Alberto 0, Team Lanier 3

Tropical storm Alberto brought the threats of lots of rain and storms over the Memorial day weekend. Trying to pick the best day to go was tricky but we guessed right. Sunday morning was clear with the best chance at a beautiful day on the lake. The skies were clear at the bait shop.

We loaded up with Blueback Herring and headed to East Bank park next to the dam. We were going to start here on a tip from the bait shop. Right after launching we put out a couple of Flatlines weighted and out 100’ & 130’. Before we could get another rod baited up it was Fish On. As we were bringing that 1st one the other rod started ripping off line. We got them both in for measurements and pictures.

After letting them go we hung around the area in hopes of getting a third but the Stripers were moving out to deeper water. We too moved out. We did our myriad of rods in addition to the 2 Flatlines which consisted of a couple of Downlines, a couple of weighted Planer Boards and one more weighted Flatline out about 30’. Our target was main lake points. The first 2 Stripers we caught were in 78 degree water around 6:45am. The first fish Don brought in with a fiercesome fight was a nice fish at 27”. I know Don really enjoyed that fight. The second Striper was only 25” but it too felt good bring him in. As we came out of East Bank bay into Shoal Creek another Striper hit our Flatline. Another exciting fight bringing in this 8 pound female. She was only 24” but weighed more than the others. It was close to 9:30am when we started see more boats cruising. We knew it was close to the time to leave. We decided to fish the area where we had caught the Stripers earlier but that area too was buzzing with boats.


Bill wanted to learn how to fish for trout. We met at the bait shop and since I did want Bill to catch his first trout today we brought a myriad of bait which included red wigglers, night crawlers, crickets, corn, salmon eggs, power bait and spinners. Our next stop was Rabbittown for some nourishment that will hold us most of the day. Our destination, the Soque River. When we got to the parking area we suited up for the fishing meaning donned our fishing vests which made us walking tackle boxes. We crossed the road and started down the river trail for about a ¼ mile stopping at the first step down into the river. I explained to Bill how to put a cricket on the hook and where to cast. If you’ve ever started doing something new and following all the rules and got it right, well, Bill got his first fish. It wasn’t a Trout, but it was a fish after just a few casts. This spot I chose to teach Bill was the easiest to fish as it was close to the start of a long trail through the woods to get to other fishing spots. After a few minutes with no other bites we moved on. Our next stop was a long sand bar adjacent to a deep trough and plenty of room for the three of us to cast. Don had joined us at this point. We all put on something different to see what they were biting. We’ll we all were getting bites, so we kept at it. While letting Bill cast on his own he caught his first trout. This is always a good feeling for me as well as for Bill. It was a nice Rainbow.

Following several casts Bill & I caught several trout. We then gave our spot up to a dad and his sons and we moved on. After exploring to find our next spot we discovered that there was no other safe place to cast from. The weather and time had changed the course of the river and it wasn’t as I remembered it. We headed back to the beginning of the trail and decided to fish the deep pool and river bend beyond the bridge. We crossed the road, then the bridge and walked to the trail heading down to a wide beach. Again, there was plenty of room for the three of us to fish. There were clouds of gnats circling around our heads annoyingly.

The fish there were smaller, but we continued to catch trout. After catching a few smaller fish, we decided to quit and head to the Mark of the Potter. This was a store that sold hand-made pottery from local artisans. It was also a place to see some awesome Trout that were two to three feet long below the store’s deck swimming around in the huge pool of water below the cascade. On the deck there was a Purina Trout Chow gumball machine where you could put in a quarter and get a handful of pellets to drop down onto the multitude of swarming Trout. Heading back home we learned that the teacher caught 4 trout and the student caught 5. Bill don’t be mad but you’re hooked for life.

The Six Minute Double

The 7am launch today from Stephens County Park ramp yielded a double catch in the first six minutes. Since it had rained hard most of the night and early morning hours in Toccoa GA, I suspected that going north would be muddy and full of debris. So we headed south. Just after passing the old bridge we put out 4 Planer Boards two on each side then a couple of Flatlines all baited with Blueback Herring. Water temperature was 62.7.  In just a couple of minutes we had two hybrids in the boat.

We kept moving south staying in the channel and picked up our next hybrid on a Flatline.

We continued to catch one here one there.

We made it to the esses where we slayed these hybrids several years back. They were still there waiting for us.

Bill noticed that the inside port side Planer Board went under for a second but it seemed that there were no takers.. He decided to bring it in to check the condition of the bait. As it neared the boat another hybrid took the bait and it was Fish On. After boating that fish he tried to get the Planer Board back into the water 3 times having the hybrids take the bait before he could attach the Planer Board. All in all it was another great time with friends. We’ll probably talk about this trip and all the antics and jokes that went on between catches for years to come.

Hybrids & Stripers

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.

The Last Striper of 2017

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.

Eleven Spots Will Get You One Striper

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.

Oh No Not Another Ringtone

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.