Run Lake Jackson Seawalls For Postspawn Bass In May
Taylor McMullen marks a map with 10 locations.
Run Lake Jackson seawalls in May to catch lots of spots and some largemouth early in the morning. Some shad should still be spawning on them, and spawned-out shad will still be hanging around the walls. Hitting several seawalls early to find the one they are on is important. The rest of the day you won’t find the feeding flurry the spawn produces, but bass feed on shad in these areas all day long.
Jackson is an old, small Georgia Power lake at the headwaters of the Ocmulgee River. It is lined with cabins, docks and seawalls. There is a lot of rocky shoreline and wood cover that spots love. The introduction of that species in the 1980s has changed the population and quality of largemouth permanently, but there are still a few good largemouth there.
Taylor McMullen lives in Covington and has been fishing since he was 5 years old. He grew up fishing the lake with his family. If you have fished for bass around Jackson for the past 40 years, you know the name McMullen. Taylor has bass fishing genes and skills learned from his father Willie, uncle Ronnie and grandfather Wayne. He fished his first tournament with his dad when he was 8 years old.
After fishing with the Newton County High School team, Taylor is now a freshman on the Emmanuel College team. He still fishes Jackson when home from college and, after fishing Jackson all his life, knows it well.
“The shad spawn should be critical in early May,” Taylor said.
During the shad spawn, you can catch a lot of quality bass fast if you hit the right spot before the sun gets up. With the cold front that hit Easter weekend, the shad spawn should be a little later this year, and a good many bass will still be bedding in late April and early May, as well.
A lot of baits will catch May bass, and Taylor has his favorites for hitting seawalls fast early in the morning and then slowing down and working for individual bites once the morning flurry slows down. For the morning bite, he will have a topwater popper, a white frog, a buzzbait, a swim jig, a crankbait and a bladed jig for fishing quickly and offering bass a variety of moving baits. Then once the sun gets up, Taylor will turn to a Texas-rigged craw and a Fighting Frog for probing shallow cover. He will also pitch a wacky rig around seawalls, docks and cover, as well as dropping it in beds he might locate during the day.
Taylor fished the first Saturday in April with a friend and had a good catch, landing about 15 bass, including one over 5 pounds, on the following pattern. The next day when we fished it the cold weather must have pushed them back, and we had a tougher day. The warm weather since then will have bass on a stable pattern now at Jackson.
If you put in at Berry’s, the following 10 spots are close by, and you can run them fast looking for shad spawning. Don’t spend more than a couple of minutes checking each if there is no shad spawn. A cloudy day may make it last a little longer. After it gets bright, slow down and fish these locations for individual feeding bass after the schooling flurry is over.
No. 1: N 33º 23.611 – W 83º 49.967 — A lot of fish are released at tournaments at Berry’s each week, and many bass stay nearby and feed. The Highway 212 bridge rip-rap is a good shad spawning area, as well as a good place to catch bass later in the day.
At first light, stop on the downstream corner of the rip-rap at Berry’s and make a couple of casts with a white spinnerbait with small silver willowleaf blades that imitate shad. If you don’t get bit or if you don’t see any shad activity, move on. If you see activity, try other moving baits if the spinnerbait doesn’t get hit immediately.
After sunrise, bass will hang around the rip-rap, as well as under the bridge in the shade. They are feeding on shad, bream and crawfish. Start on the downstream side in the Berry’s ramp pocket, and parallel the rip-rap with a topwater, crankbait and wacky rig. Fish around the bridge, and try the first couple of docks, too. Skip a jig or wacky rig under them in the shade.
No. 2: N 33º 23.548 – W 83º 50.252 — As you go down the river, Connally Ditch runs back to the right. The upstream point of it has a good a seawall, a blowdown and a dock to fish. The channel swings in close to it, a critical factor, according to Taylor. All the good early morning places will have deep water close by.
Stop on the upstream side of the point, and fish the seawall quickly with crankbait or other moving bait. Make a few casts but move on if there is no activity.
After the sun is up, slow down and work the wall, the blowdown and the dock with other baits. Taylor likes to flip a Texas-rigged green-pumpkin craw or Fighting Frog behind a 1/2-oz. jig to any cover like the blowdown here. He will flip his bait to limbs, let it sink quickly, and then he will move to the next one, looking for a reaction bite.
He uses a Big Bear Kodiak 7-foot medium-heavy, fast-action rod to give him control of his bait and still be able to land big fish in cover. Taylor says bass often hold very tight to limbs and dock posts and can quickly get around the wood if you don’t move them away from it fast.
No. 3: N 33º 23.846 – W 83º 50.566 — The Conley Ditch Road bridge is another good shad spawn area, and it is also a choke point for bass moving out of the spawning areas upstream of the bridge. Taylor likes to fish all the rip-rap, but he says the downstream sides and corners here are best.
Stay in close to the rocks, and run a white bait early, looking for that shad spawn bite. A swim jig and bladed jig will work, as will a crankbait and spinnerbait. Bass will hit those baits later in the day, too.
Also try a topwater popper both early and during the day. Taylor likes a Rico popper, and he works it fast. Even on bright days it will draw bass up from the rocks, and any bass holding in shady areas under the bridge and by pilings will readily hit it.
No. 4: N 33º 22.935 – W 83º 50.832 — Go downstream past Kitchen Neck to the cement seawall on the downstream point of it. A yellow cabin with a rock foundation sits on the flat point, and the dock on the downstream side has a yellow slide on it. The channel swings in by the point, then swings away, creating a big flat on the downstream side where bass feed. Check early for a shad spawn, and then work the seawall with a topwater popper and wacky-rigged worm.
Also run a crankbait parallel to the base of the seawall. Taylor says it is important to fish your bait in that direction, since that is how baitfish will move. He keeps his boat right on the rocks and casts a Spro Little John crankbait, fishing a white color in clear water or early during the spawn and throwing a red plug in stained water.
No. 5: N 33º 22.787 – W 83º 50.933 — Going downstream, Pope Neck is the next big cove on the right. Then there are two more smaller ones before the powerlines cross the coves. Go to the upstream point of the second cove above the powerlines, and check the seawall there early in the morning for any shad spawn activity.
During the day, fish the wall, but also work the brush out a little deeper off this wall. The bank drops fast, and there is a lot of brush in 6 to 15 feet of water that holds bass. Fish it with your wacky rig. Taylor rigs a 5-inch green-pumpkin Senko center-hooked on a 1/16-oz. VMC Wacky Head. This rig sinks slowly and has an enticing action with both tails wiggling, and it will draw bites on docks, seawalls, brush and for bass on and around beds.
No. 6: N 33º 22.630 – W 83º 51.022 — Go to the downstream point of the last cut before the powerlines cross the main lake. They cross this small cut, too. The left bank ahead of you, back in the cut a little, has a two-story house behind a wood seawall. There is a gazebo on the edge of the water at the dock.
Fish the seawall early for shad spawning and bass there to eat them. Later in the day, fish this entire cove, hitting wood and rock cover and working the docks. Watch for bass on the bed here—it is a good bedding cove, too.
There is a small private boat ramp near the seawall here. All such ramps should be fished. Shad will spawn on them and bluegill and crawfish live around them, so bass consistently feed around them all the time. Bass will also spawn on them, so always fish the small private boat ramps.
No. 7: N 33º 22.471 – W 83º 51.035 — Downstream of the powerlines, on the right as you go past them, there is a small dip in the bank, and then there’s a slightly bigger pocket before you get to the next deep slough. On the upstream point of the bigger pocket, there is a cement seawall that is built at an angle rather than vertical that goes around the point. On the point is a gray house with a U.S. flag in front of it.
The channel swings in on the upstream side of this small point and then quickly swings away from it. The downstream side makes a big flat where bass feed shallow. Early in the morning, fish around the point quickly for the shad spawn, and then back off and fish all around it with a crankbait or wacky rig for bass holding off it.
No. 8: N 33º 22.449 – W 83º 51.181 — The upstream point of the next slough downstream on the right is straight, but shad spawn all along the seawall and docks going into the pocket. Start at the yellow cabin with a U.S. flag in front of it and fish the seawall going into the slough.
Fish quickly early in the morning, and then later slow down and pick apart the docks and any other cover along this bank. The slightest change will hold fish this time of year. Try all your baits around rocks and wood.
No. 9: N 33º 22.161 – W 83º 51.199 — Go across the lake to the big round point between the last two sloughs before you get to the junction with Tussahaw Creek. A three-story white house sits up on a hill behind a cement seawall, and there are docks on both sides of the point and seawall.
Most seawalls like this one have rip-rap along their base, and bass will hold either against the wall where the rocks hit it or at the base of the rocks where they stop. After fishing them early for the shad spawn, get in close and parallel the rocks with a crankbait, topwater plug or buzzbait to get the fish holding here to hit. Taylor likes a white 1/4-oz. bait with silver blades, and he puts a white Horny Toad trailer on it.
If the fish are inactive, work your wacky rig slowly along these junctions, too. And watch for beds along the walls, especially where they end back on the cove side.
No. 10: N 33º 23.655 – W 83º 49.879 — Above the Highway 212 bridge, the channel swings in close to the bank on the left. A yellow cabin is behind a dock and seawall on a small point, and there is a U.S. flag in the yard. It is another good shad spawn seawall.
Check out the seawall early. Later in the day, fish it and the dock for bass that are hanging around the baitfish. On bright days they will hold in the shade under docks, and if they are suspended under docks, a slowly falling wacky rig may be what draws bites. On the opposite end of the scale, a fast-falling creature bait may cause a reaction strike where the slower-moving one may not, so try both until the fish tell you what they want.
Run these 10 places the first 45 minutes of daylight to check for a late shad spawn, and then slow down and fish them thoroughly to pick off individual bass feeding on shad, bream and crayfish.
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