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June Bite For Jackson Bass

Topwater early and fishing the deeper points and humps as the sun hits the water will produce good numbers and the chance for quality bass.

Ronnie Garrison | June 3, 2019

June is a great month to catch both largemouth and spots on Lake Jackson. Both will hit topwater baits early along seawalls and shallow cover, and then the bass move deeper on points and humps to feed as the sun gets bright.

Although spotted bass have about taken over Lake Jackson, there are still many good largemouth to be caught.

Jackson is an old Georgia Power Co. lake at the confluences of the Alcovy, South and Yellow rivers. The Ocmulgee River begins its journey south at the Jackson dam. Jackson is one of the oldest reservoirs in the country, impounded in 1910. Its shoreline is lined with docks, rocks and wood cover.

Until the 1990s, Jackson was one of the best lakes in our state to catch a big largemouth, but illegally stocked spotted bass and reduced water fertility from the ban on phosphates in laundry detergents have changed the fishing. A lake can only support so many bass, and smaller, more aggressive spotted bass dominate that limited space. Phosphates caused algae blooms, which can create very fertile lakes, but they can also deplete oxygen levels and cause eutrophication.

There is still a decent population of largemouth, but spotted bass make up over half the population of bass that are over 12 inches long, and there are swarms of spots shorter than 12 inches. In the 2016 bass club creel census report, only 35 percent of bass weighed in during club tournaments were largemouth.

Barry Stokes is a well-known tournament fisherman in central Georgia. He lives 10 minutes from Berry’s Boat Dock and has fished Berry’s, ABA trails, BFLs, RAM Opens and other tournaments. This year he won the BFL at Oconee after several second-place finishes on that trail.

In the ABAs Couples trail, fishing with his wife April, Barry and April won the Couple Angler of the Year award four years in a row. He won two Ram Opens and finished second in two more in the past few years. In the past 11 years, out of both the couples and individual ABA trails, he won Angler of the Year 11 times.

Barry loves fishing and is extremely good at it, but he is taking some more time off the water lately since he and April are expecting their first baby this fall. He also spends a lot of time with his two older children, teaching them to fish and learn about life.

“June is a fun month on Jackson, with a good topwater bite in the mornings and feeding fish on points and humps all day after the sun gets bright,” Barry said.

He concentrates on going after largemouth in tournaments, but if he is fun fishing with the kids, they catch a lot of spots, as well as some good largemouth. Depending on how you fish, you can catch numbers or concentrate on a few quality bites, or you can combine the two.

For June fishing, Barry has a variety of baits ready for different patterns and conditions. Topwater options include a buzzbait, Zara Spook and a Pop-R that are used early, and he follows those up with a bladed jig. Then he’ll throw a jig ’n pig, shaky head, Carolina rig, Texas rig and crankbait to catch bass when the June sun is on the water.

Last month, Barry took time to show me the following locations for June fishing. We caught bass on several of them as bass were already beginning to move to them, and they will all hold more bass now and throughout June.

No. 1: N 33º 22.965 – W 83º 50.396 — Go down the river from Berry’s past Will White Neck. The downstream point of the next little pocket has a danger marker on it. It sits well off the point, marking the shallow rocks that run out to the point. The upstream side of this point drops off fast into the ditch coming out of the cove, and the downstream side of the point is more flat.

A cement seawall runs around the point, and bass feed against it early in the morning. This is a great place to throw topwater at first light, and it stays shady for a good while.

Barry likes to cast a white or black 1/2-oz. buzzbait against the seawall. Both spots and largemouth will hit the buzzbait. Run it parallel against the deeper upstream side of the point. On the point, cast against the seawall, but also run your buzzbait over the shallow point out to the marker. Try a walking bait and a popper fished the same way.

If the bass just don’t seem to want to hit on top, Barry will cast a Choo Choo Lures Shaker bladed jig with a Lake Fork Magic Shad or Yamamoto Zaco in white or white and chartreuse. Cast it against the wall, and crawl it along the rocks on the wall and out on the point.

After the sun gets bright, get out from the point on the upstream side and fish a jig ’n pig, Carolina rig, shaky head or a big crankbait. Cast to the top of the point, and bump the bottom down the ledge. Work from the dock with a brown roof that’s back in the ditch, and fish out to the danger marker.

Out on the end of the point, bump a big crankbait like a DD22 on the bottom, fan casting all over the end of it. Barry likes a lavender-shad color in clear water and a chartreuse plug with a black back in stained water. Keep it bumping the bottom.

No. 2: N 33º 22.560 – W 82º 50.687 — Going down the river, the next big cove on your left is Leverett Neck—the last cove before the powerlines. It has a good seawall around the upstream point to cast topwater and bladed jig early. Barry called this point “Willie’s Point,” named after a fisherman who won many Berry’s tournaments here.

Work around it with topwater and bladed jig when the light is low. Then back off to the end where there is a good ledge that runs out to 15 feet deep before dropping into the river channel. Bump your DD22 on the bottom all over the point.

Follow up with jig ’n pig, Carolina rig and shaky head. Barry rigs a green-pumpkin Trick Worm or Magnum Trick Worm on a 3/16-oz. head and drags it along the bottom with shakes and twitches. Switch to a black-and-blue worm in stained water.

No. 3: N 33º 23.745 – W 83º 49.876 — Upstream of the Highway 212 bridge, there’s a good channel swing that runs in close to the bank—it’s on the left as you’re going upstream. The bank is rocky under an overhanging tree on the little point. This area is restocked by released bass at Berry’s, which adds to the population of resident fish that hold here.

Work the rocks on the bank with topwater early, and then fish a shaky head on them. As the sun gets bright, back off some and fish the channel ledge with jig ’n pig, shaky head, DD 22 and Carolina rig. Barry rigs a green-pumpkin Trick Worm or Old Monster 2 feet behind a 1/2-oz. sinker. Use the big worm for fewer bites but the chance for a bigger bass.

No. 4: N 33º 22.480 – W 83º 50.963 — Back down the river, powerlines cross the lake. The right side (if you’re heading down the lake) has a good ledge that runs way out shallow. It has a sharp drop on the upstream side, and there are stumps and brush on it. Bass stack up on this ledge in June.

Barry says you could spend the whole day here, learning the sweet spots and catching bass as they periodically move up to feed. He keeps his boat in 20 plus feet of water on the upstream side, and he casts a crankbait, jig, shaky head and Carolina rig up on top of the ledge and works his bait down the drop. Barry fishes a 1/4- to 3/8-oz. black-and-blue Underground Tackle jig with a black or blue trailer in stained water and a green-pumpkin trailer in clear water. That is a good big largemouth bait.

Fish slowly and carefully, learning the little high spots on the ledge, as well as the location of brush and stumps. Bass key on things like those structures, and you need to find them and hit them hard. Learning the sweet spots on any structure is the key to good catches.

No. 5: N 33º 21.410 – W 83º 51.767 — Down the river past the mouth of the South River, the lake makes a sharp turn to the left. On the right, a pink house sits on a flat point where the channel swings in beside it. The point runs straight out on a flat that drops off into the channel. The downstream side drops off fast into a ditch that runs right along the seawall on that side.

Fish the seawall early with topwater and a bladed bait. A shallow-running crankbait will also catch bass here when they don’t want topwater. Fish all around the point.

In brighter light, back off and fish the flat with a Texas rig, jig, shaky head and Carolina rig. There are some stumps and rocks scattered on the flat that hold the bass. Use a green-pumpkin Ol’ Monster worm behind a 1/4-oz. sinker for bigger bites, but the shaky head will catch more fish, especially spots.

The fast drop on the downstream side is gnarly with lots of rocks to get hung on, but bass love that cover. Stay out on the downstream side in 20-plus feet of water, and cast a shaky head to the seawall, working it down the drop. Going to a lighter head will help avoid hanging up as much. Fish to the dock on that side.

No. 6: N 33º 21.412 – W 83º 51.388 — Go around the bend to the left, but rather than turning right and following the channel, go straight across to the far bank. A hump with two danger markers sits in the mouth of a cove there. There was also a treetop hung up on the hump when Barry and I fished in May.

Stop way out from the markers—the hump is very shallow. Late spawners from the cove behind it move out here to feed, joining the bass that live on it year-round. Cast topwater over it early. If the bass don’t seem to want to chase a buzzbait, Barry will also work a shad-colored walking bait like a Spook or Sammy, or a popper like a Pop-R. He likes silver or Tennessee shad colors on these places. Start with a fast retrieve, but also try slowing them down.

After fishing topwater across the hump, back off and keep your boat in deep water. Fish all around the hump with a crankbait, jig, shaky head and Carolina rig. Throw to the top of the hump, and fish the baits down the drop.

No. 7: N 33º 20.278 – W 83º 51.400 — Run down past the mouth of Tussahaw Creek, and go around the sharp bend to the left toward the dam. A hump is marked with two danger markers not far past the bend. It comes up to a few feet deep at full pool and is very rocky. There are also brushpiles on it.

Barry works his topwater baits over the hump early. Then you can fish around it with your other baits, just like at location No. 6. Watch your electronics for brush, and fish it with your worm rigs.

No. 8: N 33º 19.629 – W 83º 50.305 – Goat Island sits on the left side of the lake not far up from the dam. It is in front of Martin’s Marina. The channel swings in right on the downstream point of this island, and there are big boulders and clay on the point.

Fish around the point with topwater early, casting right to the bank. Then back off and cast crankbaits and your worm rigs to 5 feet of water, which is not far off the bank, and work them down the drop. There are also a lot of blowdowns on the back side of this point you should fish.

No. 9: N 33º 21.269 – W 83º 52.547 — Run up Tussahaw Creek to the sharp bend to the left. A long narrow creek enters on the right. Those of us from the Griffin bass clubs always called this “Bass Alley,” but Barry used that name for another creek.

The upstream point of the creek runs out shallow, and the Tussahaw Creek channel swings in on the outside and the small creek channel swings in on the creek side. There are sharp drops on both sides, making it an excellent place in June.

Fish the seawall rip-rap and the small boat ramp with topwater, a small crankbait like a Flicker Shad in shad colors, and a bladed jig. Then work the drops on both sides of the point with your worm rigs and big crankbaits. There is a little cover on the point—a few stumps and some brush. Find the wood structure, and work it carefully with repeated casts.

No. 10: N 33º 22.428 – W 83º 50.914 – Back up the river at the powerline, the right bank going upstream is where the channel swings in right against the bank, and it drops off fast. There are stumps, rocks and brushpiles on it.

Barry mainly fishes this bank early, casting topwater baits right against the bank from just downstream to just upstream of the powerline clearing. But you can catch bass here on crankbaits and worms, too.

All these places and many more just like them are holding fish right now at Lake Jackson, and these types of spots will be good all month. Check these locations to see the kinds of places Barry fishes, and then you can find many more similar places. Please keep and eat your limit of spotted bass at Jackson. There is no size limit on them for a reason, and they taste good.

To purchase an eBook or CD with a Map-of-the-Month article for each month of the year on Clarks Hill and Lanier, visit http://fishing-about.com/keys-to-catching-georgia-bass-ebook-series.

 

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