Four boats set out this morning for Team Lanier’s 2018 Tugaloo River Hybrid Run on a pristine morning with no wind, fog or rain in the weather forecast. After meeting at Oakwood Bait & Tackle to get our bait we were all to converge at the Rabbittown Cafe for breakfast then caravan up to the launch on the Tugaloo River at Stephens County Park. We headed north for the skinny water that I had visited in previous years for these fearsome fighting Hybrids. Bringing in one of these football shaped fish was a feat all on its own because they fought like a freight train making each fight memorable. The others scouted ahead as we slowly made our way through the narrow channels. One mistake getting off course would mean we would run aground in the mud. As our other boat captains were coming back toward us from the north it was stated that there were no fish to be had. They stated that the water temperature was 50 degrees. The area we were fishing was south of the Yonah dam. Since this was a weekday we were counting on the water generation to make the Hybrids active. Water coming out of the bottom of the lake would definetly be a lot colder than the Lake Yonah’s surface temperatures. We still forged northward in the hopes that our other captains were wrong. Well being a little patient here proved to be the right approach. The Hybrids came one after another then Don latched onto a 10lb 29″ Striper. It was a tremendous fight with Don on the front of the boat as the Striper moved from the right side to the left crossing and tangling several rods on the back of the boat. We ended up netting this monster on the left side of the boat. This fish came on a Planer Board with a Blueback Herring 40′ behind the board. Its size was totally unexpected. We wanted to call out to the others but we either had no signal bars or no more battery to contact them. They should have hung with us instead of the “gun and run” technique they were accustomed to.
The others did catch some fish. After they left us early in the day they headed southward for deeper waters.
We had discovered that the pattern to catch fish today was fishing the mouths of the creeks.We fished an area of the river where two creeks entered from each side. Water temp was 50 degrees. We basically circled the area picking up a fish on each pass until the gusty wind showed up. We knew that is was time to leave as we could no longer control the boat under these gusts.
This past Saturday we hit the Dog Island beaches between the three points over a 55’ bottom. The air temp was 45° with the water temperature at 51.8°. It was the outside Planer Board that got hit with the 12” Gizzard Shad and a stinger hook in the Vent. Weighing only 8 lbs this 25 ½” Striper swam toward the boat only to dive under when it got close enough to be seen. Darin had reeled in the inside Planer Board but it had already crossed the rod with the Striper that Dale was reeling in. Dale was near the front of the boat with Darin to his left. I grabbed the net and dipped it into the water trying to reach the Striper that went under the boat. There wasn’t much room to maneuver as Darin was basically pinned between Dale and myself being caught in the arm of his coat by a Mini Mack that was hanging low in the rod holder. I finally got the Striper into the boat for measurements and pictures.
Earlier that morning we ran into Capt. Mack at the bait shop. We chatted a few minutes and he advised us to use his Mini Mack in the back of Shoal Creek by the boat ramp and surrounding area. We launched at East Bank Park and headed to our tip from the guide. When we arrived there was already one boat trolling with more boats coming in. We did not see any diving birds but did see a few bait balls but no Stripers to be found. We left after trolling for about an hour and headed to SC8 to pull a chartreuse/white jigged Umbrella Rig over the three humps on our way to Dog Island. As we approached the island another Striper boat followed us in and tried to hog us out by moving in front of us but eventually gave up as I held my ground so to speak. They finally left. Nothing on our first pass because we were not positioned in the right place to begin pulling bait between the points. We turned around at the far right point and went back across the pocket following the deep-shallow contour lines adjacent to our trail coming in when the outside Planer Board got hit. We thought we were on them but no other takers for the next hour or so. We left Dog Island and headed across to Sunset Cove for a look. Nothing there. We then went all the way around Lake Lanier Islands to Cocktail Cove but it too was barren of bait and Stripers. We went a little further around the main island to a multitude of reef poles near the Tiki Huts and resumed our spread of Planer Boards and Diagonal Bobbers. Water temperature was 53.5°. Again there was activity on the outside Planer Board. A 4 pound Spotted Bass took the medium Trout and Darin brought him in for pictures.
Headed back to the ramp after that to get home early for a nap. Gotta rest. Going Crappie fishing tomorrow with more good friends.
Hit the bait shop at 7am this morning for a couple of small Gizzard Shad, 2 dozen medium Shiners and 1 dozen Blueback Herring. Also picked up a Sebile 125 in White and a Mcstick 110.
We launched at Aqualand and headed back into Flowery Branch towards the 2nd set of power lines. We continued further just to see what was past the McEver bridge. We marked several nice fish so we turned around and put out our spread of Planer Boards, Downlines and Flatlines. Water temperature was 59.9°. As we moved back towards the main lake pulling our baits we passed another boat doing the same thing and caught our first Spotted Bass on a Planer Board with one of the Gizzard Shad baits right in front of them. Just after passing them we marked more fish in a pocket to the right then the trolling motor konked out on us. It seemed like the day was over before it started. I called Minnkota technical support and waited a while. Then it was finally my turn. They provided a reset code which worked and we were back to fishing in no time. After catching another Spot we decided to move in the hopes of finding Stripers instead of Spots. We went to Mud Creek 4 and managed to see several Loons diving just passed the point. Water temperature here rose to 61°. We put out our same spread but added a long range Gizzie on a balloon and started getting bit but with more Spots and a couple of nice ones too. They were hitting the medium Shiners on the channel side of the boat. We picked up another 6 here. Decided to go to DBs honey hole in OC4. Caught a few more Spots and finally a small Striper allowing me to tell today’s story. We ended up with 12 fish caught on the day. Sun came out of the clouds and we were shedding our heavy layers of clothes to feel the warmth of the sun with just a cool breeze. No pictures today. Went Striper fishing and caught 11 Spots and an aquarium sized Striper. After a great day of searching for Stripers and great conversations with Gerry W. it was time to head in. We still had to manually stow the trolling motor as this was still an issue which partner would have to deal with when he got home. Thanks Gerry for a fine outing on a weekday just before Thanksgiving and have a happy one to you and the Mrs.
Been off the water for six weeks. Lost track of the Stripers. Used my log from last year to determine what area I would target. However, water temps were 15 degrees hotter this year. I chose to fish north anyway up in the Hooch because the Stripers should still have headed north for the pseudo spawn. I took a couple dozen Bluebacks, a couple dozen medium shiners, one mongo shad and four smaller shad. Last year I was successful using Trout but this year the bait shops were saying still too warm for Trout. Today’s crew was Marcus and Darrin. We launched at Don Carter State Park around 7ish which was semi daylight. Water temp was 70 degrees. As soon as we cleared the launch area we started getting our spread out to be ready by the time we got to the channel. Our spread consisted of 4 planer boards, 2 diagonal bobbers, 1 Freeline and 1 long range bobber; respectable. As we started getting the bait out we noticed that all 2 dozen shiners were dead. No matter, we had plenty of other baits to put out. I put on Pandora and we started our pull up river. After the first ten minutes our left planer board went under. Unfortunately it was a gar that cut our bait in half. Soon after we got a spotted bass on another planer board. Music started cutting in and out, down to one bar of coverage. Our next strike was a catfish coming on a diagonal bobber. By this time the music had stopped completely. About an hour later as we were putting out a Blueback Herring something pulled at it on the surface before getting the right side diagonal bobber onto the line. It was a Striper. Go figure. Things quieted down for a while and crew started humming and singing. I had to do something as I couldn’t stand their off note grunts so I started to play some ringtones. Although they were only 10 seconds long it helped break up the silence. After running through all that I had we went back to silence. About that time one of the reels started screaming with our back planer board going under. No fish on. Apparently a Striper used his tail to stun our 14″ Mongo shad and render him in shock. All three of us jumped to our feet shouting out instructions to Darrin. Well we were wrong to tell him to start reeling in the strike with some drag. We should have just waited for the Striper to come back and eat the shad. We basically brought the shad back to the boat pulling the Striper’s meal away. Lesson learned. At this point we were back to silence and then the humming started again. I started to play the ringtones again as the crew shouted out “oh no not another ringtone” so I stopped. We didn’t get any more bites after that so it was time to head back to the ramp. We had a trifecta today catching three species of fish.
While we thought Mentor Mad Mike was looking under the boat
to see if Stripers were really there,
he explained he doesn’t like sweaty bells. Either that or he was trying to get the school of Stripers to bite our downlines. Well it worked as Kevin Wolf brought in our 2nd Striper
of the day on a Downline 36’ down. Earlier today after launching from Tidwell park around 7am
we noticed there was a good grouping of Stripers in the mouth of Young Deer Creek by the humps. It was a plethora of fish and bait
so we set out three Lead Core rods with various jig shapes, colors, and with our bait 7, 8 and 9 colors out, Herb Bracken brought in our first Striper of the day.
As part of our mentoring program we were to share our successful target areas with the other boat captains when we got on fish. I called Tom Blackburn and Doug McIntyre to join us in the mouth of Bald Ridge Creek. Shortly after Tom and his crew
came by for a chit chat then moved off a bit and caught a Striper.
We were off the lake by 11am while the other captains stayed a little longer.
Top Water baits, Spoons, Downlines, Lead Core and Umbrella Rigs were taking Stripers all over the south end of the lake today. I shared our catches with photos and locations on Facebook along with others who were already posting their catches like Bob Benson with Top Water baits, the Ben Parker Spoon and Downlining, catching singles and doubles with his son. I heard from other friends on the pond too. Jim Duggan came up on us while he was Spotted Bass fishing in the mouth of Six Mile Creek. We waved at Chris Manes as he was pulling Lead Core in Two Mile Creek. He later called to tell us to use a white 5” paddle tail. I gave a shout out to Joe Kuhr who was Downlining in Young Deer Creek with a trip. Whenever we were heading back to the boat ramp we saw Mad Mike cleaning his boat out in front of the Tidwell ramp after his trip catching only 7 Stripers. Our luck came around 8:30am on a tip from Chris to pull lead between the mouth of Six Mile Creek and the Three Sisters island. The 26” Striper was our first fish in the boat.
Don had pulled it in from 8 colors out on Lead Core using a 2oz white charteuse bucktail jig with a 5” Lime Ice paddle tail swimbait. Later we got another 24” in Young Deer Creek pulling an Umbrella Rig with a Ben Parker Jr 30” behind the rig at the center position.
Five captains took out 20 members of the Oakwood Striper Club meeting at 5:30am Saturday morning at Oakwood Bait and Tackle. Most boats launched at Old Federal park and headed out in different directions. My boat captain Shaun took us to the mouth of Young Deer creek. As soon as he cut the big motor we were surrounded by Stripers. Not being ready to put out the spread of downlines we quickly moved past the school. Circling back and ready, a Striper nailed the rod I was manning. After a long fight the Striper broke off the leader. I baited back up and set the depth of the Downline to 30′ again. After just a few minutes another Striper hit my line and it was Fish On, again. I did get this one in.
Captain Shaun shared our catch with the other captains inviting them to get on the school. As quickly as the others could come by the school of Stripers moved on.
After fun fishing until noon, all boats headed back to OBT to share stories and have venison burgers from the grill thanks to Dillon Greeson, owner of OBT.