Tips for November - December

Short tips for trips from around the state to some of Bama’s best fishing.

By Eileen Davis

Crappie: Weiss Lake

Tim Pentecost, a successful angler and guide, employs two distinct strategies for targeting crappie on Weiss Lake from mid-October to the end of December. The primary approach centers on the main river channel, where the biggest crappie are found. Fish of various sizes, from 10 inches to 1½ pounds, are caught here. This pattern is temperature-dependent, with crappie migrating from flats to the main river channel as the water cools. Pentecost emphasizes fishing mid-lake between Yellow Creek and Bay Springs, preferring areas with a gradual slope into the channel rather than steep drop-offs. He uses a double minnow rig for tight lining with 10-pound K9 Hi-Vis Fluoro lines on 16-foot Pro SE Outlaw Crappie Poles.

For his second approach, Pentecost focuses on dock shooting, an all-season technique on Weiss Lake, especially at the mouths of coves during the fall. LiveScope technology assists in identifying fish size, location, and depth under docks. Without it, he shoots a 1/24-ounce Red Rooster jig head with a 2-inch Red Rooster Georgia Razor soft plastic using a 5-foot, 8-inch Outlaw Crappie Pole, an Outlaw spinning reel, and 6-pound K9 Hi-Vis Fluoro line. The choice of jig head and soft plastic color varies depending on water clarity. Pentecost’s setup allows for precise shooting and control, helping him successfully target crappie under docks.

Book your stay today with Walcox Point and experience the best of Weiss Lake!

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Spotted Bass: Smith Lake

In the fall, angler Jesse Wiggins finds spotted bass in Smith Lake, exhibiting aggressive feeding behavior triggered by the first cold front in late September or early October. Wiggins, a winning Major League Fishing angler, is excited about the schooling spotted bass that actively feed on blueback herring and shad. These fish are visible on the lake’s surface, and Wiggins refers to them as “volunteers.”

Smith Lake offers various types of points for fishing, including bluff points, rocky points, sandy points, and shallow clay points, and spotted bass can be found at depths ranging from 6 to 30 feet. The key is to locate points on the main lake.

Wiggins uses specific tackle for different scenarios. When the bass are feeding on the surface, he makes long casts with a Jackall iProp or a Rerange jerkbait. He employs a spinning rod for the iProp and a bait casting rod for the jerkbait. Staying away from the schooling fish is essential to avoid spooking them.

The topwater pattern Wiggins employs begins in late September and continues into December when the water temperature is above 60 degrees. Ideal conditions for this pattern are wind and clouds, with a strong wind and overcast conditions being particularly advantageous on Smith Lake. On good days, this pattern can yield 40 to 50 fish, including quality fish weighing over 3 pounds, while on tougher days, it may result in 10 to 15 bites.

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Bass: Smith Lake

Fall fishing on Smith Lake offers anglers a chance to catch spotted bass, largemouth bass, and striped bass in a single outing. Renowned fishing guide Brent Crow, known for his tournament successes, shares his expertise. When targeting schooling spotted bass, Crow often hooks striped bass, and if spotted bass aren’t biting, he shifts to shoreline cover for largemouth.

Anglers can expect to reel in 50 to 70 spotted bass on a good day, with the top five weighing over 15 pounds. While largemouth numbers are lower in Smith Lake, 10 to 15 fish are still attainable, including the occasional 6-pounder. Striped bass in the area range from 10 to 18 pounds, with Crow’s boat record at 40 pounds.

Fall fishing on Smith Lake typically starts when spotted bass feed on shad and herring near the surface. Topwater action can begin as early as late September or as late as November, contingent on favorable conditions – wind and sun aligning for prime fishing.

To locate spotted bass, Crow recommends searching for schooling fish, possibly mixed with striped bass. Spotting these schools signals productive areas. The ease of catching them depends on their prey, with blue herring being easier targets than smaller shad.

For both striped and spotted bass, Crow favors topwater lures such as the Heddon Super Spook, Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper, River2Sea Whopper Plopper, or a Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg. When the open water bite slows, Crow suggests moving to creek backwaters for largemouth bass, casting a 3/8-ounce buzzbait near shoreline wood and rocks.

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Redfish: Mobile Delta

In November, Captain Scott Ritter, a winning angler with over three decades of experience in Mobile Delta, suggests that it’s an excellent time for redfish fishing. With reduced bait and increased aggression in the fish, it’s an opportune period for anglers. Ritter emphasizes the potential to locate schools of redfish during this time.

To find these schools, Ritter advises keeping an eye on birds diving for bait or looking for surface oil slicks created by feeding fish. However, these sightings can be unpredictable, so Ritter often focuses on smaller groups or individual fish on the flats.

The prime fishing conditions occur when water flows back into the marsh grass after an extreme low tide, attracting redfish following the bait. They tend to swim along the grass’s edge, leaving wakes and their backs visible above the water.

Ritter’s preferred search baits for redfish include a Johnson gold spoon and spinner-style baits. He drifts over flats and oyster beds, using the gold spoon with a slow, constant retrieve or a jigging motion. For spinnerbaits, he opts for jig-spinners with a No. 4 gold Colorado blade and Berkley Gulp pogy or swimming mullet trailers. When using the spinnerbait, he employs a slow, steady retrieve or jigs it, allowing it to rest on the bottom, attracting redfish with the flash of gold.

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Crappie: Weiss Lake

In November, when water temperatures drop to approximately 75 degrees, fishing guide Pat Trammell recommends Weiss Lake as an excellent location for anglers. During this time, crappie are abundant and larger in size, congregating around baitfish in creek channels and creek mouths near Little River. To locate these fish, Trammell employs side scan sonar and cruises the creeks at a speed of 5 mph. Crappie can typically be found 8 to 10 feet deep atop significant baitfish schools, making them readily visible on sonar.

For successful November fishing, long-line trolling is the most effective method. Anglers should cast 1/16-ounce jigs roughly 30 yards and troll at a speed of 0.8 mph. The jigs will reach a depth of 5½ feet, and using two jigs in tandem can achieve greater depth if necessary. Trammell employs 6-pound line and a loop knot for the jigs, selecting curly-tail Southern Pro jigs in Junebug or a blueish green color based on water clarity.

While trolling, Trammell constantly monitors his sonar for baitfish schools that may be outside his initial spread’s coverage. By adjusting his course to pass over these schools, he can maximize the chances of catching fish. Overall, November offers an exceptional opportunity for anglers to reel in sizable crappie in Weiss Lake by following these techniques.

Book your stay today with Walcox Point and experience the best of Weiss Lake!

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Crappie: Lake Martin

Eric Cagle, a renowned crappie guide on Lake Martin, has notched up an impressive four major tournament wins in the last two years, including three state championships and a national title. His expertise shines during late fall fishing at Lake Martin, a period spanning from late October to early December.

In late fall, crappie typically move to depths between 15 to 25 feet. Cagle suggests targeting submerged brush piles, Christmas trees, and bridge pylons, which attract baitfish due to algae growth. He favors Muddy Water baits in blue milk on Skipper’s Jig heads for Lake Martin’s clear waters.

To locate fish, Cagle employs side scan sonar, marking depths where he spots fish around the same level. Impressively, Cagle has sunken over 280 brush piles over the years, ensuring productive cover for his clients. You can also find brush pile locations on the Alabama Power Shorelines website, which has sunk over 60,000 Christmas trees in company reservoirs since 1993.

Once fish are found, Cagle uses a buoy to mark the brush pile and selects the right jig head and bait, typically opting for smaller offerings due to the predominant black crappie species. He utilizes Garmin Panoptic LiveScope for real-time fish and structure visualization, helping him understand crappie behavior and improve his catch rates during late fall and winter.

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Spotted Sea Trout: Mobile Bay

In late fall on Mobile Bay, as water temperatures drop, spotted sea trout (speckled trout) begin their winter migration to deeper areas, typically ranging from 10 to 40 feet deep. These deeper holes offer the trout higher salinity, warmer water, and a consistent food source. Anglers can expect a surge in fishing action during November and December, although they may need to release smaller fish, as the average keeper trout weighs 2.5 to 3 pounds, while larger specimens can reach over 8 pounds.

The best fishing spots in the Mobile Bay System during this season are found in Dog and Fowl rivers, the Theodore Industrial Canal, and the Bayou La Batre Channel when water temperatures drop into the 60s. However, finding and catching fish can be challenging due to changing conditions such as water temperature, salinity, forage availability, and tide. The trout may be at the bottom of deep holes one day, working the flats the next, or suspended off a drop-off.

Anglers can rely on lead head jig heads with soft plastic baits, like the C.A.L Shad Tail and Berkley Gulp! Ripple Mullet, on 12-pound-test line, to catch specks. When these lures fail, the Tsunami Holographic Swim Shad with its lifelike appearance and slower action can prove effective. For fish suspended on the edges or flats, a 1/2-ounce Rat-L-Trap is an excellent locator lure, especially when specks strike upon it snagging and breaking free from grass. One advantage of fishing for specks during this season is the flexibility of not having to be on the water early in the morning. Anglers are encouraged to begin where they last caught fish and adjust their strategy as needed to adapt to the changing conditions.

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Bass: Lake Jordan

Russ Lane, a winning bass angler, shares his enthusiasm for fishing in mid-November to mid-December at Lake Jordan, located north of Wetumpka. He prefers this time of year due to the favorable fishing conditions. As winter approaches, the shad become less active, making it easier for bass to feed aggressively in preparation for colder water temperatures.

Lane focuses on two primary fishing patterns. When there’s flowing water, he targets spotted bass, emphasizing the importance of current for their success. The ideal current flow can be found below the Mitchell Dam in a riverine stretch of three to five miles. Contrary to common belief, spotted bass don’t hug the bank but utilize bottom structures, sometimes as deep as 20 feet. Lane recommends using a one-ounce spinnerbait with chartreuse-colored blades, cast upstream, and allowed to drift back to entice strikes from these fish.

For largemouth bass at Lake Jordan, Lane turns to piers and boat docks. On sunny days, he uses a 3/8-ounce jig with a twin-tail grub, skipping it into the darkest shade under the docks. On overcast days, he employs a swimming motion to work the jig down the sides of the pier, focusing on the back or front corners where the fish tend to strike visibly. Overall, mid-November to mid-December is a prime time for bass fishing at Lake Jordan, offering anglers the opportunity to target both spotted and largemouth bass using specific techniques tailored to the conditions.

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Crappie: Lake Guntersville

In November, Alex Rawleigh, a seasoned Guntersville angler landed a remarkable 30-fish stringer, weighing a total of 64 pounds. What makes this catch stand out is that three of these crappie weighed over three pounds each, with the largest one hitting 3.4 pounds. Rawleigh, who has been fishing on Lake Guntersville for more than 40 years, particularly enjoys crappie fishing from late October to mid-December.

Rawleigh keeps detailed fishing records, which revealed a consistent pattern for crappie success in November. He found that the sweet spot was where the Tennessee River channel curves into the shore, creating underwater bluffs. Rawleigh has tested this pattern successfully throughout the lake.

To replicate Rawleigh’s success, anglers should follow their maps to locate these underwater bluffs where the river channel approaches the shore. Current flow is crucial, as it typically takes about two hours of current to concentrate shad and crappie behind current breaks on the rock wall.

Rawleigh’s preferred setup includes a 1/16-ounce jig with a 1 ½- to 1 ¾-inch soft plastic body, a 5 ½-foot ultralight spinning rod, and 4-pound test monofilament line with fluorescence to detect subtle bites. As the water temperature cools, crappie move to deeper waters, so anglers should adjust their fishing depths from less than 15 feet in early November to depths as deep as 40 feet by late December.

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Smallmouth Bass: Wilson Lake

This world-class smallmouth fishery on the Tennessee River is so good that Damon Abernethy, Assistant Chief of Fisheries, makes an annual fishing trip there in October or November. Depending on the weather, Abernethy says fishing can be better in October, but it’s more consistent in November in both the Wheeler and Wilson trailraces.

Of the two trailraces, Abernethy recommends the Wheeler Dam tailrace for anglers who have not fished these areas before. He says there are dangerous areas below the Wilson Dam as the water is shallower.

“A good day of fishing,” Abernethy said, “below either dam would be 15 to 20 smallmouth over 4 pounds. You will also catch plenty of smaller ones. We do catch 6 pounders, but it is rare. We also catch a variety of other species. Just about every species swimming in the lake will be there in the fall. It’s a great place to take a kid fishing.

Smallmouth Bass: Pickwick Lake

“Fishing Pickwick in November offers anglers a chance to catch a giant smallmouth of a lifetime,” said winning tournament angler and guide Jimmy Mason of Florence. I have several clients that catch 7 pounders every November.”

To connect with a trophy bronzeback, Mason recommends drift fishing river ledges from Florence down to the Waterloo area with live threadfin shad.

“It’s just like summer ledge fishing,” he continued. “Use sonar to look for fish along the deeper ledges, offshore rock piles and deep bluffs. The key is to find hard breaks created by vertical deepwater structure.  When the fish are feeding, anglers will find them positioned on top of the structure.”

Smallmouth Bass: Pickwick Lake

The hottest smallmouth bite on the planet begins in October and last well into December on Pickwick Lake. Incredible days of fishing arrive with cooler water temperatures and consistent water release rates between 70,000 and 150,000 cubic feet per second for a 24-hour period from Wilson Dam.

Skilled anglers can catch 25 of the brown fish on a trip and put together a 5-fish bag weighing 25 pounds. Occasionally, a big fish weighs 7 pounds.

A top lure for fall is a 3 ½-inch tube in crawfish colors. Spinnerbaits in ½- to 1-ounce weights are also essential, especially in turbid waters.

For a guided trip to catch smallmouth on Pickwick Lake, contact veteran guide Steve Hacker. Visit www.tva.com for the water discharge rate forecast.

Crappie: Lake Martin

Except for the spawn, there’s no finer time to go after slab-sized papermouths than November, as the fish feed heavily in preparation for winter. Finding shad in the shallows is a primary pattern for autumn. On Lake Martin, crappie tend to hold near cover, making them easier to find.

The best fishing exists on the upper end of the lake. According to biologists, this area is definitely more fertile and has better crappie recruitment than the lower lake. Of the large numbers of fish anglers catch, 30 to 40 percent may fall below the 9-inch limit. However, the remaining crappie more than fill a daily limit of keepers, plus there’s an occasional two or three pounder for lucky anglers.

For information on Lake Martin and the surrounding area, visit the Lake Martin Tourism Association website. To book a guide, contact C&M Guide Service.

Crappie: Lake Eufaula

Crappie guide Gary Clancy rates fishing as excellent on Lake Eufaula in November. If the lake does not experience a severe cold front, he says anglers routinely catch limits of slab-size crappie from brush piles located near ledges.

“Use your depthfinder to find brush piles next to creek channels,” Clancy advised. “Crappie are structure orientated fish and either hold above, beside or in the brush. In November, you will find fish 15 to 30 feet deep.”

When Clancy finds a brush pile, he marks it with a buoy and positions his boat within casting range. Clancy works the cover with 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jigs rigged with 2-inch curly tail grubs in chartreuse or pearl colors.

To arrange a fishing trip with Gary Clancy, telephone (334) 464-0881 or visit his website.

Striped Bass: Lake Martin

During November, target Martin’s big striped bass by slowly dragging large and lively gizzard shad 40 feet behind side planner boards. An average striper on this rig weighs more than 20 pounds, with an occasional 30 pounder.

Deploy two planners on each side of your boat to search the Tallapoosa River or Elkahatchee Creek. The boards allow you put the bait on top of fish in shallow water without spooking them. Plus, they cover a lot of ground.

Since big fish do not travel in schools, this technique does not produce high numbers of fish, but many think this method will produce the next state record from Martin. To minimize a big striped bass swallowing the hook, fish live bait on a 5/0 Daiichi circle hook.

To book a guide trip, call trophy striper guide Steve Smith (205 365-5226).

Striped Bass: Lewis Smith Lake

During November, Smith’s striped bass forgo their search for schools of baitfish to take up ambush positions at creek mouths and funnel points. This annual staging of strips occurs as declining water temperatures force shad to leave the backs of creeks.

Once a school of strips is found, they provide anglers an opportunity to catch high numbers of fish and the possibility to return to fish the same location another day. Congregating shad in late fall may hold in the same location for one to three weeks, depending on fishing pressure.

Look for striped bass at the mouths of Crooked, Little Crooked and White Oak creeks. Also check the long point in Lick Creek. In November, expect to find the fish holding 38 to 45 feet deep.

To book a guide trip, call veteran striper guide Bill Vines at 205-647-7683.

Speckled Trout: Coastal Rivers

Plentiful, sporting and delicious, the speckled trout ranks first as the states inshore saltwater gamefish. With the arrival of cool weather, anglers will find specks have moved into our coastal rivers. Bon Secour, Dog, Fish, Fowl and Magnolia rivers offer excellent fishing for two- to three-pound fish.

These beautiful fish live on a diet of shrimp, small fish, worms and small crabs, but the most popular bait from their fare is live shrimp. However, small baitfish catch the biggest fish. Specks will also readily strike artificial lures like lipless crankbaits and grubs fished on jig heads.

Call Hoppe’s Fishing Camp at (251) 479-8302 for current fishing information. Hoppe’s is a popular departure point specks, as it lies on the north side of the Dog River Bridge on the Dauphine Island Parkway.

Blue Catfish: Logan Martin

Big cat action begins in November on Logan Martin and just gets better as waters cool during the month. Skilled anglers frequently catch blues weighing 20 to 40 pounds from this Coosa River reservoir, which is about 30 miles east of Birmingham.

Locate big blues by drifting baits in open water over an uneven bottom on the lower section of the lake. Humps, ledges and creek junctions are especially productive with shad present. Often, sonar shows cats suspended off the bottom below a ball of bait.

Without question, the best bait for blue catfish is fresh skipjack herring. Fish it on a dropper rig made of 40-pound-test fluorocarbon and a main line of 65-pound-test braid. Depending on the wind, sinker weights vary between 1 and 6 ounces.

Redfish: Orange Beach

Here’s the perfect Christmas vacation for the avid angler: A trip to balmy Orange Beach to catch tackle-wrecking redfish weighing 20 to 30 pounds.

From late October through December as water temperatures cool, huge schools of red minnows and menhaden move into the area followed by schools of bull reds. “It’s a natural setup for winter fishing,” Captain Don McPherson said, “as all the ingredients come together to form this great fishery.”

Often, these schools are easily found by watching for diving birds just past the second sandbar from the beach. While the birds attack from above, big reds churn the surface to foam by slashing through the bait.

If you find reds under dive-bombing birds, fish poppers or stickbaits on the surface. If not, troll deep-diving crankbaits in water 15 to 35 feet deep. A Mann’s Stretch 25+ is a good search bait.

To book a guided trip, call Captain Don McPherson at (251) 981-8047, or visit his website.

Flounder: Alabama’s Artificial Reefs

As the water cools in the fall, flounder migrate out of the rivers and bays towards the Gulf. In December, many of these delicious fish use our artificial reefs as feeding stations, current breaks and staging areas to spawn.

If you find flounder concentrated on a reef in water less than 60 feet deep, it’s possible to catch 50 fish in a day. Most fish will weigh 1 to 5 pounds, with an occasional doormat tipping the scales at 8 pounds.

The first choice for bait is live menhaden up to 3 1/2 inches long. If they are not available, cut squid into 3 1/2- by 1/2-inch strips. Drift these baits inches off the bottom on a Carolina rig.

For an up-to-date listing, including maps and GPS coordinates, visit the DCNR website.

Spotted Bass: Lake Jordan

During the first weeks of December on Lake Jordan, 3- and 4-pound spotted bass slash through schools of shad with aggression. As water temperatures decrease at a faster rate, fishing sizzles.

The most important factor for spots this month is current, and the best current flow occurs within 5 miles of the Mitchell Dam. Current triggers a feeding response in fish weighing more than 3 pounds and positions them in predicable locations, which include rock piles in the middle of the river and points.

Fishing in the strong current requires a chartreuse 1-ounce spinnerbait with two No. 4 willow-leaf blades. Using a long rod for distance and fluorocarbon line for depth, make a cast against the current so the lure descends to the bottom before passing the current break.

For a guided day on the water, contact John Pollard, telephone (334) 221-2068.

Spotted Bass: Jones Bluff

Alabama is home to some of the best spotted bass fishing in the United States, and Jones Bluff is one of the premier waters in the state to catch these hard-fighting fish. As the first impoundment on the Alabama River, the lake’s riverine banks and fertile flowing waters support a growing population of spots weighing more than five pounds, with some topping six pounds.

Depending on the weather, water temperatures in December usually allow spots to continue their heavy feeding on shad throughout the month. Look for big spots to hold on gravel bars and humps in 6 to 15 feet of water or on any structure that offers a break in the current.

Fish cover and structure near these current breaks with spinnerbaits or jig-and-pigs.  The best fishing for spotted bass is from Swift Creek downstream to the dam. 

Largemouth: Mobile Delta

When the north wind blows, the shallow waters of the Delta offers die-hard bass fisherman fast action. Anglers report catching 100 bass on an average day. These fish will measure between 12 and 16 inches.

Past winters have found bass concentrated in holes at the mouths of Bay Grass, Bay Minette Basin, Big Bay John, Chocolata Bay, Chukfee Bay, Delvan Bay, Johns Bend and Justin Bay. Of these, Chocolata and Chukfee produce the bigger bass.

To duplicate the presentation of the bass’ forage, which consist of shrimp, small crabs and bait fish, anglers recommend casting small grubs and Rebel Wee-Rs.

Crappie: Tombigbee River

According to fisheries biologist, crappie on the Tombigbee River above Demopolis Lake have spawned successfully for many years. Spawning conditions – both temperature and water levels – have produced and abundance of fish. Fish that bite willingly in December.

In fact, it’s an excellent time to catch trophy-size fish provided you can find them. Since our weather varies greatly this month, the fish may hold anywhere from 3 to 20 feet.

Start your search at creek mouths by fishing cover on the edge of drop-offs. A vertical presentation works best as crappie will hold tight to cover. If the water temperature has dropped below 50 degrees, expect to find the fish holding near the bottom.  Often smaller crappie hold a few feet above the big fish, so fish 4 to 8 feet deeper before moving.

Crappie: Weiss Lake

When the weather turns cold, Weiss Lake offers anglers an opportunity to catch large numbers of crappie weighing 1 to 1¼ pounds from dense schools of fish. The cold concentrates the fish at the warm water discharge pipe on the Chattooga River near State Route 60, and also in the warm spring water flowing into Spring Creek.

At the discharge pipe, the Float-N-Fly technique will quickly find and catch fish. Tie two 1/16-ounce deer-hair jigs on the line about a foot apart. In Spring Creek, slow troll the shallow water near the shoreline with 1/32-ounce jigs.

Book your stay today with Walcox Point and experience the best of Weiss Lake!

To book a day of guided crappie fishing on Weiss, call Pat Trammel.

Blue Catfish: Wilson Lake

Tournament angler and guide Brian Barton rates fishing as good on Wilson Lake for the month of December. He reports anglers can expect to get eight to 10 bites a day from blue catfish ranging in size from 10 to 70 pounds, with an average fish weighing 35 to 40 pounds.

“In December,” Barton said, “catfish hold on ledges that fall into the river channel or the deepest part of the basin. Usually, they hold on the side with the strongest current. The steeper ledges hold the bigger fish.”

To catch fish, Barton trolls downstream at .2 or .4 mph dragging skipjack herring on a Santee rig. On the upper lake, he trolls ledges 25 to 35 feet deep; on the lower lake, he targets ledges 70 to 80 feet deep.

Blue Catfish: Wheeler Lake

Wheeler Lake is one of the best places in the nation to catch a monster blue catfish. Winning tournament angler and catfish guide Jason Bridges biggest fish weighed 105 pounds. And even in the coldest weather, he managed to catch trophies weighing more than 80 pounds.

To catch fish when water temperatures are in the 50s, Bridges drifts skipjack herring through the cats’ deep wintering holes next to the river channel. If water temperatures fall into the 40s, Bridges uses his i-Pilot controlled trolling motor by Minn Kota to remain stationary over the hole.

In winter, he says the best wintering holes are on the lower lake between Decatur and Wheeler Dam.

To book a trip with Captain Bridges, telephone (256) 738-9461.

Striped Bass: Smith Lake

The illegal introduction of blueback herring into Smith Lake has changed the way veteran striper guide Bill Vines finds fish. “Except to spawn,” he said, “bluebacks stay in open water 40 to 60 feet deep. They also like to roam, so side scan sonar is an important tool in locating schools. Sometime you will see stripers, but you will see big balls of baitfish.”

It is illegal to use herring for bait, so the guide uses gizzard shad he catches with a cast net. To cover the water column, Vines fishes with eight baits: four on down rods, two behind planner boards, and two below corks drifting behind his boat.

“The best fishing days are gray and dreary,” said Vines, “and the numbers can be very good because of the schools of stripers. We catch a lot of fish weighing more than 20 pounds and occasionally catch a 30 pounder.”