August Bass On Lake Oconee

Shallow or deep, Jason Cheek has you covered for catching Lake Oconee bass this month.

Ronnie Garrison | July 25, 2023

Jason Cheek with a crankbait bass caught last month while detailing August patterns for GON. Jason said there’s a great shallow bite, too.

Head to Lake Oconee this month if you are tired of dredging the depths for summertime bass. There is always a good shallow bite at Oconee, especially for quality bass. Target grassbeds, seawalls and rocks to catch them. However, if you like probing the depths, you can catch Oconee bass that way, too.

Lake Oconee is a Georgia Power lake just south of I-20 on the Oconee River. It is one of Georgia’s newest lakes and is lined with big houses, golf courses and boat docks. Unfortunately, many of those docks house wake boats, and the lake can get miserably rough on weekends.

The good news is that the bass are used to it, and the pumpback at the dam means the water moves a lot in both directions. This keeps the fish more active, and they feed in shallow grassbeds and around seawalls and docks even in the hot summer.

Jason Cheek grew up fishing Oconee with his dad Mike in local tournaments. He also spent a lot of non-tournament time on the lake learning bass habits there. He now has a house on the lake and fishes most tournaments on Oconee, like the Berry’s Fall Trail and Georgia Bass Trail. He and his partner John Duvall won the GBT Angler of the Year point standings the last two years.

Fishing with the Butts Bass Busters, Jason has made the club federation nation team the past three years. Last year he qualified for the state team by finishing third in the Top Six. He also fishes some BFLs, especially the one on Oconee each year.

In many weekend and night tournaments, his daughter Rylee fishes with him. You are likely to see him on the lake with her and his Boykin spaniel “Jack” any day of the week or weekend. The last week in June while fishing the Wednesday nighter, he boated a 7-pounder on one of the holes below. Jason knows the lake well.

For August fishing when he wants to cover some water, Jason rigs up a frog, a hard topwater bait, a crankbait and a bladed jig. When he needs to slow down, he had a jig ’n pig or shaky head ready, but he seldom slows down.

We fished the following locations the Saturday before July 4, starting at daylight and getting off the lake by 10 a.m. when it started getting rough with boat traffic. Jason caught about a dozen bass—most of them keepers—on these holes.

No. 1: N 33º 23.928 – W 83º 15.286 — Go up Lick Creek past the condos to the creek on the left. A big hump in the mouth of it is marked by a circle of danger buoys. Stop on the downstream side of the one closest to that bank. You will be near the osprey nest on the hump. There are multiple brushpiles on that side of the hump.

Keep your boat outside the markers, and work that whole side. Jason starts with a topwater bait like a Spook or Berkley Choppo, working it fast all over the brush on the hump. He then follows up working a 6XD crankbait in greens and blues, fishing around the hump. Jason says you will get hung with the crankbait but can usually get it loose, and it is worth it. He caught the 7-pounder here in the night tournament on a crankbait.

If you prefer fishing slower, drag a jig or shaky head around, hitting the brushpiles. Try hitting them at different angles, and move the baits at different speeds to see what the bass want that day.

No. 2: N 33º 24.377 – W 83º 15.962 — Go up Lick Creek past the last creek on your right before the bridge. Just upstream of this creek is a curved bank lined with docks, and many have brush around and in front of them. The seawalls behind them have rocks at the bottom, and some of them have decent water depth. And this bank stays shady later in the morning.

Jason likes to start at the small point with a U.S. flag on it. The point has a wooden seawall with rock. Fish from it downstream to the last dock before the small creek. Cast your frog or hard topwater right against the seawalls and work them out. Run them beside the docks, too.

Jason says bass pull up on these docks to feed all summer. One of his favorite tactics is to skip a Spro or Booyah frog under the docks in the shade and pop it back out to get bit by bass holding in the darker areas. He will follow up his frog with a jig under the docks, too.

Work any brush you find, running a topwater and crankbait over it. But also probe it with a jig and shaky head. Jason says most of the bass on this bank are feeding on bream and crawfish, so choose baits and colors that imitate them.

No. 3: N 33º 24.578 – W 83º 16.743 — Go up Lick Creek under the first bridge and to the left where the creek splits before the second bridge. There is a smaller bridge on the left side, and the big island between the two arms has a good deep bank on your right as you go into the left arm.

The island bank has rocks on it and overhanging bushes offer shade. It is deep enough to hold bass in the hot water, too. And watch for mayflies in the tree and bushes—a hatch will pull bass in to eat the bream eating the bugs.

There is a ditch along this bank, and your boat will be in 20 feet of water a short cast off this bank as you fish it. Fish from the downstream point to the upstream side where it starts to shallow up going behind it.

Jason skips his frog under overhanging bushes right against the bank. Follow up with a jig, working it from a few inches deep down to 6 or 8 feet deep. Any current moving either way along this bank and on all other holes helps the bite a lot.

No. 4: N 33º 25.627 – W 83º 15.271 — Going up the Oconee River watch for some condos on your left that sit on the upstream side of a double cove with causeways across each arm. It is across the lake from the end of the point with Old Salem Park on it. The causeways are old pond dams. Where they are cut offers a good feeding spot, especially if water is flowing in or out through them.

Start with your boat downstream of each opening, and work the corners with your topwater and crankbait. Then move into the old pond and fish the upstream corners and rip-rap. Watch for brush here, it will hold bass. Jason missed a good hit on top over some brush even though the sun was already bright.

The bigger causeway is usually best, but both will hold bass, so check both before leaving. Also try a shaky head or jig bumped along the bottom at the openings.

No. 5: N 33º 27.989 – W 83º 16.790 — Run up to the mouth of Sugar Creek and go to the upstream side. Danger buoys start here marking underwater timber. Stop just downstream of the one on that side and idle in slowly until you see a hump start to come up. Stop in 10 feet of water—the hump tops out about 4 feet deep.

Work your topwater bait over the top of the hump. Jason likes a 110/120 size Plopper and a big Spook since he is looking for quality bites. Follow up by casting a DT6 crankbait in crawfish colors all over the hump, trying to bump the bottom with it. Then drag the hump with a shaky head and jig.

Fish all the way around the hump, and watch for surface activity. It may be linesides, but cast to them just in case. Some wind helps here and other places if it is not too strong for boat control.

No. 6: N 33º 28.313 – W 83º 18.508 — Jason said the Sugar Creek bridge is the biggest community hole on Oconee because it produces so many bass. Tournaments at Sugar Creek Marina bring bass from all over the lake that are released here. Many go straight to the closest best cover—the bridge—and some stay there and feed. If you want to just catch a bass, go to the bridge, but expect combat fishing—it is a popular spot.

Fish the corners as well as the rip-rap down both sides. A topwater will often get bit as will a DT6. Jason likes a crawfish or demon color and tries to bump rocks down to 6 feet deep with it. Keep your boat in close to the rip-rap and make long casts parallel to the rocks to cover that depth for a greater distance.

If any current is moving under the bridge, fish your crankbait with it, moving it like natural bait. You can also slow-roll a bladed jig. Jason likes the Thunder Cricket in hot water like you find this time of year. You can work it out deeper than the crankbait.

No. 7: N 33º 27.955 – W 83º 18.583 — Jack’s Fork is the first small creek on the right going downstream from the bridge. Go into it and stop at the second point on your right, it has a wood seawall with rocks and a little bit of grass on it. The cove is a ditch that runs back providing deeper water.

Work your frog on the seawall, and then cast your Spook to the middle of the little cove upstream of the point. There is a big boulder in the middle of the cover, and bass will hold on it and come up to hit on top. You may want to locate its exact spot with your electronics. Also fish a jig around the boulder, covering all sides and the top.

This pocket stays shady, so try your frog on the seawall inside it, too. If it is around the full moons this month on the 1st and 30th, go all the way back in the pocket here and at other locations and fish your topwater baits over any bream beds you can find.

No. 8: N 33º 28.517 – W 83º 19.143 — Go under the bridge and up Sugar Creek to the third cove on your left, it is a little creek that splits in the back and is the biggest one on that side. Start at the old, small, one-level dock on the left.

Follow this bank into the cove, casting your frog right against the bank and under docks. The water off this bank is 7 feet deep a boat length off the edge of the water, and it holds fish in August. If any mayflies are hatching, it will be even better.

Fish all docks and overhanging brush with your frog, and follow up with a jig. Probe for brush—a dock in the very back between the splits has a lot on it. When you get near the back, watch for bream beds and work your frog over them and your jig through them.

No. 9: N 33º 24.465 – W 83º 12.901 — Run back down the river past the sharp bend to the left past Lick Creek. Go into the second cove to your left where the river starts its bend back to the right. There is a golf course that runs right down to the water on the point between the arms of this cove.

There is a good rocky point right where the grass starts on your right going in—stop way out from it and ease in to fish the big rocks on it. Fish your crankbait over them out to 10 feet deep or so, trying to get down to hit them. Also work the point with a jig or shaky head.

Jason fishes a locally made Weston Parker black/blue or brown 3/8-oz. jig with a matching Zoom Chunk trailer on it. He will dip the tails of the chunk in chartreuse JJ’s Magic for added attraction. Slide it along, and then try hopping it, too. Bump every rock out to at least 15 feet deep.

Fish the grass, too. It is a thick bed and often holds bass even in the bright sun, and bluegill will bed around it. Work it thoroughly with your frog and bladed jig.

No. 10: N 38º 22.401 – W 83º 13.553 — Going down the river, when it makes a hard left turn, go straight ahead into the double creek. Stop out from the middle inside point on the left side in about 30 feet of water, and work into the left arm. Jason knows it well, his house is back in these creeks.

There is a good drop on this side of the point where the old creek channel comes out, and there are brushpiles on it. Run your crankbait over the brush, and then probe for it with a jig or shaky head. Jason ties on a 1/4-oz. head and puts a green-pumpkin Zoom Swamp Crawler on it with the tail dipped.

Give Jason’s spots and baits a try to set your pattern for catching August bass on Lake Oconee.

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