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.