Shallow Summer Bass On Weiss

Leave the finesse gear at home when you fish Weiss in July.

Ronnie Garrison | July 3, 2016

Tournament angler Wayne Boyd has lived on Weiss and still fishes the Coosa River reservoir regularly. He caught this 5-pounder during a trip with the author.

It’s too hot to go fishing in July, and the bass are sluggish and don’t bite anyway, right? Wrong! If you sit home under an air conditioner rather than going bass fishing, you will miss out on some good catches, especially if you go to Weiss Lake.

Weiss is a very pretty 30,200-acre Alabama Power Co. lake on the Coosa, Chattooga and Little rivers that has an average depth of only 10 feet. The shallow depths surprised me when I first went to Weiss years ago. The lake is surrounded by low mountains, and I thought it would be deep and clear like most mountain lakes. Instead, Weiss is shallow, stained most of the year, and it is full of grassbeds and shallow wood cover.

Since Weiss is on the Coosa River, it has a good population of those hard-fighting Coosa spotted bass, also known as Alabama spotted bass. Weiss also has a good population of largemouth bass, and the lake is known as “The Crappie Capital” of the world. The lake’s fertility makes all species grow to bragging sizes.

The upper Coosa River is in Georgia, where you need a Georgia fishing license. Anglers need an Alabama fishing license to fish on almost all of the main lake. And this month, the fishing will be good on the main lake.

Wayne Boyd lived on Weiss just downstream of the big bridge and causeway for seven years, and he learned it well. He now lives in Rome, Ga. and still fishes Weiss and other lakes in north Alabama, often in tournaments. He fishes the Choo Choo Division BFL series where he finished in third place in points last year. This year Wayne has a first, a third and a 15th in that BFL trail.

In the Rayovac Series, Wayne placed in the Top-10 in two of the three tournaments he fished. He also fished the Weekend Series and some other team trails, but Weiss is his home lake, and he has spent a lot of time learning how to catch bass there year-round.

Wayne took me to the lake to show me 10 locations for this article. It was before the bass were on their summer holes. Still, Wayne caught two nice 5-lb. bass in the two hours we fished. That’s testament to how well he knows the lake and to the quality of bass Weiss produces.

“Bass don’t go real deep on Weiss in the summer,” Wayne said.

He said anglers can catch bass from very shallow water, as long as there is 4 to 5 feet of water nearby. There is no need to dredge 20-plus feet of water like on many lakes during the hot summer months.

Wayne doesn’t have many baits rigged for July fishing. He keeps it simple. A crankbait that will run 10 feet deep, a big worm rigged on a Texas or Carolina rig, and a beaver-type bait rigged for flipping, are all he needs this time of year. However, you can also catch bass on your favorite baits by fishing in the same places.

Wayne had a problem with his boat the week before we went, but Dalton Marine got him up and running in a day or so. He also mentioned that you can get any of the baits he uses at Country Sportsman in Rome.

No. 1: N 34º 12.307 – W 85º 34.167 — The first five locations are up the river not far from Riverside Marina, and you might want to put in up there to fish them.

If you put in on the main lake, be very careful running up the river. You must follow the channel markers, and even then there are logs in the channel, and floating wood is always a danger.

Go to red channel marker 81, which is on a post not far off the left bank as you are going upstream. The river channel runs right along the left bank, and there are huge flats across the channel with lots of wood on them. Stop at the channel marker, and idle around. You will see a flat that comes off the bank to the marker, and it drops off on both sides into the river channel. There are stumps on it, and logs are stuck on this flat on the bottom, too.

The flat is 5 to 6 feet deep on top near the marker, but it drops to more than 15 feet. Wayne keeps his boat in the channel and casts up on top of the flat, working all around the marker. Make fairly long casts with a crankbait that runs about 10 feet deep, like a Strike King 5 or 6 XD, and keep it on the bottom as it comes off the flat into the channel.

Wayne likes any color as long as it has chartreuse in it. The chartreuse plug with either a blue or black back is good. The water is almost always stained here, and there is usually some current, a critical factor for this spot.

No. 2: N 34º 12.576 – W 85º 34.175 — Across the channel, a creek runs back and splits into three fingers. Be careful going in—there are wood-filled shallows in the mouth of it. When you get into the creek, you will see an orange roofed dock and house on the point between the left arm and the middle one. Way off the point that the house is on there is a white “Fish Attractor” buoy.

This buoy sits on the end of the point where it drops into the channel, and there are stumps and state brushpiles around it. The buoy is in about 6 feet of water, and it drops off around it quickly.

Keep your boat out from the buoy in deep water and cast a crankbait or Carolina rig all around it. Wayne rigs a big worm like a Zoom Ol’ Monster in red shad or green pumpkin behind a 1/2- to 1-oz. sinker, depending on wind and current, with a 3-foot leader.

Fish hold on this point and cover all summer, so fish it carefully, probing for the brush and stumps. Fish around it in one direction with a crankbait, and then go back around it with your Carolina rig to offer the bass an option.

No. 3: N 34º 12.664 – W 85º 34.025 — In the same creek, on the right bank of the right arm, there is a light pole out in the water in front of a wooden boathouse. The pole sits on a point that runs out and drops off into deeper water. There is wood cover on this point to hold bass, too.

Fish all around the end of the point, keeping your boat out in the deeper water and casting up on top of it near the light pole. Fish crankbaits and Carolina rigs here, too. Fish it thoroughly before leaving.

No. 4. N 34º 12.600 – W 85º 34.100 — Flipping docks is one of Wayne’s favorite ways to catch July bass at Weiss, and this triple-armed creek is full of good docks to flip. The dock on the bank near the light pole at hole 3 is a good example of one to flip. Fish all the docks in this creek.

Wayne does not necessarily try to hit the posts on the docks; he just gets his bait back under it in the shade where the bass hold. He flips or pitches his beaver bait in crawfish colors well back under the dock, lets it hit bottom, and then shakes it one to three times and reels it in for the next pitch.

Bass will usually hit as the bait makes its first fall, so be ready to set the hook at any movement of the line, any thump, or if it stops falling too soon. Use heavy gear to be able to get bass out from around a post. Some brush under or in front of a dock helps. There are good flipping docks all over the lake like the ones in this creek.

No. 5: N 34º 10.550 – W 85º 35.527 — Come out of the creek at location 4, and head down the river. You will run along the right bank with some gaps in it and then past a big island sitting off the end of the main bank. Where that big island ends and the lake opens up, right at a channel marker post with a bird house on it. There is not green sign or number on this marker post.

The river makes a turn here, and current coming down moves over a ledge that is created by the flat running from the island past the post. Baitfish move with the current, and bass ambush them along the drop.

Wayne starts at the post with his boat out in the channel and fishes upstream, throwing a crankbait or Carolina rig up on the edge of the shallow flat, and he fishes his baits down the drop. He will fish up to the culvert on the big island, a couple of hundred yards upstream. Bass will feed all along this ledge and hold on wood cover on it.

No. 6: N 34º 11.514 – W 85º 37.671 — Run down the river around the big bend, past the Alabama Bell condos that will be on your left. Well downstream of the condos, the channel swings all the way to the opposite bank. Where it turns, just upstream of the long causeway, the first bridge on the causeway will be straight ahead of you.

Go in to this bridge that Wayne calls “Short Cut Bridge,” and fish the corners of the rip-rap. Wayne casts his crankbait to move with the current and then works the edges of the rocks with his beaver bait. Current will also position some bass on the pilings, so try them, too. Current is critical to make the bass feed here.

No. 7: N 34º 11.653 – W 85º 38.074 — Downstream of Short Cut Bridge, look for red channel marker 28. It’s not too far off the left bank as you’re heading downstream. From 50 yards upstream of the marker to about 100 yards downstream of it, a flat runs out to the channel that has stumps all over it. The channel is about 30 feet deep, and the flat comes up shallow.

Current is important to move baitfish and position the bass and make them feed here and on other similar places. Wayne starts fishing downstream of the marker, since boat control is much easier fishing upstream in current. He keeps his boat in the channel in 25 to 30 feet of water and casts a crankbait or Carolina rig up on the flat, working them back at an angle to come with the current. Fish the edge of the flat and the drop into the channel, probing for the stumps where the bass hold and feed.

No. 8: N 34º 11.653 – W 85º 39.045 — Stay parallel to the left bank, and continue heading downstream. When you pass a red-clay bluff bank, watch for a field running down to the edge of the lake. Out from this field, a series of small points run out toward the channel, and bass hold on them.

These flat points are 3 to 4 feet deep on top and about 7 to 8 feet out on the ends before they drop off. Keep your boat out in water at least 10 feet deep, and make long casts toward the bank with a crankbait and Carolina rig. These points run for about 100 yards, and there are several of them to fish. Bass may be feeding on top, on either side, or out on the end.

No. 9: N 34º 11.871 – W 85º 40.098 — Red channel marker 20 is out in the middle of the lake across from the mouth of Little Nose Creek. There is a huge rock just under the surface on the upstream side of the marker post, and a river ledge runs upstream from the marker.

Start at the marker, casting to the rock with a crankbait and either a Carolina rig or a big worm on a Texas rig with a 1/2-oz. sinker. Then fish upstream. Keep your boat in the channel and cast up onto the flat, and work your baits across the drop. There are stumps and rocks all along this drop that hold bass.

No. 10: N 34º 12.748 – W 85º 38.305 — Across the lake and upstream, the mouth of Little River enters the lake. Going into it, the very big island on your left is Hog Island, and the smaller island on your right is Buffington Island. On a point on the downstream side of Buffington Island there is a house and dock, both with orange roofs.

An old railroad bed runs off the island near that dock and runs all the way across the mouth of the river on the upstream side of Hog Island.

Ride over this area, and you will see the railroad bed come up from 15 feet of water to top out about 8 feet deep. When you find it, sit off the side and cast a crankbait or Carolina rig across it. Work up one side, across the top and down the other side. Work with the current.

Across the mouth of the river on the upstream side of Hog Island, you can see a white buoy. That buoy is on the railroad bed where it comes up shallow there. You can fish the railroad bed all the way across from Buffington Island to Hog Island, or ride it and find schools of bass on your electronics as key spots to fish. There is rock and gravel all along this old railroad bed that holds bass.

These 10 locations give you an idea of the kinds of places Wayne catches spots and largemouth on Weiss this month. Check them out, and you can find similar spots holding bass all over the lake.

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