Another Back to Back Bite

Reliving five years passed today on the Chattahoochee river just north of Don Carter park where Bob & I came in 1st place in the October 2016 Oakwood Striper Club tournament. We were loaded with bait today farring the cold temperatures & wind conditions. Rainbow Trout, Gizzard Shad and Blueback Herring were our baits of choice. The air temperature was 52° when we launched and the water temperature was 61°. We covered our favorite hole but there were no takers. We kept heading north to an area of the river that we usually just passed by. With some 20mph gusty winds at .7mph the first planer board went under over a 15′ bottom. No sooner did we get the Striper into the boat the second planer board went down. Bob had to keep stepping over the previous Striper caught just to keep tension on the 2nd Striper. At first Bob thought the Striper got off but it didn’t as it was swimming toward the boat. Shortly after Bob began to feel the pull with the line buzzing from the reel as the Striper tried to get away to no avail of course.

The Method remains the same

Another last minute fishing trip with impending rains coming to our GPS. We fished for only two hours but I followed my logs from 2018 & 2019 using the same method to catch Striper. Same everything from water temperature at 81° to overcast skies. The Method was Lead Core Trolling in the Two Mile chute heading south from Vanns Tavern to the Two Mile ramp. The first rod had a 2oz white Capt Macks bucktail jig with a 6″ Limeaid trailer out 7 colors. First fish in was 26″ long at 7 lbs. Willie battled this fish on his first catch with Lead Core line not believing that the huge size of the bait would catch anything.

The second rod had a 3oz chartreuse & white bucktail jig with a 6″ glow paddle tail out 8 colors. Our target depths were 28′ & 32′ respectively. The second rod bent down but did not engage the clicker. Willie thought that fish got off but it was swimming in the direction that Willie was retrieving it. Then the clicker started screaming off line as Willie felt the pull of the Striper trying to get away. Willie got it to the boat and Michael did a great net job getting the fish into the boat. This one was a little smaller at 25″ and 5lbs.

Lessons learned:

When a fish is swimming towards you and you cannot feel it, it’s still hooked so don’t stop reeling.

When a Striper hits you must stop the boat and the other person must reel in as fast as he can so that line doesn’t get hung on something.

How to tie the amazing Willis Knot and in rough water. This knot is small enough to go through the line guide of the reel without using a swivel.

The value of using a heavier test lead core line saving it from hangups. 36lb

Another great day on the water with friends.

Spaghetti on the 4th of July

I know it was insane to go fishing on a holiday weekend but my crew was anxious to get on the water. We started at Vanns Tavern prepping our rods for Downline fishing with Blueback Herring. We had a couple dozen in the bait tank ready to be deployed. We decided to head into Two Mile creek staying in at least 40′ of water. We only saw one other boat around 7:30. It looked like a guide trip. They too were searching. While explaining a few key points about how to keep the boat in the center of the creek by following the pointer on the GPS, I handed to trolling motor remote to Willie so that he could keep us straight while searching for fish on the sonar. Willie was new to a Sonar screen so he was asking questions about some of the marks on the screen. After a brief explanation I noticed that the GPS screen was showing that we were in twenty feet of water which is where we didn’t want to be. As we were moving back to our target depth of at least 40′ we came up on spaghetti. There were fish abounding everywhere but only from 12′ to 18′ deep.

We immediately put the trolling motor on Anchor and deployed four Downlines. Within seconds our rod tips were dipping down and it was FISH ON.

Willie & Michael not being used to live bait fishing were lifting the rods out of the holders without at least cranking the reel a couple of times to get the slack out. As a result we did not boat many fish but they did finally catch more by remembering to crank those reels. We stayed anchored at that location catching, boating and losing several large spotted bass and some huge catfish. A fun time to be remembered. Knowing your target, bait tank care, how to use your tools including line counter reels, how to net a fish, and reading your sonar are some of the things you have to consider to have a successful and fun time fishing. Well around 10am they found out why you shouldn’t fish on a holiday weekend because the pontoon boats, jet skis, cigarette boats and other boats were coming at us from all directions and not slowing down. Downline fishing at that point was over. Still a great time with some great guys. Already planning our next trip. Good job fellas.

Too tired to bring IN another Trout

Say Don & Mike. Today was the monthly Trout stocking at the one lane bridge across the Chestatee river just east of Dahlonega.

We got there at noon hoping that the stocking had already taken place. No dice. We flipped out crickets & Panther Martins for about 30 minutes. No takers. We decided to head to Dick’s creek where they stock there weekly on Friday mornings. I guess not since I only caught one small rainbow. Well it was time to call the trip over but we had to go very near where we started out the day as it was on the way home. So it was back to the one lane bridge. As we walked across the bridge we could see numerous Trout in the rapids and cascades. Apparently the stocking truck came while we were gone. In a manner of minutes it was Fishes On.

The Trout were slamming our Panther Martins and within minutes I limited out. Mike & Don weren’t far behind. It was time for me to head to the truck leaving Mike & Don to get their limits too. Before I left Don brought in a nice Trout but it got off by spitting out the treble hook. Amazing. As I was trying to get his Trout onto the stringer I bent over to grab it out of the ground and did a swan dive into the river. Fortunately I learned many years ago to always bring an extra set of clothes just in case. After a short while I drove back across the bridge to grab up Mike & Don. They should have limited out by now. When I yelled down to them to see if they got their limit Don yelled back that he was too tired to bring in another Trout.

We ended up with 21 Trout after losing numerous fish for one reason or another.

The water snakes should be out in the next week or so meaning Trout fishing in North Georgia was over until next year.

IT’S Never Too Late for Stripers

While it’s preferred to get on the water before the sun tops the treeline we still managed to get a good fish into the boat this morning. The day started out a little cooler than what was predicted for the beginning of May when we launched the boat so I’m glad I brought a coat just in case. Air temp was 57° & breezy. We launched at Don Carter park for fishing “up river“. Being Dr Pete’s first trip out without a guide I had him setting out all the rods with bait and boards while I guided the boat. I think we had three rods in the water pulling boards with still several more to go when it was Fish On. The strike took the planer board under the water screaming off the drag as the fish took the bait. It put up a really nice fight. At one time Dr Pete said “I think the fish got off”. The reason he thought this was that he didn’t feel the pull any more but I told him that it was just swimming toward the boat. I had him reel extra fast to get the slack out of the line and then he starting feeling the pull again. I extended the net handle so we could quickly bring in the Striper before it had a chance to get away.

The water temp was 68°. The bait was a blueback herring with a Chaser #4 Kahle Octopus hook on a planer board 25′ out. The Striper was 24″ long but very girthy and it weighed right at 5 lbs. Thanks Dr Pete for another great memory.

First Cast – Not ready?

How many times has this happened to you? Prepared to go fishing, have all the necessary equipment and bait or lures, travel to honey hole and fling out into the water to be hit by surprise and miss that first strike. Well I think you can never be ready, ready. Don, Mike and I decided to set out on a spur of the moment trip to the closest river just below the mountains of north Georgia only 45 minutes away. We left at 3pm arriving at the Chestatee river at 3:45. We had the place all to ourselves. We parked, grabbed our fishing poles and walked across the one lane bridge to the small cut of a steep trail that led us down to the river edge about 20 feet. I had Mike go downstream a little ways as he was younger and more agile to handle the rough edges of the river rocks. This would give us a small separation when all three of us starting casting. With crickets on the line with about 4 small bb weights I casted into the fast moving current straight across from us. As soon as the cricket touched the water it was Fish On but it took me by surprise and I missed the hit losing the bait. But I knew then that fishing would be good. Apparently the DNR did stock trout here either yesterday or this morning. Don & I fished side by side bringing in fish after fish. I decided to switch tactics and use a Panther Martin. Knowing from experience just the right place to cast it downstream to a fast moving pool right before the cascade I got my next fish in. It was a little bigger than the others. Don also decided to switch and caught the rest of his limit. I think he had a good time. Well we limited out in an hour and a half here. My record is in an hour but what fun and excitement we had with those fish jumping out of the water or dancing on the surface. Between Don, Mike and I we probably lost 20 fish for whatever reason but we still managed to keep 18 Trout. Thanks Don & Mike for believing in me.

THE SIESTA STRIPER

Usually after a morning workout doing yard maintenance or some other physical activity by lunch time it’s nap time. Dozing off for a few hours rejunvenates the body and mind. Well today around 12:30pm I was about to lay down for a nap and my sister Lynn calls me and says she’s at the Mountain View ramp which is literally five minutes from my house. So fish now nap later. I met her around 1pm. She had actually started earlier this morning but the fog was so dense she didn’t go much faster than 1 1/2 mph. When I got on the boat we headed out to the channel and discussed going to Thompson Cr. up the Tee. There were so many boats and seados out there it was like grand central station. Everyone was out on the water. After passing Browns Bridge we gunned it to the Ground Hog cutting through to the Chestatee at the south cut. As we approached the 53 bridge we noticed several striper boats with planer boards and Downlines out. We slowed and steered away so as not to crowd them. We recognized Clay on a trip and Derrick with another angler. We decided to put some lines out right away. We had a little difficulty with interference on the sonar but we put out a small spread consisting of Downlines, free lines and planer boards. Within just a few minutes our starboard planer board started ripping out line. It was Fish On. So in less than an hour on the water we had a 20 1/2″ Striper in the boat.

This sure beats my nap. We had a little oxygen issue finding the tubing going to the bait tank a little crushed. This explained why our bait was dying. There was also an injured gizzard shad in the tank that got hit earlier in the day when Lynn was fishing in the dense fog. Apparently that striper didn’t take the bait but hit it hard enough to maim the shad. Soon after boating the striper the port side planer went down. Unfortunately it was a ditch pickle but a good sized one at that. Maybe a 4 pounder. Well the time was closing to 3pm and I needed to pickup some groceries so Lynn brought me back to my truck and she fished on until all her bait was done for. Thanks Lynn for saving me from more yard work I was planning to do after my nap.

OUT OF IDEAS?

I think not but if you’ve been out on the water for several hours, searching everywhere for Stripers with no luck, this is when you should get out your dollar store one-dollar white board that has several ideas already noted, this could save you from giving up. We launched today from Balus ramp after the threat of rain had passed. The clouds cleared out and blue skies remained for the most part. This trip was to locate some areas that might hold fish in preparation for a charter happening this Friday. I was with Tom B, a Lanier striper guide with his friend Joe K. Neither Joe or I had been out on the water for a while. We went to several spots in our search but did not see what we were after. We finally landed a nice striper.

Not doing much better after catching that one fish, we were Out of Ideas. My white board would have kept us going a little longer with some basics. We could have tried to search for a water temperature break or look for a water color difference. I’m sure there are many other choices. Thanks Tom for the invite. I learned a lot today. And I’m getting a pool que as soon as possible.

STRIPERS BIG or SMALL – We’ll Take ‘Em

Used to Stripers caught on live bait were larger in size than Stripers caught on Lead Core and Umbrella Rigs. This morning’s outing on Lanier proved that the Stripers we caught were the opposite pattern. Bob bought his son-in-law Greg along, a Striper newby who fared to catch on quickly. We launched almost in the dark from East Bank ramp and while heading out marked several Stripers. We stopped the big motor and deployed the Ulterra. We put out 4 Downlines and 1 weighted Freeline into the 83.8° water and waited for the strike. No takers. We continued on to Bald Ridge Creek and again began marking Stripers. We put out the same spread and before you know it we were getting hit on all rods but apparently nothing sizeable enough to take down any of the lines except for one that Greg got into the boat. Good job.

As we checked the other baits we saw the typical Spotted Bass bite marks which killed our bait. So this is what live bait yielded us this morning. We continued our hunt with the Downlines near Shady Grove to no avail. I suggested we try some really deep Downlines in the river channel. On the way Bob suggested that we pull Lead Core to cover more area in our search. We explained the Lead Core technique to Greg and we were on our way. On one rod we used a Mini Mack with the blades and on the other we used a 2oz Capt Mack Chipmunk Jig with a paddle tail trailer. Within minutes it was Fish On. I took the rod out of the holder and handed it to Greg. He began his retrieval with the fish coming in from 8 colors out which was 240 feet. I put the boat in neutral as Bob reeled in the other rod. Greg had a good fight which lasted a while and successfully brought in a much bigger Striper.

We contiued to pull the Lead Core almost all the way back to the ramp but there were no other takers.

Thermocline Stripers

This is a late posting of my Striper trip with Bob on Thursday August 15, 2019. We launched at East Bank park at 6:15am heading toward halfway back into Young Deer Creek. We came upon spaghetti on a point just across from the abandoned community dock. We were on them so quickly we didn’t get a chance to put out any live baits as we sailed past them forgetting to use Spot Lock. When we circled back they were gone. We didn’t stay long and decided to head for Bald Ridge Creek. When we got there another boat was fishing right where we wanted to be but we found that we were over a lot of fish. We did use Spot Lock and put out 4 Downlines and 1 weighted Freeline. We started catching Stripers but losing them just as fast. We realized that the 10lb leader we were using was not strong enough so we switched all of the rods to 12lb and we started getting fish into the boat. We caught a total of 4 Stripers, two on Downlines and two on the weighted Freelines. The water temperature was 87.7° and we were Downlining just above and below the Thermocline which was at 32′. Our herring seemed to live longer at that depth.

FOR THE CASUAL STRIPER ANGLER