Lake Eufaula Preview with Steve Graziano
By Jason Duran
The Alabama Bass Trail South Division heads to Lake Eufaula for stop number three of five. This is the event where teams began to focus on the points race for this season. Teams are working hard to make the top 9 to qualify for the BASS Team Championship. Teams finishing in the top 75 will qualify to fish the ABT Championship at Weiss Lake in October. With this being the middle of the season, many teams will be working hard in this event with the hope of a good finish to move to the top of the leaderboard.
Lake Eufaula is located in on the boarder of Alabama and Georgia along the Chattahoochee River. The 45,181 acre reservoir is located in Barbour County and is known as the Big Bass Capital of the world. The name Eufaula is an Indian word meaning high cliff. The area was once settled by the Creek Indians along with the Cherokee Indians to the south, so many of the creek names have Indian names.
This week we caught up with Steve Graziano, known as “Graz.” He fishes the South Division with his partner, David Parsons. Graz is a guide on Lake Eufaula leading many guide trips throughout the year. Teams also know one of his favorite fishing spots as “The Graz Hole.”
Teams have been reporting their practice has been tough this week. The water level is down about two and a half feet. Graz shared that the “lake is in a post spawn pattern.” The bass have already done their thing with about “90% of them having already spawned out.” When asked how teams might find success this week he shared “in the mornings there is still a shad spawn going on, and teams that can locate those areas could do well to catch a limit quick. Teams then could look to upgrade that limit later by catching fish out deeper. The shallow bite is normally good this time of year however, with the lake level down, currently the grass is up high out of the water. Normally it is right at the water line. Teams will have to move out to find grass in deeper water on the humps to actually find grass that is more fishable. Teams need to focus on water between 1-15 feet. If you’re fishing deeper than that, I think you’re wasting your time. But I’m not going to say that somebody couldn’t go south and maybe there’s a deeper bite. I just haven’t spent much time fishing down there lately.”
Graz feels like it will be tough to narrow down three key baits that teams might find productive this weekend. “Teams can start out in the morning fishing shallow using something moving like a spinner bait, a trap, or a square bill. Then they may move out deeper where they must find ways to slow down. Those teams will be targeting suspended fish, and good baits for that are the Carolina Rig and the drop shot. There are many baits that will be productive in different areas of the lake, but the key for all teams will be timing. Teams that pull up on a spot at the right time will find it to be very productive, but if they are at the wrong time, they will find it very hard to catch fish.”
Graz predicted the winning weight for this event to be around 20-pounds and said there might not be many teams in that 20-pound range, but the ABT guys always seem to find a way to figure them out even when the fishing is difficult. He also shared that to get a check it will take around 14-pounds.
The Launch & Weigh In will be held April 29, 2023 Lakepoint State Park 104 Lakepoint Drive Eufaula, AL 36027 Launch will be at safe day light. All friends and family are welcome to attend this event, bring lawn chairs and see some of the best bass teams in the country cross the stage. Everyone can watch the live weigh-in and over 4 hours of on-the-water live coverage on the ABT Facebook page, YouTube and the ABT website.
The sponsors of the 2023 Alabama Bass Trail include: Phoenix Boats, Academy Sports, Alabama Power, America’s First Federal Credit Union, American Trailer Rental Group, BAJIO, Big Bite Baits, Bill Penney Automotive, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Anheuser – Bush, Inc., E3 Sports Apparel, Fish Neely Henry Lake.com, Garmin, Jack’s, Lew’s, Mountain Dew, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, Power-Pole, Strike King, Sweet Home Alabama, T-H Marine, Yamaha, YETI Coolers.