Raps, Rigs And Jigs For Tobesofkee March Bass

Have three rods with a Shad Rap, a Carolina-rig and a jig ’n pig tied on, and you’ll be in business for Lake Tobesofkee bass.

Ronnie Garrison | March 1, 2002

Tobesofkee is a small lake just outside Macon that can offer some great bass fishing this month.  Although it gets extremely crowded with pleasure boaters in warmer weather, most of March belongs to the fishermen. The bass cooperate by quickly moving to shallow water as soon as the weather starts to warm and the days get longer, allowing anglers to locate and catch them easily.

With only 1,750 acres of water, Tobesofkee is smaller than most lakes where you find big bass boats and weekly tournaments, but its location just three miles west of I-475 means Macon-area fishermen can be on the lake quickly, even if they have only a couple of hours to fish. Wednesday-night tournaments are held from May through August and often have 50 boats in them. Registration is at KC’s Bait and Tackle on Hwy 74 between I-475 and the lake.

There is a good population of bass in the lake, but as the season progresses they get fished harder and harder. March is an excellent time to find them moving up to shallow water, and some of the best catches of the year are during this month. There is lots of deep structure, and the bass hold on it during the winter, but a few warm days can make the fish move up.

Some good fish are caught every  year, but keeper-size 12-inch bass are the norm. A 4-pounder is a good kicker fish in a tournament, but the average weight is just over one pound for most bass weighed in. The action can be fast in March, though, with good numbers caught.

Ralph Mixon lives near the lake and fishes it often. Although he did not start tournament fishing until 1994, Ralph started out by winning the Dixie Bass Classic that year with W.H.“Ham” Holland. He has been fishing the Redman (now called BFL) trail for the past few years and made the Regional in 1997. This year Ralph is fishing the BFL as well as many local tournaments. He fishes Tobesofkee regularly and often enters the Wednesday-night tournaments with his son.

Ralph agreed to share his tactics and some of the spots he fishes for bass in March. We went in early February on a beautiful weekday afternoon, but the weather was ahead of the bass. Since we concentrated on fishing the places Ralph will catch bass in March, it was a tough day. By the time you read this article, the bass should be moving up on the spots marked and fishing for them should be good.

“Since Tobesofkee is small with short channels and ledges, the bass can change fast,”  Ralph told me. “I look for them on flats near deep water, and expect to find them shallow enough for crankbaits if there has been a warming trend.”

The water temperatures can vary anywhere from the 40s to the 60s in March, and the bass will position themselves based on it. They will be deeper if it is colder and move more shallow as the water warms. That is why it is important to fish cover near deep structure.

“Rocks can be the key,” Ralph said. “They offer good cover, they warm faster, and there is usually food around them.”

Finding rocks near deep water is not hard on Tobesofkee, and you can catch bass around them this month. A crankbait is a good searching bait for Ralph, but he said it is a catch bait, too. For that reason, he will be cranking most of the day during March trips. To change the depth he is fishing, he changes the size of the bait.  Shad Raps in sizes No. 5, No. 7 and No. 9 cover the water and the range of depths he usually fishes.

Ralph will choose the color of the Shad Rap based on water color. In clear water he likes natural colors like shad and black/silver. If the water is stained, he will go with crawfish or chartreuse.

Backing up the crankbait is a Carolina rig. If the bass just won’t hit a crankbait, Ralph will try the rig, and he also goes back over an area with it where he caught bass on a crankbait. A Finesse worm in green pumpkin or watermelon is his usual choice for the Carolina rig.

Ralph Mixon, of Macon, prefers a Shad Rap crankbait for March bass fishing on Tobesofkee when the bass are moving up on the flats.

Ralph also keeps a jig ’n pig ready at all times. If he comes to heavy cover like a blowdown, trash pile or dock, he will pitch the jig around it. Blue/black or green pumpkin are his favorite colors, and he will vary them according to water color and also just to switch up.

Try Ralph’s baits or your favorites on the following spots, and you should find bass this month. Look at a contour map, study how these spots relate to deep water, and you will be able to find many more like them. Even though it is small, Tobesofkee has a lot of good structure. GPS coordinates for the following spots were taken with a hand-held Lowrance Globalmap 100.

No. 1 on the map: N 32 49.852 – W 83 46.175 — Moseley Dixon Road crosses the lake three times and the rip-rap on all three bridges is good. If you put in at Claystone Park, go east past the marina and restaurant to the small pocket with rip-rap near the bridge. Start on the left bank going into this pocket throwing a crankbait. Keep your boat in eight to 10 feet of water, and start casting a No. 7 Shad Rap to the bank. 

Work to the blowdown on the left side of the rip-rap and fish it with a jig ’n pig. This is the kind of place to pick up a good bass — heavy cover on rocks near deep water. The area from this small pocket to the bridge is a flat just off the creek channel.

After fishing the tree, keep your boat out and cast the Shad Rap, working all the way to the bridge. If you get some bites near the bank, switch to a No. 5 Shad Rap to work more shallow. If the bites come near the boat back off and switch to a bigger bait.

Fish all around the riprap on the bridge, working both sides. Bass will move to the flat then to the rip-rap as they work up the creek channel to spawning areas above the bridge. The rip-rap is a good place to find them stacked up, so don’t pass it up.

2. N 32 49.587 – W 83 45.995 —Downstream of the bridge a steep bank runs out across the creek. It has apartments on it and the creek channel makes a turn near it. If you idle downstream toward the apartments, you will see a sandy pocket on your left where an old ditch enters right in the corner. Start fishing there and fish all the way out to the point.

There is usually some trash in the water here so stay way off the bank and cast to it. Work different size crankbaits to cover different depths of water. When you get near the end of the last apartment facing away from you, watch the bank and your depthfinder for an old drainage ditch. It is hard to see on the bank, but it runs out underwater and draws fish. Make several casts along both sides of this ditch.

When you get to the point stay way off the bank. A rock ridge runs out to the creek channel and is shallow. Try to keep your boat in 12 feet of water or more and cast across it. When you get out on the point, you can line the rocks up by lining up the last big pine to the left of the apartment building with the small hardwood nearest the water. (N 32 49.785 W 83 46.194) That line runs right along the spine of the point.

If the fish don’t take a crankbait here, try your Carolina rig. The bottom is rough, and you will probably get hung up some, but bass love this kind of cover. They hold on the rocks and move onto the point and bank to feed, so you should be able to find them on the bank or on the point.

3. N 32 49.556 – W 83 46.163 —Go around the point you were just fishing and start toward the dam. You will see a series of small points on your left, and you want to fish the middle one. It is the first defined point past the apartments — the point before it is rounded and small. This point has no buildings on it, but bushes hang over the water and grassbeds grow along the bank going into the cove — to the right of it if you are facing it.

Fish the point with a crankbait and then the Carolina rig. There is a lot of brush and trash on the point in five to six feet of water and more in 12 to 15 feet, and bass hold in it in March. It is just off deep water and offers good spawning areas nearby.

Work down the bank toward the back of the cove, and fish crankbaits to cover the water out from the structure. Ralph says this is an excellent spawning cove, so if the weather has been real warm toward the end of the month, you may want to try a Trick Worm around the bushes and grass before leaving.

4. 32 49.220 – W 83 46.121 — Run down to the east side (left going downstream) of the dam and you will see a timber seawall with a boat ramp on it. Start at the ramp and work it, the dock by it and out to the point. This is a hard-clay point right at the dam. When you get to the danger marker, keep your boat out, but throw toward the dam and to the bank to the left of the marker. Some drainage ditches have cut this clay bank and bass often hold on them, waiting on any current to bring them food.

Fish both your crankbait and Carolina rig on the ramp and the point near it. Feel for the ditches and any cover on the bottom. If you hit brush with the crankbait and nothing bites, fish it with a worm before leaving.

5. N 32 49.440 – W 83 46.719 — Head up the lake and go past the first swimming area on the north bank. As soon as you pass it, look to your left, and you will see a big, round point with a brown double boathouse on it. Start fishing just downstream of this boathouse and you should see a sign on a tree that shows Lots 28/29. Fish from that area past the dock down the sea wall to the rip-rap, and fish the rip-rap, too.

This is a big flat and underwater island off the point, and bass like to feed in this area. Keep your boat out far enough that it takes a long cast to get near the bank because the flat runs out shallow. Start with a small crankbait like the No. 5 Shad Rap to work the shallows. You can back off and try the deeper water, too. Fish the dock with a jig before passing it. Work all the pilings, letting the jig drop straight down beside them. Try both sides and also get your jig under the dock, especially if it is a sunny day.

6. N 32 49.863 – W 83 47.006 —Across the lake behind you will be the second bridge on Moseley Dixon Road. Go to it and start fishing the small pocket to the right, where the stoneworks are on the bank. Fish across the rip-rap on both sides.

Ralph likes to stay out from the rocks and allow his bait to cover different depths of water. If the fish seem to be hitting at one depth you can chose a crankbait that runs that depth and get in and parallel the rocks to be more efficient.

7. Go around the big point into the next creek, and you will find the third bridge to fish. Work the rip-rap in it just like the other bridges. Start with a small crankbait and throw shallow, then switch to bigger baits so you can cover a lot of different depths of water.

8. N 32 49.352 – W 83 48.284 —Run up the lake past the cove with the boat ramp in it at Arrowhead Park. You will see a small pocket then a rounded point between it and the next pocket, right at the picnic area. Fish from the downstream pocket up to the one at the picnic area.

A ledge runs along this bank and there are stumps on it. You can see the shallow ones, and you want to run a crankbait by them. Also fish them with a jig. There are more stumps out in deeper water. After fishing the visible cover, back off and work a deeper-running crankbait to hit this deeper cover.

Start in eight to 12 feet of water for the shallow stuff then back off for the deeper cover. You can also cast parallel to the bank to keep a deeper-running crankbait in productive water longer if the fish are holding deep.

9. N 32 50.041 – W 83 48.876 —The bridge on Lower Thomaston Road is another good place to fish rip-rap. Bass moving up from the lower lake to the flats above it often stop and hold on the bridge. Fish both sides and both ends of the bridge, and also cast to the pilings under it.

10. N 32 50.339 – W 83 48.823 —Just above the bridge, a small creek enters from the right. If you go into this creek you will see a narrow rip-rap point with a brown boat house on it. Start near that point and the white double boat house by it and work back downstream toward the bridge. Fish to the next brown dock. This bank falls off quickly, and a lot of trash ends up here. Stay well off the bank, and fish it with different-sized crankbaits. Bass moving into the creek to spawn will stop and feed along this bank.

Head to Tobesofkee before the pleasure boaters and skidoos make it impossible to fish during the day. Try these spots that Ralph likes to fish, then find more by using a map and getting on the water. You can expect some fast action on crankbaits on most warm days in March.

Lake Tobesofkee and the parks on the lake are owned by Bibb County and are well-maintained, but there are fees to enter and launch a boat. Annual passes are available. Click here for info.

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