better later in the month. Dustin landed a big largemouth off one, probably his biggest largemouth from Neely.

    The following spots will show you the kinds of places Dustin catches bass in September.  Try his tactics and baits on them.

    1.  N 33 55.743 – W 86 02.674 – If you put in at Rainbow Ramp you will be fairly close to all these spots. Head down the river and watch for three small islands right on the right bank. Downstream of them a little way is a yellow boathouse.  Straight out in front of it in the middle of the lake on the river ledge Dustin has some brush piles and rocks on the right ledge.  You will be about even with a big open hillside on the other bank where there are no trees and the grass is short.

    You can idle around to find the brush. It is where the river channel makes a slight turn. When you find it back off and sit in about 12 feet of water and cast toward the yellow boat house.  The brush runs for about 75 yards upstream and you want to fish it all with a Carolina rigged worm.  Dustin will try different sizes, from the Go2 finesse worm to their 14 inch curly tail worm.

    Bass have been on this spot all summer and will feed most of September here.  Fish the whole area carefully, trying to hit all the rocks and brush on the ledge.

    2.  N 33 55.412 – W 86 03.467 – Further downstream on the right Lakeshore Drive runs right along the river bank.  There is riprap lining the water’s edge. Dustin starts at the first dock past a stretch of bare bank and fishes downstream. Bass feed here early in the morning the first of September and feed longer as the water cools.

    Fish a buzzbait or topwater plug along this bank, throwing right on the bank and working out.  Also fish a jig head worm like the RockHard quarter ounce green pumpkin head with a Go2 Swim Craw on it.  Bass feed on crayfish along these rocks and the swim craw imitates them.

    Fish down this bank past two or three docks. If you catch fish keep working this bank, it often loads up with bass.  Dustin will often make a pass with a topwater bait then go back over it with the jig head if he catches anything.  If two of you are fishing, you should try the different baits to see what they want.

    3. N 33 53.508 – W 86 04.278 – Run downstream around the bend to the left and watch on your right for a dirt road entering the water between two docks. It is across from a big slough on the left bank and the upstream dock is an open wood dock with a gray roof. The downstream dock is a brown platform with no roof.

    The roadbed entering marks an old ferry crossing and there is a lot of gravel on the bank around it. Bass move into shallow water here to feed later in September and you can catch a lot of fish as they eat shad.  The top of the old road is about nine feet deep a long cast off the bank.

    Work all the area between the two docks with a shad imitating plug like a Rat-L-Trap, making long cast to the bank and fishing it back out.  Dustin says you could sit here all day and catch bass when they move into the area to feed. Shad are the key, if you see shad the bass will be there.

    4.  N 33 52.290 – W 86 04.055 – A little further downstream the river makes a sharp turn to the mouth of Big Canoe Creek.  On the right just before the mouth of the creek a smaller creek enters and there is an island on right on the upstream point of this creek.  Grass is all around it and a point comes off it toward the creek channel.

     You can catch fish around the grass early in the morning on topwater and spinnerbaits but Dustin concentrates on the point, working a big crankbait and a shaky head across it. He usually sits on the downstream side of the point and casts back across it, working from the shallows out to the creek channel.

    When throwing a big crankbait Dustin tries to hit the bottom then slows down, keeping it bumping along. That seems to attract the fish. Also try a topwater across the top of the point.  Watch for schooling fish here, they often come up and you should be ready to throw to them.

    5.  N 33 51.606 – W 86 05.515 – Up Big Canoe Creek Perimeter Creek enters on the left.  You can see a bridge not far back in the creek and a long point runs off the upstream side of it, between it and Big Canoe Creek.  In the middle of the mouth of Perimeter Creek, about even with the end of the upstream point and a gray roof boat house on the other side, the creek channel makes a bend.

    Dustin sits on the downstream side of the creek ledge in the channel and casts a big crankbait, Carolina rig or shaky head. Sit in about 14 feet of water and you will be casting up into about eight feet of water.  There are stumps and shellbeds on the creek ledge and bass hold here all month long.

    Dustin caught a bass here that would push seven pounds on a big deep running crankbait in the middle of the morning.  He was bumping the bottom when it hit on the edge of the ledge.  He got hung up several times on the stumps here but managed to get his bait back each time. It is worth the chance of losing a plug to catch the bass that hold here.

    6. N 33 51.725 – W 85 05.570 – The long point on the upstream side of Perimeter Creek runs way out and holds bass.  The Big Canoe channel runs in and parallels the point on the upstream side.  There are lots of stumps on it.

    Go way out to the end of the point where it is about six feet deep and throw a topwater bait across it.  You will be fishing water less than six feet deep and bass often run in here to feed.  After working the area with topwater go upstream until you drop off into the channel, then turn toward the bank.

    Sit in the channel and work a Carolina rig or shaky head, throwing up on top of the point and fishing back down the drop.  This is really just a very shallow creek ledge and bass feed on top and hold on the drop into the channel.

    7.  N 33 53.530 – 86 05.615 – Run up Big Canoe Creek past the last big slough on your right and watch for a grassbed in the middle of the creek channel. Be careful here, the channel is about 14 feet deep but the edges are very shallow, as the grass bed shows. The channel runs right along the outside of the grassbed.

    Fish the channel side of the grassbed early with topwater like a buzzbait or spinnerbait then fish a shaky head worm along it.  Throw the shaky head right to the edge of the grass and move it very slowly to follow the steep drop. Fish it down to the bottom then make another pitch to the edge of the grass.

    Bass were feeding on shad here when we fished and Dustin and his client caught several spots and white bass.  They often school up here and this spot can be good all day long. Watch for dimpling shad or swirls and cast to them.

    8.  N 33 50.592 – W 86 34.335 – Greensport Marina is on the right side going into the mouth of Beaver Creek.  An old roadbed comes out just downstream of the marina and runs out to the river channel where another road hits it.  Bass stack up on this roadbed in September and it is an excellent place to catch them. They are moving up into more shallow water and toward the grassbeds around the marina.

    Sit on the downstream side of the roadbed and cast up across it with a Carolina rig and shaky head. Your boat will be in about nine feet of water and the roadbed tops out about six feet deep.

    Current on this spot and all others is very important.  When power is being generated at the dam current flows across points, roadbeds and ledges and moves baitfish.  Bass move to feed on these easy meals so cast upstream and fish your baits with the current like the baitfish move.

    You can get a generation schedule for Neely Henry by calling 1-800-LAKES11. Soon after they start generating with one or two units current starts moving across structure and turns on the bass.

    9.  N 33 49.103 – W 86 03.136 – Ottery Creek enters the lake on the left further downstream. The upstream point between the creek and river runs way out and is very narrow. Go into the mouth of the creek and past that point until you see a dip in it.  There is a long point coming off it at right angles running out to the channel.  It is out from a chain link fence along the bank, just upstream from where the seawall changes from wood to riprap. 

    This point is loaded with stumps so fish it with a Carolina rig and jig head. A crankbait will catch fish but Dustin says you will lose a lot of them to the stumps.  Sit out in 15 feet of water and cast toward the bank in five to six feet of water.  Follow the contour break around the point.

    10.  N 33 48.934 – W 85.04.051 – On the right further downstream Shoal Creek enters the lake. Right in the mouth of it a roadbed runs all the way across the mouth, out to the creek channel where an old bridge is blown out then to the far bank. You can see where it enters on the right going in at small dock.

    Start well off the bank, keeping your boat on the downstream side of the roadbed in about 14 feet of water to start. Cast up and across it with a crankbait, Carolina rig or jig head.  Dustin caught a good two pound plus largemouth here the day we fished on a crankbait.

    Fish all the way across to the channel and the other side, too. Dustin says you can sit here all day and catch fish when they run in to feed.  If you catch a bass cast back to the same area as quickly as possible since they often don’t stay up on it long.

    Wind blowing across this roadbed and other spots helps like current does. Baitfish will move with the wind so take advantage of it. Current generated at the dam pulls water out of the creek, making it even better.

    All these spots will hold bass in late August and September, with some of them getting better as the month progresses.  Try them and see the types of places Dustin looks for and you can find others all over the lake.

    To see how Dustin fishes these places in person, call him for a guide trip at 256-504-6659 or visit his web site at http://www.dustinkingfishing.com/

Where and How to Catch June Neely Henry Bass

June Bass at Neely Henry

with Karen Rae Elkins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The following spots all hold bass this month:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How and Where to Catch April Bass at West Point Lake

April Bass at West Point 

with Charlie Williams

April may well be the best month for bass fishing in Georgia/Alabama and West Point may be the best lake in the state to catch bass on this month.  The lake has great spawning coves that attract bass to predictable places and some simple patterns will catch them from late March through the end of April.

West Point is a fairly new 25,900 acre Corps of Engineers lake that was filled in 1974.  It runs for 35 miles on the Chattahoochee River and has plenty of access points on both sides of the lake.  A 14 inch size limit on largemouth helps maintain quality size for them and the increase in spotted bass over the past ten years offers anglers plenty of keeper size fish to eat. There is no size limit on spots (in either state) but there is a ten bass creel limit on them.

Charlie Williams grew up on Maple Creek just upstream of the lake and caught his first bass ever on the riprap while fishing on that creek under the bridge for crappie.  He fished for bass with his grandfather and also his best friend and father, Randy “Rock Man” Williams who was a member of the LaGrange Bass Club and helped found the West Georgia Bass Club with Rickey Childs.

Living so close to the lake gave Charlie a chance to spend a lot of time on it.  He started fishing tournaments on the lake with his dad when he was 12 years old.  Charlie now works for Toyota dealership in Columbus and at State Line Marine on some of his days off. At State Line he gets to talk with lots of bass fishermen and that, along with all his fishing friends and contacts, helps him keep up with what is going on at West Point every day.

Charlie fished the BFL and other trails until two children blessed his marriage and he has slowed down fishing tournaments the past few years.  He still fishes with West Georgia Bass Club and in some BFLs and pot tournaments on West Point.  And many afternoons he hits the lake for a few hours after work.

“Don’t even fool with the first half of creeks this time of year,” Charlie said.  By late March most West Point bass have moved back into the creeks and are looking for bedding areas.  Charlie will run and gun, hitting a lot of places back in creeks and covering water. He says too many bass will hit to fool around in one area trying to make them bite.

When the bass go on the bed Charlie will do some sight fishing but water is often stained and it is hard to spot them.  Many times a better plan is to run a Rat-L-Trap across gravel where the fish spawn then follow it up with a Carolina rigged lizard.  This will get bites from fish that are spawning too deep to see.

The one exception to fishing back in creeks is the shad spawn.  Charlie says it will start when the water hits 68 degrees, usually around the second weekend in April.  A full moon around that time helps.  When the shad spawn is on there will be 15 to 20 minutes of fast and furious action right at daylight if you are in the right spot.

For fishing this month Charlie will have several baits rigged.  For pre-spawn fish he likes a pearl with red eye Bandit 200 crankbait. If the water is stained he will go with the same crankbait in spring craw.  A chrome and blue half-ounce Trap will be on one rod and he will have a white spinnerbait with two small willowleaf blades ready for the shad spawn.

A Carolina rigged six inch lizard in green pumpkin or black will be rigged on a 30 inch leader and quarter ounce sinker unless the wind is strong, then he will go with a heavier lead.  And he keeps a three eights ounce All Terrain Tackle jig and pig ready to flip into any heavy cover. He likes a black and blue jig and trailer in stained water and a Texas craw color in clearer water.

Charlie keys on several kinds of structure and cover this time of year.  He especially likes rocks and likes to hit “hidden” riprap and boat ramps. Many creeks and coves have patches of riprap back in them that hold bass now and during the shad spawn, and unused boat ramps built by the Corps but never opened are very good spots to find bass since they have concrete and rocks.

For pre-spawn fish, banks that drop fairly fast are best.  Clay banks with some rock on them are good and Charlie will often put his trolling motor on high and hit every little bit of cover back in creeks and coves. He says he doesn’t mess with wood that doesn’t stick above the water, but will run his crankbait by every stick of wood, even small pencil-sized stickups.  Thick cover will draw a flip of his jig.

When some fish start spawning Charlie looks for flatter banks in coves and creeks and wants a bottom with gravel on it.  If he knows where the gravel is he will run a Trap across it then drag a Carolina rig on it. A Carolina rig is a good way to find gravel and see how far it runs out.

February 27th Charlie and I fished West Point on a bitterly cold, windy day.  We even had snow flurries that morning. Yet under almost impossible conditions Charlie caught bass.  His best five keepers weighed 15 pounds.  The fish were already beginning to move to the outer points on these spots and will they will be much better now.  The following ten spots give you a variety of kinds of places to fish right now.

1. N 32 55.705 – W 85 10.327 – R. Sheafer Heard Park sits between the mouth of Maple Creek and the dam.   The middle point of the park has riprap around it and is an excellent place to find shad spawning in mid-April.  Some bass also hold on it in late March and early April as they move into the pockets on either side to spawn, then feed on it again as they move back to deep water post spawn.

The middle point is the big point upstream going toward Maple Creek past the Corps work area.  It has a picnic shelter on it and a boat ramp on the upstream side back in the pocket. Start fishing at one end of the riprap and fish all the way to the other end.

Before the shad spawn and after it fish a crankbait from the rocks out. There is good deep water just off this point so bass feed here, Keep your boat out in 10 to 15 feet of water so you crankbait covers the water down several feet off the rocks.

During the shad spawn get right on the rocks and run your spinnerbait parallel to them as close to the rocks as you can get.  Charlie says a few inches make a big difference. If you are more than a few inches from the rocks you are less likely to get bit. Charlie likes a spinnerbait since it has a single hook. He says the action it too fast and short to mess with removing treble hooks.

2. N 32 57.118 – W 85 11.957 – Another good rocky point that holds bass all month but is especially good during the shad spawn is the entrance to Southern Harbor Marina. The riprap on the lighthouse side is especially good and shad spawn here because it is close to deep water. Tournaments constantly restock bass into the area, too. Charlie caught a solid three pound bass here the day we fished.

Start where the riprap starts on the outside of the point and fish around it to about even with the lighthouse on the back side. Charlie says he hardly ever catches bass further down the back side of the rocks.  Before and after the shad spawn work the blowdowns near the point on the outside carefully.  During the shad spawn the bass will be right on the rocks and you are wasting precious seconds trying to fish the trees when the bass are concentrating on easy meals in inches of water.

Corners of riprap are especially good during the spawn. It seems bass hold right where the rocks make a turn and ambush shad as they come down the rocks to where they change directions.  Charlie often sets up right on the corners and makes constant casts to them even if there is not a school of shad passing the corner.  If they are coming down the rocks they will be there soon.

3. N 32 58.032 – W 85 11.417 – Run up and across the lake to the cove just downstream of channel marker 16.  The woods around this cove were burned not too long ago and it is open under the big pines.  This is an excellent example of the type of place Charlie looks for bass during April.  Bass will bed in every little pocket in this cove. It is near deep water but is protected and has the flatter gravel banks he likes.  He seldom fishes the right bank since it drops off faster.

Run in to the white pea gravel point on the left about two –thirds of the way back.  Start throwing a Rat-L-Trap and work around the left side of cove, covering it fairly fast.  Run the Trap over all the gravel banks you see. If the water is up or you don’t know where the rocks are, drag a Carolina rigged six inch lizard until you feel the rocks.

When the bass start bedding they will often be on these rocks and will hit the lizard when they won’t chase the Trap.  Charlie likes greens like watermelon and green pumpkin in clearer water and black in stained water.  Drag it slowly along the rocks and bass will hit it.

If you are catching fish in an area, any time you see brush or thicker cover flip a jig into it. Charlie likes the All Terrain jig in black and blue and will also pitch it to bass he sees that are on the bed.   Work it slowly in the cover even if you don’t see a bass holding there. Some big fish have to be tempted to bite this time of year.

4. N 32 58.519– W 85 11.350 – Go in Bird Creek and you will see a big rocky point in the middle where the creek splits. Start on the big rocks on the left side of the point and work to your right.  Fish to the right and the bottom will change to gravel. Work out to the next small point.

This is the kind of place where the bass first pull up on in late March and early April.  Fish your crankbait here and try to hit ever bit of cover. Bass will hold and feed around rocks and wood so don’t miss anything.  Charlie calls this “beating the bank” and it works for bass before the spawn. Shad will spawn on these rocks, too, so watch for them in mid April.

5. N 32 59.019 – W 85 11.355 – Go into the cove just downstream of channel marker 24 and fish all around it. You will see an old unused bathhouse in the woods on the upstream point.  This is another good spawning cove and it has lots of little secondary points that are good places to throw Carolina rigs and Traps.  The flatter bottom means it is good for spawning fish.

This cove has the flat bottom and sits right off deep water. Bass moving in to spawn don’t have to go too far.  It is protected and always has bait in it, too.  There are two ditches in the back that show the kind of channel running through it and Charlie says they are good places to see spawning bass. He says bass love  this cove.

For spawning fish Charlie does not look for beds on West Point. He says you hardly ever see the saucer shaped bed like you do on some other lakes. He looks for the bass themselves.  You can spot them holding by a stick or on dark patches.  They may be hard on the bed without you ever seeing the bed and you can catch them. 

Watch the fish. If it runs off and does not come right back, move on. If the bass stays close and seems to concentrate on one spot, pitch a bait to that spot and work it in one place. Try a Paca Craw or All Terrain Jig worked right under the fish.

6. N 32 59.223 – W 85 11.160 – Go around the point and into the cove between channel markers 22 and 24 just downstream of Earl Cook. There is an old unused boat ramp back in this cove and it is a good one to fish. You will see the unused bathhouse on your right that was on your left going into hole #5 and there is a white danger pole marker on the upstream point.

 Bass hold around the ramp and rocks and feed and the shad will spawn on them, too.  Charlie says all ramps like this one that are “off the beaten path” are good places to fish.

Charlie says the Bandit crankbait is his number one weapon this time of year.  Work it and a jig on the rocks and ramp itself.  If the shad are spawning cast a spinnerbait right up on the rocks. Fish the ramp and rocks at different angles and work it to different depths. 

7. N 33 00.097  – W 85 11.320 – Head upstream you will pass black channel marker 27 and a hump on your left at Holiday Campground. The cove just upstream of this maker is a good spawning spot. The point on the upstream side has some picnic tables and you will see a cedar tree right on the edge of the trees about half-way down this bank.

Start fishing on the upstream point near the picnic tables and fish into the cove, working downstream. This is a good spawning pocket and has a flat gravel bottom. Work it with your Trap and Carolina rig to the back. Charlie does not fish the downstream bank of this pocket this time of year.

8. N 33 01.833 – W 85 09.928 – The Highway 109 Bridge is an excellent shad spawning place with lots of riprap to draw them.  Shad work both sides of the bridge and the pilings but Charlie usually has his best luck on the upstream side on the left going up. 

Watch for the shad on the rocks. You will see a ripple right on the rocks and shad flipping out of the water.  Get in close ahead of them as they move along the rocks and work your spinnerbait right on the rocks.

9. N 33 02.245  – W 85 10.064 – Above the Highway 109 Bridge you will see two islands to your left sitting in the mouth of a creek. Channel marker 41 sits downstream of these islands and you want to fish the pocket downstream of the big point at Indian Springs Group Campground straight in from the channel marker. There is a fish attractor buoy off the upstream point.

Start out on the main lake at the point with the picnic tables and buoy and fish downstream into the pocket.  Work this pea gravel bank for spawning fish like the others.   If the wind is blowing in on this bank and others like it the Trap will often be better than the Carolina rig.  Wind does help and makes the fish bite better.

10. N 33 02.571 – W 85 10.252 – Go around the upstream point and between island the island into the small creek.  The right bank going in past the island has rock on it and the whole area in the back of the creek is good from late March on.  The banks are steeper out past the old roadbed and better in late March and early April. The bottom past the roadbed flattens out and has gravel and is a good spawning area, making it better later in the month.  This kind of transition makes a place even better.

Charlie likes all these places and will fish them in tournaments as well as when trying to locate fish. Check them out then use the pattern to find other similar spots and you can catch bass at West Point now.

Where and How to Catch Lake Seminole August Bass

August 2015 Seminole Bass
with Laura Ann Foshee

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


And she fishes it on Lews Tournament Lite Reels and custom rods wrapped by TigeRodz with Rainshadow Revelation & Eternity rod blanks to suit her different kinds of fishing.
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10 N 30 46.318 – W 84 45.291 – Go down to the entrance to Wingates. There are three double sets of poles marking the channel in to it. Stop at the middle set of poles and fish all the grass around it. A ditch goes both ways from this set of poles and fish feed along it, and it is restocked with tournament released fish at Wingates.


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


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

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

February Bass at Guntersville 

with Randall Tharp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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