Category Archives: Map of the Month – Georgia

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 http://fishing-about.com/keys-to-catching-georgia-bass-ebook-series/ – you can get an eBook or CD with an article for each month of the year on Clarks Hill and Lanier.

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.

Where and How to Catch October Bass at Lake Oconee, with GPS Coordinates

October 2015 Oconee Bass

With Cody Stahl

Die hard bass fishermen love October.  Pleasure boaters are mostly off the lakes so you don’t rock and roll all day while fishing. And a lot of part time fishermen are in the woods hunting or stuck in front of a TV watching football so there is a lot less pressure on the fish.  A great choice to take advantage of these things for an October trip is Lake Oconee.

Oconee is a Georgia Power lake in the middle of the state. It is lined by golf courses, houses and docks. There are so many pleasure boaters on a summer weekend day it can be tough to fish.  Right now bass are responding to cooler water temperatures and less boating activity by feeding.

Cody Stahl is a senior at CrossPoint Christian Academy in Hollonville, near Griffin, and loves to fish. His father Chad is a well-known tournament fisherman on the Berrys’ trails and won the Berrys’ point standings two years in a row.  He has taught Cody well.

Last Novemer Cody and his partner Tate Van Egmond won the BASS High School state championship at Eufaula.  They came in tenth out of 134 teams in the BASS High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake this past spring.  Cody plans on picking a college with a good fishing team next year to attend.

Cody loves bass tournament fishing so much he changed schools two years ago to attend a school where he could form a team.  His dad took him to night tournaments on Jackson starting when he was seven years old so it is in his blood.  Oconee is one of his favorite lakes, especially in October.

“By the end of September the cooling water is making the shad move into the creeks and the bass follow them,” Cody said. The old adage “find the bait and find the bass” definitely applies on Oconee this month.

“Active creeks are the best,” Cody says.  He likes to find a feeder creek that has a good ditch in it and fish it from the mouth back until he finds where the bass are feeding. Once you find that area is should be consistent in other creeks, too.

A wide variety of baits will catch bass right now on Oconee and Cody will be prepared to throw a lot of different baits.  He has a Texas rigged FishHog Angry Beaver, a Zoom Baby Brush Hog and a  FishHog JigSaw jig and pig ready to pitch to shallow cover.  For faster fishing a #6 Shadrap, Chaqtterbait and RC 1.5 square bill is on his deck. And he always has a Spro Frog to throw to grass and shallow wood.

Both a buzzbait and a spinnerbait are good for fishing faster around any kind of shallow cover.  These baits allow him to fish docks, grass, wood and rocks as he works from the mouths of the creeks all the way to the back.

Cody and Tate took me to Oconee in early September to check out the following places. Shad were just moving into them and fishing was tough, but we caught a lot of throwbacks and Cody landed three good keepers. Bigger fish will be on these spots much better now.

1.  N 33 25.184 – W 83 14.243 – Going down the river past the Old Salem Campground on the left the river makes a turn to the right.  On the left bank, an outside bend, there are a lot of rocks and small pockets that attract shad and bass early in the morning.  There is a gray dock with white post on a block seawall just upstream of a small pocket.

Start in the pocket just downstream of the dock with buzzbait and spinnerbait and fish upstream, working the wood, rocks and docks.  Fish around the point into the small creek upstream of the dock.  Cody likes a white three eights ounce Terminator spinnerbait with two sliver willowleaf blades and a Booyah black or white three eights ounce buzzbait.

Hit any cover you see and also cast right against the seawall.  The curves and changes in the seawall are key spots.  Pitch to the docks, too.  Wind blowing into the docks and seawall makes this and other spots better if it is not too strong.

2.  N 33 25.807 – W 83 14.571 – Back upstream a double creek enters downstream of the campground and the swimming area is on the left going in. Stop on the point between the two arms, across from the swimming area, and fish to the right, into that arm of the double creek.  There are rocks on the point and it is one of the first places the shad and bass move to as the water starts cooling.

Start on the point with your boat in about eight feet of water, a long cast from the bank, and fish a buzzbait and crankbait on it.  Cody likes a crawfish colored Shadrap and a squarebill in shad colors.  When you get past the point to the cuts on that bank and with other cover on it, cast a frog, buzzbait, chatterbait and spinnerbait to it.

There is a big blowdown on the bank past the first small pocket and Cody lost a good three pound bass right at the boat from it.  It hit his chatterbait on the end of the tree. Don’t hesitate to work a chatterbait through the cover like this. Cody likes a three ounce black and blue bait.

Fish all the way around the back of this creek. There is a good ditch in the back and I lost a two pound bass almost right in the back that hit a worm under an overhanging bush. Cody likes overhanging bushes like you find here and bass will often hold right against the bank under them.

3.  N 33 25.648 – W 83 15.290 – Across the lake there are some condos on the upstream point of a creek with an old dam across it.  Go to the corner of the riprap at the condo docks and start fishing.  Cast your Shadrap and spinnerbait on the rocks and try topwater early in the morning, too.

Fish through the gap and work the back side of the riprap, then fish the docks and other shallow cover on the left back in the creek.  Don’t hesitate to fish very shallow cover like the brush pile on the island with the “Traffic Island” sign on it back here.

A shad color frog is good on the thick shallow cover and your jig, Brush Hog and Beaver are all good when pitched very shallow, especially around dock posts.  Cody rigs his Baby Brush Hog in watermelon red or black and red on a quarter ounce sinker and skips it to the cover. He rigs a black and blue or dirty pumpkin beaver the same way.

4.  N 33 25.017 – W 83 14.550 – Going down the river the big inside bend on your right has some good docks to fish on the downstream side. Go around the point and stop at the first dock.  It has a black canvas top.  The house for this dock is way back in the trees.

The bottom at the first couple of docks is soft but turns to hard clay past them.  There are some rocks on the bottom, too.  Fish each dock with jig, Baby Brush Hog and beaver.  Also pitch a chatterbait under them.

Many people fish only the front of docks and Cody says this is a mistake. He always goes in behind them and fishes the back side and walkway, too. He skips his baits under them and works them back, hitting every post.

Cody is very good at skipping or skittering a jig under docks and says the rod action is critical to do this. He prefers to flip docks with an ALX Rods IKOS series Promise 7 foot rod because he says it has the prefect amount of tip on the rod to flip and skip docks,

Between the docks throw your crankbaits, chatterbaits or spinnerbait.  Shad move down this bank in October into the small creek it leads to.  Cody will fish all the way to the back of the creek and then fish back out the other side, hitting the docks and banks between them.

5. N 33 24.817 – W 83 13.495 – Go down the river past the island on the left and around the bend to the second creek on the left. A marina is back in this creek in a cove to the right and the creek goes to the left. Stop on the left bank of the main creek just upstream of a long point with grass down to the seawall.  The creek narrows down at this point.

Just upstream of this point are three small docks. The bank is fairly deep with overhanging bushes. Start fishing at these small docks, hitting each one with jig, Baby Brush Hog and beaver. Also skip a chatterbait or frog under the overhanging bushes and pitch a soft bait under them, too.

Fish down this bank until you stop seeing shad or catching fish, then jump across to the other side and fish those docks to the point of the marina cove.  Try to hit every post of each dock.

6.  N 33 24.531 – W 83 13.914 – Go back up the river to the next creek upstream of the one in hole 5.  It is a smaller creek downstream of the island and has a good ditch and docks to fish, and there are overhanging bushes, too.  Start at the third dock on the left and fish to the back of the creek.

Cody likes docks with five feet of water in front of them but says most of the fish he catches are three feet deep or less, so don’t hesitate to fish very shallow docks.  Fish all the posts. It takes longer to get in behind them to fish the back side but it is worth it.  Also fish the shade on this bank.

7.  N 33 25.228 – W 83 14.608 – Go back up the river to the big point on the left, across from hole 1.  This long point gets a lot of wind blowing in on it and has a hard bottom. There is a lot of brush in the water from bushes that have been cut to clear under the trees to clear the bank.

Stay out and fish a crankbait, spinnerbait and beaver all along the bank.  Run your faster baits between the brush in the water but fish the brush in the water thoroughly with your Baby Brush Hog.   Fish all the way around the small pocket on the upstream side of the point and the upstream side of the pocket has brush, too.

Wind helps on this point and in other places if it is not too strong to make boat control difficult.  Wind stirs up the water, breaks the surface and moves baitfish into the area.  All those things make the fish bite better and makes it more difficult for them to identify your lures as fake.

8.  N 33 25.039 – W 83 14.256 – Across the river from the  point in hole 7, just downstream of hole 1, is a small creek that splits right in the back. There is a blue canvas cover dock on the downstream point of it and one brown shingle boat house on the left bank going into it. There are four docks in this small creek.

Start near the upstream point and fish the left bank to the back, then fish the dock on the point in the middle of the split and the ones on the other bank, too.   Cody says the left bank is usually better in October since it is a little deeper and has overhanging bushes to fish.

9.  N 33 24.339 – W 83 15.597 – Go up Lick Creek until you see the first bridge ahead of you. On the right before the creek turns a little to the left is a small creek with light gray siding house with a black canvas top dock just inside the point.

Start at the dock, fishing it carefully, then work to the back of the creek down the left bank. There is a seawall with rocks in front of it along this bank and it holds fish.  The little points on the seawall are usually best.

There is a pond back in the woods above this creek that feeds it and water flowing into the creek attract bass. Fish all the way to the ditch in the back and fish the cove in the back of it. Also fish the first three docks in the back of the creek on your right going in.

10.  N 33 24.410 – W 83 15.724 – Going up Lick Creek a big creek comes in on the right just upstream of the one in hole 9.  Go into it and stop at the dock on the right with a black canvas top and red Adirondack Chairs on it.

Fish this dock and all the others going into the creek.  Run a spinnerbait on the seawalls between the docks.  In the back on the left side is a small pocket with a blowdown in it. Fish the blowdown with a frog, Cody got a keeper out of it the day we fished. Also work it with Baby Brush Hog, beaver and jig.

All these places are good right now and give you examples of the types of places Cody catches October Oconee bass.  They are in a compact area so you don’t have to burn much gas to fish them but you can run all over the lake and find many similar creeks where you can use this pattern to catch bass.

Where and How To Catch September Bass at Lake Jackson, with GPS Coordinates

September 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 it 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.

GPS Coordinates for Catching 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 Seminole August Bass

August 2015 Seminole Bass
with Laura Ann Foshee

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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