Beat The Heat For Bartletts Bass

10 locations for August bass mapped with GPS numbers.

Ronnie Garrison | August 2, 2014

There is no way around it… bass fishing is tough in August no matter where you go. Hot days make you drip with sweat, and hot water makes bass feed less, especially during the day. But you can catch bass, and Bartletts Ferry is a good choice for a trip right now.

Bartletts is a small 5,850-acre Georgia Power Co. lake on the Chattahoochee River not far downstream from West Point Lake. It is an old lake lined with docks and has many grassbeds, wood cover and rocky banks. The lake has a high population of spotted bass, but largemouth seem to be increasing in numbers and size, according to fisheries biologists and local fishermen.

Brandon Carraway grew up in Upatoi in Muscogee County and lives in the greater Columbus area now. He started fishing Bartletts Ferry as a kid, and his grandparents took him camping at Blanton Creek Park as soon as it opened. He has fished this reservoir all his life.

Now Brandon fishes with the Fishers of Men trail and doesn’t miss many pot and charity tournaments on Bartletts. His dad fished tournaments for a while, and Brandon got the bug. He does well in tournaments near Columbus.

“The lake is tough in August, with the hot water and all the weekend boat traffic,” Brandon said.

He usually fishes early in the morning until the boat traffic gets bad, or he fishes at night.

“There are several patterns that work this time of year,” Brandon said.

He will have a frog, buzzbait, jig ’n pig, Texas-rigged beaver bait, weightless Senko, Trick Worm and a crankbait ready to fish. A shaky head will also catch fish right now.

First thing at daylight or at night, Brandon will fish the grassbeds for active bass. As the sun gets above the trees, he goes to seawalls—especially those on the shady sides of coves—and to gravel points.

“The grassbeds can produce a lot of quality fish at times during August,” Brandon said.

Mayfly hatches can be both good and bad. Summertime bass like to feed on bream, and mayflies will make bream and bass active in the shallows. However, it seems that sometimes the bass gorge so much on bream that the fishing gets tough later during a hatch.

Brandon fishes fast, trying to find a feeding fish by covering water. There may be a few feeding in a cove one morning, and then nothing the next day. So he searches for bass, fishing as many places as he can during a tournament to catch a limit.

Bartletts has developed a reputation the past decade as a spotted bass lake.

“The largemouth do seem to be coming back,” Brandon said.

Tournament weigh-ins often show this with more largemouth than in the past few years. Brandon got his best-ever Bartletts largemouth this year, a 7-lb., 1-oz. fish. He has also had a five-fish limit weighing 19-lbs., 3-ozs. from the lake.

Brandon took me to Bartletts in early July to catch some bass and mark the following spots that will be good this month. The mayflies were so thick that morning it was dangerous to take a deep breath, and bream were feeding on them everywhere we fished.

But the bass fishing was tough. We think they had gorged on the bream all night and stopped feeding before we got there. Brandon had fished the Tuesday night pot tournament two days before we fished, and the winners had 18 pounds, but they ran way up the river above the shoals where it is dangerous to go in a bass boat.

The following are places where Brandon fishes during a tournament, and you will find bass feeding at them in August.

No. 1: N 32º 41.415 – W 85º 09.155 — Go up Halawakee Creek under the first bridge. Ahead of you a small island sits just off the right bank. The small cove just downstream of it is full of brush and has good deep water and holds bass. Brandon says he watched another fisherman catch five bass weighing 18 pounds right here.

Go into the cove, and stop before you get to the first dock on the right. A brushpile starts here and runs all the way down to the small private boat ramp on that side. Keep your boat out in 14 feet of water, and cast to about 10 feet from the bank and work your bait back. You can see one limb sticking out of the water, but there is a lot more brush you can’t see.

Brandon likes to throw a Texas-rigged Reaction Innnovations beaver bait behind a 1/4- to 3/8-oz. sinker. If the water is stained, he uses a black-and-blue bait but goes to watermelon-red in clear water. Brandon dips the tails of all his plastics in JJ’s Magic, using different colors depending on water color.

Brandon works the bait fairly fast until he hits a limb, and then he raises it up to the limb and lets it fall back. You can also fish the brush with a jig ’n pig. The brush runs down a ledge parallel to the bank where it drops off deeper, making it even better.

No. 2: N 32º 41.061 – W 85º 09.666 — Across the creek and upstream, there is a cove running off the channel almost parallel with it, with a long narrow point on the upstream side. Just upstream from it the next cove is a small deep creek that has good overhanging bushes, docks and brushpiles to fish. There are no houses on the upstream point of this cove.

Start on the left going in before you get to the first dock on that side. You will be in 18 feet of water off the dock. It has a covered boathouse with a deck on top. Fish your beaver bait and jig ’n pig all around the brown dock. Skip a weightless Senko back under the boathouse as far as you can get it to go. That often works when sun runs the fish to the shade.

Then fish the shady bank past it to the back of the cove with topwater, Trick Worm and jig. Across the back of the small creek is a good blowdown to fish. As you turn and come back out, a small dock will be on your left. Fish all around it, there is a good brushpile on it.

No. 3: N 32º 41.515 – W 85º 08.005 —
Run back down under the bridge, and stop just before you get to the powerlines crossing the main creek. They come off a long point on your right. Just upstream of the main point a smaller point comes off the bank just before you get to the first pocket. It drops off fast on both sides and has a good gravel bottom.

Brandon keeps his boat in 25 to 30 feet of water off the end of the point straight out from the pine tree near the bank with two gray stripes on it. The point runs out in front of the tree. Cast a jig head with a junebug Trick Worm on it near the bank, and work it back out to 15 feet deep. Brandon says he seldom catches fish deeper than about 15 feet.

Also work a jig ’n pig or beaver bait along the bottom, bumping the gravel. Brandon likes to hop his jig off the bottom and let it fall back when fishing rocks. Current moving across this point helps make the fish bite 100 percent better, according to Brandon.

No. 4: N 32º 40.989 – W 85º 07.609 —
Go downstream around the point with the powerlines and past the first creek on your right. The second creek on your right has powerlines crossing it as does the first one. Go into the second one, and stop on the left bank just past the powerlines.

Brandon says this is an “everything bank” that produces some quality fish. The bank has a muddy flat with some gravel, and there are blowdowns and brush on it as well as overhanging bushes. It stays shady late in the morning, so the bass stay shallow longer here.

Keep your boat a long cast from the bank, and start fishing down this bank into the creek. Throw a crankbait that runs 6 to 8 feet deep to bump the bottom and brush. Fish a Trick Worm under the overhanging bushes and around the wood cover.

A buzzbait will also catch fish on this bank. Brandon likes a white bait with a silver blade in clear water, and he goes to a chartreuse buzzbait in stained water. Fish around the small pocket on this bank, and work the grassbed on the point where the bank goes back into a small ditch.

There is one small dock on this bank. Fish around it, but watch past it for an old foundation in a couple of feet of water. Bass often hold against the edge of this old foundation like they do on a seawall, so fish it good. There is also a big rock out in the middle of the ditch just past the old foundation that often holds fish.

No. 5: N 32º 40.868 – W 85º 06.638 — Head down the creek past where the Chattahoochee River joins Halawakee Creek. As you go around the first point on your right (with a danger marker on it), you will see a small island not far off the bank and a much bigger island past it.

Go into the creek just upstream of the small island, and go past the first few docks and the boathouse on the bank. Past the boathouse there is a big tan house with a brown roof up on the hill. The small dock in front of it has good deep brushpile to fish.

Start just downstream of the dock, and work around it with beaver, jig ’n pig and jig-head worm. Brandon uses a Stan Sloan 7/16-oz. brown jig with a Zoom chunk that is black with red flake. He slides it along until he hits brush, and then he pulls it up and lets it fall back down.

Fish just past the dock to the rails coming from the boathouse up on the bank, fishing around the rails with jig-head worm, jig ’n pig and beaver bait. The brush around the dock is in 15 feet of water and holds big fish, and the rails run out to deep water, too.

No. 6: N 32º 41.090 – W 85º 05.094 —
Run across the lake past the big kudzu covered island into the big creek on the Georgia side. Go up the creek until you see it split with a long narrow point between two arms. There is a boat club on this point, with a ramp and picnic tables on it.

On your right across from the tip of the point is a small cove with a no-wake buoy in its mouth. The cove is deep and has docks in it and some overhanging brush. Fish all the way around this cove, starting on the right on the rocky bank.

Skip a Senko under the docks, work the rocks with jig ’n pig, beaver bait and jig-head worm, and run a buzzbait or frog in the shade. This is where Brandon caught the 7-pounder earlier this year.

No. 7: N 32º 41.115 – W 85º 06.139 —
Go out of the creek, and start up the river. Behind the kudzu-covered island, you will see a sail-boat club in a small pocket between two bigger coves. Brandon says an unusual pattern works here all summer to catch keeper-size spots.

Idle in from the no-wake buoys, and have a white Super Fluke ready. Fish it around all the sail boats. Spots hold under these boats and feed on shad that come in to feed around them. Brandon says you probably won’t catch any big fish, but you can catch a lot of 1 1/2-lb. spots.

No. 8: N 32º 41.850 – W 85º 06.532 —
Head up the river, and you will pass a big island on your right not far off the bank. The next cove upstream of it has a very small island with a ridge running toward the upstream point of the small creek there. There are danger markers on the ridge, and one sits not far off the main point.

This point is round and has rip-rap all the way around it. The water drops off to 20 feet deep around this point, and it is a good place to fish a crankbait. Brandon likes the DT10 since it gets down deep enough to cover the water where he expects the bass to hold.

Fish all the way around this point, keeping your boat in at least 15 feet of water and making angle casts right to the bank. Your crankbait should stay near the bottom back to near the boat. Brandon likes a shad-colored crankbait in clear water or one with some chartreuse in it in stained water.

No. 9: N 32º 42.222 – W 85º 06.463 —
Going up the river the right bank swings way out and a small creek enters on the right just before you get to it. There are two no-wake buoys in the mouth of it. As you go in, you will see a seawall on the right. The seawall runs along the bank in front of a gray house where the creek starts to really narrow down.

Brandon has put out cane brushpiles along this bank and lined them up so he can fish a crankbait around them without getting hung up. They are in shallow water, and he uses a shallow-running crankbait like the DT4 or DT6. Keep your boat a long cast off the seawall, throw right to it, and fish your bait back straight out to run along the cane without hanging up in it.

No. 10: N 32º 42.654 – W 85º 07.074 — Going up the river, not far upstream you will see two grassbeds and some logs hung up in the shallow water right in the middle of the river. If you come in from the Alabama side, the channel swings in close, with 40 feet of water not far off the grass. This shallow flat will cover with grass by late August, and bass feed around it, especially when current is running down the river.

Brandon will fish the edge of the drop with a crankbait then fish the grass and logs with a frog or spinnerbait. You can also fish your beaver bait around the grass if the fish are not real aggressive. Bream bed out on this flat, and bass move in to feed on them, and to ambush shad that current moves to them.

Give Brandon’s spots and baits a try, and then you can find many similar places all over the lake to catch fish. Just keep moving until you find them.

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