Clarks Hill Bassin’ in November Centers Around The Bait

Jon Hair with Greenfish Tackle says fall is a fun time to catch largemouth, and spots, on top.

Brad Gill | November 3, 2014

Clarks Hill largemouth are a different breed. I was there a couple of weeks ago with Jon Hair, a regular on the tournament scene on this east Georgia reservoir, and we had a blast on an 85-degree afternoon catching topwater schoolies in 50 feet of water over hydrilla beds.

There was no difficulty when it came to hooking up. Just chunk a weightless Zoom Super Fluke as far as you can, and twitch it back. They’d crush it, too. It reminded me of when that type bite first exploded on Lanier for big spots. However, in Clarks Hill, we were catching mostly largemouth.

We never got a big bite, but Jon and I caught probably 20 fish in a half day. What a blast!

“This topwater bite is going to continue to be strong well into November, but the fish are going to move back into the creeks and ditches as they follow the bait. They are already starting to make that bigger push toward the backs of the creeks and pockets that hold a lot of hydrilla,” Jon reported on Oct. 22.

Jon competes in most of the bigger tournaments on Clarks Hill. Last month, he placed 10th in the Mr. Clarks Hill tournament. In 2010, Jon and his team partner Chris Rodwell won the Easter Seals tournament, and in 2008, Jon won the Clarks Hill Committee Top-Six.

Jon owns The Tackle Shop in Martinez. He immediately wanted to share with me about several retired guys who show up daily to drink coffee and swap lies. Referred to as the “Geritol Gems” or the “Q-tips,” these older gentlemen help out with Jon’s other business, Greenfish Tackle. Jon co-owns this tackle business with Wil Hardy, and they are steadily sending out baits all over the country, with help from the “Q-tips,” of course.

Jon says that catching November bass on Clarks Hill is all about keeping a close eye on the bait as it moves into the creek, ditches and pockets.

“Rick Clunn said if you want to learn the owl, you have to study the mouse,” said Jon. “I think as an angler, you need to learn the baitfish habits and patterns before you can start learning about the fish. If you learn them, they will teach you about the bass.”

Expect baitfish, and bass, to be located in areas of hydrilla in 1 to 15 feet of water this month.

“When the water starts to cool, the grass holds heat,” said Jon. “That’s one of the places the bait goes because it’s warmer water, and the bass will follow the bait.”

Jon said the southern half of the lake below the Hwy 378 bridge has a lot of hydrilla.

“It’s everywhere,” said Jon.

To the anglers who only fish Clarks Hill a time or two a year, it can be overwhelming to attack such a large body of water that has hydrilla in every pocket, creek and cove.

“Go in one major creek arm—like Keg, Cherokee or Shriver—and dissect it from there,” said Jon.

Jon said you’ll likely put some wear and tear on the trolling-motor batteries because with so much hydrilla, the bass simply aren’t in every patch you’re going fish.

“You just have to find the ones holding that bait,” said Jon. “You just got to go fishing, and when you find them, you’ll likely find a whole school.”

Jon’s favorite November baits for Clarks Hill bass around bait and hydrilla are outlined on pages 73-74.

At press time, the water was in the upper 60s, and Jon said to expect the turnover to start around Halloween as water temps fall to the low 60s.

Jon, 35, is married to a gal named Whitney, and they have two kids with a third on the way. He says without the support of his wife, kids and parents, he couldn’t be living the dream of owning a tackle shop, while trying to develop and grow a tackle business.

You should swing by and visit Jon and the Q-tips at 4009 Columbia Road in Martinez. Their number is (706) 432-8225. To order baits from Greenfish Tackle online, go to

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