Summer Structure For Weiss Bass
Seawalls, docks and ledges are all part of an August pattern on Weiss.
Rocks, docks, seawalls, grass—Weiss Lake is full of bass-holding, fun-to-fish structure, and the reservoir can produce good catches of spotted bass and largemouth in August.
Weiss is a 30,200-acre Alabama Power Co. lake on the Coosa River. A small part of the upper Coosa is in Georgia, but an Alabama fishing license is required to fish most of Weiss. The small mountains surrounding the lake will fool you as you drive to it the first time—it’s not a deep mountain-type reservoir. The lake is flat and shallow, with huge stump-filled flats throughout most of the water, except for the area near the dam where it’s deeper.
The 447 miles of shoreline at Weiss has rocky banks with seawalls and docks in some areas, and flat banks with shallow grassbeds and docks in others. The lake has long been known at the “Crappie Capitol of the World,” but the same conditions that produce quality crappie fishing also produces good populations of Coosa spotted bass and quality largemouth.
Hayden Marbut is a rising junior at Vestavia Hills High School in Birmingham, and he has been on the school’s fishing team the past two years. He is considering transferring to Briarwood Academy this year, where Curtis Gossett is the fishing team coach.
Weiss is Hayden’s favorite lake. Hayden’s father, Brian, grew up 15 minutes from Weiss in Hokes Bluff, so Brian has been fishing Weiss all his life. He had taught Hayden how to catch bass there under all conditions. The hot summer fishing can be tough on any lake, but Weiss produces good bass all summer.
This past season, Hayden and his partner won the High School King of the Coosa tournament on Weiss. They also came in third at the ASABSA tournament at Pickwick with 17.38 pounds, so their skills on Weiss transfer to other lakes, as well.
“Weiss has a lot of big spots you can catch early around seawalls and rocks,” Hayden said about August fishing there.
Grassbeds produce good largemouth early, too. After the sun gets on the water, the most consistent way to catch largemouth and some spots is to fish docks, Hayden said.
Fishing deep ledges and points are also good in August, especially if water is moving. But the most consistent fishing is getting your bait in the shade under docks, and there are plenty of them to fish on Weiss.
For August, Hayden will have a Heddon Zara Spook and a buzzbait tied on for early topwater fishing around rocks. A frog works best in the many water-willow grassbeds for largemouth. For dock fishing, a jig ’n pig, Texas rig or shaky head are his choices. He also has a Carolina rig and drop shot ready for trying for deeper fish.
We fished the following places in late June. It was hot, and there was no moving water or breeze to help us out. But Hayden still boated eight keepers, including a 5.92-lb. largemouth and a 3-lb. spot. His best five bass weighed 13 to 14 pounds, a good catch under tough conditions.
No. 1: N 34º 11.348 – W 85º 42.368 — Going upstream from Bay Spring, the upstream point of the second cove is a good rocky one that drops into deeper water. It is a round point with a cement seawall, and there is natural rock extending out on the point. It is a good place to start first thing in the morning.
Fish around the point, and then jump across to the next point upstream. It and the third point above it are all good. These points get morning shade, which keeps some bass up shallow later in the morning.
Hayden gets in fairly close to a point and casts right to the seawall ahead of the boat, working his bait back at an angle to keep it in close to the wall for longer during the retrieve. His first choice is a bone-colored Zara Spook. He said spotted bass seem to hate it and want to crush it. He twitches it back with a walk-the-dog zigzag action until it is near the boat.
A buzzbait is another good choice for fishing seawalls on points. Cast it against the seawall, and try to actually hit the seawall for a close and soft entry. Buzz it back at an angle to the boat. Casts close to the bank are important, since big spots will often keep their nose against the wall and grab a bait as soon as it hits the water.
No. 2: N 34º 14.231 – W 85º 39.757 — Go into Little River behind Hog Island. If you are careful, you can go through the “Cut Through” on the downstream side of it, but the channel goes in upstream of it and is a safer route if you don’t know the lake.
Where the river narrows, there are three islands on the left. A green channel marker without a number is on a post off the islands, marking where the old river channel swings to that side. The lip of this channel for 200 yards on either side of the marker is a good summer ledge. It drops from 6 to 25 feet deep, and there are stumps and rocks on it. Hayden will keep the boat in 22 feet of water and cast up on the top of the ledge. If you have time, it is worth fishing the entire section of ledge, or you can ride it with good electronics to look for fish.
Cast a Carolina-rigged Zoom Ol’ Monster worm or a big lizard in black or plum colors tied about 30 inches behind a 3/4-oz. sinker. Drag it until the rig falls off the ledge. Do the same with a drop shot or jig ’n pig. Current really helps the summer bite on ledges, as does some wind moving water across it.
No. 3: N 34º 14.217 – W 85º 38.689 — Go to the double cove at Little River Marina (the old JR’s Marina), and fish the docks in both pockets. Tournaments held here constantly restock the area with quality bass, making the coves high concentration areas for bass.
Hayden especially likes old docks. He said the old docks falling down into the water seem to be bass magnets. Docks on small points are also high-value targets, as are those with lights and pole holders, indicting possible brushpiles placed by crappie anglers. Pitch a jig, shaky-head worm or Texas-rigged creature bait to each dock.
Watch for angles and shade lines. Work each dock post. Pay attention to where you get bit because bass in an area will often set up on the same places on other docks.
No. 4: N 34º 13.806 – W 85º 38.821 — Going out past the marina, on your left on the downstream point of the cove, there is an old roadbed that runs off the bank. It has old bridge rubble is on it. The roadbed runs out from a clay point with a pine tree on the end of it.
Keep your boat in 25 feet of water, and cast up on top of the roadbed where it’s about 5 feet deep. Probe for the rubble and rough stuff on it—this is a fairly small area. Work your Carolina rig, drop shot and jig ’n pig through the cover. Hayden fishes an Aaron’s Magic Robo worm about a foot above a 3/8-oz. sinker on his drop shot.
No 5: N 34º 12.965 – W 85º 36.477 — Run up under the causeway to the ramp at Weiss Mart. It’s on the left just upstream of the main bridge. This is a similar place to hole No. 3, with a marina that has tournament fish released around it. Fish from the boat ramp all the way around the cove, working every dock. Also fish the ramp. Hayden says he never passes up a boat ramp.
Hayden caught several bass in this cove, including the 5.92-lb. largemouth and the 3-lb. spot. He works each dock carefully and will come back to prime docks, since they often reload quickly. The big largemouth hit the second time we fished that dock.
Wind blowing into docks makes the bass bite better, but it makes them harder to fish. If the wind is blowing, fish into the wind for better boat control. Like the coves at Little River Marina, this cove has a channel in it. Coves with ditches or channels giving bass a “highway” are much better than flat-bottom coves.
No. 6: N 34º 11.190 – W 85º 37.148 — Go across to the right side of the lake above the causeway. The old river channel runs along this bank, so it drops off fast. The docks from the causeway upstream are all good.
Current moving under the docks makes them much better, as does some wind. Work against both, if you can, for better boat control, giving you more time to pick them apart.
Pitch a jig ’n pig, Texas rig or a shaky head to the docks. Hayden rigs a natural-blue or green-pumpkin finesse worm on a 1/4-oz. head, and he tries to hit every post until he finds a pattern. Outside posts are often better, and it is easier to land a fish that hits on them, but also cast into the deepest shade you can hit with your baits.
No. 7: N 24º 11.521 – W 85º 37.685 — Go back to the causeway, and fish the small bridge and rip-rap closest to the bank (on the left if you’re heading downstream.) If there is any current, the bridge concentrates the current and turns on the bite.
Hayden will fish all the rocks, as well as the pilings under the bridge and shade lines from the bridge. Both spots and largemouth set up facing upcurrent here, so position your boat so you cast upstream. Your bait will move naturally with the flow. A drop shot and shaky head work well for this, but a small crankbait, worked slowly with the current, will catch bass, too. Make multiple casts to any spot where you catch a bass. Other bass are likely to set up there.
No. 8: N 34º 11.433 – W 85º 39.504 — Going down the left side of the lake, two small islands sit off the bank just upstream of Little Hog Nose Creek. They are surrounded by water-willow grassbeds where bass feed. Early and late in the day are the best time to fish this grass, but bass will feed in the grassbeds all during the day.
Start on the upstream point of the upstream island, and cast your Spook, buzzbait and a frog and retrieve your baits through the grass. A bluegill-colored Spro Popping Frog will allow you to fish the thickest grass. Work the buzzbait and Spook along the edges and in cuts in the grass. A silver blade Big Bite Baits Buzz with a Suicide Shad on it are his choices for buzzbaits. Points on the grass are especially good.
No. 9: N 34º 11.859 – W 85º 40.101 — Out in the middle of the lake, straight between Little Nose Creek and Hog Island, green channel marker 20 sits on a good channel ledge. You can not safely run from hole 8 to it—you should go upstream and follow the channel around to it.
The top of the ledge is 10 to 12 feet deep and drops into 25 feet of water. There are stumps and rocks on it that hold bass, and the area right at the marker is very rough.
Keep your boat in 25 feet of water, and cast a jig, shaky head and drop shot up on the ledge. You will want to drag the bait back and let it fall off the drop. Keep an eye on your electronics, and fish your drop-shot worm vertically when you see fish directly under your boat.
As in other places, current really turns on the fish here, making them feed, and wind blowing across it helps, too. Cast your baits upcurrent for a natural action, since current moves baitfish across the drop and bass expect food to be coming in that direction.
No. 10: N 34º 11.932 – W 85º 41.534 — The lake narrows down where Yellow Creek enters on the right going downstream. If you’re heading downstream, red channel marker 14 sits off the left point of the main river, and there is a small island downstream of the point. Docks along this bank are good.
Start at the first green-roofed dock, and fish all the way down to the yellow boat house at the end of the line of docks. There is 18 feet of water not far off the docks, and bass move from deep water to feed shallow around them. The pilings, shade and some brushpiles all attract bass here.
Current helps here, and if it is moving, or if the wind is blowing, start at the end of the line of docks that gives you the best boat control. Cast a jig ’n pig, shaky head and Texas rig to the docks. Hayden lets his bait fall straight down. When it hits bottom, he shakes it a little, and then he reels in for another cast instead of fishing back to the boat.
These places were holding bass in late June, with some quality fish on them, and they will be better now in late July and throughout August. Give them a try to see the kinds of places where you can catch summer bass on Weiss.
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