Shad were spawning on the grass in the morning, and the angler picked them off with a white 4x4 swim jig dressed with a white craw and a Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog.
Seminole’s Flint River arm offers another option – shoal bass. They don’t get as heavy as Seminole’s largemouth, but 4- and 5-pound shoal bass are not uncommon. Early spring tournaments have been won at Seminole with shoal bass.
The Elite Series tournament takes off from Bainbridge, Ga., on the Flint River. Most of the pros will jet south to the main lake and beyond. Any pros that head north for shoal bass will have little competition.
“I filmed a TV show a few years ago up the Flint River,” Grigsby says. “It’s beautiful up there, and the fishing is good. You have to be careful, though. There are plenty of rocky shoals that could take out a lower unit.”
Few spotted bass swim in Seminole, so they won’t be a factor, explains John Kilpatrick, a biologist with the Wildlife Resources Division of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources.
Southern Georgia lies in the southern range of the northern largemouth and the northern range of the Florida largemouth. Kilpatrick refers to this as an “intergrade region.”
The result of this overlap is that Seminole has naturally occurring hybrid largemouth bass. According to Kilpatrick, the bass are plump and ready for the picking.
“The bass have done quite well over the past decade,” Kilpatrick says. “They’re in good condition, and tournament weights have been increasing.”
As for aquatic vegetation, Kilpatrick says that Seminole, “has everything, and I mean everything.”
Hydrilla is the predominant vegetation, and it sometimes covers 70 to 80 percent of the Spring Creek arm. Spring Creek is one of the backwater areas that offers prime largemouth spawning habitat.
Given Seminole’s bass habitat, the season and the many fishing patterns that should produce during the Elite tournament, 20-pound limits will be common, believes Grigsby.
“It should take 36 to 38 pounds to make the top 50 cut and it wouldn’t surprise me if it takes over 40 pounds,” Grigsby says. “The winning stringer may top the century mark.”