Lake Lanier Fishing Report-September 18, 2020

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Last week I stated that the lake level dropped below full pool for the fist time since February 1st of this year. Well, that did not last long as the remnants of Hurricane Sally brought a big rain dump that raised the lake level back over full to 1071.64 as of Friday pm, up .74 from last week to bring the current level to .64 feet above full pool. The surface temps went the other way, falling to 78 after staying in the low 80’s last week. The surface temps will most likely continue to fall as we get some cooler temps arriving this weekend, with low temps forecast to be in the upper 40’s on Monday and Tuesday! 

The Striper patterns are beginning to change, last week initiated the transition into fall with the fish really responding to swim baits and top waters prior to the arrival of Sally. The live bait bite up in the pockets over that 30 to 40 foot bottom was still a good pattern, and trolling the rigs over the high spots and 30 to 40 foot contours continued to produce well. I expect the shallow water patterns, and the casting techniques to become stronger with the onset of cooling water. So, dust off the top waters and swim baits, and add that to the above mentioned techniques! 

Casting the swim baits and top waters to points and humps is a solid pattern and if you are willing to keep moving and fish plenty of places this pattern can account for some decent numbers. Sebiles and Redfins seem to be two of the go to baits early into this pattern, however, any of your other favorites may also produce, Keep the bait positioned in 25 to 30 feet and cast to the humps and points, if the fish are there the bite is quick. Remember, lake conditions, like wind and light levels may change the bite so match your baits accordingly. I will try and define this pattern more next week and update accordingly!

Trolling umbrellas over the humps or remains a viable pattern and typically this technique remains strong right through the end of the year. The depths or the most productive part of the lake may change, but the basics of this method should not was we move into the fall. Currently, humps, points, and flats adjacent to the banks are all holding fish, key on a 35 foot bottom and cover lots of water and this pattern will produce well. Footnote: in the past few days this pattern is best from mid morning on, so fishing bait or casting top waters may be better in the early am,

I have several inquiries about trolling lead core and is it effective going into Fall? It probably has more year around application than we realize, but it will typically be a secondary pattern once we enter into the turnover phase. Why? Mainly because if the fish are in the pockets, in shallow water, or on small structures (like the tops of the high spots or in a brush pile) It is hard to accurately present a bait on lead core to such a small or confined area. Because you need to deploy so much line to get the bait to the proper depth, you lose the precision needed to consistently place the bait in the strike zone.You will probably find trolling the full size rigs, stealth trolling a Mini, or casting to be more effective in the above mentioned situations. That being said, if you find fish over open water, or over a big flat or suspended over trees, lead core trolling can be very effective into the fall months.

Bass fishing is good, and last week’s storm really energized the bite. Lots of topwater fish, both surfacing fish or just blind casting to structure and pulling the fish up to your bait. I think 15 to 25 feet was the most productive depth, however there were some good numbers of fish taken on  some of the shallower structures in 8 to 15 feet, especially with the wind, cloud cover and rain from last week’s storm.  Points, brush and humps were all good places to look for fish, and really be looking for the surfacing fish. They have been showing up frequently, probably more frequently in the early morning or evening, with some sporadic activity throughout the day. 

Of course the worms on the drop shot, shakey head, or a Texas rig are still counting for plenty of fish, cast them to the same 15 to 25 foot brush and points, and pitching them around docks in the same depth will also produce some good numbers of fish. Casting the Flutter spoons over brush or the tops of humps is also a good pattern, especially if you are targeting the larger fish. You may also want to try fishing the flutter spoons around docks. Pitching a spoon into an open slip or around the seawalls will also account for some nice fish. 

With the water cooling look for some fish to be moving onto shallow structures in the creek backs. With plenty of water in the lake there is an abundance of good cover. Blown down trees, docks, and secondary points may all hold fish, and you may find a few nice Largemouths mixed in with the Spotted Bass! 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-September 16, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for September 16, 2020

Anyone who read last week’s report may have said that it was depressing, actually I heard that first hand but I have to write it as I see it. First of all this time of the year the fishing is always tough but let’s get into what I promised you last week. I did tell you in last week’s report that I had an appointment with Biologist from SCDNR and I do have the facts from that meeting to share with you so cheer up all is not doom and gloom. First of all,  I will discuss the beginning of our conversation which as everyone knows involves some pretty bad fish kills over the last few years. These major events did not go unnoticed by SCDNR, GADNR or the Corp of Engineers, who basically released a lot of water at exactly the wrong time of the year. (By the way SCDNR Biologist and GADNR Biologist are working very closely together, and the Corp is now working with both of those entities as well.)   You may have noticed that Lake Hartwell has remained full most of this year and short of normal generating needs the lake levels have not made much of a change. So number one for Striper and Hybrid fisherman there is too much water in the lake due to all the record rainfall that we have received this year, but now is not the time to lower it until the water levels cool and the lake turns over. I personally like the lake down at least three or four feet and I promise you that it makes a difference in finding and catching fish! Many times we are all guilty of sitting back and wondering if the folks responsible for keeping fish in the lake really care, and are they doing anything to help make fishing better? The answer to that is yes and yes! For the record, there are many Lake Hartwell studies going on right now as you read this article. Lake Hartwell is one of the biggest impoundments in the Southeast and it has always had a reputation as a big Striper lake with good numbers of quality Hybrid Bass as well!  There are still some big Stripers in Lake Hartwell, more than you think, however it is going to be a while before the numbers stocked recently that are listed in my Striper report will make the big boy list. I personally plan to release Stripers and if I’m looking for fish to eat it will be Hybrids or Crappie or Spots. So rest assured I plan to help out with some of the upcoming studies with the Biologist and we are all going to work hard to bring Lake Hartwell back to a Lake known for those Stripers and Hybrids that will bring fishermen back with successful fishing trips. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool into biting while Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has remained fair with the water conditions beginning to change for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.17 which are.0.17 feet above the 660 full pool levels with very heavy rain forecast for later this week. This same time last year the lake was two feet below full pool. The current water temperature is into the mid to lower eighties and with cooler temps coming soon. There have been some storms over Lake Hartwell over the last week with more forecast for this weekend from the hurricane coming from the Gulf, so make sure you have plans to get off the water in a hurry if required. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has been tough over the last few years and according to the Biologist that I meet with last week this has a lot to do with what some of us call a perfect storm. We have received more rain than normal and the water temperatures have been much higher than usual. GADNR has done most of the stocking and in 2019 they stocked 266.000 Striped Bass and 513.000 Hybrid bass. Now in 2020 these fish should be about five inches long and by 2021 they should be about twelve inches by the third year. as you all know, 2020 has been tough on all businesses due to the Covid 19 issues but GADNR did manage to stock 27.000 Stripers and 693.000 Hybrid Bass, now that’s a lot of fish and if we are patient and practice good catch and release we will see a good turn around on Lake Hartwell. SCDNR did not stock any Stripers or Hybrids in 2020 due to the Covid issue but they will be doing their part again in stocking and they currently have many studies going on at this time on Hartwell. They do ask that if you catch a tagged fish that it would be very helpful if you would mail the tag to them and you will receive a very nice reward for your time, So Please Turn It in, it is a big part of one of the current studies. My best suggestion is to use a #1 Owner Circle hook and release any fish that you do not plan to eat. (This hook might look small but it is mighty and I have landed fish over thirty pounds on this hook and they are always hooked in the tough part of the jaw, not a  swallowed hook making for an easy release.) If the fish is hooked deeply, don’t try to dig this hook out, just cut the line and let the fish go and the hook will rust out and the fish will survive. It’s not uncommon for Striper and Hybrid fishermen to keep everything that they catch for bragging rights and pictures. As a retired guide in was always a big deal to pull up to the dock with fish hanging out of my ice chest just like many of the other guides are still doing, this may be good for business but it not good for the fishery on the lake. We are setting ourselves up for a five fish per limit as is the case on Lake Murray, now which by the way you can catch fish there every trip.  Lake Hartwell will soon recover and we should all treat it as if it’s our lake. We want to leave the lake in good condition for the kids who will become anglers in the future so let’s think twice before we kill more fish than we need. In the near future I expect to see some changes from the current studies that are taking place on Lake Hartwell. Although I don’t feel at liberty to discuss the details of all of these studies at this point, I can tell you that South Carolina and Georgia DNR are still shocking up big numbers of quality fish and they are tracking some big Stripers with tracking devices. Perhaps as avid Striper fishermen, what can we do to help? I know that starting right now we all can do our part to help the lake recover if we release the fish that we do not plan to eat. Let me assure you that I am convinced that there are not as many Stripers and Hybrids in the lake as what we saw many years ago, there are still enough for anglers  to find them and catch them. if you put in the work!  We teach everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids so if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat, book and take that trip. This could 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 an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
  • Captain Mack Chipmunk Jigs and Trailers in all colors available.
  • Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What 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.
  • Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during a hot day and increase your odds of catching fish.
  • SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. This bait will catch all bass species when cast to points or fished in deep or shallow waters.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs.  I will not go to the lake without them! 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled behind your Perfect Planer Board , on lead core line, on the down riggers, or cast to surfacing fish! 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards will return later in the fall so now is a good time to get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.
  • Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling or trolling on  lead core line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and lead core pulling has now taken off. I suggest the 2oz with or without stinger hooks rigged on a Captain Mack Mustard Stick Rod. You will not find another rod that will work better for Power Reeling, pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or while pulling lead core line.
  • Parker Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.

BASS

The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite continues to be fair based on a few reports that I’m getting from those weekend Bass Club Teams. The BassMaster Opens will be fished on Lake Hartwell September 23rd – 25th for the Eastern Open.  My grandsons are still catching resident Bass fishing from the dock using SteelShads and Weedless Wonders and Robo worms, The Weedless Wonder and the Robo worm seem to get the best bite. As soon as I recover from surgery and get released back to Lake Hartwell I will give you an accurate report. Go to baits for this week.

  • SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelShad is working the best on points in the mornings when the bait is shallow. The Heavy Series is working over schools of bait in the main lake. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
  • 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 around bridges and docks.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swim baits as well.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a bluegill Robo Worm. Use the plastic of your choice. This 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 Shakey Head!

CRAPPIE

  I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off into the sixties and I start back Crappie fishing. I will be building and sinking a bunch of new Crappie Condo’s this year so I’m getting ready. I’m already starting to hear some good reports! 

Go to Baits.

  • Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. You may want to move up to bigger jig heads as the fish move deeper. When every other color fails on Lake Hartwell we find that chartreuse still will catch fish. Bobby Garland is my choice but many other brands also work great.
  • Small Minnows under floats. This may not be your cup of tea but it still works and the bigger Crappie will take live bait when they won’t take anything else.
  • Chartreuse and white jigs are working well when blue ice or blue grass colors fail. 
  • Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s still a good idea to see what is selling the best at your local bait shops. If the bait shop is out of certain bait you may want to see when they are scheduled to get their next shipment so that you can give it a try.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graph. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie.

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-September 11, 2020

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Lake and fishing conditions were mostly stable last week, however the lake level did fall slightly, 1070.90 as of Thursday evening,  that is .10 feet below full pool, and down .26 feet from last week at this time. This is the first time the lake has dropped below full pool since February 1st of this year! The surface temp was 81 degrees. Next week’s extended forecast calls for more seasonally appropriate weather, and we should see low temps in the 60’s and highs in the low 80’s, good fishing weather!

The Striper Bite has been similar to last week, with last week’s patterns still in play and a couple of new ones that are in the picture now that we are moving into fall. The umbrella bite is still very good, pulling the full size rigs over main lake humps, or contour trolling over ridges and along the bank has been a consistent producer. The only changes I see in this pattern is the depth, the fish are using a greater depth range with more fish holding on the humps  from 25 feet down to a 45 foot bottom.  You may need to fish the rig a little further behind the boat, 140 to 150 feet  as opposed to 110 to 120. I also found that RPM changes or kicking the boat out of gear and dropping the rig into the fish would get a few extra bites. Fishing rigs with underspins may be a plus, or adding a couple of underspin jigs the existing rig may also be worth a few extra bites. This bite will work all day, but I think is strongest from mid morning on. 

The other method that is consistent is fishing live baits in the pockets, with the fish pushing back into water as shallow as 35 feet. Live bait has been the big producer here, and a jigging spoon may be a good compliment to the live baits, bringing in a couple of bonus bites from Striper and Spotted Bass. This pattern may also work all day, but I think is best from sunup until 9:30 or so, which fits in nicely with the above mentioned trolling pattern. 

Some other techniques that you may want to consider are fishing dock lights after sunset or before sunup, and be prepared for the schooling fish which are showing up more frequently. The schooling fish are still very random, may show up anywhere or anytime, but I think the afternoon or evening offers the best opportunity. A Mini Mack or Magic Swimmer will be hard to beat for casting to the schoolers, but spoons, top waters, and buck tails will also get the bite if you can get the bait to them before they sound. There are enough fish on the humps and points that will take a topwater even when you don’t see them chasing bait. A big walking bait, Magic Swimmer or popper cast over humps and points will pull a few fish up to the surface. The dock lights are starting to produce some decent numbers, mostly smaller fish but the big ones will not be far behind as the water cools. Jerk baits, buck tails and live Herring will be the baits of choice for the lights. On the shallower lights, the Herring may not survive well on the pitch line so change them out often. 

The bass bite is pretty typical for this time of year, you may have to work for your bites, and the good news is the topwater bite has been somewhat energized in the last few days. In the early part of the day you can catch fish casting the top waters to shallow structures such as secondary points, shallow brush, and shallow humps. After the am bite is over, fishing the brush is still a great technique. Several baits are effective for this pattern and vary from day to day so make adjustments based on wind and the amount of sunshine. Walking baits and Chug bugs have been strong if you get a little help from the wind, Magic Swimmers, Spy Baits if the conditions are calm. This pattern is a numbers game, so think run and gun to make this work. Of course the drop shot is still a solid producer, an if the water is slick back the boat off of the brush and cast the drop shot as opposed to fishing it with a vertical presentation. 

There are a few Bass showing up on the dock lights, this pattern is ok and should improve with cooling water temps. Jerk baits and Flukes are likely choices to cast at the lights.  Another pattern that may not get you big numbers but may produce some really nice fish is casting to the marina seawalls. The bait of choice on the seawalls can be very varied, but top waters, flutter spoons, Spybaits, and jerk baits can all be effective. Like fishing the brush, the wind can often really enhance this bite, bigger more aggressive baits in the wind, smaller subsurface baits if the water is slick. 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-September 9, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for September 09, 2020

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m never at a loss for words when it comes to fishing. There’s always something to talk about when the fishing is good and even during this week’s case when the fishing has really been bad. It’s been some time since I’ve seen it so bad that many of the best Lake Hartwell Fishermen have done one of two things, stopped fishing Lake Hartwell and gone to another lake or just put their boats away to wait for the fall and winter season bite. Luckily within driving distance of Lake Hartwell there are many other lakes that are producing well for this time of the year. So what’s up with Lake Hartwell, let me give you my opinion which might not hold much water but I’ve been fishing this lake for a long time and this may be the worst I’ve ever seen it and I have seen it bad before. Number one we need the lake down about four feet and that should happen soon as the Corp will drop the lake to the winter levels. Number two is stocking levels versus fishing pressure. If you do the math and count the number of guides who fish daily and then the number of Striper and Hybrid fishermen who fish every week and how many fish are actually removed or killed during each week the math shows that we are taking a huge number of fish and with much less fish being stocked than normal from past year’s this can be expected. I’m currently working with SCDNR to get an update of stocking levels for 2019, 2020 and future stocking in the coming years and to see if we can come up with a plan that works for us all. I will report this information as soon as I get it which should be in next week’s report. Keep in mind that we did have a fish kill and possibly two kills within the past few years and it takes the lake a great deal of time to recover from these situations especially when we are all still fishing hard. I can report that the parasite problems that we had with the fish over the last couple of years seems to have all but disappeared and the fish that are being caught are very healthy. Lake Hartwell at one time was the lake to fish if you wanted to catch good quality Stripers and lots of Hybrids and with some time working with SCDNR and GADNR and providing them accurate information we will all work hard to get the lake back into good shape. Remember when fishing take only what you plan to eat and responsibly release the other for future catches. Use the slow fishing conditions to overhaul your gear and get everything ready for the fall and winter bite that’s right around the corner. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool into biting while Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has remained fair with the water conditions beginning to change for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.23 which are.0.23 feet above the 660 full pool levels. This same time last year the lake was two feet below full pool. The current water temperature is into the mid to lower eighties and will begin to make more changes very soon. There have been some storms over Lake Hartwell over the last week with more forecast for this weekend from the hurricanes coming from the gulf so make sure you have plans to get off the water in a hurry if required. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing continues to be more miss than hit. Many of the best Striper and Hybrid fishermen I know are getting skunked after a full day of fishing and that can make for a tough day. Trolling lead core line and Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs seems to be the best way to land a fish as well as Power Reeling if you find a good school of fish bunched up. The fish are suspending deep and when you see this they are in the water that is providing them the most comfort and they will only come out when they decide to feed. This week every night the weather will be in the sixties and fall is coming fast which will help turn the bite around. September is a very tough month and my Log Books sure back that up! My main point is don’t get discouraged, it is fishing and there will be those tough days but it can be those days that you say what’s the use in going that you may just miss out. Cut bait fishing near the dam on humps and flats as well as night fishing under lights can be a good way to catch fish during September so even though it’s not my favorite way to fish it can work until the water turns over. I promised you a long time ago that I would give you a secret that I’ve learned over the years so here’s one for you, not all the fish stay at the dam when it gets hot. Many fish will move to other areas of the lake that provide them the comfort levels they are looking for, so don’t forget follow the bait, when you see pods of bait moving up the lake many of the fish will follow. We do teach the best way to locate and catch fish in our Lake Hartwell Instructional Classes as well as all the best method’s to catch Stripers and Hybrids during the fall and winter. Man I surely miss every second of the many hours and days that I have been off the water and I can promise you when I’m better you will see me almost every day. Now is still a good time of the year to climb into a boat that teaches all the different method’s that you can use to locate fish and catch Stripers and Hybrids while learning all the seasonal patterns that Stripers and Hybrids follow as well as the best ways to catch these fish during these different seasons. Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids but if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat, book and take that trip. This could 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 an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
  • Captain Mack Chipmunk Jigs and Trailers in all colors available.
  • Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What 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.
  • Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during a hot day and increase your odds of catching fish.
  • SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. This bait will catch all bass species when cast to points or fished in deep or shallow waters.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs.  I will not go to the lake without them! 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards or while trolled behind lead core line. 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards will return later in the fall so now is a good time to get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.
  • Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling or while pulling lead core line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and lead core trolling has now taken off. I suggest the 2oz with or without stinger hooks rigged on a Captain Mack Mustard Stick Rod. You will not find another rod that will work better for Power Reeling, pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or while trolling lead core line.
  • Parker Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.

BASS

The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite continues to be fair based on a few reports that I’m getting from those weekend Bass Club Teams. The BassMaster Opens will be fished on Lake Hartwell September 23rd – 25th for the Eastern Open.  My grandsons are still catching resident Bass fishing from the dock using SteelShads and Weedless Wonders and Robo worms. As soon as I’m released back to Lake Hartwell I will give you an accurate report. Go to baits for this week.

  • SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelShad is working the best on points in the mornings when the bait is shallow. The Heavy Series is working over schools of bait in the main lake. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
  • 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 around bridges and docks.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits as well.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head in Green Pumpkin. Use the plastic of your choice. This 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 Shakey Head!

CRAPPIE

  I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off and I start back Crappie fishing. I’m already starting to hear some good reports! 

Go to Baits.

  • Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. You may want to move up to bigger jig heads as the fish move deeper. When every other color fails on Lake Hartwell we find that chartreuse still will catch fish. Bobby Garland is my choice but many other brands also work great.
  • Small Minnows under floats. This may not be your cup of tea but it still works and the bigger Crappie will take live bait when they won’t take anything else.
  • Chartreuse and white jigs are working well when blue ice or blue grass colors fail. 
  • Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s still a good idea to see what is selling the best at your local bait shops. If the bait shop is out of certain bait you may want to see when they are scheduled to get their next shipment so that you can give it a try.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graph. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie.

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-September 3, 2020

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

 

 

Happy Labor Day weekend to all! Many questions about the annual Fall turnover, and has it started? I think yes, we have started the turnover process and fishing has reflected that. The Surface temps rose a couple degrees this week, up to 84. The lake level rained stable and was 1071.16,  Thursday evening, .16 feet above full pool. The long term forecast says if you can hang on through the weekend we’ll get a little cool down next week as high temps will be in the mid 80’s as opposed to the 90 degree weather we have experienced during much of August. 

Although the Striper bite changed drastically in the last few days, there are still a couple patterns that are very productive. A good game plan is to look for fish up in the pockets, as shallow as 30 feet, in the early morning, Then grab the umbrellas and start pulling over 25 to 30 foot points and humps for the remainder of the day, keeping watch for any surfacing fish you may run into.  The fish in the pockets will respond to a live bait, Herring on the down line or the pitch line, and I think the pitch bait is the better option. You’ll still need to change out the baits often, so keep them fresh to maximize the bite! 

The trolling technique i mentioned in the previous paragraph has been a very strong pattern in the last few days. This technique requires a great deal more effort and attention to detail than the open water trolling we experience during the Summer months. The primary pattern now is to pull the rig over 25 to 35 foot humps, the fish are piling up on these areas, often in big groups, and have been pretty quick to take the rig! The problem with this pattern is often the fish will be in really tight schools, right on the crest of the hill, but that makes for a small strike zone. Think in terms of a school of fish locked onto to the top of a hump, or a brush pile in an area the size of your boat. If you don’t get the rigs in that area you probably will not get the bite. Another point that is relevant to this technique is that the fish often leave after you catch one or two. Once you pull over the hump and get hooked up, you will often pull the whole group of fish off of the hump or point which means you can’t just keep circling over the same place over and over and continually catching fish. Generally, if you catch fish on a place, leave it alone and the fish will often return in 45 minutes to an hour, then you can return and catch a couple more.  

There is a lot of schooling activity, and I think we can break this down into two different patterns. In the early am, there are surfacing fish everywhere, but mostly single fish, or small groups of fish, that appear very randomly, and are up and down very quickly. They are hard to target, but if you can get a bait to them quickly they are catchable.  Flex-it Spoons are a good choice to cast at these fish, cast it slightly past the fish and if they are still on the surface, reel the spoon across the top of the eater. If the fish are no longer on the surface, reel it up to where you last saw the activity, and then allow the spoon to sink on a tight line. Having the spoon tied on is also plus because you can drop it to any deep fish you see while soaking the Herring. Vertically jigging the spoon should get you a couple of bonus bites from Stripers, Spots and an occasional Channel Catfish. 

The second pattern is casting to the big schools of fish that are starting to show up more  frequently. These fish are much easier to catch, I would pick the Mini Mack as the Number one bait of choice, but top waters, spoons, Steelshads and Flukes will also get the bite. The schoolers may show up anywhere, at anytime, and the activity is probably best in the afternoon and evening hours. This pattern may improve, or at least you should expect to see more surfacing fish, as the water cools more towards the middle of the month. 

The Bass have certainly been moving with the advent of the changing water conditions, so versatility is key. There are fish all over 25 foot humps and points, and those areas with a nice pile of brush will be a plus. Finding fish on those areas has been easy, catching them…well that  will vary from day to day. A topwater remains a viable choice, wind and lowlight may make this pattern a little stronger, and your favorite walking bait may get the attention of the bigger fish. Jigs around some of the humps and the brush may not produce the numbers that the drop shot will, but like the top waters it may catch the bigger fish. Spybaits, jerk baits and casting Spoons are also good choices. 25 feet seems to be a really good number right now, with a few fish deeper, but the numbers decrease as you get into 35 to 40 feet. 

Like the Stripers, there are plenty of bass pushing bait to the surface. They are catchable if you can get to them, and make a really good cast when you do. Often these fish are so focused on one bait, or one school of bait that it is hard to get the fish to lock in on what is tied to your line. As a general rule, if you can make the bait land in the rings the fish made when it surfaced, you have a good shot at getting the bite, outside that ring, good luck. 

Don’t rule out night fishing as an option right now. Fishing around the lights has been producing some good catches, and fishing the humps at night can also be produce well. Humps from 12 to 20 feet are a good place to target, and a worm on the shakey or a Texas Rig can be very effective. If nothing else it is a good way to beat the heat and the expected Labor day Crowds! 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Super Spin Bucktail Jig

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-September 2, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Fishing Tips, Lake Hartwell Fishing Report No Comments

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for September 02, 2020

Okay, September is here and that can only mean one thing! You had better carry everything in your arsenal with you when you hit the water. I’ve seen days in September when I could catch fish on freelines and Captain Mack Perfect Planer Boards one day and the very next day I could not find a fish on top as they were all suspended in the bubble in front of the dam and to get that bite you had to Power Reel or troll Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs through them. Just when you think you are not going to have a good day and you start back to the marina I’ve seen two acres of fish come up in the hottest part of the day and casting a Mini Mack would get the job done. So you may ask, Captain Rick what do I need to carry to the lake during the month of September? You had better be rigged for anything and everything because the Stripers and Hybrids are going to be following the changing water conditions and they could do just about anything at any time!  I continued to receive several calls and text this past weekend requesting help and that’s harder to do from a recliner when I need to be behind the console of my boat. My best information was to troll artificial bait if the live bait bite was not producing. The only other suggestion that I had was to get close to the main river channel on a hump or shallow flat and fish cut bait, this cut bait fishing paid off with some really good quality fish. This week I have shared some information that you will need to get you through the next couple of weeks of this changing weather and you already know that you are free to call me at any time. The information that I will be providing will always be first-hand information from my personal experience and from those who have provided current information to me from several of the best fishermen on Lake Hartwell as well as information from my personal log books that I don’t normally share. I will do this until I’m able to get back on the water with this bionic arm that’s taking it good time healing and we will get after the fish together. Please continue to pray for my recovery so that I can return to the lake soon. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, 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 remained fair with the water conditions beginning to change for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.12 which are.0.12 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperature is into the mid to lower eighties and will begin to make more changes very soon. There have been some storms over Lake Hartwell over the last week with more forecast for this weekend from the hurricanes coming from the gulf so make sure you have plans to get off the water in a hurry if required. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing continues to be hit and miss on Lake Hartwell. Lake Hartwell can be rather tough during the month of September with fishing patterns changing sometimes regularly. If you want to catch ‘em you better have every method covered because the fish can sure throw you a surprise!  I hate to be trying to retie a rod and reel when fish are all around me. If you need an example I carry sixteen rod and reels rigged in different ways during September and I catch fish. It may be a run and gun game but I usually can find a school of fish that will bite. If September is not your favorite month to fish just hang on October is coming and that’s one of my favorite months to fish as the fish can be much easier to find if the lake turn over does not cause a delay.  It still has been an early morning and late evening bite if you get lucky enough to find a good school. In my article three weeks ago I said that I would cover what I consider the best ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids during the hot weather months of August and September and with August now in our past September is going to be the toughest month in my opinion and the one month you will have to work to catch fish. First off let’s discuss what I’ve found to be the toughest month to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell during the summer. With over forty years of guiding on Lake Hartwell under my belt I would have to say that September is a very tough month and my Log Books sure back that up! So let’s cover a typical September day. First of all I don’t have to be at the bait shop when they open up because I’m going to be pulling artificial bait most of the day and on some days I get a couple dozen bait just to be on the safe side if I don’t already have some in my tank at home. Now is the time to cover the main river channels pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or Captain Mack Mini Mack’s or a big Chipmunk Jig on lead core tipped with a Captain Mack trailer about 10 or 11 colors at 2.5 miles per hour and don’t hesitate to pull the edges of the channels and hit the tree tops where the Stripers seem to want to hang out when the water temperatures and oxygen levels are changing like they do in September.  If you run up on a good school of fish suspended that don’t favor your trolling outfits mark the waypoint and immediately grab one of your Power Reeling rods that I always have rigged with a Captain Mack Chipmunk Jig in the one and one half ounce size and I take a Herring, tea or alive will be effective, insert the hook through the bottom jaw of the bait and let the hook come through the nose of the bait. Drop this rig as fast as you can without backlashing your reel with your thumb on the line through the bait and fish and the reel like crazy until you pull the rig back through the fish. Hang on tight to your rod and reel because when they take the bait it will be aggressive. Keep doing this over and over again until the fish move or until you’ve had enough.(I normally catch my biggest fish of the day Power Reeling) I recommend the Chipmunk Jig In the one and one half ounce size because it falls faster and the jig comes in four colors and I’ve caught fish off of all four colors. Captain Mack also offers a Ben Parker Spoon that works great for Power Reeling and broken glass is my favorite one but they all will work great. Trolling leadcore line and Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs will also work well in September so we will cover more next week. My main point is don’t get discouraged, it is fishing and there will be those tough days but it can be those days that you say what’s the use in going that you may just miss out. Doubled anchored last week on humps and flats near the main river channels has worked and will continue to work on hot days. It’s a waiting game but always worth the wait. We do teach the best way to cut bait fish in our Lake Hartwell Instructional Classes. Man I surely miss every second of the many hours and days that I have been off the water and I can promise you when I’m better you will see me almost every day. Now is still a good time of the year to climb into a boat that teaches all the different method’s that you can use to locate fish and catch Stripers and Hybrids while learning all the seasonal patterns that Stripers and Hybrids follow as well as the best ways to catch these fish during these different seasons. Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids but if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat, book and take that trip. This could 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 an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
  • Captain Mack Chipmunk Jigs and Trailers in all colors available.
  • Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What 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.
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during a hot day and increase your odds of catching fish.
  • SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. This bait will catch all bass species when cast to points or fished in deep or shallow waters.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs.  I will not go to the lake without them! 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish when trolled behind your Perfect Planer Boards, lead core line, or the down rigger. 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards will return later in the fall so now is a good time to get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.
  • Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling or while pulling lead core line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and lead  core pulling has now taken off. I suggest the 2oz with or without stinger hooks rigged on a Captain Mack Mustard Stick Rod. You will not find another rod that will work better for Power Reeling, pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or while pulling lead core line.
  • Parker Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.

BASS

The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite continues to be good based on a few reports that I’m getting from those weekend Bass Club Teams. The BassMaster Carhartt College Tournament was held this past weekend on Lake Hartwell and Bethel University won the series with twenty pounds and eight ounces for a three day total. The BassMaster Opens will be fished on Lake Hartwell September 23rd – 25th for the Eastern Open.  My grandsons are still catching resident Bass from the dock using SteelShads and Weedless Wonders and Robo worms. As soon as I’m released back to Lake Hartwell I will give you an accurate report. Go to baits for this week.

  • SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelShad is working the best on points in the mornings when the bait is shallow. The Heavy Series is working over schools of bait in the main lake. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
  • 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 around bridges and docks.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits as well.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head in Green Pumpkin. Use the plastic of your choice. This 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 Shakey Head!

CRAPPIE

  I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off and I start back Crappie fishing. I’m already starting to hear some good reports! 

Go to Baits.

  • Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. You may want to move up to bigger jig heads as the fish move deeper. When every other color fails on Lake Hartwell we find that chartreuse still will catch fish. Bobby Garland is my choice but many other brands also work great.
  • Small Minnows under floats. This may not be your cup of tea but it still works and the bigger Crappie will take live bait when they won’t take anything else.
  • Chartreuse and white jigs are working well when blue ice or blue grass colors fail. 
  • Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s still a good idea to see what is selling the best at your local bait shops. If the bait shop is out of certain bait you may want to see when they are scheduled to get their next shipment so that you can give it a try.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graph. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie.

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-August 28, 2020

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

Things are changing quickly, both from a weather and a fishing standpoint. The lake surface temp is 82 degrees, which is about 6 degrees cooler than the norm for this date.  The lake level dropped slightly this week to a current level of 1071.15, .15 feet above full pool. The fishing conditions are also changing, and the patterns and techniques are taking on characteristics that would be more typical of late Sept. With fish moving and scattering out, versatility will be a big plus for Bass and Stripers! We will have the September Full Moon on the 1st, occurring just after sunset. 

The Striper bite has changed dramatically in the last few days, with fewer fish in deep water, and fewer fish roaming over deep water areas. There are good numbers of fish setting up on the humps and points around 35 feet deep, but they have been finicky on some days and hard to catch. The fish are acting like they do when the lake begins the turnover process, and although that usually begins in September, we may be seeing an early turnover this year? With all that in mind, here are some patterns to try. Many of there fish are over a 35 to 40 foot bottom,  on points, humps on flats. A live Herring on the down rod is a good choice for this pattern, and a mix of free lines and down lines will be your best bet. Drumming may be a plus to pull them and keep them under the boat, and down sizing your line size may also be a big plus. The Herring that are available in local shops have been good baits lately, but you will still need to check them often and keep good baits on the hook to maximize the bite. 

Trolling is till a very relevant pattern, single jigs and Mini’s on the lead core and/or down riggers,  or flat lining the full size umbrellas over a 30 to 40 foot bottom targeting humps, points, or contour trolling.  There are still a few fish roaming over open water areas, especially where bait is present, not the numbers we have seen in recent weeks but enough get hooked up now and then, and if you are diligent this is a constant pattern. Just keep moving until you get get n an area where you are markup fish, tweak the depth, and you should get a few fish hooked up. Jigs spoons, and Minis are still the preferred bait, 8 colors behind the boat (about 275 feet out counting the leader if you are using the line counter)has been constantly producing fish, but the depth is very subject to change with the fish moving like they are. 

The third pattern technique to watch is schooling fish. While this has been sporadic, there are some schoolers showing up, very randomly, but it is frequent enough that you need to be prepared. What is the best bait to cast to them? Sebile Magic Swimmers, Mini Macks, and buck tails are all good choices for the surfacing fish. 

The Bass bite has been fair, with the fish starting to really scatter out. The 20 to 30 foot brush is probably the best overall pattern and will be effective all over the lake. The recent weather patterns that have brought cooler water temps and frequent cloud cover have somewhat energized the topwater bite, especially with there is wind to help it out. Walking baits and poppers may coerce some fish out of the brush, follow that up with something sub surface, Flukes and Spy baits will be good choices. In terms of numbers, the worm and drop shot/Weedless Wonder combos are still the best overall producer.  

Deeper structures are also producing some fish, bluff areas where the channel swings up against the bank, timber edges, and deeper humps, with the humps being a fairly consistent pattern.  Fishing the deeper humps may not catch you a bunch of fish, partially because it is slow and tedious when you are fishing big structures that are deep. Many of these humps have a pretty big surface area that can hold fish and it takes a while to saturate these types of areas with worms and jigs . Try and locate any anomaly like a flat or point coming off of the high spot, or any other type of structure. Brush is always a good, but may or may not be present on humps deeper than 35 feet. If there is no brush, look for natural cover. Small rock outcroppings, a ledge, or just a couple of stumps, will often be enough cover to be a home for a few Spotted Bass! 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-August 27, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports, Fishing Tips, Lake Hartwell Fishing Report No Comments

Well this past week did you feel it; did you notice that the weather has started to make some sudden changes? You might not have noticed the changes in this past week’s weather but I can bet you that the fish have noticed it and just like a built in time clock they know what’s coming. Weather changes can make a difference in when fish bite and when they don’t and in many situations that can mean catching fish or not. I know that this past week I’ve talked with many Lake Hartwell Guides who I have fished with for years as I ran my own guide business who have said they were canceling trips due to the slow bite and that’s how they make their living so you know that the fishing has to be tough. Many ask the question can one year’s fishing be different from another. The answer to that is positively yes, this same time last year the live bait and trolling bite was still very strong so you just never know from one year to the next. I’ve seen it when the Lake Hartwell bite was on fire and other lakes were poor and right the opposite. Still being shut in from surgery it’s been very disappointing to me not to be able to help out by being on the water. I received several calls and text this past weekend requesting help and that’s harder to do from a recliner when I need to be behind the console of my boat. My best information was to troll artificial bait if the live bait bite was not producing. This week I will continue to share some information that you will need to get you through the next couple of weeks of this changing weather and you already know that you are free to call me at any time. The information that I will be providing will be first-hand information from my personal experience and from those who have provided current information to me from several of the best fishermen on Lake Hartwell as well as information from my personal log books that I don’t normally share. I will do this until I’m able to get back on the water with this bionic arm that’s taking it’s own good time healing and we will get after the fish together. Please continue to pray for my recovery so that I can return to the lake soon. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, 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 remained fair with the water conditions beginning to change for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 661.12 which are.1.12 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperature is into the mid 80’s and will begin to make more changes very soon. There have been some storms over Lake Hartwell over the last week with more forecast for this weekend from the hurricane coming from the gulf so make sure you have plans to get off the water in a hurry if required. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has been hit and miss and more miss than hit. It still has been an early morning and late evening bite if you get lucky enough to find a good school. In my article three weeks ago I said that I would cover what I consider the best ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids during the hot weather months of August and September and with August now nearly in our past September is going to be the toughest month in my opinion and the one month you will have to work to catch fish. First off let’s discuss what I’ve found to be the toughest month to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell during the summer. With over forty years of guiding on Lake Hartwell under my belt I would have to say that September is a very tough month and my Log Books sure back that up! So let’s cover a typical September day. First of all I don’t have to be at the bait shop when they open up because I’m going to be pulling artificial bait all day. Now is the time to cover the main river channels pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or Captain Mack Mini Mack’s or a big Chipmunk Jig tipped with a Captain Mack trailer about 10 or 11 colors at 2.5 miles per hour and don’t hesitate to pull the edges of the channels and hit the tree tops where the Stripers seem to want to hang out when the water temperatures and oxygen levels are changing like they do in September.  FYI, there has been a very good Lead core bite on the lower end of the lake on the river channel and over the creek channels. A chipmunk Jig fished 8 colors back has been a steady producer. If you run up on a good school of fish suspended that don’t favor your trolling outfits, or the are in really deep water,  mark the waypoint and immediately grab one of your Power Reeling rods and send a Captain Mack Chipmunk down to ‘em I prefer the one and one half ounce size tipped with a dead or alive Herring. Insert the hook through the bottom jaw of the bait and let the hook come through the top nose of the bait. Drop this rig as fast as you can without backlashing your reel with your thumb on the line through the bait and fish and the reel like crazy until you pull the rig back through the fish. Hang on tight to your rod and reel because when they take the bait it will be aggressive. Keep doing this over and over again until the fish move or until you’ve had enough.(I normally catch my biggest fish of the day Power Reeling) I recommend the Chipmunk Jig In the one and one half ounce size because it falls faster and the jig comes in four colors and I’ve caught fish off of all four colors. Captain Mack also offers a Ben Parker Spoon that works great for Power Reeling and broken glass is my favorite one but they all will work great. Trolling lead core line and Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs will also work well in September so we will cover more next week. My main point is don’t get discouraged, it is fishing and there will be those tough days but it can be those days that you say what’s the use in going that you may just miss out. I miss every second of the many hours and days that I have been off the water and I can promise you when I’m better you will see me almost every day. Now is still a good time of the year to climb into a boat that teaches all the different method’s that you can use to locate fish and catch Stripers and Hybrids while learning all the seasonal patterns that Stripers and Hybrids follow as well as the best ways to catch these fish during these different seasons. Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids but if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat, book and take that trip. This could 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 an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
  • Captain Mack Chipmunk Jigs and Trailers in all colors available.
  • Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What 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.
  • Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during a hot day and increase your odds of catching fish.
  • SteelShads are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. This bait will catch all bass species when cast to points or fished in deep or shallow waters.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs.  I will not go to the lake without them! 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your down rigger or on the lead core line. 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. You think of a planer board as being a cool water technique? Well, that is true but fishing a down line below a planer can be a good trick to coerce some extra bites. This allows you to fish a bait deep, and get it out from underneath the boat and the boats shadow which may be a plus if the fish are finicky! 
  • Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling or while pulling leadcore line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and lead core pulling has now taken off. I suggest the 2oz with or without stinger hooks rigged on a Captain Mack Mustard Stick Rod. You will not find another rod that will work better for Power Reeling, pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or while pulling lead core line.
  • Parker Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.

BASS

The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite continues to be good based on a few reports that I’m getting from those weekend Bass Club Teams. My grandsons are still catching Bass fishing from the dock using SteelShads and Weedless Wonders and Robo worms. As soon as I’m released back to Lake Hartwell I will give you an accurate report. Go to baits for this week.

  • SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelShad is working the best on points in the mornings when the bait is shallow. The Heavy Series is working over schools of bait in the main lake. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
  • 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 around bridges and docks.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swim baits as well.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head in Green Pumpkin. Pair it with a Roboworm and if you are fishing around Spotted Bass you’ll be quick to get the bite! In terms of numbers and consistency, this 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 Shakey Head!

CRAPPIE

  I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off and I start back Crappie fishing. 

Go to Baits.

  • Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. You may want to move up to bigger jig heads as the fish move deeper. When every other color fails on Lake Hartwell we find that chartreuse still will catch fish. Bobby Garland is my choice but many other brands also work great.
  • Small Minnows under floats. This may not be your cup of tea but it still works and the bigger Crappie will take live bait when they won’t take anything else.
  • Chartreuse and white jigs are working well when blue ice or blue grass colors fail. 
  • Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s still a good idea to see what is selling the best at your local bait shops. If the bait shop is out of certain bait you may want to see when they are scheduled to get their next shipment so that you can give it a try.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graph. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie.

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- August 22, 2020

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The weather reports indicate we may get a slight break from the August heat going into next week, at least relatively speaking, as high temps are projected to be in the lo 80’s for much of the extended forecast. Other than a spike back up onto the upper 80’s approaching next weekend, cooler temps, cloud cover, and a little breeze may make for some great fishing weather. The lake level remained stable and as of the morning of the 22 Lake Lanier was at 1071.35, .35 feet above full pool. The surface temps fell to 82 degrees.  

Stripers are still providing plenty of action with good catches being reported on trolling, power reeling, and on live baits! Live Herring on down lines and pitch rods are also both effective methods. Keep at least a couple of pitch rods in the spread, weightless if you are on spot lock, add a split or two if you are slow trolling. Don’t worry about the pitch bait surviving In the hot surface temps, the bait will swim down to the cool oxygen rich water which also puts him in the strike zone. Fish are being taken on the down lines anywhere from 30 to  90 feet depending on your situation, place the bait where you see fish! Power Reeling the spoons and jigs will be a plus, use the Power Reeling in conjunction with live bait to optimize your opportunities.

The trolling bite has also been very good, pulling Chipmunk Jigs, spoons or Mini Mack‘s. The depths on the lead core vary, but fishing any of the above baits at 275 feet behind the boat, counting the leader, has been a constant producer. Typically you can fish 7 or 8 colors early in the day, moving to 8 or 9 colors late in the day!

Pulling full size rigs has also been very good, maybe as strong as lead core trolling. The Capt Mack’s 4 arm 9 bait rig is a great choice, start out pulling the rig at 120 feet back on mono(100 on the braid), adjust as needed based on where you are marking fish. Can you fish lead core and umbrellas at the same time to increase your spread? Yes, and here are a couple of options that are very effective. Try pulling two rigs at 120 back on each corner of the stern, with one lead core out of the middle of the stern. You can also do the opposite of that set up and use two umbrellas on the corners, and one lead core rig between them and they should not interfere with one another. Another option is using planer boards on your lead core lines will spread them out to each side enough to allow you to fish two umbrellas straight out the back, and again with this combination they baits should not interfere with one another. If you have down riggers, two baits on the down riggers and two lead core rigs will offer a nice 4 bait spread that will stay clear of one another. 

The Bass bite is good, especially for late August. Some patterns seem to have been energized when the water temps dipped into the lo 80’s, readings in the high ‘80s would be more the typical for this date. I  think we have more shallow fish as a result, and the topwater bite may be stronger. There are plenty of schooling fish, and they are catchable, if you can get a bait to them. Many are over open water, will push bait to the top, eat, and go back down to 25 /30 feet. If you can get bait to them, or it, often it is one fish. These fish are very catchable, but hard to target because the activity is very random. Nonetheless, if you are n an area where the surface activity is occurring often enough it may be a viable pattern. Casting spoons, Flutter spoons, Flex-it Spoons, Jr. Spoons, and Steelshads are all good choices, and topwaters may also get the bite!  

Of course, the drop shot rig remains a steady producer, the best overall technique in terms of consistency. Lots of fish in the 25 foot brush that are quick to respond to the finesse worms. Casting jigs to the brush may catch some of the bigger fish, and a topwater, weighted Fluke, walking bait, or Spy Bait over the brush is also a good technique to coerce a bite from the larger fish. Use any wind or cloud cover to your advantage when casting the topwaters and Spy Baits. 

Fishning deeper water, 30 to 40 may not yield as many bites, but could offer a better chance for the big bite. Natural strutters such as standing trees, timber edges, submerged islands, road beds/ledges are likely areas to target. Worms, jigs, and jigging spoons are good choices on these natural areas. 

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-August 21, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for August 21, 2020

The picture attached to this week’s article is of Josh Looper who took our Lake Hartwell Instructional Trip last year. He had a good day last week on the lake catching Stripers by applying what he learned during his Instructional Class, Great Job Josh! There are those that I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years that have told me that they stop fishing in August and start back fishing after the lake turns over and the fish start moving back up the lake chasing bait. My question to them is always the same, why stop fishing when the fish are still biting? The answer is usually the same, I can’t catch fish during the hot days of summer and my reply is maybe you just have never been shown how. These same people have in most cases never heard of lead core line, umbrella rigs and my favorite power reeling. I can’t count the times that I have invited these folks into my boat to spend a few hours learning how to fish a hot summer day successfully and nothing gets me more excited than to get over a good school of fish and watch a good Striper nearly pull a rod and real out of a grown man’s hands while drag is being pulled off of a reel. August is a great time to catch fish on Lake Hartwell especially during the late afternoon or early evening and you never know when you are going to find a school of fish that are schooled up and feeding aggressively. Keep in mind that the late afternoon bite is always a good time to get out and try many of the things you learned in one of your Lake Hartwell Instructional Trips earlier in the year and your success will build a lot of confidence. This week I will begin sharing some information that you will need to get you through the next couple of months of HOT weather and you already know that you are free to call me at any time. The information that I will be providing will be first-hand information provided to me from several of the best fishermen on Lake Hartwell as well as information from my personal log book that I don’t normally share. I will do this until I’m able to get back on the water with this bionic arm that’s taking it time healing and we will get after the fish together. Please continue to pray for my recovery so that I can return to the lake soon. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, 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 remained fair with the water conditions remaining favorable for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.48 which are.0.48 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperature is into the high 80’s  and has been holding at these temperatures due to the hot days we have experienced this week. There have been some heavy storms over Lake Hartwell over the last week so make sure you have plans to get off the water in a hurry if required. The Army Corps of Engineers will continue with their normal summertime generating schedules now that the summer demands are in full swing. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has been hit and miss but it still has been an early morning and late evening bite. In my article two weeks ago I said that I would cover what I consider the best ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids during the hot weather months of August and September. First off let’s discuss what I’ve found to be the toughest months to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell during the summer. With over forty years of guiding on Lake Hartwell under my belt I would have to say that August and September are very tough months and my Log Books sure back that up! So I will out line a typical August morning. I typically start my day at the bait shop no later than five o’clock in the morning and with it being August I normally only buy about three dozen baits. Often times I’m lucky to use all of those. I’m always in the water way before daylight headed towards the Hartwell Dam or some deep water close by. I’ve mentioned this before in previous articles but I do not look for fish, I look for bait and if you find bait the fish will usually be close by. When I find my spot normally in sixty to one hundred feet of water I anchor lock my trolling motor and drop my live bait on down rods into the depth that I’m marking fish or bait. This could be a suspended depth or right off the bottom. Keep a close eye on the condition of your bait, if you have the bait dropped into water that has little to no oxygen they will not survive and yes there have been times that only having three dozen bait has come back and to bite me in the rear but not often this time of the year. If the bite does not start right away wait on the sun to begin to glow behind the tree tops as it starts to rise and begin drumming lightly. If the live bait bite is going to work it won’t be long and you will have rods bent under the boat. Be quick when it comes to netting the fish and subsequently and replaying the bait because when the sun gets up good this bite can stop just as fast as it started. So now the live bait bite is over with and you’re surely not ready to go home yet. If you are still marking fish I immediately grab one of my Power Reeling rods that I already have rigged with a Captain Mack Chipmunk Jig in the one and one half ounce size and I take a dead or alive herring and insert the hook through the bottom jaw of the bait and let the hook come through the top nose of the bait. Drop this rig as fast as you can without backlashing your reel through the bait and fish and the reel like crazy until you pull the rig back through the fish. Hang on tight to your rod and reel because when they take the bait it will be aggressive. Keep doing this over and over again until the fish move or until you’ve had enough.(I normally catch my biggest fish of the day Power Reeling) I recommend the Chipmunk Jig In the one and one half size because it falls faster and the jig comes in four colors and I’ve caught fish off of all four colors. Captain Mack also offers a Ben Parker Spoon that works great for Power Reeling and broken glass is my favorite one but they all will work. Trolling lead core line and Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs will also work well in August so we will cover that next week. Now is still a good time of the year to climb into a boat that teaches all the different method’s that you can use to locate fish and catch Stripers and Hybrids while learning all the seasonal patterns that Stripers and Hybrids follow as well as the best ways to catch these fish during these different seasons. Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids but if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat, book and take that trip. This could 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 an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
  • This has been my first week to pair up the Okuma Live Bait Rods with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What 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.
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during a hot day and increase your odds of catching fish.
  • SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. This bait will catch all bass species when cast to points or fished in deep or shallow waters.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will not go to the lake without them! 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards will return later in the fall so now is a good time to get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.
  • Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling or while pulling leadcore line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and leadcore pulling has now taken off. I suggest the 2oz with or without stinger hooks rigged on a Captain Mack Mustard Stick Rod. You will not find another rod that will work better for Power Reeling, pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or while pulling leadcore line.
  • Parker Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.

BASS

The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite continues to be good based on a few reports that I’m getting from those weekend Bass Club Teams. My grandsons camped near the dam this past week and caught several fish from their kayaks fishing close to the banks using SteelShads and Weedless Wonders and Robo worms. As soon as I’m released back to Lake Hartwell I will give you an accurate report. Go to baits for this week.

  • SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelShad is working the best on points in the mornings when the bait is shallow. The Heavy Series is working over schools of bait in the main lake. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
  • 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 around bridges and docks.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits as well.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head in Green Pumpkin. Use the plastic of your choice. This 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 Shakey Head!

CRAPPIE

  I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off and I start back Crappie fishing. 

Go to Baits.

  • Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. You may want to move up to bigger jig heads as the fish move deeper. When every other color fails on Lake Hartwell we find that chartreuse still will catch fish. Bobby Garland is my choice but many other brands also work great.
  • Small Minnows under floats. This may not be your cup of tea but it still works and the bigger Crappie will take live bait when they won’t take anything else.
  • Chartreuse and white jigs are working well when blue ice or blue grass colors fail. 
  • Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s still a good idea to see what is selling the best at your local bait shops. If the bait shop is out of certain bait you may want to see when they are scheduled to get their next shipment so that you can give it a try.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graph. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie.

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-August 14, 2020

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The Dog Days of August generally mean good Striper fishing, albeit very hot and humid, but the bite is often strong. Bass fishing maybe not so much, as many of the Spotted Bass suspend over open water roaming around bait balls making them hard to target. At any rate, summer is surely winding down as the days grow noticeable shorter, with sunrise occurring on the 13th at 700 am, and sunset at 8:23 pm, and the day length is decreasing by almost two minutes a day. That is nice for the fishermen, as the later sunrise and subsequent daybreak start time allows for a few extra minutes of sleep!  The lake level rose slightly last week and remains above full pool, with a current level of 1071.37 .37 feet over full pool. The surface temp is 86 degrees.

The Striper fishing is good, perhaps a little more finicky than in past weeks, but overall good. The fish are largely where you would expect them to be on this date, and seasonal expected techniques are in play. The down lines are producing well, with fish being caught anywhere from 30 to 90 feet, depending on the pattern and the location. We still have fish pushing into some of the pockets and drains, especially in the early part of the day. Any of the major lower end creeks are holding fish, and there are also some decent numbers of fish roaming over the river channel. Concentrate your search for fish by scanning the old creek channels, particularly bends in the channel, and any of the drains and pockets adjacent to the channel. If you are out over the river channel, you may locate fish anywhere, but searching the channel bends and areas where a creek channel dumps into the old river run is a good place to start. 

The patterns are very typical for this time of year, with Herring on the down lines, trolling umbrellas and lead core line all being very effective. Power reeling is also a viable technique when you get the fish bunched up under the boat. On the down lines, you may find a very slow troll to be more effective than a stationary presentation. Just deploy the down lines and start pulling the baits slowly, about .04 mph. If you have a couple freelines out, and that is a very good choice right now, adding a split or two on this moving approach will be beneficial. If you are spot locked just pitch the Herring about 50 feet and let him swim.  As you change and or check the bait on the down lines, try dropping and reeling the baits as discussed in the last report, this may be worth a few extra bites. 

The trolling bite has been very good, and there are a big variety of methods and baits to choose from. The full size umbrellas are producing well, the 4 arm 9 bait rig with shad bodies or buck tails are catching plenty of fish. Pull this rig around 120 to 150 feet behind the boat if you are using mono, 100 to 120 if you are pulling the braid. Lead core trolling is very good, Chipmunk Jigs, Parker Spoons, Hawg Spoon Fat Spoons, and Mini Mack’s are all very productive. Start out at 8 colors, and adjust accordingly. If I had to pick a trolling speed I would choose 2.8, but I have caught fish going as fast as 5. mph. I think that speed has a big effect on the depth of the bait, so if your outboard does not want to idle down under 3. or 3.5 mph, compensate for the extra speed by fishing a little deeper. 

Bass fishing is pretty good, and no surprise here, a drop shot in the brush is probably the best pattern. The fish are loaded up in the brush around 25 feet, The numbers are good on this pattern, the really big fish may not be as plentiful as you would like, but there are a few big fish holding in and around the brush. Some favorites on the Roboworms have been Prizm Shad, Aaron’s Pro Shad, Sxe Shad if the sun is bright, Green Shiner, Northern Lights and any of the Morning Dawn patterns if you have a little cloud cover or if you are fish deep water.  Shakey heads and the old school Texas rigs are also effective in the brush. 

Some of the deeper natural Structures are also holding fish, with some bigger fish showing up in 30 to 40 feet. Standing Timber edges, Road beds and main lake humps are likely areas to try, but these areas may not be as plentiful as lake levels remain high into the summer.  Worms are probably the best option on the deeper areas, but spoons and jigs may also be effective, especially if you are chasing the bigger fish. Vertically Jigging a spoon may also be worth a try, most of us tend to think of spoons as cold water baits, but spoons can be a good choice any time the fish are in deep water. The spoon can be a great follow up to the worms and jigs, and is also a good bait to cast at some of the surfacing fish that are showing up within casting range! 

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report August 2, 2020

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He’s back!!  Rick is recovering well from his recent surgery and he will be resuming the weekly Lake Hartwell Fishing report! So thanks Rick, we are glad the surgery went well and are excited to have you back!! 

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for August 01, 2020

So let’s do a little bit of catching up from these past three months when there was no Lake Hartwell Fishing Reports being posted which left some fisherman experiencing a little bit of anxiety before leaving the dock. For those who liked to read the Lake Hartwell Fishing Report maybe the night before their trip as a part of putting together a game plan before backing the boat off the trailer then today is a good day as we are now ready for our comeback. For those who have not guessed what’s up or why I have gone so long without some sort of a fishing report let me apologize before I go any farther because that surely was not my intentions. I’m still currently recovering from a major surgery on my right arm that paralyzed my right hand and has put me in a recovery time frame of about eight to twelve months. Now when I say I had a total arm rebuild I’m telling you that I now have a Femur leg bone screwed and plated to my humorous arm bone along with all the metal that is required to complete this rebuild. My surgeon’s favorite saying is, “all of this will begin to heal in time and everything that he has done will begin to graph together as he reminds me big surgeries rarely end in quick recoveries.” I’m so glad to know that I’ll fish again even though it may be awhile from now. Maybe not as soon as I was first told that I might would fish, but I’ll be back on the water very soon. In the near future if you miss a Lake Hartwell Fishing Report every now and then over the next couple of weeks or months just rack it up to a slow recovery for me or a break for the Stripers and Hybrids. Now is a good time to get out and try many of the things you learned in one of your Lake Hartwell Instructional Trips earlier in the year so that you will be able to load the fish fryer soon or start working toward your personal best again. I will begin sharing the information that you will need to get you through the next couple of months of HOT weather and you already know that you are free to call me at any time. The information that I will be providing will be first-hand information provided to me from several of the best fishermen on Lake Hartwell as well as my personal log book information. Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes and I look forward to seeing you all again very soon. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, 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 remained really good with the water conditions remaining favorable for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.07 which are.07 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperature have dropped into the mid- eighties and have been holding at these temperatures during the over cast days. With hotter days still in the upcoming forecast I would expect that the water temperatures will once rise again quickly back into the low ninety degree levels. The Army Corp of Engineers will continue with their normal summertime generating schedules now that the summer demands are in full swing. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has been good and to catch a lot of fish on a down rod you must be on the water as early as possible. I would suggest that if you get in the water and in one of the many coves or pockets near the dam SC or GA side before sunup it won’t take you long to empty your bait tank as the sun begins to come up and the fish find the frisky bait you have suspended under the boat. Some light drumming will help get the bite started so don’t forget your drumming skills. Always keep in mind that it’s a really good idea to add a bag of ice to your tank to help keep bait as frisky as possible and if you are running a Keep Alive O2 pump to your bait you will be working at 100%. When the live bait bite slows down as the sun gets high in the sky and the fish move to deeper waters and in many cases the bigger fish you came out to catch head for the river channels then you’re in luck if you have your Umbrella Rigs in the boat. I personally have talked with several good Striper and Hybrid fishermen who are catching most of their fish before sunup and the rest are being found and caught suspending and trolling Umbrella rigs over these fish. While trolling if you mark a large school of fish in the river channel suspended be sure to Power Reel these fish, they will bite almost every time and the fish that bite will be first quality. The late afternoon is productive if you can get away from some of the big thunderstorms that we have experienced lately. Now is still a good time of the year to climb into a boat that teaches all the different method’s that you can use to locate fish and catch Stripers and Hybrids while learning all the seasonal patterns that Stripers and Hybrids follow as well as the best ways to catch these fish during these different seasons. Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids but if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat, book and take that trip. This could 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 an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
  • This has been my first week to pair up the Okuma Live Bait Rods with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What 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.
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during a hot day and increase your odds of catching fish.
  • SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. This bait will catch all bass species when cast to points or fished in deep or shallow waters.
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will not go to the lake without them! 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards will return later in the fall so now is a good time to get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.
  • Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling or while pulling leadcore line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and leadcore pulling has now taken off. I suggest the 2oz with or without stinger hooks rigged on a Captain Mack Mustard Stick Rod. You will not find another rod that will work better for Power Reeling, pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or while pulling leadcore line.
  • Parker Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.

BASS

The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite continues to be good based on a few reports that I’m getting from those weekend Bass Club Teams. As soon as I’m released back to Lake Hartwell I will give you an accurate report. My Grandsons are still catching fish off the docks in our neighborhood so they fish it all and they are doing great. A Shakey head is still getting the job done.

Go to baits for this week.

  • SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelShad is working the best on points in the mornings when the bait is shallow. The Heavy Series is working over schools of bait in the main lake. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
  • 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 around bridges and docks.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits as well.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head in Green Pumpkin. Use the plastic of your choice. This 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 Shakey Head!

CRAPPIE

  I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off and I start back Crappie fishing. 

Go to Baits.

  • Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. You may want to move up to bigger jig heads as the fish move deeper. When every other color fails on Lake Hartwell we find that chartreuse still will catch fish. Bobby Garland is my choice but many other brands also work great.
  • Small Minnows under floats. This may not be your cup of tea but it still works and the bigger Crappie will take live bait when they won’t take anything else.
  • Chartreuse and white jigs are working well when blue ice or blue grass colors fail. 
  • Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s still a good idea to see what is selling the best at your local bait shops. If the bait shop is out of certain bait you may want to see when they are scheduled to get their next shipment so that you can give it a try.
  • Humminbird Solix or Helix graph. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie.

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- July 31, 2020

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Lake conditions remain consistent, with the level, falling slightly from last week to a level of 1071.14, .14 feet above full pool. The lake surface temp is in the upper 80’s. The weather has remaining consistent, consistently hot and humid, with more of the same in the forecast. The bite has also been consistent, especially for the Striper Anglers, with the Bass fishermen also reporting good catches, particularly given that we are into what can often be a less than prime time to target Spotted Bass!

It’s hard to choose a “best “ technique for the line sides, with all of the traditional Summer patterns working well. I think maybe the trolling bite is the best pattern, mainly because the bait can be difficult to keep alive in places, jigs, spoons and Mini’s eliminate that issue. That being said, the bait bite is still very good, you’ll just need to take care of the Herring, both in the tank and on the hook. Drop them quickly, check them frequently. Last week there were certain areas and depths were the bait really struggled, often a common issue in August , so be aware of that condition.  Moving the down lines, either by stealth trolling at around .5 mph, or moving the bait up and down as the rod is in the holder. You may want to try dropping the bait below the fish and then slowly reeling up through the fish, basically it’s powered reeling in slow motion, and it can often trigger a bite. Keeping a bait on a light spinning rod, add a couple of splits, will also trigger a few extra bites. 

Trolling has been excellent, with lead core, downriggers, and flatline trolling the full size umbrellas producing very good catches. If you are using the full size umbrellas (both the 9 bait buck tail and shad rigs are effective), 1 20 to 140 feet behind the boat has been a good number, but fishing the rig that far behind the boat will cause you to sacrifice some control.  It is also hard to use rigs in conjunction with the lead core with the rigs that far out, they are more prone to cross up with the lead core rigs. To remedy that issue, add a couple of larger jigs to the umbrellas. Every time you add an ounce of weight to the rig, you add two feet of depth to the chart. For instance, Adding a couple of two oz jigs will add 4 feet to

the depth chart, adding 4  2 oz. jigs will add about 8 feet to the chart, allowing you to fish the rig much closer to the boat. This will also increase the distance between the baits on the lead core and the rigs, greatly decreasing the odds of the umbrella fowling one of the lead core lines.

 

Power reeling is also very strong, jigs and spoons will get the bite , and I think on some of my more recent trips the 2oz. Chipmunk Jig was the better producer. Tip the Chipmunk with a Herring, or a plastic shad body. The 4” Capt Macks Shad bodies in pearl and lime/chart have been effective trailers, as had been the DOA 4” CAL bait in the chart glow pattern . 

The Bass bite is also good, particularly for numbers as the fish are all over 25 to 30 foot brush. Worms on the Drop Shot are the big producer, shakey’s get the bite as well. Most of your favorite finesse worms will be effective, and the Roboworms in any of the morning dawn color patterns have been strong, along with Aaron’s Magic, Prizm Kraw , and Watermelon Magic. The Roboworm Alive Shad’s have also been producing well on the drop shot. Casting a walking bait, weighted Fluke or Spybait over the brush may call a few of the bigger fish up in low light or windy conditions .

While the 25 to 30 foot brush is producing the numbers , some of the bigger fish are showing up on the deeper humps and timber edges. Target those types of structures in 35 to 40 feet, the timber edges are difficult to find in any less water with the lake level staying slightly over full pool all summer. A single standing tree is also a really good structure to fish right now if you know of any, they will generally be in 30 feet or greater depths, but the top of the tree may be much shallower giving the fish an opportunity to suspend at the top or along the trunk of the tree depending on the depth. Approach the tree like you would s brush pile, casting a moving bait over the top and follow that up with worm on the drop shot!

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report July 25, 2020

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The last week of July finds Lake Lanier Striper Fishing on Fire! It we had not had so many work delays from C19 I would issue a stop work order! Fishing has to be really good before those get issued, if that tells you anything! All traditional summer techniques are productive so get out on the water and fish! Bass fishing is also good, so if you are after Spotted bass, they are also very accommodating and you need to make time to fish! The lake level is very good for the end of July, 1071.22, .22 feet above full pool! The water temperature is 88, which is right where it should be on this date.  More ‘Dog Days” weather on the way with a good chance of afternoon thundershowers as we go into next week, so keep the rain slicker handy!

The Striper bite has been excellent! Live Herring on the downlines have been producing very well, power reeling bite has also been effective, and the trolling bite has been outstanding! Once you find fish and decide to drop the baits, use a combination of downlines, a pitch bait, and power reeling. On the pitch bait, fish this with a small split shot, cast it out and let it fall back to the boat on a tight line. This technique seems to be working well most days and can be worth quite a few bonus bites. As has been the case in the past few weeks, you will need to pay close attention to the Herring, this warm water is taking a toll on them and you need to check them frequently. 

Power reeling has been very good, with spoons, Herring(use the Herring either on the drop shot or for tipping the jig)and jigs both producing well. Which is the better option varies from day to day so experiment with that until you tweak the bite. You can tip the jig with a Herring or a soft plastic, with both the 6” grubs and 4” Shad bodies being good choices for the trailer. If you choose the 4” inch Shad body, try trimming the bottom of the shad body with a pair of scissors or shears. This decreases drag on the bait and it also allows the bait to swim more freely. 

The trolling bite has been excellent, Umbrellas, Mini Macks, Chipmunk Jigs, and spoons are all effective, and you can pull them on Lead core, downriggers, or in the case of the full size Umbrellas, just flat line them on braid or Mono. There are many options and effective combinations to choose from with the trolling techniques, but here are some good basics to get you started. On the lead core, pull the Mini Macks, 1 oz Chipmunks and Hawg Fat spoons about 275 feet behind the boat if you are using the counter, or 8 colors if you are counting colors. If you are using the downriver, try any of the above 40 feet behind the downrigger ball, ball at 25 to 30 feet. On the full size umbrellas, 140 feet behind the boat has been working well(thats with Mono, adjust accordingly if you are using braid).  

Bass fishing is very good, and the fish are piled up in 25 foot brush, pretty much right where you would expect be at this time of year. Targeting brush on main lake humps or points are always a good choice, and this pattern can be best during water generation. Some of the natural structures, roadbeds and deeper humps are also holding a few fish. A topwater will pull some of these fish out of the brush, a Chug Bug has been very effective, along with the walking baits. The Spybait, Steelshad, and a weighted Fluke are also very good choices to cast over the brush. Of course the finesse worms on the drop shot or shakey have been big producers, some favorite colors on the Roboworm have been Morning Dawn(any of the Morning Dawn patterns seem to be working well), Aarons Magic. Halogram Dawn, and Northern Lights. 

There are also quite a few Spotted Bass over deep water cruising around the open water bait schools. These fish are really hard to target, at least until they surface. They will push bait to the surface, with the greatest activity in the am, and are quick to bite if you can get a bait to them quickly. I have caught several nice bass casting the Hawg Jr. Spoon to them, so keep something ready to cast when the opportunity arises!

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack


Lake Lanier Fishing Report July 18, 2020

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July has been hot, especially in the afternoon. Fishing has been hot too, especially in the afternoon! Of course when the rods are bending it’s a whole lot easier to tolerate the heat and humidity! If you need to cool off, you can always take a dip in the lake, which fell slightly this past week, .21 feet over full pool to 1071.21. The surface temp is at 88 degrees. Based on the extended forecast we have plenty of heat and humidity in store as the ‘Dog Days” of summer are here! Looking at the extended forecast indicates we will have a greater chance of afternoon thunderstorms as we enter into next week.

Striper fishing has been good, and you’ll have several choices of productive patterns to choose from. The fish are using the typical July deep water patterns, although we still have some fish pushing back into the pockets over a 40 to 50 foot bottom. The overall trend is Stripers moving towards deeper water, creek channels, over the river channel. Fyi, you may find fish at any point out over the river or major creek channels, but that pattern seems to be best from mid day on. You may also see fish anywhere from 30 down to 80, so place the baits where the greatest activity is. Monitor the live baits closely, keeping the bait alive on the hook is difficult in some areas of the lake, check and change frequently if needed. Supplement the down lines with some power reeling, Spoons, Chipmunks and Herring are all good choices and power reeling is a good compliment to the live bait spread. FYI, Power reeling tip number 4 will post on Sunday afternoon! Live bait fishing has been producing well, down lines are the dominant producer, with a few fish still being taken on weighted flat lines. 

The trolling bite has also been very good, with fish responding to Minis and Jigs on the Lead core, full size umbrellas, and spoons. Pull the Minis on lead core, about 275 feet back on the counter, 30 foot leader included, about eight colors if you are counting off of the line. You can use the same depth parameters on either a 2 oz Chipmunk jig or the big spoons, there will not be much variation in depth between those three baits. Which one is the best option? That answer varies from day to day, but the 2oz Chipmunk tipped with a Herring or 6” trailer has been very consistent. As far as spoons go, the Parker spoons are a good choice as are the Hawg Series Fat Spoons. Any of the aforementioned baits can be trolled on lead core or with a downrigger, so keep that in mind when you deploy the spread. If you opt for the full size umbrella, and they have also been very effective, pull the rig from 120 to150 feet behind the boat. You can also use the rigs on the lead core or behind a downrigger as well. You may want to go with a lighter umbrella on the down riggers, just because it is hard to hold the bigger rigs in the release clips. The Capt Macks 3 arm rigs create much less drag so they are a good option, as are the Mini Mack’s. To help determine the depth of the big umbrellas when using with the down riggers, use the amount of line from the downriver ball to the rig and find the depth value for that amount of line deployed on the chart. Add that number to the depth of the downrigger ball and you should be spot on!

The Bass Fishing is also typical for July, main lake brush in 20 to 35 feet is holding plenty of fish. If you want the numbers, the drop shot will be awfully hard to beat, it may catch the bigger fish, but it will run up the numbers! Don’t forget about casting the drop shot as well. especailly on the windless days when the water really slicks off. This can be a very good technique when fishing the brush.  Shakey heads and your favorite finesse worms will also be effective in the brush. You can still entice a few of the bigger fish out of the brush to take a walking bait, and a sub surface bait like a Steelshad, Spybait or weighted Fluke over the brush are also good selections. 

Keep a bait tied on to cast at the very random surfacing fish, they are showing up in a variety of places, but will take a bait if you can get it to them quickly. Many of these fish are over deep open water chasing Herring schools( that is one reason that the bigger fish may be a little harder to come by, they are starting to suspend over deep open water) so have something that is capable of making long casts tied on and ready to go. Steelshads will do well for this application, as will Fish Head Spins, Topwater, or bucktails. 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

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LAKE LANIER FISHING REPOR -July 9 , 2020

 

The second week of July finds Lanier’s surface temps right around 82 degrees, and the lake levels holding fairly steady at 1037.37, .37 feet over full pool. Fishing has been good, and the patterns are normal for this date on the calendar.  The extended forecast indicates that weather patterns will also be fairly normal for this time of year, highs in the 90’s, humidity about the same, and a shot at an afternoon thundershower. And for those asking about the power reeling tips, we’ll post #3 on Sunday afternoon

The Striper bite has been good, with the techniques exactly what you would expect for July. Down lined Herring are a staple, with Power reeling and trolling also being solid patterns. The only thing that may be a little non typical, and something you need to pay attention to, is the difficulty of keeping the Herring alive on the hook. This condition is worse in some places/depths than other, and something that you would be more likely to see in August, but be aware to maximize the bite. Change the baits out frequently, and monitor how well that they are doing as it will vary from one part of the lake to the next. The other hack that may get you a few extra bites is try Stealth trolling as opposed to being on Spot Lock. Keep the boat moving at .4 or .5 mph, this is especially effective pulling over timber,  and yes there are some fish being taken pulling the Minis on this technique. It really makes sense, we had really good luck stealth trolling the Minis in the cooler months, no reason it will not work now? I have not used that application much in the summer but I will add a couple to the spread next week and try and tweak that pattern. Vertical movement on the downlines will also get a few extra bites, try dropping the baits under the fish and slowly reeling them back up and past the fish. When you reel in to change/check baits, or you are getting ready to relocate, reel the baits up slowly, at least for a few cranks and you may get a couple of bonus bites over the course of the day.

Power reeling remains strong in the right situation so have the spoons and jigs tied on and ready to go. This technique has been good at picking off the fish that are holding on the top of the timber lines, and may help pull fish out of the trees and into the spread. Jigs and spoons are effective, so use both until you see a favorite. You can tip the Chipmunks with your favorite  plastic or a Herring ,and tipping the jigs with the spent herring is a good way to utilize the dead baits. 

Trolling has been good and there are many options to choose from on this application. The big umbrellas are producing well, place the rig near 25 feet and target fish in the back parts of the major creeks or drains dumping into the creek. There are also some fish on deeper humps that will respond to the rigs. The Mini Macks are doing well on lead core, pull the Minis at 240 to 270 feet behind the boat, targeting the same areas mentioned above. Single jigs and spoons on the lead core are also a good choice, but to this point I think the Mini”s are the most productive.  Any of the above mentioned baits may also be effective on the downriggers, so if you have  downriggers, put them to good use and incorporate them into the spread.

Bass fishing is also good, with no surprise here, find the brush and you find the fish. OK, its not that limiting but as is to be expected the Spots are all over main lake brush in 18 to 30 feet. Depending on the day, you can still pull some of these fish up to a topwater bait, but subsurface baits, particularly the Spybaits are getting a good response. Flukes over the brush are also catching some nice fish. Some other structures that are holding some fish are the seawalls, humps, and long points with a really flat taper. The latter two may hold fish even if there is no brush(I am not sure there are any of these places without brush, lol) or the fish may roam away from the brush if the Corp is generating or if we have low light conditions. Fishing the humps after dark is a very good pattern, and the fish may pull up into relatively shallow water during the night as opposed to daylight hours, so adjust accordingly. Worms will be hard to beat on the humps and points, the drop shot or Weedless Wonders will be productive. Your favorite finesse worm will get the bite, almost any dark Green pattern will produce. Some productive colors to try on the on the Roboworms are the morning dawn patterns, along with Green Shiner and Red Crawler. If you have plenty of light try Sxe Shad, Prizm Shad or Prizm Kraw. If you elect to stay after dark, which is a really good way to beat the heat, going to a larger profile bait may be a plus. Trick worms or the Roboworm Fat Worms will do well. 

those

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-July 3, 2020

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Happy 4th of July! The lake will be crowded, so everyone be safe, get out and enjoy the water! We also have a full moon this week, on Sunday the 5th, the full Buck Moon. This will be followed by a partial lunar eclipse beginning at 11:07 pm, ending at 1:52 am. This will be a subtle eclipse, but should be visible here in North Georgia. The lake looks great with the water level at 1071.38, .38 feet above full pool. The weather looks very good for the holiday weekend, with a slight chance of an afternoon thundershower Sunday, evolving into a greater chance for storms mid week. The water temp is a slightly below average 81 degrees.

The summer bite is on, and although the Stripers may have gotten a little more persnickety in the last few days, fishing is still pretty good. The patterns are typical, with fish being found over the creek channels, and drains dumping into the channels. Some of the fish are pushing further back in the drains than you may be expecting, as far back as a 35 to 40 foot bottom. There are also some decent numbers of fish showing up over the river channel, or where the creeks drain into the river, so that should give plenty of places to search. There are also several techniques you will need to be prepared to use: on the fish that are 35 to 40 feet deep and on or near the bottom, live Herring on the down line all probably be the best option. Keeping a lightly weighted free line, use a # 5 or #7 split shot, is also viable technique. Moving the boat slowly as opposed to being on Spot Lock may also help tweak a few bites. You may be able to get some of these fish in the backs of the drains to respond to power reeling, but generally that technique is best on fish in deeper water. The fish in these pockets will respond to an umbrella if there is enough area to allow you to maneuver and pull the rig that deep into the drain or cove. FYI, our next power reeling segment is scheduled to post Sunday afternoon. 

For the fish out over the creek channels, Live Herring on the down line are a good choice, as is power reeling spoons and jigs. I have done pretty well power reeling a 2 oz Chipmunk with a Herring trailer, so keep that rig tied on and ready to go. Trolling has also been very good, with fish being taken on full size umbrellas, Mini Macks on the lead core, and spoons and jigs on the lead core. Is one better than the other? It really varies from day to day, and all have been producing, if I had to pick I would choose the full size rigs, 120 to 140 feet behind the boat, at the standard 2.5 to 3.0 mph. Go with your confidence bait or don’t hesitate to switch baits until you tweak the bite. Trolling is also a really good way to search for these fish over the creek channels/open water. 

Bass fishing is good, and the fish are right where they should be, holding up in 20 to 30 foot brush or over the humps. Finesse worms on the drop shot, shakey head, or Texas rig have been producing well, and the Roboworms in any of the Morning Dawn color patterns being consistent producers. A topwater over the humps is still producing some fish, so starting out with a walking bait for your first few casts will be a good choice. Follow the topwater up with a subsurface bait like a Spy bait or a weighted fluke. If you are really in tune with the brush you are fishing, count down the subsurface baits to try and get them right on the top of the tree, to the point where it just ticks the limbs! 

Watch for bass chasing bait to the surface, this is happening often enough that if you are prepared it will get you some extra bites. These are not big schools of fish, often small groups or just a fish, but they are catchable if you make a good cast and get the bait to them before they sound. A small, compact bait that cast well will get the bite, a Flex-it spoon or Steelshad will be good choices for this application. 

Another pattern that you may want to utilize right now is fishing the main lake humps in the afternoon and evening. Target humps in the 15 to 30 foot range, with the shallow end being most prominent in low light or after dark. Brush is always an asset on this pattern, however, the fish may be on a clean bottom, especially if the Corp is generating power. Worms are the standard on this pattern with deep diving crank baits or spinnerbaits(the latter two options most productive in low light or after sunset) can also be effective. This pattern will often produce well through out the night The generation schedule has been mostly 2 pm until 6 pm, and to find the tentative schedule call 770.945.1466

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-June 19, 2020

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Welcome to summer! The summer solstice occurs at 5:44 Pm on Saturday the 20th, the longest day of the year! There will also be another significant event occurring this weekend, although not visible in North America, there is an annular solar eclipse beginning on the 20th that you can view on Youtube. The eclipse will begin just before midnight on the 20th.I winder if that willl make the fish bite? We have to find out right? There you go, I just gave you a really good excuse to go to the lake! What better way to celebrate the beginning of summer than to go fishing! The lake is full, currently at 1071.40, .40 feet above full pool and the surface temp is 78 degrees. 

As we discussed in last weeks report, summer is a very productive time to catch stripers and to this point in the year that certainly looks to be the case as we enter the last few days of June. You have a choice of techniques, live bait has been a very good producer, on down lines, free lines and pitch baits. I think the live bait/down line is the over all better choice, but free lines, adding a couple of split shots will make a difference, are also producing well. Pitching a Herring or two off the stern to compliment the down lines will definitely be a plus. The fish are showing up in many places, but searching in the creek channels, or drains and pockets adjacent to the creek channels over a 40 to 70 foot bottom has been a solid method. Slow trolling live baits or trolling on the big rig is a good way to search until you locate fish. Once you find them, deploy the baits and supplement the Herring with casting or power reeling. The typical baits for the power reeling are producing, spoons and Jigs will both get the bite. Once you have them ganged up under the boat, try and casting a spoon or jig which can also be a good technique.  On the casting method, just cast out the bait(Chipmunk Jigs, Hawg Spoons in the fat and Jr. Models) and let it sink through the fish on a tight line until it is basically under your feet them start a steady retrieve back to the boat. The bite may occur anywhere in this process and when the fish takes it on the sink it may be subtle, if you notice the bait doing anything different, set the hook!

Power reeling is starting to produce well and  should only get better as the fish get deeper and congregate in bigger schools. I still get frequent questions about power reeling, what it is and how it works, so I’ll start posting some info on that beginning next week as this is beginning the prime time for that technique! Learning to use this technique will definitely help you catch more fish and is a very important tool. 

Umbrellas have been producing well, pulling the big rig or the Minis are both producing well. We really have a couple of patterns here. One is to pull the full size rigs over humps 20 to 40 feet, placing the rig about 120 feet behind the boat. This is the same run and gun type of pattern that I have mentioned in the past few weeks, and will work in the middle and lower parts of the lake. The other pattern is a traditional pattern of pulling the rigs over open water, or up into the creeks and pockets. Start out with the full size rigs about 120 feet behind the boat but adjust the distance back as needed. On the Mini Macks, pulling the rig on lead core around 270 feet back(7 colors) will be a good place to start. 

Bass fishing has been very good, with typical summer techniques in place. Brush in 20 to 25 feet is loaded up, and a worm on the drop shot or the shaky will be hard to beat if you just want to catch a bunch of fish. The Ned rigs are effective for this bite as is a small Fluke on the drop shot. Some of the Roboworm colors that have been producing well are the Green Shiner, and Spot tail Minnow patterns if you have the sun, darker patterns like Morning Dawn, Martens Madness, and Green Neon Pumpkin if the clouds appear. If you really just want to catch a ton of fish, a Spot Tail minnow dropped around the brush has also been very strong, and the Spot Tails have been easy to catch. 

There is a topwater bite, topwater baits cast over brush or humps in the previously mentioned depths will produce some bigger fish, and applying the run and gun method will be a plus.   Walking baits have been very good, and following the topwater up with a Fluke or a Sebile as been an extremely good method. If the fish do not respond to top waters, work your way down through the water column changing to a lightly weighted fluke or a Spybait. The bite can be very good in the afternoons and evenings when the Corp is pulling water, so check on the generation schedule and use this to your advantage when applicable. 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report June 17, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for June 17, 2020

If you have read the last couple of years of our Lake Hartwell Fishing Reports you have to know by now that I love to teach Striper Fishing Instructional Trips and it pays off with great dividends. As a Fishing Instructor I get to meet some wonderful people who always seem to become very good friends which gives me the ability to stay in touch and talk frequently with these folks. As I tell them when they fish with me, the trip is never over with when they step out of the boat because they are always able to call me anytime to get advice and to find out which way to go to have their best chance to land Stripers. With the first day of summer being this Saturday you can tell that the fishing is beginning to peak. I have not had a bad trip over the last two weeks and we have had several trips where we had triples on and it just doesn’t get any better than that. The angler in this weeks picture is one of my guest, Sid, who fished an Instructional Trip a few weeks ago. Sid has called me every week and has done a great job in following directions from what he learned during his Instructional trip. The fish Sid has in this picture is one from this past Sunday after I asked Sid to come to where I was the day before so that he could catch some of the fish I was catching. He went right back to the same spot Sunday and you can see some of the results. Sid has a house on Lake Hartwell and he wanted to learn how to Striper fish, I believe he is catching on really well which always makes the teacher proud! I personally will be off the lake teaching for the rest of this month and all of next month due to another major shoulder surgery but we have another great teacher all lined up to cover in my absence on Lake Hartwell. There is not a bad time to book and Instructional Trip and I’ll bet my boat that it will make you a better fisherman. If you want to learn the summer pattern or wait for cooler weather just let us know. We will schedule your trip for when you are ready to go and we cover all four seasons while we are on the water so it does not matter when you book the trip. Just give Captain Mack a call and he will get you booked for your Instructional Fishing Class on the water so we can learn something new and put more fish in your boat. We also cover graph setups so as I remind everyone who wants to catch fish, my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneak up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Entice Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Put Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 660.51 which is.51 feet above the 660 full pool levels and holding at almost the same level as this same time as last week’s report. The current water temperatures are really warming up fast now that the cold fronts have past and the current water temperatures are at 84+- degrees depending on the daily air temperature. This week will be dry for a change with only the possibility of a pop up shower throughout the weekend. We have seen some cool weather over the last few days this week but hang on because by this weekend the ninety degree weather will be on us and the current forecast for June and July from the National Weather Service has quoted very hot temperatures for these summer months. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

The Striper and Hybrid fishing has been great with many improvements with several days this past week producing some quality fish. The fish have returned to a normal pattern with the early morning bite being a fast and furious bite right at daylight if you find yourself in the right place. The dock lights were producing fish before daylight but that bite is just about over with. Just as it breaks daylight many good schools of fish are now bunching up under the boat on clean bottoms while drumming. The Stripers and Hybrids are being caught all over the lake from the upper rivers and creeks all the way to the dam and the fishing should continue to improve for the rest of this month. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rig bite is doing really well right now. The Appalachian Striper Club fished a club tournament this past weekend and it was won by Ricky Harvey and his grandson Lukas and they won it by pulling Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rigs which Ricky is a Pro at. I would make a serious suggestion being if you are not prepared to pull Umbrella Rigs or Mini Mack’s or 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 two months. If you are not comfortable pulling Umbrella Rigs or Planer Boards it’s not as hard as you might think and it is covered in our Instructional Trips in detail. As for the last two weeks the Striper and Hybrid fishing has been great for me and I have moved back out of the backs of the creeks and back into the main lake where 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 have ever fished an Instructional Trip with me you know that I love light gear even when no one else is fishing this way and many of my bigger fish are caught on these 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 near the boat I deploy the light tackle behind the boat and then I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish or behind my Perfect Planer Boards. After getting my rigs in the water I run my Minn Kota through the fish and it’s not long before I’m hooked up. If the fish decide not to eat my live bait then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite. I see way to many people return to the dock every day without a single fish and as always I find out that they know nothing about pulling Umbrella Rigs. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now and will continue to work the rest of this month and throughout the summer. 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. 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. Father’s Day is this Sunday, tell the kids to give Captain Mack a call and he will be sure that you get the best Father’s Day gift ever. 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 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 under spins are working throwing to breaking fish.
  • 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. 
  • 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 and Sportsman’s Warehouse. 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 another really great for Bass fishing. The Bass are feeding aggressively and are taking many different varieties of bait. The fish are feeding really well in the mornings and again before dark on Mini Mack’s, Ned Rigs, Drop Shots, Shakey Heads and Carolina Rigs with soft plastics. The Largemouth Bass are biting well off of points and in the backs of coves around structure or docks off of Spinner Baits and Crankbaits. We are seeing some Spotted Bass schooling activity around the banks just at sun down in the early evening hours as well as in shallow waters in the early mornings. Many Striper and Hybrid fishermen are still catching Bass off of freelines while Striper fishing so this should give you a good start and suggestion that the Blueback Herring bite is good so don’t overlook your herring colors.

  • River2Sea Whopper Plopper 90, 130 or 110 in a shad color are working great right now.
  • 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 are working around structure as well as in open water.
  • Spinner Baits of your choice will get the job done.

CRAPPIE 

This week will be my last week to provide a Crappie Report until it cools off again. I will leave you with one point that I use during the hottest summer months, bridge slabs! It never fails if I look under the bridges during the hottest months I usually can locate Crappie so there you go, when the summer heat is bearing down on you hard look for some good slab donkeys under the bridges where they look for cover, bait and shade. There will remain those true Crappie fishermen who will catch fish year round but I’m a cold weather Crappie fisherman so I will start the Crappie Report back when the cool weather returns. Long lining baits with minnows and jigs seem to have produced well over this past week. Live bait under a float and your favorite jigs are working well around brush piles or timber. This past week a Popeye jig was our jig of choice and a small minnow fished about five to six feet under a small float was working well.

 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-June 11, 2020

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As we go into the middle of the month, I have become something i did not ever anticipate, gasp, a landlubber! I have been boat less for a few days now, yes I am tearing up just typing those words, but I should be back on the water early next week. So, in an effort to make this report as accurate as possible, this weeks report will not be a report, rather some thoughts based on previous questions about summer fishing. The lake looks great with a level of 1027.46, .46 over full pool. The temp, I had to go over to the boat ramp and stick my thumb into the water to determine that factor, was 82 degrees. The bite has been good for Bass and Stripers, so make it a point to get on the water!  I’ll be back next week with the regular report!

I do think that we are entering what is arguably is the best time of year to catch Stripers from Lanier, and most other southern impoundments for that matter. For many years, I would often have a perspective customer asked when tis the best time of year to go Striper fishing? My reply was usually Mid June into early August. The reply was usually met with skepticism and a rebuttal of it’s “too hot” they won’t bite. I would generally ask the questioning party why? The reply would come back again, it’s too hot. I would say ok, do you stop eating in the summer, try shutting down the grill from mid June until Labor day and get back with me, it probably will not go that well for you? Think about it, fish need to eat, and in a very condensed summary, here is why fishing is really good in the warmer months. Warmer water holds lower levels of dissolved oxygen, as surface temps warm, the oxygen levels drop in the upper parts of the water column, forcing fish deeper, out of the backs of the creeks, out of the upper reaches of the rivers into the lower part of the lake. This sets up a situation where there are more fish in less water in the summer months than any other time of the year. Of course it is mostly a deep water bite, and  the visual aspects that make cool weather fishing so much fun are not in play, but in terms of numbers and consistency fishing is very good. What is deep? On Lanier I would call that 30 foot plus and catching Summer Stripers on Lanier may mean as deep as 120 feet. Now deep varies from Lake to Lake, so keep that in mind. Also, lakes that have lots of current may set up differently. Please keep in mind that this time of year is stressful on the fish, so proper handling of the fish is very important, basically minimal handling and get them back in the lake quickly. I will discuss that more about in future reports. Yes, it’s going to be hot but if you are staying in front of the air conditioning all summer you are missing out on some very good fishing. Matter of fact, I need to stop yakking and go chase a couple of electrical Gremlins out of the boat so I can get back on the water and go fishing! Summer is almost here! 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report- June 10, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for June 10, 2020

Just ten days from today it will be the first day of summer and if it continues to heat up each day as it has done over this past week I would guess that it’s going to be a hot one again this year! With the heat bearing down on us as well as the bite usually being an early morning bite you will always find me backing my boat off the trailer no later than 5 am. Even with the early morning launch it does not give you very much time to get in one of your favorite spots before the sun starts to peak over the tree tops and that’s usually all the fish are waiting on to start bending rods under the boat. This week the lake has fallen just under the full pool levels and is just barely back over the full pool levels but the lower levels will kelp the fishing to improve. This same time last year Lake Hartwell was over four feet above full pool and we suffered a major fish kill when the lake was drawn down to full pool levels, so luckily we should not have that problem this year. The fishing still has much more room for improvement and I’m sure that it will continue to get better and better as each day goes by. We are still teaching Instructional Fishing Classes on the water so give us a call and let’s learn something new and put more fish in the boat. So as I remind everyone who wants to catch fish, my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneak up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Put Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 660.26 which is.26 feet above the 660 full pool levels and holding at the same level as this same time as last week’s report. The current water temperatures are getting warmer now that the cold fronts have past and the current water temperatures are holding at 78+ degrees. This week will be dry for a change with only the possibility of a pop up shower throughout the weekend. We will see some low eighty degree days this week and the current forecast for June and July from the National Weather Service has quoted very hot temperatures for these summer months. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

The Striper and Hybrid fishing has finally shown some improvements with several days this past week producing some quality fish. The fish have returned to a normal pattern and with some herring still spawning on points the early morning bite beached on these points are producing some good numbers and a fast and furious bite before daylight if you find yourself on the right points. With the lake levels falling back to normal levels it has been much easier to beach your boat without pulling into the tree lines. The dock lights are producing fish before daylight and many good schools of fish are now bunching up under the boat on clean bottoms while drumming. The Stripers and Hybrids are being caught all over the lake from the upper rivers and creeks all the way to the dam and the fishing should continue to improve for the rest of this month. If you have 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. 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 weeks. You’re Perfect Planer Boards with gizzard shad or herring pulled in the pockets that are holding fish will get you the bite that you are looking for and in many cases it will catch you fish when other methods are not working. I have moved back out of the backs of the creeks and back into the main lake where 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 have ever fished an Instructional Trip with me you know that I love light gear so take a look at this week’s picture, these fish were caught by my grandkids this past week and they were all caught on ultra-light spinning reels free lined behind the boat. 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. I see way to many people return to the dock every day without a single fish and as always I find out that they know nothing about pulling Umbrella Rigs. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now and will continue to work the rest of this month. 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 lake with Stripers or Hybrids. 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 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 under spins are working throwing to breaking fish.
  • 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 another really great for Bass fishing. The Bass are feeding aggressively and are taking many different varieties of bait.  Right now it seems to be when you are on the water. The fish are feeding really good in the mornings and again before dark on Mini Mack’s, Ned Rigs, Drop Shots, Shakey Heads and Carolina Rigs with soft plastics. The Largemouth Bass are biting well off of points and in the backs of coves around structure or docks off of Spinner Baits and Crankbaits. We are seeing some Spotted Bass schooling activity around the banks just at sun down in the early evening hours as well as in shallow waters in the early mornings. Many Striper and Hybrid fishermen are still catching Bass off of freelines while Striper fishing so this should give you a good start and suggestion that the Blueback Herring bite is good so don’t overlook your herring colors.

  • 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 are working around structure as well as in open water.
  • Spinner Baits of your choice will get the job done.

CRAPPIE 

This week will be my last week to provide a Crappie Report until it cools off again. There will remain those true Crappie fishermen who will catch fish year round but I’m a cold weather Crappie fisherman so I will start the Crappie Report back when the cool weather returns. Long lining baits with minnows and jigs seem to have produced well over this past week. Live bait under a float and your favorite jigs are working well around brush piles or timber. This past week a Popeye jig was our jig of choice and a small minnow fished about five to six feet under a small float was working well.

 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-June 5, 2020

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

We saw 80 degree surface temps on Lanier this Friday, that is right on time with a long term average of 80 by June 1st. This sure has the fish thinking it is time to move into traditional summer patterns, and that has definitely been the trend this week. We are also on the full Moon this week, with the June full moon will occurring at 3:12 PM, Friday the on 5th. The Lake level is holding up nicely at 1071.42, down slightly from last week to .42 feet over full pool. 

The Stripers are still using several different patterns but overall the bite is good. Down lines over a 35 to 50 foot bottom are producing well, and don’t hesitate to look for fish in the backs of the larger creeks and pockets as this pattern is getting stronger with the warming water. Keep a pitch line in the spread while you are soaking the down lines, even through the water is warm the Herring will seek out the best water making the pitch baits a good technique. Power reeling? I think that there are enough fish moving into deep water that power reeling will come into play soon, so keeping a spoon or jig handy is probably a good idea! 

The umbrella bite is very good, mostly pulling the rigs over the 20 to 35 foot humps. This pattern is run and gun, if the fish are on one of these high spots they will generally be quick to take the rig! They are also prone to scatter and leave the hump after you hook up making it difficult to repeatedly troll over the same place and keep catching fish. It is usually a better approach to pull over the hump, catch what is there and move on. This pattern requires a lot of work, but is very productive and can be a great alternate technique in wind or rough water where other techniques may be compromised. The heavier rigs are probably best for this technique, the Capt Mack’s 4 arm 3 oz buck tail rig as been the staple, from 70 to 110  feet behind the boat if you are trolling mono, a little less if you are on the braid. 

There are still some fish to be caught on top waters and swim baits , target the humps and long points either in the creeks or on the main lake. This is another run and gun pattern, fish fast and keep moving and this pattern can also yield some good numbers. The bait choice will vary with the day, and the weather. If it is really slick you may need to go with a subsurface baits like the Steelshad or a weighted Fluke. It is easy to think that the topwater will only be effective in the early am, or in lowlight conditions, and often that is the case. However, this pattern can be good mid day or with the sun, particularly if the weather has been stable and brighter conditions have been in place for a few days. 

Bass fishing is good overall, with a couple of effective methods for to choose from. The top water bite is good, although each day may take some tweaking as far as bait selection and speed. Main lake humps and points, with brush being a big plus are the target areas, 12 to 25 foot depths are holding fish. Swim baits, wake baits, and a weighted Fluke will also be viable so keep a variety tied on and ready to go.

Soft plastics are accounting for some good numbers and may be the most consistent bite! A finesse, trick, or Roboworm fat worm on the Weedless Wonder has been a solid technique, fish this rig in 12 to 25 feet off of the humps and points and you should stay plenty busy setting the hook. Favorite colors? Ask 10 fisherman that question and you’ll likely get ten answers, but some of the Roboworm patterns that have been strong are Green Shiner, Northern Lights and Spot Tail Minnow, the last choice being very good in brighter conditions. And speaking of Spot Tail minnows, they are on the banks and easy to catch, a 3/16 mesh net is the optimal size, so load up the live well and carry to you favorite brush pile. If you can see them on the graph, they will probably be quick to turn the spot tails into lunch! 

Now that the fish are gravitating to deeper water, and specially the humps and points, remember to use the power generation schedule to your advantage!  June finds the fish recovering from the rigorous process of the spawn and ready to eat. The water is warm enough to jack up the metabolism rates, but not warmed to the point that the Bass become lethargic like often occurs in August. The afternoon and evening bite can be really good when the water is moving, so keep that n mind. The tentative water release schedule is available at 770.945.1466. 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report June 3, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for June 03, 2020

I’ve been waiting for weeks now to say this and I’m confident that I can report without reserve that the Lake Hartwell fishing is finally making a change for the better. This past week the bite has been much better than last month when you just never knew if you would be able to find the fish and on many occasions if you found them if you would be able to make them bite. I would suggest now that the lake levels are getting closer to normal and with the water temperatures reaching back into the mid to high seventies the fishing will only continue to get better each day for the rest of this month. So if you had given up on fishing Lake Hartwell now is a good time to climb back in the boat and go fishing. We are still teaching Instructional Fishing Classes on the water so give us a call and let’s learn something new and put more fish in the boat. So as I remind everyone who wants to catch fish, my advice is to use, Humminbird to Find Them, Minn Kota to Sneak up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders to Hold Them, Captain Mack Products to Fool Them and Okuma Rods and Reels to Put Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 660.26 which is.26 feet above the 660 full pool levels and a foot lower than last weeks report. The current water temperatures are getting warmer now that the cold fronts are past and the current water temperatures are holding at 76+ degrees. This week will be mostly dry for a change with only the possibility of tropical storms forming in the Gulf that might bring us some changes in the weather later next week. We will see some high eighty plus degree days this week and the current forecast for June and July from the National Weather Service has quoted very hot temperatures for these summer months. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

The Striper and Hybrid fishing has finally shown some improvements with several days this past week producing some quality fish. The fish have returned to a normal pattern and with Herring still spawning on many points the early morning beaching the boat on one of these points is a good technique! The bite is fast and furious before daylight if you find yourself on the right points. With the lake levels falling back to normal levels it has been much easier to beach your boat without pulling into the tree lines. The dock lights are producing fish before daylight and many good schools of fish are now bunching up under the boat on clean bottoms while drumming. The Stripers and Hybrids are being caught all over the lake from the upper rivers and creeks all the way to the dam and the fishing should continue to improve for the rest of this month. If you have 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.. Your Perfect Planer Boards are still applicable, especially early in the day. Gizzard Shad or Herring pulled over the humps and points is a good pattern, casting a Mini to the same ares while you are waiting on the live bait bite will be a plus.  The Umbrella bite is producing well pulling the Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs over 20 to 30 foot humps and points. Pulling the rigs is a different very productive technique, but requires specialized tackle, all of the how, why, and when of umbrella fishing is covered in our instructional trips.  These “teaching” trips will be one the best trips that you will ever take and will substantially increase your odds of catching fish on Hartwell of 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 are all suppling good quality bait and several have the gizzard shad that you will need for that big fish bite. Maintaining bait becomes more critical as the weather warms,  adding an O2 system to your bait tank will be plus!f
  • 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.
  • Top waters are still producing well, I prefer a super spook but the Chug Bugs Sammies and other will also be effective!
  • 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 or Academy Sports. If your favorite bait and tackle shop does not carry them you might want to ask for them. 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – This very versatile rigs effective being slow trolled behind the Minn Kota, Behind a Perfect Planer, on theDown rigger or on your lead core rig! Oh yeah, they are great for casting as well. This may be the best bait to cast a surfacing fish, its pretty much a grantee for stripers Hybrids or Bass.  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 are still finding the spawning bait on the shallow points so locating some good quality Bass has not been an issue. Many of the local Lake Hartwell Fishing Clubs are enjoying some healthy bags of fish when they weigh in. The Spotted Bass bite has been great and the Spotted Bass and Largemouth are still coming off of points and humps that drop off into 20-40 feet of water being caught on Mini Mack’s, Ned Rigs, Drop Shots, Shakey Heads and Carolina Rigs with soft plastics. The Largemouth Bass are biting well off of points and in the backs of coves around structure or docks off of Spinner Baits and Crank baits. We are seeing some Spotted Bass schooling activity around the banks just at sun down in the early evening hours as well as in shallow waters in the early mornings. Many Striper and Hybrid fishermen are still catching Bass off of freelines while Striper fishing so this should give you a good start and suggestion that the Blueback Herring bite is good so don’t overlook your herring colors.

  • 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, Green Shiner tor the new color, Northern Lights!  The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and paired with one of the above mentioned worms is a consistent producer!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s. If you want to catch some big Spotted Bass this is a go to bait!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes are working around structure as well as in open water.

CRAPPIE 

The Crappie bite seems to have fallen off some but that’s not to say that the dedicated Crappie Fishermen are not still catching Crappie. Long lining still has provided some good quality fish and a lot of Crappie are pulling back under docks for shade and cover. Long lining baits with minnows and jigs seem to have produced well over this past week and should continue until it gets much warmer and stays warm. Live bait under a float and your favorite jigs are working well around brush piles or timber. This past week a Popeye jig was our jig of choice and a small minnow fished about five to six feet under a small float was working well.

 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-May 28, 2020

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

Most of May has been rainy and cool, not exactly what would be the norm weather wise, but it sure has been good for fishing! The flat, overcast skies we experienced during most of the last week have keep many fish up shallow on points and humps. Of course some of the fish stayed deep regardless of the weather which gives you many choices of techniques as a fisherman! In summary, the bite is good so get out on the water! Next weeks weather looks like more sun and less cloud cover/rain, and a return to the mid to upper 80’s late in the week. The surface temps are in the upper 60’s and the lake level was 1070.71 Thursday morning, .70 feet above full pool! 

The Striper bite is very good, with good catches being taken on both ends of the lake. The upper and middle parts of the river are still producing good catches, but there are plenty of fish being caught on the lower end as well. When you go into the rivers look for fish over a 30 to 50 foot bottom around flats, points, and channel bends. You may locate fish on the main lake or up into the creeks and big coves, so doing a little recon into the backs of these areas can be productive. Down lines are working well, but a free line is also producing so be prepared to use them both depending on the day and the situation. It will be a good idea to keep a Mini Mack tied on, they are also producing well when fished as a down line or behind a planer, and they are excellent choices for casting to any schooling fish you may see. Casting the Mini to humps and points is also a very good pattern, I’ll elaborate more on that when we get to the lower lake part of the report. 

We also have fish starting to pile up on the humps that top out around 20 to 35 feet, and pulling an Umbrella over these humps has been a solid pattern. Fish the rig around 70 to 100 feet behind the boat targeting humps in the above mentioned depths. This pattern has been very consistent and will probably get better as the water warms. It has been effective on the upper and lower ends of the lake. 

There is a very good opportunity to catch Stripers casting to shallow humps, saddles and points. Super Spooks, Redfins, Bug Chug Bugs, Surge Shads, and probably almost any of your favorite top water baits will get the bite.  This pattern has application all over the lake but I think is best on the lower end. I am sure that the dreary weather we have experienced in the last few days has energizing this bite, but it is very strong and merits your attention. Run and gun the humps and points, and keep in mind that the fish may be very shallow, with many of the bites coming with the bait over a 10 foot bottom or less. One footnote: I know catching fish with a top water bait is fun, I love to fish them too, but the same fish that are responding to the top waters/flukes have been quick to take a Mini Mack as well. The Mini can be a plus when you use it as a follow up or you need something subsurface. The weight of the Mini allows you to use a fast retrieve while the bait continues to hold its depth. Both the bladed and unbladed Models have been effective, and some anglers prefer casting the unbladed model because it creates less drag. The Mini Mack also tends have a very high strikes to hook up ratio. Think run and gun here, particularly on the lower end where these shallow fish are scattered and there are often limited numbers of fish on an area. If you catch a fish or two on an area, come back to it an hour or so later and you can often duplicate the results of the first visit. 

Bass Fishing has also been very good with topwater being the buzz on the Bass side. As with the Stripers, this weather pattern we have experienced in the last few days has kept lots of fish shallow on humps and points, but the general trend is for the fish to be moving onto brush in 15 to 25 feet. The fish have been quick to respond to top waters, the Super Spooks have been Strong, and almost any of the walking baits will produce. Swim baits are also very productive, and a lightly weighted Fluke continues to account for plenty of fish.  I have had good luck casting the big Redfin if the wind really picks up.  Target humps and points, brush is definitely a plus but not a deal breaker, especially if you have low light conditions. Don’t camp out on a place if you go a few cast without a bite, the fish have been quick to respond so get the ones that want to get a look inside your boat and keep moving. If for some reason the topwaters do not produce, try something sub surface, the Fluke, a Steelshad or a Mini mack.

Another typical pattern for this time of year is fishing the sea walls and breakwaters around the marinas. This pattern is also gaining strength, and the same baits mentioned above will get the bite. The fish may be on the wall itself, there are still a few spawning bait fish around some of these, or hanging on the associated cables.The spot tail bite is also very good now, the minnows are easy to catch and with the fish piling up in the deeper water the numbers are getting better. Fish the Spot tails on a light line with the drop shot and it’s pretty much a slam dunk you’ll catch fish! 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-May 27, 2020

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for May 27, 2020

REMEMBER! This past Monday was Memorial Day and as I watched the boats run up and down the lake and smelled the sweet smoke from the many cookouts I wondered if we all took a minute to remember the importance of this special day knowing just how important it is to Remember why we live in a free nation and why Memorial Day is celebrated. It’s important for me to take a few moments to say Thank You to the men and women who have served our country and the many that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Both of my Grandfathers served in World War Two and I had several uncles who served in Korea and Vietnam as well as two brothers who served in the Middle East along with other friends who have served their country with honor! I bow my head this week and REMEMBER these Great Warriors who gave so much and to those who gave their all. Let’s always Remember our great men and women who served so that we are free to not only participate in sporting events like fishing but the freedom to do so many other things that we all take for granted. May God Bless America and the men and women who serve or have served or country in our armed forces! We will never forget to Remember all that gave some and many that gave All! We are still teaching Instructional Fishing Classes on the water so give us a call and let’s learn something new and put more fish in the boat. So as I remind everyone who wants to catch fish, my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneak up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Put Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 661.90 which is.1.90 feet above the 660 full pool levels. These levels continued to rise this past week after several inches of rain fell causing the creeks and rivers to continue to have runoff into the lake. The lake levels at one time last week were nearly 3.5 feet above full pool and the Army Corp of Engineers have worked hard to lower the levels each day to keep up with the continued rainfall that we see each week. The current water temperatures are back up to seventy four degrees during the day and with temperatures dropping into the mid-sixties every night this week this surface temperature should hold. This week will be another wet one with rain forecast everyday through Friday and our first named storm off the Charleston coast making land fall this morning. We will see some eighty degree days this weekend and the current forecast for June and July from the National Weather Service has quoted very hot temperatures for these summer months. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

The Striper and Hybrid fishing has continued to be tough once again over this past week. I really believe that the weather patterns have played a huge part in why the Stripers and Hybrids are not biting as well as they generally do this time of the year. The fish are normally on the points before daylight and if you pull up on a point and cast live bait out the back of the boat into very shallow water you normally can catch a lot of fish. One problem is if you try to pull up on a point now with the lake levels being so high you are pulling up into the trees or you can’t get your boat to stay on the point due to the high water levels. This is not to say that the Stripers and Hybrids are not biting, we have caught fish on every trip but it has not been the large numbers or Striper/Hybrid mayhem that we typicall see this time of the year on Lake Hartwell. This past week the weather cooled off enough to drop the water temperatures back into the high sixties for several days and with the water levels rising and the creeks and rivers filling with mud and trash it made for some tough fishing. As a heads up for those looking for fish in the shallow water that we typically find fish in during the month of May, I’ve found over this past week if you look in fifty foot of water on a clean bottom near bait you will find the fish hugging the bottom and two or three turns off the bottom will get you the bite you are looking for.  I hope this small tip helps you catch more fish until the fishing returns to a normal bite. I can tell you this, the night time bite is much better than the day bite and the dock lights are holding fish. Let me assure you that the minute that the fish begin to bite consistently I will be letting all of our readers know.  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.  We are still conducting out instructional trips, and as we move into the Summer months we can show you how the fish react to the transition from Spring to Summer fishing patterns. We cover a wide variety of methods, including down lining and power reeling, both are techniques you’ll need as the water warms. Call  770-235-8135 to book! 

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring or Gizzard Shad fished on down rods and freelines. Remember the water is warming so taking good care of the Herring is crucial, and adding an O2 system to the live well is a big plus! 
  • 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 Bucktail Under Spins are excellent choices to cast to breaking fish, both Bassand Stripers!
  • 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. 
  • 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 or online at captmacks.com
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled with your trolling motor at .08 mph, pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards, or cast to humps and points. If you are pulling a bait spread and don’t include a Mini Mack you are missing an opportunity. 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 good for Bass fishing. The Bass are finding much more cover as the high waters on the lake have provided them some good cover which has given us a good bite in our near blowdowns or in flooded areas. The Spotted Bass bite has been good and the Spotted Bass and Largemouth are still coming off of points and humps that drop off into 20-40 feet of water being caught on Mini Mack’s, Ned Rigs, Drop Shots, Shakey Heads and Carolina Rigs with soft plastics. The Largemouth Bass are biting well off of points and in the backs of coves around structure or docks off of Spinner Baits and Crank baits. We are seeing some Spotted Bass schooling activity around the banks just at sun down in the early evening hours as well as in shallow waters in the early mornings. Many Striper and Hybrid fishermen are catching Bass off of free lines while Striper fishing so this should give you a good start and suggestion that the Blueback Herring bite is good so don’t overlook your herring colors.

  • 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 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 Shakey head for Lake Hartwell, or any other lake for that matter,  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. Rig ‘em on the Shakey, drop shot or go old school and use the Texas Rig. Sending the Robo for a dip in the JJ’s magic certainly isa plus!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes are working around structure as well as in open water, excellent bait for surfacing fish!
  • Spinner Baits of your choice will get the job done.

CRAPPIE 

The Crappie bite has continued to be really good right now and the fish are showing up all over the lake, find some structure and you will find the good fish. Long lining has provided some good quality of fish and patience will get the job done as you take your time and move from one place to another. Long lining baits with minnows and jigs seem to have produced well over this past week and should continue until it gets much warmer and stays warm. Live bait under a float and your favorite jigs are working well around brush piles or timber. This past week a Popeye jig was our jig of choice and a small minnow fished about five to six feet under a small float was working well.

 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-May 22, 2020

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

 

Now that have had Blackberry winter, maybe we can stash the cold gear away until next fall. The weather forecast calls for a return to relatively average temps, although there are rain chances almost every day until early June. The lake level fell slightly last week and is now .58 feet over full pool, and as of Friday morning the current level was 1071.58. The surface temps are around 72 degrees.

The Stripers are on a good bite, still across the board technique wise, and that may remain the case until water temps warm to the point of pushing the fish out of shallow water. So, be prepared for a little of everything, a mix of downlines and free line/planers, combined with some casting some top waters and Minis! I think the bite still varies from the lower end compared to the upper end, with the fish being more scattered on the lower end, more bunched up and better numbers as you go into either river. The patterns are basically the same as last week, you can just add in your favorite topwater bait as that bite is becoming stronger. 

On the lower end, look for the fish to be around points and humps, and there are some fish roaming around the backs of lower end creek channels over a 35 to 50 foot bottom. The fish on the humps and points may be suspended off of the side of the structure, so look for that as you approach the area. The fish may also be right on the crest of the hump/point especially early in the day. Don’t ignore brush piles on these high spots, the Stripers will often be around or over the brush as well. If the you are targeting fish in water over 20 to 25, set up with down lines and see if you can pull the fish up under the boat, if you are fishing in depths of 20 feet or less pull the free lines and boards over and around the hump/point, casting a topwater, Fluke or Mini to the shallowest part of the structure. 

If you are venturing into the upper parts of the river, points and humps are still very likely areas to look for fish, but include flats along the sides of the creek or river channels in your search area. Apply the same basic depth guidelines mentioned in the above paragraph, and if you get near a point or over a shallow hump casting one if the previous mentioned baits will generally be worth some bonus bites. 

The Bass bite is good and while the fish remain scattered out, they are definitely moving onto brush and off shore structures. There are still some nice fish in shallow water, particularly early or if the weather offers up the cloudy, low light conditions we experienced during most of the last week. Look for the shallow fish around points and humps, sand saddles between the islands and anywhere you can find a bait fish spawn. With water temps in the low 70’s these shallow patterns should continue to produce for a few days. 

20 to 25 foot brush is definitely a good place to look for fish, as that traditional Lanier pattern is going strength. Topwater over the brush will get the bite, I am not sure which bait is best?  I think almost any of your favorite walking baits or poppers will get the bite. Bone has been a good color with the overcast skies lately, that may change when the sun appears, so factor in the weather when selecting a color. A lightly weighted Fluke has also been an excellent bait lately for casting any over the brush, and makes a great change up to the topwater. Another bait that can be very effective cast over brush is the Steelshad. These baits are a little under the radar, but are very productive. The weight and compact size of this bait allow for long casts, and it can be retrieved fairly quickly and still hold he depth if needed. It is also a very good bait to cast to any schooling fish you may see.

I mentioned that there are fish on many of the saddles around the islands and between the reef poles, and I have had good luck casting top waters and flukes early, switching to Mini Macks later in the day. Try this twist on this pattern, as you approach one of these areas watch the sonar. If you see fish on the down imaging anywhere from 5 to 20 fleet, take the boat out of gear, walk to the back of the boat and cast the Mini in your boat wake. If the bottom is clean, let the Mini sink to the bottom and then start a steady retrieve. It is amazing how effective this can be! The boat will not spook the fish, but you’ll need to do all of this quickly as the further the boat gets from the fish the harder it is to get the Mini in the strike zone. Remember how small an area of bottom you are looking at in the above mentioned depths, so your cast needs to be precise. This also applies to the Striper fishermen, if you see fish on you sonar or down imaging when you approach and area, or when you are pulling a bait spread, make cast right over the motor between your freelines and it is amazing how often you’ll get a bite. The fish you hook will often bring fish with him, pulling them up and into your bait spread which will often account for a couple of extra bites! 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-May 20, 2020

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

 

 

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for May 20, 2020

What happens to boat owners when you combine low fuel prices along with a bunch of folks who have been confined to their homes from a pandemic and warm spring temperatures on Lake Hartwell? I can tell you just what happens if you want to go fishing, you had better get an early start before the sun comes up or you will be sitting in line at a boat ramp waiting to launch your boat. Warmer weather is finally here and the lake has been covered up with boat traffic and it’s really good to hear families and friends having a good time again. I can assure you they deserve a good time after all that we have been through with this pandemic. Laughter is good medicine and it long overdue. We are still teaching Instructional Fishing Classes on the water so give us a call and let’s learn something new and put more fish in the boat. So as I remind everyone who wants to catch fish, my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneak up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Put Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 662.27 which is.2.27 feet above the 660 full pool levels. These levels will continue to rise this week after several of inches of rain have fallen today and as the creeks and rivers continue to have runoff into the lake. I will be surprised if the lake is not at least three feet above full pool by this Friday. The current water temperatures are seventy four degrees before the sun comes up and reaching temperatures of seventy six by mid-day. This past week has been a wet one with heavy rain Monday through Wednesday. We will see some eighty degree days this weekend and the current forecast for June and July from the National Weather Service has quoted very hot temperatures for these summer months. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

I hate to report that Striper and Hybrid fishing has still been tough once again over this past week. This is not to say that the Stripers and Hybrids were not biting, we have caught fish on every trip but it has not been the large numbers or Striper/Hybrid mayhem that we normally see this time of the year on Lake Hartwell. This past week there was two Striper Tournaments on Lake Hartwell with many of the best Striper fishermen from anywhere around fishing these tournaments. The largest fish was caught by a Striper King member and it weighed 16.69 pounds. Now that’s a good fish but average weights were low as were the numbers. The Big Fish for The Appalachian Striper Clubs was 6.75 pounds. These guys primarily fish Lake Hartwell and they are excellent fisherman so this just shows you how tough the fishing is right now. I’m asked almost every day, Rick what’s going on with Lake Hartwell and the spring bite. I could give you many personal opinions and I wish I could give you one answer but I personally believe its many things at the same time much like a perfect storm. I can tell you this, the night time bite is much better than the day bite. If you have a generator and a good lighting system you can get in about twelve to twenty foot of water off of a point of the Seneca River and catch a good box of fish. The Stripers and Hybrids are also on the Lake Hartwell dock lights during the night but the minute you see daybreak these fish are gone. Let me assure you that the minute that the fish begin to bite I will be letting all of our readers know. Many guides have canceled trips due to the low numbers of fish being caught and they are like the rest of us , more than ready to see a normal bite return. 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. 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. Umbrellas are a great way to search for fish and clipping 15 to 25 foot points and humps with the rig can be an awesome pattern! We throughly cover the umbrellas, both the full size rig and the Mini in our instructional classes. 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! Give us a call at 770-235-8135to reserve your day1

Go to baits and tackle 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 under spins are working throwing to breaking fish.
  • 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 been okay and the tournaments fished over this past weekend weighed in some smaller than usual bags of fish. The Skeeter Challenge was held this past weekend and if you had a two day average around thirty pounds you were in the money. Spotted Bass and Largemouth are still coming off of points and humps 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. Try casting the Minis to these humps and points, that has been a very strong technique! The Largemouth Bass are biting well off of points and in the backs of coves around structure or docks off of Spinner Baits and Crank baits. We are seeing some Spotted Bass schooling activity around the banks just at sun down in the early evening hours as well as in shallow waters in the early mornings. Most Striper and Hybrid fishermen are catching Bass off of freelines while Striper fishing so this should give you a good start and suggest that the Blueback Herring bite is good so don’t overlook your herring colors.

  • 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 are working around structure as well as in open water.
  • Spinner Baits of your choice will get the job done.

CRAPPIE 

The Crappie bite has continued to be really good right now and the fish are showing up all over the lake, find some structure and you will find some good fish. Patients will get the job done as you take your time and move from one place to another. Long lining baits and jigs seem to have produced well over this past week and should continue until it gets much warmer and stays warm. Live bait under a float and your favorite jigs are working well. This past week a Popeye jig was our jig of choice and a small minnow fished about five to six feet under a small float was working well.

 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-May15, 2020

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

The first part of May saw cooler than average weather with some big temperature swings. It looks like we have one more brief cool down in the middle of next week and then maybe we can put the cold gear away for a few months. The lake fished well through all of this and anglers have reported good catches for all species. The lake level as of Thursday evening was 1071.66,  .66 feet above full pool. The surface temperatures were in the mid to upper 60’s. 

Stripers are biting, and the patterns and techniques are still very varied. There are also some  differences in patterns between the lower and upper ends of the lake. I think the best bite remains in the upper part of either river, at least in terms of numbers and consistency. The down line bite has been very strong, but live baits on the planers and free lines, especially a weighted free line, have also produced well. Look for the fish to be on points on flats adjacent to creek channels or the river channel, over a 30 to 60 foot bottom. They are moving quickly, but if you see a bunch of fish on the sonar, park on them, chances are more will show up periodically and you get a couple bites each time they appear. Drumming, or other noises of your choice may help pull them to the boat. 

On the lower end, there are still plenty of shallow Stripers, especially if you can find spawning baitfish. This bite has all day application, but may be better in the am hours. Several baits will produce, Herring on the planers, top waters, swim baits, Flukes and Mini Macks to name a few. I have had really good luck casting the Mini to points, and I’ll post some more video to help explain that this weekend. I think the topwater bite is still subpar for this time of year, but seems to be improving. Approach these shallow water patterns with the same mindset you would if you were fishing a Redfin, run and gun. No matter which bait you choose, the fish will generally respond very quickly, so get the easy bites and move on. Shallow points(a long gradual taper seems to be best), saddles, and shallow humps are all likely areas to target. 

What about the surfacing fish? I have seen very little schooling activity, but it does seem to be increasing slightly. If you see fish chasing bait to the surface, I think the best bait to cast to them is the Mini Mack. When I have gotten around them, they are quick to take the Mini and the hook up ratio is very good. If you like to fish after hours, the Green light fishing is still good, and that is productive all over the lake. Casting a small buck tail, fluke, jerk bait, or a live Herring should get the bite. 

The Bass bite remains very good, with the fish responding to many techniques. I think there are still spawning fish in the shallows, maybe we had a group of fish spawn on that last full moon, and there are still fish lurking around any bait fish spawns you locate. Casting the Mini to these areas has been very productive and is accounting for some big Spots. I did have a couple of request to define shallow, so I’ll say less than 10 feet, and I have caught several big Spotted Bass in the early am that took the bait in 3 feet or less. Flukes, swim baits, jerk baits, spinnerbaits, and top waters are also producing well. Topwater fishing is definitely better, and should continue to improve! I really like a Super Spook this time of year, but there are many good baits that will produce well so pick your confidence bait and try and tweak the bite each day. Remember that the wind and weather will have an impact on these shallow fish, and pre frontal conditions have been energizing this bite. 

If you like to fish the deeper off shore structures those patterns are also productive as more fish move deeper and onto the brush. Moving baits and top waters cast over brush is a good pattern now, and we have fish showing up around the sea walls and breakwaters. Super flukes are also very productive now, and I like to add a light weight to the Fluke so that I can retrieve it fairly quickly bit still keep the bait sub surface. Try rigging the Fluke on one of the Gamakatsu Superline hooks, the extra weight will also enable you to make longer cast which can be a big plus if you have schooling fish around. Other baits to try are the Sebile Magic Swimmers,  3/8 oz Steelshads, Zara Spooks and Sammies.  

Many of you have ask about the Spot tails and yes they are shallow now and easy to catch, and with more Spotted Bass moving into deeper water and beginning to congregate that technique will be getting stronger every day!

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-May 13, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for May 13, 2020

If you have never experienced a sudden weather change on Lake Hartwell then you haven’t been on the lake recently. This same time last year the water temperature was around 74 degrees and the fishing was great, but this past week if you could find water in the high sixties you were doing well. Has this had an influence on the fishing, you had better believe that it has. This coming weekend we will see air temperatures back up into the high eighties and if we can keep it there you will see a major change in the fishing conditions. As it stands now I’ll just leave my big cold weather coat in the back seat of the truck until I see this unusual weather get just a little more stable. We are still teaching Instructional Fishing Classes on the water so give us a call and let’s learn something new and put more fish in the boat. So as I remind everyone who wants to catch fish, my advice is use Humminbird to Find Them, Minn Kota to Sneak up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products to Fool Them and Okuma Rods and Reels to Put Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 661.39 which is.1.39 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are 68 degrees. This past week has been a cold one with very low temperatures during the evenings and only warmer up into the mid-seventies during the day. Luckily we will see some eighty degree days this weekend and the current forecast for June and July from the National Weather Service has quoted very hot temperatures for these summer months.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing has still been tough once again over this past week. This is not to say that the Stripers and Hybrids were not biting, we have caught fish on every trip but it has not been the large numbers or Striper/Hybrid mayhem that we normally see this time of the year on Lake Hartwell. I really expect that this will change the minute that the water temperature gets into the seventies which should be very soon. It’s past time to see some good results while Striper and Hybrid fishing and as soon as the fish pull up on the points before daylight the bite will become aggressive. This year with the lake being almost 1.5 feet above full pool many points will be hard to get on and stay on so be careful when pulling up on a point because you may be pulling right into the trees along the shoreline which also makes it much harder to throw your Carolina Rigs out the back of the boat. The Planer Board and free line bite has been good early morning before the sun get up high and has lasted into the day on cloudy days. When the Stripers move deeper don’t overlook your Mini Mack’s or U-rigs if the live bait bite slacks off. Umbrellas are a valuable tool for searching and catching, and can really save your back side in high winds!. The big fish are biting right now and this week’s picture is of double caught on Perfect Planer Boards across a point on Lake Hartwell (notice the hats on these guys, it was 44 degrees when we backed the boat off the trailer). If you want to book a future fishing trip during this spring season on Lake Hartwell or get your Instructional Trip done before the spring bite is over with as well as learn how to catch fish during this summer 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.  When you deploy your live bait spread be sure to include a couple of ultra-light free lines rigged with live Herring. The lighter tackle allows for a more natural presentation of the bait and will generally account for quite a few extra bites. Again, we cover all the aforementioned methods, and more,  in our Instructional Trips.  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 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 under spins are working throwing to breaking fish.
  • 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 good for Bass fishing. The Spotted Bass bite has gotten better and we have caught some really good fish. The Spotted Bass and Largemouth are coming off of points and humps 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 Largemouth Bass are biting well off of points and in the backs of coves around structure or docks off of Spinner Baits and Crankbaits. We are seeing some schooling activity just at sun down in the early evening hours. Most Striper and Hybrid fishermen are catching Bass off of freelines while Striper fishing so this should give you a good start and suggestion that the Blueback Herring bite is good so don’t overlook your herring colors.

  • 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 are working around structure and are excellent for eating to schooling fish!
  • Spinner Baits of your choice will get the job done.

CRAPPIE 

The Crappie bite is really good right now and the fish are showing up all over the lake, find some structure and you will find some good fish. Patients will get the job done as you take your time and move from one place to another. The recent blow downs are still great places to look for the shallow bite; these new blowdowns from some pretty bad Lake Hartwell storms from earlier weeks are holding some good numbers of fish. A new tree in the water is a great condo for fish looking for a new hang out and you would be surprised how quickly they will find it and make it their home. You might have to catch ten fish to catch a few good keepers but it’s a good bite and a fun bite as you move from one blow down to another. Live bait under a float and your favorite jigs are working well. This past week a Popeye jig was our jig of choice and a small minnow fished about five to six feet under a small float was working well.

 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-May 9, 2020

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

Happy Mother’s day to all! Sorry we are a little late with the report, I guess I fished too much this week, oh wait, I forgot, there is no such a thing. That was a silly thought! I’ll try and be a little more timely with next weeks report returning to a Thursday post. The bite is good, changing perhaps, but good overall. The lake temps held up well in sprite of this late season cold front, anywhere from 63 to 66 as of Saturday. Enjoy this cooler weather, after the first of the week it looks like a return to seasonally normal temps with lows in the 60’s and highs in the 80’s. The lake level  is also holding up well, although we did fall .26 feet last week to 1071.76, .76 feet above full pool. 

Striper fishing has been good ,but we are still dealing with a wide range of patterns and fish being scattered out all over the lake. Live baits are probably the best pattern, but there are some good opportunities to catch fish casting your favorite artificial as well. The downline bite remains prolific, maybe not as strong as in recent weeks, but still a very good pattern. Look for the fish in pockets, on flats beside the creek channels, around points and humps, and deep saddles. Fishing over a 35 to 40 foot bottom seems to be a good depth to target. Free lines and planers are also producing, and a lightly weighted free line is a plus. Just add a #5 or #7 Split to the line, maybe a couple if the wind is pushing your boat speed higher than you want.  

There is also a very good shallow bite, with fish pushing up on banks and points in a little as 3 feet of water. Some of this is associated with the Shad/Herring Spawn, but certainly not limited to that condition. Wind and low light probably enhance’ this technique, and an early start is a bonus as well. To locate spawning bait, look for areas with rock, rip rap or naturally occurring rock, (watch the Heron’s, and what few Gulls are still present)most of the bait fish spawn on this type of structure.  If you can see spawning baitfish, there will most probably be fish around, both Stripers and Spots, that are generally very catchable. Live baits on free lines and planers and pitching Herring to surfacing fish or up on the points is also effective. If you want to cast, and you need to be throwing something while the baits are soaking, Flukes, swim baits and Mini Macks are extremely productive. I have had really good success this week casting the Mini on the bait spawns and just blind casting to points. On the latter, think of the run and gun method that you wools use with a Redfin or other topwater. Throw a Mini up to a point, if the fish is there he will generally bite it on one of the first couple of cast, then you go on to the next place. Thus far, the fish have been a little reluctant to take the top waters, They will roll on them, but the hook up ratio has been low. I am not sure why, and hopefully it will improve in the next few days. In the meanwhile, the above mentioned baits will get the bite and the hook up! 

The dock lights are producing very well and this pattern is effective on all parts of the lake. Casting small buck tails, Flukes, and swim baits, and soft plastics on lead heads should all get the bite!  Of course a live Herring on a pitch rod is always a good choice. This bite is good from sundown throughout the night until just after first light!

The Bass bite has been good, but they fish are definitely starting to transition into post spawn patterns, or at least some of them, with fish showing up in and around brush and humps as deep as 25 or 30 feet. There are also some fish really shallow, so to some extent you can pick the type of fishing you like. As with the Stripers, there are still plenty of Bass picking on the spawning bait, swim baits, soft plastics on a lead head, top waters and Minis are all good choices for this pattern. This is primarily an early am bite, and has applications all over the lake. The other shallow patterns revolve more around structure and are generally enhanced by low light conditions, but will have application all day as opposed to the fish on bait spawns which tend to go away after the first couple of hours of the day. The weather also can straighten either pattern, with cloudy, rainy, pre frontal weather helping the shallow patterns, and the clear blues behind the front pushing more fish into the deeper patterns. 

On the deeper structures, a topwater or swim bait cast over the area is always a good choice, you can always follow that up with a subsurface bait (a lightly weighted Fluke has been a good choice) bait or worm if the fish are slow to respond to the topwater. One footnote on some of these deeper fish: if you are seeing big groups of fish that will not bite, factor in you may be watching a bunch of Channel Catfish? They love brush, and they will group up fairly well. They will also move around in the water column, not limited to the concept that all catfish stayed glued to the bottom. The lake is full of them so be aware of that variable.  

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report- May 7, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for May 07, 2020

Welcome back to a complete Lake Hartwell Fishing Report, the objective of these weekly reports are to supply you with the most up to date fishing for Lake Hartwell. Now today is a special day for me, it’s my birthday and I spent it on the lake all by myself enjoying what I love, fishing! I may be an old man but when I get in the boat and on a school of fish I feel like I’m only as young as my mind tells me that I am instead of how old my body reminds me that I am! Fishing can provide you a vitamin and boost that you just can’t buy anywhere else. It’s good medicine for the mind, body and soul. This Sunday is Mother’s Day so it’s a good week to honor your mom by taking her on a fishing trip and create a lifelong memory; she already thinks that you are her best catch ever. I’m still teaching Instructional Fishing Classes on the water so give us a call and let’s learn something new. So as I remind everyone who wants to catch fish, my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneak up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Put Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 661.44 which is.1.44 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are sixty seven degrees. We continue to have a lot of cold fronts moving through this past week with a major cold front coming in this weekend that will possibly drop temperatures back into the thirties by Sunday, yes I said the thirties after it has been in the high eighties for the beginning of this week. Let’s just see what this does to our fishing in the coming days.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing has been fair this past week and the false spawn seem to be coming to an end earlier than usual especially on the Seneca River arm of the lake. Keep in mind that not all the Stripers and Hybrids spawn at the same time so you will be able to catch some fish as they go up the rivers as well as fish as they are on their way back out of the rivers. This past week the Striper and Hybrid fishing has been really tough. One of the best guides on the lake came off the water this past week with only two fish which left him with the same attitude that we all have experienced before as he remarked that he would be burning his log books, selling his boat and gear as he is sick of the way these fish treat us all sometimes! Now we all have had those kinds of trips and we all have experienced those same emotions to just go right back out a few days later to load the boat. It’s hard to explain how fishing can be great one day and the F.B.I can’t even find the fish the very next day but you just can’t give up. If you look at last year’s report for this same time you will see that the fishing was great, so just hang in there it’s just a matter of time and the bite will be back just as it always does during this time of the year. It’s time to pull up on the shallow points before daylight early morning to catch the Stripers and Hybrids as they chase bait into the shallow waters before daylight. This bite is usually fast if you hit the right point and you can easily be out of bait before the sun comes up if the fish are biting on your point. This method is covered in our Instructional Trips and it is a fun and productive way to catch a big box of fish. The big fish are biting right now and this week’s picture is of a Spring time fish caught pulling a Planer Board across a point on Lake Hartwell. If you want to book a future 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. 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. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now and will continue to work as spring arrives. 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 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 been good for Bass fishing. The Spotted Bass bite has been fair 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 Largemouth Bass are biting well off of points and in the backs of coves around structure off of Spinner Baits and Crankbaits. We are seeing some schooling activity just at sun down in the early evening hours. There are a few fish still on bed but it appears that most of the fish are moving back to feeding on baits in their normal feeding patterns. 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 are working around structure as well as in open water.
  • Spinner Baits of your choice will get the job done.

CRAPPIE 

The Crappie bite is good and the fish are still under docks with some donkeys being caught as you move from one dock to another. Patients will get the job done as you take your time and move from one place to another. The recent blow downs created from some pretty bad Lake Hartwell storms from earlier weeks are holding some good numbers of fish. A new tree in the water is a great condo for fish looking for a new hang out and you would be surprised how quickly they will find it and make it their home. You might have to catch ten fish to catch a few good keepers but it’s a good bite and a fun bite as you move from one blow down to another. Live bait under a float and your favorite jigs are working well.

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

 

 

 

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-April 30, 2020

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

As we enter into May, we have the third and final Super moon of 2020 at 6:45am on the 7th, the evening of the 6th will offer the best view of the May’s Full Flower Moon. The combination of the Herring/Shad spawn and the approaching full moon should make for a good bite! In other words, I have just given you a set of circumstances (aka excuse) that you can use to make a strong case to go fishing! The lake level remains over full, with Thursday evenings reading being 1072.02, 1.02 feet above the full pool level of 1071.00. That is .08 lower than last weeks level. The surface temps are holding in the low to mid 60’s. 

The Striper bite has been pretty good, but perhaps not as consistent as in past weeks. We still have fish scattered all over the lake, and the patterns are varied. The best overall pattern is probably still fishing live baits, with down lines, planers and or free lines all producing well. Keeping a Mini In the spread is very productive and should be a standard part of the spread. The Mini has been effective on both on the Stealth troll or as a down line. Look for the fish in a variety of areas, in the creek backs and coves over a 50 to 30 foot bottom, around deeper saddles, or around bait concentrations. Fish are being taken all over the lake, but the best concentrations and most consistent bite is probably in the upper parts of either river. An early start may be a big plus right now, and you might as well get out there early enough to visit your favorite dock light before sunrise. FYI, If you are pitching live baits at the lights, this is a really good way to run into one of our increasingly prevalent Flathead Catfish, they like the lights and will be a nice bonus bite to start the day!

There are also good numbers of fish roaming shallow points, humps and banks, and they are catchable but often singles or small groups of fish. Casting a weightless Fluke has been effective on the fish, and fishing fast and saturating lots of water are the keys to making this pattern work.  Think run and gun fishing, these shallow fish are pretty catchable and will respond within the first few casts, so get the easy ones and move on to the next place. Normally the top waters would be the choice for this pattern but the fish for some reason seem to be reluctant to take top waters, so the sub surface baits seem to be getting a more favorable response. Hopefully this top water bite improves in the next few days. These shallow fish will also take a Herring on a free line or fished behind a planer, but again keep moving from one point/hump to the next to maximize the bite. While you are pulling these areas cast a Fluke or Magic Swimmer to the banks to get take some of the Stripers and big Spots roaming the banks. 

Bass fishing is also good, and it looks like some the fish are starting to move towards post spawn patterns and deep structures. There are plenty of patterns to choose from as there are still plenty of fish in shallow water, and as long as the temps stay mild that should remain the case. There are also some fish showing up in the 20 to 25 foot range on points, humps and brush as well, so do not limit your methods to the shallow bite, and expect the deep bite to grow stronger as May progresses. FYI, I have seen plenty of Spot Tails on the ramps and banks for those who have inquired. I have not fished any yet, but that bite is generally a sure thing once you get the Spot tails. 

The shallow patterns remain a matter of tweaking the right bait/technique on a given day, with the Soft plastics being the most consistent producer. The Senkos and Finesse worms on the Weedless Wonder and The Keitech baits on a Jig Head on a slow swim have been very prolific in recent weeks. Cast these baits around humps, reef poles(reef poles are basically humps that are marked for us) or almost and bank with good cover. Use the wind to your advantage and mix in spinnerbaits and jerk baits to tweak the bite. A wake bait or topwater also has some application, although that bite is still slow to develop, but worth having a bait tied on if noting else to use as a change up. If you are out early, look for the spawning Shad and or Herring, that will often draw the fish in , and can make for a good early am bite. Also for the early risers,  casting to the dock lights will probably be worth some extra Bass bites, from Spots and some Largemouths mixed in. Lights in the backs of the creeks, submerged lights are good but not a necessity as the above water lights will also draw bait and fish, are attracting plenty of fish. Flukes, small buck tails, and the Keitechs on a swim head are some likely choices to cast at the lights. 

I have had many questions but the surfacing fish, or lack of, and that activity has been sparse at best. I did see a slight increase this week in the number of surfacing fish chasing bait, enough to be looking for, but I think it is still a secondary pattern. I’ll keep an eye out for ‘em and update you next week!

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report April 30, 2020

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

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for April 30, 2020

Hello to all, I hope you are safe during these crazy times! Unfortunately, Capt. Rick has been sidelined this week due to Illness, not to worry, he has not been diagnosed with Covid, but a really bad stomach bug that has kept him off the water. He plans to return next week with the full Hartwell Report! In the meanwhile, the bite is good for all species, and the ramps and tackle shops are open and ready to go! Get out on the water and go fishing’ 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 or Instructional Trip please call Captain Mack Farr  – 770-235-8135. 

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-April 23, 2020

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

Welcome to April on Lanier! The fishing is generally very good, however, the weather changes can be frequent, and that has been the case since the first of the month. The long term weather forecasts indicate that the last week of April will offer more of the same, so pick your days accordingly as you plan your trips to the lake. Lake levels are staying above full pool levels with abundant rainfall, and as of Thursday evening Lanier’s level was 1072.10, 1.10 above full pool. That is .10 feet below last weeks level. The Surface temp is 64 degrees, which would be very near average for this date. 

If you are targeting the Stripers, the bite is good overall, but perhaps changed from recent weeks. Early or late, or fishing during the night is probably offering the best activity, with the fish being somewhat sluggish somedays in the mid day hours. Some of this is a reaction to the Striper/Herring Spawn, which has begun, but based on what I have seen is not full on quite yet. Watch for this activity, it will usually occur at first light, and normally they will be on rock of some sort. Find this and you will probably have fish with it! If you can locate the bait fish spawn, live baits on flat lines/planers, should be quick to get the bite. While you are pulling the baits cast something to the bank. A topwater, a swim bait(the Sebile Magic Swimmer is the standard for this bite)a Keitech on a lead head, are all good choices for this application. You may find that casting is more effective that bait fishing, with the exception of pitching live bait, just because it is so precise. If you are out early be prepared to capitalize on this situation when it occurs. 

Speaking of pitching Herring, I have had plenty of inquiries about that bite, as it was absolutely crazy at this point last year. It is a viable technique right now, and is the go to method for night time fishing on the lights, but slow to develop during the daylight hours. I think the fish are more scattered than they were during April of last year, and the Herring spawn is not as strong so far. I’ll keep you updated on this pattern next week’s report. Free lined Herring, with some down lines mixed in are also producing, keep mobile and be prepared to fish a variety of depths and structures as the fish are using a wide depth range. Adding a small split or two to the free line may be a big plus, especially in the wind.

Trolling is also good, and is really beneficial with the wind, which based on the extended forecast that is a viable consideration upcoming week. Both with the Mini Mack and the full size rigs are producing well, although the applications are different. The Mini seems to be best on the stealth troll, and it will be beneficial to keep one mixed into the Bait Spread. You can fish them as a flat line or behind the planer, pulling them at around .5 MPH. Basically, treat it just like a live bait, some days they will take the Mini Mack just as quickly, or more so, that the live baits. It is also very effective to cast at schoolers, or in the above mentioned bait spawn scenario. Trolling the big rigs revolves clipping 20 to 25 foot points, or humps in the same depth range. Keep the rig around 15 to 20 feet deep, and both the Shad  body rigs or the Buck tail rigs are effective, 2.5 to 3.0 MPH is the optimal speed. 

Bass fishing has been very good, and the biggest challenge is still selecting the right bait on a given day, and the right structures. With plenty of fish on the banks in relatively shallow water, the range of effective baits is very broad. The Flukes rigged weightless or slightly weighted are a very consistent producer, as are spinner baits and jerk baits, the latter two best with some wind. Small Swim baits like the Keitechs are doing well, and a Finesse worm or Senko on the Weedless Wonder is consistently accounting for good catches. Top waters are also effective, and I expect those baits to become stronger as the water warms. I had a good bite Wednesday casting the small Chug Bugs over 5 to 10 foot stumps fields in the back 1/3 of the creeks, not many big fish but good numbers. Don’t rule out fishing a little deeper, as we have fish showing up on deeper points and main lake humps as deep as 20 to 24 feet. 

As the off shore top water bite emerges, one bait many bass fisherman may be underutilizing is the Cordell Redfin. The Striper guys consider it a staple, but it is also an extremely effective Bass bait, especially for the big Spotted Bass. Simple to fish, cast it to the targeted structure, usually a hump or point, and use a slow retrieve v-waking the bait across the surface. That is  the easy part, the difficulty occurs when a tank of a Spotted bass, or a group of big Spotted Bass start busting all over the bait! You will want to set the hook on sight, and as hard as it is, don’t do it! Keep retrieving the bait with the same cadence until you feel the weight of the fish, then set the hook. Often the fish, or fishes, will miss the bait, often repeatedly, but will generally stay with it until they get hooked up. The only exception I make to that regimen is when you have fish busted all over the plug, but you have retrieved the bait right up to the boat. Stop the bait and let it lay there until the fish gets it. It takes nerves of steel sometimes, but it is a very effective, not to mention a very entertaining way to catch fish! I prefer the 7” inch Redfin, it is much more castable than the 5” model, and it’s added buoyancy makes it much easier to keep it on top making that nice v-wake. It will also catch the attention of a Striper if he is around, which most consider a plus. If you want to see how it works, I have some video on my You Tube Channel of the Redfin, showing how retrieve it with that signature v-wake pattern.

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-April 22, 2020

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

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for April 22, 2020

Well,  it’s looking like that we will all be able to access the South Carolina boat ramps now that the Governor has approved and amended his Executive Order. He also has given Sporting Goods Stores the authorization to reopen again so finding the bait and other items will no longer be an issue. I will be back on the water hopefully by next week when all the repairs and updates are completed on my boat. I have had the opportunity to fish with a good friend and fishing buddy this past week as well as communicate with others and the fishing has continued to be excellent. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneak 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 water level at the time of this report is 661.22 which is.1.22 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are sixty seven degrees. We continue to have a few cold fronts moving through this past week with some potential dangerous tornados and high winds along with a lot of rain forecast for this week. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing has continued to be great this past week and the false spawn has the fish headed up the main rivers. Keep in mind that not all the Stripers and Hybrids spawn at the same time so you will be able to catch some fish as they go up the rivers as well as fish as they are on their way back out of the rivers. It’s time to pull up on the shallow points before daylight early morning to catch the Stripers and Hybrids as they chase bait into the shallow waters before daylight. This bite is usually fast if you hit the right point and you can easily be out of bait before the sun comes up if the fish are biting on your point. This method is covered in our Instructional Trips and it is a fun and productive way to catch a big box of fish. The big fish are biting right now and this week’s picture is of a Spring time fish caught pulling a Planer Board across a point on Lake Hartwell. If you want to book a future 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.  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. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now and will continue to work as spring arrives. 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.. 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. Spring is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, and one of the biggest advantages of the this trip is the opportunity to ask all the questions that you have, and I’ll be happy to answer them all!  Check your calendar, give us a call and book a trip as they book up quickly now that Spring is here!  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. 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 report will be suspended until the C-19 Virus gets better and we are able to return to the lake. This should be within the next week or two.

CRAPPIE / This report will be suspended due to the C-19 Virus until we are able to return to the lake. This report should be back with the next week or two.

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 April 16, 2020

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

Fishing has been good and with our current Corona Situation many people are using the extra time to get out the water! No reason to stop that trend, unless of course you try your hand at Turkey hunting! With the exception of some potential thunderstorms Sunday, the long term forecast looks pretty good for fishing so get out on the lake! Water levels remain very good, we are at 1072.20, 1.20 over full pool as of Thursday evening.

Not much change in the Striper report this week, the bite is good and we have several choices of techniques and patterns. Fish are being caught all over the lake, and the bite is still good up in both rivers. Live baits, Herring and Gizzard Shad, are both very productive, and I would keep at least one or two of the Gizzards in the Spread.  Free lines, planers, and down lines are all working, be prepared to use all and assess each situation to choose which is most applicable. As a basic rule, if you are fishing water over 30 feet, use all three. Spilts on the free line/planers can be a big asset too. There are some surfacing fish showing up, that pattern is still sporadic, but frequent enough that I would be ready for it. A variety of baits will catch these fish, but a Mini Mack will be hard to beat. For the most part, if you get a Mini to schooling fish, Bass or Stripers, they will come and get it right now. Bucktails, Sebiles, Flukes, and top waters are also effective on the schoolers. 

Trolling is producing well and clipping points has been a strong pattern. Concentrate on pulling over a 20 to 25 foot bottom, rigs 15 to 18 deep. While fishing over points are generally the easiest way to make this pattern work, just start rolling down the bank crossing over each point or flat in the targeted depth, and you can really saturate an area quickly. If the fish are on one of these points or flats that have been quick to take the rig. They may be roaming over the point/flat or suspended over brush.

Bass fishing has been good, with most of the Spotted Bass being in some phase of the spawn and staying in less than 10 feet of water. What is the best technique? Bait? It is almost a pick your favorite and start fishing!  Of course on any given day that can be tweaked based on the weather, following are some methods that have been working well that will get you pointed in the right direction. A weightless, or lightly weighted Fluke has been a consistent producer, and whether you consider it a plus or not, will give you a good shot a bonus Striper bite. Cast the fluke around almost any type of structure and you should get the bite. It is hard to fish this bait wrong, you will probably find that you’ll need to slow it down on some days, maybe even use a dead stick retrieve if there is no wind or the fish are finicky. On a day to day basis  this bait has been very reliable, and may get the pick as number one. Spinnerbaits, the Mini Me and Primal Spins, among several others, are also producing well. Again, try to determine a best speed and depth, the two of which are directly connected, to really tweak the bite. If the fish are really on a good bite, it is a throw and reel bait. If  they seem a little reluctant, slow it down, let it follow the contour of the bottom as you retrieve. Often a fish holed up on a stump or other object that is 4 to 10 feet will be more willing to take the bait if it is closer to the structure, as opposed to on the surface or high in the water column. On the jerk baits, the Spro McStik or the Vision 110 regular, are both good choices, and will follow the same basic guide lines as the spinnerbait. A little wind will enhance the bite with both of these baits!

Soft plastics are very effective, Keitech baits on a lead head, the Yamamoto Senkos, and just a good ole finesse worm on a shakey head or a Texas Rig, if any of you still use the Texas rig. The Texas Rig still works, we just quit fishing them for some reason. Fish the Senko wacky rigged or on the 1/8 oz Weedless Wonder. Trick worms are also producing well, so keep one of those rigged and ready as well. Another bait that will catch plenty of fish, especially on those really slick days is a 3 or 4 inch grub on an 1/8 to 3/16 oz lead head. Just throw it to the bank, stump flats are prime for this technique, and reel it back to the boat very slowly. Light line is a huge plus here, 6 or even 4 lb test. Don’t over look this method, it can be very effective! 

Topwater fishing is ok, and should get better as the Bass complete the spawn. Chug Bugs, Spooks, small prop baits will get a few bites, and swim baits like the Sebile magic swimmers are starting to produce as well. If you can find spawning Shad or Herring these baits, especially the Magic Swimmers, should be very effective!

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report April 15, 2020

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

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for April 15, 2020

Okay I said that due to most of the Lake Hartwell boat ramps being closed and with several of our bait shops closed as well that I would not provide a Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for a few weeks. I personally have not been able to fish because I chose this time when we are all under a bad situation to put my boat into the shop to have some repairs made to my fishing machine as well as some boat trailer repairs that always seemed to get put on the back burner while I’m busy fishing. So the phone is ringing off the hook with several fishing buddies and those who have done Instructional Trips over the last few years wanting to know what they do to do and where do they need to go to catch fish. That’s been an easy question to answer and now that we have a few bait shops opening to sell bait it has been easy to get back some really good reports at a time when I can’t personally get on the water. Striper and Hybrid fishing is excellent right now and it does not matter if you are pulling live bait behind your Perfect Planer Boards or fishing down rods under the boat the fishing has been GREAT! I have not sent anyone anywhere that I didn’t get back a good report. It’s not going to be much longer and my boat will be back on the water and when I’m back I will give you a firsthand report. Until then let me give you what I have which is straight from some really good fishermen who are out of work due to the C-19 Virus and are using this time to Striper and Hybrid fish. I’m sending a lot of folks up the river early in the mornings and they are catching a bunch of fish. This bite is aggressive from daylight until about 10 am. The dock lights are also proving to be a fun bite before daylight. After it gets daylight the free line and planer board bite is really good. If for any reason you can’t find a bait shop open the Umbrella Rig and Mini Mack Rig is doing the job right now. Finding and catching fish is not hard to do right now, and the lake is open if you are following the current social distancing laws and use every precaution to fish safely.  Hybrids are high on my lists of favorite things to eat so it may be hard to find hamburger or pork chops right now but taters and fried fish will sure make a great meal! I’ll be back on the water very soon as I’m one who believes that things will get better real soon and we will all find our lives returning back to normal, that’s my prayer anyway!  So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneak 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 water levels at the time of this report are 661.49 which is.1.49 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 some seriously dangerous tornados and high winds along with a lot of rain this has helped wash some of the pollen away.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing has been great this past week and the false spawn has the fish headed up the main rivers. Make a few phone calls and you will be able to find some live herring.  If you want to book a future 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. 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. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now and will continue to work well throughout the Spring.  We cover the “how to fish umbrellas” question and other trolling and live bait techniques in each of our cover our Instructional Trips providing you a fun and successful way to catch more fish! We also devote some time to  locating fish throughout the year so you will be ready to go “catching” no matter what the season is!   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 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 report will be suspended until the C-19 Virus gets better and we are able to return to the lake.

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

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 Repot April 9, 2020

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

As we adjust to a new normal, I hope you and your family are weathering the storm with minimal effects and everyone is healthy. These are some incredible circumstances we are enduring and I hope that we can return to somewhat of a normal lifestyle, whatever that will be, in the near future. Until then, the mandates issued by the Governor do not prohibit fishing if you follow the Social distancing requirements, so get out there and fish! The bite is good, and while the weather forecast indicates some rain and a return to seasonal temps into next week, the weather is more good than bad so get out on the lake and get after them! Our tackle shops remain open and are making efforts follow the guidelines for the protection of their employees and the fisherman, so respect those conditions, be patient, and enjoy your time on the water! The surface temp as of Thursday was 69 degrees, the lake level was 1072.18, 1.18 feet above full pool. 

Striper fishing is good, and if  there is a down side it is the fish are all over the lake using multiple patterns. Live baits are probably the most consistent producer, both on flat lines or behind the planers. Shad are also very viable baits, again as a flat line or behind the planers. 

The fish may be over the open water, or in a creek back, or flats adjacent to the creek or river channels. We have a few Gulls and Loons still hanging around, watch them to help locate the fish, especially the fish over the channels. Don’t be hesitant to run your planers up on the bank, there are some fish really shallow on the flats and in the creek backs. If you are over deep enough water, keep the Mini In the Spread, it is also been a consistent producer. The Mini is also very productive on any surfacing fish you see, Stripers or Spotted Bass. A run up either river will be well worthwhile as both the ‘Hooch and The Chestatee are producing good catches. Once you are up there, live baits on the planer and free lines will get the bite, if you are not casting a buck tail or a fluke you will miss out on quite a few bonus bites!

We also have a very good umbrella bite that is getting over looked. Pulling the full size rigs over humps and points, targeting 20 to 30 of water, has been a solid technique. Nothing special about this pattern, pull around 2.5 MPH, place the rig around 15 to 18 feet deep. If the fish are on the point/hump, you’ll see them on the sonar and the bite has been quick. This umbrella pattern has lake wide application but may be strongest on the lower end. 

Plenty of fish on the lights, all sizes, and this technique seems to be getting better each week. Pitching live baits, or casting small buck tails and flukes are quick to get the bite. If you are a fly fisherman, casting to the lights offers a great opportunity to take a Striper on the fly. You can fish after sunset, before dawn, or all through the night, with mild weather now here this is a good way to catch a bunch of fish and beat any crowds.  

The Bass bite is good, and we are in the only time of the year where you can consistently catch Spotted Bass in really shallow water.  Almost any bank that has any type of cover may hold fish, and the big variable is just determining what the best bait is on a given day. Here are a few suggestions to narrow down that learning curve. Spinnerbaits are a good choice and allow you to move fast and cover some water. The wind will help this pattern but it can effective even on the days with little breeze. You may have to slow down the bait, and or use a heavier bait and allow it to follow to fish a little deeper if it slicks off. Jerk baits fall under the same conditions, and use the wind to your advantage. If the moving baits do not get the response you want, move to a soft plastic on a lead head. Senkos, Finesse worms, and Keitechs are all effective choices, you’ll just need to tweak the speed and depth and then you can run up some numbers!

Topwater fishing is starting up, I don’t think it is where it should be based on surface temps, but it is beginning and should get stronger in the coming days. To me there are two very distinct top water bites on Lanier, the first is a pre-spawn-spawn pattern that we are in now. This pattern mostly involves smaller top water baits like the small Chug Bugs, Baby Spooks, and Devils Horses. If you really want to dig deep into the tackle box try and the floating Rapalas. There is a reason that old bait has been around for as long as it has!  Once the water heats up and the fish go into post spawn and move off shore, which to the larger baits such as Zara Spooks, Pencil Poppers, Whopper Ploppers, etc…. Try the smaller plugs around stump flats, blown down trees, shallow docks, or any other shallow structures. I think the swim baits/wake baits, are the same as the top waters, that bite is very close, but not quite there. Expect these techniques to really ramp up any day! 

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

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