Deeper Can Be Better For April Bass On Lake Eufaula

10 GPS locations to set your April pattern for Lake Eufaula bass.

Ronnie Garrison | March 30, 2023

While many Eufaula anglers are plying the grassbeds and shallow structure in April, Steve “Graz” Graziano prefers to fish the deeper ditches and ledges.

April at Eufaula usually means shallow bass in grass, but there is an even better pattern. Get off the bank away from the crowds and catch postspawn bass already stacking up  before moving to their summer holes.

Lake Walter F. George, called Eufaula by most fishermen, is a big U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake on the Chattahoochee River south of Columbus. Much of its shoreline is shallow with grassbeds, docks and cypress trees. The river and creek channels wind through the flats and are joined by multiple ditches, making ledges where bass can feed shallow and then move deeper to hold until the next feeding spree.

Steve “Graz” Graziano was born in the hospital at Ft. Benning and grew up fishing the river and lakes around Columbus. He often fished with Jack Tibbs, and they learned the secrets of catching bass together.

“Graz” as he prefers to be called, managed the Radio Shack in Columbus and fished many local tournaments as a boater and some big trail tournaments as a no-boater. After retirement he moved to Phenix City, and he started guiding on Eufaula four years ago.

When not guiding, Graz fishes local tournaments like the Chewalla Marina weekly tournaments. He likes teaching folks about catching bass and sees his job as entertaining clients with humor and a good time on the water.

“I look for the bass kitchens and dining rooms,” Graz said.

To keep with  his allegory, he does not get in line with those beating the bank—what he calls “bedroom and nursery.” Graz stays out deeper where the bass are holding and feeding.

Like for us, the kitchen and dining room will contain food we like, so Graz looks for baitfish that will attract bass. But he wants to be near the den and living room where the bass rest when not feeding. Bass, like us, want a short, easy trip to the feeding area.

Channel swings that meet flats are typically the kinds of places he wants to fish. In April, they will usually be near the spawning areas. Good electronics with a map can highlight different depths and will point you to the right kind of places, and the sonar will help you find the ones with baitfish.

Something else good electronics will show you are bream beds. Bass definitely see bream bed areas as dining rooms. Bass hold on the edges of bream beds and feed on bluegill and other sunfish that are on the beds.

 With the warm weather in early March this year, many bass will be postspawn now, especially after the full moon the week of April 6. Give the bass a week or so after the spawn, and the spawned females will again be ravenous. There will also be a few prespawn fish still holding in the same areas most of April.

Moving baits are Graz’s first choice, so he will have a couple of crankbaits, a lipless plug and a spinnerbait tied on to fish fast. When he wants to slow down, he picks up a shaky head, jig and Carolina rig.

We fished the following spots in early March, the Monday after the BASS Open. We found several areas of bream beds, especially on hole No. 4, and they looked active. And we caught some bass on the bream beds. The surface temperature that afternoon was 72 degrees, and it was the week of the March full moon.

No. 1: N 31º 58.555 – W 85º 06.579 — Going out of the gas dock bay at Lake Point, the first green channel marker is on a leaning pole with an osprey nest on it. There used to be a toilet seat nailed on top of it, so it is called the “Toilet Bowl” hole.

This is a good example of the kind of place Graz likes in April. The pole is on the edge of the Cowikee Creek Channel and it bends here. A big flat runs to the highway causeway where bass spawn and there is a small point on the edge of the flat downstream of the pole. And the point has a slight rise, creating a small hump here.

Bass hold in the channel and move up on the hump and point to feed. Graz likes to position his boat downstream of the hump in the channel about 20 to 25 feet of water and cast across the hump, bumping bottom on top of the hump about 12 feet deep.

Any current coming down the creek really helps here and on other places. There is some brush here, but Graz says brush is overrated—he prefers hard bottoms of clay or a shell bed. Bump the bottom with a crankbait like a Spro Outside Crank DD 80 in shad colors. If the water has a little stain, he likes some chartreuse in it.

Follow up with your rattlebait, pumping it off the bottom, and also try a spinnerbait like a 1-oz. Ledgebuster slow-rolled on the bottom. Then try your slower-moving baits. Try different angles to see if there is a key direction the day you are fishing.

No. 2: N 31º 58.521 – W 85º 06.404 — Go across to the big island, and watch for a point of cypress trees that runs out off the island. Watch your electronics—the channel swings near this point and makes a sharp bend. The flat running up to the point has a hard bottom, and there were bream beds on it when we fished.

Stay out in 20 to 25 feet of water in the channel, and make long casts toward the cypress tree point. The channel edge is the best. There is a big flat downstream of the point. Bring your crankbaits and other baits across the flat and down the edge.

Graz keeps two crankbaits rigged, each a slightly different color, and one that will dig a little deeper. Right now he is testing out the Yo-Zuri Hardcore Series Bullet Crank 7+ and says it digs deep fast. Switch between your crankbait as the depth requires, and follow up with your other baits.

No. 3: N 31º 58.598 – W 85º 06.360 — Go toward the lodge at the state park, and there is another clump of cypress trees well off the bank on your right. They mark a point that comes out on the other side of the channel swing and a ditch coming off the bank joins the channel. This junction makes a good “den” for the bass to hold and move up a short distance to feed.

Keep your boat in the deep water and make long casts toward the bank. A curved ledge runs from the point at hole No. 2 to this one way out from the bank. It is worth fishing along this ledge—there are stumps that hold bedding bass as well as prespawn and postspawn bass feeding. You want to cover water 10 to 14 feet deep.

Run your crankbaits along here, but be sure to try a Carolina rig, too. Graz rigs a long 6-foot leader behind a 1-oz. sinker and ties on a light-wire 2/0 hook. He wants his bait to sink slowly. A green-pumpkin or pepper-green Zoom Magnum Ultra Craw is his choice for the C rig.

Graz lets his sinker hit bottom and  pauses, letting the craw slowly sink. He then pulls his sinker a foot or so sharply. That makes the craw flutter and wiggle and then fall again, an action bass love.

This spot and the first two hold lots of released bass. Bass released in tournaments at the marina move out to all three of these holes, and the population of bass in this area is higher than anywhere else on the lake.

No. 4: N 31º 58.363 – W 85º 06.566 — Going downstream, Cowikee Creek is marked by poles with red and green signs on them. Just before the channel makes the first hard left turn, a green marker sits just off a cypress tree island. Stop on the next point of cypress trees on the island.

This is another channel swing point with a hard-bottom flat. This flat was covered with bream beds when we fished, and a close examination of the side scan showed bream on some of the beds and a few bass scattered around the beds. We hooked several fish here.

Stay out in the channel in 20 feet of water, and cast all your baits across the point. Graz says the beds will be in 12 to 14 feet of water. Digging a crankbait in a bream bed is a great way to get bit. Dragging plastic baits like a Carolina rig, shaky head and jig also works well.

Since he likes to fish deeper water most of the time, Graz likes a 1/2- to 3/4-oz. shaky head to get his bait to the bottom fast. He puts a green-pumpkin Magnum Trick Worm or Big Bite Baits Big Finesse Worm on his shaky head and often dips the tail in chartreuse dip and dye.

Drag the shaky head along a foot or so and then hop it off the bottom. Bass often react to a quick movement of a bait if it looks like it is food escaping.

No. 5: N 31º 58.150 – W 85º 06.301 — Going downstream, the channel markers go back across to the big island. Look carefully and you will see a red marker way off the island and another close to the island. A green marker was knocked over by a houseboat, according to Graz, so one is missing. Graz calls this the “no pole hole.”

The missing pole was on the upstream ledge of the channel as it goes across from the bank to the island. Idle around about halfway between the two red markers, you may be able to locate the old pole under the water. You are looking for the ledge in 12 to 14 feet of water on a small bend in the channel.

Sit out in 20 feet of water and cast up to 12 feet, working all your baits across the edge of the flat and over the lip of the channel.  There is some trash here but the hard bottom is key. When there is not a lot of wood, Graz likes to yo-yo off the bottom a lipless rattlebait, like a 3/4- to 1-oz. in shad color.

A big bait gets bigger bites. Let it hit bottom, jerk it 2 to 3 feet off the bottom, and then let it fall back on a tight line. Be ready to set the hook as the bait falls.

No. 6: N 31º 57.963 – W 85º 05.582 — Going out of the creek, the last red marker pole before you make the last hard tight turn has a built platform for an osprey nest, and there is a small nest on it.  The Cowikee Creek channel makes a sharp turn here and the ledge downstream of the marker is good.

Graz calls this the “Russell County Hole” since a tournament sponsored by Russell County was won here.  A ditch enters the creek channel from the north and creates a good point that is a little different than the rest of the ledge.

Start near the red marker pole and fish the ledge downstream, staying in the channel and casting up to the top of the shallow ledge.  Your boat should be in 25 feet of water and you want to hit bottom 12 to 14 feet deep.

Bump bottom with all your moving baits then drag plastics and jig across it. You can feel the hard bottom with your jig or Carolina rig lead. Graz prefers a tungsten sinker since he says it gives him better feel of the bottom.

Here and at all other places some current moving across the ledge is very helpful and some wind ruffling the water helps, too. Current positions the fish and makes them feed, while some wind breaks the water’s surface and makes it harder for the bass to tell your baits are artificial.

No. 7: N 31º 57.605 – W 85º 05.228 — The downstream point of Cowikee Creek has a channel bend on the creek side, and the river channel bends in on the river side, making a narrow point with a hard bottom. It holds a lot of bass year-round since they have two channels and a big flat downstream to move up to feed, with rocks and some brush for cover.

Graz likes to keep his boat in the creek channel and fish across the point, working from near the bank out to the end of the point in 30 feet of water. This gives you at least 50 yards of point to cover.  Run all your baits across the top of the point and down the channel side.

No. 8: N 31º 57.335 – W 85º 05.149 — Go out past the first channel marker and look down the river on the Alabama side. When you see a cell tower in the distance, line it up with the tallest tree on the bank near it. You should be almost even with the end of the downstream point of Cowikee Creek. Be careful—it is very shallow out here. There is a sandbar running downstream that is only a couple feet deep on top. You want to stop out on the end of it in 35 feet of water where it runs into the channel and fish the end of it.

Graz calls this the “Graz” hole since he won many Chewalla Creek Marina tournaments here before bent pole fishermen covered it up, but he still catches fish here. Sit on the end of the sandbar and fan-cast all your baits to cover the deeper water on both sides and the top.

No. 9: N 31º 56.723 – W 85º 04.925 – Go toward the Georgia bank and line up the black channel marker toward the Alabama bank behind you with the next one ahead of you.

A little more than halfway to the one on the Georgia side, study your electronics. A good map will show a rise on the downstream side of the river channel that sticks out into the channel a little. It is 15 feet deep on top and drops fast into 25 to 30 feet deep, and that’s where you want to sit.

Graz calls this spot “Wagon Wheel” due to the eddies caused by the small point and rise. Current swirls around it, making it a great ambush place for bass to feed. Cover all sides and the top of the rise to find where bass are set up to feed.

No. 10: N 31º 56.437 – W 85º 04.808 — Near the Georgia bank, the channel makes a sharp turn downstream. Three green channel markers close together outline the channel turn. Idle just downstream of them and watch for humps on the ledge 12 to 14 feet deep, there are three or four of them.

Set up downstream of any current with your boat in 35 feet of water and fan cast the tops of the humps with all your baits. A jig ’n pig is always a good choice. Graz likes a 3/4- to 1-oz. football jig with a ZCraw trailer. Crawl it along the bottom and then hop it to imitate a crayfish.

Rather than beating the banks in April, try deeper holes and patterns to find schools of bass. For a guide trip with Steve Graziano, call 706.593.4192.

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  1. Joshua Cole on April 23, 2023 at 1:14 am

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