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Catch West Point Bass In November

Ronnie Garrison | November 1, 2018

Dropping water temperatures and dropping lake levels combine to force both spotted bass and largemouth to predictable patterns at West Point this month. Bass are feeding heavily on roadbeds, points and rip-rap and will continue to do so throughout the month of November.

West Point is a border lake but is mostly in Georgia, so a Georgia fishing license is valid all over the lake.

West Point has changed a lot since it began filling in the late 1970s. The major changes are that the lake is much less fertile than those old days of pea-green water, and the spotted bass population has exploded. There are still good largemouth in the lake, but your catch is likely to be mostly spots if you fish the main lake this time of year.

Spotted bass are fun to catch, and there is no size limit on them at West Point, so you can keep 10 to eat every trip, which biologists say is a good idea. Spots are more aggressive than largemouth, they bed deeper so are not as affected by dropping water in the spring, and they like open water so they feed more effectively on shad. Clearer water has also helped them thrive at West Point.

Matt McClung grew up on nearby Bartletts Ferry and has fished Bartletts and West Point for anything that would bite all his life. He lived in LaGrange just five minutes from a ramp at West Point for many years. Matt got into tournament fishing about 12 years ago when he got his first bass boat.

Matt McClung with a pair of West Point spotted bass caught during a trip with the author to mark a November map. Matt said anglers can catch good numbers of spots this month, and some quality largemouth, too.

Matt and his partner won the Highland Trail points standings this year. He also runs the West Georgia Bass Club tournament trail through GLL Marine in LaGrange. Matt fishes some BFLs, pot tournaments and other events on West Point. He fishes West Point often, and he knows the lake very well.

“If you want to catch a lot of fish, go for spots, but if you want to win a tournament, target largemouth,” Matt said. 

If you want a good catch of largemouth, stay shallow and fish for them—just don’t expect many bites. But if you fish for spotted bass, you can catch dozens of bass on most days.

Matt keeps a wide variety of baits ready to fish on different spots during a November trip to West Point. Some places call for fishing deep, some shallow. But he always has a drop shot and a topwater bait ready all the time. A Zara Spook will get bit in many places, and you will see fish schooling on top this time of year, so keep it ready. A drop shot can be fished right under the boat, but you can also cast it and work it in good areas.

A spoon, Carolina rig, big crankbait, jig ’n pig, square-bill crankbait, ChatterBait, buzzbait and shaky head all have their uses on the kinds of places Matt fishes in November. He tries a lot of baits to see which is working best on the day he is fishing.

Bass, including some bigger fish, should be on the following 10 places and will hit a variety of baits.

No. 1: N 33º 03.782 – W 85º 06.308 — Half Moon Creek is the creek on the right between Highland Marina and the first bridge in Yellowjacket Creek. In the mouth of it, there is an old pond dam that offers a great place for bass to ambush shad as they move in and out of the creek this time of year. The pond dam comes up to about 10 feet deep at full pool, so expect that it will be a good bit shallower now.

Matt says there is some brush and stumps on the dam that hold bass, but the best spots are the ends of the dam where it was blown out at the creek channel. Bass feed on the entire dam from 8 to 15 feet deep, but concentrate on those drops.

Matt will try to get right on top of the fish and drop shot straight down, or he might jig a spoon straight down on the bass. If the fish are spooky, back off and cast a drop shot, shaky head or jig ’n  pig to them. You can also bump a big crankbait across the dam.

A Zoom original straight-tail worm, similar to the Swamp Crawler, in green pumpkin or morning dawn, is Matt’s choice on drop shot. He ties a 1/0 Rebarb hook 12 to 18 inches above 3/16- to 3/8-oz. sinker. The amount of wind and depth he is fishing controls the weight he uses.

This is a good numbers hole for spots, and you will catch a decent largemouth here at times. Wind helps the bite here and at all other places this time of year. If the fish are active, fish the entire length of the dam.

No. 2: N 33º 04.306 – W 85º 06.216 — Rip-rap is always excellent in November, and the nearby Whitaker Road causeway and bridge is a good one. It is long, with lots of rocks that hold food for bass, and the many tournaments at Yellowjacket Park mean plenty of recycled bass get released nearby and stage on this rip-rap.

“As the water drops, it concentrates the area crawfish use,” Matt said. 

Bass love crawfish, so you will find them around the crawfish, but they will also feed on passing shad and bream. A variety of baits work well on rip-rap.

Matt usually starts on the windy side of the bridge, if there is any wind. Wind really helps the bite on rip-rap, as it does in most other places. Matt usually starts fishing this rip-rap with a buzzbait, looking for active fish. But his go-to bait is a silver and white ZMan Jackhammer 1/2-oz. bladed jig. He says he fishes the Jackhammer most of the day all over the lake.

Keep your boat in close to the rocks, and cast ahead of it, running your buzzbait right along the rocks. Cast your bladed jig very shallow and slow-roll it back, covering water from the edge of the rocks down to where they end. There is a line along the base of the rip-rap where it ends, and that is where the bass concentrate.

A square-bill crankbait also works well. Run it over the same areas as the bladed jig, bumping the rocks. If your bites seem to be coming well off the bank, where the rocks end and just below the maximum depth for the squarebill, run a deeper crankbait in shad colors that will bump the rocks 8 to 10 feet deep.

No. 3: N 33º 04.134 – W 85º 06.155 — If you idle downstream from the right end of the bridge going downstream, when you get even with a red “Restricted” sign by the swimming area to your right, you will cross an old roadbed. This roadbed comes up to about 25 feet deep on top at full pool. This is a good example of a deep roadbed.

Bass live here all year, but these bass feed more when the water is cooler. There are some rocks and brush on the roadbed, but Matt says the ends are best where the old bridge crossed Yellowjacket Creek. His favorite end is the one on the swimming area side.

The water is deep enough here that your boat usually will not spook fish if you get right on top of them. Matt drops a spoon or drop shot straight down to bass when he sees them on his electronics. He likes a 1/2-oz. War Eagle spoon in white or chrome.

Spend some time here finding the key cover along the roadbed and the drop on the end. Fish your drop shot, or drop your spoon down to the cover, pop it up a couple of feet, and then let it fall back on a tight line. Be ready to set the hook if it does not fall all the way to the bottom. You will catch mostly spots here, but largemouth feed here, too.

No. 4: N 32º 59.054 – W 85º 12.444 — Head down the lake past Wehadkee Creek. Straight ahead where the river turns to the left, Alligator Creek runs straight back. There is a boat ramp on the point in the back where it splits. Go into Alligator Creek to the first channel marker. Just past it, the old State Line roadbed crosses the creek.

Matt says this creek has more bait in it than any other place on the lake in November. It also offers a good creek channel that runs a short distance to the river channel. Bass move up to this mid-depth roadbed to feed.

Early or late in the day, fish the shallow end of the road on the left going in, working it with ChatterBait, crankbait or jig. Fish out to the end, watching for key brush on it. It is shallow enough along the roadbed that you might spook the fish if you get right on top of them, so cast to them instead.

On the end where the roadbed drops into the channel, you can use your drop shot or spoon, but Matt usually starts by fan casting a drop shot or 1/2-oz. green-pumpkin Big Money Baits football jig. He makes these jigs and sells them at http://bigmoneybaits.com and at GLL Marine. 

Tip your jig with a green-pumpkin Zoom Speed Craw, and dip the tails in chartreuse or red JJ’s Magic. Matt says this time of year he often dyes the tails chartreuse, and then dips the very tip with red to match crawfish colors.

At the end of the month when the water is very cold, bass will hold along the old channel in the standing timber here. You can follow the channel and fish a jig for them. Also, keep your Spook ready to cast to schooling fish. There were a lot of small spots schooling here when we fished, with a few bigger fish mixed in. Bigger fish will be more common now. 

No. 5: N 32º 58.424 – W 85º 11.625 — Farther downstream on your left, Bird Creek has a big island at its mouth. The bank on the upstream side of the island is the deepest bluff bank on the lake, according to Matt. It drops fast with the creek and river channel right on it. There is standing timber off the bank, too.

Matt works the bank from the inside point to the end toward the river channel, fishing a white, 1/2-oz. Lunker Lure buzzbait or a Zara Spook right on the rocks. He says some big largemouth will cruise this and other areas in “wolf packs” up very shallow, and they will hit topwater.

After fishing topwater, back off and cast a jig ’n pig or shaky head right to the edge. Fish these baits back to the boat very slowly. Fish hold in the crevices in the rocks, and you want your bait to drop in front of them. If you move it more than a couple of inches, it will fall too far. You want to cover water from right on the bank to 30 feet deep, according to Matt.

Near the point toward the channel, there are big black-rock shelves you can see above the water. This is a key place, since they continue very deep below the surface. There is also standing timber to work you jig or shaky head around. Matt says he won the first tournament he ever fished by sitting here all day. 

No. 6: N 32º 57.150 – W 85º 11.127 — The last creek on the left before Maple Creek is called “No Name Creek” by many fishermen. There is a tiny island on the downstream point with a shoal marker a little downstream of it. 

Stop on the end of the island, and fish your topwater up very shallow for cruising fish. After that, fish the upstream side and end with a drop shot, jig ’n pig or Carolina rig. As you work around it, watch your electronics. Matt says he often sees single fish on the bottom, and they are usually good ones.

Also fish the saddle between the island and bank. Matt says saddles like this often hold good fish this time of year. Work it with the same baits as you fished at the island.

No. 7: N 33º 00.422 – W 86º 11.312 — Boat ramps are always good locations to fish, and they get better as the water level drops. A good ramp to fish is the river side ramp at Holiday Park, but there are many other good ones up and down the lake. 

Fish topwater around the rocks and floating dock, and then skip a jig ’n pig or shaky head under it. Also fish those baits around the ramp and rocks. Matt uses a 3/16-oz. Big Money Baits that he makes. It has a 5/0 hook, making for good hooksets. He puts a Trick Worm or Speed Craw on it with tails dipped.

Out on the end of the ramp and around it, search for brush. There is a lot put out by fishermen around all ramps. When you find it, fish the shallow brush with a topwater plug, jig and shaky head. Deeper brush can be fished with a drop shot or spoon.

No. 8: N 33º 01.713 – W 85º 09.763 — The rip-rap at the Highway 109 bridge is good, as is all rip-rap in November. Matt starts on the right downstream corner and fishes out and around the point, using the same baits as he fished on the Yellowjacket Creek bridge. If he does not get bit by the time he goes around the point, he leaves. But if he’s getting bit, he will fish all the rip-rap. 

The windy side is best for active bass, and any current will position them on the corners. But Matt says a good way to fill a limit is to drop shot around the pilings. You can catch a lot of keeper spots doing that.

No. 9: N 33º 02.582 – W 85º 10.282 — Back in the last creek on your left before getting to the railroad trestle, the one with Indian Springs campground in it, a good roadbed crosses where the creek narrows and then opens up. This is a good example of a shallow West Point roadbed in November—there are plenty more you can find on a good lake map.

Early and late in the day, Matt will fish the left side of the road going in with a ChatterBait, crankbait and other faster-moving baits. When the sun is bright, fish tend to stack up in the brush on the end of the road where it drops into the channel. The brush is shallow, so cast to it rather than getting right on top of it. This road holds both largemouth and spots.

No. 10: N 33º 03.583 – W 85º 09.838 — Turkey Creek splits off to the left where Whitewater Creek goes right at the Whitewater Creek Park ramp is located. Go to your left, and a small creek enters ahead of you. Matt calls this Friendship Cove.

The left point going in runs out to the channel and has good rock and brush on it. Fish from very shallow out to 15 feet deep with a topwater, crankbait, jig and shaky head. Probe for the rocks and brush, and fish them thoroughly.

All these places will be holding good bass in November, and there are many more just like them all over the lake. Go for lots of spots or a few quality largemouth, or fish for both.

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