Fishing Demopolis Lake and Lake Russell

Fishing was good from Alabama to South Carolina in late February. Last Friday I went to Demopolis, Alabama and spent the night. The next morning I met Will Ayers, a young local tournament fisherman, and we spent the day on Demopolis Lake, getting information for the March Alabama Outdoor News article. Since Will has a three-year-old son and a daughter on the way, he fishes only two local lakes, but last year he won $26,000 in tournaments.

Demopolis Lake is formed by a dam near the junction of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers. It is so close to the Mississippi state line you feel like you could throw a rock into the next state. It took me almost five hours to get there.

The weekend before we fished, Will and a friend had gone out and caught a lot of bass, with the biggest five going 17.8 pounds, and had a 5.5 pound kicker. He felt good about us catching fish and, the first place we stopped, the bass were feeding. Will caught about a dozen keepers up to 3.5 pounds on a red Rat-L-Trap, casting it into water about two feet deep. I was busy taking pictures notes and trying to get a video for the on-line issue of the article to fish much, and I was hard headed and kept throwing a DT6 crankbait, but I did manage to catch a couple of fish.

That was how it went for the rest of the day. Will would catch at least two or three everywhere we stopped and I might catch one or two. The last place we fished that afternoon, back in a creek where a point created a protected pocket from the wind, Will caught another dozen on a spinnerbait. I managed to catch two on a Chatterbait.

I love the river lakes in Alabama like Demopolis. The current and nutrient rich waters produce quality bass that fight extremely hard. We really do not have any lakes in Georgia like them. They have stained water, lots of grass along the bank, and miles of small creeks, sloughs and oxbow lakes to fish.

The five-hour drive home was the only bad thing about the trip.

Sunday afternoon I drove 2.5 hours to my mobile home at Clarks Hill to spend the night. The next morning I drove an hour to Calhoun State Park, a South Carolina park on Lake Russell, and met 18-year-old Brody Manley, another good local bass fisherman, to get information for the March Georgia Outdoor News magazine. Russell is a lake between Clarks Hill and Hartwell on the Savannah River.

Brody makes and sells fishing jigs for a living. They are available in local stores in that area and online at He also guides on a couple of local lakes and fishes tournaments. I am constantly amazed at the skill and knowledge of the young fishermen I meet. Tournament bass fishing did not exist until I was in college, but some of these young folks have been tournament fishing since they were pre-teen! Their experience shows.

Russell is about as opposite a lake as you can have from Demopolis. The water at Russell is deep and clear, with rocks being the most important cover on the lake. It has quality largemouth but is also full of big spotted bass. Rather than fishing big baits on heavy line, Brody fished smaller baits on eight pound test line.

The cold front that came through Sunday night had put the fish in a bad mood, I think. Brody still caught a pretty three pound spotted bass as well as several more keeper size fish. I never had a bite! We quit fishing at noon when I got all the information I needed for the article.

The 3.5 hour drive home from Russell was not quite as bad as the one Friday night!