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Weiss Lake Bass are Shallow and Hungry

A variety of patterns will produce right now: Here's a shortcut to find what's working.

Ronnie Garrison | May 1, 2010

Big bass feeding in shallow water this month makes it an excellent time to go fishing. You can catch them on a wide variety of patterns and baits, and they are about as active as they get all year long. Weiss Lake offers one of the best lakes to explore different patterns and catch quality bass right now.

Covering 30,200 acres on the upper Coosa River, Weiss is an Alabama Power lake built in 1961. Most of the lake is very shallow, and extensive grass flats with channels running through and by them provide almost perfect habitat for bass. Docks, logs, stumps and blowdowns offer lots of wood cover, and the ledges give bass an escape to deeper water.

Largemouth bass love Weiss, and big Coosa spots can be caught all over the lake, too. Spots tend to hold and feed on slightly different structure and cover, so you can usually target the species you want. Three-pounders of both species are common, but 5-lb. and better bass are usually largemouths.

Tom Frink grew up in California and went into the Air Force as an MP after high school. He was stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta. and liked the South, especially the bass fishing. After living in Birmingham and discovering the incredible fishing in north Alabama lakes, he moved to Kennesaw, where he now goes to school and fishes on the Kennesaw State College Fishing team on the Southern Collegiate Bass Trail.

After getting out of the Air Force four years ago, he was able to team up with Aaron Martens and was his travel partner on the Elite Series while it was a pro/am format. Tom did well on the co-angler side of those tournaments, winning two, placing second in one and third in three. With more than $140,000 in tournament winnings, he is second on the all-time co-angler list.

Tom now fishes the Coosa River Tournament Trail as well as some other tournaments as his college studies allow. Last year he competed in one Southern Open, finishing 11th at Wheeler as a boater. While living in Birmingham, Tom got a chance to learn about the Coosa River lakes, and, in his first tournament on Weiss, he and his partner came in second with five bass weighing 19 pounds. In a tournament last year on Weiss, he had a limit weighing 22 pounds, which included a 7 1/2-lb. largemouth.

“Weiss is my favorite lake,” Tom said.

He likes Weiss for its shallow cover and quality bass and says you can catch 2- to 5-pounders there all day long. For this reason he says it is a good lake to learn to fish shallow patterns and try out new baits and techniques. Weiss is only an hour and a half from where he lives in Kennesaw, and he fishes it as often as possible.

“You can find bass on a wide variety of patterns and catch them on a bunch of different baits in May,” Tom said.

He will have several rods rigged and ready to meet the different conditions. Tom likes a Davis buzzbait and a spinnerbait under low-light conditions, a Davis swim jig and a Rat-L-Trap around grass, a Davis Wood jig around docks and wood cover, and he keeps a jig-head worm, a Carolina rig and a drop-shot rig ready for deeper water and spotted bass. All of Tom’s baits are fished on Sunline, and he said Oakley Sunglasses help him spot bass and bait in the grassbeds. He uses Roboworm plastics.

To practice for a tournament, Tom will hit several different kinds of cover quickly to establish a pattern. If he can find those kinds of places close together, it saves time. Once he finds what the bass are doing, he can explore similar places all over the lake to look for a concentration of quality fish. Establishing a pattern will help you catch more fish.

The following 10 spots give you a variety of cover and structure to check out, and all will hold bass in May. We fished these areas in mid-April, and there were already bass on the bed, so you should find prespawn, postspawn and spawning bass right now.

No. 1: N 34º 12.958 – W 85º 35.419 — If you put in at the marina at the Highway 68 bridge, there are several kinds of patterns you can check quickly. Start by going around the cove at the marina, and fish each dock carefully. Lots of bass are released here after tournaments, and, if they are relating to docks, you should catch several good fish here. This is a good area to fish any time of the year.

Tom likes to pitch a Davis Wood jig with a Paca Craw trailer to dock posts, to brush around docks and to any other cover near them, like boat ramps. Since the cover is heavy, he uses 20-lb. Sunline fluorocarbon. He said to fish the dock walkways carefully in May, since male bass are often holding there guarding schools of fry. The water is usually stained enough here to make a black-and-blue jig and trailer work well, but if it is really clear, switch to browns.

Fish from the dock at the first ramp near the rip-rap all the way around the back of the cove to the point on the upstream side of the cove. Pay attention to where you catch fish. If they are on the outside posts, concentrate on those. If they are back under the walkways, fish them hard. If in brush, probe for more brush.

Also pay attention to which docks the fish are on. As May progresses, the bass tend to move from the backs of the spawning coves to the outside docks on the points. If you catch bass on the middle docks, chances are they will be in the same areas in other spots. Watch for bass on the bed in the backs of coves and on the banks between the docks. You can sight fish for spawners if you spot them, or drag a jig along the bottom and get bit by bass on the beds you don’t see. There should be a good wave of bass spawning the last week of April, and some will still be on the bed in May.

No. 2: N 34º 12.907 – W 85º 36.566 — Go out to the middle of the cove, and idle across, lining up the upstream point of the big cove with the end of the rip-rap, about even with the ramp closest to the bridge. You will cross two underwater points. The upstream point comes out and drops off into the channel, and then a dip going downstream rises back up to a point that runs toward the rip-rap.

When we fished, a log had lodged on the upstream side of the upstream point, and the end of it stuck out of the water about 2 feet. The lake was low, so it may not be as visible when the lake fills, and it could wash away, too. If it is there, you can sit near it and cast downstream to the upstream point.

Bass will stack up on these hidden points, and many anglers who fish the rip-rap are casting behind the schools of fish. Sitting well off the bank, fish a Roboworm in bold-bluegill color on a drop-shot rig or Carolina rig. Work the drops on the ends of the points and on both sides, too. Current moving across these points will make the fish bite much better.

No. 3: N 34º 11.513 – W 85º 33.678 — Run to the other end of the bridge, all the way to the south bank. There is a gap here with a bridge over it, and the rip-rap points and pilings hold bass, especially big spots. This rip-rap is an excellent place to find shad spawning, so start here early in the morning with a buzzbait or spinnerbait, fishing them right on the rocks.

Use a Davis double-silver-willowleaf-bladed, 3/8- to 1/2-oz. spinnerbait with a blue-glimmer skirt. Fish it and a buzzbait on 16-lb. Sunline, and cast right to the edge of the rocks. If you see shad on the rocks, fish as shallow as you can get your bait. If there is no activity on the rocks, watch for shad following your spinnerbait back. If you see shad following it, slow down and let your spinnerbait work a little deeper. A topwater bait like an Jackall SK Pop is also very good around this rip-rap. When the shad are spawning, it is better, but you can catch fish on it any time here. Cast right to the rocks, and work the popper back to the boat. There are parts of an old underwater bridge on the upstream side of the current bridge, and bass will hold around it and come up for a topwater plug. The bridge concentrates current here, and it makes a difference. Fish it hard if the water is moving. Try running your spinnerbait beside the pilings, too.

No. 4: N 34º 21.487 – W 85º 38.049 — Leave the bridge, and just downstream on your left you will see a shallow pocket. There is a brick house on the upstream point with an old wooden dock and rip-rap on the bank. This pocket is usually full of baitfish and holds prespawn and postspawn fish, and some bass will spawn here, too. Start on the point in front of the house, and fish all the way around the cove. It is very shallow with lots of wood. A Davis swim jig in white with a white double trailer, like a Paca Craw, works well. Make long casts past shallow cover, and fish it back fast, running it by logs and through the grass here.

Also keep an eye out for surface activity in the middle of the cove. There is wood all over the bottom, and bass will hold on it and chase schools of passing shad. When you see surface activity, cast your spinnerbait or a popper to them. This makes four completely different patterns to check out with very little boat riding. Fish should be on one of them, and if they are on one of these four spots, you should be able to find bass on similar places all over the lake.

No. 5: N 34º 13.523 – W 85º 38.653 — Run to the point between the mouth of the Chattooga River and Little Creek, and you will see one island well off the bank in the mouth of Little Creek and a small island right on the bank on the point. There is a danger marker on the end of the island marking a point that runs out from it. This point drops off on both sides with the creek channel on one side and the river channel on the other. There is a very shallow blow-through between the island and the bank. Fish all around the point and the blow-through with a topwater bait. Watch for surface activity, since postspawn bass school up on this point and feed around the island. Then get on the point, and fish it with a Carolina rig, Davis jig-head worm or drop shot.

Tom fishes 7-lb. Sunline on his drop-shot rig and fishes the bold-bluegill-colored, 4 1/2-inch Roboworm Straight Tail worm on it. He will fish the same worm and color on a Carolina rig and also bigger Straight Tail worms. The 6- or 7-inch worms are good on the jig head, too. Keep your boat out deeper, and cast up on top of the point. Work your bait back down the slope to the boat. Fan cast as you go around the point, covering it in all directions. This is a good spot for numbers.

No. 6: N 34º 14.187 – W 85º 39.713 — Head up Little Creek until it narrows way down. Just before the narrows, there are islands on your left. A green channel marker, shown as L1 on some maps, is on a post out in the water. It marks the edge of the creek channel, and bass stack up here after spawning around the islands.

Start near the channel marker, and fish downstream, keeping your boat right on the lip of the channel. It drops from about 7 feet deep on top to 17 feet in the channel, and there are stumps and brushpiles all along the ledge to fish. Tom will run a crankbait along the ledge. Here he likes a Fat Free BD 6 in foxy-shad color, which will hit the bottom in about 10 feet of water when fished on 16-lb. Sunline. He cranks it parallel to the ledge, covering the water from the top of the ledge to 10 feet deep in the channel. He says you definitely need a plug knocker since you will get hung a lot on the wood cover here.

Fish from the channel marker at least 100 yards along the ledge, and keep going if you are catching fish. They may be scattered all along the ledge or stacked up in one small spot. It is worth your time to go back over the same area with your drop shot or Carolina rig if you catch a bass on the crankbait.

No. 7: N 34º 12.929 – W 85º 41.816 — Run down to the mouth of Yellow Creek. If you know the lake, you can run behind Hog Island, but be careful — the water is shallow. As you go into Yellow Creek, you will see a line of docks along the right bank with Round Mountain behind them. Go to the last dock on that side, and start fishing there. Fish toward the mouth of the creek. Tom likes a Big Unit 10-inch worm or a Sweet Beaver Texas-rigged with a 3/8-oz. sinker to pitch to the docks. These old wood docks are rough, and he uses 20-lb. Sunline to avoid breaking off fish. Green pumpkin is a good color for both baits.

Bass will be holding somewhere along these docks, farther back early in the month and closer to the mouth of the creek later in May. They use these docks while migrating out of the spawning flats to the river channel, so fish along the docks until you find the areas holding the most bass.

No. 8: N 34º 13.324 – W 85º 41.964 — Go to the islands past the docks, and fish all around the grass and flats in the back of the big cove. Bass feed and bed around this grass and can be caught here all month. We saw bedding bass here in the middle of April, as well as some chasing shad out in the flats off the grass. Tom said to watch for baitfish in the grass to see what kind of fish the bass are eating and match your bait color to it. Usually in the morning, bass are feeding on shad, so he uses shad-colored baits like a white swim jig or chrome Rat-L-Trap. Later in the day bass are feeding more on bluegills, and he will use a bait to match them, like a brown or green-pumpkin jig. This is a good area to catch large numbers of fish, and you can work around the islands and all the way to the back of the cove, fishing the left side going in for bedding bass and the rip-rap on the right for feeding fish. The clearer the water, the longer casts you should make. Shallow bass will spook easily.

No. 9: N 34º 13.458 – W 85º 42.971 — Run back almost to the bridge in the back of Yellow Creek, and you will see some powerlines. The point on the right just before the powerlines turns into a steep bank, and this is a good place to throw a shaky-head jig. There is one dock on this bank, and it flattens out near the bridge. Fish from the point near the powerlines to the clay point almost at the bridge.

Keep your boat out in 12 feet of water, and cast right on the bank. Work your jig-head worm down the bank out to the boat. There is chunk rock all along this bank, and it holds good numbers of fish. Tom uses 10-lb. Sunline and a spinning outfit to fish a Davis shaky-head jig with a Roboworm bold-bluegill Straight Tail worm. If you get a couple of bass working this bank with a shaky head, Tom said to work back the other way with a shallow-running crankbait like a RC 1.5.

No. 10: N 34º 10.442 – W 85º 45.325 — Run down to the split where the canal goes to the right to the power pool. There is a big “Hazardous Waters” sign on the point between the old river channel on the left and the canal on the right. Big spots hold on this point and the bluff bank. It is especially good when water is running across the point from power generation. Sit on the right side of the point, and cast back across it. It is very rough with big rocks along the bottom. Work your jig-head worm up and over the point. We caught several nice spots here in mid-April, and they hold here year-round.

Check out Tom’s spots and all these patterns for May fishing. You can often find bass feeding on several of them during each day, so fish the one you like best. Go after spots or largemouths, and you can use just about any bait you like. You will catch bass at Weiss this month. If you would like Tom to show you first-hand how he catches bass at Weiss, call him at (229) 444-4416 for a guided bass-fishing trip.

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