Seminole Bass Three Stages Of The Spawn
In March, you can catch Seminole bass in prespawn and postspawn staging holes, and on the bed, all in small areas.
Bass all over our state are moving to shallow water and feeding this month, and some of the best action is way down south at Lake Seminole. Seminole is at the top of its cycle right now for bass fishing, with fat, heavy bass being caught all over the lake.
Seminole is not like other big lakes in Georgia. It is very shallow and has huge grass flats and water filled with stumps and timber. It is so far south bass often start bedding in January, and patterns in March are more like late April patterns on most of our lakes.
Earl Roberson has been fishing with the Valdosta Bassmasters for 20 years and won the point standings for the past three years. He has fished all but one of the Top-Six tournaments in that time and has made the state team several times.
Seminole is Earl’s favorite lake. He fishes it almost every week and enters many pot tournaments there. This year he is fishing the FLW American Fishing Series as well as the Media Bass Trail, Fisherman for the Hungry Trail and others. He competes on many lakes but Seminole is his favorite.
“In March you will find bass spawning on Seminole, but there will also be lots of postspawn fish as well as prespawn fish to catch,” Earl said.
This year has been so cold the spawn is a little later than it is in very warm years, but some bass were trying to bed during warm spells in early February.
Since some bass are in all three stages of the spawn in March, there are a variety of ways to catch them. And fishing has been great this year. In mid-February it took 27 pounds to win a club tournament, and healthy, fat fish are being caught even on tough days.
Both prespawn and postspawn bass will be holding at the mouths of the spawning flats and pockets as well as in deeper water back in sloughs around the spawning areas. Spawning fish will be nearby, up on sandbars and sandy shallows in sloughs and cuts. You can fish for bass in all three stages within a few yards of each other
For fishing this time of year, Earl will have a variety of baits rigged. A rattlebait like a Rat-L-Trap is what he will usually start with, and it is a good bait to cover water and find prespawn and postspawn fish. Most colors will work, and Earl will try different colors based on the color of the water, which has been stained to muddy on most main-lake areas, but it’s clear back in some sloughs and pockets.
A Carolina-rigged fluke or lizard will also catch prespawn and postspawn fish, and it will also get bit by bass on the bed. Earl will rig a green-pumpkin lizard or fluke, or a white fluke, and drag these baits around spawning flats and staging areas.
A Shad Rap is a great bait for catching bass at Seminole, and Earl will always have one rigged and ready for casting around drops and grass edges. Shad are usually in the same areas as the bass this time of year, and they are a favorite food. A Shad Rap imitates them very well.
Texas-rigged worms sometimes work through the grassbeds and wood cover better, and Earl will fish a green-pumpkin or watermelon worm, depending on water color, in holding areas. And he keeps a Paca Craw behind a 1-oz. tungsten sinker rigged on a flipping stick to punch through mats of grass in the sloughs and ponds.
Flipping mats like this produced a five-fish, 35-lb. stringer for Earl in a tournament, his best five-fish limit on Seminole. He has caught an 8 1/2-pounder from the lake, and he knows of many bigger fish that Seminole has produced this year.
Earl showed me around some of his favorite spots on Seminole a couple of weeks ago on a very cold day. He was really disappointed in catching only nine bass, since he didn’t have any real big ones. His best five would have weighed about 14 pounds that day, and he said that would not even be worth weighing in for most tournaments even on tough days.
The following 10 locations are some places that Earl catches bass on Seminole in March. Bass were already on them two weeks ago, and bass will move in and out of them all this month. Check them out, and you will catch fish and can see the kind of pattern Earl fishes.
No. 1: N 30º 46.142 – W 84º 44.521 — If you put in at Wingate’s, you don’t need to go far. Bass move up the boat channel and spawn in the protected waters from the mouth all the way to the back. And tournament fishermen constantly re-stock the area when bass are released at weigh-ins there. Heading toward the lake, Earl starts just past the end of the no-wake area near the campground and works the open areas, starting with a rattle bait. Fish will spawn in the pond area near the campground, and prespawn and postspawn fish will be in the area, usually holding nearer the channel in the grass. Run a Trap or other rattlebait all over the area, jerking it free of grass when you hit it. The dart the bait makes when it jerks free of grass will often draw a strike. Earl likes the “pro-style” Traps that allow you to run your line through the body of the bait and tie the hook on. Although you are fishing with only one treble hook, you won’t hang as much grass, and since the bait can slide up the line, a bass is much less likely to throw it.
After fishing a fast-moving bait here, Earl will slow down and drag a Carolina-rigged lizard in the same area, but he’ll work it even more shallow. He does not usually sight fish for bass on the bed, but a lizard dragged through the spawning flats will get bit by bass on the beds you don’t see. Also try a white fluke worked shallow over the same areas. Bass will hit it, and sometimes they will show you where to make repeated casts if they miss it. Earl got a fat keeper here the day we fished, before the sun hit the water in the area.
No. 2: N 30º 46.110 – W 84º 45.068 — Go past the last bank on your left at the end of the boat channel, and go down that bank about 100 yards. Start fishing the grass off the bank with your rattlebait. Prespawn and postspawn bass will hold and feed in that grass.
When you get to the upstream point of the first pocket on your left, work the point hard. It is a long sandbar that runs out and has stumps on it, and bass spawn heavily on it. Across the cove you will see the start of a line of docks. Fish the pocket behind the sandbar point and docks, too. This cut used to go through to the Wingate boat channel but has filled in. Earl called this area the “Millionaire’s Hole,” and it produces a lot of fish. Bass spawn on the sandbar point as well as back in the pocket, so drag a Carolina-rigged lizard all over this area to draw a strike from them. Fish it slowly and carefully.
No. 3: N 30º 46.676 – W 43º 43.422 — Carefully run up to the small island upstream of the Wingate boat channel. This is a huge, shallow flat, but you can run it if you watch out for logs that wash in sometimes. Just upstream of the island is a small cut going into a big slough. Idle into Brockett’s Slough, and start fishing as soon as the area opens up.
The slough has a lot of docks in it, and there are two islands, one right at the mouth and another farther back. There is a deep hole to the right of the first island and a bar runs off the back side of that island toward a telephone pole in the water. There is another hole behind the bar and a third one farther back. Bass will hold in the deep water and move up onto the bar to spawn, as well as spawning in the shallow sandy water in the back of the slough.
The day we fished was after a cold front. Water temperatures had dropped, and the sky was bright and sunny. The water was still clear back in here, and Earl said to cast out into the middle of the hole and pump your rattlebait off the bottom. I got a pretty 3-lb. bass on a Red Eye Shad doing what he told me to do. Fish the deeper water, and also work the edges of the hole and around the edges of the flats with your favorite rattlebait. This is also a good area to fish a fluke around the flats. Try your Carolina-rigged lizard on the bar and flats around the edges for spawning fish.
No. 4: N 30º 46.833 – W 84º 43.579 — Before going into the slough in hole No. 3 or when coming out, stop out even with the small island downstream and start casting a rattlebait, covering the big grass flat from the mouth of the slough to the island and past it. Bass stack up and feed heavily here in both prespawn and postspawn modes. Also cast a Texas-rigged worm to the bases of trees on the island and any logs or other wood cover around it. Bass will move in to that cover to feed, too. Earl likes to use a green-pumpkin worm with a chartreuse tail in the area. The bright tail will often draw attention in stained water. It was very muddy here when we fished, but the water should be clearing in March.
Fish all the way down to the A-frame house on the bank downstream of the island. Work from the bank all the way out to the river channel. There is a good grassbed along the lip of the channel that often holds good bass.
No. 5: N 30º 47.503 – W 84º 40.926 — Run up the Flint, following the channel markers. Not far downstream of Faceville Landing, the channel will swing near the left bank going up, and then it swings across to the right bank. Just upstream of a big dead tree standing off the left bank, you will see an opening on your left.
This is what Earl calls the “Five Finger” area. It is a big open area with finger sloughs running parallel to the river. There is an island on the river side and shallow grass-filled shallows behind it. As you go in, there will be a big dead tree on your right, on the island side, in the opening to the sloughs. Start fishing just past the dead tree, and throw your rattlebait all over the sloughs, working from the bank out to the middle. Bass will spawn all over these sloughs, and the water is often a little clearer and warmer, so fish it thoroughly. If you get close to the edge of the grass and the water is clear enough, you will see the bottom drops straight off to a couple of feet deep right beside the grass. There are holes and openings under the grass, and there is often open water behind the outer edge of the grass. Bass will hold under this grass and feed.
This is the perfect example of where you need to get out your flipping stick. Tie on a big hook and a Paca Craw, and rig it behind a 1- to 1 1/2-oz. tungsten sinker on 65-lb. braid. Make your bait punch through the mat, and let it fall to the bottom under the grass. Raise and lower your bait a couple of times, and then punch through a little farther along the grass line. If your bait hesitates on the fall or feels mushy, set the hook hard. This is how Earl caught five bass weighing 35 pounds in a tournament. It is an excellent way to catch big bass this time of year. The grass mat warms the water and draws the big fish under it to hold and feed.
No. 6: N 30º 47.370 – W 84º 45.671 — Run down to the cut across from Wingate’s that goes over to Spring Creek. You can carefully run it to the no-wake area, but then you need to slow down. In the no-wake area you will see an opening to your right, and the above coordinates are at this opening. Ease through the cut, and you can go several hundred yards back to Silver Lake. This area is full of stumps, so be careful. Earl usually starts fishing just inside the cut and works all the way to the lake. The first open area on the left is full of stumps, and he catches bass here. This is a good area to work a Shad Rap since the water is clear and deep enough to fish the crankbait over the grass. Run it by every stump, and fish from the edge of the grass to the middle. Farther back there is a narrow, shallow channel that opens up into another big area with several standing trees in it. The water is 14 feet deep around the trees, and bass will live here in Silver Lake year-round. This time of year, the resident bass are joined by many spawners.
Fish all around the lake, using a Shad Rap and Carolina-rigged lizard. The water is almost always extremely clear here, and you can usually spot bedding bass easily. There are lily pads, stumps, standing trees and grass to hold the fish. There are many similar ponds scattered all over Seminole. It just takes time to explore and find them, and to find which ones hold bass.
No. 7: N 30º 47.797 – W 84º 47.006 — When you come out of the cut from the Flint River into Spring Creek, idle to your left close to the bank. There is a lot of standing timber to your right after you turn, and the boat channel goes on across. You want to ease down the bank to where a big cove opens up on your left. Earl called this Reynolds Flats. Bass move out of the timber across the flats, heading to this spawning cove. They will feed around the mouth of the cove going and coming and will spawn on the sand bottom from the mouth of the cove to the back. Fish this area with Texas-rigged worms and Carolina-rigged lizards. Bass stage in front of the cove and move into it in waves. There will be bass here in all stages of the spawn. Earl says there were probably 150 beds back in this one pocket last spring.
No. 8: N 30º 47.242 – W 84º 48.524 — You can run this side if you are careful. You will join up with a marked boat channel downstream a short way. After passing very close to a point on your left in the boat channel, just downstream of where the Cypress Pond boat channel goes to the right, there is a good grass edge between the point and the next island on your left.
Start fishing just downstream of the point, and fish the grass edge. Then work back into the pocket behind it. This is similar to hole No. 7 where fish stage both prespawn and postspawn in the grass then move in to spawn. Fish all the area with Carolina rig and Texas rig. Fish holding out in the grass will also hit a rattlebait.
No. 9: N 30º 46.436 – W 84º 49.007 — A little farther downstream you will suddenly be able to see all the way across to the Flint River. There is a huge flat between Spring Creek and the Flint, and there are scattered islands on it. This big area has lots of spawning sandbars and deeper holes, and there are many grassbeds on it. Just before the boat channel turns back to your right, there is a small channel through the standing timber and around the shallows. Earl ran it, but until you learn it, you better idle slowly. There are orange pipes marking stumps that will lead you in behind a big island with four clumps of trees on it. The downstream clump of trees is the biggest one. From the Flint River side, come down the river until you can see across to Spring Creek and the island with the four clumps of trees. Just downstream of the first small island, you can come in from that side easier, but be very careful there, too.
When you get behind the islands, you will see a white PVC pole toward the upstream end of the island. Downstream of it a couple of hundred yards is another white pole, and there is a small pipe or piece of re-bar sticking up out of an underwater stump back toward the Flint. You want to fish the hole between the two white PVC pipes. Start fishing about even with the downstream end of the big island with the clumps of trees — the small clump nearest you will line up with the bigger clump behind it. Watch your depthfinder, and you will see the water drop from a few feet deep down to 9 feet deep. Fish all around the edges of this hole Bass will hold in the deeper water and along the edges of it and move up onto the lip of the hole on the sandbars to spawn. Fish your rattlebait, Shad Rap and Carolina-rigged lizard all over this area. Many bass are caught here every spring.
No. 10: N 30º 46.116 – W 84º 48.111 — Go out to the Flint, and start upstream. There is a big island on your left — it looks like the main bank — then a cove upstream of it. This is the beginning of Carl’s Pass. You will see a small island in the mouth of the cove on the upstream side, and there is a Wildlife Management Area Waterfowl Reserve sign on a small post out in the middle of the cove. Earl says to fish all around this pocket and the island with your rattlebait and Carolina-rigged lizards. Start out in front where the water is 7 to 8 feet deep with the rattlebait, and then work into the shallows with your lizard. Bass hold here in the deeper water and move in and out to spawn.
All these spots have been holding bass for several weeks, and bass will be there until late spring. Check them out, and then find other similar areas to fish.
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