Blackshear Bass Busting Bait At The Creek Mouths
This is a great time to fish Blackshear. Tim Malcolm marks your map with 10 locations to find November bass.
If you could design a lake for bass fishing, you’d probably come up with something similar to Lake Blackshear. Shallow flats covered with wood, docks with posts and brushpiles under them, and creeks filled with lily pads and cypress trees are everywhere. All over the lake, bassy-looking cover makes you want to make casts to it. It can be over- whelming.
Blackshear is an 8,515- acre Crisp County Power Commission lake located on the Flint River between Cordele and Americus. Unlike many other reservoirs right now, Blackshear is at near full pool, and the water level stays fairly stable.
The lower lake below the Hwy 280 bridge is more typical of middle Georgia lakes, and most of the timber has been cleared near the channel. Upstream of that bridge, you have to stay in the marked channels, or you will likely hit stumps and logs.
Bass are plentiful in Blackshear. Most are largemouths, although some Flint River shoal bass are caught on Blackshear, especially in the upper reaches of the lake. There is a 14-inch size limit on all bass.
Sometimes, keepers can be hard to catch on Blackshear, especially in the summer. In the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation (GBCF) Creel Census Report compiled by Dr. Carl Quertermus at the University of West Georgia, club tournament catch rates at Blackshear were .14 bass per hour, the lowest of any Georgia lake. But the fishing turns on in the fall, and November is one of the lake’s best months.
Bass fishing is fun at Blackshear if you like targeting visible cover and fishing shallow water.
Tim Malcolm lives near Blackshear in Americus, where he was a veterinarian for more than 20 years. As a long-time member of the Blackshear Bassmasters, Tim has fished Lake Blackshear a lot over the years. A few years ago he sold his veterinarian practice and now concentrates on bass fishing, going three or four days a week.
A story Tim told me shows his love of fishing. On his wedding day he took a couple of the guys in the wed- ding party to Blackshear that morning. They almost missed the wedding because the bass were hitting topwater. Practice has paid off. In 2004 he and fellow club member Dee Smith won the Highland Marina State Championship at West Point. This year Tim won the two-day BFL at Lake Eufaula, and he has been in the top 40 on the Bulldog BFL trail the past two years.
Over the years Tim has won a lot of tournaments at Blackshear, including some of Ernie’s tournaments on the lake, as well as some club tournaments. Last November Tim won a club tournament at Blackshear with a five-fish limit weighing just over 14 pounds. Tim’s biggest Blackshear bass was a 10-lb. plus hog he caught a few years ago.
“Shad are the key. Bass follow the shad in November,” Tim said.
The shad are moving into the creeks as the water cools, and Tim expects the bass to follow the baitfish. His way to locate November bass is simple — go to the mouths of creeks and look for surface activity. You will see bass hitting on top or shad on top as they move.
Many times you will find schools of largemouths, hybrids and white bass in the same area, feeding on the shad. As the month progresses, they will move farther into the creeks with the baitfish. If there is an unusual hard freeze this month, Tim will go to the springs because bass and baitfish will seek the more moderate temperatures there.
A wide variety of baits are good for November bass fishing at Blackshear. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater and plastics will all catch fish.
Tim likes a Stanford Cedar Shad in the smokey-shad color. It runs about 7 feet deep. He also like the new Cedar Shad lipless crankbait that floats at rest. Both look like the shad bass are after, and Tim sticks with the smaller sizes since most of the shad are the smaller threadfin. A No. 7 Shad Rap in natural shad or a 1/4-oz. chrome/blue Rat-L- Trap are also good.
With the spinnerbait, Tim uses a Terminator with silver, double-willowleaf blades. He uses a white skirt if the water is clear, and he goes to a gold-blade, chartreuse-skirted spinner- bait in more stained water. He likes smaller blades on the bait to imitate the smaller shad.
A Tiny Torpedo is Tim’s favorite topwater plug, and he says it will catch bass when other bigger baits won’t draw a strike. He will also throw a buzzbait this month, especially when searching for active bass.
With plastics, Tim is always ready with a 6-inch Finesse worm made by Big Bite Baits rigged with a slit shot, and he prefers their new line of Biobait worms. He puts a small Water Gremlin 6/0 split shot on the line just ahead of the worm and fishes it on the bottom. The small weight helps him fish bottoms covered in the black, slimy moss that covers much of the bottom of the lake. It is also a good bait to throw to the bases of cypress trees.
Tim took me to Blackshear in mid October to show me the following holes and explain how he fishes the lake. He says the lake from near the Georgia Veterans Memorial Park up the river to Campers Haven contains all the kinds of places you want to fish this month. About every kind of bass habitat is there including major creeks and acres of backwaters.
He will fish this area unless the river gets extremely muddy, then he goes way back in the backwaters or to the south end of the lake, following the same pattern on creeks there that are less stained.
We fished out of his new river boat, and it worked great. Tim rigged a Triton aluminum boat from Flint River Marine in Albany with a Mercury motor, getting ready to run up the river at the BFL Regional at Seminole. This boat was ideal for working the shallow water around weed beds and cypress trees at Blackshear.
Check out the following spots for November bass, then look for similar places. There are many others just like them that hold bass this month.
No.1: N 31° 57.703–W 83° 54.714 — If you put in at Veterans Park, you don’t need to go far. Go upstream to the bridge, and work the rip-rap. There are also some cypress trees on the right bank as you head toward the bridge that hold bass. Schooling bass often move to this area and hold this month, working on the schools of shad. This is where Tim had the 14-lb. catch in his club tournament last November.
Fish both sides and both ends of the rip-rap with topwater, a crankbait and a spinnerbait. Try to get your bait way under the bridge, and work the pilings, too. Run a crankbait or spinner- bait right beside each piling from both directions, especially if there is some current moving under the bridge.
To get under the bridge, you will have to take your seats down, and you may have a hard time even then if the lake is full. The bridge is very low, but the fishing is worth the effort if you can get under it.
If the bass are not active and won’t hit the faster-moving baits, try a split- shot worm around the rocks and also out from the bridge around grass, lily pads and cypress trees in the area. A lot of bass are released at the park ramp and will hold in this area. Bass will also be moving in following the shad, so this area is worth a good bit of time.
No. 2: N 31° 57.830–W 83° 55.045 — Go downstream past the no- wake zone at the ramp, and you will see an island on your right. Behind the island is a white-and-red buoy. The buoy marks a spring, and the area is off limits to fishing until Nov. 1 to protect the stripers that hold there in hot weather. Don’t pass this spring up now that you are allowed to fish the area.
On the bank behind the buoy, you will see a half circle of lily pads that mark the spring. There is a sandbar on the upstream side of the spring. If there has been a heavy rain recently, the spring might be bubbling and flowing strong, creating a current there.
Fish over and around the spring with your more-active baits, then work a split-shot worm in the area. Concentrate on the sandbar on the lip of the spring, working your bait from the bottom of the spring up the side. Also cast to the cypress tree just upstream of the spring, and work it carefully.
No. 3: N 31° 56.924 – W 83° 56.307 — Head across the lake and downstream a little to the mouth of Pecan Slough. Going in, as you round the first point on your left, you will see a wooden boathouse and dock with a wooden boom hoist over the water. Upstream of it is a three-stall dock. Between the two docks are two cypress trees.
A spring is located behind the three-stall dock, and a channel from the spring runs under the dock. Fish the two trees and the dock around the channel. Then ease in between the two trees. Watch and be careful — there are big brick and concrete structures just under the water, and Tim says they will mess up the bottom of your boat and your trolling motor. When you work back past the structures under the water, you will see a hole behind a dock on your left. The banks are steep and covered with ivy. That is the location of the spring. Make some casts to it, but be very quiet and careful, the fish here are extremely spooky.
No. 4: N 31° 56.941 – W 83° 56.504 — Come out of the spring and head back into Pecan Slough. Straight ahead of you there is a good November bank. The creek makes something of a split with a big cove to your left and the creek channel to your right. Tim says he does not know why, but bass tend to school here this month.
You will see a cypress tree to the right of a house with a gray metal roof. The house is white, and there is a flag flying there. To the left of the house is a boat house and dock. Fish the entire bank from the cypress tree on the right across to the dock on your left.
Try all your baits here. When you see fish on top, they should hit one of your faster-moving baits. If you don’t see activity, work the split-shot worm. When you get to the dock, fish all around it. Tim says there is a lot of brush under it, and fish often hold in it, especially if the sun is bright.
No. 5: N 31° 58.937 – W 83° 55.932 — Head up the river. After you go under the highway and railroad bridges, be very careful to follow the channel markers. There are stumps and logs everywhere. Run up to the mouth of Cannon Branch, and work across the flat covered with timber, following the channel markers.
When you get near the bank, you will see three cypress trees, two on the right side close together and one on the left a little ways off. The channel runs through the gap, and Tim ran it on plane. You should idle in until you find the channel and know where you are going.
On the left bank, the main point between the river and creek is a flat. Not far back into the mouth of the creek, cypress trees grow all the way across it. This is typical of the kind of place Tim looks for bass schooling in November. They will move into the mouth of the creek and feed on shad there.
Work the entire area. The channel is indistinct and hard to find here, but fish any depression you see on your depthfinder. Work all around the mouth of the creek watching for activity on top, but concentrating your casts to the area around the north point if you don’t see fish breaking the water.
No. 6: N 31° 58.793 – W 83° 56.744 — Follow the channel out and across to the mouth of Tommy Warren Branch and Warren Slough. As you go in the mouth of the creek, to your left is Warren Slough.
The bass move into Warren this time of year, and they may come up schooling anywhere in it in November, so watch for activity. There are a couple of springs in this slough, and the water clarity and temperature stay more stable because of the springs.
Tim’s favorite area to fish if he is not seeing schooling activity is the point to your right as you go
in. You will see a cypress tree just off the bank with a sign that reads “Warren Slough” on it. Tim starts fishing near it and works around to the next dock, fishing all his baits along this bank.
No. 7: N 31° 59.054 – W 83° 57.286 — Come out of the side pocket, and head back to the bridge in Tommy Warren Branch. The channel comes under the bridge, and bass and baitfish school up on the flats on both sides downstream of the bridge. It is open water, so work this entire area with your baits, covering top to bottom.
Try to find the creek channel here, and concentrate many of your casts near it. The channels in these creeks are not easy to find. They are filled in, and grass grows in them and hides them, but bass still locate on them. Work around until you find the slight depression that marks the channel, and follow it while fishing both sides of the subtle channel.
No. 8: N 32° 00.324 – W 83° 56.204 — Follow the channel upstream, and take the marked channel over to the mouth of Limestone Creek. There is a good grassbed on the down stream side of the mouth, and bass school up in the mouth of this creek. Fish Limestone back to where the cypress trees fill in all the way across the creek. Fish for schooling bass in the open water.
There is a good dock on your left as you go in, and some good lily-pad beds to fish. When you get to the cypress trees, try fishing the bases of them. There is also a tree lying in the water off the bank that often holds fish.
If you follow the channel, you will work behind the first set of trees to the right side of the creek. Tim says this is an excellent area to find quality fish. Try to follow the channel, and fish it thoroughly.
If the river muddies up, you can usually find clearer water back in Limestone Creek. And, later in the month when the water gets colder, bass may move farther back in this creek. You can work a long way back into Limestone, although Tim says he usu- ally stays near the mouth in November.
No. 9: N 32 02.132 – W 83 57.257 — Run up the river following the channel, and it will swing to the left. When it straightens back out, look to your right. You will see a series of islands. Between two of them is a channel marked by poles. The poles mark the way back to two good areas for November bass.
The first area Tim calls the Smokehouse Hole. It is an area out from where Smokehouse Drive comes near the lake, and a point here is named Smokehouse Point. This is a big area at the mouth of a slough, and bass school up all around here. Fish the open water with topwater, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Work lily-pad beds and other grass. You will see many clumps of grass, and they all can hold bass. Hit cypress trees with your split-shot worm. While fishing, watch for surface activity.
No. 10: N 32° 02.370 – W 83° 57.296 — The Glory Hole is an open area to the west of Smokehouse Point behind the islands. It too is filled with grass clumps, lily pads and cypress trees. Work visible cover while watch- ing for schooling activity. This is a big area, and you can spend a lot of time here. Be careful until you learn your way. A GPS is invaluable in marking your trail in so you can get back out without getting lost, and also to help find your way in on your next trip.
These spots are some of Tim’s favorite places to fish at Lake Blackshear this month. Try his baits, or fish his areas with your favorite baits. Then try to find similar places on the lake to follow this pattern.
Blackshear should produce some quality fish for you this November.
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