Juliette Bass In The Fall Grass

The grassbeds on Juliette attract hungry bass in October.

Ronnie Garrison | September 28, 2003

Lake Juliette is hard to beat for October bass. It is a pretty, 3,600-acre Georgia Power Co. lake between Macon and Atlanta, just east of Forsyth and I-75. The water is clear and full of grass, and the bass move into it in shallow water this month to feed. The action can be fast, and the size of the bass may surprise you.

The extremely clear water at Juliette is due to the limited inflow of water. Georgia Power fills the lake by pumping water from the Ocmulgee River, so the water stays clear year round. This allows aquatic plants to grow to surprising depths, and it gives the bass lots of places to hide. The grass also seems to offer baitfish lots of food, and the bass eat them and grow big. Before you go, thereʼs a 25 hp restriction on motors that can be cranked and run. You can use bigger boats in Juliette with larger-sized motors, but you canʼt crank them. Bring a strong trolling motor.

This year seems especially good for big fish. In the local monthly tournaments several 9-pounders and one over 10 have been weighed in. In the August tournament on a hot, calm day there were five or six brought to the scales that weighed over five pounds, and two weighed 6 1/2 pounds.

Greg Putnal and his partner Buddy Morris won that late August tournament with five bass weighing 19 1/2 pounds, and they had the big fish with a 6.54-pounder. The second biggest bass was one that weighed 6.52 pounds. There were several teams with weights in the 10-lb. range that day.

That is a great catch on any lake, especially in August, but similar catches are often made in the tournaments that Greg helps run. Greg and Buddy lead the trail this year with 42 bass weighing a total weight of 131 pounds, better than a 3-lb. average. And that is in 10 tournaments with a five-bass limit. They won the trail last year and will be hard to beat with only one tournament remaining this year.

Hereʼs a bass that Greg Putnal caught on September 16 while fishing with the author. The bass was caught at hole No. 10 and came to the boat covered in grass.

Greg grew up in the Macon area and has fished Juliette since it was first filled. He loves to fish it and has learned its secrets through time on the water. Patterns and tactics to catch bass have paid off for him, and he can usually find the bass there.

For October bass at Juliette, Greg keeps it simple. He fishes a buzzbait or weightless worm early, then switches to crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Carolina-rigged worms later. He has a lot of favorite grassbeds and will hit a lot of them during the day, expecting to find fish feeding in some of them.

The best grassbeds are near deep water, and the fish will be shallow early but move out a little deeper as the sun gets up. Some of his best spots are right on the main channel on points or humps. The water level gradually drops in the fall at Juliette, and the grassbeds become visible, making them easy to spot.

Greg and I fished the lake last week for half a day and hooked a few keepers. We were checking out the October spots, and most of the bass had not moved up yet, but they should be thick in the shallow cover now. The places and techniques Greg shared with me should help you catch bass if you give Juliette a try this month.

The following 10 spots are all good, and there are many more just like them. Study these and you can find others on a good lake map showing contour lines. If the water is less than 10-feet deep, it is likely to have grass growing in it. Find shallow humps or points near deeper water, like the ones below, and you should catch fish.

No. 1 on the map: N 33° 01.780 – W 83° 46.259 — If you put in at Dames Ferry you will be near the dam and the bigger water. Run straight across to the second big point above the dam on the south side of the lake. Maps show a shallow hump off the bank, and you will see grass growing way out from the point.

The point is flat on the bank and covered with scrub oaks and pines. It continues out and makes a big flat covered in grass. This is a good place to start early in the morning with a buzzbait or floating worm. Greg likes the Bass Pro Shops 1/2-oz. buzzbaits with silver blades and a chartreuse/white skirt.

Some days in October you can catch bass all day on the buzzbait. Keep your boat well back from the edge of the grass where you can see it, and make long casts across it. In the clear water, long casts help. Greg moves fast and runs the bait across the top of the grass, looking for active fish.

If the buzzbait does not produce, he will switch to a Bass Pro Shops Stick-O in the blue-glimmer color and work it quickly across the top of the grass. Greg fishes fast, hardly pausing the bait. He would rather fish several places for active fish than to stay on one and try to get bass to bite that might not be there.

If the bass donʼt hit up shallow, or if he is fishing this spot later, he will back off in 10 feet or so of water and slow roll a spinnerbait down on top of the deeper grass. He likes a Strike King double-bladed bait with gold blades and a chartreuse/white skirt, and he will pump it some as he works it back along the deep grass.

Out even a little deeper Greg will cast a crawfish-colored No. 9 Shad Rap or Deep Little N in the purple-glimmer scale finish, ticking along the tops of the grass. Both crankbait and spinnerbait will pick up bass that do not want to move up to hit a faster-moving bait.

No. 2: N 33° 02.396 – W 83° 46.455 — Back across the lake, go upstream to the point marked “Quail Head” on maps and look for the shallow hump off the bank. It is way off the second point upstream of the landing, and it shows up as a white area on most maps. You can seed a tall lone pine on the end of the downstream point on the bank when you are near the right area.

You are about 200 yards off the bank and seem to be in a line between the power plant and the dam. There is visible grass sticking a little out of the water here, so you donʼt have to use a depthfinder to locate the right spot. This is a big shallow area, and you can circle the grass, making long casts across it from all sides with your buzzbait and then the floating worm.

As the sun gets higher, back off on the channel side and try crankbaits and spinnerbaits along the submerged grass on that side. If you arenʼt ticking the tips of the grass every so often, you are not getting down deep enough. If your bait gets grass on it, jerk it free and keep it coming. Sometimes the dart of the bait from jerking it free will make a bass hit.

No. 3: N 33° 02.570 – W 83° 46.824 — On the south side of the lake going upstream it looks like an island and point come half way across the lake. Maps show an old roadbed running off this island, and it forms a five-foot deep ridge that goes for about 200 yards. You can see the grass running along it, making a thick bed out to the five-foot level then getting a little thinner as the water gets deeper.

Start here with topwater, then go to spinnerbaits and crankbaits. You can spend a lot of time fishing this long ridge. Here and on other spots stick around if you catch one bass, Greg says there should be more in the area. Greg will often hit these spots fast and move on if nothing hits but will slow down and fish them more carefully after catching a bass.

No. 4: N 33° 03.114 – W 83° 46.868 — Almost straight north of spot No. 3 is a long, shallow ridge running off a point. It runs out almost to the old channel before dropping off and has grass on it. If you look upstream toward the power plant you will see the big point with no trees on it, and you will be off the point below it.

Fish it just like the others. If wind is blowing into this point it can make it better. A little ripple on the water helps on most of these places and makes the fish move in to feed and also helps blur your bait, making it look more like a meal.

No. 5: N 33° 02.782 – W 83° 47.267 — On the south side of the lake Persons Point runs out and comes back up into a small hump. There is no visible grass here, the hump is deeper. If you look downstream toward the island you will see a high-standing snag out in the pocket behind the island. You will be about 100 yards off the point, and upstream of the point in the pocket above it is a small island with no growth on it.

This hump rises from the 20-plus-foot level near the old channel to about 11 feet on top, then drops off again on the point side. This is a good place to run a spinnerbait or crankbait down and tick the tops of the grass. In the deeper water, Greg has some success pumping the spinnerbait more, pulling it up and letting it fall. You have to be ready to set the hook fast when fishing like this.

This is also a good place to throw a Carolina rig. Greg likes a two-foot leader and has had good luck with a Zoom mini lizard. He will throw it out and work it back through the grass. One of our bigger fish hit a Carolina rig here when we fished the spot, and Greg said he caught a 4-pounder on a spinnerbait there the Friday before we fished it.

No. 6: N 33° 03.250 – W 83° 47.192 — In the mouth of Buzzardʼs Bay the inside point on the right going in runs way out and has a good grassbed on it. It comes up into a little hump way out on the end, about even with the outside points of the bay. In the back of the bay you will see the first of the big powerline transmission towers. The left point going in is a big, flat point with no trees on it.

Fish the visible grass, working buzzbaits and floating worms all through it. Remember to try these fast-moving baits on top all during the day, especially later in the month. You can quickly find active bass with these baits, then slow down and catch more on spinnerbaits and crankbaits out a little deeper.

No. 7: N 33° 03.021 – W 83° 47.758 — The point just downstream of the intake cove for the power plant and the next point below it form a shallow Y-shaped point. The downstream side is the treeless point. If you go in you will see grass running off the bank and two snag trees right on the bank. Start at those trees and work to your right, downstream along the grassbed. There are willows along the bank and one beaver tunnel covered with sticks going into them.

Fish all around this big shallow bay, working all the visible grass. Fish it fast, and cover it quickly. Watch for the grass way off the bank as you get back into the pocket. If the fish are here they should be feeding and hit quick. You can fish all around this bay if the bass are here.

No. 8: N 33° 02.524 – W 83° 48.227 — The upstream finger of Hunters Point has a deeper channel going into it. There are rocks on the right bank going in, and a tree laying on the bank and out into the water toward the back of the pocket. When you are in this pocket you are straight across from the power plant.

Start on the secondary point to your left going into this pocket. The big point looks like a mittened left hand on the map, and you want to start fishing at the thumb, working around the pocket and out onto the point. Out on the end of the point is a flat that widens and extends downstream. Fish all the grass on it.

No. 9: N 33° 02.927 – W 83° 48.267 — In the intake cove for the power plant there is a 12-foot flat way off the point to the right of the power plant. That point has a small dock on it and drops off into 15 feet of water then comes back up onto the flat. It then drops off into 20 feet on the outside. There is also a rockpile on this flat.

Fish this area with crankbaits and spinnerbaits, ticking the deeper grass. Then fish a Carolina rig all over the flat, probing for the rock pile. The whole flat can be good, and bass may hit any of the baits you try, but it is easier to find the rocks with a rig.

No. 10: N 33° 03.058 – W 83° 49.411 — Upstream of the power plant there is a lot of standing wood. Ease into the mouth of the cove with the Settling Pond dam, and start fishing the grass on the upstream point. You will find a mixture of grass and stumps all along this bank, and you will see a little naked hump off the point.

This is a good place to start in the mornings, but it can produce all day. You can fish from the point upstream, staying off the bank and fishing all the grass. Greg got a good keeper off this area on a Stick-O at 10:45 the morning we fished, and it came in covered with the grass it had been hiding in. Donʼt hesitate to throw topwater all day in the grass!

All these places produce bass for Greg and will work for you. There are many more of them on the lake, and you can find your own with a map and a little fishing time. Hit a lot of places fast until you find fish, then work the area for more. You can develop your own honey holes.

Greg hosts a tournament the last Sunday each month out of Dames Ferry. Their end-of-the-year tournament is this month, and the trail starts over in November, so now is a great time to learn the lake and start fishing the tournaments next month.

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