Tackling Lake Tobesofkee Late Summer Bass

Lighted docks before daylight, combined with a variety of daytime patterns, produce well on this little Macon lake that offers good September bassing.

Ronnie Garrison | September 5, 2005

Good reservoir bass fishermen get used to boat traffic. They know that the bass live with churned-up water every day, and they still have to eat. For such a small lake, Tobesofkee gets a lot of boat traffic, and it still produces some amazing catches of bass. You can catch bass on Tobesofkee most days in September if you fish the right places. Pot tournaments on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings often take very impressive weights to win.

Located a few miles west of I-475 and very close to Macon, Lake Tobesofkee’s 1,750 acres of water is surrounded by houses. Docks line much of the shoreline, and weekend days during warm weather usually see the lake churned to a mass of waves. here is good access at Claystone Park, but it is expensive, costing $3 per person to enter the park and another $3 to launch the boat. Most locals reduce the daily cost by purchasing an annual permit.

Lake Tobesofkee may be small by reservoir standards, but it’s not small in the bassing department. David Coleman fishes most of the tournaments on Toby, and he says September can be a good month if you combine late-summer and early-fall patterns.

David Coleman is in the Air Force, and five years ago he moved to Robins AFB. He had bass fished most of his life and had been in a bass club at his last post in Oklahoma, so he soon joined the Weekend Anglers Bass Club when he moved to the Macon area.  David also started fishing the pot tournaments at Tobesofkee as well as some other trails like R&R and Fishermen for the Hungry.

Over the past few years David has had some excellent catches at Tobesofkee. His club fishes there, and he does not miss many of the pot tournaments. His best bass from that lake weighed 7.38 pounds, and it came at a good time, in a Wednesday night tournament there last August. At one Saturday morning pot tournament, David and his partner weighed-in 16.8 pounds to win. But his best catch ever on Tobesofkee came last year while the water was down. He and a friend weighed their best five bass that day, and they pulled the scales down to an incredible 27.8 pounds.

While the lake was down, David studied the structure and cover to learn more about its secrets. The draw-down seemed to help the lake for a while, but now many of his favorite grassbeds have been reduced in size. He hopes they will come back now that the lake is full. There are grassbeds extending out only a few feet from shore now where they used to run way out. They still hold fish, but the bigger beds were better.

David likes to fish shallow water. e keys on grassbeds, docks, points, rip-rap, brush, and any other shallow cover he can find. Since Tobesofkee is so small, you just about have to fish a lot of different kinds of places rather than just keying on one type cover. As September progresses, the bass will stay in shallow water and feed for longer periods of time. All month long the shallows pay off for David.

When he is on the fish and knows what they want, David will have two or three rods rigged and ready. When searching for patterns, he may have 10 rods on the deck, all with different baits. Topwater, crankbaits and soft plastics all produce fish for him in shallow water at Tobesofkee.

“Get to the lake before daylight or stay late in the day, and fish at night if possible,” David said.

The fish bite better, and you avoid the heavy boat traffic that occurs during the middle of the day. It is good to catch some fish early, then work to cull during the day in a tournament, and that is how David approaches most days on Tobesofkee.

Start around lighted docks if you get to the lake before daylight. Many dock owners have started turning their lights off, so there are fewer than there used to be, but the ones with lights burning are usually good — they hold bass that are in the mood to eat.

As the sun gets up, go to docks, brush, rip-rap, and shallow points to find fish. Work those areas all day, and then head back to lighted docks as it gets dark.

David will approach a dock light throwing a topwater plug like a Pop-R or a buzzbait and fish it all around the light. Then he will follow up with a crankbait like a Suddeth Little Earl, fishing it around and through the lighted areas. If those baits don’t draw a bite, he will try soft plastics — both Texas- and Carolina-rigged worms. He will stick with that pattern while fishing grass beds and rip-rap later, as long as the bass will cooperate. He will also mix in a Trick Worm fished in the grass if he has to, but he prefers other baits.

In mid-August David and I fished Tobesofkee, and he showed me some of his favorite spots to catch bass there. Although the lake is small, these 10 spots are just a few of the many similar places on it that will produce bass this month. Go early, stay late, and check out the secrets of this small lake for some good bass catches.

No. 1 on the map: N 32º 49.865 W 83º 46.064 — Bridge rip-rap is always good, and the bridge on Blue Branch is one of David’s favorites. his bridge and rip-rap is right at Claystone Park and the marina — it’s the creek the ramp is in. David likes to work the rip-rap just as it gets light, and he will start on the left side going upstream and fish all four corners. Fish fast on this rip-rap or any others, looking for active fish. You should catch some quick keepers.

Start with a topwater bait like a Pop-R worked parallel to the rocks. Cast close to the rocks and keep the bait within a few feet of them as you chug it back. You can also run a buzzbait along the rocks parallel to them a few feet out. Either bait should draw active fish from the rocks to hit them.

David will follow-up the topwater with a crankbait like the Suddeth Little Earl. He makes casts along the rocks, as well as across the rip-rap points, fishing the plug with a steady, fast retrieve. He tries to keep it just over the rocks and fishes it at different depths to cover all the rocks on the rip-rap.

If those baits don’t draw a strike, David will try a soft bait like a Trick Worm or a tube fished on the rocks. He will also throw a Carolina-rigged finesse worm in the channel on the points of the rip-rap, fishing it near where the rocks end. You have to adjust your weight size to keep from getting hung in the rocks on every cast.

No 2: N 32º 49.267  W 83º 46.398 — This spot is typical of the kinds of places David likes to fish. Run to the dam, and go to the right side if you are facing it. There is an island with a walkway going to it and a small cove upstream of the island. On the upstream side of the cove is an unused parking lot and ramps for Flint Rock Park. There are good grassbeds all around this cove.

Start at the mouth of the cove near the boat ramps, and fish the ramps and the grass. Fish topwater along the edges of the grass if the sun is not bright yet, and pitch a worm into the grass if it is. Fish every cut in the grass and work thicker areas carefully. If any wood is hung up in the grass, make several pitches to it, too.

There is usually a pontoon boat tied on the bank in the back of this cove. Fish around the boat and work all around the cove, fishing the grass on the downstream side of the cove at the picnic area. When you get to the gap leading behind the island, cast to the orange posts there. Sometimes fish hold on them.

No. 3: N 32º 49.378  W 83º 46.556 — If you arrive early, before it gets light, or after dark in the evening, a lighted dock across from Claystone Park is a good place to start. Go upstream past hole No. 2 and watch for a huge stucco house with a big dock in front of it. The dock has a red-tile roof. Just downstream of the dock is a grassbed, and there are some rocks around it. Start there, and fish to the dock. There is a light on the dock that hangs very near the water that often attracts baitfish and bass.

Fish around the light and the dock, and continue to fish upstream, casting to the concrete seawall. Past the dock, the concrete seawall will change to a wooden seawall, and there is a good rockpile right where it changes. Fish around it with a Texas-rigged worm to locate it. Fish your crankbait and topwater bait over it, too. All the baits David has mentioned can be good along this wall.

No. 4: N 32º 49.839 W 83º 46.895 — David’s next stop would be the rip-rap on the bridge in the creek above Claystone Park. Run across the lake and up to it. Start in the right corner where the concrete statue sales place is on the bank. Fish the grassbeds here and the ramp right at the corner of the rip-rap. The grass continues out a little ways where the rip-rap starts, so fish it all.

Fish the rocks like you did the other bridge, with topwater and crankbait. When you get out to the bridge, fish all four corners, then back off and cast right down the middle of the channel. There are parts of the old bridge — or a rockpile — in the middle of the cut, and bass often hold on this structure. There were some bass schooling in this area the day we fished. If you see activity on top, cast to those fish with topwater baits and a crankbait.

No. 5: N 32º 49.913 W 83º 46.940 — Idle under the bridge, and straight ahead is a seawall running around the point between the two creeks. There is a small shelf off this wall, then it drops off fast into 13 feet of water. This is another favorite kind of place for David, shallow water with a shelf just off deep water.

Keep your boat out in deeper water, and work the seawall with topwater and crankbaits. David will then back off and cast a Carolina-rigged finesse worm to the seawall and work it back out to the deeper water along the drop. Bass will often hold out away from the wall on the drop and run in to feed, so you can cover them all with cast right to the wall that is worked all the way back to the boat.

No. 6: N 32º 50.057 W 83º 48.909 — The main bridge over the lake on Lower Thomaston Road would be David’s next stop. The four corners of this bridge often hold bass, and he will usually hit them every time he goes past it. The upstream side is often the best, especially if there is any current. Hit the corners of the rip-rap with topwater and crankbaits, and then fish them more carefully with plastic baits before moving on.

No. 7: N 32º 50.530 W 83º 48.841 — The creek on the right above the bridge has rip-rap along the bank on the left side. Good grassbeds start about where the rip-rap ends. David usually starts just at the end of the rocks and fishes into the cove, working all the way to the big boat ramp. There is a lot of grass along here to fish.

Throw topwater around this grass early, and then try Trick Worms or Texas-rigged worms around it. Hit the docks as you pass them, too. If you catch a fish from this grass, note where it was, and concentrate on those kinds of spots. If the fish hits on the back side of the grass, be sure your casts land there. If the fish is right in the middle of the grass or on the outside edge, work those areas hard. More fish should be on similar spots in the other grassbeds.

No. 8: N 32º 50.611 W 83º 49.160 — Come out of the creek in hole No. 7, and go upstream, staying on that side. here is a big, curved bank where the creek channel forms an outside bend, and on the upstream side of this there is a big point. On the downstream side of this point you will see a brown A-frame dock house with a TV satellite dish on it. There is a yellow sliding board near the dock house.

Start at the dock, and fish upstream, hitting dock posts and then the grassbeds. There is a good bit of grass here, and David says this is one place it used to be even thicker. We got several hits and caught some short fish along this grass on Trick Worms and Texas-rigged worms. It is a good grass bed to fish all during September.

No. 9: N 32º 50.718 W 83º 49.296 — When you get to the upstream end of the point above, there is a dock with a screened-in room on it. Out from the dock is an orange buoy and upstream of it you will see another orange buoy and a fish-attractor marker. There is a real good shallow ridge that runs about halfway between the downstream orange buoy and the fish-attractor buoy. David says he saw the ridge is covered with concrete blocks when the water was down. It is about 150-feet long and 30-feet wide.

Fish the dock on the point then turn and go out toward the fish attractor buoy. Cast a crankbait or worm and you will hit the cover. The ridge tops out on a hump about 4-feet deep and drops off all around it. David fishes all around this shallow area, making casts from all directions. He says this is an excellent place later in the month as shad start moving and working across it.

No. 10: N 32º 51.123 W 83º 49.512 — The hump at hole No. 9 is off the downstream side of a small creek. The upstream point of this creek has a big grassbed all around it and often holds bass this time of year. Start on the inside of the point in the cove a short distance and work out, casting to the grass as in other spots. We got several short fish in this area in August, and there should be good numbers of keepers here by now. Fish all the way around this point, casting to the grass. If you continue to catch fish, keep working the grass. You will soon hit very shallow water above this point, so it is usually better to turn and fish back around it, but sometimes bass will stay extremely shallow here in September.

These 10 spots are places David catches Tobesofkee bass in September. Check them out, and then look for similar spots. Tobesofkee can be a surprisingly good lake this time of year.

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