Air Temperatures: Morning – 62 degrees / Evening – 94 degrees
Water Temperature: Morning 82 / Evening 88
Water Clarity: Clear
Lake Level: Down 1 1/2 feet (and falling for winter pool – full pool is 793.0)
* Call 1-800-lakes-11 for current lake level and water generation schedule
LAKE WEDOWEE’S SCHOOLING BASS…AND COOLER TEMPERATURES ARE ON THE WAY!
A guided fishing trip with Reeds Guide Service to Alabama’s youngest, man made
reservoir, “Lake Wedowee” showed consistent topwater action as I fished earlier this
week with two avid anglers, both nearby residents of the lake. They showed up at
dawn to meet me at Hwy. 48 bridge public boat launch, just a few miles from their
lake house, very close to the nearby town of Wedowee, Al. It was a good trip so I
mentioned it on TV the next day!
* After hosting my monthly segment, “Ask the Angler” (seen the last Tuesday of each
month), on Alabama’s WBRC Fox 6 morning show, “Good Day Alabama” I received several
e-mails and phone calls mostly pertaining to about how we caught the bass that I
mentioned about, “schooling on Lake Wedowee” this week.
After hitting several banks nearby that morning I honestly think you could fish
literally any where on this lake and see bites along the bank on about any stop,
especially at dawn. We did! Fooling over a dozen small, spotted bass, those weighing
mostly in the 1-2 pound range (and an occasional largemouth bass sharing the same
weight,but with shorter demintions), is a lot of fun and it keeps you on ready,
about every cast!
Scooling Tallapoosa River spotted bass are everywhere on this lake! We fished both
below the Hwy. 48 bridge and abouve it, up in the Tallapoosa River and up in the Big
Tallapoosa River, both water ways separated by a river junction just above the
bridge. If they were not busting shad near the boat (or a good cast away), we
actually called them while up fishing with noisy topwater lures such as any type of
popper and walking type topwaters like zara spooks.
At times we were surrounded by several shad-busting schools of both spotted bass,
and some mixed in striped bass and white bass. Even an occasional largemouth bass
would erupt on these topwater lures, often mingling right in the midst of the other
fish. No really big bass that day.
But we did fool a lot of fish and these two rather novice anglers were well pleased
with the outcome of their day fishing with me, learning some new places to explore
later on their own and some new techniques with some lures they have never fished or
To fool these bass, and to really even have a hope of getting bit by a schooling
bass, the lure choice and the way we fished it that day, was very important. Both of
these anglers had good equipment and I’m sure they had made a recent trip to the
tackle store, evident by the still packaged lures they broke out and tried that day.
Many lures will work during these “schooling bass” situations and as the often
coined rule of thumb, “match the hatch” implies, its important to try to match the
bait fish size and its just as important to your success, to try and simulate the
prey’s actions. As these voracious bass are feeding on these prey, usually with the
bait fish fleeing for their lives or some already injured prey is consumed, the
attacking bass will return for the kill!
But not always!
By matching your lures to the exact size, shape and action of the bait fish seen
during any one of these types of particular set of “schooling bass” circumstances,
always keep in mind; You are always trying to fool these bass into hitting your
lures, instead of them chasing down any one of thousands of lively prey, such as
these bait fish nearby! Maybe something different is better! Try both large and
Also keep the lure moving, you do not want them to get a real good look at the lure.
If they do not know what it is and its acting real funny, like swimming with an
injured look (or fleeing for their lives), often just stopping the lure with an
added erratic movement, then quickly beginning your retrieve with set of stop and go
jerks is all it takes to get bit!
So, your retrieve with what ever lure you choose is not always a slow, steady
retrieve. Often its not the lure you choose to fish with, but how you use it!
SCHOOLING BASS THEIR ALWAYS WHERE WE AIN’T!
As most anglers have experienced, when chasing schoolies its often just as important
as moving, as it is to just stay put. Evident by seeing less and less topwater
action, if you do. Why is that so true on Lake Wedowee? Well, for one thing a lot
less company on week days! Every spot we fished on a Monday, we had all to
So if we disturbed these schooling bass it was evident when the outboard motor or
the trolling motor set on high was spooking the schools. So we just stayed put,
often just fishing nearby banks or cover, waiting. But it was not long, and soon
this “sitting still technique” helped us fool bass that began to erupt real close to
the boat, for easy casting of about any lure.
* Note – To reach these bass or to just utilize every cast we made, getting distance
was important. The big, heavy zara super spook (with rattles and 3 hooks) will cast
a great distance, even when rigged on 20 pound test monofilament line, and this over
sized offering fools both one pounders and five pounders! Fishing smaller poppers,
prop-baits or smaller walking type topwaters, with line in the 12-15 pound test
category, utilizing long 6 1/2 feet – 7 foot long rods, also aids an angler in
getting more distance on each cast.
With other lures like shallow-to-deep diving model crank baits, rattling lipless
lures, 1/4 to 1/2 ounce jigging spoons, swim baits and even spinnerbaits, you can
fool these bass, often holding in the entire water column from top to bottom. But
unknown to many anglers there is one type of lure, and the way you cast it, and fish
it, that often excels over many other types of lures during these conditions. That’s
a suspending jerk bait.
On this day on Lake Wedowee over half of our bass were taken on various types of
topwater lures. But just as many bass hit suspending jerk baits, some right in the
hottest part of the day at noon. Rapala’s two hook X-Raps and Heddon’s, “Tim Horton”
signature series, three-hook jerk baits, proved to be good lure choices for us.
But it took some effort on our part to get bites! Making long casts, then cranking
down the suspending jerk baits with 4-5 fast turns of the reel handle, then
retreving the lures with a very fast, stop-and-go action, was what it took to fool
many of these schooling bass into eventually biting! This worked a lot better than
just otherwise utilizing a slow, steady retrieve, usually resulting with no hook
ups…the end results being, no fish!
Always call on Reeds Guide Service…first!
See my website www.fishingalabama.com for more info on Lake Wedowee and other
Thanks and Good Fishin’
Reed Montgomery / Outdoor Writer
Owner / Reeds Guide Service
Alabaster, Alabama (205) 663-1504
” Over 40 Years Guiding, Fishing and Exploring Every Lake in Alabama For Largemouth
Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass and Striped Bass ”
Always Call on Reeds Guide Service…first!
Alabama’s Oldest Professional, Freshwater Fishing Guide Service!