Baty Says Go Shallow for Giants at Eufaula
Published on 03-23-2023
By Pete Robbins
Lake Eufaula is a relative newcomer to the Big Bass Tour schedule, but it has quickly become one of our most popular venues – no doubt in part because this historic fishery may have more 4- to 6-pound bass than all but a few other lakes in the country. Local tournament pro Matt Baty fishes Eufaula frequently and believes that the best is yet to come.
“We’ve had some cold weather lately,” he said. “But I see some 87 degree temperatures in the forecast. Those fish want to be up shallow and spawning. If I truly was just focused on one big bass, I would be going shallow. I know that a lot of big fish have been caught out deep, but that’s changing very quickly.”
He said that one nice thing about this tournament is that the lake is “pretty wide open” in terms of where the biggest fish live. “The south end can be hot this time of year if it comes up at all from the rain, but north of the causeway can be especially good.” Much of the water is still clear enough to sight fish, but he’d aim to deliberately cover water – putting on a search bait and then slowing down when he got a few of the right caliber bites.
“I’d tie on a Berkley Swim Jig in a color that mimics a shad, probably something white with just a bit of chartreuse, and then a Berkley Shape 108 on the back of it,” he said. “A spinnerbait in a similar color should work well, too.” He’d focus on Eufaula’s plentiful gator grass, where not only the bass spawn, but also the shad do, too. He saw some shad spawning recently and expects that pattern to continue to expand over the next month. “I also like a white popping frog in those same areas for a big bite.” He’d milk the areas where he caught the most and the best quality fish, but wouldn’t hesitate to pick up stakes if it wasn’t firing on all cylinders.
While sight fishing may produce a true giant, so too could punching mats up the river. Baty noted that much of the best grass has been sprayed lately, but if you can find verdant, healthy greenery he’d suggest dropping the same Shape 108 he uses on the back of his jig through the grass behind a big chunk of tungsten. “There’s something about that bigger crawfish that produces quality bites. It just has a lot of action.” He’d also consider a big swimbait if he was truly committed to a handful of exceptional bites. He noted that the new Berkley Cull Shad “is so hard to find that it’s like gold right now,” but if you have to substitute something else that’s ok. Fish it around dock lines, gluing that rod in your hand from start to finish.
While we have limited results upon which to base predictions, don’t expect to compete for the overall big fish with anything under 8 pounds. In 2021, the Big Bass Tour was won with a 7.85 pound giant, but last year that mark was easily eclipsed by an 8.97 and an 8.89. The real competition is also for the hourly checks – as noted above, judicious use of 4- and 5-pounders is necessary to maximize profit. Stay tuned to the live leaderboard.
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