In the early years of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), Lake Eufaula was the “Bass Fishing Capital of the World.” It was here that Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame inductee Tom Mann invented the Mann’s Little George tailspinner and the Jelly Worm.
In 1968, the year B.A.S.S. was founded by Ray Scott, John Powell won the first B.A.S.S. tournament ever held here, the Eufaula National. There has never been a Bassmaster Elite Series event at Eufaula, but it has hosted 16 B.A.S.S. tournaments and is the sixth most-visited venue in B.A.S.S. history.
Alabama and Georgia share this storied 45,181-acre Chattahoochee River reservoir. Electrofishing samples in 2012 revealed that Eufaula’s largemouth are bigger and healthier than they were the year before. This is likely due to an increase in the threadfin shad population.
Heavy rainfall this spring bodes well for shallow fishing. Eufaula has been below normal pool for nearly two years. The low water decimated the lake’s aquatic vegetation, but it allowed new plant growth on the exposed bottom near shorelines and islands. A rising lake level has flooded this growth, and the bass have swarmed into it.
The spawn is nearly over at Eufaula. However, it isn’t too late to take advantage of this shallow fishing opportunity, points out Elite Series pro Steve Kennedy of Alabama.
“Eufaula’s bass are in the early postspawn phase the first part of May,” Kennedy says. “There will still be plenty of them in the flooded hay grass that grew up when the lake was down.”
Grass near or on the main lake should be more productive, especially grass in which shad are spawning early in the morning. Other key shad-spawning areas are the rocky banks along Eufaula’s two bridge causeways.
“The hay grass comes up to the top and lays over,” Kennedy points out. “You can have a big time running a buzzbait over it.”
Kennedy rouses explosive daybreak strikes with a homemade 1/2-ounce buzzbait sporting a large blade and a chartreuse-and-white skirt. He slings the buzzbait with a 7 1/2-foot heavy action Kistler baitcasting rod and 20-pound fluorocarbon line.
Kennedy wields the same rod to retrieve 6-inch swimbaits through lanes in the grass and along grass edges and points. He is known for his ability to hammer heavyweight largemouth with a big swimbait.
A 1/2-ounce chartreuse spinnerbait with a single No. 4 gold willowleaf blade also dupes bass for Kennedy while the shad are spawning.
“I cast the spinnerbait right on top of the grass,” Kennedy says. “Then I drag it over the grass and let it drop off the edge.”