Find Bream To Find Shallow Sinclair Bass

UGA angler Bo Larkins marks a map with 10 locations. He keys on areas with bream and rolling buzzbaits in the grass.

Ronnie Garrison | July 3, 2014

July is not a favorite month for most bass fishermen. Water and air temperatures are hot, and that makes most bass move deep. Fishing can be a sweaty frustration during the day, and many anlgers just don’t like to cast at night. But you can catch bass in July, especially at Lake Sinclair.

Sinclair is a 15,330-acre Georgia Power Co. lake on the Oconee River immediately below Lake Oconee. Sinclair is lined with docks and has a lot of water-willow grassbeds in the shallows. Generation and pumpback at the Oconee dam upstream, as well as water being taken into the steam power plant from Little River and released into Beaverdam Creek, keeps current moving.

Known for its “Sinclair Keepers,” 12- to 14-inch largemouth, quality fish might be hard to find. They are there. In tournaments there are a lot of limits weighing less than 10 pounds, but there are also some weighing 15 to 20 pounds. And 6- to 7-lb. bass are often the big fish in a tournament.

Bo Larkins grew up in Watkinsville and started tournament fishing in middle school. He recently graduated from the University of Georgia where he is on the college fishing team until the end of this season. Bo loves to catch Sinclair bass. He plans on fishing some of the trails next year like the BFLs and Berry’s tournaments.

“I like fishing shallow water, and you can catch Sinclair bass very shallow even in July,” Bo said.

The key is to find bream beds or bream-holding cover, and the bass will be nearby feeding on them. Water-willow beds, wood cover in the coves and docks are all good.

Bo will have a variety of baits rigged and ready for fishing Sinclair this month, but his go-to baits are a War Eagle buzzbait, a Texas-rigged Wackem Goliath worm and a Hack Attack flipping jig with a Rage Tail trailer. But he will also have a prop topwater bait, a jig-head worm, a big crankbait and a football-head jig ready to fish if the conditions call for changing.

“If the bream are bedding, I key on the backs of coves where they are concentrated,” Bo said.

Bass will hit a buzzbait fished slowly around the bedding areas all day long. Bo likes the War Eagle 3/8- to 1/2-oz. buzzbait with a white skirt. He says the War Eagle is his favorite because the big blade allows him to fish it very slowly.

The big worm is good for docks and wood cover like blowdowns. Bo rigs it behind a 1/2-oz. sinker for flipping docks and blowdowns. The big worm is the key to catching bigger bass. He also flips or pitches a 1/2-oz. jig with a Rage Craw trailer in the same areas.

Bo took me to Sinclair on a very hot, sunny day in mid-June, and he proved his point about buzzbaits by catching a 7-lb.-plus largemouth from 3 feet of water in a cove. The sun was bright, and it was 11 a.m. The day before he caught several bass in the 3- to 5-lb. range doing the same thing.

The following 10 spots will give you a variety of options this month, from shallow bream-filled areas to docks and deeper water holes.

No. 1: N 33º 11.086 – W 83º 18.742 — If you put in at Dennis Station, you don’t need to go far. The two pockets and bank across from the ramps have shallow grassbeds and wood cover where the fish feed. And there are a lot of “recycled” fish here released from tournaments.

Bo usually starts on the downstream point of the second pocket going out, near the double tree right on the edge of the water. He works into the creek. This is a good method in all creeks—start near the mouth, and work back until you find where the fish are feeding.

He will fish a buzzbait on the banks and into and around both pockets. This bank gets shade most of the early morning making it even better. Fish the buzzbait as slowly as you can to keep it on top of the water. Bo says if it is leaving a bubble trail, conditions are even better for the buzzbait.

Also pitch or flip a big worm or jig ’n pig to all the wood cover in the area. Work the wood carefully, pulling the baits up and over limbs and letting them fall to the bottom. Try to hit every limb on a blowdown and all parts of a log or limb in the water.

No. 2: N 33º 10.988 – W 83º 19.038 — Start up Little River, and there is a point on the upstream side of the Dennis Station creek that has a pine blowdown near the upstream side. As you round the point, the water drops off fast. The river channel swings into the cove and comes back out right along the bank.

You will see two old dock posts off the bank, and there are grassbeds along the bank. There is some brush around the post. The grass does not grow very deep, but bass run shallow into it to feed. Start just downstream of the dock posts, and keep your boat in 20 to 25 feet of water while casting to the bank with a buzzbait.

Also drag a football-head jig or jig-head worm along the bottom from the grass out to 20 feet of water. Bass hold along the bottom as it drops. A 1/2-oz. PB&Y-colored worm with a Wackem Big Tater Bug trailer in green pumpkin is Bo’s choice. He drags it along rather than hopping it. For the shaky head, try a 1/8- to 1/4-oz. head with a Wackem Sissy Tail worm.

No. 3: N 33º 11.007 – W 83º 19.449 — As you leave the point at hole No. 2, the river makes a hard turn to the left, and there is a creek straight ahead. Go into the right arm of the creek, and stop back at the seawall on the right side. Fish all the way around the back of this pocket out about halfway on the other side.

This pocket is a good bream bedding area and has lots of grass and wood cover, as well as some docks to fish. If you are not getting bites in the sun, flip or pitch a big worm or jig ’n pig as far under the docks in the shade as you can. Bass will move to the shade to hold and will hit a bait put in front of them.

No. 4: N 32º 10.890 – W 83º 19.708 —
Go almost to the back of the arm of this creek. Stop on the first grass bed on your right, and fish around this cove to the ditch on the far side past the seawall and a new boat dock located there.

Fish the grass, wood and docks here. Bo got a solid keeper on the buzzbait on the sunny side near the ditch. There were mayflies everywhere back in this arm, and there will be some mayflies hatching even in July. If you see mayflies with bream feeding on them, that is an excellent area for the buzzbait or a prop bait like the Brian’s Bee or Lucky Craft Kelly J. If the water is slick, the prop baits seem to work better than the buzzbait.

No. 5: N 33º 10.163 – W 83º 19.039 — Head up Little River, and it will make a hard turn to the right. There is a small creek on your left that is just downstream of a bigger creek that has rip-rap in the back. On the upstream point of the smaller creek is a flagpole that had a U.S. flag on it the day we fished.

Stop out in the mouth of this small creek even with the flag pole and the downstream point of the creek. A long shallow point comes off the bank and there is a hump just about in the middle of the creek. It is the kind of place Bo likes if he fishes deeper water.

There are rocks on this point and hump to hold bass, and some current running across it helps a lot. Bo will sit on the river side of the hump and point in about 28 feet of water and cast a DT 16 in citrus shad or shad color up on top of it and fish it over the drop.

A football jig or big worm dragged along the bottom are also good here. Work from the deeper end of the point toward the bank. There are more rocks as you get closer to the bank, and fish will move to them better when current is moving.

No. 6: N 33º 10.450 – W 83º 19.362 — On the right bank just above the mouth of the creek with the rip-rap on the other side of the river is a big double light beige dock with three big lights on the river side of it right on the water. The bank just upstream of it and downstream past the dock around the small pocket is a good place to try your buzzbait.

Bo likes to fish at night and this dock is usually well lighted. There is brush in front of it that attracts fish, too. Day or night fish the rocks on the bank and the brush with your big worm. At night Bo likes to hit every dock post with a jig and pig, too. He says don’t miss the walkway post all the way to the bank. He often catches bass off the most shallow posts.

No. 7: N 33º 10.900 – W 83º 18.091 —
Run back down the river past Dennis Station, and stop on the right bank under the powerlines that cross Little River. The bank where they come out drops off fast and has rocks on it. There is also a dock and some grass here to fish.

Fish from the upstream end of the point to the dock toward the downstream side. Try topwater, but also bump the rocks with a shaky head or football head jig. There are rip-rap type rocks as well as some bigger ones here that hold the fish. Flip the dock with your big worm and jig and pig.

No. 8: N 33º 11.438 – W 83º 17.330 —
Go under the Highway 441 Bridge and the public fishing pier is on your left on the first point. The downstream point of the cove there is shallow on the upstream side, but the downstream side goes into a small pocket and drops off fast. Fish the rocks on the downstream side and the grass going into the pocket.

Use your topwater baits along the point and into the pocket, casting right to the bank. Also try a football-head jig, fishing it from a couple of feet deep out to 15 feet deep. Also try a jig-head worm the same way.

Current will hit this point flowing both ways, from the intake at the power plant pulling water upstream and a strong current in the Oconee River backing water up the Little River. It will flow downstream when pumpback is running at the Oconee dam and when power is being released at the Sinclair dam. Current moving both ways makes this spot much better.

No. 9: N 33º 11.441 – W 33º 15.922 — Go downstream past the mouth of the Oconee River. On the right side you will see a small island and the left bank across from it has the GPC Primitive Campground in a big bay. On the upstream point of this bay is a long point that runs downstream, parallel with the river. There is a wood seawall around the point and a flagpole is on the point. There was no flag on it the day we fished.

This point drops off fast on the river side but is flatter on the bay side. Bo stops out on the end of the point where it tops out about 20 feet deep during the day and works up the deep side, casting a football jig up to the flat side. Work the jig over the point and then down the steeper drop. There are rocks and scattered brushpiles on the point and drop.

Early in the morning start fishing with your buzzbait near the bank and work out the point toward deeper water. Cover the point out to about 12 feet deep with the buzzbait and a prop bait.

No. 10: N 33º 11.299 – W 83º 15.893 —
Go over to the small island on the other side of the river, and stop out from the upstream side of it. A point runs out a short distance from this end and drops off fast. Sit in 40 feet or more of water, and cast a big worm or football-head jig up on the island point, and work them out. There are rocks and brush to fish here, and current stacks bass on this point. Bass suspend off the point in slack water but come to the rocks and brush to feed when the current is moving. You will catch bigger bass on the bigger baits, but for numbers, or if you just need a fish to fill your limit, try a jig-head worm.

In mid-June, Bo and I caught bass on several of these places, and bass will feed at them all month long. Give these holes and similar places a try, and you will catch bass this month.

If you or someone you know attends UGA and likes to fish, check out the competition bass-fishing team on Twitter @UGABassAnglers.

Editor’s Note: Twenty years of Ronnie Garrison’s popular Map-of-the-Month articles are being compiled and published in digital eBook format. The first collections for Lanier and Clarks Hill are now available at

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