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West Point Bass Beat The August Heat

Kevin Phillips marks 10 locations for a variety of August patterns.

Ronnie Garrison | July 30, 2020

You might think it’s too hot to go fishing, or that this time of year thunderstorms may run you off the lake. But the largemouth and spotted bass at West Point are feeding both shallow and deep. Anglers can catch quality largemouth on topwater around shallow wood and grass, and both species can be patterned on current breaks and caught on crankbaits, jigs and shaky heads.

West Point is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake on the Chattahoochee River. A Georgia fishing license is good all over the lake.

There is still a good population of largemouth in the lake, but spotted bass have taken over much of the waters, and a school of small spots moving into a brushpile or drop-off often turn off the bite for largemouth.

Quality largemouth are needed to win most tournaments, and they are harder to catch. The day after we did this article it took 15 pounds to win a 50-boat night tournament, and big fish was 6-lbs., 13-ozs. Second place had the big fish and a total of 14-lbs., 13-ozs.

Kevin Phillips has lived near West Point and has fished the lake all his life. He now has a house on the lake three minutes from McGee Bridge ramp and fishes West Point often. When he was in high school, a friend introduced him to tournament fishing in the late 1990s, and Kevin was hooked.

Kevin Phillips with a nice West Point largemouth along with a spotted bass caught at location No. 2 during a recent trip with the author.

He fishes many pot and local trail tournaments on West Point like the GLL Marine tournaments. He and his partner Robert Medas have fished the West Georgia Bass Club trail since 1990 and now fish the Alabama Bass Trail, as well. They do well everywhere they fish.

“You can catch good largemouth all day in shallow water, but you have to work hard for them,” Kevin said.

For numbers, he said you can fish creek and river current breaks when the corps is pulling water. Some days you can catch some good largemouth on this pattern, but you will catch more small keeper-size spots.

For largemouth, Kevin will have a popping frog, a soft frog, a jig and a Senko rigged and ready. For fishing deeper, he relies on a jig ’n pig, shaky head, Texas rig and crankbait. A Carolina rig will catch bass if the cover allows you to fish it without constant hang-ups.

He uses the same baits at night but will also fish dock lights with a small flutter spoon or small crankbait. There are a good many docks on the lake with good brushpiles, and those with lights attract baitfish and bass at night.

We fished a couple of the following places the second week in July, but thunderstorms ran us off the lake. Kevin did catch a nice largemouth and a keeper spot on the first two places we fished.

The following places include good shallow spots, deeper current breaks and docks to fish. Try them to find the pattern the fish are on the day you go, and follow that pattern in other places.

No. 1: N 33º 01.758 – W 85º 09.798 — Bridges are good on any lake since they concentrate current, creating eddies. The rip-rap and piers on them offer great cover and additional small eddies. The bridges on West Point are well known for holding bass, and the Highway 109 bridge is a good one.

Although he fishes all the rip-rap and pilings, Kevin likes the upstream corner on the right (going upstream). It has a ditch that comes out of the cove to the right that runs between it and the upstream shoal, and a small ledge runs out from the rip-rap toward it.

Current is critical here and similar places. You may catch a fish or two without it, but if the current is running good you can catch a lot of bass, both spots and largemouth, and some of them will be good fish.

Sit with your boat out from the upstream point of the rip-rap, about even with the first piling on the bridge, and cast a deep-running crankbait down parallel to the rocks. Kevin likes a DD 22N in shad colors since it will get down to the rocks at the ledge.

Cast about 20 feet out from the rocks first, and crank down until you contact the bottom. If you don’t hit bottom, make your next cast a little closer to the rocks, moving until you tick them. If you cast too close, you will get hung, so work it in slowly.

Follow up with a shaky head and a jig ’n pig, working them with the current bumping the rocks.

Fish the other corners, too. Sometimes the bass seem to prefer the downstream ones. Parallel all the rip-rap on both sides of the causeway.

No. 2: N 33º 02.862 – W 85º  09.330 — Go up to the railroad trestle and fish it the same way. Kevin caught a solid 2.75-lb. largemouth on the upstream right corner when we fished, his favorite place on this bridge. It hit a shaky head moving with the current.

Kevin rigs a Big Money Baits or T-Mac straight-tailed worm or a Speed Worm in green pumpkin on a 3/8-oz. head. He often dips the tail in chartreuse dye to enhance it. It is tied on 20-lb. test line, which helps him land the fish but also pull it free of hang-ups.

Fish all the corners here, and then fish the rip-rap. The upstream side going up toward Highland is usually best since current runs along it, but fish do hold on the downstream side, too. Fish a crankbait, shaky head and jig ’n pig on all the rip-rap.

Both bridges are good at night, too. The fish may be more shallow, so try a smaller crankbait that will bump bottom 3 feet deep, and cast your shaky head and jig ’n pig right to the rocks and work them out at an angle, covering different depths until the bass show you their preferred holding depth that night.

No. 3: N 33º 03.367 – W 85º 06.654 — Go into Highland Marina all the way back to the last houseboat. There is a light that hangs over the water, and it usually stays on all night and there is brush around it and many of the other boats docked here. If you are fishing at night, fish under the light, especially if you see baitfish and bigger fish.

Kevin has adapted a small flutter spoon to fish under lights, casting it into the light and letting it flutter down like an injured shad. He will also run a small crankbait like a No. 5 Shad Rap in shad colors through the light and along the edges of it.

Probe the bottom with a shaky head and jig for brush under the light and all around it. Also use them where there is no light. Bass will hold in the brush and feed in the dark, and they will hit a black worm on a shaky head or a black-and-blue jig. The creek at Highland is regularly restocked with fish released in tournaments.

No. 4: N 33º 04.170 – W 85º 06.088 — The first bridge in Yellowjacket Creek is another one that Kevin likes to fish during the day if current is moving and on any night. Going upstream, the upstream point on your left is Kevin’s favorite. The ramps at Yellowjacket Access are just upstream of it, and it is the first place many released bass go to.

Fish it like the other bridges, working a crankbait with the current and then following up with a shaky head and jig. Fish all the corners and rip-rap. Watch your electronics for brushpiles just off the rip-rap, fish gang up in them. There is a good one just off the point facing the ramps.

No. 5: N 33º 04.373 – W 85º 05.206 — Going up Yellowjacket the first big cove on your right has docks in it. The outer two docks on the upstream bank have lights to fish and some brush. The first dock has a street sign 141 Morgan Drive and a wooden deck on top, the second has 139 Morgan Drive and a blue top.

Stop at the first dock and stay well back from the light if fishing at night. Keep your boat in the dark outside of where the light hits the water, and cast to the outer edges of the light first. Then progressively cast your bait closer to the light. Fish a small flutter spoon— Little Cleo will work—and then a small crankbait.

After fishing the light, or during the day, fish the brush around the dock with shaky head and jig. Some of the brush is way out from the dock, so watch for it on your electronics. Mark it for fishing later.

No. 6: N 33º 04.408 – W 85º 04.989 — The next cove going up Yellowjacket is smaller, and it has some docks, but Kevin fishes the old pond dam running across the cove. If you idle in and watch your electronics, the pond dam will come up to about 10 feet deep off the left side. The dam runs from the shallow point on that side toward the blue-topped dock on the right. It is deeper on that side, and the dam is cut where the old creek channel ran.

Kevin keeps his boat in deep water off the dam, in about 20 feet of water, and casts a crankbait over the top, bumping the bottom. He follows up with a shaky head and a jig, trying to hit the brushpiles. He likes a 3/8-oz.  brown jig with a matching Netbait Mini Kicker B or similar plastic bait trailer in clear water, or a black-and-blue with matching trailer in stained water.

Fish the pond dam from both sides all the way across. Bass often stack up in one place, especially out on the end toward the deep side, so you need to fish the whole thing to find the school.

No. 7: N 33º 03.653 – W 85º 03.733 — Jackson Creek splits off to the right at a 90-degree angle where Yellowjacket does the same to the left past an island on that side. Go all the way to the back of Jackson Creek to the bridge. There is a willow grass bed on the left side of the bridge that the DNR and bass clubs planted. It is spreading and getting thicker, and bass are just beginning to use it, but you can catch some out of it, often a quality largemouth. Cast a frog or toad into the grass, and work then out over the edge. Kevin likes a black Ribbet toad and a frog-colored Spro popping frog. After fishing the frog and toad, Kevin will work the grass with a green-pumpkin 5-inch Senko rigged Texas style with a light head and good weed guard or whacky style. Concentrate on edges and holes with the Senko.

Although the grassbed is new, bass will use it more and more. And Kevin says it is not just a morning place, the grass offers enough shade for bass to be there all day, even in bright sun. And bream bed around it, so fish it thoroughly around the full moon.

No. 8: N 33º 05.678 – W 85º 02.607 — Go into Beech Creek on the right just upstream of the Highway 219 bridge. Past the horseshoe bend there is a red and white channel marker close to the next point on the right. Go upstream of it, and idle straight toward the next channel marker way ahead of you. About halfway between them, out from the main point on the left and the second dock on your right, a hump comes up to about 10 feet deep on top. The channel runs to the left side of this hump, so it drops fast to 18 feet deep.

When you find the hump, stay off it and cast to the top, fishing all the way around. Kevin says this hump is nasty with brush and rocks. He fishes a shaky head but will also work a Texas-rigged green-pumpkin or junebug Mag 2 or Trick Worm. The Texas rig comes through the brush better.

No. 9: N 33º 07.896 W 85º 00.729 — Go up Yellowjacket past Clark Access at the Highway 27 bridge. There will be standing timber on your left running parallel to the channel out from the bank, so stay to the right. Where the standing timber ends, a long curving bank runs up to where the channel narrows down to about 80 feet wide just past a small island on your right. A rocky point is on your left where it narrows down.

Stop at this rocky point and work downstream. There are a lot of shallow rocks on the downstream side of the point, so stay way out and make long cast over them. A brushpile had lodged out from the point the day I was here, but it may float off. If it is there, fish it carefully. Run a Ribbet over the rocks and work a lightly weighted or weightless Senko through them. The main food here is bream, so dip the tail of your Senko in chartreuse dye to mimic the tips of their fins. A heavier bait will get hung up a lot in the rocks. Bass hold in the rocks mostly on the shady side and run out and grab any easy meal coming by.

Work all the way down to the standing timber, hitting every bit of cover. There is a lot of wood along this bank and willow trees and grass to fish. Your boat will be in only 4 or 5 feet of water a long cast off the bank, but fish hold all summer in this shallow cover.

No. 10: N 33º 06.023 – W 85º 03.544 — Going back downstream, the last big cove on your right before getting to Sunny Point Access has docks in it. On the downstream side of the cove there’s a dock with small red roofs on both sides. It has a lot of brush around it. It has a “Brown Family” sign and a red swing on it. There are also two swivel chairs on the downstream side of the dock. Kevin says this dock has “a hundred” Christmas trees or other brushpiles around it. The brush is on both sides, out in front and under it 5 to 10 feet deep. Fish all around this dock with shaky head and Senko. Stay well back at first to hit the outer brush without going over them, since they are in 10 feet of water.

Check out these places to see the cover and structure Kevin fishes on West Point in August.

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