There aren’t a multitude of homes surrounding the lake where the seepage from septic lines could add nutrients to the lake.
There is also very little runoff from the well-manicured lawns of homes, a process that fertilizes many other lakes in the state.
Philip Junkins’ home is less than a two-minute drive from his neighborhood boat ramp on Lake Tuscaloosa.
During that drive, he was already apologizing for a fishing trip that hadn’t even taken place yet.
Another factor that makes Lake Tuscaloosa tough is the fact that unlike most Alabama lakes that anglers are accustomed to fishing, Lake Tuscaloosa has no current.
There also are few farms in the watershed that provide nutrient-rich runoff to the lake, Junkins said.
“I tournament fish a lot of places, and I’ll tell you up front that Lake Tuscaloosa is the toughest place in Alabama to bass fish,” Philip said.
“If you don’t know how to finesse fish, there’s no need to even come here.” The surest method of catching bass on the lake is to be on the water at daybreak and work topwater lures as long as you can while the bite lasts, Junkins says.
The grass isn’t too thick to throw into, and Junkins works topwater plugs in that grass and on the edges of the grass.
As the sun begins to rise, one side of the lake will begin to get sun while the other will stay shady longer.
The lake has gin-clear water on the lower end with visibility sometimes nearing 20 feet deep near the dam.
The upper end of the lake, where most anglers fish in the Binion Creek and Turkey Creek areas, has only slightly better stain.
“That’s the kind of fish you hope to catch in a tournament here.