Tobesofkee’s Topwater Bass

Bass busting on top around the grassbeds await anglers who fish this small middle Georgia reservoir in May.

Ronnie Garrison | April 24, 2016

May is a great time to be a bass fisherman. The topwater bite is great, and there is no more exciting way to catch bass than to watch fish explode on surface lures. While topwater is fun, you can catch bass just about any way you want to fish. If you want to get away from the big lakes, try Lake Tobesofkee. Tobesofkee is a 1,750-acre lake in Bibb County just outside of Macon. It has good access at several ramps, any kind of structure and cover you want to fish, and a very good population of quality largemouth. It often takes better than 20-lb. five-fish stringers to win the weekly pot tournament here, especially in May.

Ethan Wallace grew up fishing Tobesofkee and has lived just five minutes from the lake all his life. His dad Pat Wallace is a good bass fisherman who taught Ethan a lot, and they fish some tournaments together. They also started Creek Bend Customs, a company that makes hand-painted crankbaits, lead baits and custom rods.

Ethan fished with the Mt. Sales High School team and now fishes with the Middle Georgia State College bass team. He also fished the BFLs last year and seldom misses a pot tournament on Tobesofkee.

On a rainy day in April, Ethan Wallace showed the author 10 locations on Tobesofkee where he expects to catch bass now.

“Grassbeds are the key to catching bass in May,” Ethan said. Bass will be shallow and feeding in grassbeds all day long on most days in May. While there are a lot of grassbeds on Tobesofkee, they are not all good every day, even this month when the bass are so active, so Ethan’s tips and techniques are good knowledge to apply at Toby and at other middle Georgia lakes this month.

Ethan keeps it fairly simple when rigging his tackle. His go-to bait is a white Creek Bend Custom jig with a white Bass Pro Shops Paddle Tail Shad trailer. He also likes a Spro Poppin Frog in white if the shad are spawning, or a green color if he’s not sight fishing. He will also have a white Zoom Fluke rigged weightless.

Bream bed in May, and it is hard to beat a bream-colored Pop-R for fishing around the bream beds. A white Creek Bend Customs spinnerbait also catches bass from the grassbeds, whether around bream beds or just in the grass.

For fishing a little deeper, Ethan ties on a chartreuse/sexy-shad Strike King 5XD crankbait, a Carolina-rigged green-pumpkin Trick Worm and a shaky head with a green-pumpkin/green Trick worm on it. All of these baits allow him to cover deeper locations in different ways.

We fished the following locations in April, and bass were already on several of them. We even saw shad spawning at daybreak. These spots will be even better now that May is here.

No. 1: N 32º 49.580 – W 83º 46.708 —
If you put in at Claystone Park, come out of that cove and go upstream around the first point on the right. The bank here is cleared with just a few scattered trees. Stop at the dock where the empty bank begins, and start fishing upstream.

This point has grass on it and is especially good early in the morning. This is Ethan’s first stop in a tournament if there is not already a boat on the point. The shad were spawning on it the day we fished. Fish the dock, then fish into the creek with the bridge in the back. Fish until you get about to the cove that is farther up the bank.

Stay well off the bank, and cast your swimbait or other baits right to the bank. Fish them all the way back to the boat, but concentrate on the grass. Hybrids were on this bank the morning we fished. We did not catch any largemouth, but they definitely feed here in May.

No. 2: N 32º 49.865 – W 83º 46.941 —
Go to the rip-rap on the bridge ahead of you. It is in the first creek on the right going upstream from Claystone. Shad spawn on this rip-rap, there is grass on it, and, like all rip-rap, it is good in May.

Fish all the rip-rap, but concentrate on the corners. If the shad are spawning, cast a white spinnerbait or Pop-R right on the rocks, and work your baits close to the rip-rap. Keep your boat in close to keep your bait close to where the rocks come out of the water.

If you don’t see the shad, still try casting right to the rocks to cover the grass on them, but also back off some and fish a crankbait at an angle to the rocks. Cover the corners thoroughly with your crankbait.

No. 3: N 32º 49.301 – W 83º 46.982 —
Going upstream, the lake narrows way down and then opens back up. Just upstream of the big point on the left is a small creek. There is a Spanish-style house with a double boat house in front of it on the upstream point of this creek.

This creek is lined with docks and has steep banks. Grass grows along both sides. If the sun is not bright when you fish it, try your spinnerbait and Pop-R on both sides. If the sun is bright, cast a swim jig to the grass.

It was rainy the day we fished, and our best bass of the day hit a topwater popper here. Both of us had fish on at the same time. In this spot and at others, if you catch a good fish, it is worth fishing the area more than one time.

No. 4: N 34º 49.225 – W 83º 47.911 — Going upstream, just as the lake narrows down, the Arrowhead Park boat ramp is back in a small creek on your left. There is a steep bank going into it on the left side, and the park is on the right.

Start fishing at the small pocket on the left bank, and fish to the ramp. There is wood cover along this bank, and bream bed in the small pocket and also in a grassy pocket just before you get to the ramp.

Fish a popper, frog, swimbait, spinnerbait and fluke here. Watch for bream beds. Work the frog and popper slowly over any bedding areas, and keep your fluke near the surface so you can see bass take it.

This is also a good area to find a mayfly hatch. Fish bream-colored baits if the bream are bedding or if the mayflies are hatching. Work the entire bank, and also fish the ramp before leaving. If no one is fishing the pier on the other side, fish it, too. There is some brush and grass around it.

No. 5: N 32º 49.381 – W 83º 48.398 — Go around the point with the picnic area on your left to where it begins. There is a small pocket at the end of the picnic area and a small clay and rock point where the open area begins.

Shad spawn on the point, and bass feed here early in the day and then move into the grass as the sun gets up. Work a spinnerbait, swimbait or popper around any spawning shad, and then continue along the bank, fishing the grass into the small pocket.

The pocket is flat in the back, and bream spawn in it. Fish the pocket, and then work out the bank to the next main-lake point. Wood and grass along this bank hold bass all day long.

No. 6: N 32º 49.450 – W 83º 48.647 — Run up to where the lake makes a sharp turn to the right. An island sits out in the middle of the big open area after the turn. On your left, before you get to the island, right as the lake opens up, is a double creek.

Start on the left side at the small pocket before the docks, and work to the back of this creek. There is grass in the pocket and grass along the bank between the docks. Fish the grass with your swimbait, and also run your swimbait by the dock posts. Ethan casts back in the grass and reels his jig to the edge and kills it for a second. He says most hits will come just as the nose of the jig turns down and it starts to fall, so be ready.

If you are catching bass on this side, work the other side out around the point and also fish the next arm of the creek. If they are in one creek arm, they should be in the other. Ethan fishes fast, running-and-gunning with his faster-moving baits until he finds bass, and then he slows down.

No. 7: N 32º 49.675 – W 83º 48.998 —
Come out of the double creek, and upstream on your left you will see a red dock on the bank of a big bay. Go to the red dock, and start fishing the grass around it. Fish all the way to the point of the small creek that enters ahead of you.

There are big grassbeds along this bank, and they hold a lot of bass. In these big beds, slow down a little and fish carefully. Look for something a little different. A point on the grassbed, a cut or opening between two grassbeds or some wood in them may concentrate the bass, so cover these spots thoroughly.

No. 8: N 32º 49.940 – W 83º 48.498 —
Going upstream past the island, there are two pockets on the right where the lake narrows. A roadbed crosses the mouths of both of these pockets. The roadbed comes off the downstream point of the first pocket. There is a big house back in the first pocket but no dock.

Stop on the downstream point of the first pocket, and fish into and around the pocket. Shad spawn on the point, and bream spawn back in the pocket. Fish a spinnerbait, popper and swim jig on the point, and then work the grass in the pocket with the swim jig. If you see bream or mayflies, work your popper and frog in the grass, too.

No. 9: N 32º 50.399 – W 83º 48.792 —
Go under the Lower Thomaston Road bridge to the downstream point of the creek that enters on the right. There is a boathouse on the downstream side of this point, and it is rocky. Fish downstream. Shad spawn on the rocks, and bass feed around them even when the shad are not spawning. Fish the rocks with a spinnerbait and jig. Fish down the bank, past the two docks and to the back of the pocket downstream of them. There is grass along here to fish and the docks hold bass, too.

Fish all along here with swim jig, spinnerbait and frog. With the frog, cast to the back of the grass and bubble it along to the outside edge. Small openings and the edges are key spots.

No. 10: N 32º 50.707 – W 83º 49.280 —
Go upstream past the first creek and the big bay on the right. At the end of that bay, a point is on the main lake and the bank goes back on the upstream side. There is a screened room with a tin roof on the dock on the point.

This spot is a little different but is one where you can catch a lot of bass, and some good ones, any time of the year. The point runs out and drops off and then comes up on a rocky hump only about 2 feet deep on top.

Ethan says he has caught a 5-pounder here the last three years in a row on Memorial Day weekend or the weekend before it. Sunny days seem best, but the bass will be here no matter what the weather.

Stop near the dock, and ease straight out from it upstream until the bottom starts to come up. Fan cast a crankbait to the hump where it gets shallow on top, covering it from all angles. Work all the way around the hump with a crankbait, and then go back around it with a Carolina rig or jig. You will get hung with a Carolina rig or jig, and even with a crankbait, so a light weight is best. It is worth losing a few baits since the fishing here is so good.

Check out Ethan’s spots, and work them like he suggests to find the daily pattern. Although Tobesofkee is a small lake, there are many other places where you can fish the same kind of waters.

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