Maynor Creek Reservoir near Waynesboro isn’t a well-known lake, although it’s an old one that was known as a big-bass lake about 20 years ago.
However, all the underwater cover in the lake was killed off, and there were some dam problems. Over the past four or five years, the state drew this Pat Harrison lake down to repair the dam.
I don’t think it got the funding it needed to keep it up to continue to produce big bass. The draw-down shrank the number of fish and fishermen, and appeared to be a bad thing for the lake.
But what happened during the drawdown is the reason I’m picking this lake to fish in November. The drawdown exposed the bottom, and the rich dirt that once was mud created an excellent seeding site for new trees and bushes. Many willow trees sprouted, and willow bushes appeared.
Once the water level was brought back to normal, this new bottom, with all its trees and bushes, put a pretty fishing face on for anglers to enjoy.
Maynor became ideal habitat for shad, bream and bass. As the bass spawned in this new habitat, forage fish like shad and bluegills also reproduced and provided food for the young bass.
Today, Maynor is on a comeback. In November, fishing can be great there — and you might catch a 10-pound bass.
In a day’s fishing, you’ll catch some good-quality bass.
Try this first plan of attack
I want to be on Maynor Creek Reservoir and ready to fish just before the sun comes up.
Fish use a causeway bridge at the upper end of the lake and some riprap along the causeway as feeding areas because baitfish moving from one end of the lake to the other must pass through the narrow channel created by the causeway.
The sun heats up the riprap, shad and bluegills come to the rocks to feed, and the bass follow the shad and bluegills.
I’ll start by fishing the Mann’s Three-For-All that’s three small swimbaits on one rig with the jighead on the middle plastic. Only the center body contains a hook.
I like jigs with blue backs, clear bellies and blue-and-black flakes in them — basically a shad color.
When a bass spots what looks like a small school of baitfish, it will open its mouth to inhale all three lures at once. You might get a few short strikes from bass that only hit the swimbait on the top or the bottom, but most of the time bass will try to eat all three together.
I’ll set the hook as soon as I feel the strike. This bait tends to catch fairly big bass.
The best way to fish the Three-For-All is with a 3/8-ounce jig, mainly at the corners where the riprap starts and ends on each side of the bank and about 25 or 30 yards down the sides of the riprap on both banks. Cast the lure as close as you can to the rocks and start a steady retrieve.
The Three-For-All will sink slowly. I want to retrieve this rig so the three baits actually are moving and staying no deeper than 3 feet from the surface.
I’ll be using 15-pound-test Berkley 100-percent Fluorocarbon line with a 7.3:1 Pinnacle reel and a 7-foot medium-heavy Seeker graphite rod.
This pattern should produce bass from just before until a few hours after daylight.
Buzz ’em up
Most of the willow trees that have grown up after the dam has been repaired will be on the west bank. That’s where I’ll go next, still throwing the Three-For-All and also a ¼-ounce buzzbait by the bushes.
On cloudy and overcast days, I’ll use a black buzzbait. On bright days, I’ll use the white buzzbait.
I’ll fish the buzzbait closer to the cover than I have the Three-For-All. I’ll let the lure kick off the trunks and limbs of the willows, and run it right into the cover.
Because Maynor Creek Reservoir isn’t a really big lake, in a day of fishing, you probably can cover one side of the lake before dark.
Many people don’t know that buzzbait blades are cupped to make the bait run to one side. Since I want it to bounce off the trees and bushes, I tie a left-handed and a right-handed buzzbait on two rods. Then I can fish both sides of a willow tree or bush, and have my bait crash into the tree trunk or limbs without any extra effort.
When I’m fishing buzzbaits, I use a 6-foot-9-inch medium-heavy Seeker fiberglass spinnerbait rod, 17-pound-test Berkley 100-percent Fluorocarbon line and a 7.3:1 Pinnacle reel.
The bass will tell you whether they want a fast or a slow retrieve. If you’re not catching bass, either slow the retrieve down or speed it up. But most of the time I use a slow retrieve with the buzzbait right on top, making a gurgling noise.
Fish the Stone Jig
At this time of the year, I also fish a blue-and-black Mann’s ½-ounce Stone Jig with a black-and-blue Craw Worm on the back, using 40-pound-test Trilene braided line and a 6.4:1 Pinnacle reel.
I pitch that jib right up in the willows with a Seeker graphite flipping rod, and let it fall. I also pitch it in the trunks of willow trees.
Using these three tactics, I should be able to catch 15 to 20 bass weighing 1 ½ to 3 pounds each. But I won’t be surprised to catch one 5 pounds or better.
I think weather in November dictates the size and number of bass you’ll catch. My favorite November day to fish is a cloudy day just before a front.