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.