Lake Hartwell Fishing Report April 8, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Fishing Tips, Lake Hartwell Fishing Report

 

 

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for April 08, 2020

Please note as you read the below report. SC Governor Henry McMaster has signed an Executive Order which has closed many boat ramps and access areas to the SC side of Lake Hartwell. There has also been a ban of Sporting Goods Stores being open so I would call your local bait shop before making a trip there as most of the bait shops are closed in South Carolina. At this point Lake Hartwell is not shutdown but many of the boat ramps are closed and DNR is enforcing the stay at home order from the Governor. With a shelter in place order issued in Georgia and a stay at home order and social distancing order issued in South Carolina I would make all the necessary phone calls before leaving the house to be sure that you can get bait and have a safe place to launch before ever leaving the house. At this time I will be off the water until further notice due to the issue of getting live bait and the current Executive Orders issued by South Carolina and Georgia Governor’s .As we all continue to work through this Coronavirus I will be sure to keep you informed of any future developments. I look forward to getting back on the water soon and continuing our Lake Hartwell Fishing Reports as soon as possible!   

This past week even with all the situations that we all have faced has been a great week for fishing Lake Hartwell. Everyone that has fished an Instructional Trip over the last couple of years are providing good reports and proving that the Instructional Trips have paid off. The Stripers and Hybrids are doing just what we have expected and are making their run up the rivers to make their false Spawn and the Largemouth and Spots are spawning as well. These next few weeks will be the best weeks for fishing Lake Hartwell and catching some fish to be proud of! None of us know what tomorrow may bring but getting on the water is still some good medicine so if you need to fill that prescription just give us a call. This Sunday is Easter Sunday and many churches are closed for safeties sake during this pandemic. May each of you have a Blessed Easter and find some time to pray and worship the Lamb of God who will see us through this tough time. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is this, Humminbird Finds Them, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Holds Them, Captain Mack Products Fools Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has been great overall the past seven days and if you have ever fished an Instructional Trip with is you know just where the fish are right now. The Striper and Hybrid are biting fast and furious in the early mornings and late evenings. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 660.41 which is.0.41 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are sixty seven degrees. Even with a few cold fronts moving through this past week with little to no rain the water temperatures are getting warmer each and every day and you can bet with all the large amount of pollen on the water you will have to put a brush to the boat every week.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing has been a blast this past week with a bunch of line stretchers being caught over the last several days. If you are looking to catch an ice chest full of Hybrids now is the time. If you like fish and want to put fish in your freezer the Hybrid bite is one of the best times to fill some freezer bags full of some of the best eating fillets that you will ever eat. It’s not taking long right now to fill a big old ice chest full of fish when you get these fish under your boat and it’s a fire drill just netting and rebaiting hooks when you have three or four rods three eyes deep under your boat. Drumming is working really well right now and is the perfect way to get the fish under your boat and start the rods bending. The Hybrid and Striper bite is excellent and should  remain so for the next several weeks.  If you want to book a fishing trip during this spring season on Lake Hartwell or get your Instructional Trip done before the spring bite is over with then now is the time to get these trips booked. I’ve been told that I give to many secrets away when it comes to Striper and Hybrid fishing, well I plead guilty but I want to be known as the Striper fisherman that shared his all. If you fished an Instructional Trip this past year you can use your Instructional Book to put yourselves in the right places to catch fish during the next month and don’t forget I’m just a phone call away. Be prepared to pull Umbrella Rigs, Mini Mack’s and big baits behind your Perfect Planer Boards, and check out the  bottom of this report for my suggestions on gear to catch fish during the next few months. Tether a  big Gizzard Shad to a Perfect Planer Boards and pull right up on the banks or in the backs of the creeks.  When I move back out of the backs of the creeks I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. If you want to catch fish during the next couple of months you should add Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs to your fishing gear for the guaranteed bite. Again we cover all these methods in our Instructional Trips and it’s a fun way to catch some good Stripers. One main item that we cover in our Instructional Fishing Trips is how to locate Stripers and Hybrids and then the best methods to catching them. There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell and our Instructional Trips cover all of these points. Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, it’s also a great time to witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns. When you fish an Instructional Trip you will learn everything there is to know about catching Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell or your home lake and you will be given the chance to ask all the questions that very few professional Striper fishermen will share, so if you are interested in learning all the different techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrid Bass now is one of the best times to get in a teaching boat for an Instructional Trip or it’s a good time to get your calendar out and go ahead and book a future trip as they book up quickly when the weather begins to warm back up. If you have ever wanted to be one of the boats that come to the dock with your limit after a good spring fishing trip you might want to book a trip really soon. A Striper Instructional Trip will be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking a future 2020 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring or Gizzard Shad fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops at least the ones that are open, are all suppling good quality bait and several have the Gizzard Shad that you will need for that big fish bite. Be sure to add O2 from your Keep Alive O2 system to keep this bait healthy during your trip. The live bait bite has been tough but should get better soon.
  • Okuma Classic Pro Striper Rods. This live Bait Rod paired with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reel is a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing. If you choose another reel that will be up to you but try the Okuma Classic Striper Rod side by side with your other rods and I promise you that you will see the difference immediately!
  • Any top water bait of your choice; I prefer a spook or anything in a chrome color. Flukes and swim baits paired with one of Captain Mack’s trailers. The chartreuse trailer works the best for me. 
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I know from experience that this system will help keep your bait in perfect condition during your day of fishing and increase your odds of catching fish with the best bait you can put in the water.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will never go to the lake without them! The Umbrella Rig bite is a guaranteed bite now and the four arm nine bait rigs are working the best. These rigs are best fished using the Okuma 303 Coldwater series on a Captain Mack Trolling Rod. They can be purchased at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine as well as Sportsman’s Warehouse and Academy Sports. If your favorites bait and tackle shop does not carry them you might want to ask for them. I like to get my tackle where I normally shop and I hate to go to the lake without everything that I need to catch a good box of fish.
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled with your trolling motor at .08 mph or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards is working great right now and gives you the ability to cover a lot of water! These rigs are hard to find right now as they sell out quickly. They can be found at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and I personally would ask my favorite fishing store to purchase them so that you always have a good supply at your go to bait shop.
  • Perfect Planer Boards. This is the best Planer Board I have ever used. The Planer Board bite can be an all-day bite right now as you cover a lot of water. It is working great right now and it gives you the ability to put more bait in the water which always increases your odds of catching more fish. I will fish Planer Boards every trip during the fall and winter months waiting for that big explosion that always seems to come behind a Planer Board.
  • Stealth QR2 Quick Release Rod Holders. This is a NEW Technology Rod Holder and it is built for the fisherman that wants the best for their boats and the ability to fish at any angle that you would like to fish with a few simple adjustments that you can make without tools on the fly. Down rods, freelines or Umbrella Rigs these rod holders will get the job done and they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The clients that I have fished since installing these new rod holders have already said that they are the BEST that they have ever used and are looking to install them on their boats. (If you are buying a new boat this year please check out the Stealth QR2. Do not scratch up your rails with other rod holders when you can install a Stealth QR2 that will leave no marks on your new rails and will do you an excellent job.)

BASS / This report will be suspended until the C-19 Virus gets better and we are able to return to the lake.

This past week has remained great for Bass fishing. The Bass bite continues to be a shallow water bite which will last for a couple more weeks as the Bass begin the spawn. Not much has changed from last week’s report but that’s a good thing. Catching a lot of fish moving from long shallow points and red banks has been excellent and it’s been a great Spinnerbait, Crankbait and SteelShad bite. These last several days it seemed no matter what you were throwing the Bass were biting. It’s time to put some heavy fish in the boat with the fish soon pulling up on their beds. If you drop a lizard into one of these beds or any other favorite plastic you had better be sitting on ready as the Bass will not tolerate this at all. Currently Jerk baits and Ned Rigs as well as Carolina Rigs and the Weedless Wonder rigged with a Roboworm are working great to catch a limit of fish. A Captain Mack Mini Mack fished off of points will get the job done with the Spotted Bass jumping on this bait on every pass. Several Bass clubs are fishing tournaments every week so be prepared to jump into the wakes as these folks chase the bite.

  • Crank baits and Jerk baits in the color of your choice, with all the rain I would suggest something in a shad or chartreuse color. Deeper diving crank baits are getting the job done in a shad or blueback color.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swim baits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Roboworm six inch Morning Dawn, Green Shiner, or Baby Bluegill worms as well as some new colors we are using. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s. If you want to catch some big Spotted Bass this is a go to bait!
  • Roboworms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes.

CRAPPIE / This report will be suspended due to the C-19 Virus until we are able to return to the lake.

The Crappie fishing is still great and there are a lot of folks taking advantage of some good fishing. Live minnows and jigs all work great this time of the year and I have had very good luck with the Crappie Country Jigs that I’m buying at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine, don’t over-look changing up colors when you are marking fish and the bite is slow especially if the water is muddy. Chartreuse colored jigs works great in stained water on Lake Hartwell. Long lining for Crappie is working great right now and this gives you the ability to cover a lot of water. A trick to try that’s working for me, tie a minnow onto the bottom of your line and add a Crappie Jig about a foot above the minnow. The movement of the minnow is all the action you will need to get the bite on the jig. Don’t overlook a float as you fish over the tops of brush, this can be the best bite of the day.

 Go to Baits for this week.

  • Small minnows fished on four pound test line under small floats pitched under docks or over brush will get you the bite you’re looking for. Tipping a jig with a small minnow is working also.
  • Popeye Jigs are doing the job right now and if fished slowly in deeper brush piles they will produce the bite you are looking for. I will share a secret to fishing this jig later in the year as the water gets much colder so stay tuned and I will let you know when this idea begins to work.
  • Give Captain Mack a call and order you a good supply of Crappie Country Jigs or drop by Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and pick out a good selection from their large collection of colors and sizes. They come in some Crappie killer colors and they will produce some good fish.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graphs and Minn Koto Trolling Motors. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie. You have to find them to catch them and Humminbird gives you that ability. 

Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing! Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (Ret.) Certified SCDNR Fishing Instructor

To book your next Lake Hartwell fishing adventure please call Captain Mack Farr at – 770-235-8135. Lake Hartwell crappie fishing has slowed down now that the fish are pulling off of the brush piles. The best crappie action seems to be in shallow water or on live minnows under bridges at night. To book your Lake Hartwell adventures please call Captain Mack Farr at – 1.888.989.8052 

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report April 2, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports, Lake Lanier Fishing Reports

All species of Lanier’s gamefish have been active and anglers are reporting good catches for all species. The water temp is a very fishing friendly 62, the lake level remains up at 1072.52, 1.52 above full pool. That is down .56  feet from last week’s level. The extended forecast calls for mild, stable weather leading up to the Full Moon on the 7th. Fyi, This will be a Supermoon, the second of 3 this calendar year, and the moon that will be the brightest of the three due to the proximately of the moon to Earth. All of those factors should make for a really good bite the next few days? Even if it does not, it sounds like a good excuse to fish more to me!

The Striper bite is good, with several techniques that are producing well. Live baits on the free lines and planers, with some down line fishing mixed in as well, continue to produce good catches. The combinations vary depending on where you find fish and the depth, but a good starting point is 60 feet back on the flat lines and planers, aded a split shot or two if the fish are deeper or the wind is pushing your speed up. Blue Back Herring are steady producers, but Gizzard Shad are also getting a good response. The fish are showing up in a variety of places, in the creeks, some over the channels, and good numbers of fish up on points and high spots. Watch the Gulls and Loons, they have been very helpful when it comes to locating these open water fish.  If the birds will not help out, and the fish will not surface, try pulling baits over points and humps off the river or off of the creek channels. This bite is pretty solid, mostly catching singles, but it is consistent enough that you can run up a nice bunch of fish if you are persistent. You can also catch the fish that are holding up on the points with an umbrellas. Clipping the points with the Capt Mack’s 4 arm 3 oz rig, over a 20 to 25 foot bottom has been a very strong pattern! Typical stuff on this technique, pull over the point, if the fish are there they will bite quickly! 

The Mini Mack bite has been extremely strong, whether it is casting or trolling. Longline trolling on the big motor, stealth trolling on the electric motor, casting it to schoolers and on points, has been extremely productive. On the schooling fish, if you can get the Mini near a fish will come and get it. Casting the Mini to points and shallow humps is also a great pattern, think of this as a run and gun pattern, much like you would fish a Redfin. Position the boat in about 25 feet, cast up on the boat right up on the bank. Start your retrieve as soon as the bait hits the water and retrieve the Mini Slowly enough to allow the bait follow the contour of the bottom back to the boat. The bite may come right anywhere in your retrieve from right up on the point until you lift the bait out of the water.  Many of the fish on these points are suspending in 10 to 15 feet, that’s why you need to stay in 25 or 30 to cast. And speaking of Redfins and other top waters, I have not really tried that up until now, the Mini Mack bite has been so strong I did not want to fix something that was not broken. I’ll make it a point to tie one on and follow up with you next week. With the way the fish are staged up on the points, and a surface temp in the 60’s, there is  no reason to believe they would not be on the topwater baits.  

After hours fishing has also been very good in recent days. Lights on all parts of the lake are holding fish, with nice numbers and some nice size fish mixed in as well. Pitching a live bait to the lights is always a good choice, but a Fluke, buck tail, or swim bait on a lead head will also be effective on your favorite light.

Bass fishing is on! With the water at 63 degrees, give or take a degree, we have plenty of fish  roaming the banks, holding in pockets, and on shallow cover.  Many of your favorite baits and techniques will catch fish, so its almost a matter of choosing your favorite and start pounding the banks. With that in mind, following are a few patterns that will get you started. If you just want to catch a bunch of fish, or the bite seems finicky, a finesse worm on a lead head, or a Senko on a Neko Rig, will get plenty of response. You can cast this rig to almost any type of structure in 2 to 15 feet, and catch fish. Rocky banks, blown down trees, docks, and stump flats are prime areas. I really like the stump flats, they are all over the lake, and most all of them hold fish. In addition to the above mentioned soft plastic baits, they are many other baits that can be fished on these same areas. Flukes are always a good choice, and if you get a little wind jerk baits and spinnerbaits are very effective as well. There is also some topwater activity starting up, small top waters and wake baits are part of the picture, and that pattern should only get stronger as we move further into April. 

Good Fishing

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report April 1, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports, Lake Hartwell Fishing Report

 

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for April 01, 2020

Please note as you read the below report. SC Governor Henry McMaster has signed an Executive Order which has closed all boat ramps and access areas to the SC side of Lake Hartwell. There is also a ban of more than three people in a group unless they are six feet apart. I have been in several conference calls today and I will assure you that Lake Hartwell is not shutdown. The Georgia boat ramps are open with the exception of the Hartwell Marina for launching. Please us care and remember if you are fishing or boating on the SC side of the lake with more than three aboard your boat you could be subject to being stopped. Don’t let this health concern keep you off the water. Find you a good safe boat ramp and enjoy the fishing while the fishing is good! As we all continue to work through this Coronavirus I will be sure to keep you informed of any future developments.   

Have you ever heard the phrase “where’s there’s a will there’s a way”, well with many of the boat ramps and camp grounds closed on Lake Hartwell due to the coronavirus you would think that no one would be on the water, WRONG! With so many folks being out of work and gas prices being as low as we have seen them in years the Lake is as full as I’ve ever seen it. It does not matter if you are fishing or just a pleasure boater the relief of getting to get out on the water has been a huge help to many folks that enjoy Lake Hartwell as much as I do! Spring is in the air! The lake is yellow with pollen and the fish are starting to bite like they should so take advantage of a worldwide problem to put a smile on your families face and take them to the lake. I remember an old bumper sticker that I use to see a lot many years ago that said, “NO FEAR” I believe that we should take certain precautions but at the same time we should have No Fear. Life is worth living even in the tough times so have no fear and live life to its fullest potential.  So as I said last week, let the Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fools Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has been good overall , the Striper/Hybrid bite is getting better, but still not peaked out yet. The pattern I mentioned last week, park on  a red point and throw live bait out the back of the boat, will catch a mixed bag and provide plenty of action! The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 660.00 which is.0.00 feet at the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are holding at 64 degrees. With a cold front moving in this week that will drop the evening temperatures into the forties I believe that this temperature will hold for at least another week.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing is getting better and better each and every day. The fishing is beginning to reach its peak and I’m expecting it to be full throttle any day now. All the conditions are right for the Stripers and Hybrids to move up the rivers and creeks for their false spawn and they are already showing up there now. When this begins the fishing will be at its best and if you are in the right place at the right time you will run out of bait much sooner that you would want to. Thanks for all of the reports from those who have fished Instructional Trips over this past year , it’s great to get the feedback and keep up with your progress! Keep those reports coming! I have been so blessed to meet and fish with many fishermen over this past year and been able to share many fishing techniques with these folks. They may not know it but I’m the one who learned a lot and I’m the one who feels blessed for getting to fish and make friends with these good folks. If you want to book a fishing trip for the upcoming spring season on Lake Hartwell or get your Instructional Trip done before the spring bite takes off then now is the time to get these trips booked. I’ve been told that I give to many secrets away when it comes to Striper and Hybrid fishing, well I plead guilty but I want to be known as the Striper fisherman that shared his all.  As we move through the Spring months and transition into Summer, the Instructional trips provide the info to help you adjust your techniques into the season.  If you fished an Instructional Trip this past year you can use your Instructional Book to put yourselves in the right places to catch fish, and don’t forget I’m just a phone call away.  One of my favorite patterns is pulling some Perfect Planer Boards with Gizzard shad close to the banks or in the backs of the creeks where the big fish roam.  This year is no exception and that pattern still offers you a shot at some  of the larger fish.  When I move back out of the backs of the creeks I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. I usually locate these fish one of two ways. I locate them on my Humminbird Side Imaging or Down Imaging and the minute that I get them under the boat I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish. If the fish decide not to eat my live bait then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now and will continue to work as spring arrives. Again we cover all these methods in our Instructional Trips and it’s a fun way to catch some good Stripers. One main item that we cover in our Instructional Fishing Trips is how to locate Stripers and Hybrids and then the best methods to catching them. There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell and our Instructional Trips cover all of these points. Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, it’s also a great time to witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns. When you fish an Instructional Trip you will learn everything there is to know about catching Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell or your home lake and you will be given the chance to ask all the questions that very few professional Striper fishermen will share, so if you are interested in learning all the different techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrid Bass now is one of the best times to get in a teaching boat for an Instructional Trip or it’s a good time to get your calendar out and go ahead and book a future trip as they book up quickly when the weather begins to warm back up. If you have ever wanted to be one of the boats that come to the dock with your limit after a good spring fishing trip you might want to book a trip really soon. A Striper Instructional Trip will be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking a 2020 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring or Gizzard Shad fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling good quality bait and several have the gizzard shad that you will need for that big fish bite. Be sure to add O2 from your Keep Alive O2 system to keep this bait healthy during your trip. The live bait bite has been tough but should get better soon.
  • Okuma Classic Pro Striper Rods. This live Bait Rod paired with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reel is a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing. If you choose another reel that will be up to you but try the Okuma Classic Striper Rod side by side with your other rods and I promise you that you will see the difference immediately!
  • Captain Mack Super Spoons or Captain Mack Jig’N Shad spoons. These Jigs are great for fish that are bunched up and hugging the bottom. These Jigs are a must have for the winter months.
  • Any top water bait of your choice; I prefer a spook or anything in a chrome color. Flukes and swim baits paired with one of Captain Mack’s trailers. The chartreuse trailer works the best for me. 
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I know from experience that this system will help keep your bait in perfect condition during your day of fishing and increase your odds of catching fish with the best bait you can put in the water.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will never go to the lake without them! The Umbrella Rig bite is a guaranteed bite now and the four arm nine bait rigs are working the best. These rigs are best fished using the Okuma 303 Coldwater series on a Captain Mack Trolling Rod. They can be purchased at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine as well as Sportsman’s Warehouse and Academy Sports. If your favorites bait and tackle shop does not carry them you might want to ask for them. I like to get my tackle where I normally shop and I hate to go to the lake without everything that I need to catch a good box of fish.
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled with your trolling motor at .08 mph or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards is working great right now and gives you the ability to cover a lot of water! These rigs are hard to find right now as they sell out quickly. They can be found at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and I personally would ask my favorite fishing store to purchase them so that you always have a good supply at your go to bait shop.
  • Perfect Planer Boards. This is the best Planer Board I have ever used. The Planer Board bite can be an all-day bite right now as you cover a lot of water. It is working great right now and it gives you the ability to put more bait in the water which always increases your odds of catching more fish. I will fish Planer Boards every trip during the fall and winter months waiting for that big explosion that always seems to come behind a Planer Board.
  • Stealth QR2 Quick Release Rod Holders. This is a NEW Technology Rod Holder and it is built for the fisherman that wants the best for their boats and the ability to fish at any angle that you would like to fish with a few simple adjustments that you can make without tools on the fly. Down rods, freelines or Umbrella Rigs these rod holders will get the job done and they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The clients that I have fished since installing these new rod holders have already said that they are the BEST that they have ever used and are looking to install them on their boats. (If you are buying a new boat this year please check out the Stealth QR2. Do not scratch up your rails with other rod holders when you can install a Stealth QR2 that will leave no marks on your new rails and will do you an excellent job.)

BASS

This past week has remained great for Bass fishing. The Bass bite continues to be a shallow water bite which will last for a couple more weeks as the Bass begin the spawn. Not much has changed from last week’s report but that’s a good thing. Catching a lot of fish moving from long shallow points and red banks has been excellent and it’s been a great Spinnerbait, Crank bait and SteelShad bite. These last several days it seemed no matter what you were throwing the Bass were biting. It’s time to put some heavy fish in the boat with the fish soon pulling up on their beds. If you drop a lizard into one of these beds or any other favorite plastic you had better be sitting on ready as the Bass will not tolerate this at all. Currently Jerk baits and Ned Rigs as well as Carolina Rigs and the Weedless Wonder rigged with a Robo Worm are working great to catch a limit of fish. A Captain Mack Mini Mack fished off of points will get the job done with the Spotted Bass jumping on this bait on every pass. Several Bass clubs are fishing tournaments every week so be prepared to jump into the wakes as these folks chase the bite.

  • Crank baits and Jerk baits in the color of your choice, with all the rain I would suggest something in a shad or chartreuse color. Deeper diving crank baits are getting the job done in a shad or blueback color.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn or Bluegill worms as well as some new colors we are using. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s. If you want to catch some big Spotted Bass this is a go to bait!
  • Robo Worms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes.

CRAPPIE

The Crappie fishing is still great and there are a lot of folks taking advantage of some good fishing. Live minnows and jigs all work great this time of the year and I have had very good luck with the Crappie Country Jigs that I’m buying at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine, don’t over-look changing up colors when you are marking fish and the bite is slow especially if the water is muddy. Chartreuse colored jigs works great in stained water on Lake Hartwell. Long lining for Crappie is working great right now and this gives you the ability to cover a lot of water. A trick to try that’s working for me, tie a minnow onto the bottom of your line and add a Crappie Jig about a foot above the minnow. The movement of the minnow is all the action you will need to get the bite on the jig. Don’t overlook a float as you fish over the tops of brush, this can be the best bite of the day.

 Go to Baits for this week.

  • Small minnows fished on four pound test line under small floats pitched under docks or over brush will get you the bite you’re looking for. Tipping a jig with a small minnow is working also.
  • Popeye Jigs are doing the job right now and if fished slowly in deeper brush piles they will produce the bite you are looking for. I will share a secret to fishing this jig later in the year as the water gets much colder so stay tuned and I will let you know when this idea begins to work.
  • Give Captain Mack a call and order you a good supply of Crappie Country Jigs or drop by Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and pick out a good selection from their large collection of colors and sizes. They come in some Crappie killer colors and they will produce some good fish.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graphs and Minn Koto Trolling Motors. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie. You have to find them to catch them and Humminbird gives you that ability. 

Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing! Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (Ret.) Certified SCDNR Fishing Instructor

To book your next Lake Hartwell fishing adventure please call Captain Mack Farr at – 770-235-8135.  Lake Hartwell crappie fishing has slowed down now that the fish are pulling off of the brush piles. The best crappie action seems to be in shallow water or on live minnows under bridges at night. To book your Lake Hartwell adventures please call Captain Mack Farr at – 1.888.989.80521

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report March 28, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports, Lake Lanier Fishing Reports No Comments

Conditions are changing quickly as mild weather has warmed the water into low 60’s, a couple of degrees higher in the back of the creeks. The Typical signs of Spring are here, Pollen blankets the lake, the Geese are squawking and fighting, and the fish are responding to the warming water. The lake level remains elevated at 1073.08, 2.08 feet over full pool and 1.38 feet up from last week’s level. 

Overall Striper fishing is good, with several techniques that are producing well. The patterns are basically the same as last week, a mix of free lines, planers, and down lines, with some opportunities to cast to surfacing fish. If you can find a green light that is operational that pattern is also producing well. Many of the fish are still roaming over open water areas, creek channels or over the one of the river channels. Live baits behind a planer board or on the free line are probably the most consistent pattern, but keep the down lines handy as that is also a viable technique as well, especially over the open water. To locate these open water fish, watch the Gulls and Loons, they have been a big asset in the last few weeks. If the birds do not offer any help, pulling baits over as section of the channel will be the other option.  Keep moving until you start seeing fish on the sonar, then tweak the depth to maximize the bite. Herring have been the bait of choice but Gizzard Shad are also producing and some days may be the better producer. A Mini Mack is also very productive, on the Stealth troll, either straight down or on the planers, depending on the depth at which you are marking fish. 

Speaking of Mini Mack’s, if you see surfacing fish casting the Mini to them has been very good. Cast it to the fish and begin your retrieve as soon as the bait hits the water, if there is a fish there he will come and get it. I do need to clarify this surfacing fish scenario, this pattern really is about seeing the Gulls and Loons. They have been bunching up into really tight groups sometimes (see attached picture)making it hard to physically see the fish. If you see the birds working hard, motor over to them and cast the Mini and hang on, don’t wait to see the fish surface.  When you get in an area where this is occurring, and the birds stop working, often if you will deploy the baits and Minis and start pulling you will be able to stay in that area and catch more fish even if they are not activity surfacing. Some other baits that are effective for the schoolers are Fish Head Spins, 1/2 oz Bucktails, and flukes. I’ll try and get some video up to illustrate this pattern sometime early this week.

If you are a night owl, the after hours fishing is better than it has been in recent weeks now that the water has warmed. The green lights are holding fish, both Stripers and Bass. Buck tails, Flukes and pitching live baits are all good choices. Any light should hold fish, but lights in the upper parts of the lake may be best. 

Bass fishing is typical for the surface temps, and other than dealing with moving fish and still changing conditions, the bite is good. Most of the techniques that were in play last week are still effective, and you can add in sight fishing some bedding fish over much of the lake. Docks are still a very productive and reliable pattern, rocky points will get some bites, blown down trees, really almost any good shallow cover may hold fish.

Plastics are producing well, the Neko rig with a Senko or Yum Dinger, your favorite worm on a Shakey head, Fish Head Spins, and of course the Keitechs on a jig head.  A finesse worm on the Texas rig is pretty much forgotten, but can be very productive. Another bait that can be really good this time of year is an in-line spinner bait. I know what your are thinking, it is too small and the bigger fish will not respond. That is not the case at all, just because these baits are small, small fish can and will eat them, but the bigger fish will eat them as well. Try rigging up a small spinning rod with 4 or 6 lb. test and trying on a small in line bait. Cast it to rocky banks, stump flats, shallow humps and retrieve it slowly letting it follow the contour of the bottom as you retrieve it. The light line is very stealthy, enables you to make long casts, and it allows the bait to hold its depth even on a fairly quick retrieve. You’ll find this to be a fun and productive method, and on really calm days it can make a big difference in the numbers fish you catch. 

Good Fishing

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report March 25, 2020

By Lake Lanier Fishing Reports

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for March 25, 2020

With every boat ramp federal and state temporally closed on Lake Hartwell due to the COVID-19 virus you just might want to get a really early start on the weekends and hit a Lake Hartwell Marina. Now you could do what I did this past Saturday while fishing my grandsons and head to the Portman Marina where I normally put in and find the boats backed all the way to the main road. Now Rick doesn’t do lines very well when I’m ready to go fishing so I tell my grandsons, hang on boys we are headed to the dam! I just knew that I would get to the dam and launch before daylight and start catching fish right away. When I get to the dam I find out why the marina was so backed up with gates closed at every boat ramp from Portman to the Georgia side of the dam. Long story short I’m back in line at the Portman Marina behind what seemed to be one hundred bass boats waiting on my turn to launch. I learned a long time ago, when things are not going your way it’s during those times that you just may not want to throw in the towel because it could be one of your best day. The attached picture to this article shows a 33 pound Blue Cat along with an 18.2 pound Striper which is good for Lake Hartwell right now and a full box of Spots that were in a feeding frenzy on this day. My new Fishing Slogan is, Humminbird Finds Them, Minn Kota Sneaks Up On Them, Stealth Rod Holders Holds Them, Captain Mack Products Fools Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them In The Boat! There may still be some distress an uncertainty going on in the world right now but a good day of fishing sure makes you forget the things going on around us and we all know that we are going to be just fine so let’s Go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has been good overall the past seven days if you do your homework. The Striper and Hybrid bite will take off any day now but it’s not there just yet. So what are we doing to catch a good box of fish, hit a red point and throw live bait out the back of the boat and you will catch a box full of Spots and a few Stripers and Hybrids as a bonus. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 661.44 which are 1.44 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are holding at sixty two degrees. I would bet that the water temperatures will rise very soon with the air temperatures reaching seventy plus degrees several days this week and reaching very near eighty. We have experienced a cold front with some good cold rain the first part of this week which will hold the water temperatures but the conditions are perfect for the bite to become very good soon.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing should be wide open right now but for some reason the bite is still not at its peak, but it could happen any minute now! This could and should change any day now so stay in the water and be on the ready as the Striper and Hybrid fishing is soon to take off. We did boat and eighteen plus pound fish this week which is great right now for Lake Hartwell. The fish are being caught pulling the Captain Mack Perfect Planer Boards on every trip. The Mini Mack is catching fish as soon as it is deployed in or near a school and we have had several double hook ups which is too much fun to describe. The Stripers and Hybrids are beginning to bunch up in certain places but they have not fully turned on yet. When they do the bite will be great and it will be a good opportunity to run out of bait quickly. No matter if you catch them coming or going in the false spawn the bite will be aggressive! With school being out now it is the perfect time to get the kids out of the house and on the water so they can experience a fun day of fishing when they normally would be in school. It will be good for the kids as well as for the parents as many are troubled by the current situations and need something that will bring a smile to us all. I’m still looking forward to hearing more from those who have fished Instructional Trips over this past year as they all catch some good boxes of fish this year. I have been so blessed to meet and fish with many fishermen over this past year and been able to share many fishing techniques with these folks. They may not know it but I’m the one who learned a lot and I’m the one who feels blessed for getting to fish and make friends with these good folks. If you want to book a fishing trip for the upcoming spring season on Lake Hartwell or get your Instructional Trip done before the spring bite takes off then now is the time to get these trips booked. I’ve been told that I give to many secrets away when it comes to Striper and Hybrid fishing, well I plead guilty but I want to be known as the Striper fisherman that shared his all. We will be fishing all of these Instructional techniques during the end of this winter pattern and will be teaching these techniques during our spring and summer 2020 Instructional Trips. If you fished an Instructional Trip this past year you can use your Instructional Book to put yourselves in the right places to catch fish, and don’t forget I’m just a phone call away. It’s time to pull some Perfect Planer Boards with Gizzard Shad close to the banks or in the backs of the creeks where the big fish roam. When I move back out of the backs of the creeks I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. Once I locate fish on my Humminbird Side Imaging or Down Imaging I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish. If the fish turn their nose up at the live bait then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite.   The fish are on the move now and locating them is the key to success, we devote a good potion of the Instructional trip to finding fish, in addition to the variety of techniques needed  to consistently catch the Striper and Hybrids.  Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, it’s also a great time to witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns.  If you are interested in learning all the different techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrid Bass now is one of the best times to get in a teaching boat for an Instructional Trip or it’s a good time to get your calendar out and go ahead and book a future trip as they book up quickly when the weather begins to warm back up. If you have ever wanted to be one of the boats that come to the dock with your limit after a good spring fishing trip you might want to book a trip really soon. A Striper Instructional Trip will be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking a 2020 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring or Gizzard Shad fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling good quality bait and several have the Gizzard Shad that you will need for that big fish bite. Be sure to add O2 from your Keep Alive O2 system to keep this bait healthy during your trip. The live bait bite has been tough but should get better soon.
  • Okuma Classic Pro Striper Rods. This live Bait Rod paired with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reel is a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing. If you choose another reel that will be up to you but try the Okuma Classic Striper Rod side by side with your other rods and I promise you that you will see the difference immediately!
  • Captain Mack Super Spoons or Captain Mack Jig’N Shad spoons. These Jigs are great for fish that are bunched up and hugging the bottom. These Jigs are a must have for the winter months.
  • Any top water bait of your choice; I prefer a spook or anything in a chrome color. Flukes and swim baits paired with one of Captain Mack’s trailers. The chartreuse trailer works the best for me. 
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I know from experience that this system will help keep your bait in perfect condition during your day of fishing and increase your odds of catching fish with the best bait you can put in the water.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will never go to the lake without them! The Umbrella Rig bite is a guaranteed bite now and the four arm nine bait rigs are working the best. These rigs are best fished using the Okuma 303 Coldwater series on a Captain Mack Trolling Rod. They can be purchased at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine as well as Sportsman’s Warehouse. If your favorite bait and tackle shop does not carry them you might want to ask for them. I like to get my tackle where I normally shop and I hate to go to the lake without everything that I need to catch a good box of fish.
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled with your trolling motor at .08 mph or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards is working great right now and gives you the ability to cover a lot of water! These rigs are hard to find right now as they sell out quickly. They can be found at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and I personally would ask my favorite fishing store to purchase them so that you always have a good supply at your go to bait shop.
  • Perfect Planer Boards. This is the best Planer Board I have ever used. The Planer Board bite can be an all-day bite right now as you cover a lot of water. It is working great right now and it gives you the ability to put more bait in the water which always increases your odds of catching more fish. I will fish Planer Boards every trip during the fall and winter months waiting for that big explosion that always seems to come behind a Planer Board.
  • Stealth QR2 Quick Release Rod Holders. This is a NEW Technology Rod Holder and it is built for the fisherman that wants the best for their boats and the ability to fish at any angle that you would like to fish with a few simple adjustments that you can make without tools on the fly. Down rods, freelines or Umbrella Rigs these rod holders will get the job done and they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The clients that I have fished since installing these new rod holders have already said that they are the BEST that they have ever used and are looking to install them on their boats. (If you are buying a new boat this year please check out the Stealth QR2. Do not scratch up your rails with other rod holders when you can install a Stealth QR2 that will leave no marks on your new rails and will do you an excellent job.)

BASS

This past week has been GREAT for Bass fishing. The Bass bite has moved into shallow water which will last for a couple of weeks as the Bass begin the spawn. Catching a lot of fish moving from long shallow points and red banks has been excellent and it’s been a great Spinnerbait, Crankbait and SteelShad bite. These last several days it seemed no matter what you were throwing the Bass were biting. It’s time to put some heavy fish in the boat with the fish soon pulling up on their beds. If you drop a lizard into one of these beds or any other favorite plastic you had better be sitting on ready as the Bass will not tolerate this at all. Currently Jerkbaits and Ned Rigs as well as Carolina Rigs and the Weedless Wonder rigged with a Robo Worm are working great to catch a limit of fish. A Captain Mack Mini Mack fished off of points will get the job done with the Spotted Bass jumping on this bait on every pass. Several Bass clubs are fishing tournaments every week so be prepared to jump into the wakes as these folks chase the bite.

  • Crank baits (Rapala DT 10 and Spro Rock Crawler) and Jerk baits in the color of your choice, with all the rain I would suggest something in a shad or chartreuse color. Deeper diving crank baits are getting the job done in a shad or blueback color.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swim baits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn or Bluegill worms as well as some new colors we are using. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s. If you want to catch some big Spotted Bass this is a go to bait!
  • Robo Worms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes.

CRAPPIE

The Crappie USA Tournament Trail 2020 Lake Hartwell Tournament has been postponed until further notice. Hopefully this tournament will be rescheduled soon and will provide some great fishing to those who target the Crappie Tournament Trails. Live minnows and jigs all work great this time of the year and I have had very good luck with the Crappie Country Jigs that I’m buying at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine, don’t over-look changing up colors when you are marking fish and the bite is slow especially if the water is muddy. Chartreuse colored jigs works great in stained water on Lake Hartwell. Long lining for Crappie is working great right now and this gives you the ability to cover a lot of water. A trick to try that’s working for me, tie a minnow onto the bottom of your line and add a Crappie Jig about a foot above the minnow. The movement of the minnow is all the action you will need to get the bite on the jig. Don’t overlook a float as you fish over the tops of brush, this can be the best bite of the day.

 Go to Baits for this week.

  • Small minnows fished on four pound test line under small floats pitched under docks or over brush will get you the bite you’re looking for. Tipping a jig with a small minnow is working also.
  • Popeye Jigs are doing the job right now and if fished slowly in deeper brush piles they will produce the bite you are looking for. I will share a secret to fishing this jig later in the year as the water gets much colder so stay tuned and I will let you know when this idea begins to work.
  • Give Captain Mack a call and order you a good supply of Crappie Country Jigs or drop by Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and pick out a good selection from their large collection of colors and sizes. They come in some Crappie killer colors and they will produce some good fish.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graphs and Minn Kota Trolling Motors. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie. You have to find them to catch them and Humminbird gives you that ability. 

Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing! Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (Ret.) Certified SCDNR Fishing Instructor

To book your next Lake Hartwell fishing adventure please call Captain Mack Farr at – 770-235-8135.  Lake Hartwell crappie fishing has slowed down now that the fish are pulling off of the brush piles. The best crappie action seems to be in shallow water or on live minnows under bridges at night. To book your Lake Hartwell adventures please call Captain Mack Farr at – 1.888.989.8052 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report

By Captain Mack's Blog, Lake Lanier Fishing Reports

 

Spring is officially here! I still think the arrival of Spring should be a national holiday, just sayin’ The Vernal Equinox occurs at 11.49:28 on the 19th, which FYI is the earliest arrival of Spring in 124 years! The fish seem to be excited as well and have been pretty angler friendly! Water temps continue to rise, 60 degrees late this afternoon, and lake levels continue to fall. The current level is 1071.70, 1.70 feet over full pool, down from 1074.53  from last week, a differential of 1.83 feet. The extended weather forecast looks very good for fishing, mild temps with rain chances most days, its time to hit the lake!

The Striper bite is good, although the fish are roaming and you may have to do a lot of moving around to locate fish. With uniform water temps and O2 levels, the fish can use the whole lake, so the playing field is big right now. The bite is still a combination of free lines and down lines, with some schooling fish mixed in to keep you on your toes. We’ll start with the open water pattern that can be so strong in early Spring.  Free lining or down lining over open water, or points adjacent to open water has been strong. The problem with these open water patterns is locating fish. They may be almost anywhere, and if the birds will help out, or you can see surfacing fish, you are in the right place. Some times you may only see one fish on the surface, but that can be enough to show the correct location.  If one of these indicators does not occur, work areas where birds are present, even if they are not actively feeding. The other approach is to pick a section of river channel, or a stretch of a major creek channel, and pull it for 15 minutes or so. Generally, if fish are there you’ll hook up, or at least you see them on the sonar. If they are shallow, and often they are, even over deep water, remember to use the Side Imaging or 360 to look for fish You may get in a situation where you are beating out scattered singles on this pattern, or you may run into some really big schools of fish, depending on the day. Use a combination of flat lines, weighted flat lines, down lines and Minis on this pattern. 

The traditional pattern of pulling big baits on a planer board is taking shape, with some nice fish showing up in the creek backs, shallow points and flats in the creeks, off the flats in the upper reaches of the river, or in the moving water of either river. A Gizzard Shad is always a good choice for this pattern, but Herring are also very effective right now. This pattern may not produce great numbers, but the average size is very good. Casting a fluke or buck tail up on these flats while you are waiting for a live bait bite will probably account for a few bonus bites so have the casting rod rigged and ready. 

The Mini Mack Bite has been very good, stealth trolling on the electric, casting the Mini to schooling fish, or blind casting to the points. If you run into schooling fish, they are very quick to hit the Mini, just throw it at ‘em and start your retrieve as soon as the bait hits the water, the bite will be quick! If you are pulling the open water, keeping a Mini the spread will be a plus, either as a flat line or on the planer. If you are in the upper part of either river, try casting a Mini to small points. Nothing special on this pattern, just cast to the bank , start your retrieve immediately, and if the fish are there they will respond quickly. This pattern will yield Stripers with some nice Bass as well. 

Bass fishing is very good, and with many fish pulling up into shallow water there are a huge variety of baits and techniques that are effective! Basically, you can fish the banks, and visible structures on all over the lake. Think in terms of 5 to 15 feet, with some fish deeper. The soft plastics are still very strong, Keitech swim baits on 1/4 jig head, Neko Rig with a Senko or Yum Dinger, or a finesse worm on a Weedless Wonder will all get the bite. Keying on the docks is certainly a good strategy, with many fish staging up on the docks this pattern will be good for both numbers and size. How and where the fish relate to the dock will vary from day to day, based on weather and the amount of sunlight. As a general rule, The bright sunlight often pushes the fish tighter to or further up under the docks.  

Stump fields are another good really good structure to target during the pre-spawn, spawn, and post spawn. I think the term Stump field brings to mind a really big area with 100’s of stumps? I am not sure how many it takes, but many times only a couple will be plenty. The same plastics mentioned above are good choices for this type of structure and slow rolling a spinner bait or working a jerk bait are over the stumps is a fun and productive technique. As is usually the case with the spinner baits and jerk baits, a little wind is almost always a plus!

Good Fishing

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report March 18, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for March 18, 2020

It’s finally here, the first day of SPRING starts tomorrow and I’m just a little bit excited! There are so many situations going on around us right now that none of us can change but one thing that never changes is the fishing conditions on Lake Hartwell during spring. I had a conversation with a good friend this past week and he was so depressed. No March Madness Basketball, No NASCAR, No Masters, No College Spring Football games, No High School Sporting Events with his grandkids, Rick he said, they even closed Disney World! So many problems and I sitting on the prescription for all of these issues all summed up into a nut shell, Just Go Fishing! If you are looking to get the family out of the house on a field trip and you have never been on a guided fishing trip or it’s been awhile then you are really missing out. I promise you there are no virus issues in the fresh air of Lake Hartwell and we can provide your family a better time than Mickey or Minnie Mouse. So don’t give in to what’s going on around us, you might not be able to run to the beach or the mountains or some other favorite vacation spot right now while the kids are out of school but you can tuck a rod under their arm with a big fish on the other end and have just as much fun without any worries, so let’s Go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has been fair to good overall the past seven days even with continued poor but improving water conditions. Be careful when running up or down the lake as there is still a lot of floating debris in the water. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 661.27 which are 1.27 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are holding at 58 plus or minus degrees with many creeks reaching sixty degrees but I would bet that the water temperatures will begin to rise very soon with the air temperatures reaching seventy degrees several days this week. We will see another cold front next week which will hold the water temperatures but the conditions are perfect for the bite to become very good soon.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing is still not at its peak yet but when it happens it’s going to be like someone turning a light switch on and the fishing will go from hit and miss to wide open. The fish are getting ready for their false spawn and when this happens the fishing will be fast and furious and will last for several weeks or until the spawn is over with. The quality of the fish that we are catching now is really good so the Stripers and Hybrids are not showing any signs of stress this year. Now is the best time to load up the Perfect Planer Boards and fish a good spread of live bait to catch Stripers and Hybrids! Stay tuned and I will let you know when the switch is thrown and when it will be time to move up the lake for the spawn. It’s good to remember that not all the Stripers and Hybrids spawn at one time, so you will have the opportunity to catch fish go up the rivers to spawn while other are coming out of the river after the spawn. No matter if you catch them coming or going the bite will be aggressive! With school being out now for unseen circumstance’s it is the perfect time to get the kids out on an on the water field trip so they can experience a fun day of fishing when they normally would be in school. It will be good for the kids as well as for the parents as many are troubled by the current situations and need something that will bring a smile to us all. I’m still looking forward to hearing more from those who have fished Instructional Trips over this past year as they all catch some good boxes of fish this year. I have been so blessed to meet and fish with many fishermen over this past year and been able to share many fishing techniques with these folks. They may not know it but I’m the one who learned a lot and I’m the one who feels blessed for getting too fish and make friends with these good folks. If you want to book a fishing trip for the upcoming spring season on Lake Hartwell or get your Instructional Trip done before the spring bite takes off then now is the time to get these trips booked. I’ve been told that I give to many secrets away when it comes to Striper and Hybrid fishing, well I plead guilty but I want to be known as the Striper fisherman that shared his all. We will be fishing all of these Instructional techniques during the end of this winter pattern and will be teaching these techniques during our spring and summer 2020 Instructional Trips. If you fished an Instructional Trip this past year you can use your Instructional Book to put yourselves in the right places to catch fish, and don’t forget I’m just a phone call away. I would make a serious suggestion being if you are not  pulling Umbrella Rigs, Mini Mack’s and big baits on your Perfect Planer Boards you might want to rethink that. I’ll outline those techniques at the end of the report.  It’s time to pull some Perfect Planer Boards with a big Gizzard Shad close to the banks or in the backs of the creeks where the big fish roam. When I move back out of the backs of the creeks I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. I usually locate these fish one of two ways. I locate them on my Humminbird Side Imaging or Down Imaging and the minute that I get them under the boat I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish. If the fish decide do not respond to the live bait then I switch over to the Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs, the rigs can also be a big plus in windy conditions, where live bait fishing may be compromised.  If you want to catch fish during the next couple of months you should add Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs to your fishing gear for the guaranteed bite. Again we cover all these methods in our Instructional Trips and it’s a fun way to catch some good Stripers. One main item that we cover in our Instructional Fishing Trips is how to locate Stripers and Hybrids and then the best methods to catching them. There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell and our Instructional Trips cover all of these points. Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, it’s also a great time to witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns. If you have ever wanted to be one of the boats that come to the dock with your limit after a good spring fishing trip you might want to book a trip really soon. A Striper Instructional Trip will be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking a 2020 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring or Gizzard Shad fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling good quality bait and several have the gizzard shad that you will need for that big fish bite. Be sure to add O2 from your Keep Alive O2 system to keep this bait healthy during your trip. The live bait bite has been tough but should get better soon.
  • Okuma Classic Pro Striper Rods. This live Bait Rod paired with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reel is a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing. If you choose another reel that will be up to you but try the Okuma Classic Striper Rod side by side with your other rods and I promise you that you will see the difference immediately!
  • Any top water bait of your choice; I prefer a spook or anything in a chrome color. Flukes and swim baits paired with one of Captain Mack’s trailers. The chartreuse trailer works the best for me. 
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I know from experience that this system will help keep your bait in perfect condition during your day of fishing and increase your odds of catching fish with the best bait you can put in the water.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will never go to the lake without them! The Umbrella Rig bite is a guaranteed bite now and the four arm nine bait rigs are working the best. These rigs are best fished using the Okuma 303 Coldwater series on a Captain Mack Trolling Rod. They can be purchased at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine as well as Academy Sports. If your favorite bait and tackle shop does not carry them you might want to ask for them. I like to get my tackle where I normally shop and I hate to go to the lake without everything that I need to catch a good box of fish.
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled, either as a free line or behind a Perfect Planer, on the trolling motor at .08 mph.  These rigs are hard to find right now as they sell out quickly. They can be found at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and I personally would ask my favorite fishing store to purchase them so that you always have a good supply at your go to bait shop.
  • Perfect Planer Boards. This is the best Planer Board I have ever used. The Planer Board bite can be an all-day bite right now as you cover a lot of water. It is working great right now and it gives you the ability to put more bait in the water which always increases your odds of catching more fish. I will fish Planer Boards every trip during the fall and winter months waiting for that big explosion that always seems to come behind a Planer Board.
  • Stealth QR2 Quick Release Rod Holders. This is a NEW Technology Rod Holder and it is built for the fisherman that wants the best for their boats and the ability to fish at any angle that you would like to fish with a few simple adjustments that you can make without tools on the fly. Down rods, freelines or Umbrella Rigs these rod holders will get the job done and they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The clients that I have fished since installing these new rod holders have already said that they are the BEST that they have ever used and are looking to install them on their boats. (If you are buying a new boat this year please check out the Stealth QR2. Do not scratch up your rails with other rod holders when you can install a Stealth QR2 that will leave no marks on your new rails and will do you an excellent job.)

BASS

This past week has been really good for Bass fishing. The Bass bite has moved into shallow water with some good sight fishing paying off. It’s time to put some heavy fish in the boat with the fish pulling up on their beds. If you drop a lizard into one of these beds or any other type plastic you had better be sitting on ready as the Bass will not tolerate this at all. Currently Jerk baits and Ned Rigs as well as Carolina Rigs and the Weedless Wonder rigged with a Robo Worm are working well to catch a limit of fish. A Captain Mack Mini Mack fished off of points will get the job done with the Spotted Bass jumping on this bait on every pass. Several Bass clubs are fishing tournaments every week so be prepared to jump into the wakes as these folks chase the bite.

  • Crank baits and Jerk baits in the color of your choice, with all the rain I would suggest something in a shad or chartreuse color. Deeper diving crank baits are getting the job done in a shad or blueback color.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swim baits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn or Bluegill worms as well as some new colors we are using. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s. If you want to catch some big Spotted Bass this is a go to bait!
  • Robo Worms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes.

CRAPPIE

The Crappie USA Tournament Trail that would have been held on Lake Hartwell on March 20th and the 21st has unfortunately been cancelled due to the C-19 event. However, that does not mean you can’t go!  Live minnows and jigs all work great this time of the year and I have had very good luck with the Crappie Country Jigs that I’m buying at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine, don’t over-look changing up colors when you are marking fish and the bite is slow especially if the water is muddy. Chartreuse colored jigs works great in stained water on Lake Hartwell. Long lining for Crappie is working great right now and this gives you the ability to cover a lot of water. A trick to try that’s working for me, tie a minnow onto the bottom of your line and add a Crappie Jig about a foot above the minnow. The movement of the minnow is all the action you will need to get the bite on the jig. Don’t overlook a float as you fish over the tops of brush, this can be the best bite of the day.

 Go to Baits for this week.

  • Small minnows fished on four pound test line under small floats pitched under docks or over brush will get you the bite you’re looking for. Tipping a jig with a small minnow is working also.
  • Popeye Jigs are doing the job right now and if fished slowly in deeper brush piles they will produce the bite you are looking for. I will share a secret to fishing this jig later in the year as the water gets much colder so stay tuned and I will let you know when this idea begins to work.
  • Give Captain Mack a call and order you a good supply of Crappie Country Jigs or drop by Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and pick out a good selection from their large collection of colors and sizes. They come in some Crappie killer colors and they will produce some good fish.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graphs and Minn Kota Trolling Motors. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie. You have to find them to catch them and Humminbird gives you that ability. 

Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing! Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (Ret.) Certified SCDNR Fishing Instructor

To book your next Lake Hartwell fishing adventure please call Captain Mack Farr at – 770-235-8135

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report March 12, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports

 

Lake Lanier is fishing well, but things are changing quickly as the water temps warm in response to our recent mild weather. The surface temps had been holding right at 50 degrees for the last 4 weeks until now, and we have seen afternoon readings as high as 58 in the creek backs. Main lake readings are around 54, depending on area and time of day. The lake conditions have stabilized and while there is plenty of stained water, there are really no areas where the water is “blown out” from last weeks rain dumps. So, the bite is good, the extended weather forecast is also pretty good, it is time to go fishing!  The lake level is falling and is currently 1074.53, 3.53 feet above full pool. FYI, to address some of your inquiries, I do have a couple of days left for the instructional trip here on Lanier let us know if you are interesting in booking!

If you are chasing Stripers, they are biting, but they may not be where they were the last time you went to the lake. The switch flipped last week and the deep bite that had been so prominent for so long has basically been replaced by more springlike patterns. While you will still see fish over open water and deep bait, the bite has shifted more to fish higher up in the water column,  and fish pushing bait along the banks and up to the surface. Watch for Loons and Gulls working bait, that pattern had been a non factor until a few days ago, but it is now a pretty frequent occurrence. This is not to say that you can put the down lines away, that is still a very big part of the plan, and be prepared to use them along with the free lines and planers. It will be common to fish nice groups of fish that are all over the water column, so you may get a catch a fish on a free line, and then the next bite will be on the down line. Stagger the baits based on what the sonar shows, employing a mix of free lines, weighted free lines, down lines and planers. Herring have been very effective, but a Gizzard Said will also be a good bait. Shiners are also viable, and while the fish do not really seem to be focused on smaller baits, the shiners can often be very effective, and keeping one on spinning rod with a light leader may add a couple of extra bites for over the course of the day.

Trolling has been a very good technique, with on the big umbrellas and with the Mini Macks. With plenty of fish moving around in less than 40 feet of water as opposed to 40 plus, more fish are accessible to trollers. And even if you are bait fishing, keeping a Mini Mack in the spread is a good tactic. If the fish are deeper than 20, you can fish it as a down line or under a Planer. If  you are in shallow water, or are marking fish that are less than 20, fish the Mini under the board. Keep something tied on to cast, with Stripers up on the banks or on the surface, casting a small jig, Fluke or Steelshad can be very productive. The Stripers are showing up all over the lake, but I think the bite is best bite up in the upper reaches of the lake, either river arm, and there are good numbers of surfacing fish showing up in the last hour of the day. 

Bass fishing remains strong, with fish still being all over the depth wise, but the shallow patterns are definitely becoming more prominent. The long term forecast indicates a lot of cloudy days, with rain showers, weather that is often very conducive to fishing your favorite pre spawn techniques. Jerk baits, spinner baits, and crank baits are all effective right now. With many of the shallow fish being scattered out after the rapid rise in lake level, and plenty of shallow cover available, these high saturation baits can be very effective. 

Soft plastics are still producing well, maybe the best bet for consistency. The Roboworms on the weedless wonder around the docks is very strong. Docks in 12 to 25 feet, middle part of the creeks will be a good starting point. These numbers can change based on the weather on any day, so keep that in mind if you are pounding the docks. Hula Grubs on the Weedless Wonder are also good for the dock bite, and any other pattern for that matter. The 4” Model has been a consistent producer. The Keitechs on a swim jig/lead head are also good choices right now. Rocky points and rock piles of of the points are producing well, and consider crank baits if you are targeting the rocks. Baits that run 7 to 15 are doing well, match the color to the water color and this pattern should produce some good numbers and put some big fish in the box as well. 

Good Fishing

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report March 11, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for March 11, 2020

Hide-and-seek or hide-and-go seek was a favorite game to play when I was growing up. That’s when we would run and hide around the farm before someone came looking for us. March can be one of those months that when you leave the dock you might want to say, ready or not here I come! You just never know when or what an early March day might bring you on Lake Hartwell. It’s the month of March when you leave the dock not knowing if you are going to get the fish or if the fish are going to get you! It’s hard to explain how you can catch a good box of fish one day and a day or two later the F.B.I couldn’t find the fish. It’s this time of the year that you just have to go and hope that the fish will be ready to bite. I call this a transitional month as the fish get ready to make a major change in their feeding habits. There’s one thing for sure as it continues to warm up the fish will not be hiding out much longer as their desire to spawn hits the feeding frenzy mode and even the novice fisherman will be catching some good quality fish, so let’s Go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has been fair to good overall the past seven days even with continued poor but improving water conditions. March has started out with constant rain over the last few days. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 661.34 which are 1.34 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are holding at fifty four  degrees but I would bet that the water temperatures will begin to rise very soon with the air temperatures reaching seventy degrees several days this week. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

This week the Striper and Hybrid fishing has been hit and miss as you leave the dock one day and catch a good box of fish and a day or two later you go back to the same places and fish the same conditions and the fish just seem to have disappeared. It’s very strange to go to a spot that the fish bite was good and a day or two later you go back to those same places and catch one fish in each location. Now if you know anything about Striper or Hybrid fishing you know that there’s no such thing as one Striper or Hybrid in an area that’s loaded with bait, but I can assure you if the fish don’t want to be found they can sure hide as well as any fish in the lake. I’m excited that the weather is going to improve soon and the Stripers and Hybrids are going to turn on as soon as the water temperatures get closer to that sixty degree magic number. As with anything in life I always say don’t give up! If you have a bad day of fishing mark it up as a learning experience make it a fun and educational experience and get ready for the next trip. I look forward to hearing more from those who have fished Instructional Trips over this past year as they all catch some good boxes of fish this year. I have been so blessed to meet and fish with many fishermen over this past year and been able to share many fishing techniques with these folks. They may not know it but I’m the one who learned a lot and I’m the one who feels blessed for getting to fish and make friends with these good folks. If you want to book a fishing trip for the upcoming spring season on Lake Hartwell or get your Instructional Trip done before the spring bite takes off then now is the time to get these trips booked. I have been told that I give too many secrets away when it comes to Striper and Hybrid fishing, well I plead guilty but I want to be known as the Striper fisherman that shared his all. We will be fishing all of these Instructional techniques during the end of the winter pattern and will be teaching these techniques during our 2020 Instructional Trips during the upcoming spring excursions. If you fished an Instructional Trip this past year you can use your Book to put yourselves in the right places to catch fish, and don’t forget I’m just a phone call away. I would make a serious suggestion being if you are not prepared to pull Umbrella Rigs or Mini Mack’s and if you want to pull big baits on your Perfect Planer Boards you might want to look at the bottom of this report for my suggestions on gear to catch fish during the next few months. It’s time to pull some Perfect Planer Boards with Gizzard shad close to the banks or in the backs of the creeks where the big fish roam. When I move back out of the backs of the creeks I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. I usually locate these fish one of two ways. I locate them on my Humminbird Side Imaging or Down Imaging and the minute that I get them under the boat I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish. If the fish decide not to eat my live bait then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite  during the next couple of months.. We cover all these umbrella methods and many other techniques in our teaching trips and it’s always  fun to learn new methods! One main item that we cover during the Instructional Fishing Trips is how to locate Stripers and Hybrids!  There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on our area lakes, and our we cover all of these points., This is a great time to book, you can witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns. When you fish an Instructional Trip you will also be given the chance to ask all the questions that very few professional Striper fishermen will share, so if you are interested in learning all the different techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrid Bass,  get your calendar out and go ahead and book a future trip as they book up quickly when the weather begins to warm back up. If you have ever wanted to be one of the boats that come to the dock with your limit after a good spring fishing trip you might want to book a trip really soon. A Striper Instructional Trip will be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. To secure your day, give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring, large Shiners or Gizzard Shad fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling quality bait and several have the gizzard shad that you will need for that big fish bite. Be sure to add O2 from your Keep Alive O2 system to keep this bait healthy during your trip. The live bait bite has been tough but should get better soon.
  • Okuma Classic Pro Striper Rods. This live Bait Rod paired with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reel is a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing. If you choose another reel that will be up to you but try the Okuma Classic Striper Rod side by side with your other rods and I promise you that you will see the difference immediately!
  • Captain Mack Super Spoons or Captain Mack Jig’N Shad spoons. These Jigs are great for fish that are bunched up and hugging the bottom. These Jigs are a must have for the winter months.
  • Any top water bait of your choice; I prefer a spook or anything in a chrome color. Flukes and swim baits paired with one of Captain Mack’s trailers. The chartreuse trailer works the best for me. 
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I know from experience that this system will help keep your bait in perfect condition during your day of fishing and increase your odds of catching fish with the best bait you can put in the water.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will never go to the lake without them! The Umbrella Rig bite is a guaranteed bite now and the four arm nine bait rigs are working the best. These rigs are best fished using the Okuma 303 Coldwater series on a Captain Mack Trolling Rod. They can be purchased at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine as well as Sportsman’s Warehouse and Academy Sports. If your favorites bait and tackle shop does not carry them you might want to ask for them. I like to get my tackle where I normally shop and I hate to go to the lake without everything that I need to catch a good box of fish.
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled with your trolling motor at .08 mph or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards is working great right now and gives you the ability to cover a lot of water! These rigs are hard to find right now as they sell out quickly. They can be found at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and I personally would ask my favorite fishing store to purchase them so that you always have a good supply at your go to bait shop.
  • Perfect Planer Boards. This is the best Planer Board I have ever used. The Planer Board bite can be an all-day bite right now as you cover a lot of water. It is working great right now and it gives you the ability to put more bait in the water which always increases your odds of catching more fish. I will fish Planer Boards every trip during the fall and winter months waiting for that big explosion that always seems to come behind a Planer Board.
  • Stealth QR2 Quick Release Rod Holders. This is a NEW Technology Rod Holder and it is built for the fisherman that wants the best for their boats and the ability to fish at any angle that you would like to fish with a few simple adjustments that you can make without tools on the fly. Down rods, freelines or Umbrella Rigs these rod holders will get the job done and they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The clients that I have fished since installing these new rod holders have already said that they are the BEST that they have ever used and are looking to install them on their boats. (If you are buying a new boat this year please check out the Stealth QR2. Do not scratch up your rails with other rod holders when you can install a Stealth QR2 that will leave no marks on your new rails and will do you an excellent job.)

BASS

This past week has been fair for Bass fishing. The Spotted Bass bite has really been good with Spotted Bass coming off of points that drop off into 20-40 feet of water being caught on Alabama Rigs, Ned Rigs, Drop Shots, Shakey Heads and Carolina Rigs with soft plastics. The FLW Toyota Series 2020 Lake Hartwell Series was held this past week during the middle of the week from Tuesday March 3rd through Thursday March 5th. These FLW fishermen got to experience the high water and still somewhat trashy waters of Lake Hartwell from all the rainfall that we experienced last month and into this month. Thursday March 5th gave these fishermen a hard rain all day long for a miserable day of fishing. I was out there with them during this mid-week of fishing and it was not hard to tell that these guys were running and gunning into the backs of many Lake Hartwell creeks looking for that big fish bite. The lack of sunshine all three days of the tournament seemed to hurt many of these fishermen. Marty Robinson from Lyman SC was the winner of the three day event with a total weight in of 47.4 pounds. Second place went to Derrick Bridges from Greenville SC with a total weight of 45.12 pounds. That’s not a big number for Lake Hartwell with much bigger fish to be caught as the Lake conditions improve but it was a good number for the weather conditions that these guys experienced. Congratulations to all of these Bass Fishermen who worked hard to qualify to fish this tournament and for all the efforts that they put into fishing this mid – week tough tournament.

  • Captain Mack Super Spoons over suspended fish. It’s going to get really cold this February and the select of Captain Mack Super Spoons will be bought up quickly as soon as this bite takes off. I always get my baits early so I know that I will have what I need when I need them.
  • Captain Mack under Spin Jig.
  • KVD 1.5 Magnum Square Bill baits in the color of your choice, with all the rain I would suggest something in a shad or chartreuse color. Deeper diving crank baits are also working in these same colors.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn or Bluegill worms as well as some new colors we are using. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s. If you want to catch some big Spotted Bass this is a go to bait!
  • Robo Worms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes.

CRAPPIE

With the lake beginning to warm up and sunny days in the near forecast the Crappie are pulling up into shallow waters as they begin their spawn. The Crappie will begin the pre-spawn now and many of the females that are being caught are already full of eggs. Live minnows and jigs all work great this time of the year and I have had very good luck with the Crappie Country Jigs that I’m buying at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine, don’t over-look changing up colors when you are marking fish and the bite is slow especially if the water is muddy. Chartreuse colored jigs works great in stained water on Lake Hartwell. A trick to try that’s working for me, tie a minnow onto the bottom of your line and add a Crappie Jig about a foot above the minnow. The movement of the minnow is all the action you will need to get the bite on the jig. Don’t overlook a float as you fish over the tops of brush, this can be the best bite of the day.

 Go to Baits for this week.

  • Small minnows fished on four pound test line under small floats pitched under docks or over brush will get you the bite you’re looking for. Tipping a jig with a small minnow is working also.
  • Popeye Jigs are doing the job right now and if fished slowly in deeper brush piles they will produce the bite you are looking for. I will share a secret to fishing this jig later in the year as the water gets much colder so stay tuned and I will let you know when this idea begins to work.
  • Give Captain Mack a call and order you a good supply of Crappie Country Jigs or drop by Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and pick out a good selection from their large collection of colors and sizes. They come in some Crappie killer colors and they will produce some good fish.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graphs and Minn Koto Trolling Motors. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie. You have to find them to catch them and Humminbird gives you that ability. 

Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing! Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (Ret.) Certified SCDNR Fishing Instructor

To book your next Lake Hartwell fishing adventure please call Captain Mack Farr at – 770-235-8135

Lake Lanier Fishing Report March 4. 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports No Comments

 

March started out like like January and February, more rain. February was a very wet month, 11.05 inches of rain in Athens, compared to a 30 yr annual average of only 4.48 inches, according to the NWS. That extra rain is reflected in the higher lake levels, 1075.18 as of Wed afternoon, 4.18 feet over full pool. Many of the Corp ramps remain closed, check the Corps FB page to see a list of closings. After another brief cool down/dry out through the weekend, the weather forecasts says its back to more rain and clouds, but it looks as though the temps are mild, time to fish! The full Super Moon, the March Full Moon is called the full Worm Moon, occurs on the 9th at 148.PM. According to the Old Farmers Almanac, this is the Moon on which the ground begins to thaw enough that earthworms reappear, energizing the Robins to feed, a sure sign that Spring is here! The water has stayed at a very constant temp, right around 50 degrees. 

The Striper bite has for the most part stayed true to the downline bite, and I made a note of that unchanging temp, I think unchanging, or at least slowly changing features in the deeper water have created very stable water conditions with an abundance of bait. No reason for the fish to do anything different? There were a few fish showing up in the creek backs in shallow water, but that may get squelched again with more rain and cooling temps. So, the primary method stays the same, find the deep bait, send ‘em a downline, start drumming a little and if the fish are there you should get a response pretty quickly. The fish are generally moving around these bait schools, so often they will be under the boat, disappear, and then return. If you go more than 15 to 20 minutes without seeing fish on the sonar, move to another bait school. Often, you will not have to move far, too locate more Stripers. The bait may show up anywhere from 35 to 80, suspended or layered across the bottom, either is a good situation. How deep should you fish? Well, that’s a very big variable, and is subject to change from day to day. If the trees will allow, drop the bait to the bottom and reel up a couple of feet. I generally like to idle around an area until I find the bait on a clean bottom. Often the fish that are holding on or near the bottom, basically roaming around in the bait schools, are pretty catchable. However, don’t rule out catching the fish that are suspending up in the column, hang the bait where the fish are until you tweak the bite. The Herring seems to be the overall best producers, but a Gizzard or a Shiner may also produce. 

Trolling the big rigs will account for some pretty good numbers, the Capt. Mack’s 3 oz rigs, with 9 baits fished 100 to 140 feet behind the bait should be very effective on the fish that are up in the 20 to 35 foot range. You will be more likely to find that situation up in the rivers, or in the back 1/3 of the lower end creeks, so keep the rigs handy for those areas. We will likely have some more mud lines and dirty water to contend with after the recent rains, try and use the mud lines to your advantage and watch for nice breaks in color or temperature. Once the rain backs off for a couple of days and the incoming water in either river stabilizes, you may be able to run past the muddy/stained water and into the clear water that is feeding the lake. 

There are some Stripers showing up in either river, that bite is sporadic based on the fluctuating river conditions, but there are enough fish showing up in either river to make a trip up worthwhile. This bite should wake up with just a little stable weather and warmer water temps. 

Bass fishing is good, and should only improve as March brings some mild weather and subsequently warming water temps. Watch for more Bass to move into shallow water any time we get we get stable, warm weather for a couple of days. The patterns on the Bass have also been fairly stable, still good numbers of fish in 15 to 25 feet, and targeting structures in this depth range will provide the greatest numbers and most consistent bite. I think many of the bigger fish are shallow, and while the numbers are not as good, the fish have responded to rising water levels and gotten on the park benches and picnic tables. I think Soft plastics have been solid producers, and a variety of baits will produce. Finesse worms, Senkos, and Keitech swim baits are all good choices, and you can fish them on almost any type of rig/jig head. The hula grub on the Booger Head has also been accounting for some nice catches. 

The dock bite remains very good, with plenty of fish on rocky points or rock formations off of the points. A worm on the weedless Wonder is a top producer on the docks, but Senkos and jigs are all a good choice. No changes in the dock pattern, move fast and visit lots of docks and you’ll get the numbers. The soft plastics will also do well on the rocks, and cranking over rocks and points is also a good technique. Crank baits that fish in the 8 to 15 foot range have been producing well, the color varies depending on what part of the lake you are in and the water color in a given area, so match the bait accordingly. 

Good Fishing

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report March 3, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for March 03, 2020

GOOD NEWS!! Well now that I have gotten everyone’s attention it’s no secret that over this last week all we have seen and heard has been bad news, but I’m not into doom and gloom so let focus on the positive and not all this despair. I can assure you that we have all weathered much tougher storms and my faith is still in the Christ who has this bump in the road in His control, so there’s no need to be worried? So let’s keep a positive outlook on the future and move on to bigger and brighter things. It’s March and the fish are biting and the bite is only going to get better and better each day forward, how’s that for encouraging news.  I’ve always believed that fishing was good medicine for the mind body and soul so don’t let the things going on around us get us down when you can jump into the boat and leave it all at the dock, so let’s Go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has been good overall the past seven days even with continued poor but improving water conditions. March has started out with rain and then more rain over the last few days. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 661.27 which are 1.27 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The Army Corps of Engineers continues to do a great job of releasing the water from the lake at a rate that will not cause harm to the fishery. The current water temperatures are holding at fifty three degrees but I would bet that the water temperatures will begin to rise very soon. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

This week the Striper and Hybrid fishing continues to be good with fish being caught from the mid lake all the way to the dam. I’m very encouraged that the bite is good because not only am I catching fish but I’m getting calls from several of the folks that have been out over this past year on Instructional Trips and they are all applying the techniques that they learned and they are catching fish too! The quality of the Stripers and Hybrids that are being caught are good and the fish will take a live Blueback Herring quickly off of a Perfect Planer Board or a down rod fished just over the schools of fish. I have found some huge schools of fish already this month and as the lake continues to clear up and warm up the fishing will become fast and furious. I’m hearing from the bait shops that there are not many Striper fisherman buying bait right now and if that’s the case you are missing out on a good bite. I know that the weather has been cold and the lake has been trashy with high waters but those conditions have improved so now is a good time to take the cover off the boat and get back on the water. If you want to book a fishing trip for the upcoming spring season on Lake Hartwell or get your Instructional Trip done before the spring bite takes off then now is the time to get these trips booked. We will be fishing all of these techniques during the remainder of the winter pattern and will be teaching these techniques during our 2020 Instructional Trips during these winter excursions. If you fished an Instructional Trip this past year remember to use your Book to put yourselves in the right places to catch fish. I would make a serious suggestion to be prepared to pull Umbrella Rigs,  Mini Mack’s and big baits on your Perfect Planer Boards, reference  the bottom section of this report for my suggestions on the proper gear needed to catch fish during the next few months. It’s time to pull some big Gizzard Shad behind the perfect Planers close to the banks or in the backs of the creeks where the big fish roam after the rains stop and the trash settles down. When I move back out of the backs of the creeks I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. I usually locate these fish one of two ways. I locate them on my Humminbird Side Imaging or Down Imaging and the minute that I get them under the boat I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish. If the fish decide not to eat my live bait then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now that the real winter weather is showing up. If you want to catch fish during the next couple of months you should add Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs to your fishing gear for the guaranteed bite.  Pulling rigs and many other techniques are highlighted during our Instructional Trips.  One main item that we cover in our Instructional Fishing Trips is how to locate Stripers and Hybrids.  There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell and we will demonstrate all of them! Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, it’s also a great time to witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns. When you fish an Instructional Trip you will learn everything there is to know about catching Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell or your home lake and you will be given the chance to ask all the questions that very few professional Striper fishermen will share.  If you are interested in a teaching trip  it’s a good time to get your calendar out and go ahead and book a date as they fill up quickly when the weather begins to warm back up. If you have ever wanted to be one of the boats that come to the dock with your limit after a good spring fishing trip you might want to book a trip soon. A Striper Instructional Trip will be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking a 2020 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring, large Shiners or Gizzard Shad fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling quality bait and several have the gizzard shad that you will need for that big fish bite. Be sure to add O2 from your Keep Alive O2 system to keep this bait healthy during your trip. The live bait bite has been tough but should get better soon.
  • Okuma Classic Pro Striper Rods. This live Bait Rod paired with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reel is a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing. If you choose another reel that will be up to you but try the Okuma Classic Striper Rod side by side with your other rods and I promise you that you will see the difference immediately!
  • Captain Mack Super Spoons or Captain Mack Jig’N Shad spoons. These Jigs are great for fish that are bunched up and hugging the bottom. These Jigs are a must have for the winter months.
  • Any top water bait of your choice; I prefer a spook or anything in a chrome color. Flukes and swim baits paired with one of Captain Mack’s trailers. The chartreuse trailer works the best for me. 
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I know from experience that this system will help keep your bait in perfect condition during your day of fishing and increase your odds of catching fish with the best bait you can put in the water.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will never go to the lake without them! The Umbrella Rig bite is a guaranteed bite now and the four arm nine bait rigs are working the best. These rigs are best fished using the Okuma 303 Coldwater series on a Captain Mack Trolling Rod. They can be purchased at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine as well as Sportsman’s Warehouse and Academy Sports. If your favorites bait and tackle shop does not carry them you might want to ask for them. I like to get my tackle where I normally shop and I hate to go to the lake without everything that I need to catch a good box of fish.
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled with your trolling motor at .08 mph or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards is working great right now and gives you the ability to cover a lot of water! These rigs are hard to find right now as they sell out quickly. They can be found at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and I personally would ask my favorite fishing store to purchase them so that you always have a good supply at your go to bait shop.
  • Perfect Planer Boards. This is the best Planer Board I have ever used. The Planer Board bite can be an all-day bite right now as you cover a lot of water. It is working great right now and it gives you the ability to put more bait in the water which always increases your odds of catching more fish. I will fish Planer Boards every trip during the fall and winter months waiting for that big explosion that always seems to come behind a Planer Board.
  • Stealth QR2 Quick Release Rod Holders. This is a NEW Technology Rod Holder and it is built for the fisherman that wants the best for their boats and the ability to fish at any angle that you would like to fish with a few simple adjustments that you can make without tools on the fly. Down rods, freelines or Umbrella Rigs these rod holders will get the job done and they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The clients that I have fished since installing these new rod holders have already said that they are the BEST that they have ever used and are looking to install them on their boats.

BASS

This past week has been great for Bass fishing. The Spotted Bass bite has really been good with Spotted Bass coming out of 20-40 feet of water being caught on Alabama Rigs, Ned Rigs, Drop Shots, Shakey Heads and Carolina Rigs with soft plastics. The Bass are feeding and fattening up now as the water temperatures begin to rise. It’s not going to be long before the Largemouth Bass pull up on the banks and there have already been some heavy fish caught over this past week. I’m seeing many professional Bass fishermen on the lake over this past week so I’m sure there has to be a major tournament coming in the near future.

  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s with or without blades, both work great. This bait is catching some hogs while being fished off of deeper points or in schooling fish. This bait produces a guaranteed bite when fished in or near schooling fish and is a great fish locator for any upcoming tournament.
  • Captain Mack Super Spoons over suspended fish. It’s going to get really cold this February and the select of Captain Mack Super Spoons will be bought up quickly as soon as this bite takes off. I always get my baits early so I know that I will have what I need when I need them.
  • Captain Mack under Spin Jig.
  • KVD 1.5 Magnum Square Bill baits in the color of your choice, with all the rain I would suggest something in a shad or chartreuse color. Deeper diving crank baits are also working in these same colors.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn or Bluegill worms as well as some new colors we are using. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder!
  • Roboworms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes.

CRAPPIE

With the lake conditions on Lake Hartwell starting to clear up and with the water levels dropping it’s not going to be long before I will be able to get back into the Crappie fishing again. With the lake beginning to warm up and sunny days in the near forecast the Crappie should pull up into shallow waters soon as they begin their spawn. The Crappie will begin the pre-spawn now and many of the females that are being caught are already full of eggs. I’m hearing that there are a lot of fish being caught long lining for Crappie right now. It won’t be long and we will see the banks of Lake Hartwell lined up in many places as the bank fishermen hit their favorite spots to catch some quality fish. I hope to get back to Crappie fishing as soon as the lake clears back up and I can get back to my favorite spots. Live minnows and jigs all work great this time of the year and I have had very good luck with the Crappie Country Jigs that I’m buying at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine, don’t over-look changing up colors when you are marking fish and the bite is slow especially if the water is muddy. Chartreuse colored jigs works great in stained water on Lake Hartwell. A trick to try that’s working for me, tie a minnow onto the bottom of your line and add a Crappie Jig about a foot above the minnow. The movement of the minnow is all the action you will need to get the bite on the jig. 

 Go to Baits for this week.

  • Small minnows fished on four pound test line under small floats pitched under docks or over brush will get you the bite you’re looking for. Tipping a jig with a small minnow is working also.
  • Popeye Jigs are doing the job right now and if fished slowly in deeper brush piles they will produce the bite you are looking for. I will share a secret to fishing this jig later in the year as the water gets much colder so stay tuned and I will let you know when this idea begins to work.
  • Give Captain Mack a call and order you a good supply of Crappie Country Jigs or drop by Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and pick out a good selection from their large collection of colors and sizes. They come in some Crappie killer colors and they will produce some good fish.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graphs and Minn Kota Trolling Motors. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie. You have to find them to catch them and Humminbird gives you that ability. 

Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing! Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (Ret.) Certified SCDNR Fishing Instructor

To book your next Lake Hartwell fishing adventure please call Captain Mack Farr at – 770-235-8135.  Lake Hartwell crappie fishing has slowed down now that the fish are pulling off of the brush piles. The best crappie action seems to be in shallow water or on live minnows under bridges at night. To book your Lake Hartwell adventures please call Captain Mack Farr at – 1.888.989.8052 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report February 27, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports

February is winding down and we are into March! March has historically been a great month for Stripers, and there is no reason to think this year will be any different, although the patterns may be non typical as opposed to years past? The same statement should apply to Bass fishing as well. The long term forecast is projecting a typical March forecast, some rain with fairly mild temps, so make time to get on the lake and fish! Even with the rain in the forecast, factor in that on many of those days the rain chance is minimal and those cloudy skies often make for a good bite! It looks like the record all time high lake levels are safe for now, and the lake level is currently 1076.07,  5.07 over full pool, the surface temps are around 50 degrees. 

Striper fishing has remained very stable, and the majority of the fish are still holed up in deep water around the bait concentrations. With the repeated influxes of new muddy water the lake received in February, the shallow water and the water in the backs of the creeks and coves has been in a constant state of turmoil. The deeper water offers plenty of stability, and if the bait stays there is really no reason for the fish to move? I am sure that will that change as the water warms, however, in the short term it looks like downlines and/or trolling over deep water will be your best options to consistently find numbers of Stripers. Look for bait concentrations in the back of the creeks, or coves, it does not have to be a live creek to hold fish. The bait may show up anywhere from 50 to 80 feet, so keep your search area broad. Once you find the bait, send the down lines to them, staggering the depth of the baits based on what the sonar shows.  Dropping to the bottom and reeling up a couple of cranks has still been a good technique when you see the bait tight to the bottom, and the timber will allow. Herring have been the preferred bait, but a Gizzard Shad is worth keeping in the spread.

Trolling has been a good technique as well, particularly in the upper reaches of either river. Once you get into the upper part of either river, there is more bait and fish in the 30 to 40 foot range, which makes them more accessible to the rigs. Pulling the Minis or the Big rigs are both effective, and with decreased amounts of floating debris trolling is a more viable pattern. Target the bait concentrations, flats along the river channels, and bends in the river or creek channels. Use the mud lines to your advantage and don’t be hesitant to troll in stained water. A slight stain can be good, and adding flash to the rig can be a plus, and now that the water is stabilized the off color water may be a plus. 

Bass fishing is good, but the fish are all over the place and using a wide variety of depths and structures. The patterns are widely varied, although the bite largely revolves around soft plastics with jigs and crank baits having some application as well. I think the deeper structures are still the most productive, certainly in terms of consistency, although there are some big fish roaming in shallow water. I guess the biggest question here is what is deep? We’ll call deep 25 to 45 feet, and the structures are the usuals, timber edges, bluffs, and brush. Worms are the biggest producers, but Senkos, swim baits and other plastics can also be effective. Overall, worms on the drop shot are very consistent, as are the shakey heads. Bait is also a very big factor, if you can find good bait concentrations the fish should be nearby.

 

The dock bite is also very strong, great for numbers, with a few big fish mixed in. Depth is the big variable here as well, with dock fish holding anywhere from 10 to 40 feet. To try and narrow this pattern down, try docks in 15 to 25, in the major creek arms. That is a very general guideline and on any given day those parameters may change dramatically. Another general guideline is  if the fish is at home, the bite will come quickly, so fish a dock thoroughly but don’t hang around too long as this is often one and done pattern. Look for the numbers of fish on the docks to increase as the water warms and we move into March. 

Shallow structures are holding some fish, the numbers may not be great bit the average size is excellent. Worms and jigs will get it done, but a spinnerbait or a small crank bait may be a good choice as well.  Both of the latter two options should become stronger as the water warms in the coming days. You may want to try a # 5 or #7 Shad Rap, I know that is old school, but there is a reason that bait has been around for as long as it has. Target the backs of the creeks and coves, and finding stained water will be a plus. I think the fish are easier to trick and a little less weary if the water is dingy, it will often be slightly warmer as well. Cast the Shad Rap to any type of shallow structure adjacent to the bank. A slow steady retrieve with an occasion pause should catch whatever is around, Both Largemouth and Spotted Bass, White Bass and a few small Stripers are quick to respond to the Shad Rap. Light line, 6 to 10 lb test and this is a fun and productive way to fish. 

Good Fishing

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report

By Captain Mack's Blog, Lake Lanier Fishing Reports

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for February 27, 2020

If you have ever fished with me you know that I’m all about having the best and most up to date electronics available, and in my opinion I have the best on the market! This can be a real problem for the fish because with side imaging showing me what’s around me, and down imaging showing me what’s below, and of course my Lake Master Card giving me all the lake details in one foot increments,  the fish will have a real hard time hiding when my boat floats off the trailer. I’ve been thinking real hard about how to install and use some smart devises like an Alexa or how to get my “Hey Google” to just tell my graph what species I’m looking for along with the right size and see if I can incorporate the assistance that we have now to get these new tools to work together and take me right to the spots where the fish are biting. Now if I can get Alexa to order me a pizza or change the channels on my TV, or get Hey Google on my cell phone,  who by the way is always listening to me just like Alexa. That paints a pretty grim picture for the fish as the electronics continue to improve! 

The Lake Hartwell bite has been fair overall the past seven days even with poor water conditions. With the rain that we have seen over this past few weeks this month has gone down in history as the wettest February ever recorded for Lake Hartwell so this helps explain the huge amount of debris in the lake. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 662.24 which are 2.24 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The Army Corps Of Engineers has done a great job of releasing the water from the lake at a rate that will not cause harm to the fishery.  Although there still is some suggestion that the flood gates may be opened if the levels climb back up again if we get additional rain,  there is not any immediate chances of this happening this week. The current water temperatures are fifty three degrees and unless it gets really cold again I would bet that the water will start to warm up even more as muddy water warms much quicker than clear water and Lake Hartwell is still very muddy.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

This past week the Striper and Hybrid fishing was fair with fish being caught from the mid lake all the way to the dam. It has been very cold this past week with several days of rain which has brought the water levels back up and has prevented the water from clearing up. Typically this time of the year I’m fishing up the lake and in the backs of creeks located in the Seneca or Tugaloo Rivers, however I’m still having problems getting under several bridges so I’m fishing in the middle of the lake with some success. The Stripers and Hybrids that have been caught this past week were located and caught from mid-lake all the way to the dam and I’m guessing that these fish may have moved into more favorable water conditions due to the amount of trash located in the backs of the creeks and rivers. There’s are hundreds of seagulls working bait in the main lake so finding a good place to fish is based a lot on where the bait is located. The quality of the fish that have been caught has been good and they are eating big Gizzard Shad, Herring and Umbrella Rigs in clear water. I see no reason for the fish to move from these locations and I would even bet that the bite will only improve as spring time continues to get closer. The weather is still forecast to be very cold and wet with several cold fronts to move across Lake Hartwell during the month of March. Hopefully the muddy stained water that still has a lot of trash mixed into the water columns will clear up soon and we will be able to move back into the areas that are more consistent for this time of the year. Striper fishing has always been tougher when the lake is above full pool so don’t get disappointed or give up when these conditions get tough. If you want to book a fishing trip for the upcoming spring season on Lake Hartwell or get your Instructional Trip done before the spring bite takes off then now is the time to get these trips booked. We will be fishing all of these techniques during the remainder of the winter pattern and will be teaching these techniques during our 2020 Instructional Trips during these winter excursions. If you fished an Instructional Trip this past year you can use your Instructional Book to put yourselves in the right places to catch fish. I would make a serious suggestion being if you are not prepared to pull Umbrella Rigs or Mini Mack’s and you want to pull big baits on your Perfect Planer Boards you might want to look at the bottom of this report for my suggestions on gear to catch fish during the next few months. It’s time to pull some Perfect Planer Boards with Gizzard Shad close to the banks or in the backs of the creeks where the big fish roam after the rains stop and the trash settles down. When I move back out of the backs of the creeks I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. I usually locate these fish one of two ways. I locate them on my Humminbird Side Imaging or Down Imaging and the minute that I get them under the boat I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish. If the fish decide not to eat my live bait then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now that the real winter weather is showing up. If you want to catch fish during the next couple of months you should add Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs to your fishing gear for the guaranteed bite. Again we cover all these methods in our Instructional Trips and it’s a fun way to catch some good Stripers. One main item that we cover in our Instructional Fishing Trips is how to locate Stripers and Hybrids and then the best methods to catching them. There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell and our Instructional Trips cover all of these points. Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, in order to witness first-hand what a changing season does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns. The Instructional Trip you will teach you all you need to know about catching Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell, or on any other reservoir. Got questions? No problem. You will be given the answers to the questions  that very few professional Striper fishermen will share, so call now to get on the schedule! These trips book up quickly when the weather begins to warm!  If you have ever wanted to be one of the boats that come to the dock with your limit after a good spring fishing trip you might want to book a trip soon. A Striper Instructional Trip will be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking a 2020 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring, large Shiners or Gizzard Shad fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling quality bait and several have the gizzard shad that you will need for that big fish bite. Be sure to add O2 from your Keep Alive O2 system to keep this bait healthy during your trip. The live bait bite has been tough but should get better soon.
  • Okuma Classic Pro Striper Rods. This live Bait Rod paired with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reel is a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing. If you choose another reel that will be up to you but try the Okuma Classic Striper Rod side by side with your other rods and I promise you that you will see the difference immediately!
  • Captain Mack Super Spoons or Captain Mack Jig’N Shad spoons. These Jigs are great for fish that are bunched up and hugging the bottom. These Jigs are a must have for the winter months.
  • Any top water bait of your choice; I prefer a spook or anything in a chrome color. Flukes and swim baits paired with one of Captain Mack’s trailers. The chartreuse trailer works the best for me. 
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I know from experience that this system will help keep your bait in perfect condition during your day of fishing and increase your odds of catching fish with the best bait you can put in the water.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will never go to the lake without them! The Umbrella Rig bite is a guaranteed bite now and the four arm nine bait rigs are working the best. These rigs are best fished using the Okuma 303 Coldwater series on a Captain Mack Trolling Rod. They can be purchased at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine as well as Sportsman’s Warehouse and Academy Sports. If your favorites bait and tackle shop does not carry them you might want to ask for them. I like to get my tackle where I normally shop and I hate to go to the lake without everything that I need to catch a good box of fish.
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled with your trolling motor at .08 mph or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards is working great right now and gives you the ability to cover a lot of water! These rigs are hard to find right now as they sell out quickly. They can be found at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and I personally would ask my favorite fishing store to purchase them so that you always have a good supply at your go to bait shop.
  • Perfect Planer Boards. This is the best Planer Board I have ever used. The Planer Board bite can be an all-day bite right now as you cover a lot of water. It is working great right now and it gives you the ability to put more bait in the water which always increases your odds of catching more fish. I will fish Planer Boards every trip during the fall and winter months waiting for that big explosion that always seems to come behind a Planer Board.
  • Stealth QR2 Quick Release Rod Holders. This is a NEW Technology Rod Holder and it is built for the fisherman that wants the best for their boats and the ability to fish at any angle that you would like to fish with a few simple adjustments that you can make without tools on the fly. Down rods, freelines or Umbrella Rigs these rod holders will get the job done and they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The clients that I have fished since installing these new rod holders have already said that they are the BEST that they have ever used and are looking to install them on their boats.

BASS

This past week has been great for Bass fishing. The High School Student Anglers Federation fished this past Saturday and even though it was twenty four degrees at blast off the Bass bite was still on! These SAF Anglers were fishing to qualify for the National Championship and they were focused on the prize as we watched them fish hard. This makes two High School Bass Tournaments back to back on Lake Hartwell and there has been no shortage of good sportsmanship along with big bags of fish being weighed in. The future of Bass fishing is strong with all of these young fishermen taking this great sport to heart and being all they can be! Team Kershaw and Konrad from York County High School took first place with a bag weighing 15.10 pounds with the Lew’s Big Fish Award for an 8-15 pound Largemouth Bass.  Just ounces behind them were Team Jacob Butts and Collin Sutherland from Crescent High School out of Anderson SC taking second place with a bag weighing in at 15-04. Most of the team had to go deep with Lake Hartwell still being muddy with Spotted Bass coming out of 20-40 feet of water being caught on Alabama Rigs, Ned Rigs, Drop Shots, Shakey Heads and Carolina Rigs with soft plastics.  About ten percent of these winners will qualify to fish the National Championship Tournament in June 2020 at La Crosse Wisconsin this year with the National Championship for next year already being announced to be fish at Lake Hartwell in 2021.

  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s with or without blades, both work great. This bait is catching some hogs while being fished off of deeper points or in schooling fish. This bait produces a guaranteed bite when fished in or near schooling fish and is a great fish locator for any upcoming tournament.
  • Captain Mack Super Spoons over suspended fish. It’s going to get really cold this February and the selection of Captain Mack Super Spoons will be bought up quickly as soon as this bite takes off. I always get my baits early so I know that I will have what I need when I need them.
  • Captain Mack under Spin Jig.
  • KVD 1.5 Magnum Square Bill baits in the color of your choice, with all the rain I would suggest something in a shad or chartreuse color. Deeper diving crank baits are also working in these same colors.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn, Prizm Kraw,  or Prizm Perch worms as well as some new colors we are using. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes.

CRAPPIE

With the lake conditions not changing from last week’s report the Crappies will still be biting even in the muddy water if you can get a jig in their face under a dock or in a brush pile. With the lake still above full pool again it has made it tough for me to get to some of my favorite spots due to my T-Top. With the lake being full the brush located in shallow water should produce some good fish as the Crappie get ready for their pre-spawn. I hope to get back to Crappie fishing as soon as the lake clears back up and I can get back to my favorite spots. Live minnows and jigs all work great this time of the year and I have had very good luck with the Crappie Country Jigs that I’m buying at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine, don’t over-look changing up colors when you are marking fish and the bite is slow especially if the water is muddy. Chartreuse colored jigs works great in stained water on Lake Hartwell. A trick to try that’s working for me, tie a minnow onto the bottom of your line and add a Crappie Jig about a foot above the minnow. The movement of the minnow is all the action you will need to get the bite on the jig. 

 Go to Baits for this week.

  • Small minnows fished on four pound test line under small floats pitched under docks or over brush will get you the bite you’re looking for. Tipping a jig with a small minnow is working also.
  • Popeye Jigs are doing the job right now and if fished slowly in deeper brush piles they will produce the bite you are looking for. I will share a secret to fishing this jig later in the year as the water gets much colder so stay tuned and I will let you know when this idea begins to work.
  • Give Captain Mack a call and order you a good supply of Crappie Country Jigs or drop by Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and pick out a good selection from their large collection of colors and sizes. They come in some Crappie killer colors and they will produce some good fish.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graphs and Minn Koto Trolling Motors. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie. You have to find them to catch them and Humminbird gives you that ability. 

Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing! Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (Ret.) Certified SCDNR Fishing Instructor

To book your next Lake Hartwell fishing adventure please call Captain Mack Farr at – 770-235-8135.  Lake Hartwell crappie fishing has slowed down now that the fish are pulling off of the brush piles. The best crappie action seems to be in shallow water or on live minnows under bridges at night. To book your Lake Hartwell adventures please call Captain Mack Farr at 1.888.989.8052

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report February 20, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports

The weather continues to be crazy, lots of rain, and the lake may reach an all time high this within a few days? Plenty of questions about the lake being open, and it is, just check with the Corp, or controlling entity of the ramp you are using to verify that it is operational. The weather forecast indicates more of this volatility, so keep the rain gear and cold gear handy, we still have a way to go to before we get to spring. The fishing has been pretty good, especially given the conditions we have experienced since the first of the month. As of this writing, the lake was 1076.71, 5.71 above full pool, only .43 feet from reaching or surpassing the record high level of 1077.14, set 49 years ago on April 10th, 1964. The surface temps have also weathered the storm well and were around 50 degrees, slightly warmer in some of the creek backs.

The Stripers seem to be holding tight to the deep water patterns that have been the norm up until this point in the year. There are some fish showing up in the shallower water or back in the creeks, but those patterns are still sporadic and may remain so until the lake and the weather stabilizes. The deeper water is very stable, and I not sure it may be deceptively clearer then what we see on the surface. Watch for the areas of stained water to warm quickly with just a little help from the weather, that could trigger more bait and fish to venture into shallower water and into the creek backs and coves. Until then, the strongest pattern remains find the deep bait, and you’ll find the fish. The bite is largely a Herring bite, but Medium Shiners and Gizzard Shad are also viable baits. As we discussed last week, use the mud lines to your advantage, they can cause fish to congregate. When you locate the deep bait, even if the water is stained, it is probably worth setting up and dropping the down lines. Some days the fish are picky, and you may get a lot of those light, subtle bites, so hooking the baits in different ways and leaving the reels out of gear may help raise your bites to hook up ratio.

The Trolling bite is actually good, mostly in the upper parts of the lake, or in the creeks, areas where you can locate fish that are up in the 20 to 40 foot level. You’ll need pretty clean water( from a clarity standpoint and the amount of debris floating on the surface) to make this bite work, and after Thursdays rain dump I am not sure how difficult that will become. If the water is just stained, the umbrellas, both the full size rigs and the Mini Mack’s are effective. Adding baits with flash or trailers that cause vibration may be a plus. Try using a Capt Macks’s Striper Spin on the Center of the big rigs or try the Capt Macks Pro Rig, which is built with under spins rigged with 4 inch shad bodies. The bladed Mini’s will probably be a plus in the stained water, and adding the chartreuse trailers may also get an extra bite to two. I had a reader ask about he bladed Mini Mack and it effectiveness for the low speed Stealth trolling? It will do fine and the blades will spin well at speeds of .5 mph or greater.

Bass fishing is also good, and like the Stripers the Spots may be a little more reluctant to bite then in past weeks so finesse techniques may be a plus. I think the deeper patterns are the best, at least in terms of consistency and numbers. There are some fish in relatively shallow water, however, they may look for a new home after this last influx of new water. The shallow patterns may not offer numbers, but have produced some really nice fish up until now.

The dock bite is very good, the depth of the fish is still very inconsistent, but 15 to 25 feet seems to be a good depth range to target. Worms are the most prominent bait on this pattern, you can cast them on the Weedless Wonder or the drop shot, both are effective right now. This pattern is still producing a lot of single bites, so keep moving and fish a bunch of places and you will run up a nice string of fish. These fish are mostly keepers with a few big fish mixed in, but with all of the changing conditions on the lake you can always find docks with good water. The Roboworm in the Green Weenie, Green Neon Pumpkin, and Prizm Kraw are solid producers. This pattern is good all over the lake, or at least if the dock is not in an area that is blown out with muddy water.

Rocks are also a reliable structure, but you may find that rocky areas on points or flats may be difficult to locate visibly with an extra 6 six feet of water to contend with. The heightened water levels can throw off your visual perception of things so factor that in while you are casting to these areas. Hopefully you have a waypoint on them, and that will not be an issue. Worms, Jigs, Boogers with a Hula Grub, and depending on the depth, a crank bait are good choices for the rocks. Rock from 10 to 25 feet may hold fish, and even deeper on the bluffs.

Good Fishing
Capt. Mack