Clarks Hill Bass September Proof

A long, hot summer has made this a tough time for bass and bass anglers, but at Clarks Hill you can catch 'em now and it'll improve all month.

Ronnie Garrison | August 31, 2011


Gene Jenson with a Clarks Hill bass caught on topwater during a trip with the author to mark a map with 10 good September holes.

September can be a tough month to have a good day of bass fishing. The water is as hot as it gets, and oxygen levels are at their lowest. There is some hope of improvement by the end of the month as the water starts to cool. But the good news is, regardless of how tough other lakes are fishing, you can catch bass at Clarks Hill in September.

Clarks Hill is a big lake on the Savannah River north of Augusta and the last downstream in the chain of three lakes that begins with Hartwell and has Russell sandwiched between. Clarks Hill has a wide variety of cover and structure, with hydrilla and blueback herring making a big impact on when and where the bass in the lake feed and hold. Clarks Hill has a growing population of spotted bass, but largemouths are still the staple there.

Gene Jensen grew up in Covington, but now he lives in Evans and fishes Clarks Hill regularly. He works on weekends, so he does not get to fish many tournaments, but he knows the lake very well. Working with keeps him in touch with some of the best bass fishermen in the area and all over the United States.

An incredible five-fish limit weighing 29 pounds is Gene’s best catch on Clarks Hill, and that included his biggest bass from the lake, an 8 1/2-pounder. All those fish hit on top. You can run into a school of big bass like that any time on this lake.

“Bass at Clarks Hill have seen a lot of changes with the introduction of hydrilla and bluebacks, and it is still changing,” Gene said.

The lake is now maintained at about 4 feet below what used to be 330 feet full pool, so the hydrilla has died back some. And bluebacks have not had great spawns the past few years, so Gene is finding bass more on a shad pattern right now.

Topwater fishing for schooling bass can be great in September, and Gene always keeps a Spook Jr. rigged and ready. He also fishes a Buckeye Mop Jig and both Texas- and Carolina-rigged worms on points when the fish are not on top. A crankbait and spinnerbait will catch fish, too.

Early morning offers a good buzzbait and frog bite before the sun gets on the water, and as the water starts to cool toward the end of the month, this bite gets even better. Bass start moving back in the creeks and to more shallow water as soon as the water gets down to about 80 degrees.

Gene likes a big worm like the Zoom Ol’ Monster or Rage Tail Thumper worm in green pumpkin or tequila sunrise. On his Mop Jig he uses a green-pumpkin jig with a Rage Tail craw in green pumpkin. The buzzbait he throws is a Ol Nelle double-bladed bait with black blades and a bluegill skirt. For frog fishing, the Spro Bronzeye frog is his choice.

Spro Little John crankbaits in shad colors work well, and he likes the Ol Nelle spinnerbait with silver blades and a white or bluegill skirt. Gene always dips his worms and trailers in JJ’s Magic for added attraction, and he uses the clear for scent or chartreuse for a little different color flash.

The following spots all have fish on them right now and will get better and better as the month goes by. Smaller bass are schooling on top already, and the bigger bass will follow them as the month progresses. We fished them the second week of August and caught fish on several of them.

No. 1: N 33º 46.366 – W 82º 14.565 — The big cove with Parksville Landing in the back has several good locations in it. A good place to start early in the morning is the first side cove on the left coming into the main cove past the small island on the left side. It has a fish-attractor buoy in it and is a good example of the kinds of places Gene starts early in the morning.

Start on the point on the left side. The back side of the point is clay and has a big dead pine tree on the bank above the water level. Hydrilla grows all around this cove, and a buzzbait or frog worked over it will draw bites.

Fish down the left side to about even with the fish-attractor buoy, and then jump across to the other side of the point and fish it. Gene said the fish will move farther back as the water cools, so keep fishing as long as you are getting bites. Late in the month, when the water is 80 degrees or cooler, bass may be almost to the back of the cove.

No. 2: N 33º 44.172 – W 82º 14.093 — On the downstream point of this cove, the one with Modoc Park on it, an island with a good rocky point sits just off the bank. This rocky point is good all year long, and bass stack up on it in the late summer. It is just off the channel at red marker 28 and drops off into very deep water.

Fish topwater around this point, especially if there is some wind blowing on it, and then back off and drag a Mop Jig and a Texas- or Carolina-rigged worm on the bottom. Gene said bass will hit on top then go back down and will hit a bait on the bottom.

Bass hold about 20 feet deep here and on other spots in early September and a little more shallow later in the month. Stay out in 30 feet of water, and cover this depth, fishing from shallow to deep. Also, get in more shallow water, about 15 feet deep, and cast out, working your bait up the point. Fish all the way around the outside of it both ways.

No. 3: N 33º 45.990 – W 82º 13.595 — Go back into the cove with Parksville Ramp, and you will see two small islands on the right. There are several humps around them. Fish the points on the islands and the humps, too. You can see the humps on the Navionics map or find them with your depthfinder.

Rocks and hard clay on the points and humps helps, and grass growing on them improves them, too. The point on the second island to the left is a good example of the kind of place you are looking for. Fish it and the others in the area.

No. 4: N 33º 48.254 – W 32º 17.795 — The islands in the mouth of Landum Creek hold schooling bass all summer and into the fall. The back point on the left island going in has a good flat point. You can see a shallow bar with the water down 4 feet on this side of the island.

Fish a Spook over this point and around the island, especially if you see activity on top. We caught several bass here when we fished the Spook. Gene likes a clear Spook Jr. and always puts a red hook on the front. He says almost all the fish he catches are on the red hook, and all we caught were.

Also drag a jig or either worm rig here. Sit out in about 20 feet of water, cast up into 8 feet and work back to under the boat. Bass not schooling will be on the bottom and will hit those rigs.

No. 5: N 33º 48.134 – W 82º 17.630 — The point on the main bank behind the island is a good transition area as bass move back into the creek, especially later in the month. It has some rock on it, and bass will hold and feed here.

Fish the outside of the point on the creek side. That is where most of the bass will hold. Drag your bottom bumping baits on the bottom, but keep a topwater bait ready to cast to any surface fish.

No. 6: N 33º 49.809 – W 82º 22.815 — Go up Soap Creek about halfway between the mouth of the creek and the first bridge, and you will see a square danger marker on your right. It is the only danger marker on the right going upstream, and it sits off the end of a shallow point. There is a green-roofed dock inside the cove on the upstream side.

This is a good schooling area, especially later in the month. There were small bass feeding here in mid August, but bigger bass will move in as the water cools. Fish a Spook all over the shallows on the end of this hump.

Sunny days make the bass come to the top looking for herring. A little breeze ruffling the water makes it much better. Bass will also herd shad in on this hump and chase them on top, too.

No. 7: N 33º 49.518 – W 82º 24.557 — Above the first bridge in Soap Creek there is an island on the point between it and Fork Creek. Soap Creek goes to the right and Fork Creek to the left going upstream. The channel swings in right by the point of this island.

Sit out in 30 feet of water, and you can cast up to the bank. Work your bottom bumping baits from about 8 feet down to 20 feet of water. The bottom comes up fast, so work your jig and worm slowly to stay in contact with it. Keep a topwater ready for schooling fish, too.

No. 8: N 33º 49.947 – 82º 25.479 — Go up past Soap Creek Marina, and you will see sandy beaches on both sides below the second bridge in the creek. There is a shoal marker off the point of the beach on the left where feeding bass school. Smaller bass were already schooling here in mid August.

Fan cast the entire point with topwater, and also try jigs or worms. The point slopes out to the danger marker, and the channel swings in by it, making it a good transition place as bass move up the creek in the fall following shad.

There is a grassline here where hydrilla grows around the point in shallow water. Bass will hold on both the outside and inside edges of the grass. You can work a topwater bait over the grass, and then try a jig or worm along both edges to catch the bass holding here.

No. 9: N 33º 50.161 – W 82º 26.075 — Go under the second bridge, and fish the point on the right before the creek channel opens up and swings to the right. It is across from the last dock on the left side going upstream.

There are stumps and brush on this point, and it is a good area, especially later in the month. A ledge on the downstream side drops into the channel that hits it on that side. Gene likes to start on the upstream side of this point and fish a spinnerbait and crankbait around it. Then he slows down and goes back around it with worms or jigs.

This spot is best in late September. Make long casts with a crankbait, and crank it down to the bottom and bump it back. Slow-roll a spinnerbait over the bottom, too. Some grass grows here and will hold fish as do stumps and brush, offering several kinds of cover for the fish.

No. 10: N 33º 50.393 – W 82º 26.259 — Ahead of you the channel opens up and swings to the right. The outside of this bend is a good place to find late September bass. Gene likes to run up to the rocky bank out from a big standing dead pine on the upstream end of the bend and work back downstream. If the wind is blowing, he works it in the other direction, depending on which way is best for boat control.

He said this is a place to run an Ol Nelle spinnerbait or a medium- to shallow-running Little John crankbait. Stay off the bank far enough to make a long cast to it, and fish back downstream to the point in hole 9. There are some blowdowns here to fish as well as rocks and grass.

These spots hold bass now and will get better and better later in September. Check them out, try Gene’s baits, and you can find many similar places all over Clarks Hill that hold September bass.

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