Eufaula September Bass With Thad Crowley

Anglers can find good numbers of fish on the ledges, and some quality bass can be caught in the shallow grass.

Ronnie Garrison | August 27, 2021

September can be a mean month for catching bass, but at Lake Eufaula anglers can go to shallow grass for a few big fish, or they can go to deep ledges and points for numbers. And on the ledges, you can also get on a school of good bass, too.

Lake Walter F. George, known as Eufaula to most fishermen, has at times been a bass powerhouse, and that great bass fishing returned the past few years. Eufaula is at the top of its cycle and is consistently producing five-bass limits weighing 20 pounds in tournaments. Bassmaster Magazine rates Eufaula the 16th best bass lake in the Southeast this year, one place above Lake Seminole.

Miles of shoreline on the Chattahoochee River and the major creeks are lined with grassbeds, although the Corps of Engineers seems intent on killing it all. If it hasn’t been sprayed, lily pads, water willow, gator grass, water primrose and reeds all provide great feeding cover for young bass to grow. And older bass get fat on Eufaula.

The ledges at Eufaula are legendary, producing huge numbers of big bass over the years. Current encourages these deeper bass to feed, and fisherman have added thousands of brushpiles to supplement natural wood and rock cover. But the key feeding place on many ledges is a simple hard bottom surrounded by mud.

Thad Crowley grew up fishing Eufaula. He lives in Abbeville, Ala. not far from the lake and continues to fish it several days a week. His very first tournament was a youth event in Tom Mann’s ponds when he was just 7 years old.

Thad now fishes most pot tournaments on Eufaula, helps run several of them, and he fishes the River City Anglers, Extreme Bass, Reel Money and Fishers of Men trails. And Thad runs the Bass Cash Bass on Eufaula and the lower Coosa River lakes each year. That event runs from March 1 to July 4 each year and, if you buy a ticket and catch a tagged bass, Thad will bring you money!

When he’s not fishing, Thad runs the High Q screen printing shop in Abbeville and travels the Southeast to woodworking shows where he makes and sells custom items.

“There are always some shallow bass on Eufaula, and they are fun to catch,” Thad said.

The extensive grassbeds with lots of food in them mean you can catch some good fish any day of the year, and there are often quality bass eating bream in the grass in September. For the grass, Thad will have a frog, swim jig and buzzbait ready to fish. He also fishes a spinnerbait in some places.

Meanwhile, schools of fish out on the ledges are more consistent since they don’t move and change as fast as individual fish in the grass.

“Deep ledges and points are the place to catch numbers of fish since they school up on them in the summer,” Thad said.

For the ledges, a drop-shot worm will catch fish when nothing else will get bit, but a Carolina rig, big crankbait, heavy spinnerbait and shaky-head worm are more efficient if the fish will hit them.

Lake Eufaula has been on fire since early spring, producing great numbers of bass like this one caught by Thad Crowley, and also plenty of 4- and 5-pounders.

Thad showed me the following 10 locations in late July, and the surface temperature was 86 degrees. We fished the shallow grass for a couple hours and caught several bass, and then we went to the deeper spots and caught a bunch of fish. Water was being pulled and the deeper fish turned on, but we did not find the bigger ones deep.

The day after we fished, Thad came in second in a tournament out of Chewalla Marina with 13.33 pounds, and the next day he had three bass weighing 10.5 in a tourney where it took three weighing 15 to win. Eufaula is producing plenty of quality bass right now

No. 1: N 31º 52.927 – W 85º 07.812 — We put in at Chewalla Creek Marina before daylight and saw there was some current when we went under the bridges, but we decided to hit the shallow areas first. We came back to this spot a couple hours after sunrise and fish were feeding on it. Thad said we should have stopped at daylight since bigger fish might have been feeding early. Starting deep is often your best bet, even if fishing shallow is more fun.

Idle under the railroad trestle going downstream and stay even with the second piling out on the Alabama side. Watch your electronics—a hump comes up on the river ledge, rising from 30 feet deep to 14 feet on top. Thad likes to see fish on the bottom and baitfish around the hump. Stop on top of the hump with your boat in 14 feet of water and cast toward the bridge, letting your bait settle to the bottom 30 feet deep.

Work your baits up the drop with the current in a natural movement. Thad likes to start with a moving bait like a white and silver 1-oz. Ledgebuster spinnerbait, slow-rolling it a couple inches off the bottom.

He will also fish a big crankbait the same way, cranking it down and bumping bottom as deep as possible. Then follow up with a shaky head or Carolina rig. If Thad sees fish and can’t get them to hit anything else, he will go to a drop-shot rig. It will catch fish but seems to attract smaller fish.

Thad landed several fish here. He said usually the bigger bass on a ledge will hit first, but this year, for some reason, you may catch 20 small fish before a 5-pounder will hit. So it may be worth your time to have fun catching smaller fish while waiting on a big bite.

No. 2: N 31º 47.419 – W 85º 08.732 — Downstream past Barbour and Cheneyhatchee creeks, the channel swings in right against the Alabama bank upstream of White Oak Creek. A small unnamed creek enters here—it’s the last creek on the right going downstream before White Oak.

The upstream point of the small creek is flat and shallow but drops off on both sides. Thad says bass school on this point, pushing shad up on it from the creek channel on one side and the river channel on the other. He will get in close to the grass and fish it with a frog, buzzbait and swim jig while watching and listening for schooling fish out on the point.

You will be in about 4 feet of water, a long cast off the grass. Thad keeps a topwater walking bait and a rattle bait ready to cast to any surface activity he sees. A full-size shad-colored Zara Spook works well, as does a 1/2-oz. chrome/blue-back Rat-L-Trap. Keep them ready on all places for schooling activity this time of year.

No. 3: N 31º 49.819 – W 85º 09.776 — Go up Cheneyhatchee Creek and stop just downstream of the bridge. The old roadbed runs across the creek between the bridge near the powerline crossing, and the submerged old bridge holds fish. If you idle across the creek, you will see the creek drop from 15 feet deep down to 30 in the channel, and you’ll see and the bridge going across, with beams sticking up above the bottom.

Thad gets on the end of the bridge toward the boat ramp side, keeping his boat in about 15 feet of water, and he casts across the channel, running his baits over the top of the bridge. A deep-running crankbait like a lavender shad DD22N or a similar colored 7XD get down and bump the cover.

Follow up with a shaky head and a drop shot. Work both across the bridge, covering it from end to end. We caught about a dozen bass here and left them biting since our biggest was about 2 pounds. Thad said he got a 4-pounder here the week before we fished in a night tournament.

No. 4: N 31º 49.681 – W 85º 09.051 — Out on the downstream point of Cheneyhatchee Creek, there’s a good creek ledge that is straight out from an orange-roof house. The ledge drops from 15 to 25 feet deep and runs across the lake at a 90-degree angle to the current coming down the river, making it a great ambush point for bass.

Thad gets up on the ledge and casts upstream, working his bait back with the current. He starts with moving baits like the big crankbait and Ledgebuster spinnerbait, and then he slows down with a shaky head, Carolina rig and drop shot.

The key spots on this ledge are just hard places, not any cover of any kind. You can find the hard spots with electronics if you are good enough at reading them to determine hard from soft bottom. If not, drag a 3/4- to 1-oz. sinker 18 inches above a green-pumpkin Ol’ Monster worm on a Carolina rig to find them. That rig will entice any fishing holding on them, too.

No. 5: N 31º 50.644 – W 85º 08.959 — Go into the mouth of Barbour Creek to the old barge dock on the right not far from the upstream point. Stop just downstream of the barges and fish the grassbed from there out to the point at the cut at the Humminbird Point dock.

This grassbed is good because deep water is nearby, offering bass an easy escape to safety and cooler water after they feed. They are the kind of grassbeds that Thad looks to fish in September. Stay a short cast off the grass, and cast a killer-gill colored Spro Popping Frog, a buzzbait and a swim jig back into the grass and fish them out.

If the bites you get tend to be near the outer edge, concentrate there. Pay attention to the differences in the grassbed, and find the subtle things the bass are holding on. It might be a cut, a change in kinds of grass, the back or front edge—any change can be key.

No. 6: N 31º 51.571 – W 85º 08.235 — Running up toward the railroad bridge, the channel swings into the bank, and the bluff wall on the Alabama shore is clay. At the upper end of it some houses are up on the bluff. Stop out from where the clay ends and the houses are located, and idle across the river ledge on the opposite side from the bank.

Watch for any changes or cover on the ledge. Since the river channel turns here and goes toward Rabbit Island, current hits the drop and bass stack up on it to feed. Cast your moving baits, and then try a Carolina rig and shaky head.

Thad likes a 1/2-oz. Magnum Worm Head with a green-pumpkin Big Finesse Worm on it. He often dips the tails of this worm and other trailers and worms in chartreuse JJ’s Magic for added attraction. He drags it along the bottom with some shakes, especially if he hits cover.

No. 7: N 31º 53.435 – W 85º 07.953 — Just downstream of the Highway 82 causeway, even with the end of the rip-rap on the Georgia side, there is a flat called the “Table Top” that comes up to 15 feet deep. Bass stack up on it feeding on baitfish washed down by the current coming under the bridge and forming an eddy.

Ride over it scanning an area even with the end of the rip-rap and the first piling on that side. Thad likes to see fish on the drop or on top of the flat feeding before he fishes. But if you don’t feel confident enough to know when they are active, make a few casts to see.

Keep your boat in the channel even with the first piling and cast toward the Georgia side just downstream of the rip-rap. Run your moving baits across the flat to the edge and then let them drop down. Also fish your shaky head, Carolina rig and drop shot the same way. Move them slowly enough to keep in contact with the bottom as it drops.

Try fishing this place and others at different angles, too. Usually it is best to move your bait with the current, but sometimes the fish set up in an eddy you can’t see. Also remember that timing can be critical. You may fish a place like this without a bite but come back an hour late and catch a lot of fish.

No. 8. N 31º 53.495 – W 85º 07.928 — Go under the highway bridge and stop on the upstream point of the rip-rap on the right. The rip-rap forms a point with good rock on it, and current coming down the lake hits the rip-rap and runs down it.

A good current seam forms parallel with the end of the point and an eddy behind it offers a good holding area for bass. They hold in the eddy and ambush baitfish coming down with the current.

Stop even with the rocks and make long casts upstream with a crankbait and spinnerbait. Thad likes a DT6 in hot mustard and a white and silver 3/8-oz. Edgebuster spinnerbait here. After covering the end of the point, work up the rip-rap 150 yards, casting your baits ahead of you and running them parallel to the rip-rap. Current really helps the bite here, and some wind on it will make it better, too.

No. 9: N 31º 53.614 – W 85º 07.960 — Across the river, the corps office sits on the downstream point of Chewalla Creek. It has a steel bulkhead seawall around it and there is a flag in the yard. The river channel goes to the point before making a hard left turn.

Thad stops out from the wall even with the building and fishes the river ledge where it drops into the channel. Unlike other places, he likes to sit deep and cast shallow here. Keep your boat in 30 feet of water and cast toward the building into 15 feet of water. You will be well off the seawall, casting to the drop, not the bank.

This is a good place to slow-roll a 1-oz. silver-and-white Ledgebuster spinnerbait along the bottom. Let it settle then reel it just fast enough to keep the blades turning and the bait off the bottom. You have to fish it very slow to follow the drop of the bottom.

Follow up with your shaky head and Carolina rig. Fish both slowly enough to stay in contact with the bottom out to 25 feet deep.

No. 10. N 31º 53.740 – W 85º 07.789 — The upstream point of Chewalla Creek has a good grassbed around it and there is brush out on it deeper on the drops to fish. Start on the river side of the point where there are some rocks in the grass and fish around the point about 100 feet into the creek side.

Cast a frog, a white 3/8-oz. RCC Lures swim jig with a white Paca Craw trailer and a buzzbait into the grass and fish them out. Thad likes a Big Bite Baits 1/4-oz. buzzbait, and he puts a Cane Thumper swimbait on it.

After fishing the grass, look for brush down 10 to 25 feet deep on the drops on both sides of the point.

There is an old state brushpile here, and fishermen have added to it. Work your shaky head and Carolina rig through the brush.

A few weeks ago there were a lot of keeper-sized fish on these spots. Big fish hold on them, too. Check them out, and there are also many similar places to fish on Eufaula.


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