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Lake Oconee September Bass

Topwater early and then points and docks produce good catches of September bass. Here's a map with 10 good September locations.

Ronnie Garrison | August 28, 2019

Go to Lake Oconee fishing this month and expect to catch bass early in the mornings on topwater on seawalls and on points leading into coves and creeks. Anglers can then fish topwater on shady banks as the sun gets up, and they can also catch bass around docks on plastics and crankbaits, which are good patterns to catch bass all day long in September.

Georgia Power’s Lake Oconee near Madison and Eatonton has a 14-inch size limit, giving largemouth a chance to grow to a good size. And so far, spotted bass have not infested the lake, although a few are now caught.

Oconee has a good population of quality largemouth that are on predictable pattern in September.

Grant Kelly was on the fishing team at Georgia College in Milledgeville and now lives on the shores of Lake Sinclair, but he fishes Oconee often. Grant is leading the points standings in the ABA Bass Pro Open Series with one tournament to fish this year. He has placed second and sixth in BFLs in the past four years, and he also fishes the Berry’s tournaments on Oconee and Sinclair, as well as pot tournaments on these middle Georgia reservoirs.

“Oconee bass are setting up for their fall migration into creeks and coves in early September, following the shad,” Grant said.

He said early in the month the bass are still on a late summer pattern, but as soon as the water starts to cool in September, they will move.

Bass will readily hit topwater baits early in the morning and then again later in the day on shady banks as they move into the coves. Bass will also hold on docks and other cover along the banks.

For September fishing on Oconee, Grant will have a Snag Proof Frog and a buzzbait ready for topwater fishing. A jig ’n pig, shaky head and crankbait are rigged for the rest of the time.

Grant Kelly with a solid Lake Oconee largemouth caught during a trip to mark 10 locations for September fishing.

First thing in the morning, Grant targets deep banks, especially those with overhanging bushes, that are at the mouths of creeks and coves. He follows the deeper side of these banks, fishing all the way to the back of the creeks and coves, to find where the bass are located each day to set a pattern. He will fish topwater as long as there is shade on the water.

When the sun is bright, the bass seek shade of docks. On any given day, they may be on docks at the mouth of a cove, near the back, or anywhere in between. Grant starts at the mouth and works to the back to locate fish, and then he targets those specific areas after finding the pattern.

We fished the following places a few weeks ago. The fish were not moving shallow yet, but instead they were still holding at the mouths of the coves in deep water. Bass were moving shallow to feed, but they were not yet moving far back into the coves, since the shad had not started moving in. As September begins, bass are getting ready to move, staying shallow longer, and this pattern will get better as the water cools this month.

No. 1: N 33º 28.945 – W 83º 16.275 — We put in at Sugar Creek and started here at daylight, and then we ran down the lake and worked back up to avoid a long run after boat traffic got heavy.

From the mouth of Sugar Creek, head north up the lake. The second creek on the right has good deep water at the mouth. The right bank going in has overhanging trees and bushes, and there are docks in the back.

Start fishing on the point with your topwater baits. Skip your frog under all overhanging bushes. There may be a Mayfly hatch even this late in locations like this with overhanging limbs. If bream are feeding on bugs, use a frog that matches a bream. If bream aren’t active, a light-colored frog will match the shad the shad the bass are eating in areas like this.

Work down the bank, casting a buzzbait in open areas and the frog under bushes. When you get to the docks, fish them with jig ’n pig, shaky head and crankbait. Note the position of any bass you catch and try to establish a pattern.

No. 2: N 33º 22.825 – W 83º 12.857 — This spot is the farthest down-the-lake location on our map. Just south and upstream from the Long Shoals ramp, there is a big creek on your left. Just past the big creek, there’s a small creek with rip-rap on the downstream point. A dock with a green top is on the upstream point. There are two orange buoys in the middle of the small creek. The upstream point has a wooden seawall with rip-rap around it. Start on the upstream point with a buzzbait, and fish around the point.

The dock just inside the cove has a lot of brush around it and deep water under it. It is a good dock to fish with jig ’n pig and shaky head. Probe both sides and in front of the dock with your baits, fishing slowly to hit all the brush. Fish down the deep bank past the dock, skipping your frog under the overhanging tree. Work from the docks to just past the small pocket on the right.

No. 3: N 33º 22.332 – W 83º 13.713 — Heading up the lake, the river makes a sharp turn to the right. On the outside of the bend, a triple-arm creek opens up. Go into the center arm, and you will see an old roadbed entering on the right side of it. This roadbed comes out at an angle, and bass follow it in to feed. There is also standing timber in the cove.

Fish topwater around the edge of the road where it enters the water. After the sun gets up, work out along the roadbed, dragging a shaky head and jig all over it. There is some brush on the roadbed that holds bass.

Grant rigs a green-pumpkin, 3/8-oz. K&A Tackle jig (locally made) with a matching craw trailer, and he dips the tails of the trailer in chartreuse JJ’s Magic. He drags the jig along, hopping it a little, and he shakes it in place when he hits any cover. Fish your shaky head the same way.

Current does not affect this area much, but wind blowing in will move baitfish over the roadbed, making it better. If wind is blowing in, position your boat on the downwind side of the road and cast into the wind so your bait will move in a natural direction.

No. 4: N 33º 23.284 – W 83º 13.977 — Going up the river, a big boat storage shed is on the left. Downstream of it, a double-arm cove with a brick house on the middle point is behind black-topped docks. There is a rip-rap seawall around the point.

Start on the point with your buzzbait if the sun is not on the water. Work all the way around the right arm, fishing the bank with topwater and the docks with other baits. The left bank of this arm is deeper, but the right side has some water willow beds that hold bass and are good to fish with your frog.

Skip your sinking baits under the docks into the shade after bumping the posts with your crankbait. Grant likes a 1.5 squarebill plug in shad colors, and he says it needs to bump off the dock posts to attract strikes. Try to hit all the posts you can with your crankbait.

No. 5: N 33º 24.414 – W 83º 12.900 — Farther up the lake as it starts to turn to the left, two coves enter on the outside bend on your right. Go to the cove with the brown and white brick house with a nice yard right to the water, and fish a buzzbait around the cement and rip-rap seawall. This bank stays in the shade later in the morning, making it better.

Fish the docks with all your baits when you get to them. Grant always starts on the points and fishes docks to the back of a cove until he locates the pattern the bass are on that day. If he is finding them halfway back, he will begin to start there after fishing the point. Isolated docks are best.

Back in the cove, there are water willow beds along the golf course bank. This grass holds bass. Fish the grassbeds with a frog. Grant uses a popping frog in bream colors if shad are not present, but they are usually thick in here later in the month. If shad are present, Grant uses a white or shad colored Snag Proof Scum Frog in the grass.

No. 6: N 33º 24.503 – W 83º 13.850 — As you get near the mouth of Lick Creek, there is a small island just off the bank on the right side of the river. Downstream of it, the pocket closest to it holds bass this month. There is a gray house with white porches on the upstream point with a cement and rip-rap seawall that is good early in the mornings.

Start fishing on the point, and then work around the cove. Grant will try running his crankbait across small secondary points to see if the fish are holding on them. If you catch bass on the points, fish them all with your crankbait first, and then probe them with shaky head and jig.

No. 7: N 33º 24.234 – W 83º 16.308 — Bridges are all good, and the first one in Lick Creek is one of Grant’s favorites. He will fish topwater under overhanging bushes and a crankbait along the rocks. The corners of the bridges are best, so concentrate on them with a crankbait and shaky head.

Both sides of the bridge hold fish, and current really turns on the bite, so stay longer when current is moving. When we fished, the bushes on the bank had not been cut and hung over the water. When they are cut, many fall into the water and make good cover on the edge of the rip-rap. Fish any wood in the water thoroughly.

No. 8: N 33º 25.627 – W 83º 15.295 — Up the river on the left, across from Old Salem Park, there are some condos are on the downstream side of a double cove. Old pond dams cross both arms. The right one has rip-rap on it, and there is a deep bank with overhanging bushes between the two. A good dock with a blue covers is on the downstream side of the left one.

Grant starts on the right corner at the condos and fishes down the rip-rap. A buzzbait is good early, but the sun hits the water early here. After it gets bright, work the rocks with a crankbait and shaky head. Fish the gaps in the old dams carefully, especially if current is moving through them.

Fish the two docks on the downstream side of the second arm. They have good deep water near them, and bass will follow the old dam to them to feed. A 1/8-oz. shaky head with a finesse worm on it skips good under the docks. Put chartreuse JJ’s Magic on the tail for added attraction.

No. 9: N 33º 27.662 – W 83º 15.575 — Above the Highway 44 bridge on the right side of the river, two coves enter the lake. The upstream cove has a huge tan stucco house on the upstream point. It has a wooden seawall that is near deep water.

Grant starts on the seawall with a K&A Tackle buzzbait and with a crankbait. He takes the skirt off the buzzbait and puts a frog on it as a trailer, like the Zoom Horny Toad. A silver blade bait with a white frog is a good choice. This combo draws hard strikes. Fish it on seawalls and open banks.

Fish into the cove. The left bank is deep and has docks to flip and pitch. Try to hit all the dock posts with a shaky head or jig. Skip both baits as far back as you can into shady areas to hopefully show them to a bass that have not seen a bait that day.

Skipping baits requires limp line. If it has a memory, it makes accurate skips difficult. Grant swears by Reelsnot to keep his line limp. The day we fished, my 12-lb. fluorocarbon had bad memory issues. Grant got me to try the Reelsnot, and I was amazed how much it helped.

No. 10: N 33º 28.011 – W 83º 17.696 — Going up Sugar Creek, a private park with a beach is on your left. Just upstream of it are a line of docks that hold bass. Start at the first one that has a red picnic table on it, and fish upstream around the point to the dock with the U.S. flag on it.

These docks often hold released fish from tournaments at Sugar Creek Marina, so there area is constantly restocked. Fish them carefully. Boat wakes crashing into your boat and the docks can drive you crazy, but the stirred-up water around the docks seem to confuse bream and make the bass bite better, so don’t give up when boat traffic is heavy. And don’t get peeved at boats seemingly running close—they don’t have any choice here because of the timber on the other side of Sugar creek.

Give Grant’s locations and try his favorite baits to develop a pattern for the day. You can find and fish similar places all over the lake for good September bass fishing.

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