Reliable Lake Jordan

David Hunter Jones
Elite Series pro Davy Hite near Lake Jordan's Mitchell Dam during a 2011 tournament.

Lake Jordan has been one of Alabama’s most reliable bass fisheries since the 1980s. Situated on the Coosa River 25 miles north of Montgomery, this fertile 6,800-acre reservoir maintains healthy populations of largemouth and spotted bass.

Impounded in 1928 by the Alabama Power Company, Jordan was expanded in 1967 by the Bouldin Dam, which filled an adjacent basin with water. A short canal connects the two areas.

Alabama Bassmaster Elite Series pro Greg Vinson lives about 20 minutes from Jordan. He visits it throughout the year at every opportunity.

“I started fishing Jordan around 1997 when I went to college at Auburn University at Montgomery,” Vinson says.

Before becoming an Elite pro, Vinson won enough cash fishing tournaments at Jordan to finance his venture into Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open and B.A.S.S. Nation events.

“Jordan is part of the reason I’ve been able to become a professional angler,” Vinson says. “It offers bass fishermen a lot of diversity. Fishing at Jordan helps me refine techniques for Elite tournaments at other lakes.”

Vinson points out that Jordan’s bass get more active when the water temperature cools in October. He claims that 3-pound largemouth and spotted bass are plentiful, and that spotted bass weighing 4 and 5 pounds and largemouth of 5 to 6 pounds are not uncommon in October.

“It’s amazing how many bass are in the lake, given the amount of fishing pressure it gets,” Vinson says.

Water willows

If you favor largemouth bass, Vinson strongly recommends that you venture to Weoka Mill and Softkahatchee (Swayback) creeks and Blackwell slough. That’s where you’ll find the emergent aquatic vegetation water willow, which grows from the bank out to a depth of 4 feet or so.

“Swimming a jig in the water willows is hard to beat,” Vinson says.

A white Netbait 3/16-ounce Paca Swim Jig dressed with a white Netbait Kickin' B Chunk is Vinson’s go-to swimming jig combo. He fishes it with 50-pound Seaguar Kanzen braid so he can horse heavy bass out of the stubborn water willow stems.

A fast retrieve usually sparks the most strikes for Vinson, although there are times when he must slow down a bit or kill the jig when it comes off the edge of the grass.

“I experiment to find the fastest retrieve I can get away with so I can cover more water,” Vinson says. “There are times when you can’t burn the jig too fast to take it away from them.”

Other productive water willow tactics include working a weedless frog over it, punching a heavy Texas rigged bait through the thicker patches and running a spinnerbait along the edges of the grass.