Watch the Water Color at Eufaula

Published on 03-19-2024

By Pete Robbins 
Early last year Georgia pro Justin Barnes won the first Bassmaster Open of the season at Lake Eufaula, so he has a special affection for the Lower Alabama lake and would love to be there when the Big Bass Tour hits the water. 
Last year Barnes used deep diving crankbaits for the win. He said that if someone could find an offshore school of pre-spawn bass bunched up, they could weigh more and be more aggressive than fish closer to the bank, but he doesn’t think that’ll be the dominant pattern. Instead, he said that the bass want to be on or near the bank, including the first giants to move up. 
The biggest variable is the water clarity. The lake has been fairly muddy for most of 2024, but it’s starting to clear up in some down lake creeks. Bass are moving there every day to start the spawning ritual. By the time the tournament starts, if it’s clear enough, savvy anglers in polarized glasses can set their sights on their quarry. 
Conversely, if it remains dirty, or at least stained, Barnes would put the trolling motor down, kick it to high, and cover water. 
“I’d use three primary lures,” he said. “Either a bladed jig in Fire Craw or Black and Blue, a Black and blue swim jig, or a spinnerbait.” 
If the was neither muddy nor clear, but somewhere in between, the swim jig would get the primary workout. He likes a white and gold model with a matching white craw. 
“I don’t do the Alabama Shake like a lot of people,” he said. “I fish the swim jig more like a traditional jig, slowly and popping it off sticks and stems. When those big females start to move up, I think you have to give them time to eat it.” 
He figures that some of the best creeks will be Channahatchee and Pataula but stressed that anglers with a history on Eufaula should place heavy emphasis on places where they’ve caught larger-than-average bass in the past at this time of year, even if other areas look every bit as good or better. 
“There are just certain pockets that for some reason are better than others,” he explained. “The big ones tend to reload in there.” 
One other patterns he’d consider is skipping a swimbait under docks. 
“Those big females spawn on the walkways and you can catch some really big fish that way.” 
The tricky part will be figuring out which fish to bring in for hourly and overall prize winning. Since the BBT has started running tournaments at Eufaula, it has never taken less than 7.85 pounds to win. The question is whether someone will top 8, as two anglers did in 2022. It’s not out of the question that someone will catch a double-digit, either. That’s why the live leaderboard is so critical. 
For skipping swimbaits under docks… 
·      Sight Flash or Ghost Morning Dawn 
For burning the bank grass… 
·      Shad or White 
·      Matching Berkley Crash Craw trailer 
For covering water in muddy conditions… 
·      Black and Blue or Fire Craw 
·      Matching Berkley Powerstinger Trailer 
For offshore schooling bass… 
·      Berkley Powerbait Fatty Bottom Hopper on a Shakey Head 
·      Berkley Powerbait Power Lizard on a Carolina Rig