By Jerry Miller
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Bass fishing is really heating up on power plant lakes. We have four power plant lakes in our area: Martin Creek, Brandy Branch, Lake Fairfield and Striker.
Lake Striker is unpredictable – some days the plant is running, but not on other days. Bass in the hot water area tend to be small, so I very seldom fish this lake in the winter.
I understand that the bass fishing on Lake Fairfield never has recovered from the fish die-off a few years ago, but Martin Creek and Brandy Branch are producing a lot of bass.
If I’m fishing for numbers of bass I go to Martin Creek. Your chances of catching big bass are best on Brandy Branch. Both lakes fish differently.
On Martin Creek you will find a lot of flooded brush in about five feet deep. There are also numerous flooded reed beds.
Last Wednesday I found one place in the hot water discharge area that was loaded with bass. During the morning I caught bass on a KVD square bill crawfish crank bait. This bait runs about 3 to 4 feet deep. I targeted the flat sandy areas mostly. Whenever I wanted to slow down I would switch to a Shakey Head with a Watermelon Candy, Zoom Trick worm. I was using a 1/8 oz. jig head on a spinning reel loaded with 10-pound line.
That afternoon I talked to two other fishermen who were fishing the cut through area that separates the cold water from the hot. These two fishermen had caught 20 bass fishing a chrome/blue back Rattle Trap. They positioned their boat in about 12 feet and cast up to six feet. They kept the bait near the bottom by letting it sink and then pumping and swimming the bait back to the boat. They hadn’t caught any fish on soft plastics.
About 1:00 p.m. I found a spot near the cut through that was loaded with bass. It was near a small point that dropped from 5 to 7 feet just outside the current.
For over an hour I caught bass after bass out of one small area right on the drop off. I believe that a large group of bass had just migrated to this point and were staging up getting ready to move shallow and spawn. I was getting a strike on every cast for about an hour on the Zoom Trick worm.
There were so many bass in this one area I decided to try other baits. I caught bass on a Nichols' 1/2 oz. blue shad spinner bait and a chrome/blue One Knocker lipless bait. I probably caught close to 50 bass that day up to four pounds.
Mike Smith and Frank Lusk fished Brandy Branch on a rainy, heavy overcast day and caught about a 20-pound stringer fishing topwaters early and then switching to a Texas rig, Baby Brush Hog in a Watermelon Candy. They mostly targeted the hot water area fishing coves and points. Smith said, “Whenever we got into water that was 61 degrees or colder the bass shut off.
Fishing power plant lakes is just like fishing other lakes in March. The warm water has the bass going on beds. You can catch a lot of bass up shallow.
Smith also reported talking to another fisherman who targeted the cold water area and fished outside of the timber lines with a jig. He reported catching a 30-pound stringer.
Brandy Branch is definitely the place to go to catch big bass. This lake has hydrilla growing out to 18 feet. The water is very clear. The big bass seem to bite best on an overcast day. On clear sunny days you often have to resort to lighter line to get bit.
In January you can’t beat fishing on a power plant lake where it’s about 70 degrees F at the discharge area. It’s just like spring fishing!
Jerry Miller can be contacted at: email@example.com