Seminole Explosive Topwater In November

Lake Seminole grass is hot during the late fall. Here's a map with 10 GPS locations.

Ronnie Garrison | November 1, 2008

This is a great time for action around Seminole’s grassbeds. Guide and tournament angler Mike Prindle is pictured with a bass from spot No. 8 on the map.

Already dreaming about the explosive topwater strikes you had during the summer and wishing bass were still hitting on top? That excitement is not necessarily over for the year. Head down to Lake Seminole where bass are blowing up on frogs around the hydrilla and will be on that pattern most of November. Seminole is hot this year with lots of chunky 3- to 5-lb. bass actively feeding in the shallow water right now.

Seminole is far enough south that the water stays much warmer than most other lakes in the state. Formed by the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers and fed by Spring Creek, it offers a variety of water clarity, cover and structure.

Seminole is a 37,500-acre Corps of Engineers lake that was filled in the 1950s. It is famous for its bass fishing and is full of grassbeds, standing timber, stump fields, flats and creek and river channels. It has more “fishy” looking water than most other lakes, but that can make it hard to pattern. Anywhere you look seems like a good place to catch a bass.

Mike Prindle moved to Lake Seminole near Wingate’s Lunker Lodge four years ago. He had a job opportunity that allowed him to pick a place to live, and he chose to live on Seminole because of the great fishing. The first time he saw the lake he fell in love with it. He spent many hours learning the lake and now guides out of Wingate’s. Mike also fishes several of the local pot tournaments and has done well on the BFL and other tournaments there. He was one of the founding members of the Hydrilla Gnats, a local bass club that holds most of its tournaments on Seminole.

Mike’s catches at Seminole would make any bass fisherman proud. Last year he landed 16 bass over 10 pounds each. His best five fish in a tournament pulled the scales down to 27.04 pounds, and he once caught five shoal bass weighing 24 pounds.

“Cooler water coming down the rivers in October moves the fish shallow around the grass,” Mike said.

He expects to find large numbers of quality fish schooling up around grassbeds near deeper water where they spent the summer. They are aggressive and feed heavily most days, offering you a good chance to catch large numbers of fish.

Early each morning, Mike starts with topwater baits, and he likes a Culprit frog fished over and through the abundant grassbeds. As long as the bass keep hitting, Mike will keep throwing the frog, and that bite may last all day on cloudy or windy days. He will work a frog with a Deep South rod and Revo reel spooled with 60-lb. Power Pro Braid. He fishes the frog fast, working it over the hydrilla mats near drops.

When the bass stop hitting on top, Mike switches to a lipless crankbait like the Xcaliber XR 50 or XR 75. He chooses the size based on the size bait- fish the bass are eating, so it is important to pay attention to any shad you see. If you don’t know which size to fish, try both until the fish let you know. Mike fishes these baits on a Deep South Rippin’ Rod he helped design and spools his reel with 50-lb. Power Pro. If the bass are not active and want a slower bait, Mike will throw an Ol Nelle spinnerbait and fish it over the grass. He uses the same rod and reel as with the lipless bait and says you need a heavy rod and braided line to get fish out of the grass.

As the grass dies off and the mats on top disappear, you can still fish a frog over them, but ripping a lipless crankbait through them becomes more and more effective. If a cold front puts the bass deep in the cover, Mike flips a jig ’n pig into holes in the grass.

Mike showed me his patterns and marked the following holes in October. The bass were just beginning to move up after the first cool weather, and they will be strong on these locations now. Mike concentrates on the Flint River side since he guides out of Wingate’s, but he catches bass on this same pattern up the Chattahoochee River.

No. 1: N 30° 47.473 – W 84° 40.234 — Just downstream of the creek with Faceville Landing in it, the river makes a slight bend to the right headed downstream, and several small creeks enter the river. There are several islands between the creeks and main channel, and the river side has good grassbeds. There is deep water here, and the grass forms a wall with some scattered clumps out from it.

This is a good place to start in the morning. Mike usually runs up past the last gap between the creeks and river and starts working downstream, throwing his frog up onto any grass mats still on top and working it back. He moves the frog fast looking for a reaction bite, which often comes right at the edge of  the grass.

Fish this line of grass for several hundred yards. If you catch a fish, concentrate on that area. Bass are schooled up pretty well right now, so you should catch several where one hits. If you go through an area where you get several bites, it is a good idea to turn and go back over it again.

No. 2: N 30° 47.338 – W 84° 41.909 — Just downstream, across the river where the channel swings to the north, you will see some stumps sticking up way off the bank. One of them was marked with a white PVC pipe when we were there, and several more stuck above the water with the lake down about a foot. This timber is along a ditch that runs parallel to the river channel. There is a good grassbed on the ridge between the river and ditch and more on the bank side of the ditch.

Mike especially likes places like this one. During the flood of 1994, the current washed out ditches on some of the flats, and they make excellent places for bass to hold and feed. The bass can come up the ditch and feed on either side of it or stay in the river and feed on that side. Mike usually fishes up the ditch since there is a lot of grass on both sides.

Work it early with a frog, then switch to a lipless crankbait and work over and through the grass. When the bait hangs up in the grass, rip it free to draw a reaction strike. Key on little points and cuts in the grass with all your baits. Hit anything that looks a little different. Fish all the way to where the ditch rejoins the main river.

No. 3: N 30° 46.977 – W 84° 43.755 — Run down to where the river channel makes a big swing to the right near channel marker 13.5, and you will see a small island. Go in behind it, and you will be on a big hydrilla flat that runs all the way past Wingate’s. Bass will hold all over this flat, but there are key areas. The first is a point that runs out from the small island toward the bank. You will be just upstream of the first houses you can see on the bank.

Keep your boat out in deeper water off the grass, and cast up on top of it, hitting anything that makes a change. Try frogs and lipless crankbaits, but also run a spinnerbait over the grass. You can fish it slower than the other baits and let it fall into holes in the grass. Try to match your blades to the size baitfish the bass are feeding on.

No. 4: N 30° 46.678 – W 84° 44.445 — You can fish all the way to this spot, or you can idle down to it. Another long point of hydrilla runs out toward the river across the flat out from a brick house. You will see a post or two marking the channel in to the little creek where there are houses. Start on the upstream side of the point, upstream of the post, and work all the grass in the area. Mike says current coming down the river hits these grass points and moves baitfish across them, creating a good feeding opportunity for bass. On one of his best days in this area he caught five bass weighing 25 pounds in 15 minutes. You can load the boat in a hurry in this area.

No. 5: N 30o 45.957 – W 84o 45.845 — Head downstream past Wingate’s, and you will see some houses on the bank. Just out from the seventh one, a white house with a tin roof, another of the flood ditches runs parallel to the bank. The ditch is about 10 feet deep, and there is grass on both sides of it to fish. Start fishing where the ditch opens off the river, and stay in the ditch. Work it until the grass gets solid or you get back to the river channel. Spots like this one, where the ditches offer multiple grass edges, are best. Mike will work a topwater frog until the water temperature falls below 68 degrees. Then, he concentrates on the spinnerbait and lipless crankbait, but it is worth a few casts to see if bass are feeding on top. As the grass dies off, the mats are harder to find, but any you find are worth a few casts.

No. 6. N 30o 45.918 – W 84o 47.996 — Be very careful any time you get out of the marked channels, especially if you don’t know the lake. But at green channel marker 7.5, you can run across to the opposite side of the river to the islands and grass between the Flint River and Spring Creek. Watch as you go across because a big field of standing timber will be just down- stream of where you go across.

Stop way off the bank as soon as you start seeing hydrilla, about 75 yards off the stumps between the river channel and the bank. Beds of grass run way off the bank here. Start working them as soon as you hit them, and fish downstream. Fish all your baits here.

Mike uses shad-colored lipless baits in clear water and red or char- treuse in stained to muddy water. In clearer water he likes colors like copper perch and citrus shad. Red is a very good color in stained water this time of year. Depending on the amount of rain up the river, the water can range from very clear to very muddy. It will be muddier up the river and clearer the farther down you go as the grass filters out some of the mud. The Spring Creek water entering makes for clearer water farther downstream.

No. 7: N 30° 45.993 – W 84° 48.621 — You can fish all along here or idle down to the first gap where the solid bank ends and the series of islands starts between Spring Creek and the Flint River. There is a hump here between two washout ditches with a lot of submerged hydrilla around it. You can see the grass under the water if the sun is out and the water is not too stained. You will feel it as you work your lipless crankbait or spinnerbait over it. Fish all along this grass. Some wind blowing across it helps stir up the baitfish and break up the water surface, making your artificials look more like the real thing. Here and in all other spots, look for schools of shad on your depthfinder or near the surface. Concentrate on areas with baitfish.

No. 8: N 30° 46.041 – W 84° 48.987 — Downstream you will see an island surrounded by hydrilla with a sign on a post on the downstream side of it. The sign marks the boundary of the waterfowl refuge, and this is an excellent area to fish. Mike and I caught seven or eight bass here the day we fished. Start out from the sign, and work downstream. There is a good wall of hydrilla that stops in a sheer drop, and then there are sparse clumps of hydrilla out from it. Bass will feed up in the grass then move out to the wall to hold and feed. Mike said he often catches bigger bass holding out in the deeper water around the clumps that are set off from the thicker bed. Fish across the tops of mats and over submerged hydrilla. Work your lipless crankbait along the edge and through the clumps. Cover the entire area, hitting anything that is different.

No. 9: N 30° 45.376 – W 84° 51.208 — As you go downstream, you will see the red channel markers come toward the mouth of Spring Creek where it turns in that direction. About even with red marker 7.7 there is a small island on the creek side, about even with the mouth of Fish Pond Drain. Just upstream of this island a 14- foot-deep hole in the flat has two ditch- es feeding off it, one going toward Spring Creek and one going toward the river. A good grassbed runs along the one going toward the river. Fish along it, working the grass with all your baits.

No. 10: N 30° 43.121 – W 84° 51.576 — Go out to the river channel, and head toward the dam. After you go around the bend, you will see an open area on the bank and a campground just upstream of the Corps of Engineers offices. Go toward the campground, staying way out. White poles mark a shallow roadbed or ridge running parallel to the bank, so stay out away from it. After you pass the poles and get even with the campground, you will see hydrilla. This huge flat was crossed by service roads and holes were dug for fill dirt when the dam was being built. It is a good place to catch November bass. Out from the campground you can stop in 22 feet of water, and the bottom will come up to 5 feet deep way off the bank. There are grass lines and clumps to fish here. Work them like the others. Mike said shad congregate here in the fall, so watch for them and concentrate where you find the baitfish.

Seminole is an excellent lake this time of year. Call Wingate’s at (229) 246-0658 to set up a guided trip with Mike and for a place to stay while visiting this great lake.

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