Check Jordan Lake creeks for bass chasing shad in October

Angler Jonathan Phillips said Jordan Lake bass follow the movements of shad in October, while he follows the movement of bass like this one.

Jordan Lake bass get active as water cools in October

With October comes the first real cool weather around North Carolina’s Jordan Lake, causing bass and fishermen to feel a little more frisky. It will also cause shad to clamor into the creeks with the largemouths in hot pursuit. Local angler Jonathan Phillips of Pittsboro, N.C., will be there with a box full of his favorite baits to put them in the boat. 

“In early October, I’ll start in the first third of the creeks to about halfway,” said Phillips. “By the end of October, they could be all the way to the back in the dirt. I like to target shallow rock, shallow wood and grass. I’m looking for bass in the 1- to 5-foot range. The fish will be moving around a lot. So you have to cover water with a good search bait. Targeting riprap with a Chatterbait or a spinnerbait is a good way to start in the morning, because the rocks will still be warm when the night air is cool.”

Topwater lures are very effective this month

Phillips prefers the creeks in Jordan’s river section because the fish are concentrated in a smaller area and able to change depth more quickly as weather changes approach. Short pockets and secondary points featuring the necessary cover are especially productive. Phillips uses spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits in white or shad colors to work these banks. If they fail to produce, he’ll switch to a shallow-running square-bill crankbait — size 1.5 to 2.5 — in a shad pattern.  What he really loves is a buzzbait bite.

“A lot of people consider Halloween week to be national buzzbait week,” Phillips said.  “I use a True South V-Twin buzzbait in white and throw it on 20-pound mono. It’s a great search bait. I like a gold blade or a silver blade with a soft-plastic trailer. Sometimes I fish it naked with a Horny Toad trailer to keep the bait up.  They will bite other topwater baits that time of year. Pop-Rs, Sammys and Spooks can all be effective.”

According to Phillips, the biggest challenge in October is the ever-changing pattern. The shad move, the bass move. Fish must be found anew every day. And that’s under normal conditions. High water will send bass scrambling into the flooded willow bushes that ring the creeks, while extremely low water — more than a foot or two below the normal pool level — will make standing timber in the 6-foot range the go-to place to throw a Timber Tiger crankbait. ■

About Dusty Wilson 274 Articles
Dusty Wilson of Raleigh, N.C., is a lifelong outdoorsman. He is the manager of Tarheel Nursery in Angier and can be followed on his blog at

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