November is a great time to go bass fishing. Fish are feeding up for winter, they are on predictable patterns and boat traffic is way down. That last one may be the most important factor at Lanier. Magnum spots are feeding heavily, and you can fish all day without getting washed off the lake by yacht wakes.
Lake Lanier is a 40,000-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake just northeast of Atlanta, and it is the most visited reservoir that the corps manages. Lanier sees vast numbers of boats that look like they belong in the ocean, and their wakes make fishing after 10 a.m. almost impossible from early spring until late fall. But right now you can fish all day, and catch big spots, without the crazy Lanier boat traffic.
Tyler Schmidt moved to Lawrenceville from Florida with his family when he was 10 years old. Five years ago he went to Georgia Southern and joined the university’s bass fishing team. Tyler fell in love with tournament fishing and got a Triton bass boat.
Since Lanier is so close to home, Tyler started fishing it every chance he got. He has quickly learned patterns the spotted bass follow and where they feed. Tyler knows which baits to use and where to fish them this month to catch bass.
“If you come to Lanier in November, fish the chunk rock,” Tyler said.
He says the bass are on that kind of cover 90 percent of the time. And in November, he targets the chunk rock from the mouths of creeks to about halfway back. Baitfish are moving into the creeks in November, and he targets bass waiting to ambush shad and bluebacks on chunk rock from the mouths of creeks to halfway back.
“When the baitfish get back in the ditches in the creeks and the water gets cold, the bass get in the timber and stay the rest of the winter,” Tyler said.
So, later in the month when the water gets colder, he will ride ditches where there is submerged timber in 20 to 50 feet of water. He’s looking for bait and bass on his electronics.
For fishing the points, Tyler will throw a Strike King jerkbait (ayu or chrome/blue colors) and a Mini Me white-on-white 1/2-oz. spinnerbait. He’s searching for active fish. Both of these baits can be fished fast.
To slow down some, he will have a 3/8- to 1/2-oz. jig with a twin-tail trailer, all in green pumpkin. Also, try a 1/2-oz. Captain Mack’s jigging spoon and a 1/2-oz. Fish Head Spin with a paddle tail swimbait on it. When he gets over a brushpile on a point and sees fish in it, Tyler will use a drop-shot rig with a 1/4-oz. sinker below a No. 4 octopus hook with a Robo Worm. He likes the morning dawn and Martin’s magic colors.
We fished the following 10 locations about two weeks ago on a Monday (this article was originally published in the November, 2016 issue of GON magazine). The lake was not busy at all. There was no wind, and the full moon made the bite tough for us, but we still caught some keeper spots from these locations. They will be much better now.
No. 1: N 34º 10.925 – W 84º 04.197 — Going into Bald Ridge Creek, just past the outside point on the upstream side you will see a danger marker not far off the bank on your right. Upstream of it about 150 yards is a rocky point at the mouth of a ditch. This is the first rocky point on the right going into the creek. This is the kind of place Tyler likes to fish in November until the water gets cold.
The point is covered with chunk rock, and there are brushpiles on it, the perfect setup for bass to hold and ambush baitfish moving into the ditch. Keep your boat out in 35 feet of water, and fish around the point with a jerkbait and spinnerbait. Burn the spinnerbait near the surface to attract reaction strikes from active fish.
Tyler likes the medium-deep-running Strike King jerkbait. He will make a long cast with it, reel it down with a couple of quick turns of the handle, and then jerk it fast with steady 1- to 2-foot jerks back to the boat. In the clear water, and with the number of jerkbaits these fish see, it helps to keep the bait moving fast.
As you go around the point, watch for brushpiles or fish holding on rocks on the bottom. When you see fish on rocks, drop a spoon to them. Around a brushpile, try your drop-shot rig. You can catch bass around brush on the spoon, too, but it is more likely to get hung.
No. 2: N 34º 11.469- W 84º 04.889 — Going up Bald Ridge Creek, it narrows down at marker 3BR on your left. Just upstream of that marker are two ditches. The second one, with channel marker 5BR on its upstream point, has docks on the left, and there are three danger markers on the right side.
The first danger marker is on the end of a long point that comes way out and then drops into the channel. There are several brushpiles on this point, and it is a good ambush point for bass eating baitfish moving into the ditch. Tyler will start with his jerkbait and then try other baits, especially a drop shot around the brush here. He got a solid keeper spot here on his jerkbait the day we fished.
This location is good all month long. Later in the month, the ditch in the middle is good. It has standing timber, and bass will hold in it where it is 20 to 50 feet deep. Tyler will ride ditches like this looking for bait and bass later in the month when the water temperatures drop into the 50s.
No. 3: N 34º 11.883 – W 84º 04.819 — Across the creek, red channel marker 5BR sits on a point on the upstream side of a cove. Directly downstream of the end of this point, a hump comes up to about 18 feet deep (with the lake level 8 feet low). If you idle directly downstream from the end of the point where the channel marker sits, you will go over the hump.
There are brushpiles on this hump, and bass hold in them. Tyler will start with his boat in 25-plus feet of water, with his boat out toward the main channel. He’ll cast a jig up on top of the hump. Then he will also cast his Fish Head Spin, let it hit bottom, and then slowly reel it, so it stays right on the bottom back to the boat. Also watch for brush, and use your drop shot on it.
No. 4: N 34º 01.350 – W 84º 03.761 – Go back out and around to the mouth of Young Deer Creek. As you go toward the mouth, there is a big bay on your left. A point in the middle of this cove has big chunk rock and blowdowns on it. Most of the trees are out of the water but some run out into the water even with it down.
Here, Tyler targets transition areas with his baits. Watch the bank for places where the chunk rock changes to pea gravel and sand. Bass hold right where the bottom changes. Fish these edges and any wood in the water, too.
No. 5: N 34º 12.622 – W 84º 03.487 – Run up Young Deer to channel marker 4YD. It is on a point behind a rocky hump with a danger marker on it. The hump sits in the mouth of a good ditch, and the rock and brush on it hold bass ambushing bait.
Stay out in 25 feet of water on the ditch side, and fish around it with all your baits. If you are not getting bit on your jerkbait, try different cadences, but don’t pause it long, especially when the water is above 50 degrees. Active bass will hit a bait moving fast.
No. 6: N 34º 12.607 – W 84º 03.893 — Across the creek and a little upstream there is a good ditch to fish later in the month when the water gets colder. This ditch runs downstream of a point where construction work is going on—there is a metal boathouse and a big pile of rocks on this point, too.
Tyler will go into ditches like this and stop where the bottom is 50 feet deep. He will then idle down the middle of the ditch looking for baitfish. Baitfish are key. If bait is not present, it is unlikely you will catch bass.
When Tyler sees bass holding in the trees or on the bottom, he will mark the spot with a waypoint as he goes past. He then stops a cast away from the spot, throws his Fish Head Spin, and lets it hit the bottom. Then he slowly reels it just fast enough to keep it off the bottom with the blade spinning. When it loads up, just reel fast—do not try to set the hook or you are likely to miss the fish.
No. 7: N 34º 13.071 – W 84º 01.370 — Go up Six Mile Creek to channel marker 5-6M. That marker is on a rocky island that is on the main channel. Early in the month, this is a good place as the baitfish first move up the creeks. Tyler will fish this with his spinnerbait and jerkbait first, and then he will try his jig.
The spinnerbait and jerkbait bite is much better if some wind is blowing. Wind is your friend, as long as it is not so strong it makes boat control and casting difficult. If it is windy, stick with your faster-moving baits, and hit as many places as you can to find actively feeding bass. This is a better place with wind blowing on it.
No. 8: N 34º 13.519 – W 84º 01.794 — Going up Six Mile Creek, look for marker 7-6M on a point on your left. It’s where the creek narrows way down. Upstream of the marker, a good ditch runs back and has timber in it. This is another good place for bass to hold when the water is cold.
As in other ditches, look for bait and bass. If the bass are holding in the tops of the trees, you can fish your Fish Head Spin at the depth they are holding, but usually Tyler lets it hit bottom and keeps it there. The key depth seems to be from 20 to 50 feet deep in late November.
No. 9: 34º 10.351 – W 83º 59.126 — Back in Big Creek, University Yacht Club sits on a point in the middle of where the creek splits. On the left side of that point, a marked rocky hump sits right on the channel edge. Bass feed here most of November.
Stay out a long cast from the hump on the channel side, and cast a spinnerbait right to the edge of rocks. Bass will get very shallow at times in November. As soon as your Mini Me hits the water, reel it back fast, burning it just below the surface. Also try a jerkbait and Fish Head Spin here before leaving this hump.
No. 10: N 34º 10.241 – 84º 00.968 — Go out to the Lake Lanier Islands, and pass under the bridge on your left. After you go under it, on the Shoal Creek side there is a ramp that is on the bank on your left. Past it, there is a rocky point on your left that is at the mouth of a ditch that runs back to the causeway going to the islands.
This point has rocks and brushpiles on it and is a good ambush locations for bass. Try all your baits here. Tyler got a couple of keepers on jerkbait and one on a Fish Head Spin the day we fished. One brushpile was just under the surface, and you could see it when you got fairly close to it.
These places give you two different patterns to fish this month. Give them a try, and try Tyler’s baits. Then you can find many places like them holding bass this month all over the lake.
Editor’s Note: Do you find these Map of the Month articles helpful? If so, visit http://fishing-about.com/keys-to-catching-georgia-bass-ebook-series/ for an eBook or CD with an article for each month of the year on Clarks Hill and Lanier.