Bassin’ At Reed Bingham State Park
November will offer excellent fishing on this Cook County lake.
As I begin to write this story, fall is finally in full swing. Staring out my window, leaves are falling, a cool breeze is whistling through the trees, and most importantly, the thermometer mercury is riding a lot lower than it has in many months.
November is a month for hunting big bucks, some excellent inshore saltwater fishing and just plain enjoying being outside. Throw in some college football on the TV and turkeys swimming in peanut oil, and it’s easy to see why November is hard to beat for a good time.
Quinn Brown, of Willacoochee, says that November is one of his favorite months to get out and enjoy being on the water, but you won’t find him headed for the coast to chase reds or trout. While many anglers store their boats for winter in pursuit of big bucks, Quinn grabs his flipping stick and heads for the lake.
I managed to plan a trip with Quinn just days before GON went to press on one of his favorite bodies of water for November bass fishing. Despite Hurricane Michael coming through a week or so before, I was eager to get out on the water as I turned into Reed Bingham State Park to meet Quinn.
Reed Bingham is home to a 375-acre, grass-filled lake that is popular with many anglers and harbors some quality fish, if you know where to look.
Once Quinn pulled up, we launched his 19-foot Ranger bass boat. Any sized boat/motor can be launched into Reed Bingham and run at any speed. However, there are a few idle-only areas on the lake.
“I’ve been real busy with work and school, and with the storm coming through, I haven’t had a chance to get out on the water and see what the fish are doing. I’m pretty sure we can get on a decent bite. This lake isn’t too tough to figure out,” said Quinn.
Quinn is a junior at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) where he is a member of the school’s fishing team. He has an impressive string of top finishes in collegiate tournaments and is a member of the Valdosta Bassmasters Club where he finished second overall in points this year.
He also has a pile of wins and top-five finishes on Reed Bingham to his credit.
As soon as we pushed off the dock, Quinn fired up his Yamaha 150 V MAX and made a bee line across the lake, pausing in the middle to examine his Humminbird electronics for a minute.
“If you come straight out from the ramp, 100 yards or so, you can find the old river channel. Depending on the conditions, fish may be suspended around it,” said Quinn.
Reed Bingham is fed by the Little River, a tributary of the Willacoochee River.
With no visible fish on his electronics, Quinn quickly ran the remaining distance across the lake. We coasted into a pocket near the swimming beach, and Quinn jumped on the deck and dropped his Minn Kota trolling motor into the 69-degree water.
“This area has some shallow water that is worth a try early. If shad are present, usually the bass will be also,” said Quinn
Quinn began working a buzzbait along the bank and also made long casts across the grass flat covering water quickly.
“A white buzzbait is tough to beat in here when the fish are feeding on shad. I like the 3/8-oz.,” said Quinn.
It didn’t take long for our first fish of the day to make a swing and a miss on the buzzbait.
“Did you see that! Man, that had to be a 5-pounder at least, he missed by a foot. All of the rain from the hurricane must have them a little off with their aim in this dingy water,” said Quinn.
We continued to work along the grass edges, as Quinn picked up another rod rigged with a frog. Making long casts, Quinn worked the rubber frog back with a walking-the-dog motion through openings in the grass.
I continued throwing the buzzbait as yet another quality fish struck at the lure, missing by more than 6 inches.
“They’re here, and they are hungry. They just aren’t quite connecting,” said Quinn.
Making a cast to an isolated patch of grass, thousands of shad darted in all directions as Quinn worked his frog back.
“There should be a bass in there. Anytime you see that many baitfish, it’s a really good sign a bass is nearby,” Quinn added.
After making several more casts to the grass to no avail, Quinn fired up his motor and headed for another location.
Our next spot was a channel between a grassy island and a point on the bank. Quinn made a long cast across the channel with a big junebug worm and began to explain his strategy.
“Depending on the conditions, fish will be holding at different depths on any given day. By working the channel like this, I can cover from 2 feet of water to 16 feet in one big cast. Then once I know where they are, I can fish them more thoroughly,” said Quinn.
I watched Quinn’s line thump right before he reeled down and set the hook hard into a solid fish. The fish made a fast run for deep water, putting his Lew’s reel and Fitzgerald rod to the test. After another tense 30 seconds, I was finally able to net the nearly 6-lb. fish.
“If you come down here in November and can’t figure out how to catch some fish, these areas between islands and the bank are hard to beat. You can bet some fish will almost always be holding around them,” said Quinn.
Anglers without electronics will also like these pinch points between islands as it’s pretty easy to fish them simply by working your worm from one side to the other.
Quinn likes to use a Big Bites Baits junebug worm, but says a Rat-L-Trap, a crankbait and a swimbait can also be productive lures this time of year.
Our next strategy was to try and find some schooling fish, and it didn’t take long after he got on the trolling motor before we saw fish busting in the distance. Quinn instructed me to head to the fish while he tied on a jerkbait.
“Man, I thought I had one of these on, but I changed lures during a tournament the other day and forgot to rig it back up. Out here this time of year, you need some sort of shad imitator on the ready in case the schoolers get started,” said Quinn.
Quinn fired his jerkbait to the school and worked it back quickly with hard twitches as he explained his strategy for fishing schooling fish on the lake.
“Zara Spooks, Zoom Super Flukes and jerkbaits will all catch fish, but getting on them quick and quietly is the whole key. The bite can be great, but it doesn’t last really long,” said Quinn.
Quinn says that early and late are typically the best times to locate schooling fish but says they will be busting on top on and off throughout the day.
Before Quinn could make more than a few casts with his jerkbait, the school of fish went down and disappeared.
We fired up once more and headed up the river channel to do Quinn’s favorite style of fishing.
Taking out a heavy-action Fitzgerald rod with a Lew’s Hypermag reel, Quinn began to flip a Big Bites Baits Yodaddy in the hemotoma color, using a 1 1/2-oz. tungsten weight to punch his offering through the grass.
Not the typical style of bass fishing for south Georgia, I asked Quinn about his technique.
“When I was growing up, my dad (Henry Brown) took me to Florida to go fishing a lot. We fished Rodman, Okeechobee, all over the place. Down there this kind of grass fishing is popular, and I kind of adopted it early on in my fishing career. It’s a different style, but it works, and it tends to put a bigger fish in the boat.”
Stealth is key as you work along the sides of mats of grass, and Quinn says anglers in small boats and kayaks can do this style of fishing really well due to the smaller size of their boats.
Quinn says anglers without much bass fishing knowledge can perfect the art of punching grass in no time.
“You basically want to flip your bait onto the grass as quietly as possible, and let your weight take it down. Once it hits bottom, pick it up and shake it, then pause, then shake it again. It’s really that simple,” said Quinn.
The tough part happens after you get bit, but that’s when heavy braid, at least 50-lb. test, and a big stiff rod come in handy.
“You feel that big thump, and it’s on. Nothing is like dragging them out of the grass,” said Quinn
This technique is also quite productive after fish have been heavily pressured all summer and have had thousands of lures come by.
Quinn says that isolated clumps of grass seem to be most productive, and most fish will be in the middle of the mat. This doesn’t stop him from making a flip to the edge first to be sure there isn’t a fish holding on the outside.
We punched the grass a little longer with little action and called it an early day.
“Right now, the water is still dirtied up, and the river is pushing water in quick, but by the first week of November, the punching bite will really start to take off,” said Quinn.
We headed back toward the ramp and passed the only other boat we had seen the entire morning, having the entire 375-acre lake to ourselves during our time on the water.
If you’re interested in making a trip down to Reed Bingham this month, do yourself a favor and plan to hang around for a few days. The park has a large campground with both primitive camping and RV sites available at reasonable rates. You can reach the park at (229) 896-3551 with any questions or for reservations.
Don’t let the last of fall slip away before you get down to Reed Bingham State Park to try your hand at some of the best cool-weather bass fishing you’re going to find in south Georgia. Spend a weekend punching grass and setting the hook, and you will be back home in time to drop that turkey into the deep fryer. If you are lucky, you might just have a big fish story to tell around the dinner table.
If you would like to keep up with Quinn and his collegiate fishing, you can find him on Facebook at Quinn Brown.
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