Guntersville is a long river lake on the Tennessee River right at the Alabama/Tennessee line. I fished with guide Jake Davis that afternoon and we fished topwater baits around lily pads and grass beds, and threw a jig and pig on river ledges around grass. The current was moving pretty good and bass were hitting shad on top in several places.
We landed six bass but only two of them were longer than the 15 inch legal size. The lake is very fertile and the 15 inch size limit helps it have a lot of quality fish. Jake told me his clients average a ten pound plus bass about every three months on his trips and one landed a largemouth weighing 11.5 pounds this past spring. He has a huge 12.95 pounder from the lake.
One thing was consistent on all three lakes. It was very hot. A little breeze helped on Guntersville but I was soaked with sweat when we came in a sundown. The water temperature was in the upper 80s and the sun was bright and hot. That is typical for fishing this time of year on all our lakes.
The Tennessee River cuts across big flats and most of the lake is very shallow. You can be in the middle of the wide lake and hit a ridge only inches deep. Fortunately, most have grass on top marking them. The drops along the channels and the edges of the grass beds make great bass habitat. Bass also hold shallow under the grass and Guntersville is famous for fishing frogs or rats on tops grass mats.
When a big largemouth explodes on a floating frog on top of the grass it will make your heart stop. That kind of fishing is fun and will last all summer and well into the fall.
Tobesofkee is a small 1200 acre lake just west of Macon and it is owned by Bibb County. There are a lot of good bass in the lake and it is a typical mid Georgia lake with a main creek channel and side creek channels. There is a lot of willow weed grass along its shorelines that hold bass early in the morning and late in the day. Docks and big houses line most of the shoreline.
At Tobesofkee Niles Murray and I tried out some new electronic equipment and tried to learn how to use the new Lowrance HD depthfinders and structure scan technology. These depth finders are really computers that can translate the signal into very realistic pictures on the screen, and they will "look" sideways from the boat, showing everything from the surface to the bottom to either side of the boat.
You can ride across a point or down a bank and see every brush pile and stump out to about 120 feet on either side of the boat. We had trouble figuring out what we were seeing and it will take a while to learn to use the new stuff. But it is amazing.
Niles landed two bass but I never hooked one. The water was 93 degrees and it was very hot but a clear green color. A night tournament started at 7:00 PM and lasted until 11:00 PM, and it is a weekly tournament. We talked with a couple of guys fishing it and they said there were 27 boats in it, a typical number. It is an open tournament. If you want to fish it you just show up at the Claystone Ramp a little before 7:00 PM, pay your entry fee and go catch bass.
Thursday morning I met Travis Clay at Jackson and we started as it got light at 6:00 AM. Jackson is a mid Georgia river lake with steep banks, rocks, and lots of houses and docks. The Mayflies were swarming on much of the lake, especially up the Alcovy River. Shoreline bushes and trees shook with birds eating the bugs and Mayflies hovered in the air around them after being disturbed.
Many of those bugs fall into the water and bream fest on them. And bass feast on the bluegill. You can often catch a lot of bass on topwater baits around Mayfly hatches and Travis landed one about 2.5 pounds and lost another one a little bigger. I never caught a bass.
The water was 93 degrees and we quit at 10:00 AM to get out of the heat. We had not had a bite for about two hours when we quit, so it was not hard to hit the AC. Travis’s Brother In Law owns NetBoy baits and lives on the shores of Jackson. We watched him land a 3 pound spot on one of his jigs from a deep brush pile as we got ready to leave, so the bass were biting.
I think I am beginning to see a pattern to my fishing - my partners catch bass and I don’t!