Ambush Alleys For Bartletts Ferry Bass
10 locations and June patterns from Randy Duncan. Shallow cover near drop-offs will hold hungry June bass on this excellent lake for numbers of aggressive fish.
If you like fishing shallow for bass in June, Bartletts Ferry Lake is a good choice. It has grassbeds, docks, blowdowns, brushpiles, rocks, and seawalls that all attract bass this month. And the bass are hungry and feeding heavily in all those areas, so they are generally easy to catch.
Bartletts Ferry is a relatively small lake just downstream of West Point. Much of the lower lake’s shoreline is well developed with docks and seawalls. The upper lake is primarily the old river channel, and there’s little development up the river. Bartletts isn’t blessed with a lot of boat ramps, but a free Georgia Power ramp on the Georgia side a short distance up the river, and two ramps at the bridge on Halawakee Creek offer launch sites. Georgia fishing licenses are good on the entire lake.
Up until a few years ago, largemouths made up most of the bass population at Bartletts Ferry, but that has changed. Surveys show that up to 50 percent of the bass taken now are spotted bass. The spots are fat and healthy, but most are under two pounds. Big largemouths used to be common, with 6-pounders weighed in during many club tournaments, but they are harder to catch now.
Randy Duncan is stationed at Fort Benning and is a member of the Bass Club of Fort Benning. He started bass fishing when he moved to Georgia from Colorado about five years ago. He has a good record in that club, finishing ninth his first year, second in 2002 and first in 2003. At the 2004 Top Six at Eufaula, Randy placed third overall and made the state team. Randy was deployed last year and missed many of his club tournaments, but he hopes to fish frequently now that he is home again.
Randy said there are lots of good patterns at Bartletts in June. The bass are apt to feed shallow around rocks, docks, blowdowns, grassbeds, brushpiles and seawalls. He likes to stay close to deep water for June bass fishing, and a shallow ledge just off deep water that has any of the above cover is excellent. There are usually a bunch of rods rigged and ready on the deck of Randy’s Triton. Since the cover varies greatly, and the bass are feeding on a lot of different patterns, it helps to be ready to quickly offer several choices.
Included in the rods Randy will have ready will be a Spotsticker jighead with a Zoom Finesse worm on it, a black and blue jig ‘n pig, a Texas-rigged Trick Worm, a Fluke, a Carolina rig with a Finesse worm, a crankbait, a spinnerbait and a topwater plug. It pays to be versatile.
The Spotsticker jighead with a Finesse worm is one of Randy’s favorite baits on Bartletts. He will often start with it, trying to get a limit of spotted bass to relieve some of the pressure in a tournament, then he’ll go for bigger bass. Randy likes a 3/16-oz. jig and varies the color of his Finesse worm according to the water color, with watermelon or green pumpkin being his favorites.
The day Randy and I fished Bartletts in May we made a big circle from Idle Hour Ramp — the Georgia Power ramp on the Georgia side — across and down the river, up Halawakee Creek then back down almost to the dam, and back to the ramp. We caught a lot of small bass, and the lake seems full of them this year. Bigger bass should be on Randy’s patterns as well.
Try Randy’s choices on the following holes to see how he fishes the lake, then explore and find similar spots of your own. The lake has many places just as good at these 10 marked by Randy.
No. 1 on the map: N 32º 43.233 – W 85º 07.284 — Osanippa Creek enters the lake across the river channel from Idle Hour Park. Don’t try to run straight across, the river here is very shallow in the middle with channels on both sides. Run up the river from Idle Hour to where the danger markers end, then back down the other side.
Just upstream of the mouth of Osanippa Creek you will see a cove with a grassbed across its mouth. Start fishing the grass, running a buzzbait or spinnerbait through it, especially early in the morning. Fish downstream, and where the grass ends there is a rocky point. The river channel swings near it, and there is a ledge off the point, making it an excellent June location.
Keep your boat back off the bank, throw a Spotsticker jig upright on the rocks, and work it back down the slope. Some current helps, and if it is strong you should position your boat downstream of the point and cast up the current, working the jig at an angle across the rocks with the current. Shake the jig as you work it across the rocks. Randy says this point has produced a lot of big spots for him over the years. He will work it carefully, fishing the rocks near the old metal seat near the two old dock posts. After fishing the rocks, work on downstream, fishing the wood dock with the owl and Suntracker pontoon tied to it. Cast your jig ‘n pig under the dock and all around it, and also try a crankbait or Texas-rigged worm.
The next dock has a green top. Fish all around it, probing for brush and the wood that gets washed in here.
No. 2: N 32º 43.007 – W 85º 07.368 — Go the short distance downstream to the mouth of Osanippa Creek, and start on the upstream point. The point runs out a good way and then drops off. Randy likes to start with his boat sitting just inside the mouth of the creek, and he casts a Carolina-rigged Finesse worm across it and upstream.
This point is especially good if there is any current moving down the lake. There is some old concrete or some big rocks on this point, so probe for them. That is the sweet spot, according to Randy. Try the point from different directions, too. Randy says he has caught fish here from all angles, and some days the angle is key.
Fish on past the point into the creek. There is some rough rock on the bottom, and there is grass along the bank. A topwater popper is good here, as are the Spotsticker and Texas-rigged worm. The grass gets thicker past the first dock, and a boat ramp beside the second dock is lined with grass. Try the dock and ramp — we caught a couple of throwbacks and one keeper along this grass.
No. 3: N 32º 41.328 – W 85º 08.934 — Make the run down the lake, into Halawakee Creek, and under the bridge. On your left is a long, narrow, rocky point with three big pine trees and three cedar trees out on it. The channel swings in near this point, and there is a ledge that runs out and drops off into it.
Start fishing the end of the point, casting Spotsticker jigs, Texas- and Carolina-rigged worms, and a crankbait. Fish down this point, past the little sandy pocket, and to the next point with the yellow house on it. If you watch your depthfinder, you’ll see this point has three fingers running off it toward the channel. Fish from the edge of the water out, and work all three fingers.
No. 4: N 32º 41.159 – W 85º 09.026 — The next main-lake point upstream — across the mouth of the small creek — has a cabin with a green roof on it. This point is a good Carolina-rig point with some brush and big rocks on it. Fish all around it from every angle, casting across it from both sides as well as sitting out on it and casting up onto it.
No. 5: N 32º 41.707 – W 85º 09.734 — Upstream and across the creek you will see Chambley’s Marina. There is a creek that enters the lake just upstream of the marina. It is deep and holds fish this time of year. Run back into it past the two little red-roofed docks to the first point on your right, a round point with a big red-roofed dock. The cabin on the point also has a red roof. Fish this point and dock with topwater first, then work a Carolina rig, Spotsticker or Texas-rigged worm down the slope. A crankbait will often catch fish here, too. When you get past the dock, jump across the little creek to the next point. There is a big blowdown on the bank across the mouth of the small creek, and an old broken-down dock a little past it out toward the point.
Start at the blowdown, and fish it with a spinnerbait, topwater, Texas-rigged worm and jig ‘n pig. Good fish often hold in this tree, so work it carefully. Fish the broken-down dock the same way, trying to get right beside the wood and letting your bait drop straight down. As you work out toward the point, the water drops off deeper and there are big rocks on the bank — and under the water. There is no house on this point. Fish all around it and to the upstream side, fishing all cover in the water. Randy fishes to the docks on the backside of this point. We caught a couple of bass here.
No. 6: N 32Љ 40.704 – W 85Љ 08.482 — Head back down the creek, and go under the bridge. Go into the first big creek on your right, and run to the back of it. Near the back on the left side you will see a danger marker. That marker is on a big rock or rockpile that comes near the surface. Start here early in the morning with a topwater worked over it, then switch to a Spotsticker or Texas-rigged worm. Fish around the marker until you locate the big rock. Cast up on top of it, and let your bait fall off the side. Most bites will come as your bait falls. Randy caught a spotted bass here. We also fished the docks near the rock. Fish will often move from the docks to the rocks and back, so it is worth some time casting to the docks, too.
No. 7: N 32º 40.648 – W 85º 06.838 — Run back down the creek past where it joins the river. Watch for the third cove down on your right, the one just upstream of the small island. Go into it, and stop on the grassy point on the right just outside the no-wake markers. Fish that grassy point with buzzbaits and topwater. Fish the outside edges of the grass on out onto the point with a Carolina rig, and also run a crankbait across it.
Work around the point into the cove, and fish the little cuts on the right past it. There is some brush in the cuts and also some other wood cover to fish. Work it with a Texas-rigged worm. Keep fishing on back, working the docks and any wood cover you see.
Right in the middle of the cove in the back, out from the boat house with the lattice walls, is a Christmas tree. Fish it with a Texas-rigged worm, or if you can’t see it, probe for it with a Carolina rig. Randy and I caught several small spots and largemouths in this cove.
No. 8: N 32º 41.669 – W 85º 05.076 — Come out of this creek, and go down and across the lake. Run into the big creek behind the last island on the left going downstream — there will be a long, narrow point on your left, and the island will be on your right as you go in. This creek runs way back. It is the biggest creek on that side on the lower lake. The creek splits at a long, narrow point, and maps show Boat Club Road running out on it. It is a shallow point with deep water all around, an excellent June spot to fish with all your different baits.
There is a small boat ramp on the end of the point, and there is a sandy pocket on your right as you face it. Fish all the way around this point. Bass moving out of the shallows toward their main-lake holes will hold and feed here this month. A Carolina rig and a crankbait are good search baits here, and when you hit a fish or cover, slow down and work that spot more carefully.
No. 9: N 32º 41.255 – W 85º 05.219 — Go up the left fork of the creek, and and on your right watch for a wooden seawall with angled supports out in the water. You will be just outside the no-wake buoys. Start at the round point with the seawall, and fish toward the back of the creek.
There is a boathouse at the end of this seawall, and the bottom changes from rock to clay just past it. There is also an old ramp past it. Keep your boat out in 12 to 15 feet of water, and fish this steep bank with a Carolina rig. Randy caught our biggest bass of the day here, a slim 2 1/2-lb. largemouth that hit his worm.
Fish on around the next point into the small creek on the right. There are a lot of blowdowns on the left bank, and the skidoo dock on the right often holds fish. There is a lot of cover back in this smaller creek, and you can spend a lot of time in it.
No. 10: N 32º 42.256 – W 85º 06.416 — The last place we stopped heading back to Idle Hour Ramp was the small creek on the right across from Church Island. Church services are held on this island on Sunday mornings. It used to be called Three Tree Island until someone cut the three trees down.
As you go into this creek, no-wake buoys will slow you down at its mouth. Idle in to the point in the middle of the creek on the right. It has a steep rocky bank going in, and there is a light brown house on the hill with a boat house and a big, wide boat ramp in front of it. Start at the dock, and fish into the left arm of the creek. It runs way back, and the bank past the point drops off fast. It is rocky and has some wood cover. I landed three small bass here on a Sammy as we worked down the bank. Fish the next point, and also the dock and walkway as the creek widens out.
Jump across the creek here, and fish the blowdowns as you work back out. There is a lot of wood along this bank to fish, and Randy and I both caught a couple of bass here. Fish the wood with topwater, jig ‘n pig or Texas-rigged worm, and run a spinnerbait through the tree limbs, too.
These 10 spots are all good and hold fish this month. You can fish them with a variety of baits and catch fish, then when you see the pattern, find other places to try it on the lake. Bartletts Ferry is a great June lake for numbers of bass, and you never know, you might catch one of those big largemouths.
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