Lake Oconee Breeze

Outdoors

May 17, 2012

Fish in Alabama also confused

LAKE OCONEE — This past week, I ventured back to my hometown in south Alabama to do some bream fishing with my youngest brother Terry. With the May full moon on May 6, we were anticipating that the bream would be bedding in shallow water but that was not to be the case.

We went over to Leon Brooks Hines Lake located near the town of Brewton, Alabama. That Alabama State Fishing Lake totals 184 acres and is loaded with big bream. The lake has a reputation for yielding catches of two pound bream and huge shellcracker.

When we left Terry’s home for the short drive to the lake, the weather was anything but encouraging. Thunderstorms were predicted but as it turned out not a drop of rain fell until we finished fishing and had the boat out of the water and headed home.

The thunderstorms in the area actually were a blessing as they cooled the 90 degree hot weather to bearable conditions. The breeze is what actually helped as the bite improved greatly when the wind would blow.

As I stated earlier, we were expecting the bream to be bedding in shallow water but the fish in Alabama have been just as confused as the fish in Georgia due to the weird weather we have experienced this spring.

We began our fishing day around 9:00 a.m. searching for the bream beds and occasionally casting to likely targets for largemouth bass and except for occasionally catching a largemouth bass, the first two hours were unproductive.

Terry fishes for bream a lot and I knew he would finally figure the rascals out and sure enough he moved his boat to deeper water and there were the fish. Not in 2-4 foot of water where they should have been but in 8-12 foot of water.

Nobody else on the lake was fishing in deeper water and consequently none of those anglers were able to catch any fish. Anglers are required to check out after fishing and the manager of the lake weighs all the fish when anglers leave the lake. When we left around 3:30 p.m., we were the only anglers to weigh any fish and only one other boat remained out on the lake.

We ended up with a limit of bream by 3:00 p.m. and those forty bream weighed over forty pounds. Catching forty bream averaging one pound each turned out to be an excellent day of bream fishing.

We didn’t catch any of the two pound bream that the lake is noted for but believe me, a one pound bream can bend your pole and those bream certainly provided some serious fun for me who normally fishes almost exclusively for largemouth bass.

Public fishing lakes like Leon Brooks Hines Lake in Alabama usually offer better bream fishing than do larger reservoirs. The state of Georgia has ten Public Fishing Areas (PFAs) and many have lakes that offer good bream fishing. Those PFA lakes in Georgia are scattered around the state and unfortunately most are not near our local area. The closest lakes are the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center PFA in Jasper County and Newton County and McDuffie PFA in McDuffie County.

There are restrictions on boats in many of the Georgia PFAs and most only allow the use of trolling motors. To see all the fishing opportunities at Georgia PFAs pick up a copy of the 2012 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations that are available at most bait and tackle shops.

It is always a pleasurable experience to go back to the area where I grew up. Besides fishing with my younger brother it provides an opportunity to visit with my one other relative still living in the area. I also take a drive by old home places, the schools I attended and the countryside where I hunted and fished as a young boy.

The final visit is to the family cemetery at Chapel Hill Baptist Church where most of my family and other relatives are buried. So many great memories race through my mind each time I am able to return to my little hometown. Thanks for letting me share my story. Good fishing and see you next week.

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