West Point’s Hottest Bass Team Marks A March Map

Hurston and Morris won both of West Point's team trails last summer, and they're off to another good start this year.

Ronnie Garrison | March 1, 2005

March can be one of the best months to catch bass on Georgia lakes, and West Point is often the best bass lake in the state this month. West Point is full of quality largemouths as well as spotted bass, and they are all moving shallow to feed as they get ready to spawn in March.

West Point’s 25,900 acres were filled in 1974 and immediately started producing good catches of bass. The lake has changed over the years, and most of the shoreline wood cover has rotted or has been removed by the Corps of Engineers. The shallow wood has been replaced by man-made brushpiles in deeper water.

Rocks and gravel are found in most areas of the lake, and wave action has exposed many gravel banks that bass find suitable for spawning. Many of those gravel banks and pockets are found in the numerous creeks that branch off the main lake and the bigger creeks running into the lake. From the dam to the extreme upper end of the lake, there are hundreds of suitable spawning creeks and coves on West Point.

Reid Hurston and Tim Morris catch bass at West Point all year long. In 2003 they placed second for the year on the Highland Marina Team Trail. Then in 2004 they won the points standings in both the Highland Team Trail and the Southern Harbor Marina Team Trail. To produce a record like that you have to know where the bass are at West Point and be consistent year round.

After winning the points championships in both the Highland and Southern Harbor trails at West Point last year, Reid Hurtson (left) and Tim Morris are off to a good start again. They placed second in the February 13 Southern Harbor tournament with 15.6 pounds, including a 5.65-lb. kicker largemouth.

Tim and Reid started out right this year by placing second in the Southern Harbor Marina Team Trail on February 13. They brought in five bass weighing 15.60 pounds and had a kicker fish weighing 5.65 pounds. Last year they won the March 14 Southern Harbor Marina Team Trail with five bass weighing 17.35 pounds. They can catch bass this time of year.

Reid has been fishing West Point since it was filled and was an early member of the LaGrange Bass Club when it started. Tim lived in Newnan and fished the lake, but mostly up the river, during the early 1980s. Then in 1987 they were introduced and went fishing. Tim moved to LaGrange, and the two of them fished together a lot. They got along well and started fishing team tournaments at West Point.

Fishing together for that long has allowed Tim and Reid to develop methods that compliment each other, and they work together to produce good catches. They fished in similar ways from the beginning, and teaming together has proved very effective. Now they hardly ever fish anywhere other then West Point and try to fish all team tournaments there as well as any bigger tournaments.

When asked about March patterns, Reid was quick to say they would be concentrating on creeks and coves on the middle part of the lake. Although Tim used to fish mostly up the river, they hardly ever fish above the Hwy 219 bridge and seldom fish the dam area of the lake below Southern Harbor Marina.

The many creeks in this area give bass the perfect March habitat, and Reid and Tim can find and follow the bass all month as they move in to spawn. They have fished the lake so much and keep up with the bass so well that they often spend just a few minutes in any one area, hitting the highest-percentage spots for a quality tournament bass, then move on. But you can get in some of these creeks and catch bass all day, never leaving one area.

Reid and Tim fish fast. They throw a lot of crankbaits and jerkbaits and will add in some Carolina rigs later in the warmer water. A spinnerbait is also thrown at any wood cover they see. They are looking for active, feeding bass and hit a lot of spots looking for the one or two fish that can be caught quickly. The only way you can figure out the high-percentage spots in a bigger area is to spend enough time fishing them to learn them.

When fishing this time of year, Tim and Reid both will often have six or eight rods rigged with hard baits. They will have a Rat-L-Trap on one, a jerkbait rigged on another and crankbaits that will run from a few inches to several feet deep on others. The crankbaits will vary in size and color, so they can offer the bass a wide variety of choices. They will also have a spinnerbait on a rod as well as a Trick Worm on a Carolina rig.

The following seven spots are all good in March. Tim and Reid fished them during the February 13 tournament and will fish them the rest of this month. A couple of them are big enough that you can follow the bass all month in them. Others are good for a few casts.

No. 1: N 33º 02.607 – W 85º 09.921 — The small creek on the west side of the lake just downstream of the railroad trestle is an excellent place to find and follow bass all this month. It offers a variety of structure and cover, and it is the area many bass that live on the trestle move into to spawn. Reid says it is the kind of place you can fish all day and catch a limit of bass.

As you leave the trestle and go into the creek, there is a big flat on your right and two islands on your left. When you pass the shoal marker on the big, flat point on your right, there is a pocket with rip-rap for the railroad in the back. Some standing timber is on the left side of the pocket facing it, and there is a good ditch running out from the rip-rap down this cove. Both banks of this pocket are gravel and offer good spawning spots.

Across the creek, the inside island has rocky points on each end, with bigger rocks in deeper water on the upstream end. There are brushpiles off the banks on both ends. Bass often hold on this island as they move in to spawn, so it is a good spot to hit early in the month. Also, early spawners will hold here as they move back out later in the month.

Past the island as you go in, there is a big gravel flat on your right, and the left bank is steeper, with some wood on it. Where the creek narrows down, an old roadbed crosses the creek, and there is a bridge over the channel. There are brushpiles on the roadbed. One big one is just to the left of the bridge on the upstream side.

Another pocket runs back to the trestle on your right past the roadbed, and the point on the upstream side of it has a house sitting back in the woods. There are some stumps and blowdowns on this bank in front of the house, and a good ditch runs out of this pocket.

Above the last pocket, the creek is shallow with gravel spawning banks on the right going in. The left bank above the roadbed is a little deeper, and there is a stake bed just off the first point. Above it there are a couple of blowdowns and a small rocky point.

Starting at the mouth of the creek, fish a Rat-L-Trap on the gravel banks and also drag a Carolina rig across them. Hit any wood you see with a spinnerbait. Run a deep-diving crankbait down the ditch in the pocket and also on the rocky points on the island. If you catch a fish, slow down and make several casts, and also plan on hitting that spot again later.

When you get to the roadbed, work a crankbait across the top of it. When you hit the bridge, you are likely to get hung up. Tim says he likes to move out and cast his crankbait up to the bridge, then fish it down the ditch rather than make all his casts across the ditch parallel to the roadbed.

Fish the pocket on the right with crankbaits, and drag a Carolina rig across the gravel flats and along this ditch. Bass will spawn in this pocket as well as in the back of the creek. With a Carolina rig you are likely to catch bass scattered all over these flats.

Reid and Tim key on structure. For bigger bass, concentrate your casts near the old ditches and creek channel. Look for drops on the bottom. A dropoff of only a few inches may hold a big bass. Probe for cover near or on structure since the bigger bass will take over the prime spots. Remember, where you hit wood or rock on the structure, make that area your prime target.

You could stay in this creek all day, fishing from the mouth to the back, and then circling it again. Bass will move into and up the creek during March, and you can catch newcomers later in the day.

No. 2: N 33º 02.179 – W 85º 09.181 — Across the river there is a shoal marker in the mouth of a small creek that runs back almost to Hwy 109. You can see traffic on 109 while fishing this creek. As you go into it, the outside bank on your right is steep and has some wood cover. The point has rocks on it, and the inside bank on that side drops off fast and there are a few blowdowns on it.

Last year the Corps of Engineers cleaned up all the wood on the banks in this area, then they came back and cut down some trees. The trees they cut are fairly small and don’t run out into very deep water, but they are worth hitting with your spinnerbait if they are in the water. Bass will hold in them as they move into this creek to spawn.

This bank stays deep all the way back to an old unused boat ramp near the back. Past it, the bottom flattens out, and there are stumps in the very back of the creek. Fish will often hold on the old ramp and spawn on it as well as around the stumps in the back

The left bank going in has clay on the point that changes to gravel at the first small ditch. There are two main ditches running across gravel flats on the left, and the point between the second one and the main creek has rocks and brush on it. The bank past the point is fairly shallow and has gravel, so it is a good spawning bank.

Fish all around the ditches and flats with crankbaits and Carolina rigs. Work the edges of the ditches, and probe for cover. Remember to locate cover on or near structure for the biggest fish. This creek is smaller than the one in hole No. 1, but you can still spend half a day learning its secrets.

No. 3: N 33º 02.448 – W 85º 09.163 — As you leave the creek in hole No. 2 and go around the shoal marker, the next point going back into a small creek on your right also has an unused boat ramp on it. This is a good example of the type of isolated cover on structure that Reid and Tim like to fish. The ramp is on a point leading into a spawning cove, and it has rocks on both sides of it placed there to stop erosion.

Bass will hold on the ramp and on the rocks on both sides of it. A place like this is good for a few casts and will often produce a quality bass. You can fish it in four or five casts, covering both sides, the middle and across the end.

No. 4: N 33º 02.480 – W 85º 09.070 — The creek upstream of the unused ramp is fairly small but will hold fish all month. An old roadbed crosses its mouth at an angle, running off the point past the first pocket on the right and out across the main-lake point upstream of the creek. The point has some brushpiles on it.

The bank on the right has some shallow gravel points and pockets. The left side is mostly clay with some wood on it, and there are old dock posts near the house on that side. In the back, the middle point where the little creek splits has willow trees on it and the right side has a lot of stumps. Fish all of this cover with a variety of baits. Bass will stage and move back, following structure to the spawning areas. They will stack up on the brush on the roadbed at times. Concentrate on the best cover near structure for the biggest bass.

No. 5. N 33º 04.168 – W 85º 08.954 — The upper end of Whitewater Creek is another favorite area for Reid and Tim. Run up the creek to channel marker No. 6, and look to the point on your right. It is a rounded shallow point with a hard clay bottom. It is at the mouth of a small feeder creek, and there are some rocks and brush on it. It is worth a few casts — hit both sides and the end of the point with crankbaits, and then drag a Carolina rig through the brush on the upstream side.

No. 6: N 33º 04.283 – W 85º 08.843 — Upstream and across the creek, a shoal marker sits in the mouth of a small cove that has several docks in it. Bass will stage on this shoal marker before going into the pocket to spawn. If you study the shoal with your depthfinder, you will find it has a couple of small points running out toward the creek channel, and there is some brush on it. Hit the points and brush with both crankbaits and a Carolina rig.

No. 7: N 33º 04.299 – W 85º 08.535 — If you head straight upstream from the shoal marker, Whitewater Creek will bend to your left. Straight ahead is a good spawning creek to fish. The left-side point is a flat clay point, and that bank is fairly shallow. The right side going in has some small ditches on it, and it drops off faster. In the back of this small creek there is a patch of stumps right on the little channel that often holds spawning bass. Bass also move farther back into the creek. Fish this whole creek. Reid and Tim say the first point on the right going in is a good place for spotted bass, and the right bank is a good place to crank this month. Hit all the wood cover with spinnerbaits and fish the gravel with a Carolina rig.

Tim and Reid fished these spots in the Feb. 13 tournament, and bass are moving into them now. Give them a try, check out their patterns, and then look at the dozens of similar creeks. You can develop your own honeyholes if you spend some time learning them.


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