Category Archives: Map of the Month – Georgia

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 February Lake Lanier Bass, with GPS Coordinates

Five pound Lake Lanier February spot

February Lake Lanier Bass

with Jim Farmer

         Some of the biggest spots in Lake Lanier are already moving to staging areas on rocky points near spawning areas in early February. You can catch a personal best spot right now by fishing crankbaits on these points.

    Lanier has developed a well-deserved reputation for producing magnum spots over the past few years. Four and five pounders are weighed in during most tournaments and bigger fish are caught all year long. Right now is one of the best times to catch one over five pounds.

    With deep, clear water, standing timber and rocky shorelines, Lanier is perfect habitat for spots.  The introduction of blueback herring gave the spots an excellent food source and this big baitfish has made them grow big and fat.  All these combined to produce a trophy spot lake.

    Jim Farmer lives a few miles from Bald Ridge Creek, has a lake house on that end of the lake and fishes Lanier a lot. He also paints crankbaits and other hard baits with custom colors specifically designed for the spots on Lanier.  He guides on the lake, showing fishermen where and how to use his baits to catch big fish. 

    After retiring from the Navy Jim moved to Lanier and started making planner boards that were very popular with striper and cat fishermen.  He fished for stripers a lot but got into bass fishing a few years ago and got hooked on them. He joined the Greater Atlanta Bass Club and fished with them until he started guiding.

    Jim also fishes the Bulldog BFL trail statewide and Hammonds and charity tournaments on Lanier.  This past December he and his partner won the UGA Fishing Team fund raiser North Georgia Fall Classic on Lanier with 19.6 Pounds and had big fish with a five-pound, twelve ounce spot.

    “The biggest spots in the lake move in to spawn earlier than most fishermen realize,” Jim said. There are still a lot of fish deep and you can catch them, but Jim likes to catch big fish shallow. He uses a variety of baits but relies on his crankbaits most of the time.

    For February fishing Jim will have a couple of crankbaits that run different depths, a jerkbait, a jig and pig, a shaky head and a spoon ready to cast.  The spoon is for catching the deeper fish, but the other baits are all fished on rocky points near spawning areas.

    Jim took me out in early January, the week after the first extremely cold week we had, to show me the following ten spots. We caught a few fish, but we were a little too early for them to be really good like they are now.

    1.  N 34 12.147 – W 84 05.019 – Going into the small creek off Baldridge Creek that has Baldridge Public Use area boat ramp, stop on the rocky point on your right. It is the first one upstream of the point with 6BR marker on it, and is a good example of one of the first places big spots stage. 

    As soon as the water starts to warm a little in early February, especially after two or three warm sunny days in a row, spots go to points like this one.  This one provides a smorgasbord of food for them but they really like crayfish, a high protein food great for pre-spawn feeding.

    Start on the upstream side of the point and fish around it to the smaller rocky point on the downstream side going into the cove.  Jim says crawfish are active when the water is 50 to 58 degrees and his “Sand Key” color is designed to match their color this time of year. And it has rattles to mimic their sound on the rocks.

    The rocks here provide ledges for the fish to hide under and ambush food.  Fish around the points slowly, casting your crankbait to a couple of feet of water and bump the rocks out as deep as you can with it.  Jim caught a small keeper spot here the day we fished.

    2.  N 34 11.874 – W 84 04.743 – Going down Baldridge Creek there is a small creek on the downstream side of channel marker 6BR on your left. The downstream point of this creek, across from the marked one, is another good staging area for big spots.  It has smaller rocks but they are clean, without the “snot weed” that grows in some places and that the fish don’t like, according to Jim.

    There are two points here to fish. Keep your boat out in 16 to 18 feet of water and use your crankbait. Jim uses his 1.5 squarebill or the deeper running Castaway Tackle Goto crankbait that runs eight to ten feet deep.  Bump the rocks all around these two points.

    Jim fishes his crankbaits on light line to get them down deeper. He says you have to have good line and uses Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon in six or eight-pound test. A smooth drag is important for fighting big spots and he checks his line on almost every cast for nicks from bumping rocks.

    Crank the bait down and then work it slowly with rod pulls and twitches to make it rattle and dart. Try to imitate the movement of crayfish.  When a fish hits, sweep the rod a little to hook them but don’t set the hook hard with the light line.

    3.  N 34 12.703 – W 84 03.794 – Go up Young Deer Creek past the small island on your right with 4YD marker on it. Across the creek a point runs way out to a shoal marker and there is construction work on the bank.  Stop on the upstream point of the pocket going in downstream of the construction.

    This pocket is a good spawning area and spots stage on this first rocky point.  The point is not big but has rock and clay that crayfish live in, and shad and herring move across it, too. Fish a crankbait but also try a jerkbait and jig and pig.  The jerkbait imitates baitfish while the jig and pig look like bream and crawfish, both good food sources for spots.

    4.  N 34 13.250 – W 84 03.750 – Going up Young Deer a big island is on the left with 5YD marker on it. On the right is a creek with Young Deer Access ramp in it.  AS you go into that small creek, a shoal marker is on your right and a house with a US flag is on the bank.  This hump is a long rocky point and it holds fish in February.

    Stop on the end of this rock and clay point and fish the upstream side and end of it.  The channel swings in on the upstream side and gives the fish quick access to deep water. Jim says here and other places a few warm days pulls spots up shallow, but they drop back after a cold front for a few days.

    Bump the rocks with crankbaits and work a jerkbait over them.  Also crawl a jig and pig down the drop. Work it slowly and out deeper, especially after a cold front.  Even after a cold front bass will still hold here and feed, just a little deeper.

    5.  N 34 12.074 – W 84 02.319 – Back out on the main lake run up to the long point with Shadburn Ferry ramp on it.  The ramp is in a ditch that holds fish all winter.  Jim caught four of his five fish in the December UGA tournament here.

    Fish the rocky point with the shoal marker on it with all your baits. Also check the ditch.  A good winter pattern that started early this year is catching fish out of ditches like this one. Bass will hold in them out to 50 feet deep and you can see them on your electronics. 
    Early in the morning work the back of the ditch around the ramp with a jerkbait.  Bass move to the back to feed shallower then go back out deep as the sun gets bright.  Later in the day find the fish down deep and drop a spoon down to them. Jim likes the chrome three quarters ounce War Eagle jigging spoon.

    Drop your spoon down to the bottom, pop it up a couple of feet and let it fall back on tight line.  Be ready to set the hook as it falls, that is when most of the bites happen.  You can often watch your spoon fall and see the fish follow it.

    6.  N 34 12.251 – W 84 02.434 – An island forms the side of the ditch opposite the ramp. Go around to the other side of it and the rocky point there is a good one to fish, especially later in the month.  It is a little further back from the main lake so fish to move to it a little later.

    Pick apart this point with all your baits, fishing all the way around it.  Bump the rocks with crankbaits and a jig and pig.  Jim likes a crawfish colored River Bend Custom Baits jig by Richie Westfelt in three eights to half ounce.  His Castaway Tackle jerkbait is a 110-style medium diver that he paints in white or cold steel blue.  Try different cadences on each cast until the fish tell you what they want that day.

    7.  N 34 15.657 – W 83 57.998 – Run up above Browns Bridge and go into the first creek on your left on the downstream side of Chestatee Bay. Islands divide the mouth of this creek from the main bay.  Go into this creek that runs parallel to Browns Bridge Road point on the right with a big house on it. The point is on the upstream side of a ditch with a marker in it. This is where Jim caught the five-pound, 12-ounce spot in the UGA tournament and he caught a good keeper spot here the day we fished.

    The point Jim calls “Big House Point” drops on both sides, into the ditch and creek channel.  Bass spawn in the back of the ditch and stage on the point. Fish around it with all your baits, keeping your boat in about 40 feet of water and casting to the rocks. 

    8.  N 34 16.711 – W 83 57.130 – Go to the north-west side of Chestatee Bay opposite and a little upstream of the islands on the south-east side going back to the Long Hollow ramp. There is a double point on your right with a small pocket between them. There are three small leaning pines grouped together on the downstream point.  Start on the downstream side of the downstream point and fish all the way around it.

    Start about 100 feet from the point and work around it to the big rocks on the upstream side.  Fish stage and feed all along this bank and on the point. Try all your baits but Jim says this is a good shaky head point, with some brush piles and some other wood cover on it.

    Jim uses three sixteenths to one quarter ounce Spotsticker Screwball jig head and puts a Mattingly Customs worm by Josh Mattingly on it. He says those worms come in some unique colors that give the heavily pressured Lanier spots a different look. Jim dips all his plastic baits in chartreuse JJs Magic to give them added color and smell that attracts spots.

    This point, like the others, get a lot of sun, especially in the afternoon. Jim says that helps warm the water and make the fish more active.  Work quickly with moving baits then slowly work the shaky head all around the point, probing for wood and rocks, shaking it as you move it along the bottom.

    9.  N 34 16.833 – W 83 57.050 – After fishing around the big rocks on the upstream side of the above point go across the cove to the other side where the line of blown down trees up on the bank come toward the water.  Fish from that place out and around this point. It is flatter, with white rocks along a clay bank and is a good feeding area.

    Fish all your baits, trying both faster moving and slower moving ones.  Remember it is important to keep your crankbaits in contact with the bottom, making it dart, bump and rattle.

    10.  N 34 14.126 – W 84 02.810 – Back down the lake go up Six Mile Creek till you can see the bridge on your right. Keep straight ahead into the small double creek and stop on the point between the two arms of it.
There is riprap around it and a ridge of rocks coming out on the end of it.

    Both arms of this creek are good spawning pockets and a lot of big spots stage on the point and feed.  There is chunk rock on a clay bottom all around the point and those rocks are what you want to bump with your crankbait, jig and pig and shaky head.  Fish all the way around it with all your baits.

    All these places are holding fish right now and will get better as the days get longer and the water warms a little. Give them a try with Jim’s baits or fish your favorites. You may catch the spot of a lifetime.

    You can follow Jim on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jfarm44 and see his baits and the spots he catches.

NOTE – not sure this is helping – really don’t get much response if you want to stop running it.

    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 September Jackson Lake Bass, with GPS Coordinates

September 2015 Jackson Bass

with Keith Dawkins

September can be the most frustrating time of year for bass fishermen.  The water is as hot as it gets and the oxygen content is at its lowest level of the year. The days are still hot and uncomfortable and the bass are sluggish. But some lakes, like Jackson, offer you a chance to catch fish and forget the problems.

Jackson is an old Georgia Power lake at the headwaters of the Ocmulgee River.  It is lined by docks and rocks are plentiful. There are good points that run out to deep water and humps that hold bass.  Shad are the primary forage this time of year and you can find the shad and catch bass.

In the 1970s and 1980s Jackson was known for big largemouth.  Then spots were illegally stocked in the lake by misguided fishermen and they have taken over the lake. Rather than catching a seven pound largemouth now you are going to catch seven one pound spots.

Spots are fun to catch and taste good, so enjoy catching them and eat them.  You can’t hurt the population of bass in the lake by keeping every one you catch. In fact, fisheries biologists say keeping all of them, even those under 12 inches long, may help a little. They have no size limit anywhere in Georgia except Lake Lanier.

Keith Dawkins grew up fishing Jackson.  His parents still have a house there and he spends several days a month on the lake.  For years he fished the Berrys tournaments and bigger trails like the Bulldog BFL but his job now keeps him from fishing tournaments.

 “Early in September bass are out on main lake structure, feeding on shad,” Keith said.  As the month progresses they push up the points and toward the coves. By the end of the month, depending on the shad, they may be way back in them.

A wide variety of baits will catch fish.  Keith always has a Flash Mob Jr. with small swimbaits on the arms and a Fish Head Spin on the middle one.  He also likes a buzz bait, popper and X-Rap five inch bait with props on both ends for top water fishing and a Fluke or Senko rigged weightless for fishing over structure and cover.

For faster fishing a 300 Bandit with white and chartreuse is good as is a #7 Shadrap in black and silver.  When he slows down and probes the bottom he will have a Carolina rigged Trick worm and a Spotsticker jig head with a Trick worm on it.

If you are seeing fish on your depthfinder but can’t get them to hit, get right on top of them and use a drop shot worm. Drop it down to them and jiggle is slowly.  If they are right on the bottom let your lead stay on the bottom but raise it up to the depth the fish are holding if they are suspended.

Keith showed me the following ten places in mid-August.  Small spots were on them during the day. The afternoon before we went he caught some quality spots and largemouth right at dark, an indication the bigger fish were probably feeding at night. Those bigger fish will be feeding on these places during the day in September.

1.  N 33 20.606 – W 83 51.667 – The big point where the river turns downstream across from the mouth of Tussahaw Creek is a good place to start early in the morning or to fish late in the day.  It is a big flat where wood washes in and hangs up and there are a couple of small pockets on it and small points run off it.

Start on the upstream end where the biggest cove on the point starts.  There are rocks on it and it drops fairly fast.  As you fish downstream the bottom flattens out and there is a lot of wood to fish.  Stay way out on the flat in seven to eight feet of water since it is so shallow and cover all the wood with a buzz bait.

Fish all the way around the point where it turns to the left going downstream.  Also try a crankbait around this wood in case the fish don’t want a topwater bait. A weightless Fluke or Senko is also good around the wood.

2.  N 33 20.313 – W 83 51.404 – Go down the river and there is a marked hump way off the left bank. There are two danger markers on it and it tops out about six feet deep at full pool, dropping off to 40 feet deep. Keith warns that boat wakes move the markers and they may not be right on top of it, so idle up toward them slowly.  The hump has rocks, stumps and brush piles on it the bass use for cover, and they will also hold in the saddle between the hump and the bank.

Start with your boat in deeper water and fish all the way around it, casting topwater and crankbaits to the top of the hump and working them back. Also try the Flash Mob Jr. here, fishing it the same way.  Watch your depthfinder as you go around it for fish holding deeper.

Try a Carolina rig and a jig head worm on this hump, too.  Keith likes to drag both baits along slowly, letting the lead stir up the bottom to attract attention.  Keith usually uses a Trick worm on both, preferring watermelon seed or pumpkin seed colors, but if the bass want a smaller bait he will go to a Finesse worm. He will often dip the tails of both size worms in chartreuse JJs Magic for added attraction.

We caught some small spots here on a drop shot when Keith saw fish near the bottom.  If you see them off the sides of the hump try that. Also, especially during the day, you can sit on top of the hump and cast a Carolina rig or jig head worm to the deeper water, working your bait up the drop.

3.  N 33 19.317 – W 83 50.574 – On the right side of the dam going toward it the Georgia Power park and ramp are on a big point right beside the dam.  There are two DNR docks in the pocket formed by the dam and point and there are “Boats Keep Out” buoys in front of them.  There is a public fishing pier on this side of the point.

A lot of wood washes in and sticks in this pocket, and the DNR and residents sometimes pull floating wood to it, so there is a lot of cover to fish. The bottom is also rocky and drops off into deep water.  In the morning or late afternoon start in the pocket, fishing the wood. Try topwater and a weightless bait like a Fluke or Senko around it, too.

When the sun is high sit way out even with the big park point but toward the dam side, and line up with the two tallest towers on the power station on the bank.  A ridge runs out parallel to the park point and flattens out on the end, and bass hold on it.  Fish it with your bottom baits and run a crankbait and the A-Rig over it

4. N 33 19.584 – W 83 50.563 – Go back upstream to the big point on the left where the river turns back to the left.  Downstream of this point, straight out from a cream colored boat house with a metal dock in front of it, a hump rises up to about 14 feet deep. Line up the end of the point with the park side of the dam and idle along this line. You will be in about the middle of the mouth of the creek coming out on the park side.

Keith caught his biggest spot from Jackson on this hump.  Sit out in deep water and drag your bottom bumping baits on it. Try a drop shot, too. Also run a crankbait across it for suspended fish.  Keith does not always bump the bottom with a crankbait but fishes it like a fleeing shad in the water column. He may go to a deeper running bait like the DD22 if the fish won’t come up for a more shallow running bait.

5.  N 33 20.028 – W 83 50.753 – Going upstream on the right bank, on the upstream point of the third big cove upstream of Goat Island, you will see a house and dock with bright silver roofs on the point.  There is a seawall around the point and big rocks are on it. As the bank goes upstream there are huge boulders where it turns into a bluff bank.

Stay way off the bank, the rocks come out a long way, and cast a crankbait or A-Rig to them.  Then try your jig head worm and Carolina rig around them.  Fish all the way around the point.  Way off the point a hump comes up and the saddle leading out to it can be good.

Watch for schooling fish here and other similar places.  There were several schools of small keeper spots chasing shad all around this point when we fished and Keith got one on his XRap.  They will school even better in September and you can chase schooling fish most of the day.

6.  N 33 20.145 – W 83 50.852 – Going up stream along the bluff bank a narrow point comes out at the upper end of it.  There is riprap around the point and a narrow pocket upstream of it.  The point runs way out and Keith says bass hold out on the point early in the month and feed on shad. Later in the month they will push shad up into the bay on the downstream side and into the narrow pocket upstream of it.

Fish the point with your Carolina rig, A-Rig and jig head worm.  Stay way out with your boat in at least 15 feet of water to fish the point early in the month. Later fish the cover in the bay and pocket on both sides with Senko or Fluke but try you’re A-Rig in the pockets, too.  Keith likes the light Flash Mob, Jr and does not put heavy jig heads on it so he can fish it shallower without hanging up.

7. N 33 20.840 – W 83 51.985 – Go to the mouth of Tussahaw Creek to the right side going in. A ridge comes up way off this bank and tops out about 14 feet deep. You will see a light brown roof dock in front of a white cabin on the right bank and the ridge starts about even with it and runs into the creek.

Fish up the ridge into the creek until you are even with a dark brown dock.  Try you’re a-Rig and crankbait over the top of it, keeping your boat on the river side in deeper water.  Then fish it with bottom bumping baits probing for the rocks and stumps on it.  Watch here, too, for fish on the bottom and try a drop shot for them.

8. N 33 21 094 – W 83 52.213 – Go on up Tussahaw to upstream side of the first small cove. There is a tall tree stump carved into a bear standing behind a dock on the bank. Start at the dock in front of the bear and fish upstream.  Fish hold on this point and the next one upstream, too, and feed early in the month then push shad into the coves on both sides of the points later.

Fish will often hold on docks so Keith works them carefully. He will fish every dock post with a jig head worm, hitting the post and letting the bait drop straight down it.  He says spots often nose up to the post and if the bait does not fall straight down beside it they won’to hit.  Keith says he will often spend a half hour carefully fishing every post on a dock. A Senko or Fluke will also catch dock bass.

Fish the points and banks going into the pockets with A-Rig and crankbait.   When fishing the crankbait Keith says he likes to crank it a few feet then pause it. Strikes will often come just as he starts the bait moving again. Try different lengths of pause before moving it again.

9. N 33 22.180 – W 83 51.728 – Go up the Alcovy to the mouth of the South River. As you go into the mouth of it, on your right, the second point is narrow and has an old boat ramp on it.  This point comes way out and has a lot of rocks on it and holds a lot of bass. Keith caught several spots here on his crankbait.

Run your crankbait and A-Rig across the point.  If there is any current coming out of the river, which often happens after a rain, Keith says it is important to stay on the downstream side of the point and cast upstream, working your baits with the current.

Also fish a Trick worm or Senko on top of the point early. It is very shallow a good way off the bank.  Then work your bottom baits on the point, all the way out to the end of it in at least 15 feet deep.  You will get hung up in the rocks but that is where the bass live.

10.  N 33 23.028 – W 83 50.590 – Run up the Alcovy River under the powerlines.  Upstream of them a ridge runs parallel to the river channel way off the left bank upstream of the first creek on that side.  Watch on the right bank for a white deck on the bank just off the water with lattice work under it. It is very white.

If you stop in the middle of the lake even with that deck and idle toward the far bank, at a very slight angle upstream, you will cross the ridge. The ridge is on the far side of the river channel and it tops out about 14 feet deep and has stumps and rocks in some spots on it.

Keith likes to keep his boat on the side of the ridge away from the river channel and fish it. He says bass tend to hold on that side and stripers hold on the river side.  Cast you’re a-Rig and crankbait over the top of it and work your Carolina rig and jig head down that side from the top to about 20 feet deep. Also watch for fish under the boat to use your drop shot.

Since the rocks and stumps are in patches, feel for them and concentrate on that area.  The end of the ridge is where Keith catches most of his fish.

Give Keith’s places a try and see the kind of structure and cover he likes this month. There are many similar places you can find and fish on Jackson.

Where and How to Catch Lake Harding/Bartletts Ferry February Bass, with GPS Coordinates

    By now most bass fishermen have had enough sitting at home staying warm and want to venture out to defeat cabin fever.  Although there is hope for warming by the end of the month and bass do respond to the longer days, they are not easy to catch most days. Fortunately, lakes like Harding will have some feeding fish this time of year.

    For a February trip, a lake like Harding on the Chattahoochee River just downstream from West Point is a good choice. It has a variety of types of structure and cover to fish and is full of spotted bass. Spots seem to feed better in cold water and cold fronts affect them but don’t usually shut them down like it will largemouth.

    Chris Blair has been a bass fisherman all his life and his father instilled a love of competition in fishing in him. He often went with his father to club tournaments and fished from the bank until he could join the Clayton County Bass Club when he turned 16.  He does well in the club and made the Georgia BASS Federation Nation state team in 2008. 

    “Harding is one of my favorite lakes,” Chris said.  “It has some big spots in it and you can catch them in a variety of ways,” he continued. There are also some good largemouth in the lake. Although February is not the best month to be on Harding, you can catch fish there as well or better than any where else this time of year.

    The bass at Harding are holding on their winter patterns most of the month of February. They are near deep water and hiding in heavy cover.  A warm day or two will make them move a little more shallow and feed better, but they won’t venture far from the deep water sanctuary. 

    Wood and rock cover is what you want to look for, and it needs to drop into at least 15 feet of water to hold bass this time of year. If even deeper water is nearby it is even better.

    Chris will fish a three eights ounce Edge Hardhead mop jig and trailer in orange and brown in clear water and black and blue in stained water.  He likes a one half ounce Edge spinnerbait in chartreuse and white with a gold Colorado and a silver willowleaf blade.   A Hellrazor blade jig in white with a Shadee Shad trailer is good for fish that don’t want quite as much flash as the spinnerbait shows.

    A Luck Craft or Bandit crankbait in Tennessee Shad that will get down deep is a good choice for more active fish and Chris will go to a one eight ounce lead head with a six inch pumpkinseed Trick worm trailer for very inactive fish.  One of these baits will attract bites most days.

    The following ten spots show the kinds of cover and structure Chris catches Harding bass from this time of year.

    1.  N 32 42 755 – W 85 07.361 – Run down the river on the right side and go past the mouth of Osanippa Creek.  On your right will be a small point with a green pine in the water beside a dead pine in the water.  They are in front of gray roof house and there is a dock just downstream of them as you start into the pocket there.

    These blowdowns are on a steep drop and there is 15 feet of water just off them at full pool. They offer the typical kind of place Chris looks for this time of year, heavy cover dropping into deep water. 

    Start fishing on the upstream side of the green tree and work a jig and pig through the branches of it and then the dead one. Fish it carefully and slowly, winter bass are not aggressive. Give them time to hit.

    As you work away from the trees throw a crankbait and jig head worm around the docks just inside the pocket. As the water warms at the end of the month bass will move into this pocket and hold on cover around the docks.

    2.  N 32 41.843 – W 85 07.104 – Down the river past the Chattahoochee Valley Rec Park just downstream of the second small pocket there is a steep bluff bank starting at a small point with a gray house with a long walkway going down to the dock. There is raw clay on the outside of the point and some big rocks and wood cover is along this bank.  

    Start at the point and work a crankbait and spinnerbait through the cover. Slowroll the spinnerbait through the limbs of trees and bump the crankbait off the ends of them. A Hellraiser is good to work off the ends of the wood, too.

    Follow up with your jig and pig or jig head worm. Bump them slowly from limb to limb. If the water is warming, fish from the shallow end all the way out but if it is cold, especially early in the month, concentrate on the deeper parts of the cover.

    3.   N 32 41.053 – W 85 11.066 – Run to the third bridge going up Halawakee Creek. The Highway 279 Bridge is upstream of the old railroad bridge.  Bridges like this one on creeks make a squeeze point where bass often stack up as they start to move toward the backs of the creeks as the water warms and the days get longer.

    Fish the riprap and pilings from one side to the other, working a crankbait and spinnerbait bumping the rocks and along the pilings.  Also fish a jig and pig or jig head worm on the rocks and beside the pilings. Even early in the month the rocks and pilings will warm from the sun and draw baitfish and bass to them.

    You will find the water is usually a little clearer in this creek than out on the main river. This can be important in cold water. Clear cold water is better than muddy cold water most days.

    4. N 32 41.092 – W 85 08.936 – Going down the creek there is a big creek on your right just before you get to the Highway 379 Bridge.  A power line crosses the mouth of the creek, jumping from one long narrow point on the upstream side to the long narrow point on the downstream side.

    Start on the upstream point at the power line and fish the bank, casting to the clay bottom that changes to riprap.  Throw crankbaits, Hellrazor and spinnerbait.  When you get to the blowdown slow down and fish it carefully with a jig and pig and jig head worm.

    You will be in 15 feet of water a cast off the bank near the point but the old creek channel swings in near the blowdown and the tip of it is in water about 25 feet deep at full pool.  It is in a perfect location to hold bass all month. The water is deep enough for early in the month and bass moving into the creek as the days get longer will hold in the tree before moving further back.

    5. N 32 41.356 – W 85 08.098 – Go under the bridge and head downstream. Straight ahead the bank runs out from your right and the river makes a turn to the left.  On the right bank right where the turn starts is a point with some post along a wooden seawall on it. The posts have lights on them.

    Stop well off the point in 45 feet of water and east toward it. Off the tip and slightly downstream of it is a huge boulder sitting in about 15 feet of water and there is rubble around it. Bass, especially spots, like to hold around this rock.

    You can bump the top of the rock with a crankbait that runs six or seven feet deep then slow roll a spinnerbait on it. Work a jig and pig and jig head worm all around the rock, throwing up to the seawall and fishing back past the rock.  Bass will hold all around the rock and feed on shad, so seeing balls of shad here and on other spots like this really helps.

    6. N 32 42.034 – W 85 06.591 – Run out of Hawalakee Creek and go across the mouth of the river. You can run across above the island with the house on it near the creek and downstream of the island with the cross on it near the other bank. Locals call this “Church Island.”

    The right bank going up across from the island with the cross is steep and drops off into deep water.  There is a white house on the downstream side of this point and it flattens out and the bluff bank along the point has big boulders in it.

    Start fishing just upstream of the dock where the big rocks start and work upstream, all the way past the next dock.  Chris will get in close to the bank and parallel it with a big crankbait and also slow roll a spinnerbait along the bottom.

    This is also a good place to fish a jig and pig and jig head worm when the water is cold. Chris says he will throw right on the bank then “creepy crawl” either jig down the rocks, barely  moving it so it stays right on the bottom and falls only s few inches at a time. The bottom drops fast here so you have to move it very slowly.

    7.  N 32 42.406 – 85 06.891 – Go up the river past the next big round point and stop at the mouth of the narrow cove on your right. The upstream point of this cove is rock and drops off on the end into the channel. There is a ledge across the mouth of the cove and it is shallow going toward the downstream point but it drops off into the river on the outside of it, too.

    Fish the  upstream point early in the month and work into the cut as the days get longer and the water starts to warm. Bass hold on the point and feed on shad then work into the cut, holding and feeding around wood cover in it.  There are usually lots of shad around the mouth of this cove so check for them.

    Chris says there is lots of good brush as you go back into this cove and it is a good place to fish later in the month.  Fish your jigs around the point and you can fish a jig head or jig and pig vertically if you see fish under your boat. As you go into the cove fish all your baits around the brush and other wood cover.

    8.  N 32 42.946 – W 85 07.012 – The downstream point of the cove with Idlehour Ramp in it holds bass.  This shallow point is a good place to start if you put in here or end your day before you take out, or both.

    Stay well off the point and make long casts across it with all your baits. Work your spinnerbait and blade jig along the bottom and bump it with a crankbait. Then drag a jig and pig or jig head worm along the bottom.

    A lot of tournaments are held out of this ramp and bass released here often hold on this point.  There are usually shad on it so it is worth fishing carefully and at different angles. Work all the way around it, keeping your boat out as far as the no wake buoy on that side, while fan casting the point.

    9. N 32 44.041 – W 85 06.662 – Up the river just before it bends back to the left at Blanton Creek is a cove. It is the last one on the right before Blanton Creek going upstream and is very shallow. But the downstream point is rocky and drops off into the channel.

    Stop out from the point and work in. You will see a big pine blowdown but it is broken off at the water level. There is brush out in front of it to fish, though. Another smaller blowdown is closer inside the mouth of the cove. 

    You will also see a log lying on the bottom out from the bank, showing how shallow this pocket is.  You don’t want to fish into the pocket. Instead, work your jigs in the blowdowns and brush and also down the steep rocky bank going downstream of this spot.  Chris says this is a very good spot hole.

    10.  N 32 44.605 – W 85.07.901 – Run up past the bluff bank on your left to where the river turns to the right.  At the end of the bluff the bank levels out and a creek enters the river.  On the upstream point of the creek is a big “For Sale” sign.

    Out in front of this sign about 40 to 50 yards is a rock pile right on the lip of the old river channel. It is very rough and comes up out of 10 plus feet of water to top out at about five feet deep at full pool.  Bass hold and feed on these rocks, especially when current is moving down the river.

    Chris positions his boat downstream of the rocks and throws a crankbait up to work back with the current.  He wants to get it down to bump the rocks but be prepared; you will get hung up here.  Fan cast all over the top of the rocks.

    These ten spots hold bass right now and through the end of the month. Check them out and you can find many more similar places to catch February bass at Harding.

Where and How To Catch September Lanier Bass with Rob Jordan

September 2013 Lanier Bass

 with Rob Jordan

    Tired of summer doldrums fishing for bass in deep water and not catching much? There is light at the end of September, when water starts cooling and bass get more shallow and active on our lakes. But why wait several more weeks?  You can catch some big spots at Lanier right now.

    Lanier is a big lake at 40,000 acres and since it is just northeast of Atlanta it gets heavy pleasure boat traffic, especially on weekends. And it gets a lot of fishing pressure.  The lake is known for its big spotted bass that took advantage of the introduction of blueback herring.  Five pound spots are caught often and most tournaments are won on spotted bass, with five-fish limits weighing 15 pounds common.

    Rob Jordan grew up fishing Lanier and now lives in Swanee.  His cousin Jim Murray, Jr. got him started tournament fishing and taught him a lot about catching bass.  Rob also worked with Jim painting custom lures and Rob has a business making realistic looking baits.  He also guides on Lanier and fishes tournaments.  Next year Rob plans on fishing the FLW Everstart and BASS Opens.

    This year Rob fished the Savannah River BFL trail and is right on the qualifying point to fish the Regional at Lanier with one tournament to go.  He hopes to do well in the Regional on his home lake.

    Rob’s best five spots in a tournament on Lanier weighed 21.5 pounds. This summer he has had big fish in two night tournaments.  Two years ago he placed third in the Weekend Series on Lanier and was in the top ten in the BFL there that year.  He knows the lake and how to catch good spots.

    “Lanier is a fantastic lake but you have to understand the waters and when the bass bite to do well,” Rob said.  It is a unique lake and you won’t catch the big spots by fishing like you do on other lakes.

    “The biggest spots are hard to catch since they roam the lake, living in water 50 to 60 feet deep,” Rob told me.  Weather and moon phases are keys to figuring out the bite. And you have to fish in the right places to catch the quality spotted bass.

    September is a transition month for spots on Lanier and you can catch some really big fish, especially late in the month.  Last year Rob got a six pound, six ounce spot toward the end of September on a guide trip.  But you can catch quality fish starting right now.

      A wide variety of baits will catch spots on Lanier this month. Rob will have a drop shot worm and a shaky head worm ready for slower fishing.  When the bite is good he likes a swim bait or a top water plug. All these baits are fished in deep water, with his boat often sitting in 80 plus feet of water and fishing water that is 30 feet deep.

    Rob will try a variety of depths and lures until he finds where the bass are feeding, and that depth will usually be consistent all over the lower lake.  The key is a long point or hump that drops off into very deep water. Standing timber in the deep water and brush or rocks on the humps and points make those places much better.

    Rob took me to the following ten spots in early August and we caught fish on most of them.  They are good right now and will get even better as the month progresses.

    1.  N 34 10.029 – W 84 02.492 – Green channel marker 3SC in Shoal Creek sits on a rocky hump right by the channel.  There is also a danger marker on it and one small bush stuck out of the water when we were there.  The hump is right off an island, too.  It always holds bass, according to Rob, and it typical of the type place he fishes this month.

    There is brush all over and around it as well as the natural rocks to hold feeding fish. Rob says it is important to locate the brush piles and fish them, so ride it with your electronics and mark the brush. Good electronics will even show the fish in the brush and how they are setting up on it.

    Start on the upstream end and work the whole area, keeping your boat out in the channel.  Wind rippling the surface of the water is critical here and on other spots to make the fish active, and overcast days help, too.

    If there is some wind and some clouds try a big swim bait like the Bucca Bull Herring hard swim bait or a Zman Grass KickerZ over the brush. Topwater plugs like a big Spook or Sammy will draw the bass up to the top from the brush.

    If the water is slick or it is sunny Rob will fish a Zman StreakZ on a drop shot or a Big Bass Baits jig head with a worm on it in the brush.  It is important to get the baits right on the fish so work each brush pile carefully, especially if you see fish in or around it.

    2.  N 34 11.681 – W 83 03.607 – Run over to Young Deer Creek and right in the mouth of it on the left side going upstream marker 1YD sits on a hump with a danger marker and some bushes on top.  Again, it is right on the channel where deep water is very close to shallow water. 

    Your boat should be in about 100 feet of water and you want to fish brush around 30 feet deep. Rob says 30 foot deep water is usually a good depth in September but they may feed a little shallower later in the month. If you are not catching fish in the deeper brush, or if you see them in more shallow brush, try it.

    Rob says bass are caught here every day. There are a lot of brush piles and big rocks on the hump to cover.  Try all your baits around them.

    A big swim bait is Rob’s go-to bait if he wants quality fish. In a tournament where five bites from big fish is all you want, try the Bull Herring worked slowly over the brush.  Rob’s custom painted versions are best since the spots on Lanier see so many swim baits but all will catch bass.

    3.  N 34 11.766 – W 84 03.499 – Across the mouth of Young Deer Creek channel marker 2YD sits on a deep rocky point that is excellent.  Rob fishes the downstream end of the point where it runs out parallel to the channel.  You will be sitting in 70 to 100 feet of water when fishing the end of the point.

    First try the swimbaits and topwater. Always keep a topwater plug ready to cast immediately to surfacing fish.  We caught a couple the day we fished when they came up near us. They may not stay up long so be ready.  If the spots are consistently schooling on top but not staying long, Rob will stand in the front of the boat with a topwater bait ready to cast, waiting on them to come up again.

    4.  N 34 12.494 – W 84 01.432 – An island sits in the mouth of Six Mile Creek and marker 4SM sits just off it. The creek channel is on one side and the river channel on the other.  Rob says this is one of the best big spot holes on the lake and he caught a six pounder here. 

    There are stumps and brush piles on the point on the downstream side of the island where the big spots live. Rob says a big swim bait or topwater is the way to go here for the big ones.  Work both baits all around the point, concentrating on brush piles and stump beds you find with your electronics.

    Rob fishes both hard and soft swimbaits with a steady retrieve and keeps them near the surface is there is cloud cover or wind on the water.  When a fish hits he sets the hook with a sweep of his rod, not a hard set, and does not drop the rod tip. 

    If there is little wind or if the spots just don’t seem to eat the big bait, Rob will drop down to the smaller size Zman SwimmerZ soft swim bait.  He fishes the soft baits on a three sixteenths to three quarter ounce jig head depending on how the fish set up. The lighter head is better for running the bait shallow but the bigger head will allow you to fish it a little faster and deeper.

    5.  N 34 13.464 – W 84 01.406 – Further up Six Mile Creek it narrows way down right at channel marker 7SM.  There are several good humps and points in this area. The left side going upstream, between the last cove on that side to the point where the creek narrows way down, have the better ones.

    The danger marker on the left sits between two long points that are excellent. Sit out in 45 feet of water and cast up into 25 to 30 feet of water.  There are a couple of road beds, an old house foundation and brush piles on the points.  Fish them all.

    The pinch point where the creek narrows way down funnels fish into this area as they move up the creek in the fall. Rob says when the water temperature drops into the 70s it is like a switch turns on and the bass get into action chasing bait. Swim baits and topwater are even better when it cools down.

    6.  N 34 14.772 – W 83 56.843 – Run up the river to the mouth of Flat Creek. A big island sits in the mouth of it and red channel marker 26 is on a point where the river channel swings in toward it. Rob says bass live here year round and it is always good, but in September even more bass get on the point while moving into the creek.

    Sit out in 40 feet of water and cast up on the point with all your baits, starting shallow and working deeper. There are rocks and brush piles here that hold the fish. If you can’t find the brush with your electronics, drag a jig head worm along the bottom until you hit rocks or brush and work it.                                                                           

    7.  N 34 13.602 – W 83 55.772 – For a change of pace run into Mud Creek all the way to the narrow creek channel in the back.  Rob fishes docks back in places like this. Spots and some big largemouth can be found back around docks in creeks as the water cools.  Fish all the docks from the ones on the left past the big rocky point where it narrows down all the way around the creek.

    Try a one eighth to three sixteenths ounce jig head with a Zman finesse worm on it.  Fish all of each dock, from the deepest water in front of it to the back under the walkway.  The bass may be feeding anywhere around the docks. 

    The bass will be on the outside deeper docks early in the month but move further back as the water cools. Since the weather this summer has been fairly cool and the rain and cool weather in the middle of August kept the water temperatures down, they may move further back sooner this year.

    8.  N 34 13.967 – W 83 56.271 – Going out of Mud Creek Old Federal day use park with a boat ramp is on your left.  Past it a long point runs out toward the main lake and there is an island off the bank, with danger markers between it and the main point. 

    Stop about even with the island in Mud Creek and idle over the ridge that runs out on that side toward the Mud Creek channel.  This ridge runs way out and has rock and brush on it, and bass stack up on it all summer long. Even more move to it as they follow shad back into the creek in the fall.

    Sit in about 40 feet of water and cast up on top of the ridge to 20 to 30 feet of water.  Try all your baits.  When using a drop shot in the brush Rob likes to pitch it ahead of the boat a little rather than fishing it straight under the boat. He will let the lead hit bottom, raise his rod tip to keep the bait up off the bottom and twitch it in one place, moving the lead very slowly as he works it around the brush.

    9.  N 34 13.447 – W 83 57.774 – Out off the end of the point with Old Federal Campground there is a big flat point with a danger marker off a small island with bushes on top.  There are brush piles all over it but Rob’s favorite area of this big point is downstream of the island and danger marker. 

    As in other places, start with topwater and swim baits over the brush piles you locate with your electronics, then try the dropshot and shaky head.  Rob likes a light one sidxteenths to one eight head, as light as conditions will allow, since the slow fall will often draw a strike.

    Rob lets the shaky head hit bottom then slowly drags it along with an occasional snap of the rod tip to make it wiggle and jump. Many people shake it in one place, as the name implies, but Rob moves it slowly along the bottom without constant shaking.

         10.  N 34 11.424 – W 83 58.442 – In Flowery Branch across from the Van Pugh ramp a long underwater point runs off the upstream side of the danger marker between the small island and the main point.  This point actually runs off Van Pugh park out to the island then on out toward the creek channel.

         Stay out on the creek end of the point and work it with all your baits.  Resident fish live here and more move in during the fall.  If you are fishing a tournament use big baits for a few quality bites. Use smaller topwater baits like the Sammy 100 early in the fall but go bigger later. For numbers the shaky head or drop shot will get more bites.

         All these places hold bass right now and will get better as the month progresses and the water gets cooler. Give them a try and you can find many more just like them.

         For a guide trip with Rod to see first hand how he fishes Lanier call him at 770-873-7135 and check his web site at http://robjordanfishing.com  Also check out his custom painted baits at http://www.xtremelurecreations.com

Where and How to Catch Lake Blue Ridge June Bass

June Blue Ridge Bass

with Barron Adams

    Lots of spots, some quality largemouth and your best chance to catch a Georgia smallmouth.  Fish rocks and brush in deeper water while watching for schooling fish on Blue Ridge Lake this month to catch all three types of bass.

    Blue Ridge is a pretty 3300-acre TVA lake on the Toccoa River in the north Georgia mountains near the state line where Tennessee and North Carolina meet.  Its deep clear waters for years harbored the best smallmouth population in the state, but the invasion of spots has decimated their population.  There are still some, mostly bigger fish it seems, in the lake.

    Barron Adams grew up in Mineral Bluff fishing the lake with his grandfather. He loved catching smallmouth and largemouth there and in other lakes.  He fished some club and local tournaments but got serious about tournament fishing about eight years ago.  He fishes the Chattanooga Bass Association tournaments and this is his second year on the FLW Costa Series. He finished 18th in the Southeast Division and hopes that will qualify him for the FLW Tour next year since several fishermen ahead of him in the points double qualified for it.

    Barron still fishes almost all Wednesday night tournaments on Blue Ridge and guides there and on Chatuge and Nottely. He knows Blue Ridge well and what the bass are doing there.

    “By June most bass have finished spawning and are on deeper cover like rocks and brush piles on points,”
Barron said.  This has been a cold spring and bass spawned late. On the full moon in early May there were a few bedding and a lot cruising the shallows.  And we saw balls of shad in the shallows getting ready to spawn.

    Although bass are holding deep now, they come up on shad and blueback herring, feeding on top especially early in the morning and late in the day.  Barron will always have a walking bait ready to cast to them. For deeper fish he relies on a shaky head, jig and pig and drop shot.

    “A few years ago, I could count on catching several smallmouth each trip,” Barron said. But they are rare now, and he seldom catches small ones, a bad sign that they are not reproducing well.  Spots have crowed them out, as fisheries biologists predicted. But you can still catch a few mixed in with the more common spots. And there are some good largemouth with them, too.

    We fished the first week of May during the full moon and saw a few bedding bass, but most were cruising, waiting on the water to warm.  They were late, and as soon as the water warmed enough a lot went on the bed at one time.  Now you should concentrate on deeper cover like the following ten places to catch all three species.

    1.  N 34 52.163 – W 84 16.381 – The main lake point on the upstream side of the creek with Lake Blue Ridge Marina in it has red Toccoa River Marker 1 on it.  It runs way out and has god brush on it.  Stop way off the point in 60 to 70 feet of water and ease in with your trolling motor.

    Keep an eye on your electronics, watching for brush piles around 25 feet deep.  Fan cast with a shaky head or jig and pig as you move in.  When you see brush, cast both to it but have a drop shot worm ready to fish straight down in it. Barron rigs a Morning Dawn Robo worm about 16 inches above a three eights ounce lead and drops it straight down into the brush.

    Here and at all other times keep a topwater walking bait like a Spook ready to cast to bass chasing shad and herring on top. Barron uses a bone colored Spook and works it through any surface activity.

    2.  N 34 52.314 – W 84 15.579 – Across the lake and a little upstream red marker 2 is on another main lake point that is good.  It, too, runs way out so stop at least 100 yards off the point in deep water.  As you move in, make long casts with shaky head and jig and pig to the point, bumping the bottom.  Watch for brush piles to fish with your drop shot.

    The fish can be spooky even in 25-foot-deep brush piles.  If you get right over one and see fish, but can’t get them to bite, mark the brush and back off a long cast away.  Then fish the brush with shaky head or jig and pig.  Long cast are often critical with the clear water on Blue Ridge.

    3.  N 34 51.204 – W 84 15.349 – Going up Star Creek, just as it starts its turn to the left there is a big cove on your right.  On the downstream point just inside it is a covered dock and further into it a small wooden dock, with a private ramp between the two. The downstream point and the middle point inside the cove where it splits both come way out so stop about in the middle of the cove outside the downstream point.

    Sit in about 35 feet of water and make long casts toward the middle back point.  A long cast will get your bait up into 10 to 11 feet of water. There is brush and tires on the bottom and the top of the points offer good schooling areas. 

    Rake the shallow points with shaky head and jig and pig.  Since the cover here is shallow, work all of it from a distance.  You can locate the exact position of the cover with good electronics like the Lowrance HDS Carbon units Barron uses.  Finding it with side scan will let you make accurate casts to it without getting too close to it.

    4. 34 51.059 – W 84 14.993 – On up Star Creek Red Marker Star Creek 9 is on your right.  Just upstream of it is a small pocket.  The downstream point of it is a long shallow flat that comes out and drops in to the creek channel.

    This is an excellent place to throw a topwater plug early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Make long cast up on the flat and work it back to the boat.  Bass on the flat and in brush on it will come up and hit it.

    The brush on this point is also good for fishing shaky head and jig and pig.  Barron uses a three eights ounce head made at Tri State Tackle Shop beside Dunkin Donuts on Appalachian Highway near the Blue Ridge dam.  He likes their heads since they have a sturdy 5/0 Gamakatsu hook.  He puts a Zoom avocado or green pumpkin Trick worm on it and drags it along the bottom with little shakes of his rod tip.

    5. N 34 51.709 – W 84 15.726 – Back out at the mouth of Star Creek the point between it and the river has Red Toccoa River marker 3 on it.  It is a flat point that comes out and drops into both river and creek channel and has a very steep drop on the river side that bass like.

    Fish topwater over it then work the bottom and brush with shaky head and jig and pig, probing for rocks and brush.  All three species of bass like both kinds of cover and hold on it during the day.  Keep your dropshot ready here as on other places.

    6.  N 34 51.278 – W 84 16.567 – Going up the river a narrow point on the right is between the river and a big creel on the right. There is a green roof dock on the creek side of the point and a kid’s playhouse on the point. Barron called it Rocking Chair Point due to the red rocking chair by the playhouse.

    Herring spawn on this point and others, and with the cold spring we had, some herring and shad may still be spawning early this month.  It is a good place to throw a topwater at first light.  Even after the spawn baitfish move over the point and bass feed on them, so have your topwater ready at all times. 

    There is brush on this point out to 35 feet deep and bass in the deeper brush are less likely to be spooked by the boat, so it is good for a drop shot. Also fish your shaky head and jig and pig in it. Stop on the downstream side of the point, keep your boat in 40 plus feet of water, and fish around it to the dock.

    7.  N 34 50.584 – W 84 16.850 – In the mouth of Charlie Creek a small island sits way off the bank.  There are rocks on the right side of it when you are on the creek side.  Fish school around it and the rocks are a good place to fish both shaky head and jig and pig.  Barron fishes a one-half ounce Dirty Jig football head jig in the watermelon color with a green pumpkin Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer.  He dips the tails of his trailer as well as his shaky head worms in JJs Magic and says the spots especially like the flash of color it gives them.   

    Barron fishes his jig and pig on a G Loomis seven foot two inch 855 NRX medium heavy rod and spools his Daiwa Type R reel with 17 pound Segar Invix  fluorocarbon line.   He says this combination allows him to feel bites and get the fish out of the brush he is fishing.

    Drag the jig along the bottom, letting the tails of the trailer swim and flash. Hop it when you hit rocks, and in brush yoyo it up and down on limbs.   When you get hit in brush set the hook fast and reel fast to get the fish out of the cover.

    8. N 34 50.393 – W 84 16.973 – Where Charlie Creek bends to the right near the back a state brush pile marker sits off the right point.  State brush piles are all over the lake and, other than rocks and fishermen brush piles, are much of the limited cover on Blue Ridge.  All of them 25 to 35 feet deep hold bass in June.

    The brush is not all under the marker but scattered around them. Here, the best brush is between the marker and bank.  All of the brush is good for fishing jig and pig and shaky head, but a drop shot will often get bites when the other baits won’t.

    Barron drops is sinker to the bottom and starts by holding his rod tip still, letting the Robo worm suspend off the bottom with little motion. If that doesn’t draw a bite he will twitch his rod tip gently to make it shake in place a little.  Fish like that all around the brush first then let your sinker hit the top of the brush and fish the worm on top of it, especially if you see fish suspended over it on your electronics. 

    9.  N 34 50.160 – W 84 16.447 – Going up the river Red Marker 9 is on a point on your right. The bank downstream of it is a bluff bank with blowdowns on it and there is a state brush pile on the point and more in the mouth of the pocket past it.

    Barron says bluff banks with blowdowns almost always hold bass in June, but they are scattered in the tips of them, especially when there are a lot of blowdowns. A good tactic is to fish the ends of the trees with your drop shot worm.  Work slowly up the bluff bank, hitting the ends of every blowdown along it.

    When you get to the point, try dropshot, shaky head and jig and pig in the state brush piles.  There is a lot of brush here and the fish may be scattered in them or concentrated in one, so fish them all or use electronics to find the fish.

    10. N 34 50.855 – W 84 16.556 – At the mouth of Charlie Creek, between it and the river, a small island sits off the bank.  There is a ridge of white rock running off the creek side that you can see.  Those rocks run out deep and hold bass since they are right on the drop on the creek side.

    Stop way off the rocks and cast shaky head and jig and pig to them.  Fish the rocks out to the deep end. Bass also school on top here so be ready to cast a topwater to them.  Barron says they tend to school on the flatter river side of the island in the mornings but over the deeper creek side during the day.

    Check out these places and there are many more all over the lake like them.  A good lake map has the state brush piles marked to help find them, and good electronics will help you find the unmarked brush to fish.

    Call Barron at 706-455-0863 for a guided trip to see exactly how he catches Blue Ridge bass.

    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.

How and Where To Catch May Clarks Hill Bass

May Bass at Clarks Hill

with Tony Green

     May fishing is good anywhere you go in Georgia but blueback herring have made Clark’s Hill one of the best bets in the state to catch big largemouth this month. And they are hitting on top, the most exciting way to catch bass. You can’t go wrong with a trip to Clark’s Hill in May.

     Clark’s Hill is a big 72,000 acre lake on the Georgia/South Carolina border.  Built in the early 1950s it has 1200 miles of shoreline and is full of islands and humps. There is good access all over this Corps of Engineers Lake even with the water level down six to eight feet this year.

     Tony Green was born in South Carolina but moved to the Macon area when he was three years old and has lived and fished there all his life.  While growing up he went to Clark’s Hill a lot, camping and fishing with his family.  They caught crappie and bass on those trips.

     About eight years ago Tony joined the Procasters Bass Club in the Macon area and got into tournament fishing.  He has made that club’s state team most years and enjoys the competition and chances to learn more about bass fishing by being in that club. 

Tony has fished the HD Marine Trail for several years but took this year off.  You can find him entered in a good many Berry’s and R and R Tournaments.  He also fishes some pot tournaments and a few BFL tournaments in the area.

     This year in March Tony beat out 417 other club fishermen in the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Top Six tournament at Clark’s Hill to win first place.  His eight bass weighing 30.4 pounds beat out second place by over three pounds. 

     Tony loves Clark’s Hill in May and tries to make several trips to the lake every year this time of year. His club also tries to schedule tournaments on Clark’s Hill or Hartwell in May to get in on the great fishing both lakes offer. The herring bite is similar on both lakes and can be some of the fastest action of the year.

     The pattern is fairly simple in May on Clark’s Hill.  Bass have mostly finished spawning by the first of May and they have moved out and are feeding heavily. Find the herring spawning on main lake structure and you will find big bass nearby. The herring spawn on hard bottoms near deep water and like long points, humps and blow throughs.

A blow through is a saddle or dip between the main bank and an island or between humps or islands on big water. Wind blows through these shallow areas and the waves wash away the soft soil, leaving gravel, rocks and hard clay the herring like. The same action clears soft bottoms away leaving the hard stuff on long points and humps, too.

Tony will have three rods rigged and ready to take advantage of the herring bite.  His first choice is a big Spook or Sammy on an outfit he can use to cast it a long way. The topwater plug is worked as fast as he can move it early in the morning, fishing water from a foot or less deep to about ten feet deep.  Topwater baits are better first thing in the morning.

As the sun gets on the water Tony will usually switch to a Fluke and fish it over water three to six feet deep. The sun moves the bass a little deeper but they will usually still come up to eat something near the surface.  Herring like the sun and will usually be near the top on sunny days.

After the sun gets bright Tony thinks the bass move a little deep and are less likely to come up, so he will drag a big Carolina rigged lizard along the points and break lines in six to ten feet of water.  He likes to use the bigger lizards to attract bites from bigger fish.

Before a tournament Tony will try to be on the water at daybreak and ride, looking for places the herring are moving and he sees surface activity.  During the day he will throw a spinnerbait or crankbait around spawning areas and watch for herring following the bait back to the boat, or will sometimes hook one.  If he finds the herring near a spawning area he knows the bass will be nearby.

Tony is always looking for “nervous” water while fishing. Any small movement on top indicates the herring and bass will usually be following them.  He will move toward any activity he sees and cast to it. That is why it is helpful to use a rig you can cast a long way.

Although the water is down this year the herring will still spawn near the same spots they have used in the past when the lake was full and will use in the future. Tony thinks the low water may actually make the herring bite better this year because low water may push the bass out of the creeks to the main lake even faster.

The following ten spots have all produced fish over the years during the herring spawn. You can check them out to see what Tony looks for then find others.  With the lake low you can see exactly what the structure looks like and get a good picture of it when the water covers it. 

1. N 33 41.329 – W 82 17.915 – Mims Branch just downstream of the Highway 47 Bridge has Ft. Gordon Recreation Area in it. The downstream point of this creek is an excellent place to find herring spawning and bass eating them.  The point is rocky with some sand and clay so the hard bottom attracts the herring.  Two smaller side points add to its attraction to the herring and it is near deep water but runs way out, making it even better.

The point you want to fish runs out toward green channel marker L 15. There is a hard drop on the upstream side of the point. You will see a tall light pole and light on the point to know you are in the right place.

Start on the downstream side out from the light pole and work all the way around the point. Start at first light keeping your boat out as far as you can and still make casts with your top water baits right on the bank. Some times the bass will be extremely shallow and will be looking for herring in a few inches of water so start real shallow.

Work around the point to the upstream side, working your topwater baits back to water about eight feet deep then reel in and make another cast.  Work your bait fast.  You can not take a top water bait away from a bass that wants it and they seem to like a fast moving bait. Fishing fast also allows you to make more casts in the short time before the sun gets on the water.

As the sun comes up fish back around the point, staying out a little deeper and working water three to six feet deep with a Fluke.  Then fish back around the point even further out dragging a big lizard along the breaklines in six to ten feet of water.

2. N 33 42.251 – W 82 17.560 – Across the lake a long arm of land runs out on the north side of Bussey Point and there is an island off the upstream end of it. A shallow point runs out upstream on the upstream side of the island and there are also several humps around the point.  This is an excellent place to find a lot of bass and herring.

One of the small humps had a danger marker lying on its side on the hump right at the water line when we fished. The water was right at eight feet low.  Start fishing out from that danger marker and work the whole area. You will see some of the high spots just above the water and there are others all around. Work from the end of the point around all these high spots.

Always watch for any surface disturbance and cast to it.  Tony’s description of “nervous water” gives you a good idea of the little ripples the herring will often make on the surface.  If the herring are there the bass will be nearby.  Cast to any swirls you see, too.

3. N 33 41.733 – W 82 18.848 – Back across the lake on the upstream side of the long point on the upstream side of Mims Branch you will find a long shallow point running out toward green channel marker L 21.  There is a big round cedar tree on the point that stood out a few weeks ago but might blend in more now that the trees have more leaves on them.

Start on the downstream side of the point and fish upstream, keeping you boat close on the first pass so you can almost hit the bank then fishing further out on your next pass.  This flat runs way out and there are a lot of rocks on it that are normally about eight feet deep at full pool  There are some stumps and brush piles on this point and they help, but the hard bottom is more important for the herring spawn.

4. N 33 41.568 – W 82 19.397 – A little further toward the bridge on this peninsular on the upstream side of Mims Branch is the swimming area.  There is a small island just downstream of the swimming area and a point runs out there.  You will see the bathhouse on the bank and some lights and benches on the point.  

Start fishing near the downstream side of the little island and point and work around it.  If you fish fast you can hit this point and two more before you get to the swimming area, throwing topwater before the sun gets on the water.  Then work back around them. All three parallel points hold bass and herring spawn on them so watch all for activity as you fish.

This area and the others are even better when some wind blows in on them. You won’t be able to see the surface activity as well but wave action will help the bite.  Waves seem to disorient the herring and make them easier prey, and waves also break up the light making it a little more difficult for the bass to tell your bait from a live herring.

5. N 33 42.159 – W 82 20.318 – Across the lake on the upstream side of the cove where Cherokee Ramp is located is a marked hump.  It is way out of the water now and you can see how it has a big pile or rocks on the downstream side and tapers off toward the bridge. It drops fast at first down to about six feet deep at full pool but then flattens out.  On the downstream side are three small high spots.

All these high spots hold bass and herring. The downstream side of the marked hump seems to hold more bass.  Start out in front of the hump about even with the rock pile and work around it toward the ramp. Cover all this area with all your baits.  Watch your depthfinder to note the contours since it changes a lot around this hump.  You don’t want to get in too close, especially after the sun gets on the water.

All the tournaments held out of Cherokee Ramp make this an even better spot. The bass population is constantly supplemented by released bass so the concentration in this area is high.

6. N 33 41.910 – W 82 20.829 – Go under the bridge and head toward the right bank. Not far out from the riprap you will see an island that is usually not much more than a hump before you get to the bank.  It has a danger marker on a pole on it but has a lot of rock out of the water right now.  Some cypress trees have been planted on top of it.

Fish the outside of this hump, starting on the end toward the bridge and working to the upstream end. That side gets most of the waves, has a harder bottom, and drops off faster.  Work it will all your baits before leaving the area.

7. N 33 40.428 – W 82 21.766 – Cliatt Creek is the one with Mistletoe State Park in it.  There is an island on the downstream point of this creek.  Go in on the downstream side of this island and you will see some humps and points running way out toward the lake.  All are good for the herring spawn.  The river makes a big bend right here and they are on the outside of the bend and that makes them even better.

You can see the rocky humps and point with the water down and there are stumps and brush on them as well as the rocks. All help make it a good spot. Note the brush piles while fishing in close and hit them later with the sun on the water.  Bass will often hold in brush and around stumps in six to eight feet of water after the sun gets bright so dragging your Carolina rigged lizard through them is a good bet.

8. N 33 40.555 – W 82 22.194 – Out off the end of the island there are some good humps to fish. One was barely above the water when we were there, with less than six inches of it showing, so be very careful in this area if the water has come up above eight feet low.

You will see a marked hump out from and a little downstream of the island and the smaller hump is out from it. Again, this is a big area where lots of herring spawn so watch for activity to tell you exactly where to fish.  Also keep an eye on your depthfinder to keep your boat in a good depth.

Fish all around the marked hump and the others that are out from it.  Make long casts. The water is usually clear in these areas and longer casts help by not spooking the bass and herring with your boat.   Long casts with all three baits are best.

9. N 33 40.278 – W 82 22.582 – The island on the upstream side of Cliatt Creek, just off the campground, has a rocky point running out on its downstream end.  The rocks run out toward the middle of the mouth of the creek.  About in the middle of the island on the outside a long clay point runs out toward the middle of the lake.

Start fishing on the inside of the rocky point and fish around it. Continue upstream and fish the clay point, too. Fish all your baits on both points and the hard bottom between them.  Keep and eye out for surface activity in the area as you fish.

10. N 33 40.363 – W 82 23.734 – Straight across from Mistletoe is a long ridge with a small island on the upstream side. This ridge runs parallel to the river.  Go upstream past it and there is a big island on your right. Upstream of this island is a marked hump. The danger marker was bent over at an angle when Tony and I were there in mid-April.  We got a bass here that pushed three pounds even that early.

Start on the downstream side of the marker and fish around the hump. This area has a lot of high spots that all attract herring and the marked hump is good year round. It is best for the herring spawn since it is the outside hump of the group but all will hold fish. Work this area carefully and watch for changes in the bottom to tell you which areas are best.

These ten spots are all close to Mistletoe Park and Cherokee Ramp but there are other similar places on Little River and the Savannah River.  Check these out but don’t limit yourself to this small area of the huge lake.   You can find many similar herring spawning spots that hold largemouth for you to catch all over the lake.

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 Jackson Bass

March Bass at Jackson Lake 

with Barry Stokes

     For many years Jackson Lake was known for its big bass.  Then spots got into the lake and it seemed the big lunker largemouth got very rare, but you could catch a pile of keeper size spots.  Stringers with several six to eight pound bass are not seen like they were years ago, but 20 pound tournament catches still happen.

     Filled in 1911, Jackson is the oldest big reservoir in the state.  This Georgia Power lake on the headwaters of the Ocmulgee River covers 4750 acres and its shoreline is lined with cabins, docks, rocks and wood cover.  Most of its channels are silted in but there are plenty of sandy spawning coves on the lake.

     Barry Stokes grew up near Jackson and fished farm ponds but did not get to fish Jackson much. He watched bass boats go by his house headed to the lake and was determined someday to be in a bass boat on Jackson like those guys.  He made those wishes come true in the early 1990s and joined the Conyers Bass Pros bass club. Later he joined Bear Creek Bass Club.

     In the past 15 years Barry has learned the lake well and, starting in 2001, fished as many pot tournaments on it as he could. He fished the old R&R, Dixie Bass and Charlie’s Bait and Tackle trail as well as the night and weekend pot tournaments on Jackson. Now he fishes the Berry’s trail, ABA, and any other tournaments on the Jackson.  He also fishes the BFL, HD Marine and other tournaments on Sinclair and Oconee. He is usually waiting around on a check after weigh-in in them. 

     Barry has learned the lake so well he now guides on Jackson as well as Sinclair and Oconee.  He knows how to pattern the bass on the lake and has learned how to catch them. His best day ever on Jackson he landed a 12 pound lunker and had five fish weighing 30 pounds.  In one string of tournaments he won 11 of 13 tournaments and had big fish in all 13.

     Over the years Barry has figured out good patterns for March bass.  In late February they start staging on rock, clay and sand points near spawning coves and feed up on crawfish and baitfish.  He can usually catch them four to eight feet deep on those points. 

     As the water warms during March Barry follows the bass from the points back into the spawning pockets. Some bass will bed in early March if the water temperatures go up and stay stable for a week and bass move into the bedding areas in waves all spring.  There will often be a lot of pre-spawn fish on the points, some moving back and even some on the beds this month.

     “Details are the key,” Barry told me.  He keeps a variety of baits tied on and also has others ready to try. He will vary the details like lure color, depth and speed he retrieves them all during the day until he finds the key. If the fish quit hitting he will start varying the details again until he unlocks the new pattern.                    Barry will have several kinds of crankbaits in different colors, a Ol Nelle spinnerbait, a Net Boy Jackson Jig and pig, a Net Boy Shaky Head, a Terry Bowden’s Cold Steel lizard worm and a Cold Steel Walking Stick all rigged and ready when he heads out this month.  The colors will vary with water color, with brighter colors for stained water and more natural colors for clearer water.  But he will vary all the details during the day.

     One of the details Barry pays attention to that many bass fishermen get lax on is speed he works the baits.   He will vary his speed until he hits what is working. Too many bass fishermen have a speed of retrieve they are comfortable with when using certain baits and don’t very it. Barry constantly changes. 

As the water warms the fish will get more active this month and chase a bait better, but some cold days they want a fast moving bait, too.  As a general rule you should fish slower in cold water and faster in warmer water, but Barry says pay attention to details and vary your speed constantly.

Barry and I fished the following ten spots in mid-February and bass were already on them.  We caught 20 to 25 bass that day and Barry caught almost all of them on crankbaits, but I managed a few of the bigger fish on a jig and pig.  These spots will pay off all month long as fish move up on them then move back to spawn.

1. N 33 25.195 – W 83 49.875 – Run up the Alcovy to the cove on the left called “Parker Neck” and look at the upstream point.  There is a small concrete piling/pier on the up stream side right on the edge of the water and a blowdown runs out off the end of the point.   The house on the point is brick half way up with green wood above it.

This point is an excellent staging area. The bottom is rocky and the pocket on the downstream side, Parker Neck, is a good spawning place.  Fish hold out on the point on the rocks and in the blowdown feeding then move into the cove to spawn as the water warms.

Barry starts out on the end of the point at the blowdown and fishes the tree and the rocks with a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig.  He will then work the bank going downstream all the way past the cut to the next point with a gazebo on it.  Fish the above baits but also try a shaky head worm, and a Texas or Carolina rigged Lizard Worm along this bank. Work the sand where the bass will be bedding.

2. N 33 24.301 – W 83 49.746 – Headed downstream Price Neck is on your right and a good rocky point is on your left. The point you want to fish has a small cabin on it with lattice work around the crawl space.  There is a white painted tire laying in the yard. Back in the pocket on the downstream side there is a house that runs right to the water’s edge.

This point runs out shallow toward the downstream side and there is some brush on the downstream side.  The bass spawn in the cut on the downstream side.  Stay way out and fish a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig around the rocks and brush, then work into the pocket with the other baits. Try to vary your colors and speed until you find what the bass want.

One trick Barry uses is to Texas rig a Cold Steel Walking Stick, a Senko like bait, and fishes it around all the cover in the pockets. It skips under docks well and has a little different action and look than the jig and pig that most anglers will be throwing. This is another example of the types of details Barry uses to catch bass behind other fishermen.

3. N 33 23.035 – W 83 50.279 – Downstream of the bridge and Berry’s there is a point on your left heading downstream that has a beige house with a brown roof on it. There is a three globe light pole in the yard and a dock on the point with a deck on the bank. The deck has lattice panels around it. There are big rocks on the point and the bass spawn in the pocket on the upstream side.

Barry says this is a numbers game point. Spots stage and spawn here and you can often pick up several fish.  Crank the point then try a spinnerbait. Start on the downstream side and parallel the point fishing from near the bank casting out toward the lake. Then work out around the point fan casting both baits.  It gets real shallow on top so don’t get in too close.

After working the point work into the spawning area dragging a worm on the bottom. Barry likes a green pumpkin Lizard Worm this time of year and dips the tail in JJs Magic chartreuse dye to give it some color. Spots seem to especially like the wiggling chartreuse tails.

4. N 33 22.225 – W 83 51.113 – Go under the power lines and you will see a swimming beach and picnic area for Turtle Cove on your left. There are three buoys in front of the beach and the point that runs out downstream of it is a good staging area. The point is red clay and rock, an excellent combination for holding bass this time of year.  They are often feeding on crayfish on this kind of point.

The point runs at an angle downstream across the mouth of a cove.  Start near the swimming area where the sand transitions to clay and rock. That kind of change often holds bass. Work it then keep your boat way our and go downstream, fan casting around the point. 

There is a real good drop on the inside of this point where the small creek coming out of the pocket runs by it. Fish that drop and the blowdown on the inside of the point.  Flip a jig in it and work a spinnerbait through it.  Then work on into the creek for spawning bass.  This is an excellent spawning area and holds a lot of bass.

5. N 33 22.044 – W 83 51.376 – Go past the next cove downstream and you will head straight in to a high bluff bank.  The old river channel swings in right by it and it drops off fast. There are three small points along this bluff bank you should fish in March.  Start on the outside one at the dock on the rock sea wall in front of the series of decks running up the hill to the house. 

It is rocky and holds the first transitioning fish coming up out of the river channel. Stay out and fan cast it then work toward the next dock. There is a rock ledge that runs out under the dock. You will see the dock with a walkway that runs behind a tree leaning out.  The dock has the numbers “3108” on the walkway.

Stay out from the dock on the downstream side and cast toward the walkway and tree. You can see how the rocks run parallel to the bank coming out. Run a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig along these rocks, then work around the dock and fish the other side. Also drag a plastic bait along the bottom here.

The next point going into the creek is a round clay point and you should fish all around it, then fish into the creek, concentrating on any sand you come to.  The Lizard Worm is a good choice on sandy spots since spawning fish will hit it.  You may not see the bed but can catch fish off the beds with this bait.

6. N 33 22.202 – W 83 51.771 – Round the point headed into the South River and you will see a sharp narrow point on your right.  It comes out and drops off fast on both sides but is shallow on top. There is no house on the point but you will see four benches on it and there is a concrete boat ramp on it.  There are two pines on the point with black protectors around their bases.

The point is rock and clay and bass spawn in pockets on both side of it. It is steep and gives bass quick access to shallow water. They can hold deep and quickly move shallow without moving far.

Start on the downstream side and work around the point, staying way out. Fish along the upstream bank leading into the next pocket up. Rocks, clay and sand along this bank hold bass and they will move along it feeding and working into the spawning pocket. Barry will usually stop fishing about where the seawall starts unless he is going back into the pocket for spawning bass.

7. N 33 22.294 – W 83 61.856 – The next point up also has good deep water access.  This point has a brown cabin and there was a US flag flying on the dock in front of it when we were there.  There are two floodlights on a tree right at the dock. There is a big blowdown on the upstream side and a rockpile out on the point.

The wind can be important here and on other spots this time of year. Some wind blowing across the point or into it helps and Barry will fish wind-blown points as long as he can hold his boat on them.  Wind creates current that moves the food baitfish eat and they will follow it. Bass wait on the baitfish.

Start at the blowdown and fish it. Then get out about even with the flag pole and cast across the point, aiming your casts parallel to the bank toward the cove.  You will hit some rocks on this point and that is where a school of bass will often hold.

The downstream pocket is full of wood and a good spawning area. Especially near the end of the month Barry will fish into it, running his Ol Nelle spinnerbait along the wood. He likes a double Colorado blade bait with white skirt, especially in clearer water, but will go with double willow leaf and chartreuse and white skirt in stained water.  He will also flip a jig around the wood before leaving.

8. N 33 21.446 – W 83 51.763 – Head back down the river and it will narrow down. Straight ahead you to the right you will see a pink house with tin roof on a flat point that runs out upstream of a bluff point. There is a green picnic table in the front yard.

Get on the downstream side of the point and cast in toward the seawall. The bottom is very rough here and often holds a lot of bass. Fish this bank into the pocket, working the dock and fishing to the boat ramp. Be sure to his this boat ramp and any others you come to before leaving.

9. N 33 21.393 – W 83 51.391 – The lake opens up just at this point and the far left bank going downstream has a creek coming out. In the mouth of this creek is a hump that is marked with three danger buoys.  It is deep on both sides and bass stage on this hump before going in to spawn.

Barry likes to stay out on the lake side and cast up onto the hump, bringing his baits back shallow to deep. Wind often blows in here and makes it better.   There are rocks and clay on this hump and you should fish all the way around it before leaving. Try all your baits in different colors and speeds. Assume the bass are here and you just have to figure out the details to get them to hit.

10. N 33 22.047 – W 83 53.882 – For something a little different run up Tussahaw Creek under the bride on up to the last pocket on the right before the weekend “no wake” section. You will see a green metal roof dock in front of a brown house. There is a little narrow point here downstream of two small pockets. The point has a cross tie seawall and a big Pampas Grass clump on it. Downstream of the point you will see a white cabin with a red roof just past a blue cabin.

There are some stumps on this clay point and the bass will stage on it.  Fan cast all around this point and try all your baits here. The water is often clearer in the Tussahaw so you may need to change colors to draw strikes. 

These are some of the places Barry will be fishing this month. They will pay off for you, too.  Barry has caught a lot of bass off all of them and gives credit to Jesus Christ, his lord and savior, for his successes.

Call Barry at 770-715-2665 for a guided trip on Jackson, Sinclair and Oconee or visit his web site at www.barrystokesfishn.com.   You can see Cold Steel products at www.teamcoldsteel.com/, JJ’s Magic at www.jjsmagic.com/ and Net Boy Jackson Jigs at www.netboybaits.com/.

Where and How to Catch Lake Sinclair Bass

Note – this was written before Georgia Power closed nd tore down the power plant

February Bass at Sinclair 

with Todd Goade

Cold winter weather always puts a damper on bass fishing in February on most of our lakes.  Bass go deep and school up tight and don’t eat much. But Lake Sinclair is an exception to that rule.  The warmer waters from the steam plant make it the most popular lake for club and other tournaments this month.

There is a good reason so many tournaments are held on Sinclair in the winter. Bass are more active because the water is warmer and also because of the currents created by the steam plant intake and outflow as well as those generated by power generation and pump back at the Oconee dam.

Sinclair is a 15,330 acre Georgia Power lake on the Oconee River.  It was dammed in 1953 and the lake is ringed with cabins and docks.  Almost all docks are on posts and many have brush piles around them.  There is a lot of grass in the lake and it still attracts baitfish this time of year although it is brown now.  There are sandy pockets and banks, rocks and wood cover to fish. 

When Plant Harlee Branch, the coal fired steam plant, is taking in water to cool its boilers, current near the mouth of Little River around the bridge and intake moves upstream.  In Beaverdam Creek release of warmer water from the boilers not only heats the lake, it creates a strong current around the discharge, under the bridge and downstream.

When the power plant at the Oconee Dam is generating current a strong flow comes down the river.  When the turbines are reversed and water is being pumped back into Oconee there is a strong current going up the river.  This current also affects the creeks and will reverse the flow in Little River, too.  The strongest effects are from the mouth of Little River upstream.

Most of Lake Sinclair stays stained in February with Little River often the muddiest area.  Near the dam, Island and Rock Creek almost always remain clear.  Those creeks down the lake are also less affected by the warm water so are usually the coldest water on the lake.  So you can fish shallow relatively warm stained water or colder clearer water within a few miles.

Sinclair is usually one of the top three lakes in Georgia for numbers of tournaments reported in the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Creek Census Report, with over 80 tournaments reported each year.  In recent years Sinclair has been one of the best lakes for numbers of bass with over 20 percent of anglers catching a five fish limit.  But the bass are small, with an average weight of about 1.5 pounds and an average tournament winning weight of about 10 pounds.

 Todd Goade remembers the first bass he ever caught and it turned him on to bass fishing. He was eight years old and caught a six pound bass on a topwater plug in Missouri. That would turn on any fisherman, especially a young fisherman.

Most of his life Todd lived in Tennessee where he fished with local clubs and the pot trails. When he moved to Georgia in 2002 he quit fishing for a few years but got back into it in 2005 and started fishing the BFL trail, the HD Marine Trail, Boating Atlanta and others. 

Over the past few years Todd has been very consistent in tournaments, placing in the money in many of them.  Last year he finished 3rd overall in the Bulldog BFL point standings and in 2006 was 7th in the HD Marine point standings.  Last February he finished in the top 20 at Sinclair in the BFL and needed just one kicker fish to finish much higher.

“There are always some shallow fish at Sinclair,” Todd told me.  He prefers to fish Sinclair shallow this time of year and likes to go after them with lighter tackle and smaller baits than most anglers use.  Finesse fishing will catch lots of bass on Sinclair most winter days and will often get you in the money in tournaments.

For fishing Sinclair this month Todd has a variety of baits rigged and ready. He will have a small jerkbait like a Pointer on a spinning rod with eight pound test line, a Texas rigged Zoom Finesse worm and another Finesse worm on a 3/16 Spot Remover jig head, both on eight pound line, a crankbait like a Bomber 7A or a Bandit Flat Maxx and a small spinnerbait on 10 to 12 pound line and a Carolina rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog or six inch lizard. He will also keep a Flexit Spoon ready for deep jigging if he spots bass holding on deep structure.

Todd prefers to fish in eight feet of water or less and will often be sitting in 12 to 15 feet of water fan casting a point or working a bank.  Although the bass are shallow they will usually be on cover and structure with deep water nearby.  He likes main lake banks and points or banks near creek channels that drop off fast now.

Current will position bass on structure and sun will position them on cover, according to Todd.  He likes banks and points where the current is moving and will concentrate on brush, docks and rocks when the sun is bright. This time of year Todd says he does better on sunny days.

Todd and I fished Sinclair the second Sunday in January, a tough day for us and others, based on the weigh-in of three clubs at Little River that day.  He showed me the following places he likes to catch fish on Sinclair in February and they will hold fish you can catch, too.

1. N 33 11.211 – W 83 17.476 – The bank above the steam plant intake drops off fast has overhanging brush and rocks along parts of it and the pockets have grass in them.  Todd likes to fish along this bank and often catches a limit of keeper size bass here.

Start on the point above the mouth of the intake on the right and work upstream to the next main lake point.  The channel swings in near the big upstream point and the deep water is good. You will be sitting in 12 to 14 feet of water along most of this bank.  The water is usually stained in this area and is warmed by current coming up the river.  When water is being pulled into the steam plant current will run downstream.

Cast a Texas rigged Zoom Finesse worm under the overhanging brush to the rocks and also work it around any grass you see.  Todd likes a green pumpkin worm and will dye its tail chartreuse.  Work it with short hops and jiggles, trying to hit any cover along this bank.

If water is moving and the bass are more active, cast your jerkbait close to the bank and work it back in short jerks. Try several cadences until the bass show you what they like.  The colder the water the slower you should fish the bait with longer pauses between jerks.

2. N 33 11.351 – W 83 16.242 – Run down the lake past the mouth of the river and watch for the first cove on your left. There is a big mesh satellite dish on the point.  Go into the pocket downstream of this dish and start fishing before you get to the first dock that has a green metal roof and several PVC rod holders on it.

Fish down this bank with your Texas rigged and jig head worms, casting to the bank between docks and working under the docks and around the posts.  When you get to the third dock you will know you are in the right spot if you see a big UGA emblem on the dock and house and the walk going up from the dock has little UGA helmet lights and a sign that says “Dog Walk.”

Fish that dock and the grass just past it. You can run a spinner bait through the grass and work your worm rigs around it, too.  Todd likes a small white spinner bait with silver blades.  He fishes this cove to the dock with the US flag on it and stops since the water gets real shallow past it.

3. N 33 11.330 – W 83 15.679 – Across the river is an island and just downstream of it a marked hump. There are three danger buoys on the hump and three PVC poles, two side by side. Stop straight out from the PVC poles in about 25 feet of water and fan cast your crankbait as you ease in toward the poles. You can cast to the top of the hump and it is very rough here.  Try a worm along the bottom, too.

If you have a GPS on your boat you will see a point running out from this hump and that is where you want to stop and start fishing.  You can see the point on a good map, too.  The contour lines will be close together and that is a key Todd looks for this time of year. That shows a fast dropping bottom and the fish hold on those kinds of places.

4. N 33 09.806 – W 83 13.802 – Head down the lake to the big island just upstream of the mouth of Reedy Creek and the airport.  There is an old quarry under the water on the upstream side of the island and the bottom is hard clay.  Stop on the outside point of the island in about 20 feet of water and work around the point, casting a crankbait up shallow. Try to hit the bottom with it.

After working the crankbait back off a little and cast a Carolina rig or other worm rig here. There is a good brush pile in 12 to 14 feet of water that often holds bass. They will hold in the brush and run in to feed.  Probe the brush carefully with all your worm rigs.

5. N 33 09.752 – W 83 13.973 – Idle over to the center of the upstream side of the island. You will see three points, the one you just left and two more. Stop out from the center point and you will be in the quarry in very deep water.  Fish the center point here with your crankbait, then probe for brush in 16 feet of water.

Todd likes a half-ounce lead on his Carolina rig and usually has a 24 inch leader.  He will drag the green pumpkin lizard or Brush Hog with dyed tails around and through the brush, working it slowly and feeling for any resistance. The bass will be sluggish most days in the cold water.

6. N 33 11.106 – W 83 12.509 – Run toward the back of Island Creek and watch for a bright red barn on the left side before you get to the power lines.  Start on the point just upstream of the pocket with the red barn and work around the shallow pocket to the dock with a green slide on it. The bottom drops off fast and it is rocky, with docks and brush along it.

Fish your Texas rigged worm or jig head worm here, hitting rocks and wood cover on the bottom and also fishing around and under all the docks. Todd says this is a good place to find bass pulled up to feed this time of year.  He will hit this place and others several times during a fishing day since fish may move in to feed anytime during the day.  You just have to be there when they are feeding.

7. N 33 10.775 – W 83 12.444 – Running down the middle of Island Creek back toward the river, watch on your left for a flat point with a seawall around it. There is a house sitting way back from the water but nothing out on the point.  Across the creek you will see a big brown brick house and just upstream of it a green roof dock.

On a line between the point and green roof dock, out in the middle of the creek, is a hump that comes up to about 18 feet on top. There is brush on it.  Todd will stop here and jig a spoon on this hump, especially if he sees baitfish or fish near the bottom with his depth finder.  It is close to the creek channel and often holds a school of fish. He says he will not spend a lot of time here but does check it out.

8. N 33 09.568 – W 83 12.765 – Near the mouth of the creek on your left is a small island sitting close to the bank.  A long shallow point runs off it toward the middle of the creek.  Todd stops his boat just upstream of the island, lining up the trees on the upstream side of it with the red top dock on the bank behind the island.

Sitting in 15 feet of water he will cast a crankbait all over this point, covering it with fan casts.  He will also try his jerkbait here as well as worm rigs.  This long underwater point is typical of the kinds of places winter bass hold on Sinclair and the water is clear enough here they will come up for a jerkbait.

9. N 33 09.448 – W 83 12.700 – Downstream of the island a big cove runs from the island to the main lake point between Island Creek and the river.  About in the middle of this cove is a long shallow point running out to deep water.  It has a sharp drop off on the downstream side.

Look for and old high boat house roof with no sides and a gazebo on the bank near it. There are swift gourds on a pole near it.  Just downstream is a gray roof dock with a boat ramp just upstream of it.  The point runs out with the downstream sharp edge right at the ramp. You can see this point on your GPS or map, too.

Todd starts way out on this point and make long fan cast across it with crankbaits and jerkbaits.  Try to hit the drop from several angles. Then work your worm rigs across the point and down the drop for fish that are not very active.

10. N 33 08.296 – W 83 11.535 – Run down to the dam and start into Rocky Creek. On your right is a point between the river and the creek.  There is a Georgia Power park and pavilion on the bank here.  This point runs way out shallow and Todd starts way off the bank with his boat in 15 to 16 feet of water and casts his crankbaits up toward the point. You will be casting to water about eight feet deep.

Try to bump the bottom with your crankbaits. Todd likes a fire tiger coach dog pattern for his Bomber and will usually throw a pearl and chartreuse or blue back Flat Maxx. Those baits will dive deep enough to bump bottom in eight feet of water so you will cover the depth many bass will feed this time of year.

Check out Todd’s spots and try his methods on Sinclair this month. There are many other similar spots you can then find and fish.  You should catch a lot of keeper size bass.