Fall’s Terrific At Toby

Lake Tobesofkee is an excellent little bass lake near Macon that gets churned up by pleasure boaters all summer. Now it’s the season for bass anglers.

Our lakes are finally free of pleasure boaters and skidoos, and bass fishing has gotten a lot better as the water temperatures started dropping. November is a great time to go bass fishing, and Lake Tobesofkee is one of the best lakes in Georgia to hit this time of year to find bass in a feeding mood.

At only 1,750 acres, Tobesofkee really gets pounded by pleasure boaters during warm weather. It gets lots of fishing pressure, too. Located just outside Macon and owned and operated by Bibb County, the lake is full of bass but is almost un-fishable during the day when it’ s warm.

Each week a pot tournament is held on the lake, and they are at night until fall. Right now the tournaments are held each Saturday morning, and they attract a number of local anglers who know the lake well. It often takes 15 to 20 pounds to win this six-hour tournament, and most days in November will produce a big fish over five pounds.

Ricky Randall has lived in the area all his life and fishes the
Tobosofkee pot tournaments often. He fished with two local clubs, the Four Lakes Bass Club and the Procasters Bass Club for several years, but about six years ago he and his dad Don started concentrating on money tournaments. They will team up many Saturday mornings for the local tournament this time of year.

Ricky and Don are well known on the Berry’s and Sinclair trails. They fished the Dixie trail, winning the very last tournament that trail held. Their home lake is Tobesofkee.

One trip stands out in Ricky’s memory. He and his dad hit the lake when the water was down, and they had seven keepers that weighed right at 30 pounds that day. In a Tobesofkee tournament their best catch was six bass weighing just over 21 pounds.

This month Ricky is looking for bass on two patterns on Tobesofkee. For numbers of fish, he searches out deep structure and looks for baitfish. The schools of bass will hold around 14 to 15 feet deep near shad, and he catches them on big crankbaits like the Mann’ s 20 Plus, Norman’ s DD 22N and the big Fat Free Shad. He will also check the deep cover and structure with a jig ’n pig.

For a kicker bass, or to add one or two at a time to his livewell, Ricky probes shallow cover. His favorite two kinds of cover in November are rip-rap and weedbeds. Several bridges on the lake provide good rip-rap to fish, and many coves have water-willow grassbeds.

The water willow dies off by November, but that makes it better, according to Ricky. This grass usually stands straight up, but as it turns brown it will lay over, forming a shelf under the water that the bass hide under. It also attracts shad and other baitfish.

A No. 5 or No. 7 Shad Rap in firetiger is Ricky’s favorite bait on rip- rap. He gets in close to the rocks and runs his bait parallel to the bank, keeping the boat about six feet off the bank. This keeps his Shad Rap in the strike zone. Some wind blowing in on the rip-rap makes it much better, and Ricky hopes November rains will stain up the water. The muddier the better.

For the grassbeds, Ricky will run a spinnerbait just over the top of the laid- over grass to attract a bite from a bass waiting on a passing baitfish. If the bass are not active, he will drop a 3/8- to 1/2- oz. black-and-blue jig ’n pig down in the grass, fishing it with the direction the grass is laying to get it below the shelf to where the fish are feeding.

The following 10 holes will show you a variety of the kinds of places Ricky likes to fish this month. All will hold bass at times and other spots like them are all over the lake.

No. 1: N 32° 49.862 – W 83° 46.039 — If you put in at Claystone Park, the rip-rap on the bridge on the other side of the marina from the boat ramp is a good place to fish. Ricky will start on the left side facing the bridge, right were the clay bank turns to rocks. He works this whole side with his Shad Rap and then really concentrates on the four corners of the rip-rap under the bridge when he gets to the channel.

Fish all the rip-rap on both sides, but the best section is the downstream side where you started. You might also try around the pilings and under the bridge. The old bridge is down just a few feet under the surface and bass hold under it, running out to feed. If you could figure out how to get a bait under that old bridge, you could catch some good bass.

If wind is hitting the rocks on either side, work it hard. Wind makes boat control difficult but makes the bass feed much better. Try to parallel the rocks, but keep your boat farther out if the wind forces you to stay off them. Still try to make angled casts that run down the rocks rather than at a
90-degree angle to it if possible.

No.2: N 32° 49.520–W 83° 46.304 — As you head out of the creek with the ramps and marina watch for the main-lake point on your right. Just around the point is a swimming beach. The point runs out and has a good drop on the downstream side. Bass will stack up on this drop and feed on shad.

Ricky will idle across the drop, watching for shad and bass holding under them. He will back off on the deep side downstream of the point and cast back across it with a big crankbait. He wants to hit bottom in the 12- to 15-foot level with his bait. Work the whole drop, but concentrate on areas where you see baitfish and fish under them. Even if you don’t see fish holding under the bait they are probably there, just right on the bot- tom. This is more likely right after a cold front and one trick Ricky uses is to get right on top of them and jig a spoon. He only does this for very sluggish bass that are inactive after a cold front.

No. 3: N 32° 49.592 – W 83° 46.751 — Run around past the swimming area, and start into the next creek upstream on the same side. As you round the point, you will see a dock then the bank is cleared of most brush. Watch for one scrub bush sitting by itself, before you get to the two trees with a trash can under them.

Out from the scrub bush is a rock pile that tops out in five feet of water at full pool. You can see it if the water is down much. It is not far off the bank.

Keep your boat out in deeper water and cast a Shad Rap across the top of the rocks. You might need to drop down to a No. 5 Shad Rap here since the rocks are shallow and will eat a deeper running bait. This is a good spot for a jig ’n pig, too, but you will get hung up a lot.

No. 4: N 32o 49.718 – W 83o 46.826 – A little farther down this bank there is a pocket that is lined with grass. There is a walking track that runs around this pocket and some picnic tables on the left side going in. There is also a drain pipe on the left side.

Ricky usually starts on the left point and fishes all the way around this small cove. He will keep his boat out about 25 feet off the bank and make casts with spinnerbaits, running them over the top of the laid-over grass. If his dad is with him, he will often fol- low up with a jig ’n pig until bass tell them what they want that day.

With both spinnerbait and jig ’n pig Ricky makes underhanded casts, trying to make as subtle a presentation as possible. He says the bass are spooky in shallow water, and a big splash turns them off. He wants his bait to enter the water as quietly as possible.

No. 5. N 32° 49.854 – W 83° 46.977 — Back in the creek ahead of you is another good bridge with rip- rap to fish. Ricky starts on the left side facing the bridge and works to the channel, running his Shad Rap along the rocks. At the channel he hits the four corners hard, and then he fishes the other downstream side. He catches some fish on the upstream side here but the downstream side is better.

If the fish don’t seem to want a crankbait on rip-rap, Ricky will run a spinnerbait along the rocks and work a jig ’n pig on them, too. Both will catch fish, but the crankbait is usually all he needs.

It helps if wind is blowing on the rocks. There is little if any current in Tobesofkee, so the fish don’t really set up on the rocks like they do on lakes where cur- rent brings bait to them. Wind is the only thing that makes a difference, and it will position the fish on the rocks.

No.6: N 32° 49.140–W 83° 47.335 — The next big point on the north side of the lake is Sandy Beach Park. Across from it on the south bank right on the outside bend of the creek is a small double pocket with a no- wake buoy in the mouth of it. Back in the pocket a house has been built over the creek entering the lake. Facing the back of the pocket you will see a point on your left, and there are three power poles along the bank.

Position you boat out from the point on the left so you are even with the first power pole, the one with a transformer on it, and straight ahead of you is the house over the creek. The point that runs out a little off that bank is rocky, and you want to cast toward the house, and bring your Shad Rap back along these rocks.

The bank on the left side has no houses on it, but you will see a portion of a wall on the edge of the water and a power pole with metal boxes near the ground, like a temporary power pole. You can fish all along this bank and might pick up a fish or two, but the edge of the point with the rocks is the sweet spot here.

No. 7: N 32° 49.225 – W 83° 47.585 — A little farther upstream is another cove with a buoy in the middle of it. On the left point going into the cove is an old dock with some fishing poles and two American flags on it. Fish around the dock — there is some brush under it.

When facing the dock, look to your left, and you will see the cement seawall running from the dock changes to a concrete block wall. That wall has a little bulge on it. On the bank behind the sea- wall is a small grape trellis made from part of a chain-link fence.

Keep your boat in close to the wall and cast parallel to it, bringing your Shad Rap across the small point at the bulge in the wall. There are rocks you can barely see at full pool, and they hold fish here. Fish this wall like rip-rap, paralleling it, but concentrate on the little bulge area.

No. 8: N 32° 49.576 – W 83 48.658 — Upstream the lake narrows down and bends to the right. There is a small island in the middle right where it opens back up. A channel ledge runs downstream from that island and holds bass in November. It tops out from 12 to 15 feet deep along the best area.

Ricky likes to get his boat in the deeper water to the right side of the channel running upstream and cast across it, hitting the shallow side and bringing his big crankbait across the drop in 12 to 15 feet of water. If you get your boat about even with the point on your left where the lake opens up going upstream and even with the white dock with the gray roof on the opposite side, you will be about right.

Make long casts and crank your bait down to hit the bottom on the drop. Work the whole ledge up toward the island and back down. Keep an eye out for baitfish, and make several casts to the area they are holding. You can also bump the bottom with a jig ’n pig on the drop if the fish won’t chase a crankbait.

No. 9: N 32° 49.960 – W 83° 48.617 — Go on up to the last cove on the right before the bridge. Ricky likes to start on the downstream side and fish all around it, working the dead grass beds with spinnerbait and jig ’n pig. Stay a short cast out and work the area carefully. Remember, in areas like this you’re looking for one or two quality bites, so be ready when they come.

Although Ricky will fish this whole cove from the downstream side to the point on the upstream side near the boat ramp, he likes the downstream side best. He has caught most of his fish here from the grassbed on the downstream point down that bank to the log in the water.

No. 10: N 32° 50.033 – W 83° 48.906 — The bridge just upstream of this cove is one of the best on the lake according to Ricky. He says he has seen 20-lb. stringers come off it in tournaments, and it is not unusual to see a tournament boat on each of the four corners, and they will all be catching fish.

Work all the rip-rap on both sides of the bridge, paralleling the rocks with a Shad Rap. Pay special attention to the corners of the rip-rap on both sides at the bridge. Try to hit them from different angles and run your bait across them at different depths. You can almost always catch bass here.

These spots will hold bass this month. Try Ricky’s lures and techniques, then try those tactics on other similar spots you find. You might be surprised at the big catches of bass from this small lake.

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