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Tips from Two Fishing Trips

What I Learned On Two Fishing Trips


Percy Priest Bass

Jack caught this bass from Percy Priest, one of 7 taken on the Drop Shot rig. I have done much better since I started using JJ's Magic.

2007 Jack Schmitt licensed to About.com
Each time I go fishing with a really good bass fisherman for a magazine article I am amazed at the knowledge and skill some of them possess. Trips this month to Lake Lanier for a Georgia Outdoor News article and Woodruff in Montgomery for an Alabama Outdoor News article really brought this home.

Woodruff is also known at Jones Bluff or just the Alabama River locally. It runs 80 miles from its dam south of Prattville up through downtown Montgomery. This river like lake is full of big largemouth and spotted bass and many professional tournaments are held on it.

I fished with Mike Presley, a young local angler. He worked for the Bass Angler Sportsman Society as Tournament Manager until that group moved to Florida. He fishes a lot of local tournaments and in June, in six tournaments, he had two first place finishes, a second and two thirds. He knows the Alabama River well.

We started at daylight and Mike told me we would be lucky to catch anything other than small bass until the current started moving. He was right. We fished pretty hard until noon and landed three small bass. Mike called the power station and was told one generator would be turned on at noon, and he told me the bass would turn on shortly after that.

Between 12:20 and 1:30 we landed three largemouth that weighed about 12 pounds. Mike started off by catching a 4.5 pound largemouth by flipping a lizard to a log. He caught four bass off that one log but the rest were smaller.

We moved to a main lake ledge and could see the shad start moving as the current turned on, and bass started hitting. I got a 3 pound largemouth on a jig and pig then Mike got another 4.5 pounder on a jig and pig.

It was so hot by then we left. Mike said he was sure we could catch more bass, but we had been on the lake eight hours and were both worn out. And I had a three hour drive home.

I had a similar experience at Lake Lanier. I met Eric Aldrich at 3:00 PM at a ramp near the dam and we fished the main lake until dark. Eric knows the lake well and puts out brush piles on points and humps. He fishes with a drop shot rig and five pound Sunline. I was surprised how light the line was but he pulled two nice spotted bass out of brush with that rig.

The second place we stopped he landed a two pound spot that hit his drop shot rig in a tree top. By dark we had landed five bass that would have weighed about 13 pounds. The biggest was a solid 3.5 pound spot that hit his finesse worm in 25 feet of water.

Eric’s pattern this time of year is to sit with his boat in 30 plus feet of water and cast to brush and rocks in 20 to 30 feet of water. He works the drop shot worm slowly, jiggling his rod time to make the worm bounce in place. That drives the spots crazy.

When a fish hit Eric would play them a long time on the light line and light spinning outfit. He landed the big spots even though two of them sawed his line back and forth in the brush before working free. That takes skill, to land a nice spot on frayed five-pound test line.

Both those lakes would make great summer trips, but you need to go to both on a week day. Lanier gets so crowded with pleasure boats you can’t fish it on weekends. If you ride any point on Lanier and watch a good dept finder you will find brush in 20 to 30 feet of water that other fishermen have put out.

On the Alabama River, you need to go in the afternoon when current is running. Moving water makes the baitfish move and turns on the bass. It is amazing how you can be sitting on a point for hours casting with no hits and suddenly catch several bass on the bait that has not worked. The current makes all the difference.

If you are interested, the GON magazine will be out in a couple of weeks with the ten brush piles marked that we fished and caught bass. And the AON magazine will be out in about a week and it will show the ten spots on the river we fished there.

If you drive to Alabama there are several motels on I-65 not too far from the river, and there are several nice ramps and parks to use. If you can stand the heat there are good campground, too.

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