Clint Brown and Matt Baty are two of the best bass anglers to ever fish Lake Seminole. Now I know that is a big statement to start a story out with, but hear me out, and I think you will agree.
With several hundred wins on the lake between them, and close to half a million dollars in combined earnings on Seminole alone, these longtime friends from Bainbridge have an understanding of the lake that is unparalleled.
The pair began fishing together on the lake as friends in the seventh grade, and now 25 or so years later, they still fish Seminole every chance they can.
Matt fishes the Costa FLW Series, where he just won the Seminole event held there this year. He also fishes several other tournament trails and guides on the lake.
Clint currently fishes the FLW Tour and also has a Costa victory on Seminole to his name, along with an impressive third-place finish in last year’s event.
Bottom line is these boys can fish, and Seminole is their specialty.
GON has done articles with both anglers in the past, but for the first time ever, we managed to land both in the same boat on the same day to break down June fishing on the lake.
After talking for a few minutes, we launched Matt’s 2016 Phoenix 721 Pro XP bass boat and prepared to take off from Wingate’s Lunker Lodge.
Matt gunned the Piggly Wiggly Express (his boat is wrapped in a Piggly Wiggly of Donalsonville scheme), and we made a blistering 80 mph run across the lake to our first stop at some bream beds in a lily-pad patch at what the locals call “The Middle Grounds.” This is the area where the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers merge.
The pair both made casts with hollow-body frogs and worked them through the pads using a walking cadence.
“In June, fishing frogs around bream beds early in the morning is hard to beat,” said Clint. “If you get out here the day before and do some riding around and looking, they’re easy to find. Just remember to bring some good polarized glasses. I really like the Costa 580 lens due to the clarity,” said Clint.
As Clint finished his sentence, Matt hooked up with our first fish of the day, a spunky 3-pounder that inhaled his frog as it passed through an opening in the pads. After netting the fish, Clint made a cast to the same general area and hooked up with another solid fish. He worked to rip it free from the pads and then managed to flip it in the boat.
“Heavy braid is a must,” said Clint. “I really like 65-lb. Goat Rope braid for frog fishing. You can find it at Backwoods Outdoors in Albany. That’s where I buy all my tackle.”
Two casts later and Matt was back in the action as a giant fish boiled on his frog. As he set the hook, the fish buried itself down deep in the pads. Matt used his heavy-action Buddha Stick rod to power it away. After several tense moments, the fish came boatside, and Clint instinctively lipped the monster.
“That’s the main reason for fishing these bream beds,” said Matt. “It may take a little work to find them, but I can promise when you do locate some active bream beds, your gonna find some bass there, guaranteed.”
The pair agree that throwing a frog around bedding areas is a strong pattern this month, and to be successful, you just have to do a little research.
“The biggest mistake I see anglers new to the lake make is not spending enough time easing around the lake’s backwaters in search of bream beds,” said Clint. “Grab your Costa glasses, get up on the trolling motor and get to marking beds. A little work will pay off big time.”
After a few more casts to the beds with no results, the pair opted to move.
“It’s a run-and-gun bite on the beds. Normally, we would hit several areas in a row really quick, picking off fish as we go, but today, we want to show you a few different patterns,” said Matt.
After another blazing run in the Phoenix, we arrived at our next spot, the old river channel. Navigationally speaking, if you go straight out from the dam, the river forks left or right. The old channel is the one to the left.
After positioning the boat in roughly 20 feet of water, Clint explained how we were going to fish the spot.
“This is a great hole to throw crankbaits,” Clint said. “You can get it down to the fish pretty easy, and it’s not hard to make them eat it. I also like to fish a 10-inch Bruiser Baits curly tail worm in natural colors, Texas rigged with a 1/2-oz. Flat Out tungsten weight on a 5/0 Owner hook. The bottom line is you need something that will get down in a hurry and stay there.”
Matt elected to start fishing the deep
channel with a Jenko CD15 crankbait in the gizzard-shad color.
“Where we are sitting is about 20 feet deep, and the edges of the channel slope down like a staircase,” said Matt. “You want to make long casts with your crankbait or worm, and ‘walk’ them down the stairs. I like my new Lews Magnesium reel because it really helps make those long casts to get down to the fish.”
We spent the next half hour or so making long casts with crankbaits, worms and jigs, picking up several more quality fish as we went.
Both anglers made mention that this area is really productive when they start pulling water through the dam and create current.
“What you’re looking for on your depthfinder is areas with hard bottom and shellbeds,” said Clint. “The fish will hide down between the gaps in the rocks and shells, and when that water starts moving, it’s like flipping a switch. They go into a frenzy.”
As June temperatures rise into the sometimes-triple digits, Matt said that a finesse worm bite can also be the ticket in the old river channel. When this is the case, he opts for an 8-inch Big Bite Baits Finesse worm in the plum color and threads it onto a 3/8-oz. DNJ Shake Head, also made by Big Bite Baits.
“It will catch them when the going gets tough,” said Matt. “Just work it slow, hop it, and shake it around the shells and rocks as slowly as possible. I use 12-lb. Super FC Sniper fluorocarbon line to give me the maximum sensitivity in the deep water.”
As the bite slowed in the river channel, we headed to our next stop to fish the timber and grasslines in Spring Creek.
“The fish will suspend in this timber under schools of shad, and if you can find them, they can be caught a pile of different ways. Good search baits are Zara Spooks and white buzzbaits,” said Clint.
Once you get a blow-up or catch a fish on a topwater offering, Clint and Matt both recommend slowly and methodically working the area with Texas-rigged worms and other offerings, as the fish will often stack up in concentrated areas.
Matt says another good technique in Spring Creek around the timber is to throw an Alabama Rig, but he customizes his to sneak through all the stumps and laydowns. He uses 1/8-oz. Gamakatsu jig heads with light-wire hooks tipped with Big Bite Baits 3.5-inch Cane Thumpers in the reel-shad color.
This rig perfectly mimics a school of shad, and the hooks are light enough that you can usually straighten them if they snag in the timber. If you fail to locate schools of bass in the timber, you can try cranking submerged grass edges.
“I use the same Jenko crankbait that I throw in the river channel to crank down deep and run parallel along the grasslines,” said Matt. “Use your depthfinder to locate areas that drop off quickly to 18 to 20 feet, and crank down to them. If you get on the right pattern in Spring Creek, you can catch 30 pounds in a hurry.”
After boating several more fish, we moved on to our next spot, an isolated patch of grass in the main lake.
“Many anglers will only fish frogs around grass early in the morning or late in the evening, but I’m telling you, they will sometimes eat a frog all day long, and it’s definitely worth your time to make a few casts to some isolated patches of grass,” said Clint.
The pair spent the next 30 minutes working the grass with frogs and swim jigs and produced a few more fish for their efforts.
“It’s super hard to beat a swim jig on Seminole,” said Clint. “I keep a few tied on all year long, and they can be deadly fished around edges of grass and vegetation.”
Clint throws his swim jigs on the same setup he uses for fishing frogs, a 7-3 heavy-action Enigma rod with a high-speed Lews reel spooled with 65-lb. test Goat Rope braid. As far as Clint’s jig selection goes, he prefers to throw a 1/4-oz. Dirty Jig swim jig the majority of the time.
“The thing I like about Dirty Jigs is they have more than 30 colors for virtually any situation,” said Clint. “On Seminole, it’s hard to go wrong with one that has a lot of white in it. I stick a moonlight-colored Bruiser Crazy Craw on the back to give it added appeal.”
Another June tactic that Matt wanted readers to be aware of was the mayfly hatch, explaining that the action can be red hot.
“Expect to find the most mayfly hatches going on in the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers, and you can easily spot them by seeing the bluegill feeding heavily on them on the top of the water,” said Matt. “When you find a hatch, grab your frog, Spook or whatever you can get ahold of, and sling it to them. The bass feed heavily under the schools of bluegill that feeds on the mayflies.”
Clint also had one more recommendation for readers to be on the lookout for this month, and this one may surprise you.
“Don’t overlook bed fishing for bass this month,” said Clint. “The spawn on Seminole goes on for months in different portions of the lake, and the main-lake area is where it tends to occur last. You will have to do some searching, but you can usually find some really good quality fish to catch.”
To tempt bass on the bed, Clint likes to pitch a Bass Addiction 4-inch Mat Craw in the breezy mcbling color. He Texas rigs the bait on a 5/0 Owner hook and a 1/4-oz. Flat Out tungsten weight.
“They sometimes take some coaxing, but you can usually make one bite if the fish is locked on the bed,” said Clint.
We finished a great morning on the water with more than 20 fish caught, our best five going close to 23 pounds and more laughs than could be counted.
“June is a great month to come out and enjoy Seminole, and you can catch some quality fish, a whole lot of different ways,” said Matt.
Both anglers guide on the lake for bass and several other species and mentioned that if you want to book a day with each angler separately, they will do a special discounted rate. You can find both anglers on Facebook and can contact them by phone. You can reach Clint at (850) 491-9199 and Matt at (229) 726-0153.
If you can make a weekend or maybe even a week-long trip to Seminole, both anglers recommend staying in Bainbridge.
“Bainbridge has same great hotels, restaurants, and some of the friendliest people you can find. It’s the perfect small town, on the perfect big lake,” said Clint.
Hopefully you can make a trip down this month and give these different techniques a try.
If you see a couple of guys in a Piggly Wiggly boat catching fish, cutting up and acting like a couple of seventh-grade friends, well that’s Matt Baty and Clint Brown doing what they have always done.
With Clint and Matt both having sons of their own who are learning the lake’s secrets, it appears that the Baty/Brown Lake Seminole dynasty will live on for years to come!