Day And Night Patterns For Lake Lanier Summer Spotted Bass
If at first you donʼt get bit, crank up and head to the next hump. Fishing brushy humps is the key to Jody Cordellʼs big, summertime spots on Lanier.
Editor’s Note: GON is currently working on uploading all of our feature segments from GON-TV shows to our YouTube channel. The below article and video first aired in June 1999. It featured Lanier bass angler Jody Cordell, GON writer Brad Gill and GON-TV cameraman Joe Schlicht.
It’s only the first of July and we’ve already witnessed several June days in the mid-90s. Folks, the summer heat has just started to arrive, and weather conditions can do nothing but worsen as another humid Georgia summer begins to swelter. Traditionally, the hot weather and heavy boat traffic that visits our lakes every summer drives bass fishermen crazy. In fact, many of them just wait for that cool break of fall before launching their boat again. However, there is always a silver lining in that smog-filled cloud.
Would you believe me if I told you that despite the heat and crowded conditions, you and your fishing partner could go to Lake Lanier right now and have a chance at putting 30 pounds of spotted bass in the boat? Sounds crazy, but GON hooked up with expert Jody Cordell just a few weeks ago and did just that. Now, here’s your chance to get in on the action.
Jody Cordell from Stone Mountain is no stranger to the spotted bass that call Lanier home. He fishes the lake three times a week and has 30 years of experience on Lanier. During the last three years, he and his tournament partner, Trent Gober from Buford, have been deadly in bass tournaments. These are the two guys that you hate to see show up at a tournament, because you know there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll be leaving with the big check.
In fact, for the last three years Jody and Trent have won the Lanier Harbor night tournament trail held on Thursday evenings, and Jody is confident that this year will be another win under their belts. In other competitive fishing on Lanier this year the team has finished first in the South Tour, and received a 10th-place spot and big fish in Dixie Bass. Also, Jody and his wife Carolyn finished fourth in The Guys & Dolls, and Jody won a Gwinnett Marine tournament by himself.
I met Jody at Lanier Harbor, located on the south end of the lake, around 1:00 p.m. on June 2. Cameraman Joe Schlicht joined us to film the fishing trip for GON-TV, and Trent was kind enough to join the crew in case Joe needed to use his Stratos bass boat for filming purposes.
As we idled out of Lanier Harbor Jody explained to me that we would be doing a combination of things that would put bass in the boat. During the summer, Jody mostly concentrates his efforts fishing main-lake humps with brush, during both daytime and nighttime hours.
We pulled up on a hump in the middle of the lake that was within sight of Buford Dam and Lanier park, west of Lanier Islands (see map).
I was impressed with how quickly Jody pulled up on the main-lake hump, which was in excess of 600 yards from the shoreline. Jody’s trick to quickly locating these humps is done by having a stationary object, like a tree, a radio tower or a light pole, and lining it up with the side of an island, a cut in a tree or anything distinctive that can be identifiable to him. For each hump Jody looks for two different stationary objects. “Having two different angles on a hump helps me better locate the hump,” said Jody.
Another important factor about finding these humps is that Jody has been fishing these areas for three decades, and general knowledge and experience of the lake is hard to beat. “Finding these humps isn’t something that is easy by any means, it will take a lot of time to really learn how to quickly find them,” said Jody.
Jody and I both started fishing a 6-inch Long-A Bomber jerkbait in a pink/green/clear color over these humps. We threw across these 12- to 15-foot humps looking for an aggressive bite. “If they’re going to bite, then they’ll usually do it in the first couple of casts,” said Jody.
If the Long-A was not productive, we’d pull right on top of the hump and doodle a worm in the tops of the brush. If a bass didn’t strike quickly, the rods got strapped back in and we headed to the next brushy hump. “If Trent and I don’t hit more than 30 humps during a 4-hour tournament, then we’re moving too slow,” said Jody.
This running-and-gunning technique is one important reason why Jody and Trent have been so successful in bass tournaments. A lot of anglers run-and-gun during tournaments, but many spend their time circling an area because they don’t know exactly where the hump is. Jody couldn’t stress enough to me the importance of practice, good electronics and general knowledge.
After quickly fishing a number of humps in the general vicinity of the dam, we motored over to one of Jody’s favorite humps on the north side of the Lanier Island golf course. Within a matter of minutes a 3-lb. spot had nailed Jody’s jerkbait.
“Get your bait in the water, there’s about 10 more with him,” said Jody. When Jody reeled the spot close to the boat I saw several other bass just boiling around their hooked friend. I tossed my Long-A to them and got an aggressive strike, but the jerkbait was quickly spit out. Once Jody unhooked his first spot he threw right back over the hump and in a matter of minutes another 3-pounder was flopping in the boat. Six pounds of Lanier spots in just a matter of minutes; I wasn’t complaining.
However, as quickly as it started it was over, at least the big bite. We spent the next several hours running from one hump to the next, and although the big fish had turned off, we caught about a dozen smaller bass using these jerkbaits and worms.
By late that afternoon the thunderheads started to rumble and we had to break from the fishing to eat a good supper at the Lanier Harbor Restaurant. As we sat around eating and waiting for the rains to subside, I asked him about night fishing on Lanier.
Jody told me that traditionally on Lanier, fishing lighted boat docks on a summer night has been a good way to catch fish. However, at the time we fished, the boat-dock bite had not turned on yet, but by the time you’re reading this the bite should be on. Jody’s main boat-dock pattern is to skip a Fluke under a lighted dock three or four times. “If this doesn’t produce a strike, or I miss one, I’ll quickly change over to skipping a jig under the dock,” said Jody.
Skipping a jig is something that not many anglers do, but it has become an important tool in Jody’s arsenal for spots. Jody prefers to use a 1/4-oz., Rootbeer/green/pepper-colored jig with a Zoom, double-tail trailer.
“The Zoom trailer is important because it’s easier to skip than most trailers,” said Jody.
However, even when the boat dock pattern arrives, this pattern won’t be Jody’s most efficient way to catch fish. He’ll be right back on the very same humps he fishes during the day. The only exception is that he’ll be throwing a dark-colored spinnerbait.
This spinnerbait pattern is the biggest key to winning tournaments for Jody and Trent. In fact, they have actually been generous enough to tell other anglers exactly how they are catching fish. “This pattern is something that really takes getting used to and many fishermen just don’t have the patience to stick with it long enough to get good at it,” said Jody. “Many fishermen will give up and go back to fishing a worm. I go for the big bite, and a spinnerbait is the way to do that.”
I learned first hand that this pattern is something that takes practice. “It’s a definite feel you have to get used to,” said Jody. “All you want to do is have those spinnerbait blades barely turning as you drag it through the brush.”
Jody’s primary spinnerbait is either a 5/8- or 3/4-oz. Georgia Blade with a No. 5 or No. 7 Colorado blade. He also adds a blue/purple/red pork trailer. He fishes the spinnerbait on a 7-foot baitcaster rigged with CXX 15-lb. test P-Line. Jody prefers this strong line because when a bass hits that spinnerbait after dark it’s usually a good one. “You could pull up the lake floor with that P-Line,” said Jody.
After dark Jody relies on his Lowrance GPS to help him find these brushy humps. One common problem that can occur for the nighttime fishermen is the difficulty of actually staying on these humps once you find them. Jody fixes this problem by tossing a lighted buoy on top of the hump. This allows him to actually work around the hump (buoy) without worrying about losing its location. After all, in the dark you can’t be looking at stationary objects to help you stay lined up on the hump like we did during daylight hours.
From Jody’s experience, the spinnerbait bite really doesn’t get fired up until about an hour after dark, but when it does you better hold on. We didn’t have our first hit until well after 10:00 p.m., but when the first fish hit, they all decided a spinnerbait looked appetizing.
Fishing several different humps in the vicinity of Young Deer and Baldridge creeks, Jody put four spots in the boat that totaled more than 12 pounds, including one 4-lb. chunk. I had still not had a strike but was busy trying to learn the exact feel for pulling the spinnerbait through the brush. Jody told me to reel just slow enough so the Colorado blades would barely turn.
The amount of time we spent fishing these humps with spinnerbaits was no different than fishing jerkbaits and worms earlier that afternoon. We only threw in the brush a few times apiece before heading a few hundred yards to the next hump.
“We’ve probably got knowledge of over 300 brushy areas like this on Lanier that we can fish,” said Jody. I was glad to hear that because I wasn’t letting him pull his boat out of the water until I caught a fish. Finally, at 2 a.m., I set the hook, and pulling a 3-lb. spot overboard made it worth the extra effort. Jody outcaught me six fish to one and Trent, who stayed for the entire fishing trip, put two nice 3-pounders in his boat. That’s nine fish at an average of three pounds apiece, not to mention all the little ones we caught earlier. See, I told you 30 pounds of spotted bass on Lanier was possible, you just have to work for it.
Whether you’re a tournament angler or somebody that just likes to fish, Jody’s techniques can help you catch bigger and better Lanier spots. Just remember not to get frustrated and give up too easily. Get a good lake map and begin trying to find some of Lanier’s humps with brush. The map in this article gives you a great place to start. These are 10 of Jody’s favorite humps with brush. Just start getting knowledgeable on Lanier, practice lining up on these points and with some good electronics you will be well on your way to running-and-gunning for Lanier spots.
Editors Note: The Lanier fishing segment with Jody Cordell appeared on the June 10, 1999 episode of GON-TV. It is available at GON’s YouTube channel.
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