We arrived on the Tugaloo river around 8:15am just north of Stephens County Park ramp. Our first gizzard shad went into the water without a hook. Oops. Still had 3 left and 4 dozen blueback herring. While fishing was a little slow we managed to catch and lose 11 Hybrids over the six and a half hours that we fished. The four Hybrids we caught came about 1 and a half hours apart then we doubled during a lull which tangled 5 rods into a Charlotte’s web. These fish were strong and fought hard which surprised us when they hit. Between the laughs, jokes and comments it was a pleasant trip up the river while the rest of the club fished the main lake. We got a little rain around 3pm and decided to head to the ramp when thunder was heard. When we got to the boat ramp there was a small line of boats to get out as the rain really started coming down. As we waited for our turn to get the ramp we watched and laughed as this 22 ft Bayliner deck boat tried to go up on the trailer sideways. The next guy tried to get his boat up on his trailer and as he was gunning the motor he caused the trailer to be disengaged from the trailer hitch. Apparently the boat owner didn’t even have a pin through the transfer hitch to secure the trailer to his truck. The result was that he tried over and over to get the boat on to his trailer without it being on the ball. It was our turn after about an hour watching the boat ramp show. The rain had stopped at this point and we drove over to the Tugaloo State Park where our club was having a Low Country Boil in a park pavilion.
Many thanks to the Lanier Striper Club for hosting this event every year. And special thanks to Tom Blackburn, Terrell Ivey, Tom Becker, Don & Joan Skinner and Joe Kuhr for their efforts that made this event a success. After the fellowship Bill Chasey, Jim Duggan and I headed home.
Here are some photos of the club’s successes over the past 2 days.
Thirteen anglers met at Rabbittown Saturday morning April 2nd, had breakfast then headed to the Tugalo River Lake Hartwell. Five boats launched at Stevens County Park and followed the channel north using our navigation mapping to stay out of the shallow areas as we neared the target area to be fished. Fishing today was to be the mid season Hybrid run just below Yonah dam. Once we reached our destination one by one each boat stopped about 100 yards in front of the next. We started out at the first bridge and while getting our lines out we had our first fish on. It was a Hybrid which weighed 9 pounds caught by Dale Burrell on a blue back planer board. It measured only 26 and a half inches but it was full of fight. Another incredible day on the water, sun was shining, blue sky, fish were being caught by all of the boats, some stripers but mostly Hybrids. The bite turned off for a while and then it picked up a couple hours later and again the bite was on with several boats picking up one or two more fish. Well it was the wind’s turn to engage us gusting at 25 mph. This was the first time ever I ran 2 wind socks and that kept our speed down to 1 mile an hour. We decided to stop a 1pm and all headed back to Atlanta with some stopping off again at Rabbittown for some lunch.
WATCH THE VIDEOS:
Popatop912 at Tugalo River 4-2-2016
Ed and Nathan
Derrick, Lynn and Bob
Steve, Dale and Don
While March is trophy striper season on Lanier we launched today at Toto creek and headed north to the dredge. We pulled everything from free lines, diagonal bobbers to planer boards using bluebacks, small gizzard shad and trout.
Today’s crew members were Lynn Gregory master striper angler and Brett Blouin crappie guru. The stripers turned on midday. We got the boat record striper on a blueback 10′ behind the middle planer board in 8′ of water. The water temperature was 57.3°. Lynn gave the rod to Brett who was driving the boat. He jumped up on the back deck and started reeling adding and giving drag. We knew this was a big fish as it kept stripping out line. The fish started tearing rods out of their holders until he finally got along side the boat. After netting him we got him to the floor so we could measure him when the right side diagonal bobber took off screaming. We we unable to get to it fast enough. Then we heard that sound which was the 20lb main line snapping as we watched. Then we got the big striper onto the measuring board only to find that it was longer than the 38″ board. We rigged everything back up when the bottom fell out of the sky. Still a good day.
While showing Brett Blouin and Marty Miller some of the techniques I use for catching stripers, it may have been a bit overwhelming for them with the multitude of rods and various techniques that I use. We started with just 2 planers, 2 down lines and 2 free lines fishing right off the Balus Creek ramp into the bay. Water temp was 48.1°. After marking a multitude fish and no takers we headed to the back of Flat Creek after an hour and a half. When we got to the blue dock we were marking fish again. The water was a little more stained but the water temperature was 50.5. We went a little further back into Flat to the narrow finger just to the left of the creek itself and hooked up with a 24 1/4″ striper in 30′ of water on a planer board herring brought in by Marty, his 1st lake striper. We then went into Flat Creek itself finding 55.3° and lots of activity on the sonar. At one point we had a double on my new rocket launchers but were unable to boat them. We eyed a 100′ length of water that was 10′ deep half way in the creek by the last 2 docks on the left. We then anchored at a turnaround area just beyond and staged our rods with bait on just 4 planers and 2 diagonal bobbers. We were to clip them to the line as I took us off of anchor and moved forward. Well experience would have been prudent but instead there was a calamity of lines getting snagged on the blowdown roots on just one side and we ended up with only 1 planer going through the hot spot section. I guess I was too greedy with my apprentices. Sorry guys.
We left Flat and went to pull umbrella rigs at the merge of Balus and Flat creeks moving towards the ramp. On the way I was discussing the URig rules with them. On our first pass we got hung in a tree. We centered around the line as it went straight down, wrapped the 100 lb braid around a cleat and pulled it off the tree successfully. On our second pass we hooked up with a fish but they did not follow my strictness about having slack in the line. Marty passed the pole to Brett and the fish got off. Hopefully a lesson they will always remember the next time they use an umbrella rig.
The North Georgia Walleye Association made their 3rd attempt to make the Seed Lake trip to Lakemont Georgia. In 2015 the lake was over full pool causing ramp access to be under water. Two weeks ago there was 4 inches of snow in Tiger Georgia stopping our 2nd attempt to fish the lake. We finally made it yesterday. Four boats set out at 24° with no wind and a beautiful mountain day on the water. Fishing was hard but several boats caught something. Several Chain Pickerel, Bass and Yellow Perch were taken but no Walleye. We are looking forward to the Walleye post spawn coming this spring in late March. Walleye is one of those intriguing fish that there are few anglers and a limited amount of information for their pursuit. While Chris Manes was the ring leader he kept standards high with his association with Team Lanier bringing the networking and sharing of information to all participants. We marked fish for most of the day but were unable to identify the species to present any bait properly. Many large arches were seen on sonar and down imaging yet again we were not successful. We threw everything at them including Bluebacks, Night Crawlers, mini urigs, crickets, minnows, power bait, including several artificials but all that was caught were on crank baits. Later in the day the wind picked up so we deployed our wind sock to slow our presentation down a little. We all are looking forward to our late spring trip.
Charlie asked if he could tag along with Team Lanier to learn some new techniques about striper fishing. Turns out that we learned a great deal from him. While sometimes we are all too serious about just catching stripers we missed the fun catching other fish. A fish is a fish Charlie said. While others caught stripers today we had a blast catching spots and large mouth bass while getting down and dancing in the boat. See the video.
Thank you, Charlie. I hope you will come with us again.
After a 5 lb spot gets one of our last Gizzard Shad, and a nice striper gets caught in Charlotte’s web (see the video), we managed to catch a black throated Loon that ate one of our Bluebacks and a Gizzard Shad before getting tangled in a third downline. We were over a 120 ft bottom, fishing an elongated bait ball 80 ft down. The spot must have knocked the shad off the hook while trying to eat it and got hooked in the process. After the striper was boated in 20 mph wind gusts it took us a while to undo all of the tangled lines after spinning round and round trying to net the fish in the wind. Later on our third attempt to downline over the channel in front of the Port Royale no wake buoys is when the Loon action began. One downline started screaming off the reel like a striper on. When we realized the fish got off, another downline began ripping off line, then a third rod bent over the gunnel. This time we were able to see what was causing all of the commotion after it broke the surface. It was the black throated Loon. (see the video) Reeling like crazy and moving the boat towards the Loon, we cut the line after the 4 oz weight which would give the loon a better chance at survival. We saw him dive with a Blueback stuck to his back. Later we saw him surface again with nothing clinging to him. He and his mate dove down again. We called it a day after that.