Shallow And Deep For August Eufaula Bass
Think its too hot to catch shallow bass this month? It’s not if you go to Lake Eufaula. Not only can you catch bass in grass and pads, but you can dredge the famous Eufaula summer ledges and catch bass if that is what you prefer.
There are three good patterns for catching late July and August bass at Eufaula—two of them shallow and one for deeper bass.
Lake Eufaula is world-renowned for its bass fishing, to the point the town of Eufaula proclaims itself “The Big Bass Capital of the World.” That is hard to argue since the lake has produced so many big bass over the years. It is also home to some of the best-known tackle companies in the country.
This bass factory is a big lake full of shallow grass and lily pad fields that is also cut by ditches and channels with standing timber. The lake offers great habitat for bass. It is far enough south to have a long growing season for bass, and there is plenty of food, ranging from shad and bluegill to crawfish throughout the lake.
Jack Tibbs grew up in the area, fishing the river above Lake Eufaula and other local waters with his father. After starting to fish Eufaula a good bit during the summer when lots of bass headed to the deep channel, in 1998 Jack came up with an idea for a big spinnerbait he named the Ledgebuster to fish the deep ledges on the lake. That idea led to him starting the very successful Strikezone Lure Company that sells his spinnerbaits and also hard baits, plastics, frogs and jigs.
Jack is in his second term as the mayor the city of Eufaula, Ala. He works with numerous groups to improve bass fishing and habitat on Eufaula, and Jack also promotes the area. He helped get a dramatic bass monument placed in downtown Eufaula on Broad Street, and it’s become a popular spot for photos by anglers and tourists.
Right now Jack is working with and promoting an effort by Auburn University to determine bass genetics in the lake. Swabs are available at local tackle stores for free. Fishermen are urged to get them and swab the mouth of any 4-lb. and larger Eufaula bass. Jack is hoping this study will end up with Florida strain largemouth being stocked in the lake.
Jack fishes most charity tournaments on Eufaula, as well as fishing the Alabama Bass Trail South division and the ABA Ram Opens. He was a long-time member of the Ft. Benning Bass Club, and several members of that club were cherished mentors. He also fishes with the Eufaula Head Hunters bass club.
The shallow pattern may surprise some bass anglers, but that very thick grassbed and lily pad cover offers shade and food that keeps plenty of bass shallow.
“There are always some quality bass feeding in shallow water in August,” Jack said.
The shallow bass will hit a variety of baits around lily pads and other water plants. Primrose has grown all around the edges of the lake over the past few years and has made shallow fishing even better.
Meanwhile, Eufaula is well known for its summer ledge fishing. That is always a good pattern this time of year.
There are three basic ways to fish Eufaula right now. You can fish the weeds with fast-moving baits, punch the mats or dredge the ledges. All will produce fish, so you can choose the way you want to fish and do well.
For fishing fast for shallow bass in August, Jack will have tied on a Strikezone Lures Pro Series Popp’n frog, a 3/8-oz. Master Blaster spinnerbait and a Swimtastic swim jig. He will be ready to slow down and punch the mats of primrose with a BoogBug creature bait behind a 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-oz. tungsten weight.
For deep ledges, he will be ready to throw a Ledgebuster spinnerbait, a 1/2- to 3/4-oz. Perfect football jig, a custom-painted Strikezone Lures Deep Daddy Toxic crankbait and a Texas- or Carolina-rigged Mega Worm.
When we fished, we had a good day, with about 15 keeper bass. The best five weighed between 20 and 21 pounds and included one just under 6 pounds, a 5-pounder and another one about 4.5 pounds. That is a good example of the kinds of bass you can catch on these places right now at Lake Eufaula.
No. 1: N 31º 59.092 – W 85º 06.829 — If you put in at Lakepoint State Park, there is no need to go far to start catching summer bass at Lake Eufaula. Many bass are released in tournaments at the ramp, and some stay there and feed. The grass in the corner of the bridge rip-rap and the ramp parking lot is a key feeding area.
Primrose grows out from the rip-rap, and lily pads grow in this corner, too. Work the edges and any openings with a frog, popping it fast to cover water. Also fish a swim jig along the edge of the primrose and through the lily pads. Jack says he does not have to twitch his rod tip to add action to the jig, since it is constantly bumping grass. We caught several bass here on frogs and swim jigs when we fished it first thing in the morning.
Go back over this area with your punch jig, dropping it through the mat. Let it hit bottom, jiggle it, and then lift it out and drop it in another place. Bright sun will make the bass hold tight under the grass, and they will hit the jig when they won’t move to hit a faster-moving bait.
No. 2: N 31º 58.561 – W 85º 06.575 — Going out of Cowikee Creek, the first set of channel marker markers past the marina—a red drum and green pole—have a good channel bend that is one of the best deep places on the lake, according to Jack. It’s called the “Toilet Bowl Hole” locally due to the toilet seat that was nailed to the top of the first green marker pole that it is now gone. There is an osprey nest on it now.
Just downstream of the green marker, the channel makes a sharp bend, and this is where both tournament-released bass and resident bass feed. The top of the ledge is about 8 feet deep, and it drops to 20 feet deep around it. Idle over it to see how it sets up, and to see if there are bass and baitfish on it. Either are a sign you should fish it.
Keep your boat in 20 feet of water, and bump a crankbait like a Deep Daddy Toxic or 10XD across it, keeping in contact with the bottom as much as possible. Also try a football jig like the Perfect Jig with a Speed Craw in bluegill colors on it. Jack dyes the tails of his trailers and worms with chartreuse JJ’s Magic to further imitate a bluegill. There is a little brush on this ledge, so probe for it with your jig.
No. 3: N 31º 58.128 – W 85º 06.241 — A little farther down Cowikee Creek, the channel markers go near the upstream end of an island, and then straight across to the far bank. The ledge running across here closer to the end of the island is a good one. Jack calls it the “Two Pole Hole,” since you line up the two red channel markers to get on it.
Line up the two downstream red markers, and idle across the ledge. It tops out about 8 feet deep and drops into the 20 foot plus deep channel. Look for brushpiles here and fish them. Keep your boat in the channel, and cast from deep to shallow, dragging your football head jig to and through the brush. Jack says a good tactic is to “stroke” your jig, popping it off the bottom 2 to 3 feet and letting it fall back.
Also fish your big crankbait and heavy spinnerbait the same direction. Bump the crankbait along the bottom on the ledge, and be ready for a hit as it clears the ledge. Throw a heavy spinnerbait up on the ledge, slow-roll it along the bottom, and let it fall off the drop. The Ledgebuster is designed for fishing like this.
No. 4: N 31º 58.130 – W 85º 05.820 — The last island in the group on the left going out of Cowikee Creek has an excellent pad point on the downstream side of it. The channel swings in fairly close to it, and there is a shallow ditch running in on the back side of it, giving bass route to and from it. That is a key to pads and grass this time of year. Deep water nearby means more and bigger bass.
Start on the upstream side of the pads, and fish around it with a frog and swim jig. Cast the frog back in the pads, and fish it out with fast pops. Run it over any openings in the pads. A sunny day puts the bass under the pads, and they bite the frog better.
Run your swim jig along the edges of the pads and through any channels in them. Swim it fast just under the surface. If it hangs up on a pad stem, jerk it free and expect a bite when it darts away.
No. 5: N 31º 58.296 – W 85º 05.426 — Leave hole 4, and idle toward the bank downstream to your left. This is a huge flat with some standing timber, so be careful. You will go through pad fields, but near the bank there is an open “pond” with slightly deeper water and with pads all around it. The water in this open area is about 4 feet deep.
This is a great bluegill spawning and feeding area, and bass feed on them all month long. When you get to the open area, fish all around it with your frog and swim jig. Listen for the popping sound bluegill make feeding in the pads, and concentrate your casts in the areas where you hear them.
No. 6: N 31º 58.012 – W 85º 05.583 — Go back out to the Cowikee Creek Channel to the red channel marker pole closest to the north bank. It has an osprey nest on it and marks an outside bend of the creek channel. Jack called it “Russell County Flats,” since the big flat runs from the north bank all the way out to it. He says an FLW tournament was won here a few years ago.
Just downstream of the channel marker, there is a ditch that cuts the top of the ledge. The creek channel here drops to 40 feet deep. Keep your boat in the channel in 20 feet of water, and cast a big crankbait up on the ledge to 10 to 12 feet of water, bumping the bottom across it to the lip. Also try your football head jig and big worm here.
On this ledge and other deep-water holes, current moving on them makes the fish bite much better. For that reason, weekdays are better than weekends, since that is when power is being generated. With current, the bass are more active, so a crankbait is a better way to fish it. Without current, a jig ’n pig or big worm is more likely to get bit.
No. 7: N 31º 57.719 – W 85º 05.540 — On the south bank upstream of the point between Cowikee Creek and the river, the channel swings in right along the bank. There is a big shallow bay with rip-rap in the back. On the downstream side of this bay, a point has grass on it, and then it drops fast into the creek channel.
Stop on the creek side of the point, and fish the grass with frog and swim jig, and then work down the bank toward the river with both baits. This bank has some hydrilla on it, as well as pads and primrose. Since it drops fast, it is a good big-fish hole, according to Jack. He got one over 8 pounds here in a tournament in August a couple of years ago.
Fish the bank grass carefully all the way to the point between the river and creek. Watch for little details like a hole in the grass, a clump of hydrilla surrounded by different kinds of weeds and cuts and points in the grass. Any difference is a key place for bass to hold and feed. As the water gets deeper going down this bank, the band of grass gets smaller, concentrating the fish.
No. 8: N 31º 57.574 – W 85º 05.206 — The point between the creek and river is narrow and very deep on both sides. The creek channel swings in on one side and the river on the other, creating an ideal feeding point for bass. There is some hydrilla on top of it making it even better, and the bottom is rocky. Jack says this is a numbers hole—you can catch a lot of fish here, and there’s also a chance for a quality bass.
If current is moving, keep your boat out in the channel and work all the way around the point, casting your crankbait up shallow and pulling it out to deeper water. Also fish your frog and swim jig through any grass on top of the point.
If there is no current, sit on top of the point. Cast a football jig out into the channel, and work it up the drop. Cast it to 25 feet of water, and bump the rocks and other cover as you come up to 10 feet of water or less. Work all the way around the point, fishing both channel drops.
No. 9: N 31º 56.436 – W 85º 04.795 — The river channel leaves the mouth of Cowikee Creek and goes all the way across the lake to the Georgia side, not far off the bank. The last channel green marker at the turn marks “Sugar Hill,” which is a hump on the channel on the inside bend where the channel makes a hard turn to the right. It is about 13 feet on top but drops fast to more than 40 feet deep off the channel side.
Idle across it, going straight downstream from the green channel marker drum, and you will see how it sets up. There is a stump row on top of it, and a lot of bass feed there, and some big ones are mixed in. Jack says this is both a numbers as well as a big-fish spot.
If current is moving, throw a big crankbait on top of it from the channel, and bump it across the shallows with the current. Also drag a football jig and big worm across it. Try both Carolina and Texas rig, using enough weight to keep the worm on the bottom in the current. If there is no current, try the worm and use a lighter weight.
No. 10: N 31º 58.561 – W 85º 04.906 — Wylanee Creek enters the upstream side of Cowikee Creek near the mouth of the river. There is a duck-pond pumping station in a pocket on the right as you go in, and the creek and pocket are separated by a long island. The creek is full of primrose and some hydrilla and is an excellent place to punch grass all day.
Go into the creek past the point between the pump station pocket and creek. Stop at the opening on your right at the end of the island that goes over to the cove. Start on the island side of the cove, and punch the primrose around it and on upstream into the creek. Your boat will be in 9 to 10 feet of water just off the grass.
Jack drops his heavily weighted BoogBug through the top of the grass and lets it fall to the bottom. You will need 65-lb. braid to get bass out of the grass, and a 1 1/4- to 1- and 1 1/2-oz. tungsten weight to get through it. Drop your bait every couple of feet as you work along the grass.
All these spots are holding fish right now, and you will catch some quality 4- to 6-pounders working them this month.
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