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West Point Bass On The Rocks

Ronnie Garrison | March 3, 2019

Rocks, ramps and hard clay dropping into deep water—West Point spotted bass and largemouth are feeding on those kinds of places in late February and March. These prespawn bass will hit a variety of baits as the water warms and the fish move farther back into creeks and coves.

Prespawn at West Point is a great time to catch bass, since they are becoming more active and feeding heavily. The bass gorge on baitfish and crayfish, building up their energy for the spawn. It is one of the best times of year to catch large numbers of bass with some quality fish mixed in the bag.

West Point is an aging lake with little shoreline cover left. Rocks are the key shallow cover now, and rock concentrates the fish. Early in the month, rocks that drop into deeper channel swings near the mouths of spawning coves and creeks are best. As the water gets warmer as the month progresses, they move farther and farther back. Follow the bass back, and develop a pattern as they move.

Chris Carroll is a freshman on the Brewton-Parker College bass team in south Georgia. He grew up in Heard County, fishing with his dad David Carroll in tournaments. 

Chris joined the Heard County High School bass team. Last March as a senior, Chris placed sixth in the FLW High School championship on Pickwick Lake. He also placed third in a tournament on Lake Sinclair.

Chris’ father, David, watched West Point being built and is a well-known tournament fisherman in the area. He has taught Chris well about the patterns bass follow and how to catch them on West Point.

David, like many good fathers, pretty much stopped fishing when his daughter started playing ball. He supported her and went to her softball games. Then Chris started fishing high school tournaments, and David got back in the bass boat as a boat captain. 

“Rocks are the key in March,” Chris said.

The rocks are about the only cover left on West Point, so they hold food for the bass, and they warm faster and hold heat. All those things make them the place to fish this month.

Three baits are rigged and ready when Chris fishes.  

A crankbait, a bladed jig and a jig ’n pig cover all the depths and actions he fishes this month. If the fishing is extremely tough, he will go to a shaky head, but that is reserved for days when the bass just do not want a moving bait or a big bait.

We fished the end of January to mark a map with March locations, and the water had been dropping fast. It was very muddy, and the 22-degree low the night before dropped the water temperature. But Chris still caught bass, although the fish had not started moving to shallow water. They are in these following locations now.

No. 1: N 33º 01.360 – W 85º 08.976 — Tournaments at Pyne Park Mega ramp in Wilson Creek constantly restock the area, and there are resident fish in it. Released bass often move to cover to feed as they get oriented to their new area. They then join the resident fish as they move shallow to spawn.

Go up Wilson Creek to where it narrows and swings right. The left bank is an outside bend of the creek, and it is rocky. Recently released tournament fish often move here to feed, even early in the month, and they will be joined by other resident fish, so it is good all month.

Start on the downstream end of the bank at the point it forms. There is a big flat going into the cove that fish will move to later, but in March concentrate on the chunk rock and gravel on the point. Stay out in the channel in about 15 feet of water, and cast across the point with a crankbait and bladed jig.

Fish up the bank, casting right on the bank with both baits, bumping the bottom out to 5 or 6 feet deep. Chris likes to cast at a 90-degree angle rather than parallel the bank. Watch for brushpiles and any wood along this bank, and hit it with moving baits, and then work a jig ’n pig through the wood. Fish all the way to the ramp if there is enough water to fish it.

No. 2: N 33º 00.867 – W 83º 09.265 — Going out of the creek past the ramp, there are three coves on your left. The point between the first and second one is very flat and shallow, but the channel is nearby. It is a hard clay point covered with gravel with some bigger rocks. Bass will move up on it to feed.

Start on the upstream side with your boat out 6 to 7 feet deep, and bump the rocks with your moving baits. Chris likes a crawfish-colored DT 6 crankbait, since it imitates the favorite food of the bass and bumps bottom in the depths he expects to catch fish. He casts it on a Dobbins medium-heavy rod and fishes it on 10- to 12-lb. Segar line.

This point is in the middle of the creek, so it has early moving fish on it, as well as waves of bass that come in later. Fish all the way around it, watching your depthfinder to stay in 7 feet of water. You will be a long cast from the bank.

No. 3: N 33º 00.829 – W 85º 09.618 — An island sits off the downstream point of Wilson Creek. The last point in the creek is at the end of an outside bend that runs along the bank. A rock ridge runs off this point toward the island and has some brushpiles on it. It is the first point bass move to in the creek, and they hold here and feed in March. The bass population on this point is fed by new bass moving up all month.

Keep your boat out on the channel side, and cast your moving baits across it. Bump the bottom with your crankbait, then slow-roll a bladed jig across it, letting it tick the rocks and bounce off them. Chris fishes a black-and-blue ZMan Pro Model blade with a matching Sweet Beaver trailer unless the water is very muddy, when he uses a chartreuse-and-white bait.

Keep your boat well off the bank, and fish around the point. It runs way out, and you need to hit the bottom from right on the edge out to 6 or 7 feet deep. Cast across the point from both sides, and then work the rocks on the inside of the point until they run out.

No. 4: N 33º 01.273 – W 85º 10.617 — Across the lake the Whitetail area boat ramp is back in a small creek. It is a good example of why you want to fish every boat ramp you can. They are feeding and staging areas and are usually in protected spawning areas.

This ramp, like others, has rocks all around it. There is brush in the little pocket beside it on the right, and there’s another good rocky point with more brush past it. Start at the dock to the left of the ramp, and fish around it. Then cast to the rocks and ramp, working a crankbait and bladed jig across the rocks.

When you get straight out from the ramp, watch your electronics for the brush on the end of it. Like most ramps, this one has some brush on the very end of the concrete, and bass hold in it and move up on the rocks to feed. Fish the brush with jig ’n pig and shaky head.

Fish the brush beside the ramp, and make some casts across the ramp from that side. Then fish the rocks on the bank and on the point to the right. Cast your crankbait and bladed jig right to the bank, and keep them in contact with the rocks out to 6 or 7 feet deep. Fish past the point down the bank until the rocks run out.

No. 5: N 33º 01.357 – W 85º 10.664 — On back in the little creek there is a steep banked pocket on your left with some old blowdowns in it. Past it, where the creek makes a sharp left turn, there is another point with some rocks on it.

Start at the wood in the pocket, running your crankbait and bladed jig along the old trunks. Bladed jigs get hung in wood easily, so run yours parallel to them. Also fish a jig and shaky head in the wood. Chris fishes a 1/4-oz. Buckeye jig in  black and blue with a matching Rage Tail Craw trailer.

Fish the rocks with all your baits from both sides and the end. A little wind blowing in one this point and all others helps make the fish bite. Past the point, the creek is very silted in but is a good bedding area, so this point is the last stop as bass move in to spawn.

No. 6: N 33º 00.417 – W 85º 11.390 — Down the river, the Holliday Park river side boat ramp is in a big bay on your right. It is another good ramp to fish, with rocks and brush. Spotted bass bed in this big bay and hold and feed on the ramp.

Fish from the dock on the left side of the ramp around it to the flat point on the right side. This area gets sun all day, warming the rocks and attracting bait and bass. And crawfish live in areas like this, so all your baits are good here.

Here and at other places, cast your crankbait to water that is just a few inches deep. You will get hung, but bass often get right on the bank in the warmest water around. Move your bait slowly at first to avoid hang-ups, and then a little faster to keep it in contact with the rocks.

Always fish the concrete of the ramp itself, too. Bump it with the crankbait, scrape it with your bladed jig, and crawl your jig ’n pig and shaky head on it. Chris uses a 1/4-oz. Spot Remover head with a green-pumpkin or junebug Speed Worm. Junebug is better in stained to muddy water. Chris also colors the tails of his Speed Worm with a chartreuse marker pen.  

No. 7: N 32º 59.744 – W 85º 10.656 — Across the river and downstream, Rainbow Creek, which contains with Earl Cook Access, is behind an island. Another creek with a big picnic area, field and restrooms is to the right. An old roadbed comes off the point between the two and crosses the creek.

To the right of the ramp, there is a lot of standing timber off the bank and three small rocky points come off the bank. The first one has a cypress tree on a rocky hump that comes up just off it. Largemouth and spots use these rocks and points to move back into both creeks, and the point nearest the roadbed is the first one they feed on.

Start at the hump with the cypress tree, and fish all around it. Then fish toward the roadbed and point it is on, hitting rocks along the bank. At the roadbed there is a big boulder pile to the right of it that you should also hit, and fish the roadbed itself like a ramp.

No. 8:  N 32º 59.790 – W 85º 10.348 — The Earl Cook ramp is halfway back in the creek and is a good staging area. Bass moving from the main lake hit it later in the month, but the channel out from it holds fish all winter, so some are on it early in the month.

Start on the little round pocket just downstream of the ramp. On the upstream side of the pocket is a shallow point with scattered rocks on it. Bump the bottom all over it.  

Fish on to the ramp, and work the rocks and cement on it.  Rocks continue past the ramp and dock on the upstream side, and there is brush around the dock to fish. Work all with moving baits then probe them with jig ’n pig and shaky head. Work the bottom baits farther out to deeper water until you stop hitting the rocks, too.

Chris Carroll grew up fishing West Point, and he’s now a tournament angler competing on the Brewton-Parker College team. Chris caught this bass at hole No. 9 during a trip to West Point last month.

No. 9: N 33º 00.405 – W 85º 12.729 — Although the water was muddy here when we fished, Wedhadkee, Stroud and Veasey creeks usually have some of the clearest water on the lake. That knowledge can help you catch fish if the rest of the lake is really muddy. Go into the mouth of Stroud Creek to the big point between it and Wedhadkee, and stop on the upstream side of it where it swings back into a cove.

The point is flat clay with chunk rock to where a smaller point comes out pointing upstream. There are some big boulders that form a small ridge on it. Fish the flat, keeping your boat in 8 to 10 feet of water, and fish up to the ridge. Bump the bottom with crankbait and bladed jig, then drag a jig ’n pig and shaky head through the rocks.

At the ridge, cast across it from both sides and straight down it with all your baits. A shaky head is Chris’s last choice, but it will get bit when the fish are not active. Fish it slowly on the bottom.

No. 10: N 33º 00.518 – W 85º 13.523 — Go up Veasey Creek to the Veasey Creek Access boat ramps. The picnic area is on a long point on the left where the channel makes a big swing. On the outside bend of this swing on your right, a small clay point is on the upstream side of a cove with standing timber in it and blowdowns on the left bank.

This clay point has few rocks on it, but the hard clay bottom drops fast in to the channel, warms fast like rocks and crayfish burrow in it, making it good. Fish all around it, bumping the bottom with a crankbait and bladed jig, and dragging jig ’n pig and shaky head all over it.

Chris says when a school of fish is holding off a place like this and all the others, a few will move in and feed at the time. They reload all day, so if you catch fish on some, rotate back through the ones where you got bit. You can catch fish all day as more move in to feed. 

All of these places hold bass right now, and there are many more like them all over West Point. Set the pattern from the locations and techniques Chris fishes, and then find others holding bass in March.

Do you find these Map of the Month articles helpful?  If so, you can get an eBook or CD with an article for each month of the year on Clarks Hill Lake and Lake Lanier. To order, visit http://fishing-about.com/keys-to-catching-georgia-bass-ebook-series.

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