Shad Spawn, Bream Beds For Jackson Bass

David Lowery marks a map to set your May pattern at Lake Jackson as postspawn bass are hungry and aggressive.

Ronnie Garrison | May 2, 2018

Frogs, jigs and Spooks will all catch bass at Lake Jackson in May. Postspawn bass will be feeding on bluegill and shad in shallow pockets, and when the shad are spawning and the bluegill bed, the bass bite gets even better.

Seawalls, docks and wood are the kinds of cover you want to target during a May bass fishing trip to Lake Jackson.

Jackson is a small 4,750-acre Georgia Power Co. lake at the headwaters of the Ocmulgee River. It is an old lake, built in 1910, but it has a lot of wood cover that is washed down the South and Alcovy rivers, and docks and seawalls line almost all banks.

During a May trip, expect some shad to still be spawning on the seawalls in the mornings, and bluegill will be bedding back in the pockets, especially around the full moons April 29 and May 29. Both the shad spawn and bedding bream drive the bass into a feeding frenzy.

David Lowery with a solid Lake Jackson bass that hit a frog during a trip with the author in mid April. Frog, jigs and Spooks will be key to a good day of exciting fishing on Jackson this month as bass feed on bream and shad.

David Lowery is a well-known tournament fisherman on the Berry’s trail and others in middle Georgia. He grew up in Columbus and started fishing tournaments with his dad when he could barely make a cast. David now lives in Milledgeville and fishes the Berry’s trails, Reel Money and ABA Weekend Series.

“I go after shallow, feeding bass in May,” David said.

The bass will be biting, so keep it simple. David relies on a frog, jig ’n pig and a topwater Zara Spook for most of his May fishing. He will also have a ChatterBait and spinnerbait ready for some conditions he might run across on Jackson during the late spring.

David is good at putting his baits quietly into cover, pitching his frog and jig under docks and right against wood and seawalls. He covers water quickly while power fishing, but he thoroughly works key spots. Although Jackson is full of smaller spotted bass, David keys on largemouth that will win tournaments.

We fished on a very pretty Easter day when the lake was crowded, as it always is. We had only a few hours to fish, but David landed a couple of nice largemouth, including one pushing 5 pounds, and several other smaller bass. The Lake Jackson bass were just moving up to spawn, but by the first of May, they are mostly done bedding and are feeding heavily postspawn in the following types of places.

If you put in at Berry’s, these places are close by and easy to find and fish. You can find many more like them on other parts of the lake.

No. 1: N 33º 22.662 – W 83º 51.106 — Going down the lake from Berry’s, a long point comes off the right bank, narrowing the lake, and powerlines cross from the long point to the other bank. On the upstream side of this point there is a small cove with a good ditch that comes in from your right. The powerlines cross the cove, too. For reference, there is a nice brick house with a big yard on the right as you go into the cove.

This cove, like others that are good this time of year, is near deep water. It has a good channel going out from it, it’s full of wood cover, and there are several docks in it. Start on the seawall in front of the brick house, and fish all the way around it. Watch for shad on the seawall early in the morning, and throw a walking bait, like a Spook, to any activity you see.

We fished to the back of the ditch, but in May, David will usually not go all the way back unless bream are bedding there. Bass tend to be on the outer half of coves like this one this time of year. However, if you are catching bass, keep going back farther.

A couple of buck bass were fanning beds on the back side of the last dock on the right. They were watching the beds but not really guarding them. They were likely waiting on the females to come to them. Some bass may bed back in places like this even in May, so keep a watch for them.

Fish around the cove, working all docks, seawalls and wood. Try to get your frog and jig back under the docks to the heaviest shade on sunny days. Carefully work all wood cover with your jig after fishing a frog over it.

No. 2: N 33º 22.167 – W 83º 31.991 — Go into the mouth of the South River on the downstream side. There are two good coves here on the left. Go to the upstream one that has a block seawall on the upstream point, and work it with a walking bait. Then fish around the cove, fishing docks, wood and any other cover.

David likes a Spro Popping frog in killer gill or black-and-yellow colors. He skips it far back under docks into the shade and works it with aggressive pops and fairly long pauses between the pops. He says you will often get explosive strikes when your frog is under a dock that throw water up through cracks in the boards.

Also work the jig under docks and along wood cover. David fishes his jig on a 7-foot, 6-inch heavy-fast action Impulse rod, and his reel is spooled with Power Pro braid. This action rod allows him to work the frog but has enough backbone to pull fish from cover, and the braid helps float the frog and pull strong fish from cover, too.

No. 3: N 33º 21.892 – W 83º 52.014 — The next cove on your right going downstream has a brown dock with a gray metal roof and two fans on the upstream side. Start fishing at this dock, and then go around the cove hitting all cover. Watch for activity on the rip-rap on the outside of the dock, especially early in the morning.

Under normal conditions in May, David will stop fishing when he gets to the blowdown on the right bank near the back, but if the water is unusually muddy for May, he will fish all the way to the back. Bass hold tight to wood cover in the backs of pockets in muddy water. If the water is heavily stained to muddy, work your jig slowly right up against wood cover.

David fishes a brown All Terrain jig with a brown Ultra Vibe craw in clearer water, but he will go to a black-and-blue combination in muddier water. He dips his trailers in JJ’s Magic to give them color and scent for added attraction.

No. 4: N 33º 21.816 – W 83º 51.584 — Across the river on the downstream side of the big, round, rocky point right across from the mouth of the South River, there is a small cove that goes back a short distance. There are blue-topped docks on either side of it, and wood cover in the back of it. Start at the dock on the right, and fish around it to the one on the left.

David pitches his jig to all wood after working it with a frog. If the log is running toward you, pitch to the far end and fish your jig along both sides to the end near the boat. If it is laying crossways to the front of your boat, pitch to the back side, pull your jig over it, and let the bait fall. Work any log like this every couple of feet for bass holding under the log that don’t want to move far to eat.

No. 5: N 33º 22.516 – W 83º 51.226 — Going back up the river, before you go under the powerlines, look for Plunkett Neck that runs back on the left bank. It is the last deep ditch before the main-lake powerlines and has a small set of lines crossing it. The downstream point has a deep block seawall that is an excellent place to work your walking bait.

Stay fairly close to the seawall, and cast so your bait works along the wall and parallel to it. Bass will often be right on the wall and the rocks at the base of it, holding and feeding on shad that come in to spawn. Bass will also be eating crawfish and bream that concentrate in the rocks. Work your bait with twitches, so it walks along like a bass feeding on top.

Fish all the way around the cove like you would in other similar places. Fish your frog under docks and over wood cover, from the very edge of the bank out to where it ends. Fish your jig beside all wood cover in here, too.


No. 6: N 33º 22.487 – W 83º 50.461 —  Upstream above the powerlines on the right, Leverett Neck is the first big cove on that side. The last dock on the right is a big wood dock with a brown roof. A red fishing boat and a pontoon were hanging under it on lifts, and a water intake buoy marks the pumping station for Turtle Cove. This is an excellent bass feeding area.

Generally, there isn’t much grass along the shoreline on Jackson, but there is a good bit of grass here that forms a mat along the bank. That grass is a great place to throw a frog right now. Bream bed back in here around the grass and wood and will hit a frog or jig. David caught a bass close to 5 pounds out of the grass on a frog the day we fished.

Start at the last dock on the right, and fish all the way around the back of this neck. Work the grass and wood with a jig as well as a frog. If the bass are feeding on shad, or seem to be chasing bait, a spinnerbait or ChatterBait will also catch fish.

No. 7: N 33º 23.097 – W 83º 50.758 — Across the lake and a little upstream, Pope Neck is a double-arm cove with the main arm going straight back and a smaller arm to the right. Just inside the upstream point, there are two small docks—one floating and one on posts—in front of a white house.

The floating dock has a lot of brush around it that holds bass moving out of the spawning areas. David works all around the dock with a jig ’n pig, probing for brush and fishing his jig all through it. Bass here will feed on shad moving by but mostly feed on bream, which a brown jig imitates well. Spend some time finding all the brush since one pile may hole most of the fish.

No. 8: N 33º 23.146 – W 83º 50.848 — The middle point in Pope Neck has a cement seawall that is an excellent place to throw a Spook if the shad are still spawning. But fish will feed around this wall in May even if no shad are spawning on it. Bass will feed here on bluegill, too, and a Spook imitates a bass hitting on top, making other bass try to get in on the action.

Start on the left end of the seawall, and fish all the way around it, casting your Spook right against the wall and fishing it back at an angle to cover the shallows around it. “Walk the Dog” with the Spook, popping it with short twitches so the bait moves slowly forward while jerking side to side. When you pop it, move your rod tip immediately back toward the bait to give it slack, so it moves side to side.

No. 9: N 33º 23.837 – W 83º 50.049 — Go up the Alcovy above the Highway 212 bridge. The river swings to the left, and on the outside of this swing there is a small pocket on the left. There is a cement seawall on the right point leading back to a brown wooden boathouse near the back. There’s a good ditch in this pocket.

Work the seawall with a Spook and frog, and then work around the boathouse and wood cover in the back with the frog and jig. Bream bed in here, and bass come in to feed on them. Watch for bream beds, and fish all around them. If the water is clear enough, you can often see a quality bass holding just off the bream bed.

When you see a bass, cast your frog past the fish, and then work it slowly up to the bass. The bass should hit. Also try swimming your jig to the bass and letting it fall. Cast far enough past the fish that you don’t spook it with the splash of your lure.

No. 10: N 33º 24.491 – W 83º 49.853 — Upstream around the point on the left where the river narrows, Price Neck is on your left. There is a big gray two-story house on the upstream point going in, and it has a seawall in front of it and a gazebo at the dock walkway.

Start fishing at the seawall with a Spook and frog, and work all around the cove. Fish it like the others with the frog and jig. On the left side near the back, there are big trees growing in the water, and bream bed around them. Fish these big trees carefully with the frog and jig.

Bass should be feeding in all these locations that David Lowery showed us. The bass will be keying on shad and bream, especially when bream are bedding. Look for other small pockets for quality largemouth this month on Lake Jackson.

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