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
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
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.
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.
The day started out to be foggy with heavy overcast skies at 7am. No threat of storms until later in the afternoon. Water temperature was 83 degrees which meant our Lead Core baits had to be down near 30′. With the dark clouds above we needed dark swim baits so we put a Sexy Shad 4” split tail trailer on a 1oz bucktail jig. Our other Lead Core bait was a 1oz bucktail jig with a Sexy Shad paddle tail swim bait. Having launched at Vanns Tavern that put us unexpectedly over fish. We moved further into Two Mile Creek so our baits would pass over them at the right depth. That worked quite well and it was Fish On. Mark brought in a 24” Striper.
That being said we normally slow the boat to put less stress on the Striper as well as whomever reels in the catch, that leaves the other person to bring in the other Lead Core so it doesn’t get caught in a tree. And that being said I had to bring not one but two lines at 270′ out and quickly because I had to get the net for Mark’s fish when it got close enough to net. Ouch – what a workout. My right cranking arm was burning. Thank goodness I brought the “belly buckets” too. After pictures we released the Striper back into the deep using the Seaqualizer. At that point I told Mark the 3rd Lead Core passed the test and let’s wait until we had a third person in the boat before using it again. Seeing that the Sexy Shad split tail got hit we decided to change the paddle tail out for the split tail on the other Lead Core. We move out of the Vanns Tavern area and headed out toward B Buoy. After about 30 minutes we had another Striper on. This one was 25 ¼”.
Since starting this morning the sky remained gray with dark upper clouds. At 10am the sun started to peak through the clouds just as a lower secondary cloud layer moved in to block the sun. If that didn’t happen we were going to change out our bait colors to chartreuse. Then the lower secondary clouds passed as the sun was blocked again by the upper clouds. Every time we broke out the lighter colors the sun got blocked so we just stayed with the same color baits we started with. Suddenly the wind picked up like it was going to storm so we left catching only the two.
We launched at Aqualand so that the return to the ramp wouldn’t be crazy with all of the other boaters trying to get in and out. You do have to pay a small fee to launch there unless you are a member. Arriving a little late at the ramp around 7:15 it looked like every parking spot was taken. Nonetheless we set out for the Flowery Branch creek channel as it flowed out to the main river. We were pulling Lead Core and followed the contour lines shadowing the deeper water. Being Sunday morning the boat traffic was very minimal. Having no luck here we decided to head toward back of the creek. We passed a couple of other Striper fisherman, waving and shouting out our luck. After passing one of them who was anchored under the second set of power lines we got hit and the fight was on. When I passed the rod to Dave somehow the bail opened and put way too much slack in the line. Thinking that the Striper got off because there was no resistance Dave started reeling in the line so that we could get it back out at the proper color. After a few cranks he realized that the fish was still on and apparently swimming towards us until it turned and shook his head and it was FISH ON. I slowed the boat to decrease the pressure put on the Striper and Dave as he began to reel. I started reeling in the other Lead Core so it would not get hung as we were bringing in the other line. Watching Dave being toyed by the Striper was exciting even for me. The Striper was getting closer and closer so I grabbed the net and extended the handle out full so that the Striper wouldn’t dart under the boat when he surfaced. When I lifted the Striper into the boat it looked like a really big Striper because its girth was very large. As it turned out it was only 29” but was a nice fish. After a couple of photos we released the Striper back into the lake on the Seaqualizer which made me feel good about knowing that he would a better chance at survival. We did not see him surface so we continued moving as far back into the creek as we could before we had to reel in our Lead Cores since their depth was 27’ and we were in 30’ of water with trees all around. We switched to an Umbrella Rig at this time keeping it only 60 feet behind the boat achieving a depth of 13’ in the shallower water. We did get hung up a few times and of course as we were trying to retrieve the rig we saw beaucoup Stripers all around. I immediately put the trolling motor down and we pulled out the Ben Parker spoon in hopes of dropping into the mix of Stripers and power reeling from the bottom but we could not get on them fast enough as they left the area as quickly as they came. We decided to get out in the river channel by LM18 and try our luck using Lead Core again. We motored out to the mouth of Flowery Branch only to discover that the waves were becoming like a “washing machine”. We still tried to fish the area and made at least one pull from the island. We did get a couple of hits but no takers which means that the Stripers were probably too small to eat the presentation of a 1oz Bucktail jig with a 4” trailer. We decided to call it a good day with only one Striper but keeping that memory of the fish-got-off-oh no-it didn’t and the head shake with its capture at the boat. When we got back to the ramp it was relatively easy to get the boat out as I had planned.
With a dark overcast sky we started where I left off last week in Saddle Dike 2 with Lead Core lines out 9 colors using 1oz yellow blue with a 4” sexy shad split tail swim bait on and a 1oz white bucktail jig with a 4” blue white paddle tail on the other. No luck but I was confident that we would catch something with this smaller presentation. We left there and went to the mouth of Young Deer Creek to run the 75’ contour towards Six Mile Creek where I had several hits last week but the presentation we used was too big for the smaller Stripers. Still no luck. Finally we headed to Flowery Branch and brought out a 3rd Lead Core running the same setup as the other two rods. We started at the point in Flowery in 115’ of water with our spread and after we passed the H Bouy a striper took the sexy shad. Jim reeled and reeled until the fish came close enough to net. We took a couple of photos then released the Striper torpedo style.
At this point the lake was like a washing machine with so many boats. Time to leave and finish out the rest of the day somewhere else.
Go Team Lanier!