Shallow For Weiss October Bass

Here's a map to 10 locations to set your October pattern on Lake Weiss.

Ronnie Garrison | October 1, 2005

If you like fishing for bass around shallow cover, Lake Weiss is like heaven on earth. It is full of grass, logs, stumps and rip-rap. This month bass will be using the shallow cover to feed up and get ready for the winter, and you can catch them on anything you want to throw there.

Lake Weiss may be known as the “Crappie Capital of the World,” but the same factors that make crappie grow big also make the bass grow fast and fat. The lake is full of both largemouth and Coosa spotted bass, and five-fish limits weighing between 15 and 20 pounds are common in tournaments. October is one of the best months to fish at Weiss for bass.

A small part of the lake up the Coosa River is in Georgia, but most of Weiss is in Alabama, and you will need an Alabama fishing license to fish there. It is a flat, shallow lake that reminds me of Eufaula, with huge stump flats and shallows. The lake is divided by a causeway, and the open water downstream is deeper and safer to run. Above the causeway even the marked river channel has logs and stumps, and they will be exposed or just under the surface this month as the lake is dropped to winter pool.

Roger Buttram grew up near Lake Weiss and has been fishing it all his life. About 10 years ago he started guiding on the lake with Alabama Guide Service out of the Alabama Belle Resort, and he guides for bass, crappie and stripers. Roger spends over 200 days a year on the lake now, guiding folks and searching for fish. He knows the lake and its fish well.

“The first thing I tell anyone fishing Weiss in October is to be careful,” Roger said.

The lake is dangerous this time of year, especially above the causeway.  Roger wants folks to enjoy fishing Weiss, and he wants to guide them fishing, but he does not want them to have any problems.

“Bass are on the move in October,” Roger said.

Many patterns will work, and you can generally catch bass on your favorite lures. Fish will be around standing timber, on points and flats covered with stumps and logs, around boat docks, holding on roadbeds, and feeding in the grassbeds that still have water in them. You can take your pick of places to fish.

Current moving across rip-rap, roadbeds, points, and flats can turn the fish on and position them. Rogers says to wait 20 minutes after the current starts moving, and you will find the bass on the downstream side of the structure, holding on cover waiting for baitfish to come to them. When the current stops, the bass move back to suspend over deeper water.

After growing up fishing Lake Weiss, Roger Buttram became a full-time guide there, fishing out of the Alabama Belle Resort (shown above). Roger knows as well as anyone how to catch Weiss bass in October, and he marked our map to show you how.

When current is moving, Roger will sit downstream of the structure and cast up onto it, fishing with the current. When it stops, he will move up onto the top of the structure and cast toward deeper water, working from deep to shallow. You can get a generating schedule from Alabama Power by calling (800) Lakes11 or (800) 525-3711, and then plan where to be during current movement.

The key to all the best spots for October bass is shallow structure near deep water. The bass hold deep and move shallow to feed, and they are more likely to hold on places with an escape route. On Weiss, deep water may be only nine- or 10-feet deep.

Early in the morning Roger will always start with topwater baits for the excitement and the bigger bass they produce. He will use a buzzbait around docks, logs and grass, and throw a Spittinʼ Image or other topwater plug over roadbeds, flats and points. All will produce explosive hits.

As the sun gets higher, Roger switches to crankbaits, spinnerbaits and a jig ʼn pig. He likes the jig ʼn pig since it seems to produce bigger bass, but he will throw a Texas-rigged worm, especially to thicker cover. He seldom uses a Carolina-rigged worm since most places he fishes are shallow.

The following 10 spots are all near the Alabama Belle Resort and easy to reach from there. Last June the Flint River Bass Club I am in held a tournament out of the Belle, and it was a good place for one. The ramp is private for folks staying there, but all club members can use it during a tournament. There is a campground as well as rooms to rent and a restaurant.  You have ample parking, good dock space and covered picnic tables offer a good weigh-in spot.

Here are 10 spots marked on our map by Roger that will get your started on a good day of October bass fishing at Lake Weiss

No. 1: N 34º 09.434 W 85º 35.986 — Right beside the ramp at the Alabama Belle is an old bridge that is now a fishing pier. The road that crossed that bridge runs upstream, following the Coosa River channel for a long way, crossing the mouths of Spring and Cowan creeks. Bass hold all along this roadbed, using it as an ambush point to feed on shad.

The top of the roadbed is only 2 to 3 feet deep in some places, and there are stumps and rubble on it. The bridges over the Spring and Cowan creek channels were blown up, and rubble from them marks the drop into those channels. The roadbed drops off into the Coosa channel on that side. The safest place to cross it is near the old bridge since that area is somewhat deeper. Sometimes even if the water is unusually low you can stay in the channel and go under the old bridge. In October go slow; it can be dangerous with the water down.

Roger likes to start fishing the roadbed out near the second river-channel marker about a half mile from the old bridge. There are logs and brush washed in there as well as man-made brushpiles. The water drops off into the Coosa channel on one side and into Spring and Cowan creeks on the other, with deeper water on the river side. Start by casting a Spittinʼ Image, a Spook, a Pop-R or other topwater plug across the top of the roadbed. Watch for schooling fish, and cast to them when you see them. Then work the roadbed from both sides with a crankbait. If there is current moving, Roger will get on the downstream side toward the creeks and cast back across it.

Also cast a jig ʼn pig to any cover you find here. The spots where the old bridges crossed the creek channels are especially good. The water is deeper in the channels, and there is concrete rubble for cover. You could spend a whole day just working this roadbed, finding hidden cover and fishing it carefully.

No. 2: This is actually four good spots in one. The bridges over Cowan and Spring creeks as well as the two bridges in Three Mile Creek all have good rip-rap that holds fish right now. Roger says these bridges are often the first place he will go early in the morning in search of active bass. He will work the rip-rap with buzzbaits and topwater plugs, then fish a crankbait on them. Follow up with a jig ʼn pig to cover all the possibilities.

There is often wood washed in on the rip-rap. Fish it carefully. Also watch for wood out in deeper water on the rip-rap that you canʼt see. Probe for it, or watch your depthfinder. Bass will often hold on this wood cover on the rocks.

No. 3: N 34º 09.125 W 85º 35.737 — Go into the mouth of Cowan Creek and watch for a danger marker. It marks standing timber, and you may be able to see the tree tops if the water is down as much as three feet. The timber is to the right of the marker as you go up the creek.

Roger says to start by circling the timber and running a crankbait through it. The pocket of timber is about 25 feet by 30 feet and not far from the creek channel. Bass will suspend in it near the tops of the trees.

After casting to the timber, move into it and vertically jig a spoon around the bases of the trees. Bass will move down near the bottom and hold here, and you can often jig them up. Vertically jigging is a good way to cover the bases of the trees without getting hung up.

No. 4: N 34º 08.973 W 85º 34.583 — There are three good areas near each other in Spring Creek. Run in and watch for a danger marker on the right side of the creek, about 100 yards off the bank. You will see a pole sticking out of the water if the lake has not dropped much, or the tops of the standing trees if it is down.

Stop back downstream of this marker about 100 yards and idle around, watching for a hump that comes up to five-feet deep on top. The water around it will be 12- to 13-feet deep. The hump is 25 by 30 feet and is on the channel.

Keep your boat back off the hump, and work all around it with a crankbait and jig ʼn pig. There are some good stumps on this hump, so try to hit them with the crankbait. When you find one with your jig or a Texas-rigged worm, shake it, then jump it away from the stump. When the jig or a crankbait darts away, that will often trigger a strike.

If current is running across this hump, Roger will stay on the downstream side and cast up on top. Otherwise, fish all the way around it, then move up on top and cast to the deeper water, especially toward the bank where the channel swings beside the hump.

No. 5: N 34º 08.928 W 85º 34.550 — The marked standing timber upstream of the hump can hold good bass, too. Fish it like the timber in Cowan Creek, working all around it then getting in it and jigging a spoon. The creek channel is on the right side of this timber going upstream, and there are stumps right on the lip of the channel that are worth fishing, too.

No. 6: The docks on the bank to the right of the hump and the standing timber going upstream are good, and these are the kinds of docks you want to fish this month. The channel swings in near them, so deep water is close by. There is two to three feet of water under the docks even when the lake is low, and most of the docks are fairly big, offering lots of cover and shade.

Roger starts by casting a crankbait near the docks and beside the posts to catch aggressive fish. Crank the outside points of the docks first, and be sure to work the back sides of them, too. Then cast, flip or pitch your crankbait under the docks if you can. Try to hit areas under the docks where most folks wonʼt throw a crankbait.

Before leaving a dock, fish it with a jig ʼn pig and a Texas-rigged worm.  Try to fish each post, letting the bait fall to the bottom and shaking it before moving it. If you catch a bass under a dock, there is a good chance more are nearby.

No. 7: N 34º 10.188 W 85º 35.080 — Run to the mouth of Three Mile Creek, being careful to avoid shallows and wood. As you enter the mouth of the creek, there is a small island on your right. All around it the bottom has humps and drops that are good places to fish with a crankbait or worm.

Fish from the island into the creek. The first point on your right will be a narrow rip-rap point. Fish all around it with a crankbait and jig ʼn pig. There is often wood on it, too. Brush and logs will wash in here. Fish all of the wood cover thoroughly.

No. 8: N 34º 10.622 W 85º 33.826 — After fishing the first bridge in Three Mile Creek, watch as you go to the second bridge. There is a field on the left side going up, about half way back. In this entire area there are lots of stumps in three to four feet of water. This is an excellent place to fish topwater over the stumps, then drop a jig ʼn pig or worm beside them.

Start on the left side near the field. If you are wearing good polarized glasses, you will be able to see many of the stumps. None are marked here with poles like you will find in other creeks, but they are there, and they hold bass, especially this month.

No. 9: N 34º 10.549 W 85º 35.508 — Head out to the river channel, and you will be on the upstream end of Yanceyʼs Bend. Go up the river, and where the channel hits the bank on the left you will be at Pruettʼs Island. On the downstream end of the first small island you will see concrete remains of an old gin in the water near the bank and between the small island and the larger one. There is a lot of concrete rubble from the gin that you will not see that is from the bank and out to the river channel, too.

Start near the channel marker near the island. The marker does not have a colored square sign on it, though it has a bird house nailed to it. Keep your boat out from the bank, and cast a spinnerbait or crankbait toward the shore, covering the rubble under the water. Then work the same area with a jig ʼn pig. This is an excellent place to pick up a big spotted bass, especially if the current is moving across it.

You can work in toward the side of the first small island and the point of the island upstream of it. There is rubble all around here, so be careful. You will see some of it, but some will be just under the surface and will really scratch up your boat when you hit it.

No. 10: N 34º 10.733 W 85º 35.548 — Above the cut between the small and big island there are logs, grassbeds and smaller cuts all along the bank. The Coosa River channel swings right beside this bank. Roger says this is a good place to saturate with a spinnerbait, hitting the grassbeds and running them down each log in the area.

Fish from the first gap all the way to the mouth of the Cut Through — the channel that leads in to Cherokee Campground and James Branch.  Keep your boat out near the channel, and fish all the shallow cover along this bank. It is especially good when current is running down the river.

All of these locations that were marked by Roger can and often do hold bass in October, and they are all in a fairly small area, so you donʼt have to run all over the lake. Once you fish them, you can find many more similar spots that will also hold bass. Just remember to be careful as you search for them.

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