Niovember is one of the best months to target spotted bass and also catch some largemouths in Lake Hartwell, according to bass pro Brandon Cobb of Greenwood, S.C.
“November can be thought of as the transition period from fall to winter patterns on Lake Hartwell,” said Cobb who fished Hartwell plenty as a member of Clemson’s bass-fishing team before joining the FLW Tour. “Because the fish are in transition, there are many different ways to target them, and the tactics are different from targeting spotted bass to targeting largemouth bass.”
The cooler temperatures and shorter days cause spotted bass to move out to deeper structure where they will spend the winter, he said.
“The great thing about the fish moving out with the cooler temperatures is that the fish are starting to position on deep structure, but the water temperature is still usually in the high 50s to low 60s. This warmer water temperature makes the fish bite better than later in the winter,” Cobb said.
“The key to finding the schools of deep spotted bass is bait. The larger spots tend to school up in areas with herring rather than shad. There is no exact science to patterning the herring, but the schools of spots can usually be found in 25 to 35 feet of water.”
Cobb said he uses his electronics to locate areas holding both baitfish and bass. Because the bass usually sit on or near the bottom around the standing timber, he follows the timber lines on long points and humps near the main river channel.
“Bait selection is pretty simple when targeting deep spotted bass. I use a drop-shot with a Zoom Original worm and a Greenfish Tackle football jig. These two baits can be dropped vertically when you see fish on the electronics or cast along the timber lines,” he said.
“If I locate a school of fish, I will use a 1-ounce jigging spoon to drop down to the fish more quickly. There are usually multiple fish together, so there can be some hot action once one bites.”
Targeting largemouth bass in November can also be productive, Cobb said.
“Largemouths tend to follow the schools of threadfin shad back into the creeks. Some largemouths will stay on the main lake, but a large population will move into the creeks,” he said. “I work my way into the creeks looking for shad activity. The hot areas should have visible balls of shad or surface feeding activity. Covering water is key to find fish feeding on threadfins.”
Cobb said reaction baits are the most productive baits to locate largemouth.
“Once an area with bait with bait is found, I use two search lures to find the bass. My favorite is a 9/16-ounce YoZuri Rattl’n Vibe in a shad pattern. This bait is great for covering water because it can be used in any depth by varying the speed of the retrieve. I also like to throw a 3/8-ounce double-willow spinnerbait around docks, wood, and any type of cover