Probe Points For Lake Jackson Postspawn Bass

Ronnie Garrison gives up 10 of his own personal Lake Jackson honeyholes for May bass.

Ronnie Garrison | May 2, 2006

May can be a magical month for Georgia bass fishermen. The weather has settled down into hot days, but the winds and storms of spring are mostly over. And the bass have settled down, too. They are bunching up on structure and feeding, and they are in predictable patterns.

Lake Jackson is an excellent place to catch May bass. It offers a lot of good structure bass like to use this month, and both largemouths and spots are holding on places that are easy to find and fish. Although the lake is fairly small, it offers plenty of variety for the fisherman. And like on other lakes, bass fishermen have sweetened most of the structure with brushpiles, making it even better.

Dammed in 1911 and covering 4,750 acres of rolling hills, creek and river bottoms, Jackson is an old lake. There is a lot of rock on the bottom, much of it exposed by wave action over the years. Those rocks are an important structure for both spots and largemouths in May.

The author qualified for the Top Six tournament 27 times in the past 28 years and made the state team three times. Lake Jackson is a lake Ronnie Garrison has fished for years, and he consistently does well in tournaments on the lake.

Not only has the bottom of the lake changed over the years, so has the water clarity. In the 1970s and earlier much of the sewage from Atlanta washed down the rivers and fertilized the lake. The water was often a pea-green color in the summers. With the sewage being cleaned up, you now find much clearer water in Jackson most of the time.

That clearer water has seemed to benefit the spotted bass. They have increased their population dramatically in the past 10 years, and you are more likely to catch spots than largemouths now. In the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Creel Census Report compiled by Dr. Carl Quertermus at the College of West Georgia, club tournaments in 1994 reported 99.5 percent of their Jackson catch was largemouths. By 2004 that had gone down to 55.4 percent largemouths.

You can use this change to catch more bass at Jackson since spots are more aggressive than largemouths. They are fun to catch, and they pull hard. Unfortunately, they don’t get as big as largemouths and don’t grow as fast. Where 5-lb. largemouths were common 20 years ago, now you will find five 1-lb. spots have taken their place. Bragging-sized bass are still in Jackson, but nothing like the numbers that were there before 1995.

I moved to Griffin in 1972, bought my first bass boat in 1974 and started fishing Jackson. Jim Berry owns a sporting goods store in Griffin and was one of the first people I met after moving. He got me to join the Spalding County Sportsman Club the year I bought my boat, and that club fishes Jackson a couple of times a year. In 1978 I also joined the Flint River Bass Club and it, too, fishes Jackson several times a year. I have spent a lot of hours on Jackson over the past 30 years. In club fishing I have won the big-fish award for the year eight times and that includes several from Jackson. I caught my first two 8-lb. bass there in club tournaments back in the 1970s and my best ever, a 9-lb., 7-oz. largemouth came in a club tournament at Jackson in 1991.

One May a few years back stands out in my memory. I was teaching school in Griffin, so my work day ended at 3:30. For several weeks Bob Pierce and I had our boats ready and would head to Jackson for a couple of hours of fishing before dark. We found a pattern then that produced a good catch every afternoon, and it has paid off over the years since. In late April after the spawn, bass at Jackson move to main-lake points to feed, gradually moving deeper to their summer holes. This pattern is common on most lakes, but at Jackson it really shines.

The many small, spawning coves and creeks all over the lake all have a main-lake point at their mouth where the bass school up. The best points are those between the main lake and the spawning areas where a channel swings in. You also need a flat on top of the point for them to feed. Rocks, brush and stumps on the flat between the drops makes them much better.

You don’t need a lot of rods to catch May bass at Jackson. Tie on a topwater lure like a Pop-R, Sammy or Tiny Torpedo for early morning fishing. Then have a Carolina-rigged Finesse worm or Baby Brush Hog, a Texas-rigged U-Tail and a 1/4-oz. jig ’n pig ready. Throw the topwater over the tops of the points until the sun gets on them, then drag the other baits on the bottom, probing for cover.

The water is very clear this year since we did not have any heavy spring rains that muddy up the lake in April, so use a clear or shad-colored topwater bait. You won’t go wrong with green pumpkin, pumpkin seed and watermelon plastics, and I like a brown jig with a brown trailer in the clear water.

Jim Berry and I fished Jackson during the full moon in mid April checking out the points where bass will be feeding this month. We caught a good many spotted bass and some small largemouths on them — the spots were probably bedding out on these same points. By now the large- mouths that were back in the pockets bedding will be joining them, so you should have a mixed bag.

No. 1: N 33° 19.465 – W 83° 50.670 — Going upstream from the dam and the Georgia Power ramp, the first big point on your left is a good example of the kind of point you want to find. It is a big, flat point that runs out to the river channel, and channels from small creeks on both sides of it come out by it. There is some rock, especially on the upstream side, and there are many brushpiles out on the end of it. I caught my second 8-lb. bass off this point in a club tournament in the late 1970s, so it has been good for a long time.

Start fishing out from the dock on the downstream side, keeping out from the bank far enough that a long cast gets to the seawall. There is some brush and rocks along this seawall, and it drops off fast into the channel coming out of this creek. A lot of bass released at the Georgia Power ramp just behind you move here and hold.

Fish on around the point, moving away from the bank as the point gets shallower. When you are on top of the point, you should be out in 10 feet of water and a long cast will not get to the bank. Right on top of the point there is some cement from the pilings of an old boat dock, and it runs way out. Fish it carefully since bass often hold by these old piling pads.

As the point drops off on the upstream side, stay out in deeper water and cast toward the back of the creek. There is some rock and brush on the drop into the deeper water on this side. After fishing it, swing back around and stay out in 20 feet of water, and you will find some brushpiles. Bass often hold in this brush and run in on the point to feed.

No. 2: N 33° 19.696-W 83° 50.678 — The next point upstream on the same side holds bass now. Start out from the green-top boat dock on the downstream side. There is some brush out in 10 to 14 feet of water. As you fish around the point, there are a couple of blowdowns and an old dock to fish, as well as rock off the bank.

On the upstream side of the point is a tin boathouse with rails going out into the water, and past it is a dock. A pole to the left of the dock facing it marks some rocks. There is a lot of rock on the bottom between the boathouse and the dock, and a big brush top has washed in way out from the boat house. Watch for the brush, or you will be on top of it before seeing it and fishing it. Fish the rocks between the dock and boathouse out to 10- or 12-feet deep. You may need to use a lighter sinker on your Texas-rigged worm here, and the 1/4-oz. jig ’n pig comes through the rocks well.

Jim and I caught some spots on this point, then fished on into the pocket. Jim spotted a big fish, and we moved where we could see it better, and realized there were two bass there. They were not hard on the bed but kept coming back to the same 10-foot-square area, like they were getting ready to bed. The smaller fish was about four pounds, the bigger one about six. We could not get them to hit, but those two bass are probably out on the point feeding now.

No. 3: N 33° 19.742-W 83° 50.239 – Across the lake the big island in front of Martin’s Marina is called “Goat Island” because of the herd of goats on it. On the upstream end of this island is a small island and a point running out toward the main lake. Bass spawn in the protected flats behind the islands and move out to the points to feed. They hold here year round except during the spawn. This is where I caught my biggest bass, the 9-7.

As you idle in toward the point on the upstream side, you will see a clay mound right at the water’s edge. A point runs out toward the lake from it and has rock on it. Fish the point and then on around toward the saddle between the big and small islands. You will see a no-wake sign on the big island at the saddle. There are a couple of blowdowns on the big island and one on the small island, too. Fish the saddle and the outside of the small island. It drops off, and there are rocks on it where spots and largemouth feed.

No. 4: N 33° 20.164 – W 83° 50.239 — As you run up the lake the right bank swings way out and a big creek enters to your right. If you go straight in toward the point that runs way out, you will find a big flat. The river channel is on your left, and the creek channel swings into the point on your right, making a good drop. Brush has been put out on this point to make it better. Sit out in deeper water, and cast up on to the top of the flat for feeding bass. Then swing around and get on top of the point. Sit in about 6 feet of water, and cast toward the docks and houses on the bank across the smaller creek channel. You will come up the drop along this area, and bass often hold here.

No. 5: N 33° 20.023 – W 83° 51.301 — Across the lake there are two big rocky points that stick way out. Between them is a more subtle point that is flatter. There is a green- roof dock on the downstream side of the point. The house sits back in the trees and is not plainly visible. There was a sunken boat tied to the dock a couple of weeks ago. Start out from the dock and fish upstream. Watch your depthfinder. The point runs out at an angle upstream and is very shallow way off the bank. Keep your boat in 15 feet of water, and cast across the point. You will find rocks on top of the flat on the point. Keep fishing out until the point runs out into the channel then come around the back side, casting across it from this angle. The small creek channel on this side swings in beside the point here.

No. 6: N 33° 21.258 – W 83° 52.582 — Run up Tussahaw Creek to where it makes a hard swing to the left. On your right is a small creek many call “Bass Alley.” The point on the upstream side of this creek is an excellent May spot. There is a house on this point that has red wood, red brick and lots of screens. On the right side, inside the creek, there is a little red dock. Out on the point a cement ramp enters the water through the seawall. Stay out from the point, and fish all the way around it. There are drops on both sides where the river and creek channels swing in, and there is rock and brush on the point. Cast up close to the end of the dock, work out to the drop, then do the same on the other side of the point. Several years ago at this point Bob Pierce and I caught a 4- lb. or better bass five trips in a row. Most of the bigger fish hit near the end of the ramp. Now you’re likely to catch four spots here rather than a 4-lb. largemouth.

No. 7: N 33° 20.995 – W 83° 52.756 — As you go up Tussahaw, the creek makes a hard right. Straight ahead of you is a creek, and another small creek enters on your left. Between the left-hand creek and the Tussahaw Creek channel is a big point that runs way out. Inside the creek is a blue-topped dock, and the small creek channel swings in near the point where the dock sits. Fish all around this point, but concentrate on the side near the blue dock. There are stumps and some brush here, and fish hold here right after the spawn. Stay a long cast out, and cast near the seawall, dock and visible stumps on the bank.

No. 8: N 33° 21.400 – W 83° 51.382 — Head up the Alcovy River to where it swings to the left. Straight ahead of you there will be a small creek with three danger markers in its mouth. Those danger markers are on a shallow hump right in the middle of the creek mouth. With rock on top and some brushpiles, it is a good holding area for postspawn bass. The right side drops off faster and is usually the best side to fish. Stay out from the danger marker on that side, and cast up near it. Work all the way around the hump, but concentrate on fishing the side toward the rip-rap bank and the out- side of the hump on that side.

No. 9: N 33° 21.741 – W 83° 51.585 — Go around the bend up the river, and watch for the beach and ramp for Turtle Cove on your right. It is the first cove upstream after you make the bend. The point runs out and downstream, and it is covered with big rocks. It runs way out, so stay far back and ease into it. Cast up on top of the point from the river side, and fish around the back side on the ramp side, too. You will need to use lighter lead here because of the big rocks. Jim and I saw bass back in this cove, and Jim caught a couple of small largemouths the day we fished.

No. 10: N 33° 21.900 – W 83° 51.875 — Across the river is the mouth of the South River. On the downstream point side, the second point on that side has a powerline leaving the bank and crossing a cove. There is a ditch to the left of the point facing it, and there is a weathered, wood cabin with a green, steel roof on the point. There is a small dock on the left of the point, and another small dock that is missing its float on the right. Start at the ditch, and fish around this point. The small creek behind it has a channel that swings in near it and there is rock and gravel on the bottom. There are also some stumps and brush here that holds fish. Stay way off the bank and make cast to shallow water.

These are some of the places I will be fishing at Jackson this month. Check them out and then look for others. Most spawning creeks and pockets have similar structure and points at their mouths, and most of them hold bass now.

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