Big Bass Tour – Berkley Lake Breakdown – Eufaula

Eufaula Promises to be a Shallow Water Big Fish Battle

By Pete Robbins

Last year the Big Bass Tour made its inaugural visit to world-famous Lake Eufaula in southern Alabama and the lake did not disappoint. During an early March weekend, contestants weighed in four bass over 7 pounds, including a 7.85 pound bruiser, but that doesn’t tell the full tale of the tape. The real story is that it rarely took less than a “heavy five” to win an hourly prize. This storied venue has tons of rock-solid 4- to 6-pound largemouth bass, and they range up into the double digits if you hit it right.

This year’s field should truly hit it right, said top local stick Matt Baty. With the tournament almost exactly a month later this time around – April 1st through 3rd – contestants shouldn’t expect an “April Fools,” but rather an opportunity to show off their shallow water expertise.

“April is just about always a really good month,” Baty said. “That’s when most of the spawn happens. We’ve had some recent rain, so the elevation is high, and at this time of year that almost always means your best bet is to be looking at the bank in less than 2 feet of water.”

The whole lake has the potential to produce a giants, but Baty would focus from “Sandy Branch south on the Georgia side.” He’d likely concentrate on cypress trees and the backs of pockets, looking for places where the biggest fish stage before the spawn and then rush up to do their business. An angler who wants to cover ground could do so with a spinnerbait or a vibrating jig, but he’d prefer to slow down. “I’d almost certainly throw a Berkley MaxScent The General, with a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce weight. It would probably be either junebug or black and blue, and I’d pitch it behind the trees.”

With many trees to choose from, how would he know which ones to hit?

“Any of them can be good,” he said cagily, “But I tend to like the ones with grass in front of them. They get behind the grass and I kind of believe not as many people take the time to go back there.”

In addition to the spinnerbait and vibrating jig, he’d likely add a Berkley Fusion Swim Jig to his arsenal, once again black and blue, with a matching trailer – either a Chigger Craw or the newer Rocket Craw.

For anglers who want to chase a different bite, Baty reminds them that not all of the fish spawn at the same time. Even if the lion’s share have moved shallow, there will likely still be a handful of big prespawn sows holding in offshore brushpiles. He’d fish for the with a 1 ounce spinnerbait, or by slowly dragging a 10-inch Berkley Power Wormbehind a ½ ounce weight through the available cover. It might not be a numbers game, but those extra ounces the big girls are carrying could make a huge difference in a tournament that promises to be as tightly contested as this one.