Lake Jocassee’s bass will still be deep for the most part, even in October when temperatures usually begin to fall, according to guide Rob McComas of Mill Spring, N.C.
Nestled in the South Carolina mountains, Lake Jocassee features a relatively small surface area compared to its depth. That allows for slower heating in the spring and slower cooling in the fall.
“Jocassee will actually be a little warmer than some of its neighbors to the south,” said McComas, who follows the advice of long-time pro angler Larry Nixon: “There will always be some bass shallow.”
“I try to focus on those fish that either live shallow, or have crept up in the water column a little ahead of the others in October. It can be a grind, but if you stick with it, you can catch some 31/2- to 6-pound largemouths on topwater baits.”
McComas prefers baits like Spooks and Chug Bugs in clear colors and colors as natural or translucent as possible on wake baits and other lures with similar actions.
“The topwater bite will mostly be largemouths, but sometimes, if its one of those Jocassee days, you may find some aggressive smallies up early running the banks. You can catch some spotted bass with soft plastics on the ends of some deep laydowns or on points. And as usual, its hard to go wrong with watermelon-colored finesse worms, Texas-rigged or on a drop-shot.”
As November approaches, McComas (828-674-5041) said fish will start working their way back into rivers and creeks.
“I’ll usually pick a river, start at the mouth and work to the back. Fish will not usually be at the backs in November, but fish don’t care where I think they should be or what the calendar says, so it never hurts to check,” he said. “If I notice fish at the mouth, half back, or all the way back, I’ll try to copy that in the next river or creek.”
McComas said Jocassee bass can be found working the banks one day and over the river channel the next.
“Drifting live bait in the river channels is a good way to catch the open-water schools, especially the spots. Fish minnows at the depth you mark fish, usually 20 to 40 feet. Laydowns are always good to check. The fish may be more in the trees than off the ends like they are in October. Topwater can still be good, as well as spinnerbaits, swimbaits and crankbaits,” he said.
“Remember, Jocassee can hurt your feelings. It’s a tough lake but has some good rewards in it.”