Category Archives: Map of the Month – Georgia

How and Where to Catch December Bass at Bartlett’s Ferry/Lake Harding

How and Where to Catch December Bass at Bartlett’s Ferry/Lake Harding
with Tommy Gunn

By this time of year lake waters are getting cold and bass are not feeding as good as they did earlier in the fall. Colder water means they are less active and more likely to be holding in deeper water. But a few warm days can turn them on and you can have some excellent fishing before the weather really gets harsh.

Some lakes seem to be better now and Bartlett’s Ferry on the Chattahoochee River below West Point is one of them. Also called Lake Harding, the water levels stay fairly consistent because it is a small lake at 5850 acres and generation at West Point keeps it full. The level can change a couple of feet each day but you will seldom see it more than three feet low.

Bartlett’s Ferry is an old lake that started producing power in 1926. It was bought by Georgia Power in 1930 and it is still owned and operated by them. The shoreline is mostly rocky, steep banks on the old river in the lower lake with some creeks offering different kinds of structure over the whole lake. The river above Halawakee Creek has steep outside bends and mud flats. Almost all the shore is lined with cabins and docks.

For a long time Bartlett’s Ferry was known for its largemouth but spotted bass have come on strong there. In the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Creel Census Report in 1996 just under 63 percent of bass were largemouth but by 2005 that was down to 48 percent. The population of spots is probably even higher than that indicates since spots are often culled for largemouth in tournaments.

In the Alabama Bass Anglers Information Team report for 2006 angler success rate at Bartlett’s Ferry was seventh highest of all lakes in the report. But it ranks low on the chart overall due to the average size of the fish caught. You can catch a lot of bass at Bartlett’s Ferry but they will mostly be smaller spots.

The good news is now is the time to catch a lot of bass there and you can bring in some quality largemouth if you fish it right. There is little of the boat traffic that plagues the lake during warmer months and you can fish in peace. Add to that the varied structure and cover and Bartlett’s Ferry is a good choice for this time of year.

Access to the lake is fair with a public ramp on the Georgia side at Idlehour and a public ramp on the Alabama side at Long Bridge. There are other ramps but these are open year round and have a decent amount of parking. There are a good many club tournaments on the lake and a weekly pot tournament goes out of Long Bridge ramp.

Tommy Gunn lives about ten minutes west of Bartlett’s Ferry in Cusseta. He started fishing Bartlett’s Ferry in the mid 1980s with his cousin and they fished many of the pot tournaments there over the years. He still fishes them and also fishes the Bassmaster Weekend Series, placing 7th overall in the Alabama South division in 2007.

Tommy agrees the size of the fish has gone down in the past ten years. His best tournament catch ever was a seven fish limit weighing 28 pounds in the mid 1990s but his best catches for the past few years in the tournaments has been five fish limits weighing 17 to 18 pounds. He landed a nine and one quarter pound largemouth in the 1990s, his best from Bartlett’s Ferry, but has not seen many over eight pounds recently.

Not only does he fish as often as possible, Tommy also makes Jawbreaker Jigs. He got started making them so he could have the colors he wanted but could not find. His jigs are sold in many stores in the area around Bartlett’s Ferry and he makes both skirted jigs and plain jigs for jig head worm fishing.

“I like to fish shallow, there are almost always some fish in shallow water here,” Tommy told me. As long as the water is above 55 degrees he is confident he will have a good catch in shallow water this time of year and he sticks with it until the water gets below 50 degrees. Then it is time to go deeper.

Since he is fishing tournaments Tommy is looking for five good bites. For numbers of fish he would go deeper and catch mostly spots, but he wants largemouth for weigh-in. You can catch fish both ways now at Bartlett’s Ferry and a couple of simple patterns will put you on fish.

For shallow fishing Tommy concentrates on docks. There are hundreds to choose from on Bartlett’s Ferry and many of them hold quality largemouth, and some good spots, right now. Tommy will flip and pitch a jig and pig to docks for bigger fish and throw a crankbait between docks as he moves from one to another.

Some docks are better than others. Tommy likes an older dock with wooden post and some brush or rocks under it. The best ones this time of year are at the mouths of pockets and sloughs. They must be near deep water to hold good fish and that is the most important factor. If there is not seven feet of water just off the end of the dock and much deeper water nearby it will not be as good.

Most of his dock fishing is done with a three eights ounce Jawbreaker jig in warmer water and a quarter ounce jig in colder water. He likes a black/blue/purple or black/blue/brown combination with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk on either weight. Tommy tries to put his jig as far back under docks in places that are hard to get to and that are missed by other fishermen.

If the bite is real tough Tommy will throw a green pumpkin Trick worm on a 3/16 ounce head around the docks. That bait tends to catch more but smaller fish, but will sometimes get hit when bigger baits are ignored.

In deeper water Tommy likes a point or hump that drops off steep into the old river or creek channel. He will throw crank baits across it then back off and fish it with a Carolina rig or a jig head worm. He will start fairly shallow on the structure and work deeper until he finds fish. Rocks or brush on the structure help hold the fish in specific areas.

If the water is 15 feet deep or deeper where he is fishing Tommy will also jig a spoon for the fish. Sometimes you have to jig a spoon in their face, repeatedly moving it up and down, before they will hit. If you spot fish on your depthfinder drop a half ounce spoon straight down to them.

You can pick docks to fish by starting at the mouth of every slough on the lake and hitting them. Choose older docks with post and trash and you will do better. For deeper fish the following ten spots all hold bass this time of year and are some of Tommy’s favorites.

1. N 32 41.259 – W 85 09.095 – Put in at Long Bridge and go under the bridge. Ahead of you an island sits off the right bank. Out to the left of the island a hump comes up to within 18 feet on top and has brush on it. The creek channel swings by it and it drops fast on that side. It is an excellent place to jig a spoon or drag a Carolina rig right now.

Go up toward the island and watch behind you. A long narrow point runs off the left bank going upstream just above the bridge and you want to line up the end of it with the first bridge piling on that side. When you get even with the island you will see the hump come up. It helps to drop a marker out to stay on it.

Fish all around the hump from different directions. If there is any current it will help and you want to sit downstream of the hump and throw back up across it and fish with the current. Probe for the brush and fish it carefully when you hit some.

2. N 32 41.446 – W 85 09.401 – Upstream of the island there is a point and a cove behind it. This point leads to a ridge that runs parallel to the bank on that side. Go upstream staying way off the bank, about even with the point behind the island, and watch for a gray house with two small lighthouses to the left of it when facing it. Start going back and forth out off the bank from those lighthouses and watch your depthfinder. You will see it come up quickly on the back side, topping out at about 9 feet deep, then slope off.

Set up to fish across the ridge, bringing your Carolina rig, jig head worm or jig and pig up the sharp drop. Work the ridge casting over it from both sides. Also watch for bass holding on the side or brush on the sloping side. Jig a spoon around any fish or cover you see.

There is one sweet spot on this ridge right out in front of the gray house, according to Tommy. For some reason fish often concentrate in one small area of this long ridge and you have to fish it to find them. If you catch one bass fish that spot hard, there should be more on it.

3. N 32 41.286 – W 85 09.974 – Head up toward the old railroad trestle. Where the lake narrows down look to your left and you will see the last pocket on that side before the trestle. The downstream point of this pocket runs way out, angling upstream, and is covered with rock. There is a good drop on the inside of this point where the channel from the small creek hits the point and turns.

This is a good spot to throw a Carolina rigged Baby Brush Hog or Finesse worm. Spots love this point and those baits are good for them. Tommy likes a green pumpkin bait on cloudy days and stained water or a watermelon red bait on clear days and clear water. He will dye the tails of either color with chartreuse JJ’s Magic. Spots seem to really like a chartreuse tail.

Fish across this point from both sides and work it way out. When you get out on the end make some casts from the deep end up toward the bank and fish down the point on both sides. Also throw a crankbait in the shallow part of the point when you are in near it.

4. N 32 41.234 – W 85 10.416 – Go under the trestle and you will see a big pocket open up to your right. About 75 yards off the right point of the trestle a hump comes up to within 6 feet of the surface. If you start from the point at the trestle on the right going upstream and idle toward the far upstream point of the cove on your right you should cross it. The far point has two swift houses on it, one with gourds on cross arms and the other a condo style on a post.

When you find the top of the hump stop and cast all around, working your Carolina rig, jig and pig and jig head worm from deep to shallow. There is some brush here and the channel swings by the outside of the hump, making a good drop on that side. Fish all around this spot.

5. N 32 41.484 – W 85 07.631 – Head down the creek under both bridges and past the ramp. When the creek makes a turn to your left you will see powerlines crossing the lake from a point on your right where the creek turns back right. Go under the powerlines and watch to your left. You will see a rocky point running upstream at the mouth of the big cove on that side. There is no house on the point but it has been cleared of brush under the big pine trees.

Tommy says this is an excellent point because the creek channel swings in on the outside and the ditch on the inside is deep, making that side drop fast. There is brush and rocks all around this point. Start by throwing a crankbait working around it then back off and fish a jig and pig, jig head worm or Carolina rig down the slope. Watch and feel for brush and hit it hard when you find it.

Wind often blows in on this point and makes it better. Wind blowing across any of these spots will help, as it does when blowing in on a dock. As long as you can control the boat wind makes a spot even better.

6. N 32 41.528 – W 85 06.773 – Head downstream to the mouth of the river and go on the upstream side of the first small island with a house on it. Ahead you will see a big island with a red clay bluff bank on the downstream point. That downstream point forms a flat that drops off into the river channel on the far side of the island. There is an old state brush pile out on this point that no longer has a buoy marking it.

Work all around this flat and point, fishing Carolina rigs, jig and pig and jig head worm. Throw a crankbait and jig and pig in the blowdowns on the west side of the island, too. Watch your depthfinder and drop a spoon or other bait down to any brush you see. The point will top out at about ten feet deep way off the bank then drop fast and that is where the old state brush piles are located.

7. N 32 41.645 – W 85 06.541 – Go across toward the Georgia side of the river and you will see an opening a little to your left. The downstream point of this opening is actually the upstream point of a big island. There is trash all over the top of this point. Throw a crankbait across it then work your other baits deeper. Try a jigging spoon in the deeper areas.

Current coming down the river will rush right by this point and make it much better. Tommy likes to stay on the river side of the drop and fish from shallow to deep, especially when current is moving. Wind will often blow across this point making it better, too.

8. N 32 40.986 – W 85 06.194 – Run down to Kudzu Island, the island with a standing chimney on it on your left as you head downstream. If you look right on the edge of the water out in front of that chimney, with it lined up with the tree that is out from the others, you will see the old foundation of some kind of structure. A small point runs out from this old foundation and there is more cover on it.

Stay out from the point and fish all around it with all your baits. This point drops fast and is not very big, but it holds fish. Current coming down the river often stacks fish up on it.

9. N 32 40.733 – W 85 06.177 – Across the river on the Alabama side there is a big island in the mouth of a pocket. The outside bank of the island drops straight off into the old river channel. You will be in 60 feet of water two boat lengths off the bank. There are rocks on the drop and lots of logs and blowdowns.

Tommy says this is and excellent bank to fish after a cold front and during the winter. Bass hold in the cover and can move deeper quickly. Fish a crankbait around the cover. Then work a jig and pig through the branches of the blowdowns and be ready to set the hook and reel hard to pull a big bass out of them.

10. N 32 41.192 – W 85 05.443 – Go back across the lake and head into the big creek on that side. It does not have a name on the map but Boat Club Road runs out on a point in it. Across from the point with Boat Club Road watch for point with a dead pine on your left going upstream. Just past it is a little cove with a house in it that has a turret like room on the front. The dock in the pocket has a Coke sign on it. There were two flags on this boathouse when we were there in mid-November, one a solid yellow and the other a gray/white cross flag.

There is a hump that comes up to 22 feet deep on top on the point just past the cove with the dock and flags. Find it and fish all around it with different baits you can fish that deep. A spoon is good here most of the winter. Try the top of the hump and sides as it drops off.

These are the spots Tommy will be hitting in tournaments this time of year. Try docks all over the lake if the water is still above 50 degrees for bigger largemouth then hit these deeper spots for numbers of fish, mostly spotted bass. You can find more similar spots all over the lake and they will hold bass now.

How and Where To Catch Seminole Bass In November

Seminole Bass In November with Steven Wells

All summer long the hydrilla beds at Seminole have been full of bass, but often the weeds are so thick you can’t fish it very effectively. In November the hydrilla begins to die back and open up, giving you access to those bass. And the cooler temperatures mean they feed even better.

Seminole is a one-of-a-kind lake in Georgia with its huge grass flats and stumpy water. So far south the dam is in Florida, it is like a Florida lake in many ways. The bass grow fat and spawn early in its warm waters. And every bit of the lake looks bassy, like you should be able to cast anywhere and hook a hog.

Unfortunately for the bass fisherman used to other lakes, looking good and being good are not always the same thing. The sheer size of the grass flats often make it difficult to locate bass unless you have an idea what they are doing and where to start. The bass are in the grass but you still have to find patterns within the grass to catch them.

Seminole is right in the corner of Georgia, Alabama and Florida on the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. It covers 37,500 acres and has been famous for its bass fishing for many years. Jack Wingate and his Lunker Lodge are one of the reasons for that fame and many happy bass fishermen have passed through his restaurant and dock over the years.

Steven Wells grew up right on the lake in Faceville, and is kin to Jack. He loves to fish and was on the lake so much Jack talked him into guiding there. Jack told him “As much as you like to fish you might as well let somebody else pay for your gas.” Steven also manages Outland Plantation, a hunting preserve near the lake, so he gets to spend all his time outside studying nature.

His time fishing paid off in another way this year when he married Pam Martin, a top angler on the Women’s Bass Fishing Association professional trail. She guides on Seminole out of Wingates with Steven when she is not off on the national tournament trail. She and Steven share patterns, tips and fishing spots and help each other out on the lake.

“If you are not fishing the hydrilla you are not fishing where the bass live, they get in the hydrilla,” Steven told me. We were fishing on a hot early October day and he was showing me patterns and places that would be good in November when the water cooled down a little.

In November you should start with topwater, then switch to spinnerbaits and lizards as the sun gets up,” Steven told me. He likes to fish a topwater bait around the hydrilla early in the morning, varying his bait according to the wind. If it is dead calm he throws a Mirror Lure topwater bait but if there is some ripple he switches to a Pop-R.

“Throw the plug within inches of the grass mat,” Steven said. You have to get it close to the edge, especially early in November when the grass is still thick. Work it slowly in place, keeping it as close as possible to the grass while making it act like a hurt baitfish. The longer you can keep it close to the grass the better your chances of getting bit.

Steven chooses a silver plug and throws it using 12 pound Stren line. The lighter line helps the bait work better and will still bet most fish out of the grass if they head back into it after you hook them. You can also make longer casts which are needed if the water is real clear.

Later in the month when the grass mat on top is breaking up, Steven will throw a buzz bait since it can be worked better. He likes a white one and ties it on 14 to 17 pound Stren line. If the grass is thick under the water he uses the heavier line to horse big bass out of the cover. The lighter line allows longer casts.

As the sun gets up Steven will switch to a spinnerbait and work it through openings and channels in the grass. Some of his favorite places will have clumps of grass out from the main mat even early in November and he tries to run it right beside those clumps, too.

Steven always chooses willowleaf blades since they come through the grass better and he varies the color depending on the water color. White with silver blades is better in clear water and gold blades and chartreuse skirts are best in stained water. The spinnerbait is fished on 14 to 17 pound Stren like the buzzbaits and for the same reasons.

“Bring two packs of watermelon seed lizards and leave everything else at home and you won’t go too far wrong,” Steven said. His go-to bait and what he uses most of the day is a Texas rigged Zoom watermelon seed lizard. He uses a 1/8th ounce lead unless the current or wind forces him to go heavier since the slower fall seems more attractive to Seminole bass.

Tie your lizard on 12 or 14 pound Stren since you will be fishing right in the grass. If the water is heavily stained Steven will go to Junebug lizards and sometimes he dies the tails of both colors chartreuse. Lizard fishing is slow so he likes to start with topwater and spinnerbaits, but the lizard will produce all day long.

“Cast the lizard right on top of the hydrilla and slide it to the edge, letting it fall when it hits open water,” Steven said. You must watch your line carefully since bass hitting on the fall often don’t give much indication they have taken the bait. If you see your line tick or move at all, set the hook hard to pull them away from the grass.

Steven shared 8 of his favorite November spots with me and they will all produce fish this month. They are just a few of the hundreds of similar places but there are key things to look for. Most of these are within a few miles of Wingates and Steven says some of the best fishing on the lake is a couple of hundred yards either side of the channel going in there.

1. N 30 47.355 W 84 43.050 – Upriver from Wingates at channel markers 13.8 through 13.3 the Flint River makes a sweeping turn across the lake. Along the downstream edge of the channel the water is shallow and hydrilla grows in a thick mat all along it. People use a cut-through behind a small island to run down to Wingates so sometimes there is a channel in the grass there.

Start at the first red channel marker just downstream of the grass island and work the edge of the hydrilla all the way past the turn back up river to the third red marker. The grass drops off deep here so you must cast topwater baits right to the edge of it. Concentrate on any cuts or holes in the edge and try to work your topwater bait in it as long as possible.

After the sun gets up switch to a lizard. You may need a 3/16 or even a 1/4 ounce lead here if there is any current since you want the lizard to drop straight down the side of the grass. The bass will hold all along the vertical face of the grass and suck in food, and your lizard, as it falls.

Cast your lizard up on top of the grass and pull it off. That insures it is as close to the wall of grass as possible. Watch your line carefully. When it stops falling, make sure it is not a fish then twitch it to make if fall on down. If it is on the bottom twitch it a couple of more times then reel in for another cast.

If you start here early, it is worth a pass with topwater then another pass with the lizard, especially if you catch a few fish on the first pass. The fish may be scattered the whole length of the bed or concentrated in one place, so pay attention to where you get bites.

2. N 30 46.736 W 84 44.381 – Just upstream of the Wingate cut there is a rockpile out on the old river channel where the ferry used to cross. You can see the old road bed on most maps. The grass bed along this edge is another good place to fish. The fish hold in the grass and also hold on the rocks and move into the grass to feed.

Fish the outside edge of the grass here. There is a wide band of grass and there is some open water behind it, but the best fishing in November is usually on the outside edge. Work it with topwater first then come back with a lizard. The water is not as deep on the outside edge of the grass here and a light sinker is usually best.

3. N 30 46.397 W 84 45.351 – The poles marking the Wingate cut have grass around them out where they get to the river channel and this can be an excellent place to fish. If you start upstream of the marker poles you should work the outside edge of the grass. Below the cut there is a bed of grass on a ridge and it has water 9 feet deep on the back side of it. This is a good place to work both sides of the bed.

The outside edge has clumps of grass growing out from the main bed and a spinnerbait or buzz bait is good in that area. The inside edge drops to 9 feet and a lizard falling down that drop is an excellent way to get a bass to bite. You can fish down the outside edge then cut through and fish the inside edge going the other way to cover both sides. If you catch a fish, concentrate on that area since there should be others nearby.

4. N 30 46.143 W 84 45.710 – Further downstream out from a couple of docks and pontoon boats on the bank the grass bed continues in closer to the bank. The river channel is a long way away here and the big flat has some grass on it, but as you get closer to the bank you will find a thick ridge of hydrilla. There is standing timber out toward the channel but it will be well behind you when you are fishing the outside edge of the grass.

On the outside edge clumps grow up well out from the mat. This is a good area for spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. The inside edge has enough water to be worth fishing and the lizard should be better here. Work all around the ridges of grass and fish both sides. Again, if you catch a fish work that area carefully since there should be others nearby.

5. N 30 45.943 W 64 46.122 – Straight downstream from areas #4 you will see a red channel marker where the channel swings back across the lake. Where it turns and runs down the bank is another good ridge of grass to fish. It is right along the channel and drops off fast. Fish the outside edge of it, keeping your boat in the channel and casting to the edge of the hydrilla.

6. N 30 46.036 W 84 48.063 – The Tractor bank is a well known local fishing spot. It is called that because the DNR used to keep a tractor there to use in the management area. You can follow the channel downstream then cut across to the north bank just downstream of a tall dead tree standing in the water. Be careful, there are a lot of stumps in this area and you need to find the clear area before running it if you don’t know it.

You will see a point of land with a cove on the upstream side. In the mouth of the cove is a small grass island and you will see a yellow sign on a pole out in the water upstream of it. There are big grass beds all along this bank. Start fishing near the management area sign and work down the bank. You can fish all along here, concentrating on areas where you catch fish.

Watch here for scattered clumps of grass out from the main bed and fish them with spinnerbait, buzzbait and lizard. It often pays off to drop a lizard down beside one of these clumps after running a buzz bait or spinnerbait through the area to catch a bass that is attracted by the faster bait but will not hit it.

There are also scattered stumps near the bank here so watch for them and cast to them. You also need to keep your boat out in 10 feet of water or more when running this bank because of the stumps in closer to the bank.

7. N 30 45.550 W 84 47.903 – Back across the lake at red channel marker 7.3 a ridge runs out from the bank and hydrilla grows on it. Fish both sides of this grass bed. It runs down to channel marker 6.9 and there are several sand bars in the area.

This is a spawning area for bass and most of these grass beds are good in November because they are near spawning areas. At Seminole bass are often moving near spawning beds to hold until the water warms, which can happen in January here. When looking for similar places to fish keep in mind that you should look for fish near spawning areas.

8. N 30 44.134 W 84 51.837 – Down near the dam where the bank turns south, a huge area of grass runs all the way from the swimming area at Chattahoochee Municipal Park down to the Coast Guard station at the dam. There is an old road bed running parallel to the bank and some real shallow places on it are marked by danger poles. Grass grows all along the ridge the roadbed is on and also behind it.

You could easily fish this area all day. Work both the inside and outside areas of grass. This is a big spawning area full of sandbars so fish will be positioning themselves here in November. Concentrate on areas where you catch a fish and look for keys. Is the bottom a little deeper, are there cuts in the grass or is it a solid mat? All those keys can point to concentrations of bass in similar areas.

Seminole is a great place for a November trip. It will be much warmer and the bass more cooperative than in more northern lakes if we have a cold month. And just fishing legendary Seminole is a thrill. Check out these patterns and spots and you will be able to find many more like them.

How and Where to Catch September Lake Eufaula Bass

September Bass at Eufaula
with Dwayne Smith

September is one of the worst months for bass fishing in many of our Georgia lakes. The water is at its hottest and bass are deep and hard to find. But at Lake Eufaula the numerous ledges are full of bass and the grassbeds all over the lake entice some bass to feed shallow. You can take advantage of both patterns and catch bass there this month.

With 45,180 acres of water, there are lots of places to fish at Eufaula. Stretching 85 miles from the dam to Columbus, this long lake is mostly river bottom with lots of shallow areas and good drops into channels. Those are perfect places for bass to hold and feed this month.

Eufaula is a shallow lake with big flats everywhere. Grass grows on many of these flats and points leading to the channels, and willow bushes grow all over the lake, even on some mid-lake ledges. Bass like to feed around this shallow cover and can be found there all year long, but this pattern gets even better in late September when the water begins go cool.

Dwayne Smith won the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Top Six tournament at Eufaula last April. He won it early, catching a limit of bass on spinnerbaits first thing each morning. Fishing with the Blackshear Bass Club for the past six years has taught Dwayne a lot about the lake since they fish it about four times a year, and he put his knowledge to good use in the Top Six.

Making the Top Six team each year that he has been in the club is something Dwayne is proud of doing, and he likes fishing the Top Six. He also likes Eufaula and can catch fish there most of the year. He says September can be a good month if you know were to fish.

“Start early in the grassbeds, then move to the drops as the sun gets on the water,” Dwayne said. That is a simple pattern but it works well for him most of the year, and September is no exception.

Dwayne will start each morning throwing a half-ounce white Terminator spinnerbait with a gold willowleaf and a silver Colorado blade. He likes a split tail white trailer and says the bait looks so good in the water sometimes he wants to eat it himself! The spinnerbait is fished in the shallows all over the lake, anywhere there is grass or willows.

Dwayne may start out on the main lake on humps but the sun hits those areas early. As the sun comes over the trees he will often move to the shady bank to get some more time with his spinnerbait. But when the sun gets bright, it is time to move to deeper water.

“Look for shallow water near deep water,” Dwayne said. A drop from the shallows to the channel is going to hold bass, and the steeper the drop the better it usually will be. Dwayne will fish a Carolina rig on these places, casting up shallow and working his bait down to deeper water.

A black Trick worm rigged behind a one ounce sinker on a 24 to 30 inch leader is Dwayne’s standard Carolina rig. He likes heavy line on both spinnerbait and Carolina rig, and uses 15 pound Trilene Big Game line on everything, including his leader.

You will often see bass busting shad on top during September, so Dwayne also keeps a chrome half-ounce Rat-L-Trap rigged and ready to cast toward them. And he will have a big Fat Free Shad on another rod to run across shallow drops in case the bass want something moving a little faster than a Carolina rig. He likes shad colored crankbaits if the water is clear and something with some chartruese in it if the water is stained.

I fished with Dwayne in early August to get a look at the way he fishes Eufaula. He showed me ten of his favorite places to fish in September to share here, and he explained how he fishes each. The following ten spots will give you some grassbeds and shallows to fish this month as well as drops to move to when the sun gets bright.

1. N 32 03.171 – W 85 03.321 – The bank straight across from the mouth of Little Barbour Creek has a good grassbed and is on the east side of the lake, so it stays shady for a good while each morning. Dwayne will start right across from the mouth of the creek and fish upstream all the way to the small creek.

Keep your boat out and easy cast from the bank and throw your spinnerbait back into the edge of the grass. Fish it back out, running it by any clumps of grass or any wood cover out from the bank. Dwayne fishes the spinnerbait fast, keeping is down under the water but running it back quickly at a steady speed. Making a lot of cast as fast as possible is important since this pattern does not last long.

2. N 32 01.997 – W 85 03.413 – Head downstream and the channel will make a sharp bend to the Georgia bank, then swing out toward the Alabama side. Right where the channel leaves the east bank there is a small island. A point runs off this island and follows the edge of the channel as it cuts across the lake. There is a red channel marker just off the island.

Dwayne likes to keep his boat upstream of the drop running off the island and casts up onto the flat formed by the point. He will work his Carolina rig or crankbait back to the boat, fishing some of the top of the flat and then covering the edge of the drop.

If there is current moving the lip of the drop is probalby the best spot. If the current is not moving Dwayne will work the Carolina rig down the drop and probe for any wood stuck there. He will work from the island out to the channel marker, fishing the edge all along there.

3. N 32 01.546 – W 85 02.876 – Head on downstream and the channel goes to the Alabama bank then makes a sharp turn back to the Georgia side. The mouth of Rood Creek is where the channel hits the Georgia bank, but just upstream is a small creek with a split near the mouth. The river channel runs near the mouth of it and the double opening has deep water in it.

The point on the split in the mouth of this creek has a hump off it that has stumps on it. It is only four feet deep on top and drops off to 25 feet or deeper all around. Keep your boat out in the deeper water and fish around the hump, making casts up on top of it and fishing down the slope.

This is a good place to run a crankbait across the top of the hump, then fish a Carolina rig on it. You will get hung up on the stumps but there will often be bass holding by them, too. Fish this spot carefully, taking time to cover it from all angles.

4. N 32 00.670 – W 85 03.605 – Downstream of Rood Creek the channel swings toward the Alabama bank and then right back to the Georgia side. A little further downstream it angles across the lake to the Alabama side, and just upstream of where it hits the bank is an opening to a big flat split by an island. This big area is actually the ends of two old oxbow river runs cut off from the lake by an island. Dwayne calls the big flat grassy area behind the island “The Barn.”

This very shallow water has lilly pads and other grass along the bank. Out in the middle you will see clumps of hydrilla. Bass will feed here year round, but move in more as the water starts to cool near the end of September.

Start fishing near the mouth and cast to every cut and hole in the grass and pads. Watch for dark clumps out in the middle of the open water and fish them with your spinnerbait, too. Run your spinnerbait along and through every fishy looking spot.

5. N 31 59.003 – W 85 04.129 – Head downstream past the mouth of the Witch’s Ditch and the lake will open up. The island that runs parallel to the river on the Georgia side, the one that cuts off the Witch’s Ditch, ends and the lake will open up. Just downstream of the end of this island is a red channel marker and there is a good river ledge here where the channel makes a small turn toward the Alabama bank.

Position your boat just downstream of the marker and you will be in about 40 feet of water. You can cast up onto the top of the ledge to 12 feet of water and fish the stumps on it. Fish all long this ledge, trying a crankbait and then the Carolina rig. When you hit a stump, pause your bait and let the bass have a good look at it. If you don’t get bit, cast right back to the same place to fish that stump again.

6. N 31 58.304 – W 85 03.888 – As you go downstream the channel will swing all the way to the Georgia side just below the mouth of Bustahatchee Creek. The red channel marker 103.1 will be near the bank and just upstream of it you will see some small willows sticking up out of the water about 200 feet off the mouth of a small creek called “The Watermelon Hole.” There is a big irrigation pump in this small creek and you can usually hear it running.

This hump was the site of a house before the lake was backed up, and the old brick foundation is still there. Fish all around this hump and the willows with your spinnerbait then back off a little and fish it with your Carolina rig. The river channel is just off the outside of it and the creek channel runs by it, too. Fish the drops into each with your Carolina rig and feel for the bricks. When you hit them fish them slowly.

Watch for schooling fish here. While we were fishing it some big shad scooted out of the water and Dwayne threw his Rat-L-Trap to it. He hooked a stong fish that fought more like a bass than a hybrid, and I was ready with the net when it got close to the boat. Unfortunately, the bass made a strong run and pulled loose before we saw it.

7. N 31 58.221 – W 85 03.924 – Just downstream of this hump, right at channel marker 103.1, the channel makes a sharp bend back toward Alabama and the mouth of Cowikee Creek. The water in the channel is 58 feet deep and it comes up to a shallow flat with a small point running out on it. You can see the small point as a buldge on the bank in the grassline.

Keep your boat out in the channel and cast up onto the flat. Some wood cover sticks here at times but the main feature is the drop. Fish the lip of the drop with crankbait and Carolina rig.

Dwayne told me this was a good spot hole as we pulled up on it, and he caught a small keeper spot here on his Carolina rig. Fish all long the lip of this drop as the channel swings away from the bank.

8. N 31 58.103 – W 85 05.776 – Run into the mouth of Cowikee Creek and head upstream until you get to the island on your right just outside the channel. The channel will make a wide sweeping bend all the way across the creek from the far bank to the end of this island and then back to the far bank. Stop just outside of the red pole channel marker that has a small number 271 on it that is standing off the end of the island. Keep your boat in the channel.

The outside bend here has brushpiles and stumps all along it. Dwayne will fish from this pole all along the outside bend all the way to the next red pole marker downstream. Near the channel marker at the end of the island Dwayne hung a strong fish on his Carolina rig but it got him down in the brush. He sawed it back and forth for a short time before it broke off.

9. N 31 54.845 – W 85 07.082 – Dwayne runs the Alabama side from the mouth of Cowikee Creek all the way to Old Town Creek Park. This is very shallow water and is dangerous if the lake is down any at all, which it may be in September. You are much safer following the channel.

When you get to Old Town Creek Park swimming area, just downstream of the fishing pier, a ledge runs way out from the swimming area toward the Georgia bank. It is called the “Closeline” because it runs so straight and far. Dwayne will keep his boat on the upstream side of this drop and fish all along it, casting up onto the top of the flat and working his Carolina rig down the drop.

There is some brush on this drop and the drop runs about even with the bank at the swimming area. If you look at the bank you can tell how it continues on out in the lake. If there is any current this is an excellent place and you can fish it out 100 yards or more. Current helps here just like on all other holes where there is a drop.

10. N 31 53.025 – W 85 07.843 – The last hole Dwayne showed me is a long point with rocks on it running out from the Alabama side. It is easy to find because there is a railroad on top of this point. The point he likes to fish is the railroad causeway on the Alabama side.

Dwayne will start on the upstream side of the causeway and work around the point with a crankbait or spinnerbait, casting up near the rocks and fishing back out. If there is current running around this point the bass will stack up on the rocks to feed on shad moving downstream. It is a good place all day long and is easy to find.

Give these spots a try and then use what you see on them to find others. There are acres of grassbeds on Eufaula and many of them hold bass. And the miles of river and creek ledges hold bass this time of year. Eufaula is one of our best lakes in September. Spend some time there.

August Bass at Lake Juliette

August Bass at Lake Juliette

Ready for an August bass fishing trip where you can fish, not bounce around from wakes of off-shore ski boats and yachts? Where the sound of skidoos never irritate your ears? Want to fish a lake full of big bass, where five pounders are brought in regularly and ten pounders are not unusual? Then plan a trip to Lake Juliette.

Located about 15 miles east of I-75 near Forsyth, Juliette is a 3000 acre Georgia Power lake. It is on Rum Creek but that creek is so small water is pumped in from the nearby Ocmulgee River to keep the lake full. Since there is almost no run-off, the lake is extremely clear for middle Georgia.

Clear water means lots of underwater plant growth. Grass grows thick in most parts of Juliette and breaks the surface from ten feet down in many places. In early July there was a distinct grass line 21 feet deep in most of the lake, with a 2 to 3 foot line of grass growing that deep. Bass love that grass.

You are restricted to a maximum 25 horsepower motor on your boat, so you will need a smaller boat to get around. In August a depthfinder is invaluable and you need one that will clearly show the grass. You can put in your bass boat and use the trolling motor but Juliette is big enough that you can not fish much of it that way.

Two ramps give good access to Juliette. Dames Ferry near the dam has a double paved ramp, picnic area and campground. Holly Grove on the upper end of the lake does not have any camping. The upper end of the lake if full of standing timber at and just under the surface, and you must follow the channel to avoid stumps and trees. Since you are restricted in the size of your motor, choose the ramp closest to where you want to fish.

Kevin Whidby grew up fishing Lake Juliette. He lives in nearby Gray and started fishing the lake with his father and uncle as soon as it was opened. He has been fishing the monthly tournament there most months for the past 15 years, first with his father and uncle, then out of his own boat a few years ago.

Over the years Kevin has done well in the tournaments. His biggest bass ever out of Juliette is a 10 pound 11 ounce monster, and he caught a 10 pound 6 ounce hog in a tournament there. It was not big fish that day, another fisherman had one a few ounces heavier.

In the June tournament Kevin came in second place with four bass weighing 9 pounds 12 ounces and had one bass weighing right at 5 pounds. There were two other 5 pounders brought in that day by 21 teams. A few days later when he and I fished the lake for a few hours after work, he landed a 4.25 pound bass on a spinnerbait and I landed one around 3.5 pounds on a Texas rigged Mag 2 worm. Bass that size are caught on most trips.

Kevin keys on the grass in August. He looks for a shallow hump or long point near deep water where the grass on top comes to the surface. Early in the morning and on cloudy days he says the bass move up in this shallow grass to feed. He will throw a topwater plug, Trick worm and Fluke, and a spinnerbait to these shallow feeding fish.

As the sun gets up the bass back out into the deeper grass. Then is when Kevin rides with his depthfinder looking for bass holding along the grass edge. He is also looking for baitfish since the bass will not be far from them. When he finds bass holding near the bottom he will cast a Carolina rigged Finesse worm, Trick worm or lizard to them.

Since the bigger bass tend to suspend off the bottom, Kevin likes to use a light 1/4 ounce lead on his Carolina rig and a two foot leader. The lighter lead allows the bait to fall more slowly and give suspended bass a chance to hit it. It also comes through the grass better.

Since the bass tend to hold right on the edge of the grass, Kevin will start by getting his boat over the shallow part of the structure and casting out into deeper water. Bringing the bait to the grass edge works best if the bass are concentrated. If they are scattered, he tries to hold his boat right on the grass edge and make parallel casts to it, covering as much of it as possible on each cast.

When the bass are suspended off the bottom and won’t hit the falling Carolina rig, Kevin will make a long cast with a spinnerbait and allow it to fall to them before making a slow retrieve, keeping it at their level as long as possible.

Bass will position on different parts of the structure and may move every day. Some days they will be on the steep drop side, others they seem to favor the more sloping side of the structure. There is so much grass on all the bottom that they can find the edge on whatever kind of bottom they want.

The following ten spots are all good in August and Kevin fishes them. They will give you an idea of the kinds of structure you should fish at Juliette this time of year. There are lots more similar places on the lake to discover, too.

1. N 33 02.908 – W 83 46.199 – If you put in at Dames Ferry Ramp, come out of the cove to the main lake and head upstream toward the power plant. The first long point on your right runs way out and continues underwater. The upstream side drops off fast and the downstream side slopes into a flat on the cove side, offering bass different kinds of bottom contour. Both sides have lots of grass on them.

Start by keeping your boat out in deeper water and casting topwater, soft jerkbaits or a spinnerbait across the shallow grass. Work all the way around the point with these baits, covering all the grass from different angles. When your spinnerbait hits a clump of grass, jerk it free and continue the retrieve. Bass will often hit when the bait jumps forward after being pulled free.

Watch your depthfinder as you fish around this point, and then ride it after casting to it. Go over the edge of the grass looking for bass near the bottom. If you find a concentration, move up on top of the point and cast out past them to the clean bottom. Work your Carolina rig up to them and then into the edge of the grass for any holding there.

If the bass are scattered, get out and cast parallel to the drop in the grass, keeping your bait as close to the grass as possible. Also cast a spinnerbait and let it sink almost to the bottom, then slow roll it back for suspended bass.

2. N 32 02.377 – W 83 46.016 – The big cove upstream of you has a point in the middle with a visible roadbed running off it. The point is marked “Quail Head” on some maps. The road bed comes out into the cove and turns toward the downstream point you just fished. There is a shallow spot out in the middle of the cove on the roadbed, too.

Keep your boat off the road and cast to the grass on top of it. Watch for visible grass sticking out of the water, sometimes it is just visible, depending on the water level. Fish it all the way across then come back with your boat shallow, casting out to the edge of the grass and fishing it from shallow to deep.

On this spot as others you can find a 3 to 4 foot tall wall of grass down around 21 feet deep. This wall is where the bass hold. Keep your depthfinder on and learn how the grass grows to help you find the bass.

3. N 33 02.047 – N 83 46.254 – Run across to the opposite side of the lake, the left side running upstream away from the dam. You will see some big rocks on a island near the dam, Taylor’s Island on some maps, and you want to fish the second main lake point upstream of it. There is a small pole out on the point on the downstream side that will help you identify it.

Idle in toward this point slowly since it runs way out in a big flat. On the downstream side of the point there is a good drop on the channel side and a good grass line on the drop to fish. Fish it like the other spots, fishing shallow first then working out to the deeper fish.

4. N 32 02.373 – W 83 46.346 – Back across the lake just off the upstream point of Quail’s Head, a hump comes up shallow about 100 yards off the bank. The point on the bank is clay and white rock and the hump comes up to about 8 feet deep when the lake is full. Grass grows on it and bass hold there all summer long.

Watch out when looking for it, there are two big rocks on it that will eat a lower unit if the water is down any at all. You should be able to see the grass sticking out of the water on this hump and the bottom color will show if the sun is out.

5. N 33 02.675 – W 83 46.943 – Head on upstream and you will see a small island on the left with a long point running out across the channel. The island is just downstream of Persons Point and the shallow point runs way out off the bank. There is a small patch of standing timber in the cove upstream of the point and a small pole on the point to help identify it.

Kevin says he likes to start way out on the point out near the channel and work up it toward the bank. Bass will hold on both sides of this point as well as out in the deeper water on the end. Check it all out, and don’t forget to cast across the shallow grass with your spinnerbait and topwater baits.

6. N 33 03.234 – W 83 47.215 – Straight across the lake are two big bays. The one on the left headed in is Buzzards Bay and it has some white box-looking structures in it. You want to go into the cove to the right of it. There is a point running across this cove and you will be almost on top of it when the box structures disappear behind the trees on the point between the two bays.

Wind often blows into this cove and that makes it even better. Wind will make the bass move up more shallow to feed, and position them on the windy side. Stay out from the point and cast across it first, especially it the wind is blowing across the point. Then get up on the point and cast out toward the lake, into the wind, and bring your bait back to the grass edge with the wind.

7. N 33 02.695 – W 83 48.404 – Back across the lake, directly across from the power plant, a rocky point runs out and drops off, then comes back up into a rocky hump a few feet off the bank. The bare rocks are visible off the point, but there are many others underwater. This point and hump are right at the mouth of the first creek with standing timber.

The timber, rocks and two creek channels make this an excellent place to find August bass. Fish all around the point working the rocks and grass on it from all angles. Bass will hold on either side of the point so check it all out.

8. N 33 02.801 – W 83 48.542 – The upstream point on the right going up, the one on the cove for the power plant, holds a lot of bass this time of year. It is deep on both sides but comes up real shallow. The main lake point is excellent and the smaller secondary point going into the power plant cove also holds fish. There is a flat between them with grass on it.

Fish both points and the flat shallow first. Then work around the two points and the outside edge of the flat, fishing the grass line off them. This is right where the timber starts on this side so bass have a variety of places to hold, and can run in and out of the timber to feed.

9. N 33 03.066 – W 83 49.397 – Head up past the Settling Pond Dam but go slow, there is a lot of timber in this area. The point on the upstream side of the cove with the settling pond dam in it runs out to the middle of the cove and there is an old duck blind on it. This point runs way out into the timber and is very shallow.

Fish the point all the way to the end and watch toward the channel. You will see a hump coming up that breaks the surface if the water is down any. You can see the red colored bottom if the lake is up and there is a big stump on it. Work around this hump like you fished the point running out to it.

10 N 33 03.029 – W 83 49.928 – Ease out to the channel and head upstream to the roadbed crossing just upstream of a point. You can see it well defined on the right and can see where it comes out on the left bank, too. Fish the drops on both sides of the roadbed as well as the point where it comes out of the water.

Kevin told me he has caught two bass over eight pounds each off this roadbed. Fish it with a spinnerbait down deep as well as a Carolina rig. You can cast across it, working both sides, or sit on one lip and cast parallel to the drop, working one side then moving to the other.

Kevin catches a lot of bass off these ten spots, and there are many others similar to them. You can discover some by studying a good map, but to really learn the lake you have to do like Kevin, get out there in a boat with a good depthfinder and ride the lake. It will pay off in quality bass this August.

The tournament at Juliette is the last Sunday each month out of Dames Ferry. Their end of year tournament is in October and the trail starts over in November, so now it a great time to learn the lake and start fishing the tournaments in a couple of months.

Entry fee is $50 per team and that includes a $5 big fish pot. Payback is one place if five boats enter up to three places if enough boats enter, and $10 per boat is held back for the year end Classic, which is the top 15 boats from the year, by weight.

They fish from daylight to 3:00 PM and you can show up at the ramp 30 minutes before daylight to enter, or call Greg for more info at 478-471-1254.

How To Catch July Bass at Lake Seminole

July Bass at Lake Seminole
with Daryl Davis

Big bass in shallow grass, even in July. If that sounds like a good pattern to you, plan to head south to Seminole this month. The hydrilla has grown thick on river ledges and the bass move into it to feed. You can catch some bragging size stringers right now fishing the grass at Seminole.

Seminole is an impressive 37,500 acre lake right in the corner of Georgia, Florida and Alabama. This time of year half its surface can be covered with hydrilla, making it look like a fantastic place to catch bass. And it is, but if you go out casting to all the hydrilla you may never get bit. The bass hold in specific areas that you will have to learn.

Although the heat can be oppressive this time of year, and the hydrilla gnats will drive you crazy if there is no breeze, you can catch bass all day long out of the thick cover if you fish it right. Early mornings and late afternoons are still best, but big bass will hit in the middle of the day, too.

Daryl Davis lives in Ochlocknee, near Thomasville, where he runs a family owned grocery store and fishes with the Rose City Bassmasters. He has been with that club for about 12 years and they fish Seminole often. This year Daryl made the state team at the Top Six tournament on Eufaula.

For several years Daryl has fished the BFL trail, the Georgia/Florida Team trail and other local tournaments on Seminole. He has learned its secrets and knows where to go to catch bass every month. He agreed to show me his July patterns and some places where they work. We spent an afternoon on the lake on June 17 and landed several bass, including a 3.5 pounder I caught and a 5 pound fish he caught.

Hydrilla is the key but the bottom structure where it grows controls where the fish will be in it. Bass hold in deeper water this time of year, so hydrilla edges near channels are the best place to find them. They will move up ditches across hydrilla flats to feed, too, but you need some kind of bottom contour to attract them to an area.

First thing in the morning Daryl likes to start off with topwater baits for the early bite. He will throw a black or white skirted buzzbait and run it across the hydrilla edges and around clumps of the grass. A chrome and black Pop-R is also a good bait when the bass want something moving a little more slowly.

About an hour after the sun gets above the trees Daryl will try a 3/16 or 1/4 ounce double willowleaf white spinnerbait with chrome blades. This bait is run above the hydrilla and dropped into cuts and holes in the grass. The bass will often slam it as it flutters down past them.

A Carolina rigged Zoom Mag 2 or Ultravibe in Junebug red or green pumpkin is a good bait for some areas. If the grass is scattered enough to drag it effectively, Daryl will rig up with a half-ounce lead and cover flats around ditches with it. He also likes to cast it to brush piles in deeper water.

A Bandit crankbait works well when the hydrilla is thin enough to work it around clumps of grass or over it. Daryl will fish a crankbait along the edge of the hydrilla and over the flats when he can. That allows him to cover more water and find active fish.

Daryl’s go-to bait is a Texas rigged Baby Brush Hog or Mag 2 worm in Junebug red or green pumpkin. He uses a 3/16 to 5/16 Florida sinker ahead of the bait. These sinkers have a screw eye that will hold them to the worm so you don’t need to peg it. This bait is dropped into holes, cuts and points in the hydrilla to attract bass all day long.

Heavy equipment is needed to drag big bass out of the grass, and Daryl uses 17 to 20 pound clear Sensation or Silver Thread line. A stiff rod helps drag the bass and grass to the boat when the fish burrows down into it, and he often cranks down the drag on his bait casting reels till it won’t slip.

The following ten spots all hold bass and we caught fish on several of them two weeks ago. Check them out and then you will be able to find many more just like them.

1. N 30 47.356 – W 84 40.990 – Up the Flint River above Wingates near Faceville Landing you will go past an island on your right running upstream. It is just downstream of the place the channel goes to the right bank below Faceville. On the upstream end of the island is a red channel marker. A ledge runs from the island out past this channel marker, parallel to the channel.

There are some brush piles on the point around the marker in about 16 feet of water. This is a good place to cast a Carolina rig and probe the point and brush since July bass hold in and around it. Fish all around the marker, casting toward it from a big circle. You can also ride the point with a good depthfinder and mark the brush. When you locate the brush make repeated casts to it. Current running into the brush helps.

2. N 30 47.367 – W 84 42.011 – Downstream of the island Butler Creek enters on your left going downstream. The downstream point of it has a good hydrilla edge to fish. A flat runs out to the channel and you will see a group of 5 stumps and a sixth one a little away from them. Bass hold out on the channel and run in to the grass to feed.

Start fishing the hydrilla edge at the point of Butler Creek and work downstream. Early in the morning try topwater along the edges and give the spinnerbait a try. Then pitch or flip a Baby Brush Hog or Mag 2 worm to the edge of the grass. Concentrate on cuts, holes and points in the hydrilla. Bass will hold on any irregularity.

Try to make the bait enter the water without a ripple first. When the bass are holding shallow sometimes a loud splash will spook them. At other times Daryl says a loud splash seems to attract them, so try that if the quiet entry is not working. In either case, expect a hit on the fall. When your bait hits bottom, twitch it once or twice then pick it up to make another flip.

If the day is cloudy and early in the morning Daryl says the bass are more likely to be roaming the outside edge of the grass. When the sun gets on the water it tends to make them back up into the cover, holding inside the grass. That is when you must make your bait fall right beside the grass and pitching into holes back in the grass is more likely to pay off.

3. N 30 47.307 – W 84 42.831 – Head downstream and the channel will kick back to the left a little. Just before it goes into the sharp right bend, around the last green marker before the bend, start fishing the grass on your right. You will be across the channel from two tall sanding trees out in the water. This grass is just off the channel and the big flat behind it is full of stumps and thick grass.

The bass will hold along this grass edge, moving up out of the nearby channel to feed. Fish all along this edge, working all the way down to where the channel bends. Current moves parallel to the grass so any little point or pocket in the grass is a good holding place for bass to ambush food.

4. N 30 47.407 – W 84 43.169 – Head downstream and the channel makes a sharp sweeping turn all the way across the lake to the right bank. The outside bend of the channel drops off sharply and there is a huge grass flat running all the way past Wingates. Many bass move off this flat in the summer and hold on the outside bend.

Watch for a big stump on your left that sits right on the channel. It will be even with the green channel marker across the channel and about half-way between two red markers. There is a shallow ditch that runs across the flat at an angle, running to your right and downstream if you are facing downstream. You can see it as an opening in the grass and stumps. Start fishing near that stump.

Fish the main channel edge but also fish down the ditch, pitching to grass on both sides of it. The water in the ditch will be 7 to 9 feet deep and each end drops off into the channel. This is a big area to work since you have the outside edge of the river channel all the way around the bend and both sides of the ditch.

It was near the downstream end of this ditch, but back on the main river channel, that I caught a 3.5 pound bass on a green pumpkin Baby Brush Hog two weeks ago. The bass thumped the Brush Hog as it fell then headed straight to the boat with it. When you feel a bite, set the hook fast, the bass often run to deep water as soon as they hit. Daryl also caught a couple of bass in this area.

5. N 30 47.578 – W 84 43.363 – On the right going downstream where the river hits the bank a big cove full of cattails sits off the edge of the water. About 100 yards downstream is the entry to Ten Mile Still Landing. Look at the grass and you will see a point on it. This grass is on a sandbar that runs out toward the channel.

Fish the grass edges all around this point and also work the point with a Carolina rig and a crankbait. Bass will use the sandbar to move out of the channel to the grass to feed, and will feed on the sandbar, especially when there is current flowing across it.

6. N 30 45.721 – W 84 46.216 – Run down past Wingates to where the channel swings back to the left bank. You will see some docks on the bank and one has a green roof on it. Go in toward that dock and you will be crossing a big grass flat that runs from the channel to the bank. Upstream of this dock is a small creek that enters the lake and there is a lot of sand on the bottom in this area.

Start fishing out in front of the green roofed dock and fish the flat, working upstream. Daryl likes to cast a crankbait here, running it above the grass if it is still deep enough or around the clumps of grass growing here. Daryl got a keeper bass here when we fish together. The bass can be anywhere on this flat so you need to cover all of it. If you catch a bass on the crankbait, stop and fish slower with either a Carolina or Texas rig since there should be more nearby.

7. N 30 45.811 – W 84 50.156 – The next spot Daryl calls “Stinky Island” because of the birds roosting and nesting there. It is the last big island before the channel to Sealey Point. You can run down the marked channel to the Sealey channel then go upstream to the island, or you can cut across and run the right bank if you know how to avoid the stumps.

There is a huge grass bed off the bank of this island on the Flint River side. There is also a ridge of grass off the bank here. Fish both grassbeds, fishing all along the edge on the island and then the one out further that runs parallel to it. If you are here early in the morning try topwater and spinnerbaits. After the sun gets up fish the grass edges with plastic baits.

8. N 30 47.382 – W 84 55.679 – Sometimes the Chattahoochee River is better that the Flint, often because of current moving there. The next three spots are up the “Hooch” and a long run from Wingates, but convenient to Land’s End Marina. If you are coming upstream from the dam, you will enter the channel behind a long ridge of an island between the channel and the huge flat toward the Florida shoreline.

Watch for the first gap to your left running up the river. The downstream point is an excellent place to catch bass. There will be some hydrilla patches near the bank to fish and out on the point is some rock and brush. Daryl likes to fish the shallow grass then set up inside the cut and cast out onto the point if current is moving across it.

Work a Carolina rig on the point and probe for the cover on it. Fish all around the point if there is no current, but fish with the current if any if moving. Current really makes the bass bite better and Daryl says he has hung some big bass here.

9. N 30 47.716 – W 84 55.679 – Run on up almost to the cut to Land’s End and watch for a big opening on your right. The point on the downstream side of this cut runs out as a ledge parallel to the channel and has some stumps on it. Daryl fishes the grass around the point into the cut and then casts across the point with a Carolina rig. He says he lost one of the biggest bass he ever hooked here.

Lake Blackshear Fishing

Lake Blackshear is the most beautiful lake in Georgia. Of all the lakes I visit, I find it the most scenic and interesting. For a fisherman, miles of shallow shoreline with grass and lily pad beds with cypress trees everywhere make it look like heaven. Its tannic stained colored water looks like it holds bass everywhere.

For pleasure boaters, skiers and seadoo riders, the lower half of the lake has big open water. The upper lake, above the highway 280 bridge, is full of standing trees and stumps, protecting fishermen from all but the most foolish pleasure boaters and skiers.

Blackshear has something for everyone.

I spent Tuesday morning on Blackshear with Travis Branch, getting information for my July Map of the Month Georgia Outdoor News article. Travis owns Bucks Deer Processing and Taxidermy in Cuthbert and lives in Leesburg, not far from the lake. He loves to bass fish and knows Blackshear well.

As we rode up the lake before the sun came up, the lake was calm and beautiful, reminding me of why I love being on the water.

We started fishing a grass and lily pad bank at daylight above the bridge, running topwater baits like buzzbaits and poppers through the cover. He caught a nice bass and another one, even bigger, blew up on it but missed his buzzbait right at the boat.

As the sun came up, we stayed on shady banks fishing that pattern and caught some small bass. Then, as the sun got higher, we moved out and started pitching Texas rigged worms and wacky rigged Senkos to the base of the scattered cypress trees.

Those trees provide shade and a great ambush point for feeding bass. When the sun is at an angle, morning and afternoon, there is a fairly big shady area. But when the sun is high the fish move right to the base of the tree where the shade is just a small area.

Each tree has a root ball shaped like a donut around it, extending out about as far as the branches on the tree, and the bass find perfect cover and comfort. You have to cast very accurately, and make your bait enter the water quietly, to get them to bite. The water is usually two feet or less deep, so it is easy to spook them.

We caught several more bass fishing the trees but by 11:00 the sun was hot, so we headed to the ramp. On the way Travis showed me another good pattern. Many small creeks and coves are lined with hyacinth beds floating on top of the water.

Those thick mats offer bass a shady porch to sit under and watch for food. Punching them with a plastic bait behind a heavy sinker to get through them works well later in the summer when the water and sun is hotter.

Another good pattern is skipping a bait under the many docks around the lake. They, too, provide a nice shady place for bass to sit and wait on food. They are best when the sun is high.

If you like sausage, stopping at Striplings is a must. I always do and buy several pounds to bring home. There are two stores, one on highway 280 near Veterans State Park, and another on highway 300 near the lower lake. Both offer a wide variety of link and patty sausage, hot sausage and ham biscuits and other delectibles.

Blackshear is about two hours south of us between Cordele and Americus on the Flint River. You can go down I-75 or highway 19 to reach it. There are several boat ramps and Veterans Park has rooms, cabins, a marina and boat ramps. It is well worth the drive from here.

Fishing Jackson Lake With Mike York

Way back in 2004 during the first week of April I spent the day fishing Jackson Lake with Mike York, checking out the bass fishing for a June Georgia Outdoor News article. We fished all day and caught a lot of small bass, never hooking the bigger fish we hoped to catch.

Mike works for the Butts County Sheriff’s Department and fishes with the Butts Bass Busters bass club. He made the state team last year and finished 24th this year at the Top Six. There are several professional trails that he fishes, too, like the Everstart and BFL trails.

Fishing at Jackson was really enjoyable during the week. Missing were all the skiers, skidoos and cruisers that usually make you rock and roll while fishing there on the weekend. It was peaceful and calm most of the day. The water was unusually clear for this time of year and we watched many small bass come up and look at Trick worms and top water plugs early in the morning. A few of them hit.

Our best luck was fishing Carolina rigged Trick worms on main lake and river points. On one point in the South River I landed three bass on three casts, then broke off. While I was tying on a new Carolina rig, Mike landed four bass. That was our best spot by far.

We started out the morning looking for bedding bass, and saw some new beds but did not see any bass on them. The cloudy sky and low light made it difficult to see very deep, even in the clear water. Mike had gotten reports that a good many bass were bedding right now, unusually late this year.

I was impressed with Mike’s knowledge of Jackson Lake and bass fishing. He says bass fishing will get better for the next several weeks as bass move onto their summer holes and stack up on points. He likes to catch them on crankbaits and Carolina rigs, and summer is his favorite time of year for fishing that pattern. If you get a chance, head to Jackson and check out the points for bass.

Fishing Lake Hartwell with Matt Justice

A couple years ago, I met Matt Justice at Lake Hartwell to get information and pictures for my October 2016 Map of the Month article in Georgia Outdoor News. Between trips there I often forget it is only a little over two hours away, depending on traffic, and it is a beautiful lake with clear water and full of largemouth and spotted bass.

I left at 3:30 AM to meet Matt at 6:30 AM since I hate to be late. It was a good thing I did. I made it about 40 miles up I 85 north of Atlanta quickly since there was fairly light traffic that time of night. I was surprised at the number of vehicles headed north toward Atlanta, even at 4:00 AM. I guess they were trying to get to work ahead of traffic.

Suddenly I saw blue flashing lights and red tail lights a mile or so ahead of me. As I came to a stop traffic was trying to get to the right lane. When I got close enough a police officer had his car blocking the road and was routing traffic off the interstate.

I followed my GPS and some 18 wheelers through a couple of small towns to the next exit, about 10 miles north, where we got back on the interstate. That added over 30 minutes to my trip. I found out later there was a wreck with fatalities and the interstate was blocked for a long time. I am glad I was able to exit before the accident site.

I met Matt and we started fishing at daylight, casting topwater baits in a shallow cove. Matt caught a solid 2.5 pound largemouth on a topwater frog. The second place we stopped I caught 1.5 pound spot on a topwater plug back in a creek. Topwater fishing is fun and the strike is the most exciting one to me.

After fishing two more shallow areas to put on the map we started hitting main lake points, using topwater baits and drop shot worms to try to catch some spotted bass. Those points are usually good but there was no wind and no power was being generated, so there was no current. That made fishing tough!

On one of the holes, marked #3 on the map but actually the last one we fished, we both caught keeper spots on drop shot worms. But that was it for the day. I was in the car headed home by 10:30, which was great since it got me off the water before it got too hot.

The trip home was uneventful although the traffic was much heavier. But there were not wrecks so I was at home and napping shortly after 2:00PM.