So You Want To Buy A New Fish Finder?

So you want to buy a new fish finder

 

Whether you're going after Fall bass, Winter bass or getting ready for Spring, a good fish finder is a tool that every bass fisherman should consider seriously. Your fishfinder / depth finder is your eyes under the surface of the water.

Since marine electronics can be a sizable investment, you should make sure you don't spend more than you need to; and get a unit that fits your needs.

The fact is, most people who own a boat with a fish finder never learn to use it correctly. It's easy to find information on the internet on how to use a fish finder. The problem is, it's mostly geared to promote a particular brand or sales there of. And most give you nothing really useful. So this will be a 2 part post. Today I'm going to help you decide what unit would be best for you. Later I'm going to have another post on how to use a fish finder. There is a lot to learn on both these subjects; so get a cup of coffee and get ready to learn about fish finders.

 

Fish Finder Power

The power or wattage of a fish finder is most important for deeper water aplications. If you fish mostly visible cover in extremely shallow water (2 to 4 ft) and never fish deep water structure, you may only need something to tell you how deep the water is and show you whats on bottom . In this case most any cheap unit on the market will give you an accurate depth reading and will work just fine for you.

On the other hand If you fish deep water structure at all (deeper than 6ft) Your needs are going to be met best by a unit with at least 3000 watts peak to peak power. The more power the better readings / detail you will get.

 

Fish finder Pixel

Pixel as in power is also the more the better. The picture you get on the screen of your fish LCD is made up of individual pixels. Simply put the more pixels the unit has per vertical line, the more clear and distinguishable the readings will be. Pixels also play a huge role in giving you detailed readings are vital for distinguishing fish from other objects. If you fish deep water at all, a minimum of 640 vertical pixels is going to meet your needs best.

 

Fish Finder Transducers

Basically fish finders are under water sonar. The transducer is the component which mounts on or inside the boats hull. It sends down a signal which bounces off the bottom back to the transducer which sends the information back through the transducers cable to your screen translated into a picture of whats under the water. I Know, it's amazing isn't it?

As complicated as it may sound, transducers are fairly simple when it comes to choosing one. Most fish finders come with 1 basic, standard 20 degree cone angle transducer and a bracket which mounts the transducer to the outside Bottom of the boat. This transducer will work just fine.

Because it's Important and relates to learning to use your fish finder, (Which I'll be focusing on in the next post) I'm going to elaborate a little more on the transducer.

If you've read my blog in the past you know that I believe in keeping my tackle choices simple; and the same is true when it comes to electronics used for fishing. If you've been looking at electronics recently, you probably know that today's fish finders are very advanced and most include a wide variety of bells and whistles such as gps, side finder, and color view capabilities just to name a few.

All these features are great; but can make things very complicated for you if your just learning to use a fish finder. So I recommend starting with a good simple unit with adequate power, pixel and a standard 20 degree cone angle transducer. Unless you fish extremely shallow water as I mentioned above in this case it's fine to go with a wider cone angle transducer. You'll understand my reasoning for this when we get into learning to use your fish finder.

 

Fish Finder Brands

Before I talk about brands, just for the record, I am not affiliated with or sponsored by any of the companies that I may mention. Any recommendations or reviews I give are strictly based on my personal experience with the product.

There are lots of good fish finders on the market. And you don't have to spend your kids college fund or your own retirement to get a decent unit that will meet your needs.

Some of the best cheaper units that I've used are sold by Eagle Electronics. If you don't mind spending a little more for your fish finder Lowrance is the parent company of Eagle and makes what I believe to be the best. I've used Lowrance units on my own boat for 25 years. They have always been very dependable and I've never had any reason to change.

Another good brand that I've used on occasion is Garmin . I have lot's of friends who use Garmin consistently and I have not heard any complaints about their product. Hummingbird also makes a good fish finder. However it has been my experience that some of their cheaper units don't have a manual depth scale, which I consider a very important feature.

Whether you choose a bare bones cheaper unit or a top of the line with all the bells and whistles, there is one very important feature that your fish finder should have. That feature is a manual depth scale mode. This allows you to set the depth scale at the depths you desire and stops the scale (which is usually in automatic mode as the default setting on most units) from changing automatically. A constantly changing depth scale can become confusing; especially for an angler who is learning. Also the automatic depth scale setting takes away from the power of the unit and can sometimes cause distorted or false readings. I consider a manual depth scale mode feature to be a must on any LCD fish finder. I will also elaborate on this in the next post.

Hopefully what I've talked about so far will help those of you who have not gotten a fish finder yet choose one. For those who already have one, I'll be talking about learning to use a fish finder next time.

I know there are lots of questions you may have on this subject. Please feel free to use the comments to ask any questions you may have about fish finders.

Thanks for reading…… BRANCH

About the author: Tom is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.

Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr   and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr  
Blog: http://outonalimbwithtombranchjr.blogspot.com/

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

Hello everybody, no fishing report this week, I am celebrating what I think should be the next new National Holiday, the opening day of Gulf Coast Snapper Season! Lanier continues to fish very well and last week’s Report will be very applicable to this week. Stable water temps have made for consistent fishing with little or no change in patterns for Bass, Stripers, and Crappie! So, get out there and catch ‘em, I’ll be back with an updated report next week!

 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

The Stripers are still scattered out and there are reports of fish being taken from the dam to the headwaters. Live Herring are producing well, and freelines, planers boards and downlines are all productive and using mix of all three will maximize your odds. Here are some areas to look for the Stripers. Many of the fish are using humps on or near the main lake, mostly over a 20 to 35 foot bottom. One footnote here, the fish may not or may be holding tight to the humps. Many of them, especially the bigger ones will be off to the sides of these areas, so pull your baits over the crest of these high spots but on the periphery as well, often you will get the bite as you are turning the boat for another pass over the high spot.

There are also some fish using the backs of the major creeks. The same combination of freelines, planers, and downlines will be the best producer here. Herring have been the bait of choice but keeping a Gizzard Shad in the spread may be an asset.

Don’t forgot the dock lights, we still have fish in these lights of you can get to them early enough, but that bite will end as the sun tops the trees. Cast bucktails and swim baits to the lights and hang on!

The Bass are also very catchable and there are many patterns that are effective. The fish remain very scattered out while there are still some nice fish shallow, they are also fish gravitating to deep water structures such as humps and long tapering points.  Topwater fishing has been good, especially in the early morning hours. Walking baits and Wake baits cast over shallow brush have both been very effective. The plastic worms are still accounting for some excellent catches, they are effective on the Texas Rig, Shaky heads or a Carolina Rig. Stump flat, points and humps will be the primary structures for the worms

One of my favorite late Spring/early summer patterns, is fishing the creek backs with a buzzbait. This has become an underutilized pattern but it is productive and loads of fun. It is a simple pattern, Go into the backs of the creek and basically beat the banks casting to any shallow structures you see. You’ll catch Spotted and Largemouth Bass and some of the bigmouths may be pretty hefty! This technique is good on lower end creeks and in the upper parts of the lake.

If that is not enough to consider, try a little fishing after the Sun Sets. This is also a traditionally a strong technique in late May and into June Cranking plugs such as the Cast DD22 and the Deep Little N in dark colors has been very productive. Cast these baits to rocky points and banks. If the wind kicks up a little, try a dark colored spinnerbait around main lake humps and humps and you’ll have a shot at some really big Spots!

Crappie fishing is still pretty good. Docks in the middle parts of the creeks are holding fish, as are brush piles and deep blowdowns.  Docks I think are the strongest of the three structures, and brush on the dock is not a necessity, but it is a big plus. When you are fishing the docks, pay attention to the angle of the Sun. Typically, the fish will use the darkest areas and a dock may only be productive when it is shaded. The Bobby Garland baits, light colors on Sunny days, dark colors or dark day/lowlight conditions have been the best producers.

 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

May is ending up on very positive note and the Crappie, Bass, Stripers have all been on a good bite! If you are fishing a Live Herring, you’ll inevitably get some bonus Channel Catfish mixed in as well!

Striper fishing is basically the same, just everything is a little deeper. The Stripers are still a little scattered out, but as they are moving deeper we are seeing larger schools of fish. Concentrate on humps and long points, and look for two very distinct patterns evolving. Some of the fish are on on very near the crest of the humps, while others are roaming around these structures with a very loose orientation to the top of submerged islands. Live Herring have been the bait of choice, fish them on weighed free lines, floating down lines, or just a standard down line.

Pulling the umbrellas has also been strong, very consistent as well. Concentrate on pulling humps near the mouths of the creeks on the main lake. The Stripers may be over clean bottom, or hanging tight to brush. Either way, if you see them on the sonar you should get the bite. Look for the Stripers to be on the high spots that crest out from 15 to 30 feet. In last the few weeks most of the Striper fishing has been in the upper and middle part of the lake, but this u-rig bite is very strong on the lower end as well.  The Capt. Mack’s 9 bait bucktail rig, 60 to 100 feet (adjust the amount of line out based on the depth of the high spot. For depth charts on the Capt.  Mack’s umbrellas, go to www.captmacks.com) behind the boat has been producing number

The Bass are on a good bite and while there are fish spread out through the water column, watch the sonar and you will notice a great deal of activity around the 20 to 24 foot area. Concentrate on humps and points in the above mentioned depths and you should not have any problem finding plenty of cooperative Spotted Bass. Start out with a fluke, swimbait, or walking bait, and if that does not work, or after they stop responding, switch to the Roboworm for a couple of extra bonus bites. Keep a small compact bait tied on for the surfacing fish, they are showing up regularly all over the lake. Casting Spoons, Game Changers, and top waters should get the bite in this scenario.

If you just want to catch a bunch of fish, or better yet, if you are taking a youngster fishing, Spot tail time is here! These little Minnows are in there typical summer haunts and are easy to catch. Drop one down on these same humps and hang on!
 

Crappie fishing is also good, arguably as predictable as it has been all spring. Docks are the most productive structure, and while a dock with brush is not a necessity, it is a big advantage. Look for dicks in the middle of the creeks, 15 to 25 deep for the best results. Many small jigs are productive right now, but the Garland Baits will be hard to beat. Keep moving until you locate fish, once you find them they are quick to respond!

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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A Memorial Day History Lesson

Memorial Day, was originally called “Decoration Day”, it is a day of remembrance for those who have died for our nation while serving in the military.

 

There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

 

Today, most people view Memorial Day as another day off but perhaps we should all give thanks to those that have given the ultimate sacrifice so we can have a day off. Paying tribute to the fallen soldiers can be as simple as taking a personal moment of silence, display your appreciation to a family of a fallen soldier or help your local cemetery place flags on gravesites, or maybe just attending a local Memorial Day parade with your family.

 

 It's up to us to keep the memories alive of the fallen and to pass on the importance of this holiday to the younger generations. So spend a few moments this weekend with your children and grandchildren and tell them what Memorial Day is truly all about…..

 

 

THANKS FOR READING ….. Branch

 

 

About the author:

Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and prostaffer for Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Lawrenceville, GA. He retired as a Lieutenant/Paramedic/Firefighter with Gwinnett County Fire, GA after 29 years of service in 2013. He is currently a contracted employee with NAVICO/Lowrance working as the College Fishing Recruiter. He has been working in the Outdoor Industry for over 20 years. He and his beautiful wife, Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their black lab, Jake. They volunteer with Operation One Voice (501c3) (www.operationonevoice.org)

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Who Just Called me a Square Bill?

Who just called me a Square Bill?

Have you seen the SPRO Fat John 60? Now it has a cousin called the Square Bill…

Fall is just around the corner and it is always a good time of the year to go try out a new crankbait. SPRO’s Little John family of crankbaits are all great to fish around rocks, brush, retaining walls, ledges, stumps, humps, creek channels, mussel shoals, and other hard objects. These types of objects make a crankbait a good choice to catch more fish.

*pic- courtesy of SPRO

Crankbaits come in a ton of different styles, shapes, and colors, and Bass Pro Shops has aisles full of them. But what makes the SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill better than the rest? Let me tell you it is more than just looks.  John Crews and his own personnel pro staff’s creativity have made the new SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill a must have item to put in your tackle box.

SPRO (www.spro.com) for years has had a talented pro staff, and Syd Reeves (Sales Manager- SPRO), uses their knowledge to create and design lures that catch fish, and many anglers want them. Bassmaster Elite Angler John Crews is not your typical bass fishing prostaffer. John has never been the guy that sits at a desk searching for the next great lure design. Crews is a fisherman who must go fishing to become a better angler. John’s input has made the Little John crankbaits better since the beginning of creating the first Little John crankbaits. His latest crankbait is the SPRO John Crews Signature Fat John 60 square bill crankbait which is just incredible.

The Fat John 60 is not like most Square Bill crankbaits. The bait was designed for the times when you need a different bill angle, a fatter looking bait, an above average size bait fish imitation, and for the times you just need big bulky baits compared to the other Little John crankbaits. The perfect situation to fish the SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill is in off color water, in the back of creeks as the water temperature begins to cool off, or when an angler is targeting bigger bass. All the Little John and Fat John crankbaits come with #3 Gamakatsu treble hooks, and all the bait runs in 1 to 3-feet of water.  The Fat John baits also feature a soft tungsten weight transfer system that allows for extra long casts similar to the other SPRO Little John crankbaits.  The key to using this bait is to allow the Fat John to bump into cover when retrieved.  All the SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill’s come with a computer chip board bill; this gives an angler a better feel when hitting cover and is more durable than a plastic bill.

*pic John Crews fishing

Remember crankbaits cannot always be all about looks, this is a fish catching bait that runs great and looks awesome. Tie on some Vicious 10 pound Elite Fluorocarbon and a SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill and go fish! You will be pleasantly surprised.

 

About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 25 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia. He is employed by Basseast.com, LLC as the Director of Marketing and Future Development. Tom is also a Project Leader for – Operation One Voice (501c3). He and wife, Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their 2 labs “Jake” and “Scout”.

 

Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr  and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr

Who just called me a Square Bill?

Have you seen the SPRO Fat John 60? Now it has a cousin called the Square Bill…

Fall is just around the corner and it is always a good time of the year to go try out a new crankbait. SPRO’s Little John family of crankbaits are all great to fish around rocks, brush, retaining walls, ledges, stumps, humps, creek channels, mussel shoals, and other hard objects. These types of objects make a crankbait a good choice to catch more fish.

*pic- courtesy of SPRO

Crankbaits come in a ton of different styles, shapes, and colors, and Bass Pro Shops has aisles full of them. But what makes the SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill better than the rest? Let me tell you it is more than just looks.  John Crews and his own personnel pro staff’s creativity have made the new SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill a must have item to put in your tackle box.

SPRO (www.spro.com) for years has had a talented pro staff, and Syd Reeves (Sales Manager- SPRO), uses their knowledge to create and design lures that catch fish, and many anglers want them. Bassmaster Elite Angler John Crews is not your typical bass fishing prostaffer. John has never been the guy that sits at a desk searching for the next great lure design. Crews is a fisherman who must go fishing to become a better angler. John’s input has made the Little John crankbaits better since the beginning of creating the first Little John crankbaits. His latest crankbait is the SPRO John Crews Signature Fat John 60 square bill crankbait which is just incredible.

The Fat John 60 is not like most Square Bill crankbaits. The bait was designed for the times when you need a different bill angle, a fatter looking bait, an above average size bait fish imitation, and for the times you just need big bulky baits compared to the other Little John crankbaits. The perfect situation to fish the SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill is in off color water, in the back of creeks as the water temperature begins to cool off, or when an angler is targeting bigger bass. All the Little John and Fat John crankbaits come with #3 Gamakatsu treble hooks, and all the bait runs in 1 to 3-feet of water.  The Fat John baits also feature a soft tungsten weight transfer system that allows for extra long casts similar to the other SPRO Little John crankbaits.  The key to using this bait is to allow the Fat John to bump into cover when retrieved.  All the SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill’s come with a computer chip board bill; this gives an angler a better feel when hitting cover and is more durable than a plastic bill.

*pic John Crews fishing

Remember crankbaits cannot always be all about looks, this is a fish catching bait that runs great and looks awesome. Tie on some Vicious 10 pound Elite Fluorocarbon and a SPRO Fat John 60 – Square Bill and go fish! You will be pleasantly surprised.

 

About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 25 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia. He is employed by Basseast.com, LLC as the Director of Marketing and Future Development. Tom is also a Project Leader for – Operation One Voice (501c3). He and wife, Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their 2 labs “Jake” and “Scout”.

 

Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr  and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr

 

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

I wish every month was May, good weather, good fishing, that’s about as good as things get. The biggest problem with May is deciding what to fish for and how to fish for it! So here are some options if you are planning, and you should be, a trip to Lanier.

The stripers are pretty angler friendly right now, but you have to find them first. The fish remain scattered and they are still moving around quite a bit so be versatile and keep looking. Be prepared to use a variety of methods, Freelines, downlines, and weighted downlines are all productive techniques right now, be prepared to use all three or a combination of all three to maximize your opportunities.  Watch to sonar to determine the best depth to place the baits.

The umbrella rig is also a good option and if the wind starts howling the rig can be a lifesaver. Pull the rig 15 to 20 feet deep over 20 to 30 foots humps, over points, or simply down the bank. For the most part, if you see the fish on the sonar, they will take the rig! Because trolling is such a high saturation technique, it is also a great way to locate fish.

Topwaters are taking a few fish and hopefully this bite will get a little stronger in the coming days. Cast Redfins, Zara Spooks, or Chug Bugs over humps and long tapering points for the best results. Keep your boat in 40 feet and retrieve the plugs over a 10 to 25 foot bottom. This technique will yield some big Spotted Bass a bonus!

Bass fishing is also very good and there are several techniques that will get your string stretched! One structure that has been consistently holding fish are the many stump flats in Lanier. In addition to holding plenty of fish they are located throughout the lake in abundance and fairly easy to find. Almost any bait can be effective over the stumps, but I really like to slow roll a spinnerbait over these areas. Cast the spinnerbait (1/4 oz. light color skirt with nickel blades) to the bank and then slowly retrieve the bait allowing it to continually gain depth all the way back to the boat. Many of the fish on these flats are in 7 to 18 feet, and allowing the bait to follow the contours of the bottom will often take the deeper fish that are too reluctant to come up and take the bait if is on or near the surface.  Jerkbaits (McStiks and Pointers) are also good choices to work over the stumps and if the bass do not respond to either of those baits show them the go to bait, Roboworms on a shaky head or a Texas Rig.

Crappie fishing is also pretty good, docks are the primary structure, but free standing brush is also holding some nice groups of fish. The fish are starting to bunch up nicely and are easy to see on the sonar. The Bobby Garland baits in Pearl and key lime have been effective, as have the Crappie Country Chenille jigs in the #3 and #10 color patterns. Many anglers stow away the Crappie gear after April but that is a mistake. The Crappie will often do the same thing in the post spawn, even use some of the same places, that they we doing in the prespawn, and the fishing pressure is decreased. May and early June often can be very prolific months so keep the Crappie gear handy for a few more weeks!

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

Striper fishing has been good. The fish are biting well, but typically for this time of year the fish become scattered and are not grouped up very well. Water temps and O2 levels are such that the fish have an abundance of good water to use, and they are taking advantage of that.  You may locate Stripers almost anywhere and they will move often, so fish fast and use high saturation techniques for the best results. Many patterns are producing so be prepared to use multiple techniques. Live Herring fished on free lines, weighted freelines and downlines are all productive right now. Stagger the depth of your baits until you define the bite, and remember that the variable of death may change often over the course of the day. Load the well with Herring, the Spotted Bass are going to eat them up so you’ll be burning through plenty of bait.

The umbrella bite has been pretty good and will account for good numbers with a few nice fish mixed in. Pull the rig over humps and points over a 25 foot bottom. The nine bait rigs are most productive and both the Capt. Mack’s shad and bucktail rigs will get the bite. On Mono, pull the rig about 100 feet behind the boat, if you are using braid in the 80 lb. range, 70 feet behind the boat will should keep you in the strike zone.

Bass fishing is good and while there are still good numbers of fish shallow, some still on the banks, there are plenty of fish moving onto the points and offshore structures in 15 to 25 feet. This transitional period will last a few more weeks, but the open water structures will become stronger as the water temps push towards the 80 degree mark.  Topwaters are accounting for some nice fish, the usual suspects are working well, Zara Spooks and Sammies are among several good choices.  Cast them over brush and stumps fields for the best results. Jerkbaits and spinnerbaits are also viable choices, and slow rolling a 3/8 spinnerbait (the Mini-Me bait is a good choice right now) over stump flats has been producing very well. I prefer light colors on the spinnerbaits, white and chartreuse combos with nickel blades seem to be really strong in recent days.

Keep a small, heavy bait tied on ffor the schoolers, they are popping up frequently, especially in the early am.  Flex-it spoons and game changers are good choices here, their compact size and weight unable you to make long cast to reach those fish that seem to be just out of casting distance. If you can show the fish one of the baits before they sound you are almost certain to get the bite!

I’ll give Crappie fish a good rating. I think dock shooting is the best pattern here, although blowdown trees and brush piles may also produce. Look for these structures in the 8 to 20 range in the middle and back parts of the creek, as always stained water is an asset if you can find it. The Bobby Garland bait has been the bait of choice, light colors on the bright days, darker colors with cloud cover or dusk/dawn. The Crappie are in transition as well so they are moving frequently, so don’t limit your search to where they were the last time you went fishing. Using your side imaging sonar to find the schools can be a big plus.

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

The Stripers are on a pretty good bite, but you will need to be versatile as the patterns are very varied.  The umbrella bite is good, pull the rigs over points, humps or down the bank in 20 to 30 feet for the best results. The 4 arm 3 oz. rig, shads or bucktails are both effective, 90 to 100 feet behind the boat has been a good combo. I think the trolling bite is best in the middle and upper parts of the lake.

We also have a top water bite that is developing and hopefully will become stronger as the week progresses. I think the Red fin has been the bait of choice, but don’t ignore the Zara Spooks, Sammies, and Chug bugs as the water warms. Cast the top waters over long tapering points and shallow humps, move fast, the bite will usually occur in the first few casts.

Live bait also remains very productive. Herring and Shad on Free lines and planer boards have been accounting for lots of strikes, pull them over the same areas where you would throw the top waters and you should stay plenty busy. Depending on the day and the wind velocity don’t be hesitant to add a little weight pull the bait don’t a couple of feet.

The Spotted Bass have been very cooperative in recent weeks and as is the case with the Stripers, there are many techniques that are producing well. In terms of numbers and consistency, the plastic worms (Roboworm in the Green Shiner and Prizm Shad patterns have been excellent color choices) on a jig head or a Texas Rig are probably the most consistent pattern. The bass may be on almost any shallow structure, blow downs, docks, and brush piles, to name a few. The stump flats I have mentioned in recent reports still have plenty of fish and the Bass may be anywhere from 4 to 20 feet. I start out on this type of structure with something fast, top waters, jerk baits, or weightless flukes. Use the worms as a change up after you catch a couple, or as the primary bait if the fish are reluctant to take one of the aforementioned baits.

The Crappie are biting, but they are a little scattered. I think many of the Crappie have spawned and are moving into post spawn patterns. There are still some fish in shallow cover, however their numbers seem to be dwindling. The Crappie will remain catchable throughout the post-spawn, and will often go back to the docks in numbers as strong as they were in the pre-spawn. Shooting docks is generally hard to beat during this period, Popeye jigs, Garland Baby Shads, and the Crappie Country chenille jigs are all good choice for dock shooting. Tipping the jig with a minnow is a good change up and will often reignite the bite after it slows. Up lake will give you the best numbers, but lower and mid lake may yield bigger fish in average if you can locate them.

 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

Striper Fishing is good and several patterns are producing!  Live bait on the freeline/planer board is still a very good technique, pull the baits over points, flats and humps for the best results. I have been using a combination of free lines and weighted freelines with success, I think the best way to determine the best configuration is to watch the sonar and add weight to the freelines accordingly.  Windy conditions may also necessitate added a couple of split shots to compensate for increased boat speed.   

Trolling the umbrella rigs is also producing well and this can be a great technique if the wind kicks up and makes live bait fishing/casting  difficult. Pulling the 3 oz., nine bait rig over 20 to 30 foot points and submerged islands has been the pattern.  The fish may be on clean bottom or on one of the numerous brush plies that adorn these high spots. Pull the rig 80 to 100 feet behind the boat at 2.5 mph for the best results. For the most part, if you mark fish you will get the bite! This pattern is basically the same as what we experienced last fall, and I think it is strongest in the middle and upper parts of the lake.

If either of those two pattern don’t appeal to you, night fishing is still good, and will probably remain so until the surface temps reach and hold the mid-70. McStiks, Flukes and Bombers will be good choices for after-hours fishing. Fish the shallow saddles between islands, long flat points, the backs of the creeks or dock lights.

Bass fishing is very good and as is the case with the Stripers, there are many techniques that will get good results. Worms on a shaky head or a Texas rig have been big producers and will probably offer the greatest consistency. The fish may be on almost any shallow structure, but a point or flat with a few stumps will be hard to beat. These stump flats are all over the lake, however, with lake levels at or above full pool, it can be difficult to identify these subtle flats by visually examining the shoreline.  Often it is simply a place on the bank where the contours flatten out and create a small point. Generally if there is clay on the bank it will hold stumps, and if the stumps are there the Spots will be there too. Lakemaster charts do a fantastic job of highlighting these areas and will make finding this and other types of structures quick and easy to locate.

Other baits to try on these same structures are jerkbaits, plastic lizards, and grubs on the shaky head.  Slow rolling a spinnerbait over these areas can also be very prolific. As a general rule, if it is slick, use the worms and grubs, if the wind is present try the faster moving baits in an effort to cover more water.

Crappie fishing is good and anglers are reporting very good catches. The Crappie are using a wide variety of structures, but I think shallow docks are the most prolific and consistent pattern.  Other likely places to fill the fish box would be blowdowns and visible cover in the backs of the creeks and coves. If you can find this flooded cover on the edge of a creek channel that is always a likely place to find the crappie bunched up. For the docks, The Bobby Garland baits on the leadhead jig will be hard to beat. In the shallow cover swimming grubs and live minnow under a weighted float should do the trick.

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report!

Ok, so there is a little extra pollen to deal with, but hey, it’s worth it! When the pollen is thick, the fishing is generally very good and now is no exception!

The Stripers are scattered out and while the open water bite will yield some fish, there are also fish on the points and flats as well. Pulling a big live bait spread using multiple planer boards will give you a wide footprint and allow you to better saturate an area.  Don’t be hesitant to pull the baits right up onto the points or near the banks.  Herring have been the bait of choice in recent days, but keeping a Gizzard Shad in the spread would be a very good option. Experiment with the amount of line out behind the planers, some days that can be a big factor, as is adding a split shot or two to the line. Boat Speed can also be a huge factor so keep tabs on how fast you are going may help tweak the bite. Keep a bucktail or a Mini Mack tied on; you never know when you will encounter surfacing fish. While this activity has been slow in recent days, expect to see more schooling activity as water tamps increase.

The night bite remains strong and may be the best overall option. Casting baits like the Spro McStik and the traditional 16 Bomber A’s are both producing good catches.  This technique will work on main lake points or in the backs of the creeks, and any dock /submerged lights you see are also good choices.

 Bass fishing is very good!!   Casting a Worm on a Jighead, I prefer the Weedless Wonder; will be hard to beat for numbers and consistency. Cast this rig around docks, shallow blowdowns, secondary points, or almost any type of shallow structure.  Jerkbaits and weightless Flukes are also good choices and allow you to move faster effectively covering more water. Don’t forget about the plastic lizards, they can be very productive at this time of year. They are effective on either the Texas rig or the Carolina rig

Crappie fishing has been good and the numbers have improved to compliment the big fish that have been showing up. The patterns are varied, but shallow docks, blowdowns, and flooded buck brush are all good structures. Small jigs, the Crappie Country Wow Grubs and the Sugarbugs Jigs have been producing well, along with live minnows. If you are fishing around the flooded cover in the backs of the creeks, place any of the above-mentioned bats under a small weighed float. This technique allows you to fish slowly without letting the bait get snagged on the bottom. Also, reeling the bait right up to a piece of structure and then stopping your retrieve to allow the bait to drop down to the fish can be very effective. Fishing is good in the upper parts of either river or in the backs of the lower end creeks. Stained water is a big asset!  

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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The Power of Costa Fathoms!

Costa – Fathom are an Oldie but a Goodie

By: Tom Branch, Jr.

 

The Costa - Fathom Series Sunglasses are hardcore sunglasses for hardcore fishing junkies. Co-injected, cold-molded frames deliver a perfect flexible fit with the best polarized lenses on the planet to give you maximum comfort and vision on the water. A true sportsman is always prepared, so keep an extra pair in your tackle box. These sunglasses actually grip the skin the more you sweat for the ultimate hold. No more loose wearing sunglasses. The patented vented temples help keep your lenses from fogging up, so you can always get the most out of your lenses.

 

Costa’s advanced 580 lenses provide 100% UV protection plus unmatched clarity, contrast, and definition. The 580 lens technology takes lens performance to new heights by eliminating glare from yellow light and boosting red, blue, and green—resulting in deeper colors and sharper contrast. These lenses also feature both a water-repellent coating and an anti-reflective coating.

 

Costa del Mar Sunglass Company was started by a group of Florida anglers with the goal of building sunglasses that would perform in any situation or condition on the water. Each pair of Costa sunglasses are still fine tuned in the Costa Florida workshop to ensure that the utmost quality is preserved with each pair of sunglasses. Costa warrants these sunglasses against defects in materials or workmanship for the lifetime of the product…. Not for a year, but a lifetime. The sleek and stylish Costa Fathom Sunglasses won’t let you down!

 

 

Frame Fit: Medium 
Lens Size: Large

580G Lenses - Featuring exclusive Light Wave Glass technology, these are Costa most high-tech lenses. 20% thinner and 22% lighter than average polarized glass.

Grey - Maintains color saturation and natural contrast in medium to bright sunlight conditions. This color provides excellent versatility for sports on the water or the land.

Blue Mirror - Made for the open water. Encapsulated mirrors deliver maximum contrast and color in full sun, while eliminating glare.

Retail: $118.30 - $239.99

 

What customers are saying:

Daniel Dalfino, “On my 5th pair. I wear them 8-10 hours a day and they usually last two years. Great product.”

David Bui, “The only sets of sunglasses comparable to these are Maui Jims and Revos. I have had 4 pairs of these sunglasses and they are the best I have ever put on. Raybans are a joke and only a name like many sunglasses, but you are getting the best technology out there in my opinion.”

 

Tabitha Shuey, “My husband kept mentioning that he wanted a pair of Costas and after reading many reviews and researching them I finally bought these for my husband for father’s day. I had a hard time spending this much money on sunglasses! We love boating and he loves to fish, so we spend a lot of time on the water. These things are amazing on the water. Now.... I am trying to refrain from ordering myself a pair but just may have to give in! We will definitely own more in the future...maybe the near future.”

 

Read more about Costa sunglasses and Costa sponsoring the Kenny Chesney’s 2011 Goin’ Costal Summer Concert Tour at http://www.costadelmar.com/

 

 

About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 25 years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia. He is employed by Basseast.com, LLC as the Director of Marketing and Future Development. He and his wife Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their 2 labs “Jake” and “Scout”.

 

Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr  and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

 

Striper fishing has been pretty good and we are seeing some really nice fish being caught! Planer boards and freelines are the ticket, Herring are probably the bait of choice but Gizzard Shad are also a good choice. Most of the fish are being taken in open water around bridges and bends in the river from Browns Bridge up to the 60 bridge. Finding the fish on this pattern is the challenge and that is best accomplished by watching the birds, looking for the isolated surfacing fish , or simply picking a section of the river and pulling the baits. The fish visible on the sonar, but because they are so scattered you will typically only see small groups of fish and maybe just singles. That is typical of this pattern and don’t be discouraged if you are not seeing big schools of fish.  Side imaging and 360 can definitely be an asset in this situation.

There are also some really nice Stripers moving up onto shallow points and bars in the upper reaches of the rivers. A big Gizzard Shad on a planer board will produce some awesome strikes, and this technique may get you a wallhanger! Don’t be hesitant to pull the boards right up on the banks!

Another option is after hours angling which remains a very good option! Bombers, small bucktails, and the McStiks will be good choices for the night bite. This techniques ramps up about an hour before sundown and is viable until just after sunup. Target the Stripers in the backs of the creeks or around dock lights.

Bass fishing is good; the fish are really pulling up and getting on the banks. If you just want to catch a bunch of fish, a Roboworm on a Weedless Wonder will be very productive and consistent. Other baits to try would be the jerkbaits, weightless plastics like the Flukes or Shadee Shads, and spinnerbaits. Almost any type of structure may hold fish, docks, Blowdown trees, secondary points, and stumpfields.  One bait that is really fun to fish and can be very productive in the days leading up to the spawn is the old floating Rapala. Cast this bait to around visible structures and fish it slowly with a twitch and pause motion. It is a very prolific technique and if you fish target the backs of the pockets it will produce some of nice of Largemouth Bass in addition to the Spots!

Crappie fishing is good, and we have had some really nice size fish being caught, although the numbers are a little lower than normal for this time of year. Look for the specs to be in shallow cover, docks, blowdowns, and flooded buck brush in the backs of pockets.  They are normally quick to bite, so move quickly until you locate fish.  Jigs and grubs are good choices for this type of fishing and both can be very effective fished under a weighted float. Just reel the bait slowly, pauses and stops will often trigger the bite.

OK, I’ll give the Walleyes Two more weeks, and if they do not start participating in our program we’ll take away their place in this column.  Other than a couple of anglers taking some fish out of the river, the Walleyes remain scarce. We have had reports of a few fish taken on jerkbaits by Bass fishermen, however, that has been the extent of the catch. If you want to target the Walleyes, concentrate on the upper parts of the river, search for the fish around rocky points and shallow humps. Brush is not a necessity but can be a plus!

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

1 Comments »

Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

Striper fishing is good, the numbers may be a little less than what would be the norm for late March, but many of the fish in the teens and into the mid 20 lb. range! The best pattern is still pulling the live baits over open water areas, basically over bends in the river channel. This pattern may work anywhere, watch the birds to help narrow your search, but I think it is best in the middle upper parts of the lake. Freelines and planer boards are the ticket here; Herring have been the bait of choice.  This technique is all about covering lots of water so put out a big bait spread and be persistent.  The Herring seem to do well on the hook for 15 to 20 minutes, be diligent about checking/replacing you bait as needed.

 Fishing the backs of the creeks is also a viable pattern, especially at dusk, dawn and through the night. If you fishing after dark, Spro McStiks, small bucktail jigs, and the Bombers will yield some nice fish if you are willing to miss a little sleep. Fish the aforementioned baits slow, and cast right up to the bank.

The Bass have responded nicely to the warming surface temps and anglers are reporting some nice catches in recent days.  There are several patterns that are working, and here are some options to get you started. There are plenty of Spotted Bass on the docks, the depth varies, but if I had to pick a number I would look at docks that have 20 to 25 feet of water in the front of the dock. This may change as the water continues to warm and look for the Bass to suspend right up under the docks and/or move to the back corners. Fishing a Roboworm (Green Shiner and Prizm Kraw are good color patterns right now) on the Weedless Wonder will be hard to beat; jigs may give you a better chance for the big fish.  Fish the front of the dock first, then cast down each side, and finish by flipping or shooting bait as far under the dock as possible. There are also fish holding over drains and ditches anywhere from 5 to 20 feet. Jerkbaits, Fish Head Spins, or Shadee Shad are good choices for this pattern and may yield a bonus Striper bite to keep you honest. If the fish will not respond to suspending or moving baits, switch to the worm or jig to tweak the bite.

Crappie fishing has improved and anglers are catching some nice strings of fish out of shallow cover in the creeks and pockets. Blowdowns, Docks, flooded grass and buck brush are all likely structures to search for the specs. Small jigs, the Crappie country Chenille jig in the # 10, 7, and 3 color patterns are good choices as are small swimming grubs and live minnows. Fish all of the above under a float; just keep moving until you locate fish, they are bunched up nicely so once you find ‘em, you should stay busy for a while!

The Walleyes are starting to wrap up their spawning run and are heading back out of the rivers into the lake. They will remain in the upper parts of the lake for a while so the opportunity to catch a few is still good. Small crankbaits on rocky areas, shallow humps or brush are good choices to cast for the walleyes.  Fishing at night or in low-light conditions may increase your chances of success dramatically.

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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Captain Macks Weekly Fishing Report

Striper Fishing has been good, and improving with warming water temps.  The main pattern remains pulling live baits over open water, mainly over the river channel. The bite is probably best in the upper parts of the rivers and I think the Chattahoochee side is the best option. Live baits on free lines and planer boards have been the best producers, but a few fish have been taken on down lines as well.  I am going to give Herring the nod as the bait of choice, but a Trout and or Gizzard Shad is always a good addition to your spread.  Depth seems to be the key and the distance behind the boat/planer can really influence the bite. Also, the addition of a little weight, #5 or #7 Split Shot, can be a very beneficial technique. Vary the distance and weight on your lines until you tweak the bite. Surfacing fish have been a little scarce, but there are a few to be found, mostly early and late in the day.  Keep a small bucktail tied on; if you see fish on top, they are quick to take the jig if you can get it to them quickly.  A ¼ or 3/8 Super Jig, tipped with a Shadee Shad should get the bite. On the bucktail, light line is a big plus. The smaller line allows for longer casts and makes those fish that seem to habitually be 10 feet out of range a little more accessible. Think 6 and 8 lb. test for the jig.

The Bass have also responded to the rising surface temps, but they are starting to move into shallower water. Creek Channels, ditches, and drains have all been good structures, and for this pattern I think the Fish Head Spin is the best bait. The slow steady retrieve is the ticket here.  There is also a good dock bite, Roboworms on the Weedless Wonder and the Spotsticker casting jigs are good choices for this pattern.  Target docks that are around 30 feet deep, the fish may be at any depth and often move over the course of the day based on weather and the sun. Dock fishing is a numbers game, run and gun until you can develop some type of pattern.  Jerkbaits are also viable baits and will become more so as the fish pull up on flats and points. For any of the above, I think the middle and upper parts of the lake are the most productive.

The Crappie bite is fair, maybe good, depending on the day. The fish are perhaps a little more scattered out than they might normally be in March, but they are really starting to move around as they prepare for the spawn. The techniques are varied with several methods producing fish. Long line trolling is still a good choice; fish the creek channels over a 7 to 15 foot bottom.  A slow troll seems to be best, let’s say .5 MPH, give a take a couple of tenths. Swimming jigs like the Crappie Country Wow Grubs have been good bait for the trolling. Docks are, as always, a good choice, shooting the docks with the Bobby Garland Grubs or the Sugarbugs Chenille jigs have been producing fairly well.

We actually have a Walleye report this week! The fish are in the rivers now, and we have a few anglers that are having some successful targeting the Walleyes. Small jigs, 1/8 or ¼ oz. bucktails fished slowly on or near the bottom is the pattern. Typically, the Walleyes will not be in the rivers long, they often spawn and head back down the lake so now is your chance! Historically, the Chattahoochee River has greater numbers of fish than the Chestateee, but there will be fish in both rivers. If you don’t want to make the run up into the headwaters, try targeting the Walleyes on lower lake rip rap. This technique is generally the most productive after dark, or in low light conditions. Small jigs and crankbaits fished slowly are a good choice for Mr. Walleye.

 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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Captain Mack's Fishing Report

Robert Estrada with a double header on the rig!

 

What a difference a week makes! The water has warmed nicely and fishing is improving for all species! If nothing else, at least we have been warm while we are trying to catch them!

The Stripers are waking up and in addition to a good average size the numbers are improving as well. There has been a good bite open water bite that has developed in recent days, live baits on free lines and planer boards have been the best producers. The addition of a little weight, a #5 or #7 Split Shot, seems to worth a few extra bites. Fish the baits 60 to 80 feet behind the boat or planer. The fish are still keyed on the smaller baits, so keeping a medium m Shiner or a threadfin Shad in the bait spread is probably a good idea. Herring are also very effective, and I would dedicate at least one line to pulling a big Gizzard Shad or Trout.  Keep a small bucktail tied on, we are starting to see some surfacing fish, especially early and late in the day, and if you can get to them they are quick to take the jig. A ¼ or 3/8 Super Jig tipped with a Shadee Shad has been an effective combo. Light line is a big plus on the jig, I prefer 6 or 8lb test, the smaller line allows for longer casts and more depth as you retrieve the jig. I think fishing is best in the middle parts of the lake.

Bass fishing has also improved and we are seeing the fish get up and move around a little bit. Docks have been a good pattern, of Course that can be tough to define since we have 7500 docks on the lake, but key on docks with some type of structure under or adjacent to the dock. Side Imaging is a big plus here as you can quickly determine which docks qualify, and often you’ll see the fish as well. That is not to say that a dock alone is not sufficient structure to hold fish, they often are, but an additional structure is usually a plus. The Roboworms (Green Shiner has been a good color choice) on the weedless wonder are a good choice to cast at the docks, as are rubber skirted jigs such as the Spotsticker casting jigs. Small cranking baits, I always like the Shad Raps in this cool water, and jerkbaits are also beginning to produce some fish in the backs of the pockets, look for this activity to increase as the water continues to warm.

The Crappie bite is ok, the numbers are area not as strong as they usually are in March, but I think that is due to cooler than normal water temps. The Crappie are also responding to improving water temps and look for the bite to really fire up any day. Shooting docks with the Bobby garland baits is the best pattern, and upper reaches of the lake are the most productive areas for this pattern. The longline trolling is also effective, pull small grubs along the creek channels over a 15 to 30 foot bottom, darker colored baits on overcast days, and lighter colors in bright conditions. The trolling pattern may be effective in creeks on any part of the lake.   

Walleye fishing is great, in Minnesota, but not much to report on here.  If anybody is catching them they are silent. There should be some spawning fish in the rivers, or in staging areas in the upper parts of either river. There may also be some really nice fish on lower lake rip rap as well. The rip rap pattern will probably be most productive after dark. Small jigs and crankbaits fished slowly are a good choice for Mr. Walleye.

 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

 

 

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Please wear your life jacket!

PLEASE Wear your life jacket….

Come on folks, how many people have to drown for everyone to begin wearing a life jacket all the time when you are on the water? Just the other day on Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta, Georgia another angler has drowned while fishing when he fell overboard. Read more about this story; follow the link below - http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2013/jan/07/lawrenceville-man-drowns-when-boat-capsizes-lake-l/

Why does this continue to happen? The National Safety Council, Inc. tells us that almost 7,000 people drown in the United States each year. This number must decrease in the near future; I am tired of seeing fishermen and outdoors people die on the water.  To make this number decrease we must begin to ask others to put on his or her life jacket when they are near or on the water.  For those of you that do not fish in tournaments, it is the rule that every angler in a competitive fishing event must wear a life jacket when the big motor is under power. This is a sound practice that needs to be carried over into a common sense law for all boaters.

In Georgia, for example, all vessels must have at least one USCG–approved Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device (life jacket) for each person on board. However, Type V PFDs are acceptable only when worn and securely fastened. These types of PFDs are for specific activities. To be acceptable by the USCG, they must be used for the activity specified on the label. Varieties include fishing, kayaking, water skiing, windsurfing, hybrid vests and deck suits.

The current Georgia law requires that all children under 10 years of age wear a U.S. Coast Guard—approved PFD while on board any moving vessel. This law does not apply when the child is in a fully enclosed cabin. In response to several fatal boating accidents this past summer, the Georgia legislature and Governor are expected to introduce legislation in 2013 to establish mandatory boater education, increase the PFD mandate to any child under 13 years old and possibly Personal Water Craft (PWC) education for those who rent PWCs.

Not only is it important to wear a PFD, but I believe it is just as important to make sure your fits properly. Sizing for adults is by using your chest size, not your weight. This will help determine the correct size. For children, their weight will determine the correct size. When trying a PFD on, they should be snug and fit like a glove, yet allow you to move freely and not restrict you while casting, paddling or just playing. To get the best feel and fit, wear similar clothing when trying on a PFD. Women should consider women-specific PFDs versus unisex styles. All PFDs will have a different design and foam placement to fit the contours of the body. Foam placement has more to do with comfort than safety. The more straps a PFD has, the more adjustments can be made to customize its fit. To assure a proper fit go to a repeatable marine store and allow a properly trained assist to help you.

LIfe Jackets

Types of PFDs: There are 5 categories of PFDs.

Type I: Offshore Life Jackets. These vests are geared for rough, open or remote waters where rescue may take a while. Though bulky, they have the most buoyancy, a bright color and can turn most unconscious people face up in the water.

Type II: Near-shore Vests. Made for calm inland waters, where there is a likely chance of a fast rescue is the intent of these PFDs. They will turn some unconscious wearers to the face-up position but not all of them. They are bulky, but less so than Type I.

Type III: Flotation Aids. These are suitable for most on the water activties where there is a chance for a quick rescue. They offer freedom of movement and the most comfort for continuous wear. Type IIIs are designed so wearers can put themselves in a face-up position, but they may have to tilt their head back to avoid being face down in water.

Type IV: Throwable Devices. Cushions or ring buoys are designed to be thrown to someone in trouble and provide backup to a PFD. They are not for non-swimmers, rough waters or the unconscious. The USCG does not require these for canoes or kayaks.

Type V: Special-use Devices. These are specialized PFDs for specific activities. To be acceptable by the USCG, they must be used for the activity specified on the label. Varieties include fishing, kayaking, waterskiing, windsurfing, hybrid vests and deck suits.

Last week, I was given the opportunity to wear and test the new Type V Mustang Survival M.I.T. 100 Auto Inflatable Life Jacket. The new M.I.T. 100 with Automatic Activation is a premium product at a truly affordable price.  The jacket suggested retail is $149.99 at your local Bass Pro Shops. When I put on this PFD and properly adjusted it, I was amazed at just how much freedom of movement I had casting a rod and reel, and moving around in the boat. This life jacket was so light and comfortable I had it on all day and hardly noticed it! So the acceptance of wearing a life jacket on the water all the time became more plausible!

Life Vest

If you don’t know your own state's regulation on life jackets and PFDs, go to the Boat U.S. web site and locate the laws specific to your state.  Web page link: http://www.boatus.com/foundation/ljlp/staterequirements.asp

Please help me eliminate drowning on and near the water across the country this spring by asking others to wear their PFD. My hope is that you, and your family will never have to find out if your life jacket works when you fall into the water. Really, is $150 to much to save your own life?

 

THANKS FOR READING..... BRANCH

About the author: Tom is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.

Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr   and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr   

Blog: http://outonalimbwithtombranchjr.blogspot.com/

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Stay Safe this Holiday Season while in the woods

Stay safe this holiday season while in the woods

By: Tom Branch, Jr.

For many families, including mine, the holiday season is about hunting and eating home-cooked meals, but safety should be as high a priority. I would rather be in a deer stand for the holidays than in the hospital from an injury. So all of us hunters must show some common-sense and follow safety precautions.

Did you know the majority of accidents occur while ascending or descending from a tree stand?

Every hunter should wear a safety harness system while climbing a tree and while sitting in a tree stand, no matter how high up a tree you are. Many of the current tree stand manufactures are providing a safety harness when you purchase a new deer stand. Make sure the safety harness you are wearing secures your shoulders, waist and legs all together as one system. Prior to any climbing, make sure your tether strap is attached to your harness and to the tree.  

Another danger is when climbing into a deer stand when the hunter steps over onto the stand from the ladder section. At this point, all of your weight is on one foot when you access the stability of the sitting area of the stand.

Another big mistake hunters make is not properly securing themselves into their stands once they have ascended the tree. Remember, you can fall out of your stand just as easily as you could going up the tree, or coming down it.

We all know that using a firearm can present a variety of dangers and safety hazards. Remember the firearm safety tips and guidelines you were taught in your Hunter Safety course. Make sure what you’re aiming at is what you want to hit. Identify your target prior to pointing your gun at it, and you must be 100 percent sure of your target before you pull the trigger.

All deer hunters in Georgia are required to wear at least 500 square inches of unbroken fluorescent orange when hunting deer during gun season (others should check their state regulations for more details). This also means when you are sitting in the deer stand you must wear your orange vest. Remember you are visible to other hunters and not to the deer.

All hunters need to follow the state’s legal requirements. To read more go to:
http://www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations

Please use what GOD gave you in the form of common sense and have fun in the great outdoors.

Happy Holidays from my family to yours..... BRANCH
 

About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years and he is a part owner of Wave Away, LLC.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.

Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr  and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr

Blog: http://outonalimbwithtombranchjr.blogspot.com/

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Capt. Judy Helmey's Fishing Report

The Spotted Sea Trout has been good!

Artificials are working!!

 Artificials

This is what Captain Matt called lures that need to be put in the discard pile!  The yellow jig with the “Electric Chicken” paddle tail still has a few casts left.  However, the one below tail is missing isn’t much good at this to point.  During this time of the year it’s always a fisherman’s choice on whether or not they want to go to the artificial zone once they get the spotted sea trout bite start.  Some fisherman say, “During the warmer water times blue fish as well as others that have sharp teeth are known for really taking a toll on the artificial baits.  According to Captain Matt in some cases you are just a busy replacing lures as you are baiting up shrimp. As far as cost according to Captain Matt, “Its possible cost between live shrimp and the artificial is about the same!” 

 

So here’s suggestion for those that want to go artificial at this time of the year take all of you oldest and give them a try. The reason being is that once you get the bite going the old spotted sea trout is hitting movement not any special color or style!

 

Got Trout?

Captain Kevin Rose finds some great clean water conditions…

Trout

Photo by Captain Kevin Rose of Miss Judy Charters

When you find yourself in clear water conditions the bite is definitely on!

Cindy Hess and her son Nick had a great inshore light tackle catching day with Captain Matt!

The inshore spotted sea trout bite continues to get better every day.  However, inshore fishermen have had a hard time dealing with leftover windy conditions from Sandy.  However, if you can find a place to fish out of the wind I suggest giving this area a try.  Best live baits are shrimp and mud minnows. Whatever you do don’t forget you camera!!

Spotted Sea Trout

Cindy Hess and her son Nick caught a nice mess of spotted sea trout while fishing with Captain Matt Williams of Miss Judy Charters!  The mother son fishing team really scored big time!!  Even though windy conditions prevailed Captain Matt still found a spot where the fish were feeding!  The bite started with shrimp and ended with artificals!!

 

Artificial Reef Report

Spanish mackerel Bite

Spanish Mackerel

There is one thing that you can count on especially at this time of the year and that’s “CHANGE!” 

The reason being is that water temperatures are on the fall, but can “teeter toddler.”  It’s a simple as well as unpredictable occurrence at this time of the year. Approaching cold fronts as well as the simple in coming and out going tide can temporarily drop the water temperature.  These effects sometimes are permanent while other times they are not.  With that being said, “Sometimes when the water temperature drops it warms right back up. 

 

Summer trout also known as Weak fish!!

Summer Trout

 

I had to show off this nice summer trout which was caught by one of my customers while using a very small piece of cut squid.  During this time the artificial reefs are holding some nice summer trout.  Please don’t forget you dip net these fish has very weak mouth design. Sometimes lifting them out of the water into the boat doesn’t always work.  However, if you have a net under them your chances are going to be a lot better in the landing department!

Savannah Snapper Banks

Snapper Banks

This is a fine gag grouper, which Captain “Triple Trouble” Steve caught, while jigging in about 120 feet this past spring.  The best news that I can tell you is, it’s once again the best time of the year where both gags and scamps are on the move.  The reason being is its migration time for the big bottom fish.

For those fishermen that just like to go fishing now is the time but only if, you want plenty of bottom and even some top water action!  Even though there are some fish closures there is plenty other fish to catch as well as keep in the sea!!  

Blue Water Fishing Report!

If you go let me know!!

  High speed trolling, trolling regular, and bottom fishing…all will work!!

Going soon and will publish catching results!  However, if you get the chance, please go, because now you know…It’s time to make blue water run!!

 

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Fishing Clinics with Miss Judy's Charters

2013 INSHORE and OFFSHORE FISHING CLINICS

It’s time to sign up!!

 

Inshore Light Tackle Fishing

Stephanie O’Conner scores a big one!

Red Fish Fishing Is Good!

If you don’t believe me Just Ask Stephanie O Conner

Trophy Red Fish

Photo by Captain Kevin Rose

Stephanie O Conner along with her husband Jeff fished with Captain Kevin Rose of Miss Judy Charter this past week.  She is holding a nice trophy red fish, which was caught, fought, and released.  The Duo caught quite a few spotted sea trout on this fish day.  According to Captain Kevin, Stephanie did an amazing job of finding fish with prefect drifts!    With all this being said, “It’s time to go inshore light tackle fishing!” 

 

“Inshore Trolling and Strolling!” 

With a local legend Captain “Uncle” Bob Morrissey

My long time friend Captain “Uncle” Bob while trolling and strolling caught 10 nice spotted sea trout and one blue fish in less than three hours.  All fish were caught while trolling red head jig rigged with green or white chartreuse screw tails.  As my uncle always said, “Proof is in the cooler, but in this case it’s lying at his feet!”  

  Spotted Sea Trout

Caught these trout while using this secret bait

Secret Bait

Red head jig with white screw tail.  It’s the Captain “Uncle” Bob spotted sea trout catching special!!

For those that don’t know…taking a lure for a drag is sometimes referred to as “Trolling and Strolling!  Not matter what you care to call it, it time to give this type of fishing a try!!

  C.A.L.

Now you know what to buy!!  Better hurry, because as soon as this is published these lures will be flying off the tackle shelves, because, fishermen as well as the fish have been informed!!

 Captain Matt William has what is called Flounder Power!!

Flounder Power

Captain Matt Williams is holding up three nice flounder, which were caught while fishing for spotted sea trout.  In a fisherman’s world these flounder would be called a “by-catch!”  The means he wasn’t targeting them, but they just happened to be feeding in sequence with the trout!  All I can say, “What a nice by-catch!”  The only thing left to do is to decide whether you are going to fix broil, crispy scored flounder, or baked flounder for dinner!! I this case I would try it all three ways!!

 Offshore Bottom fishing is just plain fun!

Offshore Bottom Fishing

Offshore fishing is still very good

The offshore fishing in around 130 feet of water has been very good with fishermen catching a little of everything from top water to bottom fish.. My suggestion is don’t think about it just make plans to go…the water temperature is still around mid seventies!! The best bait is always going to be cut squid…because I haven’t met a fish that didn’t like the stuff!!

 Grant Grosch and his father Greg…

Two at a time

Grant Grosch and his father Greg are having a good time catching one bottom fish after another.  Grant decided one fish wasn’t enough so he started catching them two at a time!

Grosch Irrigation Company Fishing Team

Also known as “CATCHERS OF FISH!” 

Grosch Fishing Team

The Grosch Fishing Team!!

 I would like to report that the Grosch fishing team caught, fought, and released some really nice fish.  They caught trigger fish, vermilion snapper, genuine red snapper, banded rudder fish, almaco jack, ocean perch, and to top it off…a nice size Spanish mackerel jumped into the boat…and we kept it too!!!

 

Blue Water Fishing Report!

This is the area where the water is always warm in which the fish like to roam!!

If you go let me know!!

  High speed trolling, trolling regular, and bottom fishing…all will work!!

Going soon and will publish catching results!  However, if you get the chance, please go, because now you know…It’s time to make blue water run!!

 

Freshies Report

It’s time to give Bill Vanderford a call!!

Bill Vanderford is “Lake Lanier’s Legend!”

For more about my long time friend Bill Vanderford as well as his accomplishments, his freshwater charter trips or wildlife tours, books written and his special line up of tackle offered, please visit his site http://www.fishinglanier.com/contact.html for all the details!  For more details go http://stores.ebay.com/Fishy-Racer http://www.youtube.com/fishyracer www.cafepress.com/grapefruitshop

http://fishinglanier.com/

 

“Little Miss Judy’s Believe It or Not.”

Nuclear Submarine and me!

Miss Jerry

My father’s boat Miss Jerry!

This is one of those bottom line stories that really happened.  I decided to write about this instance due to the fact that submarines are suppose to be one of the most technical pieces of equipment that there is. However after hearing about all of these collisions at sea, which really never happened, according to those that govern I thought I would share with you what did happen a long time ago.  I really did have a “Close Encounter with a nuclear submarine!”  Which begs to wonder,” Who the heck is at the helm?”  

During the year of 1995 while trolling in approximately 600 feet of water, I was buzzed by what I call a submarine-tracking plane.  The A-Wax plane flew over my boat, heading east and then directly made a hard turn back to me.  When the plane got about 100 feet from my bow a very large object went under my boat.  It was unbelievably big; this wasn’t a fish or whale. Yes, I did hook it up; the object/submarine got tangled in both of my down riggers, which were 100 feet down.  We were heading east and the submarine seemed to be heading southwest with my downrigger lines in tow.  The submarine completely pulled one rigger off.  This started a chain of tangles with the wire that was already hung on the submarine tower.  Finally after a few seconds, which seems like minutes, the main tangle broke.  We retrieved all equipment and bait, but the wire line was unusable not to mention the stand that used to hold the downrigger. However the rigs and ballyhoo on them were unharmed.

I have one last thing to say about this….If I had landed that rascal can you imagine how much I could have gotten for it at the old scrap metal market?

Thanks for reading!  Captain Judy

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