Chasing Bait For Eufaula’s Fast-Action October Bass
With cooling water temperatures, the bass fishing heats up big time this month.
October is a great month for bass fishermen. Cooling water this month makes the bass start their fall migration following shad, and bass are more often than not feeding aggressively. Officially known as Walter F. George Reservoir, but typically called Lake Eufaula by anglers, this is one of the best lakes in the Southeast to take advantage of the fall feeding spree.
Eufaula is a fun lake to fish that is known for ledges, grassbeds and big bass. In tournaments, 25-lb. stringers of five bass are weighed in often, and 3- to 5-lb. bass are plentiful. This month there are a lot of different ways to catch Eufaula bass.
Located on the Chattahoochee River between Georgia and Alabama, Eufaula stretches for miles along the old river. Many creeks and ditches enter the lake and give bass paths to follow as they move toward shallow water from the main-lake ledges. Those migration paths are the places you want to fish.
Shad are the key. They move into the creeks as the water warms and bass follow them, feeding on the drops leading into the creeks early in the month and then farther back in them later in the month. Grassbeds near these drops also attract the bass where they feed on shad and bluegill.
Wayne and Lisa Cox fish the Fishers of Men, ABA Couples and Alabama BASS Nation tournaments. Wayne guides on the Mobile Delta and Millers Ferry, and they also fish many tournaments at Eufaula. Fishing with the Outcast Bass Club this year, they both qualified for the Alabama State Championship.
Wayne is also on the Lowrance Pro staff and teaches people to use their products, and he relies on them extensively. You will see them in their wrapped Blazer boat with a Mercury Motor in many tournaments on Eufaula and around the Southeast.
“In October, bait is the key,” Wayne said.
If he and Lisa are not seeing bait activity on the surface and around grass, or spotting balls of shad on their depthfinder, they keep moving until they find them.
“This is the time of year to cover water,” Lisa said.
They use search baits like a Red Eye Shad or a Flash spinnerbait and make a lot of casts to find active bass. They will slow down when they start catching good fish, but until then they move fast, hitting a lot of spots quickly.
Early in the morning, they will fish the spinnerbait and a Big Bite Baits swimbait around grass, and they’ll use those baits again later in the day if they see activity. Also, Wayne says to always keep a Spook ready in October to throw to schooling fish.
When they slow down, they will fish a big Ol’ Monster or Kriet Tail worm behind a 3/8-oz. tungsten sinker. Depending on the depth they are fishing, they also try a weightless fluke, a Carolina-rigged Trick Worm and a football jig.
Lisa and Wayne took me to Eufaula the last day of August, just before the lake went off limits for the ABA Nationals. We already saw schooling bass, and fish were biting on the ledges and in the grass. The following 10 spots are all even better now.
No. 1: N 31º 59.587 – W 85º 03.915 — The Witches Ditch is one of the biggest community holes on the lake for a good reason—a lot of bass are caught in it. Going upstream from where the river narrows down above Bustahatchee Creek, the Witches Ditch is on the right across from channel marker 104.4. The entrance off the river is narrow and shallow. As soon as you go into the mouth, you will see a pumping station on the left not far ahead.
Start at the mouth around the grass and pads that fill the ditch. Wayne says to keep your boat in the middle in more open water and fish to the pumping station, casting a rattle bait like the Red Eye Shad in shad colors in the middle ahead of your boat in the water that is open enough to fish the lipless crankbait.
Cast a spinnerbait and a Cane Thumper swimbait into the grass on both sides. Watch for baitfish moving in the grass and swirls of feeding bass. Use shad colors in the swimbait, and peg a 1/8-oz. tungsten sinker ahead of it. Also try a silver and white spinnerbait.
“We fish to the pump unless we are really thumping them,” Wayne said.
Fish fairly fast to check out this spot, but if you are getting bit, slow down and fish carefully, working all the grass and lily pads to the banks on both sides as well as fishing the middle with the lipless crankbait.
After fishing in the ditch, move out to the mouth of it and fish upstream to the red channel marker. There is a good ledge along this section, and bass hold on it waiting to go into the ditch. Work it with a big worm or jig ’n pig, probing for brush or stumps that hold the fish.
No. 2: N 32º 00.421 – W 85º 03.773 — Go up the river to where it makes a turn to the right at buoy 105.2. There is an island ahead of you off the left bank, and a good ditch comes out behind it. Stop well off the island in the mouth of the ditch, and fish toward the island.
Keep your boat in the ditch, and cast across the point coming off the island between the ditch and the river channel. The water drops fast on both sides, but the point tops out about 5 feet deep well off the bank. Work from the end of the point up to the 5-foot level.
Slow-roll a spinnerbait and work a rattle bait across the point as your boat moves up the channel. The channel is the highway the bass follow, and they will chase shad up on the point. Also, cover the bottom with a Carolina-rigged watermelon red or redbug Trick Worm above a 3/4-oz. sinker. Wayne says he religiously dips the tails of his worms in JJ’s magic, and he feels it makes all the difference in bites. Current coming down the river really helps here and on other ledges and points.
No. 3: N 31º 58.869 – W 85º 03.861 — Go back down the river to the mouth of Bustahatchee Creek, and idle to the point of the island on the upstream side. There is standing timber in the mouth of the creek, so be careful. The point of the island is between the river and a slough, and the Bustahatchee Creek channel swings in near it. Standing timber is just off it, and it has some stumps on it with grass along the shallows.
Work the grass with swimbait and spinnerbait, and then back off and fish across the point with a rattle bait and a Carolina rig or a Texas-rigged worm. Lisa likes the 10-inch Big Bite Baits Kreit Tail worm behind a 3/8-oz. sinker.
No. 4: N 31º 57.654 – W 85º 04.230 — Go down the river to where it starts its sharp swing to the right toward Cowikee Creek. Stay near the left bank, and stop on the upstream point of the first small creek on the left.
This point has some rocks on it, and the ditch coming out of the creek runs across the flat toward the river channel, making it a good path for the bass to follow. Wayne and Lisa fish the pads and grass around the point with a swimbait and weightless fluke.
Watch for activity in the grass, and fish it hard if you are seeing any movement. If the bass are not up in the shallow cover, fish across the point with a 1/2-oz. rattle bait in sexy-shad color, and drag the bottom with Texas- or Carolina-rigged worms.
No. 5: N 31º 57.280 – W 85º 04.344 — Go on down the left bank to the mouth of Soapstone Creek, which is the next creek on the left. There is a channel coming out of it, and the entire mouth of the creek is lined with grass and pads. Bass follow the creek channel and feed in the grass and along the flats on both sides of the channel.
This is an excellent schooling area, and fish were hitting on top when we fished it. Most were hybrids, but there are usually some bass mixed in with the linesides. All of the fish are feeding on the same thing—the shad moving into the creek.
Start on the upstream point of the creek, and work all the way around it while fishing the grass. After fishing the grass, work the middle of the mouth of the creek along the channel. Watch for schooling fish, and keep a Spook ready to throw to them.
No. 6: N 31º 65.791 – W 85º 05.849 — Go out to the river channel and downstream to channel marker 99.0. It is downstream of where the river channel makes its big swing to the mouth of Cowikee Creek, comes back to the Georgia side right at the bank, and then starts a slow swing to the Alabama side.
Downstream of the channel marker, between 99.0 and 98.6, a ditch comes across the big flat and hits the river channel. This is out in the middle of the lake across from the first of four docks you can see across the river on the Georgia side.
Keep your boat in 18 feet of water in the ditch, and fish the ridge toward the river channel until it tops out about 5 feet deep. Bait comes across this ridge into the ditch, and current moving across it helps a lot. Fish it with a slow-rolled spinnerbait or football-head jig, bumping the bottom on top of the ridge and down the side of it.
No. 7: N 31º 57.384 – W 85º 05.170 — Go back around the big bend toward the mouth of Cowikee Creek. On the left side of the channel, stop at channel marker 101.0, and fish the ledge here to 101.5. There is a Wildlife Boundary Area sign on a post here, and the post is on top of the ledge.
The river ledge tops out at about 5 feet deep and has some shellbeds on it that are bass magnets. Keep your boat in 25 feet of water in the channel, work the top of the ledge with a rattle bait and spinnerbait, and then drag the bottom with worms or jigs. Lots of fish school here, too, so keep your Spook ready.
No. 8: N 31º 57.181 – W 85º 05.171 — Ease in near the bank on the Alabama side. Work down the bank, but stay right off of it. A shallow flat runs a long way downstream, and it is usually about 5 feet deep at full pool. On your right is a rip-rap bank. Stop where a small creek enters at the end of the rip-rap. This is called the Duck Blind.
Off the bank at the mouth of the Duck Blind creek, you will see a grass island well off the bank where a hump comes up about even with where the rip-rap ends. Ease out to it, and fish all around the grass early with swimbaits and spinnerbait. Then work the edges of it with rattle bait and worms.
No. 9: N 31º 58.107 – W 85º 04.851 — Go back upstream across the mouth of Cowikee Creek. Wylaunee Creek runs back north right at the mouth of Cowikee Creek and has good ledges going in to it. Stop near the fish-attractor buoy on the point of the island on your right going into the creek.
This buoy is on the upstream side of a cove that runs back to another pumping station. A ditch comes out of this cove and hits the Wylaunee Creek channel. The point with the buoy and the point on the other side of the cove are both good.
Deep water runs right in by both points, and there are good drops on the points. The bass follow the creek channel and hold on the drop-offs at the points, where they feed on shad moving up the creek and into the cove.
Fish the grass with swimbaits and spinnerbaits. There is some hydrilla on these points, too, that attracts bass. Fish all the shallow grass, and then work the drops with worms and a jig ’n pig.
No. 10: N 31º 58.028 – W 85º 06.526 — Go up Cowikee Creek, following the channel. It runs in right beside the left bank (going upstream) and then starts back across to the right. Just upstream of this swing is a creek called Mann’s Slough.
Just inside the slough is a pumping station on the left. The creek is full of grass and pads, and the channel runs back giving the bass a path to follow. Start near the pumping station, and work all the way around the creek. Fish it fast with spinnerbaits, rattle baits and swimbaits to find the fish. If you catch some bass, slow down and fish the grass with those baits and your fluke, concentrating your casts closer together and fishing the baits slower.
All these spots hold bass right now and get better and better as the water cools this month. Check them out, try Lisa and Wayne’s favorite baits, and then find similar places to fish your favorite baits on this pattern.
Call Wayne for a guide trip at (850) 777-6244.
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