Weiss Bass Shallow In The Summertime Sun
David Childress details a July pattern and marks a map.
If you would rather start your day catching spots and largemouth on topwater baits in grassbeds rather than sitting in air-conditioned comfort, head to Lake Weiss. You can then flip docks and probe ledges and catch bass all day. Bass fishing on Weiss can be good despite the summer heat.
Lake Weiss is a 30,200-acre Alabama Power lake that starts in Georgia on the Coosa River. Most of the lake is in Alabama, where you do need an Alabama fishing license, but it is worth the expense and trip if you like fishing shallow water.
Unlike most lakes in north Georgia that are deep, clear and rocky, Weiss is a shallow lake filled with grass and wood. It has been long known for active shallow bass, no matter how hot it gets in the summer. And Weiss has a good population of hard-fighting Coosa spots— now often known as Alabama bass—as well as quality largemouth.
David Childress lives in Calhoun. His folks had a place on Weiss while he was growing up, so he fished it often. His dad Rusty took him to tournaments with Northwest Bass Club when he was a teen, so David has been tournament fishing a long time.
David has won the Lake Weiss Anglers Trail point standings the last two years and finished second in the Winter Trail two years in a row. He fishes most tournaments, from the Anglers Trail to pot tournaments on Lake Weiss. Weiss is just about the only lake he fishes, so he knows it well.
When I asked David if he had any sponsors, he said just one, his wife Marcie, and said he could not fish as much without her support. Shout out to Team Marcie!
“In July, I’m going to fish topwater around grassbeds early,” David said.
He then goes to other shallow cover, mostly docks, and flips them. Not all the bass are shallow, even on Lake Weiss, so David’s final option is to get out on ledges and probe for bass holding deeper.
A buzzbait and swim jig are his choices for grassbeds. David will also have a jig and shaky head for docks and deeper water, as well as a big crankbait for bumping ledges. And he keeps a spinnerbait ready to use in specific situations.
I met David on Memorial Day after the big Weiss Lake Tackle and Outdoors Memorial Day tournament. He had about 11 pounds, including a pretty 3-lb. spot. He didn’t weigh in—with 185 teams entered, there had already been several 16-lb. stringers in the first flight. It took five bass weighing 18.86 pounds to win and 13.74 pounds to get a check in 20th place. Big fish was a 5.70-pounder, and there were five more bass weighing more than 5 pounds. There were at least 13 more weighing more than 4 pounds weighed. That shows the quality of bass in this lake.
The following 10 spots will give you some options to try so you can see the types of places to find, and these locations will all produce fish for you this July.
No. 1: N 34º 14.080 – W 85º 38.762 — If you put in at Little River Marina, you don’t need to go far. All the tournament-released fish make this a high concentration area, so start here.
David likes to start at the rip-rap opening going into the little boat basin on the downstream side of the marina, and he works around both coves. Get in close to the rip-rap, and run your buzzbait right along the edge of the rocks. David likes a 1/4-oz. buzzbait with a gold blade. When he showed it to me, I was surprised the light bait had a full-size blade.
When you get to the docks, pitch a jig or shaky head all around and under them. Several of the docks are brushed-up by crappie fishermen, and the bass may be anywhere under or around them. Work them carefully.
Past the docks, there are more grassbeds that offer targets for buzzbaits and swim jigs, and there are docks in the coves that are worth fishing, too. Hit every bit of cover—released fish often won’t go far and will compete for key cover places.
No. 2: N 34º 14.301 – W 85º 39.915 — A good grassbed area is between the islands on the left going up Little River before it swings right. Go to the downstream side of the island just off the main bank and fish all the grass between the two islands. The islands are fairly small, but there is a lot of grass all around them, and the river channel is not far off them.
A buzzbait is good, but sometimes a more subtle swim jig will get more bites. When two anglers are fishing together, one should throw a buzzbait and the other a swim jig. David ties on a white, 3/8-oz. Dirty Jigs swim jig and puts a matching craw on it.
Cast your swim jig into the grass and swim it out. David says he does not try to give the bait a lot of action like some do with constant jiggles and twitches but will shake his rod tip some to make the jig dance.
No. 3: N 34º 14.329 – W 85º 39.844 — Go straight out from the gap between the two islands and watch your electronics. You will see the water go from 6 to 8 feet down to 20 feet deep where the Little River Channel runs straight down the lake.
When it drops, look upstream and in the distance you will see a marker buoy, and straight downstream another one. The downstream buoy is green, and the pole it is on is bent over with the green marker almost touching the water. They are far apart, but the channel runs straight between the two, and the entire ledge can be good.
David says he looks for subtle changes in the ledge. A ditch cutting it, a rockpile, brushpile, stumps or other change will concentrate the fish. When he locates the key spots, he backs off with his boat in 15 to 20 feet of water in the channel and casts a crankbait or jig up into 6 to 8 feet of water.
David wants a crankbait that will bump the bottom, and a Berkley Dredger 17.5 works well for him. Any shad color will work since that is the bait bass are eating out here. Make long casts and keep your bait in contact with the bottom.
Follow up with a jig ’n pig or shaky head, dragging it along to keep in contact with the bottom and any cover on it. Sometimes the crankbait will fire up a school of bass, and they will hit aggressively. Other times you need a subtle bait to get a bite.
No. 4: N 34º 14.278 – W 85º 39.348 — Go across to the bank that has houses on a big point upstream of Little River Marina, and watch for a U.S. flag near the bank at the mouth of a small cove. The point it is on and the next one downstream both have good seawalls to fish early in the day.
David stops downstream of the dock on the second point and works all the way up to the flag pole. Run your buzzbait as close to the seawall as you can keep it. Although your boat will be in just a couple feet of water, rocks along the base of the wall hold crayfish and bream, and shad often get on them, too. Sometimes it seems if your bait is more than a few inches from the wall, the bass will not hit it.
When you get to the docks, pitch your jig and shaky head around the posts and any brush around them. David likes a 1/2- to 3/4-oz. green-pumpkin jig with a green-pumpkin craw on it. He often dips the tails of his craw in chartreuse dip and dye like Spike-it. The heavier jig is for ledge fishing, while the 1/2-oz. is better for dock and rock fishing.
No. 5: N 34º 13.033 – W 85º 38.716 — Going out of Little River there are two small islands before you get to the gap between Hog Island and Buffington’s. Stop on the upstream side of the second one—the one closest to the Coosa River. The Little River channel runs right in to it, and the bank drops off very fast into 20 feet of water.
Stop a long cast off the bank, and cast your crankbait, jig and shaky head to the bank. Fish them back out, trying to keep in contact with the bottom. It drops fast, so your jig and shaky head will work better here unless you get in a little closer and make parallel casts to the top of the ledge just off the island.
Fish the upstream side and river channel side. There are a lot of rocks here so spots like it but largemouth feed here, too. As in other places, current moving across the cover makes the fish bite much better. And a little wind will help, as long as it is not so strong it interferes with boat control. If current is moving downstream, move your boat around so you can cast up-current and bring your bait naturally with the current.
No. 6: N 34º 12.306 – W 85º 38.575 — Go out to the main lake and idle straight out from the upstream point of Hog Island. About 200 yards off the island, the Little River channel makes a big horseshoe bend, and inside that bend a ditch leads up to an old pond. The dam is 6 to 8 feet deep on top, and there is a lot of rock on it that bass love.
Once you locate the pond and dam, keep your boat away from it and cast a shaky head or jig to the rocky areas. Probe with your baits—try to find any cover like rocks, stumps and brush in the area. David says he does not try a crankbait here because it is so rough and thick with cover. Fish all around it with jig and shaky head.
No. 7: N 34º 11.650 – W 85º 38.203 — Carefully run across the Coosa River to the first big main-lake point just downstream of the Highway 9 causeway. There are three little coves upstream of this big point before the causeway and ramp.
Both the seawall on the point and the bank downstream of it have cement seawalls with rip-rap that holds bass. Get in close and fish the seawalls with your buzzbait. When you get to docks, bump the posts with your jig and shaky head.
David keeps a white, 1/2- to 3/4-oz. War Eagle spinnerbait with gold blades ready to cast to any missed blow-ups on his buzzbait. He says depending on how far from the boat and other factors, he may immediately cast back with the buzzbait, but often he follows up with something different, like the spinnerbait, and that will make the bass hit again.
No. 8: N 34º 11.524 – W 85º 37.698 — Go to the first bridge on the causeway on the Centre side, the one near the ramp and Jakes On The Lake restaurant. This is a big community hole—it produces so many fish. If current is coming under the bridge, the bass will bite here.
Work the four “corners” of the bridge. Sit with your boat downstream of the bridge and cast upstream. Stronger current makes the fish more active, but even wind-blown current will help. Cast your crankbait upstream and crank it down and bump the rocks with it. Also bump a spinnerbait on the rocks. A 3/4-oz. bait will stay down in the current better than the 1/2-oz. one. Keep it moving—just kissing the rocks so it doesn’t get hung.
Follow up with shaky head and jig. A lighter jig or shaky head works better so you don’t get hung as much. David rigs a Trick Worm in bold-bluegill color on a 5/16-oz. head for most areas, but in real rough areas like rip-rap, he will go to a lighter head.
No. 9: N 34º 11.847 – W 85º 36.983 — Go under the bridge and past the shallow island on your left. Just upstream of the island, the Coosa River channel makes a sharp turn and runs all the way across from one bank to the other. That water is 18 feet deep, and being so close by makes the grassbeds on the upstream side of the islands better. David likes the big grassbed about halfway across to the next bridge. It has four water Tupelo trees scattered on it. David will fish it from one end to the other with his buzzbait and swim jig.
David focuses on any differences in the grass. A cut, a little point, a thicker patch of grass or any change in the kind of grass offers a high-percentage target.
The water upstream of the causeway is usually a little more stained than the clarity of the water downstream of it. The more stained the water, the better the shallow fishing can be during the day. On cloudy days and during other low-light conditions, the shallow bite is usually better, too.
No. 10: N 34º 12.925 – W 85º 36.470 — Go all the way across the causeway to the big cove beside it. The store on it used to be named the Hog Den and that is what David called the cove. It is an apt name since released fish at the ramp hold here making it a good place to fish.
David starts at the point of the rip-rap under the bridge, fishing all his baits down the rip-rap bank. When he gets to the ramp, he fishes every dock and seawall all the way around the cove. Some of the docks have a lot of brush, so watch for it and fish it carefully.
These 10 locations hold fish right now, as do many similar places. Use this information from David Childress to find them. Plan a trip to Weiss for some good July bass fishing.
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