Weiss Largemouths On Grass, Spotted Bass On Rocks
Weiss experts Donnie Butler and Danny Cole reveal 10 GPS locations to set your June pattern.
Bass and grass. Just the thought of a largemouth slamming a spinnerbait or buzzbait in the grass gets the blood flowing, and Lake Weiss is one of the best lakes to find that kind of excitement right now. Bass stay shallow and feed in the grassbeds during June.
Lake Weiss is a 30,200-acre Alabama Power Co. lake built on the Coosa River in 1961. It is the upper-most lake of the Coosa River chain and is a surprisingly shallow lake. It has miles of shallow shoreline covered with grassbeds, and the river channel winds through flats creating shallow ledges.
Several major creeks provide more shallow water, points and channels to fish. The lake and creeks are full of wood cover, too. Logs line the upper river channel, and standing timber is in some of the creeks. It is a dangerous lake to run, and you must be careful. Following the channel is a must on the upper lake.
Although largemouths are common in the lake, there are also “Coosa Spots” or Alabama-strain spotted bass in the lake. Both grow fat and healthy in the fertile waters and feed heavily during June. The postspawn fish are looking for something to eat in the Weiss Lake shallows, and you can catch both species if you adapt your fishing to the types of cover and structure they like.
Donnie Butler grew up in the area around Lake Weiss and lives just downstream near Neely Henry. He has fished Weiss since it was dammed and started guiding on the lake in 1970. In 1980 he met Danny Cole through Danny’s dad, a regular on Weiss. Danny says he has been fishing Weiss since he was old enough to hold a pole.
Both Danny and Donnie love to fish, and they hit it off. Danny started guiding with Donnie and formed “Alabama Guide Service.” They also like gospel music and formed the group “Latter Reign” which sings all over Alabama and Georgia.
Donnie and Danny guide on several lakes for crappie, bass, hybrids and bream. They love bass fishing on Weiss and did well in tournaments there for many years. They “retired” from tournament fishing a couple of years ago and now concentrate on their guide service, but on days they are not guiding they are likely to be on the lake fishing together. Lake Weiss produced a largemouth just over 10 pounds for Donnie, and Danny has one from the lake weighing 9.5 pounds. Their best tournament catch was a seven-fish stringer weighing 25 pounds, and they have had five bass pushing 24 pounds while fishing together. They know the lake and its bass population well.
By late May most bedding is over on Weiss, and the bass are feeding actively. According to Donnie and Danny, bass stay shallow during June, and you can catch largemouths in the grassbeds. For spots, they find rocky bottoms. Both will be holding on the wood cover up the river, too.
Both Donnie and Danny like fishing the grass and concentrate on it for largemouths. They will throw spinnerbaits and topwater baits all day long, especially if there is some cloud cover or wind blowing into the grass. A Carolina rig is also a good way to catch bass in the grass, and they will often offer both baits. One will throw a spinnerbait or topwater plug while the other fishes a worm.
When looking for spot- ted bass, a crankbait is a good choice and both will throw them, using different colors and sizes. If the crankbait bite is slow, one will switch to a Carolina rig to see if that is what the bass want.
I met Donnie and Danny at Pruett’s Marina at the bridge on Cowan Creek, a good central location for fishing the upper lake. They showed me around the upper end of Weiss in May, pointing out good places for both spots and largemouths. I really enjoyed fishing with them and could tell how well they knew the lake, and each other, by their discussions of where to fish and the kidding that went on all day. Their memories of past catches in the spots we fished were entertaining.
We had a good day, catching fish on topwater, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and worms. Although most of what we caught were buck bass, the big females will have recovered from the spawn by now and will be actively feeding in these places. I lost count of the number of bass we caught, but our best five weighed about 12 pounds and were a mixture of spots and largemouth. Much heavier sacks will come from the following locations now.
1. N 34° 07.073 – W 85° 34.912 — Run up Cowan Creek above the bridge to where the creek turns back to your right. Straight ahead a point runs out, and there is a good grassbed on it. You will see a road running along the bank on your left, and there is one dock along this bank. There is a ditch running out between the dock and the point.
Start on the roadbed downstream near where it comes off the bank at a big sycamore tree. The pipe under the roadbed is near the sycamore tree and often attracts fish. Fish topwater, spinnerbaits and worms along the road and to the grass on the point. Concentrate a lot of casts around the ditch past the dock. Fish it slowly and carefully.
This is where we started as the sun got above the trees, and we caught several small bass on the first pass. We were throwing a spinnerbait, a Carolina rig and topwater popper, and we landed about five small bass on the first pass. After turning and going back over the same area, the biggest bass of the day hit the popper. The solid 3-pounder hit right at the edge of the grass.
Donnie and Danny agreed that you should fish back over a grassbed several times if you catch fish on the first pass. Try different baits, and work them slowly and carefully. Even with three people fishing from a boat there is so much grass on this and other spots that it is hard to hit all the good places.
2. N 34° 09.356 – W 85° 34.718 — Run around to Spring Creek, staying well off the point between the two creeks that runs way out, but not so far out you get on the old roadbed that crosses the lake right at the channel. Go to the left bank toward the ditch that runs out upstream of two docks. The downstream dock has a rail around it and sits high off the water. The upstream dock sits right on the water and does not have a rail. Both docks have mercury vapor lights.
About 150 yards off the downstream dock you will see a 4X4 post. It sits right on the edge of an old roadbed that runs off the point, and there is brush around it. There is also a big tree lying in the water near it. The water on top of the road is only a few feet deep but upstream of it there is about 10 feet of water.
Start around the post, working crankbaits, spinnerbaits and worms through the brush and topwater baits over it. Work in toward the docks, fishing as you go. Fish around the first dock then work the grass between the two, fishing to the second flat dock. Bass move up the roadbed holding in the bush on it and then move into the grass to feed. Fish the grass with spinnerbaits, topwater and worms. This was one of Donnie and Danny’s tournament holes when they fished tournaments, and they said they probably would not have shared it if they were still fishing tournaments.
3. N 34° 08.896 – W 85° 34.123 — Go toward the bridge staying near the left bank, and watch for a small trailer with a red-roof porch on it under some trees. Upstream toward the bridge you will see a metal gate on the drive going to the road and several small campers to the right of the gate toward the bridge. There are a couple of big trees on the edge of the water in front of these trailers.
Donnie says the old roadbed crosses the creek and runs parallel to the current road, curving around and running close to the sandy bank then coming out of the water almost in front of the trailer with the red-roof porch. Start fishing downstream of the red-roof porch and work upstream, staying well off the bank. If you work it with a Carolina rig you will feel the gravel and rocks all along here.
Danny and Donnie like a crankbait worked here since this area holds a lot of spots. The pair will stay a long cast off the bank and work the bait toward the bridge, covering water 2 to 7 feet deep. You can fish this roadbed for a long way. Cover it with worms before you leave, too. Danny got a good spot on a crankbait here the day we fished.
4. N 34° 08.902 – W 85° 34.637 — Across Spring Creek you will see a danger marker that sits way off the bank marking a hump. There is deep water between the marker and the bank, and a point runs out about even with the marker. It is the last point on the right going upstream before you get to the bridge. There is a green-roof house and a green-roof dock on the point.
Start at the second dock downstream of the one on the point and fish upstream. There is a private ramp between the first and second docks, and there are rocks and gravel on the bottom. Fish a crankbait between the docks and around the dock posts, too. Fish just past the green-roof dock.
Donnie likes to throw a Norman Deep Little N, and Danny usually throws a Bandit crankbait. Donnie chooses a shad pattern with glitter, while Danny likes the chartreuse-crawfish Splatterback bait. By throwing different sizes they cover different depths and offer the bass different colors while they fish.
Danny likes to have a jig ’n pig rigged and pitches it to the dock posts as he passes each dock here, too. He says to work the outside posts with your crankbait but get a jig ’n pig under the dock. He uses a Yamamoto double- tailed skirted grub for his dock fishing.
5. N 34° 08.595 – W 85° 34.042 — Go above the Spring Creek bridge and watch to your right. There is a line of docks here that goes to a point where a cove is on the right, upstream of the boat ramp with a cut beside it. Watch for a cabin with a rusty tin roof, and start fishing at the dock in front of it. Fish upstream around the point a short distance.
The bottom here is gravel, and there are rock and concrete seawalls along the bank. Fish this area with a crankbait, a Carolina rig and a jig, hitting the docks and the gravel bot- tom between them just like at hole No. 4. Fish the area slowly and carefully.
For both grassbeds and rocks Danny and Donnie use the same Carolina rig. A 1/2- oz. sinker is tied above a swivel with a short 14- to 16-inch leader going to a Culprit ribbon-tail worm or a Zoom Fish Doctor worm. Water-melon, green pumpkin and pumpkin-seed are all good colors for both worms. The short leader seems to work better in the shallow water they are fishing in June.
6. N 34° 08.448 – W 85° 33.613 — You can idle upstream to the big point above the next cove. There are a good many trees blown over into the water where a tornado crossed the creek. You will see a 2X6 out from the bank marking brush under the water, and you can see other brush around the point. There is also good grass here on the point and around it.
Start at the downstream side of the point and work about 200 yards upstream, fishing the wood and grass. A spinnerbait, topwater or a worm are the baits to use here. Danny especially likes the Woodchopper topwater bait and says he has caught some big bass on it. Work it through the grass to the outside edge then pause it. I lost what looked like our best bass of the day here when it hit a topwater popper then pulled off after making a short run.
7. N 34° 10.577 – W 85° 34.246 — Run out of Spring Creek to the channel then into Three Mile Creek on the right. Be very careful running into this creek from the channel. Go to the bridge and under it and look to your left. You will see a point with a small boat ramp on it. There is a red-roof dock downstream of this point and a big boat dock a good ways upstream.
A sandbar runs out just down- stream of the boat ramp, and it has big stumps on it. Start at the red-roof dock, and work upstream, keeping your boat out and watching the depth. Stay out in deeper water as the sandbar runs out and cast your Carolina rig across it, trying to hit the stumps. Postspawn bass hold on this point and feed.
8. N 34° 10.644 – W 85° 33.960 — Go above the big dock upstream, and there is a good grassbed on your left just above it. Start fishing at the dock and work upstream, throwing a spinnerbait, topwater and a Carolina rig. Work through the grass and along the outside edge of it, too.
Donnie often throws a single Colorado-blade spinnerbait while Danny chooses a double-willowleaf bait. Both like gold or silver blades and Danny’s bait will usually have one of each. Both baits will have a white-and- chartreuse skirt. As the month progresses more and more grass will grow here, and the area is usually full of shad. As the grass gets thicker you can work holes in it and the outside edge. Danny got a good keeper largemouth on a Carolina rig here when we fished.
9. N 34° 12.529 – W 85° 34.160 — For a change of pace, run up the river, carefully following the channel and watching for floating logs. Go past Pruett’s Island and the cut through to Trotter’s Cove. You will see a fish- attractor buoy on the left as you go in, and the point on the left bank is called “Spot City” by Danny and Donnie. There is a trailer with a red roof and a red-roof shelter on the bank on this point with a small ramp in front of it.
This point is very rocky. Start at the ramp and work all around the point, fishing crankbaits and Carolina rigs. Fish the whole point, and work it care- fully. When you catch one spot you are likely to catch several, and they are usually good-sized fish. Danny got our best spot of the day here on a crankbait.
10. N 34° 11.958 – W 85° 30.214 — Run on up the river to channel marker 101. There is a big opening to your left at this marker, and an old road runs to the water’s edge. It is where Pooles Ferry Road ends and where the ferry used to pick up cars to take them across the river.
Just downstream of the road is a dock. The old road curves out near that dock, and the bottom drops off. A ledge runs across the opening from the island upstream to the dock, too. This ledge usually holds good bass and current is often moving across it, making them bite better.Start at the dock, and keep your boat a good cast out from it. Then fish the dock, staying out from the ledge to work your crankbait across the drop on the roadbed and the ledge. You will be fishing across the opening to the big water behind the island, staying parallel to the island.
Although this is usually a good spot hole, I got a keeper largemouth off the front of the dock on a spinnerbait when we fished it. There was a lot of current here — too much according to Danny and Donnie. They said there must have been two turbines working that day, and it is better when only one is running. The faster current attracted stripers, hybrids and yellow bass though, and we caught more than 20 before leaving.
Give Weiss a try this June. Check out the places Donnie and Danny fish then find similar places where that pat- tern will work. It is fun catching spots and largemouths from shallow water this time of year.
You can call Donnie and Danny and get them to show you their patterns and holes during a guided trip to Weiss by calling them at (256) 390-4626. They have produced a CD named “Tips and Techniques, Volume 1” that also explains their tactics. It is available by calling them or you can find it at Pruitt’s Marina.
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