Fishing Lake Oconee for A Magazine Article and A West Point Tournament

Last Friday I went to Oconee to get information for my March Georgia Outdoor News article. Ethan Thomas, a student and fishing team member at Georgia College in Milledgeville, took me to show me his patterns and baits and ten spots to catch March bass on Oconee.

The Georgia College fishing team is ranked first in the nation right now by the Cabela’s School of the Year Rankings. Ethan lives on Oconee and fishes it a lot. He showed me some good places to fish on a cold day but we had a tough time catching much until late afternoon when the sun started warming the water.

At about 3:00 PM Ethan caught a keeper on one side of a dock and I got a four pounder on the other side. In the next hour or so Ethan caught five or six keepers while I tried to get another bite. The sun warming the water back in the coves definitely helped make the fish bite better late in the day.

There were a lot of fishermen out trying to catch crappie. They were trolling and drift fishing out on the creek channels and around standing timber. This is a great time to fill up your freezer with good eating crappie on most of our area lakes like Oconee, Sinclair, Jackson and West Point.

– Saturday morning I was excited to head to West Point Tournament for the Potato Creek Bassmasters tournament. I had a good feeling about catching fish based on my luck this year. Unfortunately, I proved it has been luck, that I am not a good fisherman. A good fisherman is consistent, a luck fisherman goes from catching to not catching like I did.

In the tournament JJ Crompton had 8.16 for first, Jack “Zero” Ridgeway had 7.33 for second and Raymond English placed third with 7.20 and had a nice 6.15 pound largemouth for big fish. I think I was the only one of the 14 fisherman without a keeper!

The day was the kind of day I most hate this time of year. A strong cold front came through, giving us bluebird skies and strong winds. I may have let the weather mess up my mind but I tried to concentrate on catching fish, not how tough it was.

After fishing shallow for an hour I went to a rocky bluff bank where I can usually catch at least a keeper spot this time of year, but never got a bite. For the next three hours I fished shallow and deep without a bite.

In a creek mouth with standing timber in 35 feet of water I could see scattered fish in it on my depthfinder. A few years ago I landed a five pound largemouth there in January and caught a keeper spot the next day in a tournament.

I jigged a spoon in the timber and got one bite. The fish fought good but I was disappointed when it came to the top and I saw a five pound striper. I invited I home for dinner and spent the next two hours jigging there, thinking that stripers and black bass like I was after ate the same thing so there should be something I could weigh in. But I never got another bite.

I finished out the day hitting several places that should be good this time of year but never got a bite. I heard the fish were caught shallow and there were several nice three pound plus largemouth and spots brought in, including Raymond’s big one. Most of the fisherman said they got only one to three bites all day. I fished several good shallow areas but no luck.

Some days are just like that.

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