CAPTAIN MACK'S WEEKLY FISHING REPORT

I hope you have had the opportunity to get out and enjoy the lake. The weather has been fantastic and fishing has been overall pretty good.

The stripers are all over the lake, typical for October, and you’ll need to be versatile to be successful. I think in terms of consistency, the umbrellas have been the best producer. Pull the rig around 20 feet deep over20 to 35 foot points and humps and you’ll be able to catch good numbers of Stripers in the 3 to 12 lb. range. This pattern is good in the lower and middle parts of the lake.

Down rods are still accounting for good catches and as of last week there were still good groups of fish roaming over the river channel, with the fish being anywhere from 30 to 80 feet. This pattern requires some searching, but can provide a big payoff if you can locate the fish.  Live Baits on the freelines and Planers are also coming into play, and heading up into the river with some trout or Gizzard Shad may get the big bite.

The Schoolers are inconsistent at best, but they are showing up, be on the lookout as they may pop up anywhere, any anytime. Casting topwaters to points and humps will also yield some Striper bites with some nice Spotted Bass as a Bonus.

Bass Fishing is pretty good, especially relative to the calendar. Water conditions and temps are such that you may catch fish anywhere, and that is usually the case during turnover, you may encounter widely varying water conditions that change frequently and yesterday’s success may not carry over to today so do not get too locked into a certain pattern or technique.  

Jigs have been a big producer, fish them on points, humps and around brush. Tipping the jig with the Yamamoto Twin tails, either the 4 or 5 inch model will do nicely. The drop shot is still prodding in these same Areas, Green Pumpkin, Green Shiner, and Hologram dawn are good color choices on the drop shot. Both of these baits are good choices if we have the bright sun with little or no wind as we experience in recent days. If we do get some wind, or if the clouds return, don’t rule out casting topwaters and swimbaits over brush and other structures.  The Super Spooks, Savage gear Swimbaits, and the Sworming Hornet Swimbaits will be good choices for this technique.  If none of that works out, try fishing shallow cover in the middle and upper parts of the lakes, this may yield some nice Largemouth bass in addition to the Spots.

Crappie fishing has been extremely good, at least for numbers. Free standing brush is probably the best producer, but docks with brush, and bridge pillars are also productive. Hair jigs and soft plastic, especially the Bobby garland Jigs, will both get the bite. Grab a few dozen live minnows as well, they also have been very effective. You can fish the minnow on the downline, or use them to tip the jig.  If the fish stop biting the artificials, minnows are a great change up to reignite the bite.  Fishing is good all day, but the bite may be a little better in the am hours!

 

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 lake is well into the turnover phase and that has slowed fishing some compared to recent weeks, but there are plenty of fish being caught you’ll just have to work a little harder than you did during Sept. The fish are also using more of the lake, and while there are fish using the deep water areas, there are fish moving up onto points and humps as well. The fish will also leave the lower end and the middle and upper parts of the lake can be very productive as well.

The Striper bite is typical for this time of year, and the patterns are varied. Down rods are probably the biggest producer, followed very closely by the umbrella rig.  Depending on the time of day, and wher e you are at, there are also some fish taking freelines and live baits on the planer boards. So in a nutshell, be prepared to use a variety of techniques.  

Pulling the Umbrella is very effective and is also a good way to look for fish. Target humps, and points in the 35 to 40 foot range. Beginning at this point last year, this point/submerged island pattern was very strong, and very consistent. It is an easy pattern because if the fish will often be in big schools and very easy to see on the sonar. Generally, if you see them they will take the rig, but will often spook after you make one or two passes. If you will revisit the same place in an hour or so, often the fish will usually return and be ready to take your offering again.

We are getting a few reports from the night shift, and they are pretty good! Lots of smaller fish being caught on the Bombers, and that will pattern will probably get stronger as the water cools! With the mild weather we are having you might want to dust off the Bombers and take ‘em fishing one night!

Bass fishing is pretty good, but the patterns are widely varied and the fish are moving frequently. As is often the case as the lake turns, every day is diffenent and versatility is the key! With that being noted, here are some general guidelines to get you started. On the lower end, brush is awfully consistent, 20 to 25 feet is a god number. This brush pile bite seems to be best when there is plenty of sun. Throw a top water or fish head over the brush, and then follow that up with the worm. The same pattern will also produce in the middle and upper parts of the lake, but you should not have to fish as deep, more like 12 to 20 feet. If you are in the upper two thirds of the lake, there is also a pretty good shallow bite, try buzz baits and rattletraps around any shallow cover in the back parts of the coves and pockets.

There are some surfacing fish that bite is sporadic, but still be on the lookout, they may pop up anywhere, at any time. Regardless of where you are on the lake, keep tabs on the bait schools. Many of the fish are really moving with the bait, so locating the shad/Blueback’s can be a big asset. 

Crappie fishing is excellent right now with anglers reporting some huge numbers. Triple digit catches have been common, so you may want to devote some time to searching out a fish dinner. The upper areas of the lake are best, and brush piles have been the big producers.  Look for brush that is in 15 to 25 feet of water, topping out around 6 to 15 feet. The fish are really starting to bunch up once you find them and 360 or side imaging can be a big plus here. Hair jigs and soft plastics ware both accounting for good catches right now.

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 really strong and the summer patterns have remained intact. Last week was actually extremely strong, and lots of angler credit the activity to the Supermom that occurred on the 27th. Maybe it was the usual weather pattern that crated the low flat skies and pesky rain/drizzle. Maybe a combination of both? Either way we’ll take it, especially this time of year! The Method has still been the same as in recent weeks, look for the big schools over the creek and river channel and once you see them, send down the downlines and or the power reelers. Trolling lead core or umbrella rigs is also effective in catching and finding fish. The only difference between now and the last 12 weeks, is the addition of some Fall patterns that are just  starting to emerge. We have seen a few, emphasis on a few, schooling fish so keep an eye open for the surface activity. Even if they are up and down quickly, go to where you saw them and do a quick sonar search, you may find them a bunch of ‘em down deep.

With water temps in the low to mid 70’s, you can’t rule out the night time bomber bite.    That activity is typically best when the surface temps are between 72 and 60, but generally will start as soon as temps drop below 80. I have used this pattern successfully as early as Labor Day, but generally you only catch small fish until the water reaches the lower 70’s. I have not gotten any feedback on this technique yet, no one has been since fishing has been so strong during the day, but keep it in mind as we move into October.

I’ll Bass fishing a rating somewhere between goo and fair. Fishing seems to be best in the middle part of the lake, which is typical for this time of year. The techniques in that part of the lake are really across the board and the fish are using a variety of depths. Almost any structure may hold fish, and the pattern may change daily, but here are some things to get you started. If you are in the middle or upper parts of the lake, try some Top water on the points and around brush in the mornings, or a buzz baits in the pockets or the backs of the creeks. As the day progresses, worms and jigs around brush, docks, and rocky points should get the bite.

On the lower end, think main lake structures anywhere from 20 to 45 feet. A worm on the drop Shot will be the mainstay, but jigs and booger heads will also be effective. Keep a spoon tied on to drop to fish you see, or to cast to schoolers. The shallow end of the above depth range will be best for numbers, the deeper end yields the bigger fish. The buzz bait will also be effective in the backs of the lower end creeks.

Crappie are perhaps a little inconsistent but for the most part fishing is good. Brush is the key, (A blown down tree qualifies as brush), and it can be free standing brush or brush under/around a dock.  Concentrate on a 15 to 20 foot bottom, expect the fish to be 8 to 12. Of course that last set of numbers can vary widely, depending on weather and time of day. Soft plastics and hair jigs will both get the bite!

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

September fishing has been extremely productive, especially for the Stripers! Bass fishing is also good and while the Crappie may be running a bit on the small side, the numbers are good.

The Striper bite continues to be excellent and finding fish has been fairly easy, just idle or troll along the river channel, the lower end creek channels and pockets and gulley’s running into the aforementioned creek and river channel. If you cover enough of these areas, you should see some really good groups of fish. One trick that may expedite the finding fishing process-key on the middle sections of the lower end channels, and particularity any bends in the channels. This has been a very good pattern, very consistent, and may save you some searching.

The techniques are the same, trolling Chipmunks on Lead core or pulling umbrellas are both racking up good numbers, but these techniques are for the most part yielding smaller fish. Live Herring on the downline and power reeling both being extremely productive for both numbers and size. The downline bite has been strong, but be aware of one thing - for some reason, the fish will take the bait and move up, quickly, as opposed to swimming down. If you see one of your downlines go completely slack, grab the handle and crank, fast, so that you can catch up  to the fish and get the line tight. The same is true with the power reeling, you’ll hook a fish and it may run straight up. When that happens crank hard to keep the line tight or there is reasonable chance he shakes the bait free and you are left with a big one that got away story.  The big Magnum spoons, Chipmunk Jigs and Herring are all good choice for the power reeling. Fishing is good all day, but afternoon/evenings seem to be the best.

Bass fishing is also good, with not much change to report here. The fish are using a big depth range, with some fish showing up shallow and others being caught as deep as 45 feet. I think the best areas are humps and long tapering points from 25 feet to as deep as 45 feet. The deeper end of that depth range will generally produce the bigger fish, but fewer numbers. Robos on the drop shot are good for numbers and consistency, Moring Dawn, green Shiner, and Warmouth have been good color choices for the worms this week. The Chattahoochee Green Pumpkin Jig is also a good producer, and Fish Heads and Flutter spoons are good to have on hand to cast at fish you see suspending over these areas. Many of the fish are not relating to brush making them easy to on the sonar, so graph an area thoroughly to locate the biggest concentrations of fish.

Crappie fishing is good, with lots of numbers but the larger fish seem to be a little tough to come by. Brush piles have been the best structures, and piles that top out around 10 to 12 feet have been holding good numbers of fish. Any brush may hold fish, but many of the fish seem to be in the middle parts to backs of the creeks, especially flats that are adjacent to a channel.  Going up lake will be your best bet, say from Little Hall and up ion the Chestatee side, and into Little River/Wahoo creek, or up the ‘Hooch from Little River up.  Popeye jigs and soft plastics will are both producing well. I think fishing is best in the early am, so get your Crappie dinner and then go catch the Afternoon striper bite!

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 summer patterns are still strong on Lanier and anglers are reporting good catches of Bass, Crappie and Stripers!

The Striper bite deserves an excellent rating, and deep water areas such as the lower end Creek channels and  the river channel are where you need to search for fish.  The techniques are the same, live Herring on the downrods, power reeling spoons and jigs, and trolling jigs on leadcore and umbrella rigs.  Using Side imaging and 360 sonar can be a big plus for finding fish right now, so if you have these options utilize them to pinpoint the Stripers.

Power reeling has been strong, either the Parker Magnum Spoons or Chipmunk jigs will get the bite, tip the Chipmunk with a Herring for the best results. On the Parker spoon, adding a stinger hook to the top of the spoon will increase your strike to hookup ratio fairly substantially, it will also sting you just as well as the fish so be careful when handling the fish and the spoon. If you are power reeling a Herring, which is a very good technique, try using a drop shot rig. This will eliminate the line twist that comes from using a traditional downline rig and it keeps the bait and sinker in-line, as opposed to having the Herring above the sinker as it free falls.

Leadcore trolling is still accounting for some good catches, as are the umbrellas. With the Umbrella you’ll need to get the rig to 25 feet or more, so let out plenty of line, or add weight to the rig in the form of an egg sinker or use larger jigs. Pulling the rig on lead core or behind the downrigger is also a good option. Fishing is good all day, but I think the best bite is in the afternoon and the power draw is an asset most days.

If you are trying to catch Bass, you should be able to catch some good numbers fishing 20 to 24 foot brush with the drop shot rig. Roboworms in the Green Shiner, Arron’s Morning Dawn, and Green Weenie patterns are all good color choices. If you’ll go deeper, the fish will get bigger, but fewer in number. Brush on 30 to 45 foot humps will also hold fish, and the same rig will produce on these deeper areas as well.  Look for schooling fish, they are still a little sparse, but this activity is on the increase and will should continue to improve as water temps begin to cool.

We also have a pretty good shallow buzz Bait bite emerging in the backs of the creeks, or up in the upper parts of the lake. The further up Lake you go, the greater the chances of catching some nice Largemouth Bass. This will work all day, but is probably strongest in the am hours.

 Crappie fishing is good and the numbers have been improving over the last few days! Brush piles are the best structures, and hair jigs or the Bobby Garland baits are both producing well. If you are fishing deep, say 12 feet or deep, try using two jigs in tandem. This will make it easier to keep the bait in the strike zone, but still allows you to fish the small baits that the Crappie prefer. The tandem rig is also a plus in windy conditions. Early morning seems to be the best time to fill the well with Crappie, and uptake areas are the most productive.

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

Lake Lanier is 1.75 feet below full and the surface temps are in the mid 80’s. Fishing has been very good for Stripers, and Bass, we’ll give the Crappie fishing a fair rating.

Striper fishing has been very good and there are several techniques that are producing nice catches right now. Live Herring on the down rods are very effective, with some fish still taking weighted flat lines in the early am hours. There are even a few of the smaller Stripers pushing bait up to the surface in the first hour of the day, keep a top water, small jig, Flex-It Spoon,or a game changer tied on  to cast to the schoolers. Also, when you see surfacing fish, even if you think they are all Spots, or if they sound, go over and do a quick sonar check, often you will see the fish in 25 to 40 feet, waiting for you to send down a bait!

Umbrellas are still working well and are accounting for some very good numbers. Pull the rigs into pockets and coves adjacent to creek channels or the river channel, and pull all the back to a 30 foot bottom as many of the fish are still working into the backs of these areas. If you see big concentrations of fish, clear the rigs and send the Herring down, and/or start power reeling a buck tail.

As the water heats more Stripers are gravitating to the River channel and the major creek channels. Lead core is a good option here, a 1 or 1.5 oz. chipmunk jig 7 or 8 colors back is a good combo. This bite is just developing and is not producing huge numbers, but the average size has been very good. Overall Striper fishing has been good all day, but I think the bite is best in the early am and late evening hours.

Bass fishing is good and if you are out early watch for the schoolers! We are seeing a lot of surfacing fish for the first couple of hours of daylight, Zara Spooks, Chug Bugs and small buck tails will be good choices for this pattern. After the surface activity slows, concentrate your efforts on brush in the 20 to 30 foot range. Jigs, and worms are both effective for the brush bite, and the drop shot will be hard to beat for numbers and consistency. Don’t rule out a spoon, if you can see any decent concentrations of fish on the bottom, drop a Flex-it down to them and hang on! The Flex-It spoon is also very effective when cast to the schooling fish, it’s weight and compact size allow for long casts making those far away fish a little easier to reach!

Crappie fishing is just ok, it is not so much that the fish are not biting, it is more a matter of the fish being really deep.  Many of the fish are 20 feet or deeper making it very difficult and very slow to present small jigs in those depths. Try fishing two jigs on a tandem rig, this allows you to fish a small bait, but it will sink into the strike zone much more quickly when you double the weight. Live minnows on a downline are a good choice for these deep fish as well. Night fishing under the bridges in the upper parts of the lake can also be very effective and a good way to beat the heat and boat traffic. Live minnows or very small threadfin shad are the baits of choice for this pattern

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 very good and the patterns are very typical for this time of year. Herring on the downlines are producing well and will continue to be a primary technique throughout the summer. Fishing the downlines around 25 to 30 feet over a 30 to 50 foot bottom has been very productive in recent weeks, but as always, watch the sonar and place your baits slightly above the fish for the best results.

Trolling remains a great option and the umbrellas are also producing well. This pattern has changed in the last few days and you find that you need to pull the rig a little deeper to get the bite. Humps and, points are still productive areas, and there are good numbers of fish in the pockets adjacent to creek channels, over a 30 to 50 foot bottom. In addition to those patterns, we are seeing more and more fish move out over the creek channels and the old river channel as is to be expected as we enter into July. If you have downriggers, now is the time to utilize them! Downriggers are a very effective tool and can be extremely productive on the Stripers, Umbrellas, Single jigs, Spoons, and a variety of plugs are all effective behind the downriggers.

The bass are really settling into their deep water summer homes and we are seeing some nice concentrations of fish. Main lake brush is, and probably will be the dominant structure now that the surface temps have climbed into the mid to upper 80’s.  Look for brush on the main lake humps and points. Casting swimbaits and topwaters over these piles should get the bite, and may get you hooked up to some big Spotted Bass. Now that the water has warmed, you can fish either of these two types with a brisk retrieve, a faster pace may help trigger the bite. After you have caught a couple with the top water/swimbait, follow it up with a Roboworm on the shaky head or the Texas rig and you should get a couple more bonus bites. Almost any shade of the Roboworms are effective, but Morning Dawn, Aaron’s Morning dawn, Prizm Kraw and Baby Bluegill have all been good color patterns in recent days.

Night fishing is still a viable option, and will definitely be cooler! Look for the fish to be using main lake humps and points, basically the same areas you fish during the day, but perhaps not quite as deep. The bass will often move into slightly shallower water, think 12 to 25 feet after the sun sets. Crankbaits, worms and big bladed spinnerbaits are all good options after dark.

Crappie fishing is good, but now that many of the fish are in 18 to 25 feet deep, it is a painstakingly slow process. Fishing minnows on a downline as opposed to casting small jigs is a good option and is often a more efficient method for these deeper fish. Brush piles, docks with brush and bridge pilings are all good structures to search for the Crappie and the upper part of the lake is probably the most productive area.

Night fishing is also a good option to target the Crappie, and dropping a submersible light on any of the above mentioned structures can be a great technique. Tying up under the bridges after sunset and putting out a big spread of lights is also a good technique going into the summer.

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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Dutch Oven Cooking- Stacking

We had so much interest in our Dutch Oven cooking post, we're going to explore it a bit further. In the first article, we mentioned "stacking" Dutch ovens...so what's that all about? Here's more from our own Tiffany Noble, camping Associate and Dutch Oven cooking expert...and she has included another recipe!

Stacking your Dutch Ovens is a good way to save space and share heat. Stacking is best done when ovens need the same amount of heat on top and bottom. Photo from tbah.blogetery.com

The coals on the lid of one oven serve as the "underneath" coals for the oven stacked on top...and the oven on top helps trap heat for the oven underneath. Items that need more heat should be on top.

So, let's say you're making a cobbler, roast, and a stew. How do they stack up? Breads, desserts, and baked items should be in the bottom oven, since they want very little heat underneath. Placing an oven with a cake, pie, or rolls in it, on top of an oven loaded with coals on the lid will burn your food.

Then, put your meat to roast in the middle and the stew on the top. Heat estimating can be more difficult when stacking and you might have to make several tries before you get the hang of doing this. Here are some more tips:

  • Don't mix and match ovens that require different amounts of heat on top and bottom.
  • Remember to check your food a few more times than you would normally when you first try this stacking technique.
  • Rotate each oven and the lid, every so often, to get even cooking.
  • There are many environmental factors that can change the temperatures of your ovens. Wind might blow heat away, colder air temperature, light rain, higher humidity and higher elevations reduce heat from coals, and heat from the sun can make your ovens hot.
  • A dutch oven holds a lot of heat in the sides and lid. You can move it off of the coals before it is finished cooking and let it finish with just the heat of the pot.

It takes some planning, but an entire meal can be fixed this way, so it all gets done at the same time.

What about the number of coals? As an example, if you're using three, 12" diameter pots to make your cobbler, roast, and stew by stacking, following are some basic rules of thumb to figure out how much coal to use on each. Remember, in our first post, we said to take the diameter of the pot and add three for the top coals and subtract three for the underneath coals. In this case, that would be 12+3 (15) and 12-3 (9). When stacking you do it a little differently because, as mentioned earlier, the pots absorb heat from each other.

Estimates for Coals on Dutch Oven Stacks
Baking Take your total number of coals that you calculated for use, and use 3/4 on top and a fourth underneath.
Roasting Use half of your coals on top and half underneath.
Stewing, Simmering Put a fourth of your coals on top and 3/4 underneath.
Frying, Boiling Put all your coals underneath.

Now, another one of Tiffany's fave recipes...an easy one for first-time Dutch Oven cooks...enjoy!

Homestyle Chili and CornbreadPhoto from lodgemfg.com

1 lb ground beef (ground venison or other wild game works, too!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 (20oz) can tomatoes, chopped or tomato sauce
1 lg yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 lb uncooked kidney beans

Cover beans with 2"-3" water. Bring to boil, remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain and set aside. Brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer about a half an hour. Then, I mix up a cornbread mix (Uncle Buck's Cornbread Mix is perfect for this!) and pour it right on top of the chili. After about another half-hour of cooking time or when the cornbread is cooked all the way through and golden brown it's ready!

Variations: Use black beans instead of kidney beans. Add fresh ground coriander, cilantro, ginger, Smoked paprika, or cocoa. Add chopped jalapenos or canned diced green Chiles for extra heat!

 

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Captain MAck's Weekly FIshing Report

Striper fishing continues to be outstanding, both for numbers and size. The techniques and methods are very typical of August and there has been little or no change in the patterns in recent days. Since that is the case, I can devote a little more time to technique and really get your game tweaked!

Power reeling has been off the hook, and I would actually give it the nod as the best technique. Parker spoons and 2 oz. Chipmunks are the baits of choice. The specifics of the power reeling are varied, but here is what I think is the best technique and why: many anglers want to jig the bait or fish it at specific depths. To maximize the power reeling, drop the spoon all the way to the bottom, or to the top of the timber, and reel it back up to 30 feet, then repeat until you get a bite. The reason I advocate this is simple, by reeling all the way through the water column, as opposed to jigging it in place, you are showing your bait to huge numbers of fish! A stationary bait may get the bite, but by moving the bait up and down continuously, it becomes an extremely high saturation technique.

The Live Herring Downline bite is still very good, and there is a footnote for this technique as well. Many of the fish will take the bait, and move up. This can be a hard fish to catch as upward movement creates slack as opposed to when the fish grabs the bait and swims down pulling the line tight. To counteract this when the line goes slack just grab the reel handle and start cranking until you catch up to the fish. This is not uncommon for this time of year, I am not sure why the fish do this, just be prepared for that type of bite.

Look for the fish to be on the Lower end creek channels or on the river channel anywhere from 30 to 120 feet deep. Trolling remains a viable technique, Chipmunk jigs on the leadcore 8 or 9 colors out will get the bite, and leadcore trolling is a very good way to search for fish.

Bass Fishing is good, especially relative to this time of year. There are plenty of Spotted Bass on the deep humps, anywhere from 20 to 45 feet deep. As a general rule, the deeper fish are a little more stable and easier to catch. Worms are the big producers, drop shots are the favorite rig but the Texas Rig will also produce. Jigs will also get the bite on these deep fish and may get the big bite. An attractant such as JJ’s magic will be a plus. Roboworms in the Green Shiner, Aarons Magic and Prizm Perch are among many good color choices right now.

We are going to upgrade Crappie fishing to good! Like most of our fish, deep is good, think 15 to 25 feet, around free standing brush. Of course a dock with brush in the same depth range is a good structure as are up lake bridge pillars. The Bobby garland plastics are the go to bait right now, but a live minnow on a downline will also be effective. Bridge fishing after hours is also a good choice for the Crappie.  Hang lots of submersibles (green Lights are the best), stagger a spread of live minnows, and a fish dinner should be in your future!

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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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

 

0 Comments »

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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