Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-February 24,2021 By Nate Key

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

Striper/hybrid
The Striper and hybrid fishing has been as unpredictable as the weather. Overall I would have to give it a fair rating. It seems there are fish spread over the entire lake with fish being caught from the dam to the upper reaches of the lake. When the fish are spread out like this I prefer to fish in areas I have the most history with for this time of year. The warmer weather the last few days have definitely draw some of the fish out of the depths and into the shallows. Planner boards with medium to small gizzard shad or herring has been the best baits for the shallower fish. Mini Mack’s have also produced while fishing shallow structures this week. I fish them just like a down rod while slow trolling live baits so I can move them up when I cross high spots. For the shallow fish, look from mid creek to the back keying in on likely ambush locations. Long points, humps, and flats being my primary go to for pulling baits over or around. For the fish that are still out deep think smaller is better. These fish have seemed to prefer the smaller baits fished on as light of tackle as you can get away with. The deeper fish have been found congregated around creek channels and creek flats as well as main lake ditches and points over a 40-60ft bottom. Down rods and free lines have been equal producers for the deeper fish. As always this time of year bait is key, so look for areas with the highest concentration of bait and there will be fish in the vicinity. Keep an eye out for working birds with a mini Mack tied on to cast at active fish.

Bass:
The bass bite has slightly improved due to the warmer weather this week. There has been plenty of fish pull up shallow looking to feed on the bait that has pulled up as well. Shad raps and shallow running crankbaits as well jerk baits have been good producers this week. Focus on shallow banks in the back half of creeks that have been exposed to sun longer with a concentration of bait in the area being key. Shallow docks in these areas have been holding fish as well. As with the Stripers and hybrids, there still seems to be plenty of deep fish with ditches, flat points and deep docks all holding fish. Finesse patterns on the deeper fish have worked almost all week. Drop shots, ned rigs, and blade baits all being great choices for the deeper fish.

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report By Rick Owen February 25, 2021

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

GOOD NEWS!!! I’m finally able to use my right arm again and yes, that makes me able to fish again. After much rehabilitation, I’m ready to get back to teaching those Lake Hartwell Striper Instructional Trips that we have booked for this year and start back showing some of the secrets to catching a box full of Striped or Hybrid Bass. If you’ve ever had trouble finding and catching Stripers on Lake Hartwell or any other lake for that matter it is time to get into a teaching boat and learn some things no one else will share with you. So the boat is all stocked with gear and I couldn’t be more ready to see rods bent under the boat with Stripers on the other end while spending the day teaching all the techniques that I’ve learned after forty years of Stripers and Hybrids, so let’s Go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell bite has been slow overall the past seven days with continued poor water conditions. February started out with rain with good constant rain over the last few days. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 658.97 which are 1.03 feet below the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are fifty-five degrees but I would bet that the water temperatures will begin to rise very soon as we get closer to March 2021and weather predictions in the high sixties and low seventies. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

This week the Striper and Hybrid fishing has been fair with fish being caught from the upper lake all the way to the dam. I’m very encouraged that the bite will begin to improve very soon if we start to get some weather in the sixties as predicted this week. The quality of the Stripers and Hybrids that are being caught are good and the fish will soon begin to take a live Blueback herring off of a Perfect Planer Board or a down rod fished just over the schools of fish. I’ve currently been pulling my Captain Mack Umbrellas and the fish are taking them in deeper water. I know that the weather has been cold and the lake has produced some very cold waters but those conditions have improved so now is a great 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 Striper bite takes off then now is the time to get those trips booked. We will be teaching all the techniques to catch Stripers and Hybrids during our 2021 Instructional Trips that are being booked now. I would make a serious suggestion being that 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 few months. You have to find fish to catch them and I always 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 bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish. With the water temperatures still very cold don’t overlook your jigging spoons and the new SteelShad glow in the dark lures. If you have not found these yet go the SteelShads web site and get you a few of the white jigs that have a fish scale pattern and glow in the dark. You will find that these new SteelShad glow in the dark lures will put fish over the rail. If the fish decide not to eat live bait or lures then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great with this real winter cold water. 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 book 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. If you are interested in booking a 2021 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Try the new SteelShad glow in the dark lures. My favorite color is white with the fish scale pattern. SteelShad also has the Magnum (6 inch) and Classic (4 inch) sizes which will be your go to bait this spring. I love a bait that gets covered in teeth marks and this one will do just that as the Stripers and Hybrids eat it up.
  • 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

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, Captain Mack Jigging Spoons, SteelShads, Shakey Heads and Carolina Rigs with soft plastics. The Bass are feeding and fatting 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.
  • SteelShads in the new glow in the dark patterns as well as the nine new Jerk baits in SteelShad’s Floater-Diver Series.
  • 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!
  • Robo Worms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes.

CRAPPIE

What can you say about wintertime Crappie fishing that has not already been said? If you can stand the coldest weather, you will catch some health Crappie. 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. 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, my favorite color or go to color is Blue Ice. 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 MinnKota 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- February 19, 2021

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

January in February continued last week, lots of rain and wind to contend with, making fishing tough. The long term forecast calls for moderating weather in the coming week, and hopefully the fish will respond accordingly. Add in a full moon on the 27th and it could make for a very good bite. The lake level came up, and many parts of the lake muddied up as well, but that will be to your advantage as the new muddy water moderates. The lake level as of Friday afternoon was 1069.96, 1.04 feet below full pool, up .22 feet from last week. The surface temps went the opposite direction of the lake level and dropped slightly to 47 degrees. 

Striper Fishing

After a brief glimpse of spring, last week’s cool down squelched some of the activity in the backs of the creeks. I think those patterns will reemerge soon with the pending weather forecast. The stained water in the rivers and creek backs should warm quickly, attracting the bait and the gamefish right behind them. Until then, many of the Stripers are still in the creeks around the bait schools, over a 30 to 70 foot bottom, basically the same patterns/places we have utilized for several weeks now. Use the mud lines where applicable, the activity will often be best around the color change is most pronounced. Of course the smaller creeks, and the coves that did not experience an influx of new water will remain stable and fish in those areas are probably still hanging around.  

A mix of free lines, down lines, and planer boards will still be applicable, and a little weight on the planers and free lines has been a plus. Keeping a Mini Mack in the spread is also beneficial, either as a flat line or behind the Perfect Planer. Herring, Trout, Shad and Shiners have all been productive, and give the Stripers a mix until you see a preference. Don’t rule out using spoons and dead sticking jigs to catch these deeper fish, both of these techniques should remain viable methods for a last a couple more weeks. 

You will have plenty of stained water areas to fish, and you may be able to use this to your advantage. This stained water will often warm quickly and the Stripers are not hesitant to venture into the of colored water. Basically if the bait is there the Stripers will likely be there as well. I think that the fish in the stained water are often easier to catch, especially with artificials.  Casting a bait to the banks while you are pulling the live baits will often be very productive. Small jigs, 3/8 1/4 and 1/2 oz,  Flukes on a lead head, flukes on a weighted keel hook are also excellent choices.  

Bass Fishing

The Bass bite is still pretty good, the difficulty is dealing with the changing water conditions and fish movement. There are many patterns producing, and also many baits that are effective. The deeper patterns I think offer more consistency, particularly after last weeks inconsistent weather. Look for the pre-spawn bite to ramp up with the improving weather, and the shallow patterns that really were starting to develop should become reenergized. Fish moving into the creek backs, up on clay banks and points should respond quickly to the Rock Crawlers and Rapala DT’s, along with spinnerbaits and jerk baits. Until then, deep brush, rock bluffs, rocky points, ditches and drains are all likely areas to target. The depth range is also wide, 20 to 40 feet, so try and narrow that down as your day progresses. 

One of last week’s patterns, fishing the creek backs, drains and ditches is still a productive pattern. The ditches and drains may be the best choice, because they do not get the influx of new water like the creek channels. The fish on these structures may also be using a big depth range, but generally moving into the shallow end of that range early, getting deeper as the day progresses. Cast green and brown pattern jigs with Hula grubs or twin tails, the smaller Keitechs on a lead heads, or the worms on a Shakey Head. Super Spoons also remain productive on the deeper fish, especially in areas where the bait is layered up on the bottom. 

Our best bite may arguably be fishing after dark. Lights, both submerged and above water lights, are holding some good numbers of fish with some big fish, both Largemouths and Spots. The night bite is not limited to fishing lights, with some fish roaming around points and reef poles. With improving weather, night fishing may be more appealing, and the full moon may also benefit this pattern as well. Flukes, small buck tails, and Keitechs on the lead heads are effective on the lights, as are pitching live Herring. Jerk baits and crank baits are effective on the points and reef poles. As a bonus, you’ll probably get some Stripers off the lights to help keep you awake. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-February 17. 2021

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

Thanks to Nathan Key, Shad Slinger Charters, for updating the Striper side of the report. On the Bass side, Randy at Lake Hartwell Fishing and Marine provided the Bass fishing report.! No surprise that the lake level rose with recent rains, up .93 feet from last week to 658.14 as of Wednesday Evening, 1.86 Feet below full pool. The Hartwell lake level as of Wed was 657.21,  2.79 feet below full pool. 

Striper/Hybrid Fishing

The Striper/Hybrid bite overall has been fair, the turbulent weather has spread the fish out, and will most likely continue to keep the fish scattered out until our next period of good weather. Speaking of good weather, it’s on the horizon(see the Bass Report for the weather report) so watch the forecast and plan accordingly. The bite this week has been a little bit of a grind with frequent moves being the rule and putting together singles to make a good string of fish. Down lines and free lines are effective, and the smaller baits seem to be preferred. 

Many of the fish are roaming in the middle parts of the creeks, generally over a 40 to 50 feet bottom. Place the down lines 30 to 35, adjusting levels based on what the sonar shows. Start the free lines at 80 feet back, and use a very small Split with the wind makes speed control and issue. With the fish being so scattered do not be concerned if you are not seeing big groups of fish. Finding the good bait concentrations is a big part of finding the fish, and even if you do not mark lots of fish, deploy the spread when you see the bait and let the fish come to you. 

As always keep an eye on the birds, most of this week they were not much help as they seemed to be focused on being on the leeward side of something and avoiding being blown back to the coast. Nonetheless, they can be very beneficial in locating fish and use them accordingly. Watch them closely, and you’ll learn when they are on fish, or spending you on a Goose chase They also do not have to be right on the water to signify fish. Often, high Flying Gulls see fish down in the water, they are just waiting for them to push the bait up to the surface. 

Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing has been fair and last week’s return to winter seems to have set the fish on their heels somewhat. Deeper structures have been the best producer, with a few shots at shallow fish responding to the sun warmed rocks and bridge pillars. We have plenty of stained water now, and that will probably be very beneficial with some warming weather. The long term forecast indicates a period of warmer temps beginning in the middle of next week! Expect the fish to react quickly and pull up onto shallow structures. Until then, Ditches, drains, long flat points, and deeper docks will produce some good catches. Football Head jigs tipped with chunks and twin tails, blade baits and Fish Heads are all good choices for these structures. Finesse worms on the drop shot, and Weedless Wonders tipped with Small Senkos and Roboworm Alive Shads are effective, particular in post frontal conditions. 

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-February 12, 2021

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

Lanier continues to fish pretty well, and changing weather and water conditions are influencing the patterns. More volatility is in the weather forecast, and it looks like you may put a lot of hours on the rain suit next week? The good news is the overcast, rainy weather has enhanced the bite most days, particularly the surface activity and other shallow water patterns. More on that topic to follow. The lake level as of Friday am was 1069.74, 1.26 feet below full pool. The Surface temp is hanging right around 49, but with some warmer water in the backs of the creeks, especially late in the day. 

Striper Fishing

The striper bite is still good, but we are seeing some new patterns develop to go along with the deep water down line bite that has been so strong since the end of last year. The Deep bite is still there, and actually very strong with fish being caught from 30 to 70 feet, over a 35 to 100 foot bottom. I know 30 to 100 is a big depth range, and to help define your search a little more try this general guideline. Look up in the creeks early in the day, and as the day progresses work more towards the mouths of the creeks, maybe even out to where the creek dumps into the river channel. The bottom line is finding the bait concentrations in the creek and the fish n

have generally been nearby. Down lines are still producing, but free lines and planer boards are also very effective, maybe more so than the down line? 

Even over the deep water, the fish will feed up, and weighted free lines and baits behind the planers have been very effective this week. Of course each situation and day is different, so have rods rigged and ready for all of these techniques. In addition to the bait rods, On the weighted free lines and planers, adding a split shot is a plus, with bigger splits being need for the Trout and Shad, a #5 or #7 for the Herring. In addition to having the live bait rods ready, keep something tied on to cast to any surfacing fish. This activity is definitely on the increase, especially in lowlight situations. A small buck tail or a fluke on the lead head both work well for casting, and either will can be used as a dead stick bait. Another bait and technique that is very effective, also very underutilized is casting a medium minnow under a float or casting bubble. I started to see the birds and the fish responding to the small thread fin schools near the surface(I’ll try and post some video to illustrate this early next week) and the shiner on the float is really good way to catch the fish on this bait. 

Bass Fishing

Bass fishing is good, and white the deep water bite remains a consistent producer, some of the Bass responded to last weeks warm up and moved into shallow water and into the creek backs. Almost any shallow structure may hold fish, mostly singles, so this was a saturation pattern. Rock areas, small secondary points, docks, and wood are all likely choices. The baits are varied, jigs tipped with the Yamamoto Hula Grubs or Double tail grubs are consistent producers on these structures, and are accounting for some big Largemouths. Crank baits such as the Spro Rock Crawlers, DT10’s, and the Strike King XD’s are also good on the shallow patterns, and allow for greater saturation. 

Of course there are still fish on the deep water structures, or relating to the deep schools of bait.  In the am hours, the backs of the creek channels and drains offer a pretty good bite, 10 to 30 foot is a good number to target. Worms, jigs, Keitech Swim Baits, and blade baits are good choices for this pattern.As the day progresses, concentrate on the ditches/drains, bluffs, humps, and timberlines in 30 to 50 feet, the same baits mentioned above will be effective.

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-February 10, 2020

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

Shout out to Nathan Key, Shad Slinger Charters, for updating the Striper side of the report. Thanks to Seth and the crew from Lake Hartwell Fishing and Marine for getting us up to speed on the Hartwell Bass fishing! The  Hartwell lake level as of Wed was 657.21 which is 2.79 feet below full pool. 

The Striper/Hybrid bite has been pretty good with live baits, umbrellas, and casting/trolling Mini Macks all producing very well in recent days. Anglers are reporting good catches all over the lake, however the middle and upper areas of either river may offer the best bite! Live Herring on free lines and down lines are both producing, with the free lines probably being the better option. Search for the fish 1/2 way back in the creeks, around creek bends, flats adjacent to the creek or around bait concentrations.  

Keep an eye on the birds, they are really helpful in locating the fish, and to some degree determining if the fish they are working are Stripers or Hybrids. If the birds are working the banks, chances are they are showing you feeding Stripers. Birds over more open water, deep water areas are more likely to be working Hybrids. In my opinion, either is good, but if you are targeting one or the other, this may be helpful. Once you find them trolling the full size umbrellas, stealth trolling the Mini Macks, or deploying a live bait spread will all be effective, and smaller baits may still offer a big advantage!

The Bass bite is also good and the fish are responding well to the warming weather. Rocks in any form, rocky banks, points, submerged rock piles are a good place to cast a crank bait, with the rock crawlers and DT 10’s being two of the favorites. Jigs are also very effective now, not just on the rocks, but on docks and for fish still holding in ditches and drains. Look for the dock bite to continue to get stronger with warming water temps. Tipping your favorite jig with a Yamamoto Hula Grubs or twin tail should get the bite on any of the above structures. 

Long points running out to the creek or river channels are also a good place to target the Spotted Bass. The same previously mentioned jigs will be a good bait along with the drop shot and shakey head. The Roboworm Prizm Shad, Morning Dawn patterns and Chartreuse Magic colors have produced well, and sending the worm for a swim in some JJ’s Magic might get you a few extra bites!

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-February 5, 2021

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

Fishing remains good for Bass and Stripers, in spite of the big weather fluctuations and changes. We do have a nice warm up forecast for early next week, with another round of cold and wet going into next weekend. The lake level was 1069.77  Friday afternoon, that is 1.23 below full pool, and down .35 feet from last week’s level. The surface temp varies a little from area to area, but let’s call the average surface temp 48 degrees. 

Striper Fishing

The lake continues to fish well, and I hope you have plenty of line on your reels because most of the fish are being taken in deep water, 40 to 70 feet, occasionally deeper. The basic pattern has been constant, find the bait and set up a spread. Down lines are the best producer, but there are a few fish responding to baits on free lines and planer boards. mostly in the early part of the day. Weighting the free lines and planers is a plus, a big split on the Trout and Shad, a smaller split on the Herring or smaller baits. Herring may or may not be in stock at the bait shops, the catchers are still having some difficulty locating them consistently. Other baits such as Trout, Shad and Shiners will get the bite and the Small and Medium Trout may be the best baits.  

Last week I mentioned the term “dead sticking”? Dead sticking is a technique that is very underutilized here in the southeast. I have used this method in some form, not as that term necessary, off and on for some time. It involves fishing a small bait, usually a buck tail, maybe a fluke on a lead head almost like a live bait on a down line. It seems to be most effective with minimal movement of the bait. I use one of two methods here, the first involves casting the jig out and then placing the rod in the rod holder and letting sink back to the boat on a tight line. This works well if there are fish moving around up in the water column, ( see above screen shot, this is a perfect example for this application) and the you are not over standing timber. The second is more applicable If the fish are really deep, or trees dictate how deep you can fish? I just drop the jig to the appropriate depth and place the rod in the holder. As contradictory as it is to your instincts, I can almost promise you will get more bites with the rod in the holder than in your hand. Even fished as a down line, there is just enough boat movement to give that jig a little motion, probably looks pretty close to a 2.5 inch Threadfin trying to swim when its 48 degrees? Try hanging the jig a couple inches under the water and setting the rod in the holder, you’ll be surprised how much motion it has. I also do well tipping the buck tail, usually a 1/4 oz, with a medium shiner. This technique definitely has merit, you may want to give a try on your next outing. I’ll do the same and try to really refine this idea over the next couple weeks and share what I learn.  

Bass Fishing

Bass fishing is also good, but take into account it is February and the numbers are reflect that. Most of the Bass are still occupying deep water structures, or lurking around deep bait. Not much change in the baits, worms and jigs are the standards, but Damiki Rigs, blade baits and Game Changers, spoons and the small Keitechs are also producing well. Persistence is a key, and most days you’ll have to move around and piece single fish together to end up with a good catch. Drains, ditches, bluffs and timberlines have been producing some nice catches, and it may be worth a try casting to some of the deeper humps and adjacent points or flats associated with the hump. Any of the before mentioned structures may have fish, but the presence of bait will generally be an enhancement. 

The shallow patterns that were producing are producing some nice fish, are still in play bit less consistent and very situational. Normally as we enter mid February we are looking for that those false thaws that make the bass pull on shallow structures? The extended forecast does not show many of those “thaws” looking forward, so this deep bite may be the rule for a while. Nonetheless, cranking rocks will get you a few bites, and lights are holding some nice fish if you are out early, or late. With plenty of rain in the forecast use the stained water, after it moderates, to your advantage, The stained water will often be a little warmer and the fish will respond well, many times to just a degree or two of warmth! Typically, jigs fished slowly around shallow cover, especially in the upper part of the lake, may not get you big numbers of fish, but may catch you some really nice size fish. If you can find shallow bait in the creek backs, that also merits a look. I have seen very little shallow bait to fish around, but that may also change with stained water! 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-February 3, 2021

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

Thanks to Nathan Key, Shad Slinger Charters for providing the report. The lake level as of Wednesday evening was 657.60, which is 2.40 feet below full pool.

The Striper/Hybrid bite has been pretty good on Lake Hartwell, with typical winter patterns in place. The fish remain scattered out and anglers are reporting good catches all over the lake. With our recent rains and weather fluctuations, the water conditions in the mid lake area have been very stable and may offer a better overall bite. If you are targeting the Hybrids, look around the bends in the major creek channels, or flats adjacent to the channels. Smaller baits can be a plus, just match the hook size accordingly. Down lines and trolling Mini Macks (either on the stealth troll, or behind the big motor) have been very productive, and if the fish are bunched up densely a spoon will also be effective. 

The Stripers are also responding to smaller baits, but may not be as deep as the hybrids, or if they are over deep water, they may be feeding higher up in the water column. Down lines are certainly effective, depending on the situation, the free lines, weighted free lines, and planers may be more effective on the Stripers. With some of the creek backs are stained, use this to your advantage. After the incoming water has moderated to stained, as opposed to new muddy water, it may warm more quickly drawing the bait and the Stripers. One footnote: the bite is good in the afternoon, maybe best in the afternoon, so this is one of the few times I’ll give you the opportunity to sleep in? 

The Bass fishing has also been consistent, plenty of fish in the ditches and drains, on the timber lines, or in channel bends in 20 to 25 feet. Drop shots, jigs, and spoons remain some of the favorite baits. The Roboworm shakey head combo remains very effective, and some productive Roboworm colors have been the Morning Dawn patterns, Prizm Perch, and Aarons Magic. If the conditions are bright Chartreuse Magic and Prizm Shad may be worth a try. 

There are also some fish on shallow rock, especially with sunshine and a couple of days of stabile weather. Worms and jigs are effective on this pattern, as are crank baits. With recent rains, there is plenty of stained water that will enhance this shallow bite. Watch the extended forecasts or any spring thaws, the Bass will respond rapidly to warming weather! As is the case with the Stripers, afternoons and evenings may be the best bite!

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report- January 29,2021

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

After last week’s cool down, followed by a warming trend, followed by more rain and another cool down, you think the fish would be really confused? The water temps dipped down to 45 degrees, briefly, before rising back to the 49. The deeper fish seem to be oblivious to all of this, and that’s one of the advantages of fishing deep water, it is really stable in depths of 40 to 100 feet. The lake level rose slightly to 1070.12, up .14 to .88 feet below full pool. The long term forecast indicates more fluctuating weather with rain late in the weekend followed by another cooling trend, and then a warm up mid week. All in all it is a pretty typical forecast for late-January, keep the cold gear handy and get out on the water! 

Striper Fishing

Striper fishing is good, and fishing the deep bait groups is the dominant pattern. The biggest change here is defining what deep is? There is no “too deep” as of late, with reports of fish being caught form 35 down to 100 feet.  Basically, if the bait is there the fish may be there as well. Once you find the bait deploy the down lines and if the Stripers are in the area they will probably find you pretty quickly. 

While the bite largely revolves around the down line, there are some fish responding to flat lines and baits behind the planers. The planers and freelines are probably most effective in the early part of the day, and may be effective at any time. For starters, try a weighted free line 40 feet behind the planers, weighted free lines 60 to 80 feet out, and mix in a couple of down lines as well. Later in the day fishing the down lines a couple of cranks of the bottom, trees permitting, has been a good strategy. Of course regardless of the time of day, stagger the baits based on what you see on the sonar.  Trout. Herring, Shad and medium Shiners are all effective, and if I had to pick I would call it a toss up between Herring a medium Trout. 

The Umbrella bite is good, but very situational. These deeper fish mentioned above can be really hard to target trolling the rigs, many are too deep and the timber creates an issue. Find fish that are on the bottom in 25 to 40 feet, on points or flats, and they are quick to take the rig. This pattern is most feasible in the upper parts of both rivers, or in the back parts of the creek. If you are on the lower end, this pattern will work clipping points from midway in the creeks  towards the back. You may not see many fish doing this on the lower end, but the fish that are up on the points are very catchable.  

Bass Fishing

Deep water patterns are still producing, and if anything many of the fish have gotten deeper. The same deep bait concentrations that garner the attention of the Stripers will have the same effect on the Bass. I caught a couple of Spotted Bass while Striper fishing last week with my bait in 96 feet! I don’t know that you need to target fish that deep, but certainly think in terms of 40 to 60. Ditches, drains, timber lines and channels are the preferred structures in that depth. Also, you may find fish that are just roaming around some of these bait schools that are over a clean bottom. 

Not all of the Bass are in deep water, and there are actually some fish, bigger fish at that,  very shallow. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks are the pattern. Ok, that may be overkill but you still get the gist of it. Rock bluffs are all a good choice to target the Spotted Bass, but can be tough to fish sometimes because they can be physical big areas. Unless you get the fish to respond to moving baits you’ll need to really slow down your presentation in order to keep the bait close to the face of the bluff. Keeping the boat close to the bank and fishing parallel to the bluff will make this a little easier. Another structure that is basically a bluff is an area where the river, or a major creek channel bends right up that the bank. There are several places like this on either of the river channels, or on the major creek channels. These channel bluffs are easy to identify and locate on the map. Most of these areas are essentially cliffs, but most have secondary structures such as rock outcroppings, stumps, and fallen trees. Find these anomalies and mark them, then you can target a specific place on the bluff instead of fishing a couple hundred feet of bank. Worms and jigs are staples on the rocks, but a crank bait is also a very effective choice. If the fish pull up shallow, a jerk bait or spinner bait can be effective. Wind and warming weather will enhance the latter technique

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-January 26, 2021

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

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report Jan 27, 2021 Thanks to the crew at Lake Hartwell Fishing and Marine for contributing to this report!  Fishing and the water conditions had been pretty stable, but that is changing as the  frequent weather fluctuations that are typical for this time of year come into play. We’ll see how this last week’s warm weather, rain, and subsequent cool down  affect the fish in the next few days. The lake level as of Wednesday afternoon was 657.90, and if you keep up with the moon phase, the January full moon occurs on the 28th. 

The Striper bite has been pretty consistent, live baits on down lines and free lines/planers, with the later being best in the early am. The Umbrellas Rigs continue to be strong producers, full size rigs and Minis, and many anglers report that the full size Shad body rigs have been very effective as of the past few days. The fish remain scattered, with good catches being reported in all areas of the lake. 

Search for the fish on flats adjacent to the creek or river channels, and in  the upper parts of the lake be sure and check the channel swings and bends. Deep concentrations of bait in drains and ditches will also be likely to hold fish. Watch the Gulls and Loons, they are becoming helpful in locating feeding Stripers and Hybrids. 

The Bass Bite offers several patterns, with ditches and drains probably being the most stable. Find the ditches and drains with bait and you’ll have Bass nearby. Worms have been a favorite on this pattern, fish them on the drop shot or shakey head, either are effective. Blade baits such as the Capt. Mack’s Super Blades and Steelshads are also great choices to fish through the ditches. 

Rock bluffs and points are also very likely areas, especially with a little a warming trend like we experienced last week. As we enter February and start to see more of these thaws, remember that the fish will often be very quick to respond to this type of weather, pulling up on rock and clay points. A variety of baits can be effective for this pattern. Crank baits such as the Spro Rock Crawlers, and the Rapala DT series. The fish head Spin with a Keitech is also a good choice!

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-January 22, 2020

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

In the last few reports I have been saying that water temps are above average? I can’t really say that anymore as the temps are catching up to the calendar. Surface temps were 45 to 47 degrees, depending on your location. With mild weather this weekend and into early next week, it will be interesting to see if the surface temps rebound back to 50?  The lake level is also dropping, down .22 feet from last week to 1069.98, 1.02 feet below full pool. Many of the fish responded to the dropping surface temps as you might expect, still catchable, but maybe not quite as excited about taking your bait as they were a couple of weeks ago. The long term forecast looks pretty good, with no freezing temps in the 10 day forecast, which is unusual for the last week of January. Mild weather and an approaching full moon on the 28th sounds like a good reason to go fishing to me?

Striper Fishing

The primary Striper patterns have shifted a little over the past week, the basic techniques are the same, just some tweaks and depth changes to report. The deep bite is still good, but the definition of deep may need adjusting? Fishing the deep bait concentrations, as deep as 90 to 100 feet is producing some nice fish in the last few days. 

This is the same basic method as we have been using for weeks now, just look for the bait over deeper water. If you can find bait, especially layered across the bottom, in 45 to 100 feet, do a sonar search (be sure to use the side imaging in your search) to see if the fish are in the area. Of course in these depths the timber is an issue, and I try and find a place where it is clean to give myself the option of dropping a bait all the way to the bottom. If you see any fish, set up the spread and see if you can pull them up to the boat. Drop at least a couple of your baits to the bottom and bring the sinker up a couple of turns. Stagger your other baits to target fish that you see fish up roaming around in the water column, and keep a pitch rod in the mix as well. 

Another method that is starting to produce well is fishing a bait spread over the same areas at a slow troll, as opposed to spot locking in place. The advantage of this method is the constant movement, (target .75 mph) which potentially allows your to show your bait to more fish. It also works well for adding the Mini Macks to the spread, or dead sticking a fluke or buck tail,  The drawback is the timber, which can limit how deep you can place the baits. If you elect to choose this technique, which is great if you are marking fish in the 20 to 40 foot range, use a combination of down lines, planers and free lines, Keep a least a Mini or two in the spread, either as a downline or behind the planer. Weighted freelines, or adding weight to lines on the planers is a plus.  

Bass Fishing

The deep bite is still a consistent producer, and the deep offshore ditches, timberlines, and channels are holding fish. As is the case with the Stripers, the bite may be finicky on some days, down sizing the baits, and slowing down your presentation can be a big asset. Finding the above mentioned structures with bait is certainly a plus, but not a necessity. There may be fish on any of these type of structures, but I think they are more likely to get up and move around, (and bite) if the bait is there. You may also find fish on clean bottom areas where the bait is concentrated, especially when the bait is tight to the bottom. In either of these situations, worms on the shakey, jigs, blade baits, spoons and Fish Heads Spins are all good choices. Just slow ‘em down, be patient, and with the blades and the spoons try the “reel and kill” to get a few extra bites.

The deep bite has been good, and offers some consistency, but there are some shallow patterns that may still produce. Rocks may offer a good bite, especially if you get some nice afternoon sun warming them up. Crank baits can be a good choice here, as are worms, jigs, and Keitechs on the Fish head. Those same worms and jigs on docks will also get you some bites, with the possibility of some big fish as well. Start on docks 20 to 30 feet, but adjust as needed, the weather can be a very big influence on this dock bite . 

Pulling jigs and worms along the rock bluffs and channel swings can be a slow and methodical way to fish, but that pattern is also producing some nice catches. Slowing down is also important to this technique, partially because of the cooler water, but more importantly to keep the bait tight to the bluffs during your retrieve. Keep the boat close to the rock and fish parallel to the bluff, this also helps keep the bait on the rock. I think most of the fish on bluffs are deep right now, 25 to 50 but that can change with the presence of bait of a little wind. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-January 21, 2021

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports, Fishing Tips, Lake Hartwell Fishing Report No Comments
Striper caught with a Captmack’s umbrella rig

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report Jan 18, 2021 Thanks to the crew at Lake Hartwell Fishing and Marine for contributing to this report!  

The Striper bite has been pretty good, and the patterns have been stable over the last few days. Water temps did take a slight dip, dropping to around 48 degrees, depending on which area of the lake you are fishing. The fish remain scattered out all over the lake, with anglers reporting good catches from both rivers and the main lake as well. 

A variety of live baits have been producing well, and while Herring are probably the preferred option, Trout, Shad, and Shiners are also good choices.  How to fish them, that is the biggest variable? Down lines, flat lines, and planer boards are all good choices pending on the situation, so be prepared to use all or a combination of all. Finding the deep bait concentrations is still one of the keys to locating fish, if you can find the bait schools over ditches, channels, and drains put out the spread and the fish should show up. 

Pulling umbrellas remains a good technique, and is a great way to search an area while you are looking for bait and fish. Pull the rigs in the same areas you would fish the live baits, or pull them over the humps and points. Whether you are pulling  the full size rigs or the Mini Macks, start out around 15 to 20 feet and adjust accordingly. If you encounter working birds and see scattered fish pushing bait to the surface, try pulling the Mini Macks up high in the water, that can often be extremely productive. Just tie the Mini to one of you live bait rigs and troll at 2.5 mph. The Mini on 12 to 15 lb mono at 100 feet back will only fish 10 to 15 feet deep (depending on the line size) which is perfect for those fish feeding up high in the water column. 

Bass fishing is good, with little change in the patterns and techniques. The deep structures such as ditches,  timberlines, and channels probably offer the most consistent bite. If you are targeting those fish in the ditches and tree lines, drop shots and shakeys have been consistent producers. Pair them with the Roboworm Alive Shads, or the  straight worms in the 4” or 6” sizes. As usual, any of the Morning Dawn patterns should produce, as will Aarons Magic and Northern Lights.  Spoons are also very effective, a .60 Berry’s Flex-it is always a great choice, as is a heavy football jig with a twin tail trailer!

Good Fishing!

Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-January 15, 2020

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

Winter fishing has been good on Lanier, with typical patterns and the typical weather changes associated with January. Many of the fish are very deep, and I do not think the big fronts have had the expected negative effect on the bite as may be expected. So, if your only day to fish falls behind a front, bundle up and go fishing! Speaking of fronts, another nice one arriving just in time for the weekend, right? Oh well, take heart, spring will be here before you know it. The water level as of Friday was 1070.20, .80 feet below full pool and down .30 feet from last week. The surface temp is trending down, but still a couple of degrees above average Friday at 49 degrees. 

Striper Fishing

Striper fishing has been good and the patterns have been very consistent over the last few weeks. The deep bite continues to produce well, although you find that some groups of fish are getting very picky as opposed to past weeks. The intensity of the bite varies from day to day, and even from different times of day, so if they seem lock jawed just keep fishing and the fish will either start biting or you will find a school that is hungry. 

The Primary pattern is to set up a bait spread over deep bait, 35 to 60 feet. Live Herring, Shad, Trout and Shiners are all effective. Down lines are accounting for most of the bites, but there are some fish responding to shallow baits so a pitch line in the spread is a plus. If you are moving, say .5 to 1.5 mph with the live bait spread, as opposed to spot locked, keeping a Mini in the spread is definitely a plus. Fish it like a down line, or behind a planer and it will often keep pace with, or out fish the live bait. The biggest question is how deep to fish the Mini? Here is a rough guide line to address that issue. Drop the Mini to whatever depth you are marking fish. If you are moving at .75 MPH, you will lose approximately 15 to 20% of the depth of the Mini. So if you drop the Mini to 25 feet, it will be fishing about 20 to 21 feet down. Keep in mind that line size will effect the depth. This same general rule will apply if you elect to put the Mini Behind a planer, which is a very good technique as well.  If you are pulling the Mini with the outboard, you may want to use the lead core. The total weight of the rigged, bladed Mini Mack is just over 2 oz. so treat it like a 2 oz Chipmunk Jig (it runs about 4 feet of depth per color) and you will have a good idea of how deep the rig is fishing. 

Trolling the full size umbrella rigs is also a strong pattern, and can be a real plus if wind makes bait fishing difficult. The depth is really across the board on the rigs, and you may need to drop the rigs back as far as 150 to 160 feet, especially if you are trolling around the deep bait schools. Target the bait concentrations, and flats or points adjacent to the creeks. Contour trolling, over a 25 to 35 foot bottom will also produce some fish, this is mainly a singles pattern but it is high saturation and if are diligent this can be a pretty strong pattern, Clip points, pull over the humps or down a bank in one of the creeks. The buck tail or shad body rigs are both producing on this technique. 

Bass Fishing

This part of the report is really starting to sound like a broken record, but if you are on the fish I guess that is a good! We still have several patterns that will produce, but the deep water ditches, bluff banks, and timber lines are offering good numbers and consistency.  What is deep you ask? 35 to 50 seems to be a good place to look for fish, and while they may be adhering to structure, if the bait is there the bite present the bite will probably be better. Like the Stripers the Bass can be picky on some days, but overall the bite is good. Downsizing tackle and bait size can be a real plus if the fish are stubborn. 

If you are fishing ledges/ditches, remember that you may not see fish until you drop the baits, if they are really tight to the ledge they may be difficult to see. The activity of the baits will get them up and moving around. Worms and Jigs are probably the primary baits for this pattern, but Blade baits and Spoons are also very relevant. The “reel and kill” technique that I have mentioned in past weeks is still a plus with the spoons and the blade baits and should be worth a few extra bites. 

Fish are still on the rocks, perhaps not as consistently as in past weeks but the pattern is still viable. Crankbaits, jigs and worms will be good baits to try on the rocks, Sun may help this pattern making it stronger in the afternoon. The docks are also producing well, target 20 to 30 foot docks with some type of secondary structure underneath. Worms and jigs will be the best producers on the docks!

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-January 13, 2020

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

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report Jan 13, 2021 Thanks to Johnny, Derek and the crew at Lake Hartwell Fishing and Marine for contributing to this report!

Striper fishing has been pretty good, for those who bundled up and braved the elements. The patterns are basically the same as last week, with live baits, umbrellas and spoons all being good producers. The fish are scattered out all over the lake, so pick your confidence area and start searching. Finding the deep bait will probably get you around the fish, and Herring, Shiners, Shad and Trout are all effective baits. On those medium Shiners, be sure and match the hook size to match the bait, a #6 works will probably be a good choice.

The umbrella bite has been very good, pull the rigs around the deep bait schools, over points adjacent to a creek or river channel. or over 25 foot humps. Start the rigs out at 2015 to feet deep, adjust if needed based on what the sonar shows. the full size Capt. Macks rigs, either with Shad bodies or buck tail have been effective ,with the Shad body rigs being slightly more effective for the Hybrid Bass. Mini Macks are also producing well, either on the stealth troll on trolled on lead core line at 2.5 mph. 

The Bass bite is good, and the ditch bite is possibly the best overall pattern. 25 to 45 foot ditches and offshore roadbeds are very productive, and finding the ditches with the bait will offer a pretty sure bet to hook up. There are several baits that will produce on this pattern, heavy football jigs with your favorite twin tail trailer has been consistently producing, along with the jigs. Shakey heads paired with a Roboworm are also very effective, any of the morning dawn patterns will get  the bite, or if you have a little sunlight to work with the Chartreuse Magic is a great color choice.  Spoons remain a primary bait, the Berry .60 oz in the GLS pattern will be the cloudy weather bait, silver flag should be the go when the sun is up. 

While the deep ditches are very stable and offer great numbers, there are also some very nice fish being taken on shallow rocks and depth changes. Crank baits that dive to 6 to 8 feet, Worms on the shakey, and jigs are all likely choices for this technique. The sun and the wind will probably enhance this pattern, and the afternoon hours may be the most productive!

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-January 8, 2020

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

Lake Hartwell Report Jan 8, 2021 Thanks to Nathan Key, Derek Freeman and the crew at Lake Hartwell Fishing and Marine for contributing to this report!

Lake Hartwell Striper fishing has been pretty good, with a variety of patterns and baits producing some good catches. The fish are scattered out all over the lake, so pick and area you are comfortable, and confident with, and search that area to locate fish. Trolling Umbrellas has been a very solid pattern, a great way to catch the fish, and a very effective way to search for fish. Troll the Capt Mack’s 4 arm 9 baits rigs (shad body and buck tail rigs are both effective) around creeks and drains with concentrations of bait, or around flats and points near the creek channels. Watch the birds, they can be very helpful in locating fish as well. Stealth trolling the Mini Macks is also a good technique, especially around the bait schools in water 35 feet plus. It is hard to get the big rigs that deep, and stealth trolling offers a great deal more precision in deeper water. 

Live bait continues to be a strong technique, Herring and Shad on the downlines have been effective, and don’t rule out a medium Shiner. Smaller baits like Shiners, Threadfins, and small Herring “match the hatch” but remember it is important to match the hook size to the smaller baits. A #6 works well on the smaller baits, downsizing the leader may also be a big plus.

The Bass are loading up in the Ditches and Drains from 15 to 45 feet of water. This pattern offers great numbers with some big fish mixed in as well. The fish will tend to push into the backs of the ditches early and then moving back out into the deeper part of the ditch. Jerk baits, Crank baits and swim baits are effective early, as the fish move deeper you’ll need to transition over to shakey heads, jigs, spoons, and the drop shot. Finding the ditches with bait are the key! Include the timberlines in your search, especially those that are adjacent to ditches and points. Shakey heads, Jigs and Spoons will be the bait of choice for the timber. 

Sun and or wind will put the Spots on the rocks, crank baits and jerk baits are effective for this technique. Plenty of rock to choose from on the lake, this pattern is all about saturation so keep on the move and cover plenty of water. 

Looking for a nice Largemouth? There is an afternoon bite fishing the channel swings, bluff banks and rocks, and a few cast around likely docks may also pay off. This pattern is greatly influenced by the weather, with mild stable weather being an enhancement to this pattern. 

We have many effective patterns to choose from right now, so-pick your high confidence techniques and get on the water. The fish are grouping up well so keep moving until you locate them and define your pattern! 

Good Fishing!

Capt Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-January 8, 2020

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

2021 has started off pretty well with good catches being recorded during the first week of the new year. The weather for next week looks typical for January, with a little rain early in the week then drier conditions later in the week. The lake level as of Friday am was 1070.50. .50 over full pool, .18 feet up from last week’s level. The surface temps were a mild 51 degrees, which is actually a few degrees above average for this date. 

Striper Fishing

Striper fishing has been very stable, with the patterns largely being the same as last week. The fish are still in the same types of areas, ditches and drains with bait concentrations, or flats along the middle and backs of the major uptake creeks. If you are in the upper parts of the lake, look around flats beside the river channel, or in the bends of the channel. While most of the activity is still occurring around the deep water bait schools, there have been a few fish working under the Gulls and Loons. As you move around the lake watch the birds carefully to help locate fish. Even you do not see fish on the surface, the birds may show the location of the deeper fish as well. I think the best bite is in the middle or upper parts of the lake, and afternoons may be best.

One change you may notice from last week is finding fish that are reluctant to bite, that has been an issue on some days. Downsizing your line and sinker size may help convince some of these picky fish to eat. Lighter leaders are especially important on the shiners, the heavier leaders restrict the shiner’s ability to move freely, making for a less realistic presentation. Live baits on the down lines are still the primary pattern, and the bait of choice varies depending on the day and what is available. Bluebacks have been effective baits, but the bait catchers are still having difficulty finding and catching the Herring on a consistent basis. If the Herring are not available there are plenty of options, Trout, Shad, and Shiners are all effective, and I think the Trout may be the most effective right now. Just make sure you have the correct hooks sizes to match to the various baits, particularly the medium shiners. 

Full Size Umbrellas and Mini Mack’s (Bladed Mini’s will be back in the stores this weekend) remain effective and in the right situations. If you can locate fish that are over a 25 to 40 foot bottom, or on points and humps in the same depth, they have been quick to take the full size rigs. Shad body and buck tail rigs have been effective, start out with the rigs 18 to 20 feet deep, and adjust the depth based what you are marking on the sonar. Pulling the MIni Macks on the trolling motor at .5 to .75 mph is a good technique, as is trolling them on the leadcore at 2.5 mph. 6 to 8 colors back on the leadcore will be a good starting place. 

Bass Fishing

The Bass have also been largely using the same patterns and areas as in recent weeks, although I think the shallow patterns are a little less consistent. The deep fish are taking note of the Striper behavior and can be a little tougher to fool right now. Downsizing bait and line size will be a plus, and slowing down you presentation will also be beneficial. The deep water patterns are still in effect, deep bait concentrations, ditches and drains are likely ares to look, 30 to 50 feet is a good place to start. Both the offshore ditches and onshore drains are holding fish, and if you can locate an old creek channel in comparable depths they are also holding fish. Bait is a big plus on the ditches, but if no bait is present target the bends and anomalies on the old channel. The fish are really getting tight to some of these channel edges, so it you do not see groups of fish drop a bait anyway. If they are there you’ll see them get up and move around after you start fishing.

Worms are the primary baits, and the choice and type of head are varied. Smaller profile baits fished slowly, dead sticked, have been producing well. Spoons, jigs, Fish Head Spins, and blade baits (Capt Macks Super Blades, and Steelshads are a couple of favorites for this application) are also effective. The Blade baits are very effective using the reel and kill technique, and again, slow is good. Move the bait just fast enough to make it swim, then stop the retrieve and let it sink back to the bottom on a tight line.  Like vertically fishing a spoon, most bites occur on the drop, and this bite has been very subtle so if the bait does something you do not understand, set the hook. The Morning Dawn Patterns on the Roboworm have been consistent producers, along with the Spot Tail and Chartreuse Magic patterns. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report, January 1, 2020

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

Welcome 2021! It will hard to follow last year from a fishing perspective as 2020 set the bar pretty high in terms of Lanier Fishing! The lake fished well for all species and for the most part mild weather patterns afforded good fishing conditions. The Fish populations look strong so hopefully 2021 will be another excellent year on the lake! After a mild New Years weekend, the extended forecast calls for pretty good weather, relative to the calendar, with no freezing temps in the 7 day forecast as of the present.  The lake level was 1070.68 as of Friday afternoon, .32 feet below full pool. Water temps varied some depending on the location, but 51 is probably a good average number. 

Striper Fishing

Striper fishing is still very good, although the fish may be a little more finicky than they were in the past couple weeks. The patterns that have been productive in December still remain strong. Live baits around the deep bait, with some umbrella patterns mixed in, remain solid techniques. There have been a few surfacing fish, mostly early and late, but at this point that pattern remains secondary but on the radar enough that you need to be prepared for it. Herring, Trout, Shiners and Shad have been good baits, so keep a few of all in the well and mix and match to find the best choice on a given day. FYI, Herring availability has been inconsistent due to water conditions that are making it difficult for the catchers to get bait, but the above mentioned options have produced well and if I had to pick a best I think the Trout are the best choice right now. 

Down lines are the primary method, but depending on the situation flat lines and planers are also producing some fish. Finding the deep bait is still the primary technique, fish bait schools over a 40 to 70 foot bottom, in drains, secondary creeks, or flats. If you are fishing down lake the major creek channels in the above mentioned depth range have all been holding bait and fish. Spoons are still accounting for some decent catches, so keep one tied on to drop to the fish once you mark them, and move the spoon around in the water column to target fish that are spiking up off the bottom. 

The umbrellas bite is pretty good, but is very situational. Find fish that in less than 40 feet, preferably 20 to 30, and they have been quick to take a rig. As a general rule this pattern is best up in either river, where the  creek or river channels are less than 60 feet Target areas with big bait schools or contour troll the banks over 25 to 40 feet. 

Bass Fishing

Bass fishing has also been good, and the patterns have remained stable. With that being said, there are several patterns to choose from. The deep bite continues to produce well, spoons, worms and jigs in the ditches are still accounting for some good catches, and this deep bite is probably best for numbers and consistency. No big changes here, target ditches and drains in 15 to 50, at least with the onshore ditches, with some fish moving shallow in these areas especially early. Offshore ditches in 35 to 50 continue to produce well and finding the ditches with bait is a big plus. Finesse worms on the Shakey, Drop shot, or the  Texas Rig will all get the bite, and a vertical presentation is very good when fishing the worm.  In depths of 30 feet plus, vertical fishing makes for better hook sets, increasing your strikes to hook up ratio. Dragging a jig and dropping spoons will also be effective, although I think the worm is the best overall producer. Morning Dawn Red Flake and Aarons Magic have been good color patterns, Prizm Kraw and Chartreuse Magic are good patterns with plenty of sunlight. 

We also have some shallow patterns that are producing, and may account for some really nice fish. These shallow patterns may not yield the numbers that the deep ditches will, but there are some big fish on rocks and docks. There is also decent jerk bait bite, primarily early, in the  pockets and rocky areas, wind and bait will greatly enhance this pattern. The docks continue to produce well, with the best depth being the big variable. Keep in mind that the weather plays a big role in determining how deep and how tight to the docks the fish will hold, so evaluate that accordingly each day. Cranking rocks also continues to be a stable pattern, both offshore rocks, rocky points or even rock banks. Sunny conditions may help this pattern, which can make this a good afternoon/late day technique. 10 to 15 foot diving crankabits are consistent producers here, with the Rock Crawler 55’s being excellent choices. Any of these patterns will work on all areas of the lake. Keep in mind that the New year’s Day Rain dump may stain some areas up making the crankbaits more effective. 

Spoon fishing remains strong, and a variety of spoons are effective. Berry’s Flex-it Spoons, Jigging Shads, And Hopkins spoons are  just a few good choices, and use the different types and designs of the various spoons to tweak the bite. Also, consider adding the blade baits and Game Changers into the mix for fishing the ditches and bait concentrations as well. The blade baits are effective fished vertically, but are especially effective for using the “reel and kill’ method. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report, December 30, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports, Fishing Tips, Lake Hartwell Fishing Report No Comments
Compliments of David Stripers caught on a Captain Mack’s Pro Rig

I wanted to let everyone know that Capt. Rick will be off lIne for a while with some more rehab in order.  Until then, I’ll be giving you a brief synopsis of what is going based on feedback from Local anglers and area retailers.  So here is to wishing rick a rapid recovery, and a great 2021!  Lake Hartwell Striper fishing certainly ended 2020 on a positive note! Spoons and Live Baits have been solid patterns if you are targeting the fish in deeper water, if you fishing shallower water, or up in the rivers Keitechs on the Fish Head Spins have been producing well. The umbrella bite is very good, troll the rigs around bait concentrations in the major creek arms, or around flats adjacent to the creek or river channels.

The Bass Fishing is good, and as is the case with the Striper fishing has improved as the year draws to a close. has improved  Ditches and ledges have been two of the more productive structures, spoons and worms on the shakey will be good choices to drop to these areas. On the plastics, the 6 inch Roboworm are consistent producers, and any of the Morning Dawn color schemes are effective choices right now. Brush piles at the mouths of the creeks 15 to 20  are also holding some good numbers of fish. I hope you get a couple of extra days on the water to start the new year, hers is to a great 2021! Special thanks to Seth and the crew at Lake Hartwell Fishing and marine for helping out with this weeks report!

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-December 26, 2020

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

Happy New Year Everyone! I took a few days for Christmas so we will have an abbreviated report this week, I’ll be back up and running with the full report next week! December ended up with a nice Christmas Eve rain dump followed up by some of the coldest weather we have experienced in some time! How will that effect fishing? We’ll find out soon but my guess is that the bite will bounce back as the weather stabilizes. Our surface temps were still in the mid 50’s prior to last week’s weather change so I think the strong bite we had in December will hold up for at least a few more days. The lake level rose .35 from last week feet to a level of 1070.89, .11 above full pool. 

Striper Fishing

Striper fishing ended up on a strong bite as December produced some very good catches. The fish started out really deep last week, then they got deeper, lol. The shift to deeper water changed the patterns simply because the increased depth caused a change in methods. As the fish and bait moved deeper, out to 55 or 60 feet, that moved them further out in the creeks and drains which put fish past the tree line in many cases. That does not effect the bite but it will cost you a few extra hooks and sinkers. If you encounter that situation, try and idle around until you find a clean place to set up on, if the fish are there they will find your bait spread and come to the boat. Drumming or thumping may also help the fish find their way up under the boat. Herring and Trout on the downlines are both very effective, jigging spoons are also still relevant and I would keep one tied on at all times. 

Trolling was the pattern that is most effected by this transition to deep water, as it s really hard to present the full size rigs in water depths of 45 feet plus. Stealth trolling the Minis is effective in deep water, if the timber will allow. Should you find fish that are up in the water column, or over a 35 to 40 foot bottom, the rigs will most probably be effective. The further up the lake you go the more likely you are to find this situation.

Bass Fishing

Like the Stripers, some of the Bass have followed the bait into a little deeper water. You may need to extend the depth range of your search to include ditches and drains down to 50 feet. The patterns on the Bass side are also basically the same as in previous weeks. Ditches and drains are still holding plenty of fish, and finding ditches that are have the bait concentrations is a big asset. Worms and jigs are solid producers along with the spoons. On the spoon bite, I have left a paragraph (highlighted below) from last weeks report detailing some alternate techniques on fishing the spoon. These tips may get you a few extra bites on the spoon. techniques,  

Docks and rocks are still viable options, with steep rock areas being a prime target. Worms and jigs will be the best overall baits, and you can fish them on the drop shot, Shakey or the Texas rig. Tip the jig with the Yamamoto Twin Tail, and any of the Morning Dawn Robo patterns will be good choices for the plastics!

One footnote with the spoon: If the fish seemed slow to respond to the spoon with a vertical approach here are a couple of variations to try. Instead of fishing the spoon vertically with a stationary jigging motion, try jigging and slowly reeling it up simultaneously, which is basically using the slow pitch method. (more on that next week)You may also find that reeling the spoon up into the water column, say up to 15 to 20 feet, then letting it free fall to the bottom, and repeating that sequence may get a better response.  Another spoon trick is using the “reel and kill” technique. The “reel and kill” consist of casting the spoon out, let it sink to the bottom, then reel a few turns, stop and let the bait go back to the bottom, then repeat. For whatever reason that method seems to be more effective than a typical vertical presentation. A blade bait such as the Capt Mack’s Super Blades, or a Steelshad have also been effective around the channels and ditches. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-December 23, 2020

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

Well, my boat is still in the shop having some engine repairs and getting all set up for the coming year so I will be off the water for a few days. The information in last week’s report should be remain relevant, so use those patterns and tips in your upcoming outings! I would like to wish each and every reader of the Lake Hartwell Report a very Merry Christmas! Fishing during the last part of December finished on a positive note, and hopefully that trend will set the pace for ’21 2020 presented some challenges for Striper and Hybrid fishing and as a footnote we received the highest amount of rainfall that has ever been recorded on Lake Hartwell, 72 inches! Perhaps that may be one of the reasons that the fishing was much tougher. I would also like to take the opportunity to personally thank those who spent time on the water with me this year fishing our Lake Hartwell Instructional or guided trips. I have a great group of new friends that I can communicate with and assist them when they need help locating and catching fish! Let’s all stay in touch this year , and as I’ve told you the trip was not over with when we returned to the dock. Please feel free to call on me whenever you have a question or need some help. With Christmas just a couple of days away may God bless you and your families during this coming new year!  So as I share my advice to all these great fishing friends let’s continue to let, Humminbird Find our fish, 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! Let’s go Fishing! How about a fun filled day of fishing by booking one of our Lake Hartwell Instructional or guided trips. We are booking now for 2021.

Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing!

Rick Owen-Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (tet.) Certified SCDNR fishing instructor.

To book you next Lake Hartwell Fishing adventure , please call Captain Mack Farr at 770-235-8135.

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-December 18, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports, Fishing Tips, Lake Lanier Fishing Reports No Comments
Captain Ron Mullins used this Glitter Super Spoon to catch this nice Striper

Merry Christmas to all! It’s hard to believe that Christmas has arrived and we are about to end the year. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and Santa leaves you some new fishing gear under the tree! In spite of the coldest weather of the year arriving last week, water temps have stayed mild with surface temps at 56 degrees on Friday afternoon. The lake level was 1070.54, .46 below full pool. That is up .26 feet from last weeks level. The Weather forecast leading up to Christmas is pretty good, so  take advantage of our great December fishing and get out on the water!

Striper Fishing

Striper fishing continues to be very good, and the patterns have been consistent in the last few weeks. Fish are being taken all over the lake, with some nice groups of fish holding in the back parts of most lower end creeks. However, I am going to go with the middle and upper parts of lake for holding the greatest numbers of Stripers. The most productive baits and methods are very seasonally appropriate, with Live baits, Umbrellas, and Spoons(there are some tips for fishing the spoon in the bass section that will also apply to the Stripers) being strong producers. 

Most of the activity continues to revolve around the deep bait schools concentrated in 35 to 50 feet. Live Herring, Trout, Shad, and Shiners on down lines and pitch lines have all been effective baits. Look for the bait schools in drains, secondary creeks, and coves that are adjacent to a major creek channel or the river channel. Any bait concentration may attract the Stripers, but obviously, the larger bait concentrations are more likely to hold the attention of the Stripers. Remember, you may not see many gamefish when you are marking the bait, so you can deploy the spread once you locate the bait and let the fish come to you. As a general rule if you are on a place more than 15 to 20 minutes without marking fish, or catching fish, move on to the next location. 

The umbrella bite is very good and as always is an excellent way to search for fish. Both the full size rigs and the Mini’s are producing, and If I had to choose one I think the big rigs are the better producer. Start out with the rigs in 15 to 25 feet, adjusting based on the water depth, the depth of the bait, and of course where you are marking the greatest number of fish. Troll around the above mentioned bait concentrations, the backs of the major creeks, or flats and points adjacent to the creek channels. The buck tail and the shad body rigs are both effective, and on the cloudy days the bubblegum trailers may be worth a few extra bites. The Mini Mack’s have been effective on lead core line, roughly 7 colors out but use the same aforementioned guide lines to adjust the depth of the MIni’s. If you are slow trolling the live baits keeping a couple of Mini Macks in the spread will be worth a few bonus bites, either fished as a downline or behind the planers. 

Bass Fishing

You could really apply the same live bait parameters as stated in the Striper portion of the report to the Spotted Bass. Deep bait concentrations are keeping the Spotted bass engaged, and many of the same places that are holding the Stripers will have Spots. The big difference being that the Bass are using a much broader range of patterns, but the ditches and channels are one of if not the most prolific patterns. 20 to 50 foot ditches, drains and channels have been loaded with Bass, and they will take jigs, worms and spoons. The most prolific bait varies from day to day, with a Roboworm on a Weedless Wonder  or the drop shot will be hard to beat for consistency. The Roboworm Morning Dawn patterns have been very productive for the ditch bite. You can cast it on these areas or fish vertically, and on the deeper end of the above mentioned depth range I think the vertical approach has been best. A jig tipped with the Yamamoto Twin Tail is also producing well, and spoons have been a staple. 

One footnote with the spoon: If the fish seemed slow to respond to the spoon with a vertical approach here are a couple of variations to try. Instead of fishing the spoon vertically with a stationary jigging motion, try jigging and slowly reeling it up simultaneously, which is basically using the slow pitch method. (more on that next week)You may also find that reeling the spoon up into the water column, say up to 15 to 20 feet, then letting it free fall to the bottom, and repeating that sequence may get a better response.  Another spoon trick is using the “reel and kill” technique. The “reel and kill” consist of casting the spoon out, let it sink to the bottom, then reel a few turns, stop and let the bait go back to the bottom, then repeat. For whatever reason that method seems to be more effective than a typical vertical presentation. A blade bait such as the Capt Mack’s Super Blades, or a Steelshad have also been effective around the channels and ditches. 

In addition to the ditch bite worms and jigs on the docks remains to be a very prolific pattern! The type, location, and depth of the dock can be hard to determine, so as a starting place let’s go with docks in 15 to 25 feet in the major creeks or coves. You can subtract a few feet of depth if you are targeting docks in the upper parts of either river. 

With the water temps staying relatively warm you don’t need to put away the Crank baits. The Rock Crawlers continue to produce some good catches, probably better in the upper parts of the lake but certainly viable on the lower end as well. Rock, whether it be rocky points or submerged rock offshore this pattern has been solid. The Bass on these same structures will also respond to jigs and worms if the crank bait bite slows down. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report December 17, 2020 By Rick Owen

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

 

Lucas and Ricky Harvey won their club tournament with these Stripers!

One more report for this year and we will be headed into 2021. As this year comes to and end I’m getting a lot of good reports from clients who fished one of the Lake Hartwell Striper Instructional Trips!  These messages and phone calls are exciting as our previous guests share how they are applying what they learned and catching fish! I actually just got off the phone with one client who was catching Spotted Bass off of the Capt. Mack’s MiniMack but could not catch a Striper. After a few questions and answers were discussed and he made a few small changes and he immediately starting catching Stripers with a few adjustments in depth and speed. I’m predicting a good year of fishing for 2021 and I’m a firm believer in having a positive attitude! If you have time off during the holiday’s, go Fishing! You’re not going to have plenty of fun Striper and Hybrid fishing right now. The bite is on and even though it’s a little chilly on the water I promise you that when the net goes under your first big Striper you will warm up quickly. So as I share my advice to all these great fishing friends let’s continue to let, Humminbird Find our fish, 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! Can’t think of a better gift for your loved one, How about a fun filled day of fishing by fishing one of our Lake Hartwell Instructional Trips. We are booking now for 2021.

The Lake Hartwell bite is getting much better with the water conditions beginning to change quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 657.84 which is.2.16 feet below the 660 full pool level. The lower water levels will make a big difference in fishing during this winter and it will give you a much better chance of catching a big Striper. The water temperatures are now into the very mid-fifties in the early mornings and depending on if the weather warms or gets colder during the day will depend on how many layers you put on our take off.

Stripers and Hybrids

So what better way to close out the end of the year when fishing was so tough that many stopped fishing during this past summer? I hope as we work to determine what caused the unusual fishing conditions, we experienced this summer, the SCDNR and SC Biologist can prevent it from ever happening again. In just a week the fishing has gone from tough times to grab that rod it has a good fish on! I’ve seen some of the biggest Stripers and Hybrids over this past week when no one guide or novice had a clue, suggestion or a good answer to this past summers issues but believe me we will have an answer to that problem before summer 2021. Starting today you need to dig the winter gear back out and go catch you some really good quality Stripers and Hybrids. Look for birds, they will usually be up the major rivers and where there’s birds there fish so live bait behind a Captain Mack Planer Board or a Mini Mack fished the same way will get the job done. The Captain Mack Umbrella rigs will catch you some doubles and they can be a fun way of putting fish in the boat. I hope this big bite continues through the rest of the winter and spring as we figure the summer bite out. The picture attached to this article is Ricky Harvey and his grandson who won last week’s Striper tournament.  Winter fishing is here and the Stripers and Hybrids are feeding aggressively so let’s go fishing.

If you are interested in booking an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to tackle for this week.

  • Captain Mack Jigging Shad and Super Spoons. Keep one tied on, complement you love bait bite by dropping the spoons down, they will catch Stripers, Hybrids and White Bass!
  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and free lines
  • 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 Systems. This system will make a huge difference in keeping any type of live bait! I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition especially if you decide to mix Gizzard Shad in the  tank with your Herring.
  • SteelShad’s are excellent for schooling or breaking fish. The Steelshads are small enough to match the hatch, but they are compact and cast well, even in the wind. They are effective on all types of gamefish! 
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will not go to the lake without them, incredible tool for winter fishing!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – ditto above statement, the same concept as the larger rigs, but the smaller size will make this rig excellent for casting and Stealth trolling!
  • Perfect Planer Boards. Live baits behind the boards is an excellent technique!
  • BASS 

The bass fishing is still doing great and if you have a box of Captain Mack’s Super Spoons you will catch a mixed bag. Just as soon as your sonar picks up a good school get ready to catch Bass, Perch, Hybrids and Stripers. try using light tackle, it makes fun a great fight, and the lighter line allows the spoon to get down to the fish and hold the proper depth mores than the heavier line. 

  • Captain Mack Jigging Shads and Super Spoons. Same advise I gave to the Striper guys, keep one tied on and ready to go!
  • Ned Rigs Damiki rigs, and finesse worms on the Weedless Wonder!

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-December 11, 2020

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

 

Water temps remain mild for the date, around 58, and the lake level has remained fairly steady to end the week at 1070.28, .72 feet below full pool. The bite has been good for all species, and the long term weather forecast calls for great fishing weather for this weekend, a cool down early in the week then a gradual return to season temps as we approach next weekend.

Striper Fishing

The bite is good overall and we are seeing the fish really starting to congregate in some big schools. The predominant pattern of fishing down lined Herring and Trout remains a strong technique, and keeping a Gizzard Shad in the spread may be a big plus, if nothing other than to draw attention to the other baits. The bite is not limited to the downlines, with free lines and weighted free lines also producing well. Use a combination of all of the above to maximize the bite. If you are stationary and fishing on spot lock, keep a spoon tied on ready to drop to fish or into the bait. The spoons are producing well on the Bass and the Stripers, and will definitely get some bonus bites over the course of the day. 

Search for the fish up in the creeks and the drains feeding into the creek channels, over a 30 to 75 foot bottom. If had to pick a best depth, a 45/50 foot bottom seems to be consistently holding big concentrations of baitfish, making that arguably the best depth to set up the spread. Both a stationary approach or a slow troll can be productive, and moving can allow greater saturation of an area potentially showing the bait to more fish. Remember that when you initially search these areas you may or may not see the fish, if the bait is dense, it is worth trying. If fish are in the area you will probably not have to wait too long before they show up. The fish may be on the bottom in the bait, or cruising above the bait schools, that’s why it is important to use down lines and free lines, at least until you get the bite tweaked. 

Trolling the umbrellas is also a very good technique right now, and somewhat under the radar. The anglers pulling umbrellas are reporting some very impressive numbers. The Capt. Mack’s 3 oz 4 arm rigs, 80 to 120 feet behind 16 to 24 feet deep) the boat have been very productive. As always, tweak the depth based on the picture on the sonar. Pull the rigs around the bait schools or over flats adjacent to the creek or river channels. Don’t hesitate to break off of the channel and pull the rig into any big pockets or coves that drain into the old creek bed, those areas are also holding plenty of bait and fish! The rigs, and the other previously mentioned patterns will work lake wide, but I think the numbers are better in the upper 1/3 of either of the river arms. 

Bass Fishing

As is the case with the Stripers there is not much change to report with the Bass. Worms and spoons in the ditches have been solid producers, along with blade baits like the Steelshad or Capt Mack’s Super Blades. These blade baits can be fished vertically, or cast and fished slowly through the drain. The same 40 to 50 foot bait concentrations mentioned above will hold the Spotted Bass, so find the ditches that have bait and they will probably have Bass as well. You may also find the Bass on really clean bottom, just cruising around beating up on the bait. Normally I think the Spots will almost always be around or on some type of structure, but at this temperature the bait will often supersede cover, as the fish are feeding up preparing for winter. A clean bottom does not mean they will always be easy to see on the sonar. They may be really tight to the bottom, or scattered out over a wide area. If you see good concentrations of bait it is still worth a few casts/drops. Many times as soon as you get a bait down the fish will start moving around and show up well on the sonar. 

The Crank bait bite is also doing well, particularly up in the rivers, with application on the lower end as well. Rocks are the primary target, and it can be visible rock or rocks off of a point or bluff, or submerged rock off of a point or hump. Favorite Crank baits are the Spro Rock Crawlers or Rapala DT10’s. Jerk baits, jigs, and the Fish Head Spin/Keitech Combos have also been good choices for casting to the rocks. This bite may be most prolific in the upper parts of the lake, and you may find that the fish are not quite as deep as their cousins on the lower end. 

The dock bite is still producing well, with plastics on the Weedless Wonder and jigs being the go-to baits. Any dock may hold fish, but in an effort to narrow the search process concentrate on the central parts of the major creeks, and 15 to 25 has been a pretty consistent depth. That can change with the weather, with the fish typically being more inclined to use to the shallow end of that range in lowlight, and going the other direction if the sun is beating down on them. The fish may also be more prone to be around the docks with the lowlight, maybe really tight to the dock, or and secondary structures underneath the dock, with sunny or post frontal conditions. I think this bite is also best in the middle or upper parts of the lake. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-December 9, 2020 By Rick Owen

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

 

Have you ever had one of those days that you were so excited to accomplish something that you thought you would never get started? Well, Saturday was one of those days. I know that I’ve mentioned that I take my grandson’s fishing a lot, did I mention that I take them fishing a lot! I love it and so do they, and many times we make a full day of it. Anyway,  the day is going great the boat is loaded with gear and snacks, you don’t go to the lake without a bunch of snacks with the boys!  I back the boat in and my oldest grandson starts the boat and picks me up at the dock. It’s still not easy to get in or out of the boat but it can be done. Now with every four stroke I’ve ever owned I always look to make sure they are running because they are so quiet. I pull away from the dock and we plan our attack on some Stripers and where we can locate some feeding fish!   Now at about half throttle my boat will move,  and we were getting there when out of nowhere the engine started doing things it’s never done before. This usually always means you are fixing to have a bad day. I tried everything that I knew to solve the problem with no luck. I’ve never got skunked fishing with my grandsons so I drop the trolling motor and Bass fishing begins. I’ve got this beautiful tank full of herring so I put out the live bait and listen to my oldest grandson tell me that I’m wasting my time as he will soon catch a Bass and we can go back to the dock to check the engine out. Ten minutes later he has a Spotted Bass in the boat that he has caught on his go to rig of a Captain Mack Weedless Wonder with a Bluegill Roboworm. So now our record stands as we have caught and released a bass so we still have never got skunked in our boat ,as I’m reminded several times during the day by my grandson. Big thanks to him for saving the day!  All the gear gets stowed and I crank the engine and it sounds rough? Thank goodness we were only about a mile from the marina so we idle back so I can take the boat home and check what I believe the problem might be. I’m guessing water in the fuel but after checking a quart full of fuel in a clear quart jar I was wrong. The boat now is at the shop, luckily still under warranty, but with the holidays who knows when they will get it fixed. Engine problems are something I rarely have because I believe in servicing as required, but it can happen to the best of us. So as I share my advice to all these great fishing friends: let’s continue to let, Humminbird Find our fish, 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 bite is getting much better with the water conditions beginning to change quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 657.50 which is.2.50 feet below the 660 full pool level. The lower water levels will make a big difference in fishing during this winter and it will give you a much better chance of catching a big Striper. The water temperatures are now into the very low 50’s in the early mornings and warming up to around 58 during the day when the sun warms up. This will change soon as we are forecast to see some cooler weather as we move into next week.

Stripers and Hybrids

It’s finally getting cold enough that if you leave the house before the sun comes up you find yourself thinking about the sheet of ice that may cause you to bust your rear on when you step into the boat. I checked last year’s report for this same week last year, we were getting snow, sleet and freezing rain so this week is just not going to be that bad. It even makes these cold mornings seem like a pretty good deal compared to the freezing stuff!  Hartwell Anglers are reporting some very good catches on Jigging Spoons and live bait! The great thing about the spoons is the variety of gamefish you will catch. If it eats a Shad or a Herring, it will probably eat a spoon. Perch, Hybrids, Stripers, White Bass, Catfish, and if your are really lucky, Walleye, are all species that will take the jigging Spoons. We had a local angler land a 14 lb Striper on the spoon this week, along with Perch and Hybrids!  Fishing has been different on Hartwell this year and if you ask me what is going on I can’t even guess. I am going to  answer that question but as I am meeting  with the SCDNR and Fisheries Biologist assigned to Lake Hartwell!  Hopefully thier studies will provide answers to our questions.  All I can say is keep fishing, you will not catch ‘em siting in front of the TV!  I  am excited to see what sure 2021 will Yield! If you decide to learn all the different ways that I’ve spent catching these hard hitting rod bending fish jump into the boat and we will spend the day going over some big and some small details that I promise you will make the difference. This is a Christmas gift that never stops giving.

If you are interested in booking an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to tackle for this week.

  • Captain Mack Jigging Shads, Super Spoons, and Flex-it Spoons They are getting the job done on all species. Find the bait, drop ‘em down and hang on!
  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. Mixed bag on the Herring as well, Stripers, Hybrids, and Bass
  • Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo for all types of Live bait fishing!
  • Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition especially if you decide to pull Gizzard shad this winter and you have them in your tank with your herring.
  • SteelShad are producing well on the schooling fish or just casting them up to points.. This bait is remarkably versatile and will catch all species, deep or shallow! 
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs.  I will not go to the lake without them! Excellent during this time of year as a search tool or as a primary tool to catch Stripers, hybrids and a few nice Bass mixed in as well! 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – A must have bait! Troll ‘em or cast ‘em, they put fishing the boat!
  • 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 winter fishing patterns.

BASS

The bass fishing is still doing great as my grandson showed me while I was working on the boat this past weekend. This past week the Palmetto Classic held their big one day tournament and what a turn out for a very cold day. The fishing was good and first place was just over thirteen pounds and second place was just a couple ounces below that. You have to remember that these all are young men and women who take the sport of Bass fishing seriously. The bass bite has been great on Hartwell and the Spotted Bass are a guaranteed bite on a Captain Mack Weedless Wonders in any size or color matched with a Robo Worm in the color of your choice. Bluegill and Morning Dawn worked the best this past week and vertically jigging spoons was a really good technique! 

  • Captain Mack Jigging Shads and Super Spoons. For the next few months I would have one or two ready to go.
  • Ned Rigs, hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swim baits as well.
  • your favorite Rubber skirted jig! Paired with a twin tail this is always a good cold water bait!

CRAPPIE

If you are wanting to go fishing and you want to bring home some good eating fish then load the boat with your Crappie gear. The Crappie bite is good in brush piles and around docks. Try to be as quiet as possible as these fish are spooking right now. If they spook just move to another spot and go back later, they will return. Small minnows are still working the best over brush piles and if you are good at shooting docks a Bobby Garland bait or Slab Treat will bring’ em home! 

Go to Baits.

  • Any color Bobby garland, light colors in clear water/sunny conditions, darker colors with lowlight conditions. 
  • 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.. 
  • 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-December 4, 2020

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

The cooler weather that arrived with the beginning of the month dropped Lanier surface temps to 59 degrees. The lake level rose slightly to 1070.33, up .014 feet from Friday a week ago. Last week’s cooler weather and falling water temps did not seem to faze the fish as the bite remains strong with little or no change to the patterns from last week.  The long term weather forecast looks to be good with no more rain projected through the week and temps being near seasonal norms. 

Striper Fishing

Not much change to report with the Striper bite, with the exception of adding Trout into the bait mix. Most of the bait stores are keeping Rainbows in stock and the fish have responded well taking the Trout on down lines, free lines, or behind the planer boards. Herring and Gizzard Shad are also producing well with the same above mentioned techniques, and keeping a Herring on a weighted free line is a big plus. Look for the fish to be holding up in creeks, and drains from 15 down to 40 feet, over a 25 to 50 foot bottom. Bait can be the key to this pattern, and finding big schools of bait layered up on the bottom will get the attention of the Stripers. Even if you mark the bait and do not see fish, set up the down lines and fish the area for the 15 to 30 minutes. If you do not mark or catch fish move on to another area. Moving over these areas, slowly, as opposed to fishing on spot lock pattern may improve your odds of locating the fish. This is a slow troll, .5 to .8 mph is a good speed, you can always activate the Spot Lock when you get the fish under the boat, This pattern has application all over the lake, with the general consensus that the better numbers are in the middle or upper parts of either river. 

Trolling is also a very viable technique, pulling the big umbrellas over these same bait schools has been accounting for some good catches. Either the full size umbrellas, or the Mini Mack’s have been producing well. On the Mini Mack’s, you can Stealth troll them on the electric or pull them with the big motor. If you choose to use the big motor, you may find pulling the Mini’s on lead core to be very effective. I know that trolling lead core is considered a summer technique, but the objective of lead core is to get the bait deeper and control the depth, which may have application at any point in the year. Treat the Mini like a 2 oz jig, which will fish 4 to 5 feet deep for each color of lead core in the water. 

Bass Fishing

The Bass bite is good and the ditches and drains are loaded up. I did not catch as many big fish as I would expect for this technique during this time of year but the numbers were very good. The depth varies quite a bit here, and bait is very important to this pattern. So basically find a ditch or drain with bait and the fish will be there. Roboworms on the Weedless Wonder have been producing well, as have spoons, Fish Head Spin/Keitech combos, and the Hula Grub on the Booger Heads. Don’t worry about seeing the fish on the sonar when you approach the ditch. They may be tucked away under an outcropping or ledge, or just really tight to the bottom. Once you start fishing they if they are there you see them start to move around, usually right after you drop them a bait. 

Docks are still holding good numbers of fish, and I think this pattern may be best in the middle or upper parts of the lake, at least for numbers. Worms will be the staple for this pattern, but a jig is always a good option as well. 15 to 25 feet still seems to be a good number to target when pounding the docks, but they will change depths based on the weather on any given day.

Rocks are also holding fish, and many baits can be effective on this pattern as well. Crankbaits are always a good choice, and the Spro Rock Crawler is a good option as of late. If the fish are sluggish and will not respond to a crank bait or other moving bait, try a worm on the shakey or a jig. Slowing down your retrieve, with frequent pauses may get help get more bites! Larger profile plastics like the Roboworm Fat Worms or trick Worms may also be a plus! 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-December 2, 2020

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

The last month of this year has finally rolled around and December is a time that most families spend being together,  laughing and  eating way too much! It is also a great opportunity to reflect back on all the great things that we experienced during the year that is quickly drawing to a close. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas in just a few weeks from now not many families have made plans to get together in large numbers as we all still are waiting on a Covid-19 cure. Now there’s no one that loves to get together with family any more than I do, and to end the year celebrating our Lords birthday is a Holy time for our family and Covid-19 is not going to interfere with that. This year has been the toughest year of many of our lives and I can say with confidence it has provided most Striper and Hybrid fishermen some tough fishing this fall and early winter here on Lake Hartwell. I know that the Striper Hybrid fishing will improve soon! On another note you couldn’t ask for better Bass fishing and it looks like the Crappie fishing this winter is going to be really good as well! I’ve met a lot of great folks who love to fish and enjoyed spending time on the boat learning a secret or two about our Lake Hartwell Striper Instructional Trips so as I share my advice to all these great fishing friends let’s continue to let, Humminbird Find our fish, 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 bite is getting much better with the water conditions beginning to change quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 657.04 which is.0.04 feet below the 660 full pool level. The lower water levels will make a big difference in fishing during this winter and it will give you a much better chance of catching a big Striper. The water temperatures are now into the very low sixties in the early mornings and warming up to 69.9 during the day when the sun gets hot. This will change soon as we are forecast to see some low twenty degree temps this week.

Stripers and Hybrids

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a year that tested our hardcore Striper and Hybrid fisherman as 2020 did?just gave up on our Lake Hartwell Stripers and Hybrids. The Striper fishing has always had its ups and down on Lake Hartwell just like it has on other  lakes but this year was particularly trying. We have our DNR the people are working hard to monitor fishing on Lake Hartwell and developing  a successful plan to bring it back to what we are accustom to. This past week there have been many schools of smaller Stripers and Hybrids seen schooling all over the lake feeding on large schools of Threadfins. These small fish are working on turning into big fish and if we let them alone it won’t be long we will be hooked back up to some good line stretchers again. The question I’m being asked every week are there still any average size to big Stripers and Hybrids left in the lake. The answer is absolutely yes! Even though they may be harder to find,  they are still there and this winter as they move into the upper parts of the lake where the bait is concentrated you will increase your odds of catching more quality fish!  I am sure that 2021 will be a much better year and if you decide to learn all the different ways that I’ve spent catching these hard hitting rod bending fish jump into the boat and we will spend the day going over some big and some small details that I promise you will make the difference. This is a Christmas gift that never stops giving.

If you are interested in booking an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to tackle for this week, and/or some great suggestions to help Santa fill a void under the tree are as follows:

  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines or behind a planer board.  The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait.
  • 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. Adding Oxygen to your bait will make a huge difference in the quality of your bait, keep your bait livelier, increase your holding capacity, and keep bait longer! 
  • SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. This bait is remarkably versatile and will catch all species when cast to points or humps, or fished in deep ditches! 
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs.  I will not go to the lake without them! Pull the rigs over humps, around big concentrations of bait, or over flats near the creek channels to locate and catch the Stripers and Hybrids!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – Talk about versatile, whether you are casting ‘em or trolling, this is a must have for Striper/Hybrid fisherman. Cast these little rigs to working birds and if the fish are present the bite will not take long! 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. Live baits(or the Mini Mack) behind a Planer is a staple during this time of year! 
  • I spent a few days off last week and my grandsons who normally fish with me every week asked me to put them together some Bass gear for them to fish off the banks in the campground or from their kayaks while camping. Now I know that I can put them a bag of Captain Mack’s Weedless Wonders in whatever size and color that I can find and their favorite colors of Robo Worms and they will catch Bass and they will spend all day fishing. The picture in this week’s report is my grandson Canaan who came in third in last week’s middle school tournament and he text me this picture saying, Papa this is just one I caught from the campground. They said that the fish schooled all week in the coves on the Georgia side of the dam at Watsadler Campground. And they had a blast catching them, so from three young boys who had rather fish than eat, they are verifying the Bass bite is full on at Lake Hartwell!
  • One of hart wells most productive baits are the Captain Mack Weedless Wonders paired with your favorite Roboworm. 
  • Captain Mack’s Jigging Shads have been effective for Schooling fish, dropped into bait concentrations, or fish suspended in sixty feet of water.  
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits as well.
  • Flukes of several different sizes and colors. try weighted them down a little, the Gamakatsu Keel weighted hooks are excellent for this application!

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-November 28, 2020

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

 

 

 

Lanier Fishing Report 11/28/20

Wow, November is over, and  there are only 27 shopping days until Christmas! We end the month with the lake level at 1070.19, .84 feet below full pool. That is down .03 feet from the previous week. The surface temp was 62, slightly cooler than at this point last week. We will end the month with some very mild weather, the beginning of December may be a different story? The Forecast indicates rain early in the week, followed by cooler temps and windy conditions thru most of the week before stabilizing the following weekend. With the full moon occurring on the 30th, and an approaching weather change, this weekend should offer some excellent fishing conditions! 

Striper Fishing

Fishing was very good this past week, with live bait again being the big producer. A mix of techniques, live baits fished on down lines, feee lines and planer boards, were all productive, and the Stripers are responding to Herring and Gizzard Shad. Most of the bait shops are now keeping Trout in stock, so it will probably be a good idea to keep a couple of those in the spread as well.  Fish are being caught all over the lake, but I think the best bite seems to be in the middle and upper parts of the lake. Look for the bait concentrations over a 35 to 50 foot bottom, in the creeks and coves in the middle parts of the lake. The same applies to the river channels once you move far enough up the lake. The same pattern will also be effective on the lower end creeks, you just have to move further between creeks increasing your run time, but the same guidelines can be applied, If you are in an area where the bait is present but you are not marking fish, it may be worth setting up a spread and letting the fish come to you. Allow 15 to 20 minutes and if no fish show up relocate to another area. 

The topwater/schooling activity is still a viable pattern, perhaps more of a secondary pattern as opposed to earlier in November, but the schoolers are still showing up with some degree of regularity. This pattern may be strongest in the afternoons, and in general best in low light conditions. Downsizing your baits are a plus for this technique as the fish are keying in on small Shad. Spoons, Jig N Shads, Sliced Spoons, Flies under a bubble, blade baits, or small buck tails are good choices for the schoolers. Light line, 8 lb test or lighter, will allow for much longer casts with these lighter baits, and you’ll need to match your rod action accordingly. Watch the birds to help locate surface activity, they are starting to show up in pretty good numbers now, and the arrival of next week’s cold front should open up the flood gates for their arrival. 

The trolling bite is very good, full size rigs and Mini Mack’s are producing well. Pulling the Mini’s on lead core has been producing well, and as a general guideline the Mini Mack will fish roughly 4 to 5 feet deep for each color of lead core you have out.  On the full size rigs, the Capt. Mack’s 3 oz nine bait rigs pulled 90 to 120 feet behind the bait should get the bite, adjust accordingly based on where the fish are showing up on the sonar. Pull the rigs around the bait schools, around bends in the creeks channels, or over points adjacent to the channels.  Both the buck   tail and  the shad body rigs are effective. 

Bass Fishing

Bass fishing is very good, and there are many baits and patterns that are producing very well. Rock and docks are strong, both will produce on all areas of the lake. The Spro Rock Crawlers have been a staple on the rocks, rock banks, points and bluffs are all holding fish. Worms and  the this pattern as a change up or if the fish are resistant to chase down the moving baits. Worms and jigs on the docks are also consistently productive, depth varies with the conditions, but 15 to 25 feet remains a good starting point. 

The ditch bite is really cranking up, with ditches and drains in the creeks or on the main lake producing well. Jigs, worms and spoons are all good baits for this pattern. It is important to remember that you may or may not see fish on the drains when you initially approach them, They are often very tight to the bottom, or they may up against or under an undercut ledge or bank. Often, the fish will not start moving around until you drop them a bait and pull them off the bottom or off of the ledges. This technique will also be very effective on the old creek channels, start searching in 30 feet and work you way out to 50 feet. Fish anywhere you see bait, where  the old channel created a ledge, or any other anomaly. The worms on the Weedless Wonder have been very effective on this pattern, some colors to try are Prizm Perch, Prizm Kraw and my #1 pick as of late Green Shiner. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

 

 

 

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-November 20,2020

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

Lanier Fishing Report 11/20/20

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a fantastic Holiday, even though this year will surely be different with our current conditions. I also hope you get some extra down time to enjoy getting out on the water! It’s looks like we will have some clouds and rain from the middle of next week through the weekend, in recent weeks that has made for some good fishing conditions! This weeks lake level as of Friday am was 1070.22, .78 feet below full pool, and .33 feet lower than last week’s level. The surface temperatures dropped as well, down to 64 degrees. 

Striper Fishing

Striper fishing is overall pretty good, although it slowed some with the high blue skies and post frontal conditions we experienced during most of last week. That weather seemed to really squelch the schooling activity, as to be expected. Hopefully, now that the weather has stabilized the surface activity will increase. Watch the Gulls and Loons to help locate the fish, the birds  are still few in number, however more and more arrive with each front. There are several effective baits to cast at the schoolers, I am still going to pick a small buck tail as one of the best, but small spoons, flies under a casting bubble, Flukes and Steelshads will also be likely bets. This pattern is random and can produce anywhere at any time, but the greatest activity seems to remain on the lower end of the lake, and is best in lowlight conditions. 

Downlines probably remain the most reliable pattern, and that was most likely reinforced by the aforementioned weather conditions of the past week. There were a few fish taken on free lines and planers, especially early am, and keeping a pitch line/free line in the spread is still worthwhile, maybe adding a split will be a benefit on the pitch baits. The Stripers are showing up in a wide variety of places, over the creek channels, some over the river channel, especially if you in the upper reaches of either the Chattahoochee or Chestatee arms of the lake.  Search for the fish around bait concentrations, bends, in the channel, pinch points, or flats near the channel. The bait is really piling up in some of the creeks and coves, anywhere form 30 to 50 feet, and setting a spread over the bait is a good technique. Key on areas where the bait is laid up on or near the bottom, the Stripers may be on the bottom or moving around above the bait up in the water column. Stagger the baits until you find the most productive depth. 

Night fishing remains good with fish being taken casting Bombers and McStiks to points and saddles. Historically, this pattern is very productive with water temps in the low 60’s and high 50’s, and that cooler water should have the bigger fish should be cruising the shallows as well. If you know if any docks lights include them in your game plan, most of the lights are holding good numbers of hungry Stripers! 

Points, saddles and flats around the islands are likely areas to cast the Bomber, move quickly if the fish are present they will be quick to bite. If you fish one of these areas and catch a fish or two pretty quickly and then they stop, leave and return in 45 minutes or so and you can often duplicate what you did on the first stop. Unless you are fishing a really big area, moving quickly and casting to as many places as possible may be more productive than sitting on one place. Applying the same run and gun mentality as you would use when casting topwater to points and humps is generally the best approach for this pattern. 

Bass Fishing

The Bass bite is good, and there are many patterns to choose from. The bait that is piling into the creeks has not gone unnoticed by the Bass and they are showing up in the channels and coves around these bait schools. This has created a good spoon bite in areas that are holding schools of Shad and Herring.  Concentrate on 25 to 50 feet, and I did catch quite a few fish in the 40 to 45 foot range Friday. The smaller spoons seem to be the favorites, the 1/2 oz dressed Super Spoon and the .60 Flex-It Spoon were both very effective. Fish the spoon on the bottom, and when you see fish up in the water column reel it up to them and you should get the bite.  These deep fish have also been very responsive to take a finesse worm, the Roboworm 6” St Prizm Shad, Green Weenie, and Green Shiner are some good color patterns to try. 

Crank baits on rocky points ,clay points and banks are holding fish, and this has been a solid pattern, especially early. The Spro Rock Crawlers have been very effective on the pattern, along with Strike King 3 or 5 XD. If the fish seem to be reluctant to respond to the crank baits, worms on the Weedless Wonder are also effective, Trick Worms and the Roboworm Fat Worms have been producing well on the rocks. 

There also good numbers of fish moving into the ditches, as to be expected in November. The Yamamato Hula Grub on the Booger Head and Worms on the shaky, have good choices for the ditch pattern. The fish are holding over deeper water, 20 feet plus, will also respond well to the spoons. 

Pounding the docks has been a solid technique, especially later in the day. A Finesse worms(see the same colors of Roboworm mentioned earlier)on the Shaky head, and jigs in crawfish patterns are solid producers. If I had to pick a depth, I think the docks from 15 to 25 feet offer the most consistent bite. That depth range can vary widely based on the time of day and weather, and typically the fish are shallower on uplake docks.

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-November 18, 2020

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

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report by Rick Owen

Mid November and while I’m fishing I had two different people pull up to my boat Saturday and ask if we were having any luck. Now if you have ever fished with me or seen my boat you know it’s a Striper boat and usually after a few minutes in a conversation I get the I’ve heard of you or I fished with you years ago and the big question can I call you sometime when I’m struggling. This mid-November day I normally could have sent these folks to several spots not far from where I was fishing but not this year on Lake Hartwell during 2020. The fishing conditions are like none I’ve ever seen before but I’m working hard to find the answers to just what has happened during this year and find how we can avoid another year like 2020 has provided for Striper and Hybrid fishing. Now if you like to fish for other species go get them, the Catfish and Largemouth bite has been really good on many trips and the Spotted Bass bite has been on fire!  As always,  my advice to all my great fishing friends : 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 bite is getting much better with the water conditions beginning to change quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 659.29 which is.0.29 feet below the 660 full pool level. It’s been a long time since we have been below full pool and I can promise you if the water levels continue to drop this winter the fishing will get much better. The water temperatures are now into the very low sixties in the early mornings and warming up to 69.9 during the day when the sun gets hot.

Stripers and Hybrids

It’s hard to see or much less explain what can happen in a week with the Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell especially when you have never seen these condition ever before. Last week fishing was exciting as Stripers and Hybrids were active and the bite seemed to really be getting stronger. This past week things went right back to the previous conditions and the Stripers and Hybrids took lockjaw again. One of our local Striper Clubs fished Saturday and it was a bad tournament when the best of the best couldn’t catch a Striper or Hybrid all day. I’m asked almost every day what is going on with the Stripers and Hybrids ?  I wish I had the right answers? I am communicating regularly with the DNR  biologist on Lake Hartwell I relay info when it becomes available. 

Some techniques to try are pulling the full size umbrellas a=over humps and points, or any areas where the bait is concentrated. Ditto for the Mini Mack’s, and keep the Mini tied on and ready to cast at any surfacing fish you may see. There are a few birds on the lake so watch them diligently to help locate fish. Free lines and planer over the points and shallow humps should produce a few Stripers with some Bass mixed in. Spoons are also a viable technique, drop the Super Spoons anywhere you see bait or fish, and they will also produce a mixed bag for the fish box!

I’ll assure you the Striper and Hybrid fishing will return to normal we just never know if when. So, when things get right you’ll you will won’t to be ready and now would be a great time to book one Instructional Trips!  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. To reserve your  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 free lines.  
  • 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. O2 will make a huge difference in your bait. I personally believe that it will allow you to keep more bait, maintain  the bait quality of the bait, and increase the hold time. The increased capacity if a plus if you plan to keep Gizzards mixed in with your Herring,  
  • SteelShad. hard to go wrong with this bait, great to cast to schoolers, fished through ditches, or cast and retrieves around bait concentrations. 
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs.  A must have for this time of year!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s . Another must have! Cast ‘em or troll ‘em, very effective from now into the cooler months!
  • Perfect Planer Boards. A great tool for the live baits, whether it’s Trout, Herring,  Shiners, or Shad a proven technique from now through Spring. Don’t forget about pulling the Mini’s Mack’s behind the boards too!

BASS

Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass fishing was great this week with some big fish being caught. Spotted Bass fishing is excellent with a lot of fish being caught off of Shakey Heads, flukes and Mini Mack’s as well as live bait while Striper fishing. You had better have top water, Steel Shad, or Super Spoon ready to go because the Spotted Bass have schooled off and on all week long. A Robo worm in the bluegill color added to a Captain Mack Weedless Wonder has been working perfect on Lake Hartwell. 

Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits as well.

  • Flukes of several different sizes and colors. 
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a bluegill or Morning Dawn 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! 

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

 

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

Lanier Fishing Report 11/13/20

As we enter the middle of November the weather is looking like it will trend towards temps that are more seasonally appropriate. Of course, the extended forecast also screams go Deer Hunting, so you’ll have some tough choices to make!  The lake is still showing the effects of the turnover process, and that seems to effect where the fish are located and why there has been so much movement, be cognizant of the water conditions as you search for fish. The lake level dropped .68 feet last week to a reading of 1070.55 as of Friday am, That places the lake at .45 feet below full pool. The surface temp was 68 degrees Friday morning.

Striper Fishing

Striper fishing has been pretty good, but the fish are moving around quite a bit so you’ll have to do some searching. I think some of the fish are also trending more towards shallow water, up on the banks and moving towards the backs of the creeks, so don’t limit your search to the main lake areas. Anglers have reported good catches on down lines, planers and free lines, so be prepared do use all three methods. Herring are producing well but Gizzard Shad are also starting to account for some nice catches, especially on the free lines and planers, so throwing a couple of the Shad into the spread may be a plus.

We still have some schooling fish showing up, and that pattern is very random, and in recent weeks has been influenced a great deal by the weather, with greater activity in pre frontal conditions. Nonetheless, be prepared and have a couple of casting rigs ready to go in the event you run across surfacing fish. These schoolers are becoming a little picky about what they eat and smaller baits may be a plus. Small compact baits that cast well will be the best bet, and a 1/4 or 3/8 oz buck tail should get the bite. You can tip the jig with a small trailer, something like a tiny Fluke or Capt Mack’s A-rig grub, or fish it with no trailer at all. I have been doing best with a fairly quick retrieve on the jig, but that changes so vary the retrieve until you tweak the bite on a given day. Some other baits that will get the attention of the schoolers are the Steel Shads, Spoons, smaller Sebiles and swim baits on the lead head.  You may encounter the schoolers anywhere, but I think the greatest amount of activity is on the lower end. 

Night fishing remains good with fish being taken casting Bombers and McStiks to points and saddles, or casting to the dock lights. Points, saddles and flats around the islands are likely areas to cast the Bomber, move quickly if the fish are present they will be quick to bite. If you fish one of these areas and catch a fish or two pretty quickly and then they stop, leave and return in 45 minutes or so and you can often duplicate what you did on the first stop. Unless you are fishing a really big area, moving quickly and casting to as many places as possible may be more productive than sitting on one place. Applying the same run and gun mentality as you would use when casting topwater to points and humps is generally the best approach for this pattern. 

Bass Fishing

Overall, Bass fishing is pretty good, but the fish are moving and transitioning, and the frequent weather changes are causing the patterns to shift. We have Bass being caught from the bank out to 30 feet, with the deeper structures and patterns being more applicable during the mid day hours or with greater light intensity. Rocky points ,clay points and banks are holding fish, and often the steeper rock areas are best. Moving baits such a jerk baits, (the Spro McStik 110 has been productive) crank baits, and the Fish Head Spin/Keitech Combo have been effective on the rocks. If the bite on the moving baits slows down, try switching to a plastic on a Weedless Wonder, the Roboworm Fat Worms in the 6 and 7” models are doing well on this pattern. 

After the sun gets up fishing the docks has been a solid pattern. Finesse worms on the Shaky head or Texas rig, and jigs in crawfish patterns are solid producers. The depth varies with the weather and water conditions, but if I had to pick a depth I would target 15 to 25 foot docks. Fishing the docks is generally a numbers game, and this technique can be very random as far as which docks hold fish. Watch for patterns to emerge as you fish, pay attention to the depth, are the fish on the shady sides of the dock versus sunny side? Are they in the brush or other structures under the dock? After you get a few in the boat hopefully you see some trends that will help define this pattern. Fishing docks will work in all parts of the lake and will probably get better as the weather cools. 

One technique that was really strong last year during Nov and Dec was casting the Mini Macks to the humps. I tried a few places this week and caught some really nice Spots, and I think as the water cools this method will improve. Just position the boat so you can cast to the top of the high spot, or retrieve the bait directly down the crest of a point. This is another run and gun pattern, but can produce a mixed bag of Stripers and Spotted Bass. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report- November 11,2020

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

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report

written by Rick Owen

Wednesday November 11th 2020 is Veterans Day! Take a few moments to look at the flag that fly high all across our country.  We should feel deep inside ourselves the importance of what this flag has meant to so many for decades, even  centuries in the past, and those who were willing to do whatever it took to defend this flag and all its stands for. We have an island on Lake Hartwell called Flag Island, where stands the American flag  24/7, earning the respect it should always get. I never pass this island that I don’t say a prayer for our troops who never came back home from war. Likewise I say a prayer or the many that gave so much that they will never be the same again, those that paid a huge price to defend this flag that always gets raised high in salute to those who served with honor!  So may God bless America and our veterans that are still here with us as well as those who no longer are here to salute our great flag. For all the men and women that I come into contact with that have served this great country my hat is off to you and my prayers are for you. All Veterans should be able to shout with pride Fish on, and you can call on me at any time if I can be of service to you to make that happen. God Bless the American Flag and all those that have served under it and may all our hearts be full of respect and gratitude to those who served to protect our great country. During the Korean War a statement was made that still stands true today, “All gave some, Some gave all.”  God bless our troops and thanks to the many heroes that I’ve had the pleasure to meet while fishing or the many heroes I met while working for a company that made rifle scopes for the best of the best! So let’s take a veteran fishing soon and as I give my advice to all my great fishing friends 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 bite is getting much better with the water conditions beginning to change quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.09 which are.0.09 feet above the 660 full pool level. But, as the Corp of Engineers work hard to drop the levels, it raining right now on Lake Hartwell. One year ago today the levels were 656.24 which are normal for the winter months. The water temperatures are now falling into the sixties which are perfect for catching fish.

Stripers and Hybrids

It’s finally happening so dust off your gear wash out the cobwebs and check your leaders and hooks for successful hookups. If you make a run up Seneca River from the marina and focus in on the many creeks that feed the river you are going to catch fish. Now you might catch a mixed bag of Striper, Hybrids and Spots but you will get your rods bent. Now a mixed bag is so much better than getting skunked, let me say that one more time, A MIXED BAG IS MUCH BETTER THAN GETTING SKUNKED! It feels so good to report that Lake Hartwell is alive again and the fish are biting. Live bait is working great right now as well as all the Captain Mack Mini Mack’s and Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. Now everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids is here now that we have begun our fall and winter Instructional Trips, 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. 
  • 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. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition especially if you decide to pull gizzard shad this winter and you have them in your tank with your herring.
  • 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 leadcore 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.

BASS

Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass fishing has not changed much and if you want to catch a big Largemouth Bass you will have to track the ones that are hanging around their favorite docks feeding on Bream. Spotted Bass fishing is excellent with a lot of fish being caught off of Shakey Heads and Flukes and Mini Mack’s as well as live bait while Striper fishing. There are some hard hitting and heavy Spotted Bass in Lake Hartwell and if you will work at it some you will never come home without having a rod bent or some good eating Spots if you eat fish from Lake Hartwell. It seems that every year we catch more and more Spotted Bass than the year before and right now top water baits and lipless baits will get the job done as the Spotted Bass are schooled up somewhere on Lake Hartwell everyday.

  • 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 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.
  • Flukes of several different sizes and colors. 
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a bluegill or Morning Dawn 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! 

  It’sWishing 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-November 6, 2020

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

The first week of November finds the lake level falling, however, still over full pool with a level of 1071.23, .23 feet over full pool. That is down 1.17 from last weeks level. The temp has dropped as well, and as of Friday am was around 65 degrees. The extended forecast suggest mild temps through next week, mostly dry with rain chances spiking up…you guessed it, as we approach the weekend. Don’t let that keep you off the lake, the lowlight, prefrontal conditions seem to make for a better bite anyway, especially if you are chasing the surfacing Stripers. 

Striper Fishing

The Striper bite remains pretty good, although the fish seem to have gotten a bit more finicky, maybe a little harder to catch, especially in post frontal conditions? The patterns from previous weeks are still valid, casting Bombers after dark, fishing down lines, trolling umbrella rigs, and chasing schooling fish, with some increased activity on the free lines and planers. The down line bite just keeps hanging on, and is good in the middle and upper parts of the lake. Most of the down line fish are still mostly on main lake areas, the creek channel or over the river channel, or structures adjacent  to a channel, There are some fish showing up in the pockets and secondary creek channels, and the bait is really starting to move into the creeks over a 40 foot bottom, so look for the fish to start to respond to the Shad schools. Trolling umbrellas has been a little off the radar lately, but that is a very viable pattern, especially stealth trolling the Mini. Keep a Mini or two in the bait the spread, it will generally be worth a few extra bites!

Casting after dark has been a solid producer, Bombers and McStiks are two favorites, but many of your favorite jerk baits will produce well. One old school bait that bait that has done really well on this pattern in past years is the Rapala 17S,  It is difficult to find, very underutilized but may be worth an on line search to locate. Cast these plugs to shallow sand saddles and points 2 to 8 feet deep, starting as soon as the sun settles below the tree line. This bite can be productive through out the night, but in recent days it seems to be best from sun down until 9 or so, with the activity dropping off two or three hours after sunset. it is often very good for a couple of hours prior to sun up, if you are out in the predawn hours. Dock lights are also productive, flukes, jerk baits, small buck tails and live baits are all good choices for fishing the lights. 

Schooling fish are getting plenty of attention and that pattern has been pretty solid. The fish seem to become a little more focused on smaller baits, which is often very typical for this pattern. Down sizing your bait and line size will be plus. a 3/8 oz Super spoon, Steelshad, small buck tail or a fly under a casting float may get the bite if the fish are really picky. A medium shiner under a weighted float or on a Carolina rig (add a split shot to increase casting distance) cast into the schoolers can also be productive. 

Bass Fishing

The Bass bite has been pretty good, and the patterns are varied. There are some nice fish roaming shallow water, as a general rule if you can find the bait there will be some fish around as well. This pattern seems to best in the am, but if the bait concentrations stay shallow this bite has all day application. Crank baits have been producing well on this technique, clear patterns mostly, however color selection can varies based on weather condiitons. The Spro Rock Crawlers and Norman MR 6 are two really good choices, but if you have a favorite bait comparable in size and performance parameters that should be effective as well. Spinnerbaits and jerk baits will also produce on this pattern, particularly if you have some wind.

Steep banks, particular rock banks, are also a good structure to target, and worms and jigs have been solid producers on this pattern. The Roboworm 6” St Fat worms or the 7” St tail on a Weedless Wonder have been a staple, along with jigs. This pattern is good on main lake areas and up into the creeks with application all over the lake. Main lake brush is also producing well, and is a good alternate if the shallow water bites goes south. Finesse worms on the drop shot or shakey will get the bite, along with top waters, Sebiles, and Spybaits.  Some favorite colors in the Roboworm finesse worms have been Green Shiner and Spottail Minnow with the sun, try the Morning Dawn Halogram or Red Craw in lower light conditions.

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-November 5, 2020

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

I made myself a promise this past June that I would try to be back on the water fishing before the end of the year no matter what the professionals said. This promise was kind of a secret made to myself and only shared with a few people whom knew no matter what my doctor had to say and with Gods will that I wasn’t fixing to do something stupid after all I had been through over the last several months. (I’m calling it water therapy which I hear is really good for you) November 2nd I kept my promise to myself and as I backed my boat off the trailer in thirty five degree weather,  which felt much colder,  I idled out of the no wake zone of the marina and watched as the sun began to come up. I completely forgot about it being cold as the excitement of just being back in the water after being gone for so long that the cold weather didn’t even cross my mind. I went back to the lake with a purpose, well actually several purposes,  purpose number one was to drop the Crappie Condo that had the front of my boat looking like a floating duck blind in my boat into an area that should provide me some good Crappie fishing very soon. Purpose number two was to see if I could locate a Striper that would bend a rod, and I was not disappointed. Finally purpose number three was to see if I was well enough to fish again and when it comes to fishing I’m doing just fine! So what a way to start the beginning of the winter months, fish caught and fresh Lake Hartwell air in my lungs again. I feel like we are going to have a great winter season and there will be some nice and healthy Stripers pulled over the rails. By the way I caught my fish on a Captain Mack Mini Mack with blades pulled very slow behind a Perfect Planer Board so I’m sure the trolling bite is going to be great this winter. So as I tell my fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find The fish, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool them into biting while Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

.

The Lake Hartwell bite still remains somewhat tough with the water conditions beginning to change quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 661.09 which are.1.09 feet above the 660 full pool level. And with the limited amount of rain in the current forecast maybe we will drop below full pool soon. The water temperatures are now falling into the sixties which is perfect for catching fish.

Stripers and Hybrids

If you look back at last year’s Lake Hartwell Fishing Report you will see that the fishing was great and we were catching a lot of fishing pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. The only difference was the lake was several feet lower than it is now. The live bite is good but the fish are much smaller than the fish being caught on Captain Mack’s Umbrellas and Mini Mack’s.  The trick to the Mini Mack’s is to fish them way behind the boat and hook them to your perfect Planer Boards. Pull the Mini’s on the Trolling motor at speeds of .5 to .75 MPH, it is amazing how effective this Stealth trolling can Be! Another productive technique is to pull your umbrellas into the coves where you see fish breaking. As a rule of thumb the bigger fish usually are only a few feet deeper than the small fish and the umbrellas are the best way to catch the bigger fish. I’ve always had a lot of luck pulling my lighter Captain Mack rigs over long points where the water is much shallower or across under water road beds or ditches where the bigger fish are hanging out, but don’t overlook the main lake if you see fish breaking on top especially if they are all bunched up and knocking water about a foot high.  Now everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids is here now that we have begun our fall and winter Instructional Trips, 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.

BASS

Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass fishing has not changed much and continues to be on the slower side but the Spotted Bass fishing has remained excellent with a lot of fish being caught on the Finesse Worms, Trick Worms and Senkos paired with the Weedless Wonder  Jighead. A Flukes (try adding a little weight to the Fluke, I really like the Gamakatsu Keel weighted hooks for this application)or Mini Mack’s cast over shallow humps or onto long, flat points, has also been a good technique. Schooling fish are showing up fairly consistently and having a SteelShad tied on will put the schoolers in the boat. 

Go 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-October 30,2020

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

Wow, what a way to end the month of October! A tropical storm, a blue/full moon, on Halloween, no less, and throw in a time change on top of all of that. I guess it’s just another dose of 2020 weirdness! The remnants of Zeta brought us another nice rain dump, and the lake level reflected that as of Friday am, 1072.40, 1.40 feet over full pool, up .88 feet from last week. More water in the lake probably equates to continued strong water releases at the dam, use that to your advantage in the coming weeks. The phone number to call for the tentative generation schedule is 770.945.1466. The surface temp has been holding at 72 or 71 for the past several weeks, but dropped to 68 as of Friday am. The previously mentioned Full Moon, known as the Hunters Moon occurs on Saturday. That Moon may make for some good night fishing for a few days on either side of the 31st if can get on the water for a few hours.

The Primary patterns for the Striper fishermen are still basically unchanged since last week.  Maybe the residual effects from the Remnants of Zeta, or the cooler temps forecast to be here early next week will push us into more late fall patterns, that remains to be seen. The downline bite remains solid, and chasing the schooling fish is also a viable pattern. The night time Bomber bite is also a good pattern, maybe not as strong as we expect it to be, but worth going for sure. Perhaps the Full moon and cooling temps will energize the Bomber/McStik bite next week. 

Fishing Herring on the downlines is probably still the best overall pattern. That bite revolves mostly around deep water areas, although I do think  there are more fish pushing up into the pockets and coves than in previous weeks. Look for the fish to be roaming around creek and river channels, or they may be loosely orienting to humps or points near the channels. Just hang the down lines in the depth where you are marking the greatest amount of activity, and keep a pitch line the spread as well. This pattern is effective all over the lake. 

Running down the schooling fish has also been a good pattern, with the fish surfacing consistently enough to make it practical if you are willing to ride and look. I think the lower end is the best for this pattern, but certainly not limited to as there are schoolers showing up all over the lake. Most of the fish are showing up over open water, over major creek channels or the river channel, but I have seen some activity in the pockets or over shallow water. Basically, be diligent abut looking for them as they may show up anywhere. Also, a few Gulls have taken up residency on the lake, note emphasis on a few, so even though they are sparse at present keep an eye on the birds to help locate schoolers. Downsizing may be a plus with smaller baits being a plus. Try the small Sebiles, 1/4 or 3/8 oz buck tails or small spoons like the Castmaster, Little Cleos, and Flex-it Spoons. 

Bass fishing is pretty good, but across the board pattern wise. Fishing humps and brush 18 to 25 feet remains a good pattern, the baits are varied based on the day. Topwater will coerce some strikes, Chug Bugs, Swim Baits, and walking baits are good choices. Spybaits and lightly weighted Flukes are also good choices over the brush. Of course, the worms on the drop shot or Weedless Wonder will also be quick to et the bite around the brush.

With mild surface temps, there are plenty of fish on shallow structures on the main lake in or up in the creeks. Secondary points, blown down trees, rocks, and docks are all good options. Plastics on the Weedless Wonder will have been a consistent producer on these types of structures, with finesse worms, Senkos and trick Worms all being excellent choices. Fishing docks is a good pattern right now and will only get better as we get into November. In addition to the above mentioned plastics, jigs around the docks are also very productive. And of course, as we enter November ditches are coming into play and will also get stronger as the water continues cooling down. Worms and jigs will be effective on this pattern, and last year I had really good success fishing ditches with the Yamamato Hula Grub on the Boogerhead Jig heads.  

We have a good spinnerbait bite going on to supplement the other patterns, big spinnerbaits on wind blown points can be a very productive but notice the “wind blown points” part of that statement. Thats not to say that you will not catch fish without the wind, but typically this pattern is decisively better with the wind. 3/4 and 1 oz baits are generally preferred for this method. The heavier baits allow you to retrieve quickly and keep the bait sub surface. Just cast ‘em up to point, burn it back to the boat quickly and hang on!

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

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

 

 

 

 

 

I’m as happy as a kid at Christmas! Now you might ask what has made me so happy. My surgeon who rebuilt my arm said if I was careful he would release me to go back to the lake and I have my first trip planned in November! Now after being off the water since June I feel like that I’m going to fish harder than ever to make up for lost time. I know that the fishing has been really tough this year and I personally know five full time guides who took other jobs until we see a change in the fishing conditions. Sounds like if I was going to have to take a break from fishing I couldn’t have done it at a better time. Now I’m going to be on the water with Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs and Mini Mack’s pulled behind my Perfect Planer Boards looking for that change in the bite which always seems to be great in the fall and early winter months!  I will report the first signs of the bite as soon as I get those rod’s to bending.  So as I tell my fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find The fish, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool them into biting while Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!

The Lake Hartwell bite still remains poor with the water conditions beginning to change quickly! The lake should turn over very soon and that will greatly improve the fishing! The lake level at the time of this report was 661.27, 1.27 feet above the 660 full pool level. This same time last year the lake was nearly six feet below full pool and the fishing was much better. The current water temperature is holding in the low seventies and will continue dropping every few days during this month if the air temperatures continue to drop into the low forties each night.  

Stripers and Hybrids

Schooling activity has continued to pick up on Lake Hartwell and this begins at day break and lasts until the sun begins to come up and  again in the evenings as the sun goes down behind the tree lines. There’s only one problem with this, all the fish that are being caught are very small, most of them being about a pound. I personally recommend that even though it can be fun to catch fish on top water that if you get into a big school of these knot heads that you leave them so they have an opportunity to survive to grow to the heavy weights that we all love to catch. I know now that it’s not going to be long now before we will be hearing drag being pulled off our reels again and I can feel it in the air that the big fish bite will begin soon. I’m hoping the rain will hold off  for a few days, Zeta gave us plenty of water for awhile. My personally advice is to pull your Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs over humps and into the coves where you see fish breaking. As a rule of thumb the bigger fish usually are only a few feet deeper than the small fish and the umbrellas are the best way to catch the bigger fish. I’ve always had a lot of luck pulling my lighter Captain Mack rigs over long points where the water is much shallower or across under water road beds or ditches where the bigger fish are hanging out. Now everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids is here  now while we begin our fall and winter Instructional Trips, 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 free lines and Planer boards. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. 
  • Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels and Okuma Live Bait rod. 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. 
  • Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition especially if you decide to pull Gizzard Shad this winter and you have them in your tank with your Herring.
  • SteelShad are very effective 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 – Very effective when trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards or on lead core line. Don’t forget that the Mini Mack’s is an excellent bait  to cast at surfacing fish as well. 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The free line bite behind Planer Board will only improve with cooling water temps!  s.

BASS

Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass have been on the slow side but the Spotted Bass fishing has remained excellent with a lot of fish being caught off of Shakey Heads and Flukes as well as live bait while Striper fishing. Lots of patterns will take the Spotted Bass right now. Robo’s on the Weedless Wonder cast around docks, secondary points or brush should keep you plenty busy., The fish all over the place depth wise so be versatile in that regard. SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelHhad 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. The SteelShad is an excellent choice to cast to schooling fish of all species! Captain Mack Mini Mack’s with or without blades, are producing well when cast to points, and humps. This technique will catch some really nice Bass, but make sure your drag is set properly because at some point you are very likely have a Striper or Hybrid try and take it away from you.

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-October 22, 2020

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

Was it the cool down we experienced last week that seems to have really energized fishing? Maybe it was a result of the Corp releasing water to reach the target level of 1069? Both? Either way, we saw an increase in the number of  Stripers schooling on the surface and plenty of Bass moving into shallow water. The surface temp only dropped a couple of degrees, 70 as of Thursday AM, the lake level was a different story. The water level was 1071.52 Thursday morning, .52 above full pool, however that is down 1.78 feet from last week. The weather forecasts looks great going into next week with very mild weather thru the middle or end of next week when our next front approaches. With it likely that the water releases will continue to be strong, and another full moon arriving on the 31st, fishing may be really good for the next few days! 

The Striper patterns are basically the same, with the exception being the increase in schooling activity. I think there has also been an overall improvement in the bite. Down lines are still the big producers, with some really nice schools of fish showing up over the creek channels and the river channel. The fish may be roaming over the channel proper or associated with a flat, point or hump near the channel. This pattern has been effective all over the lake, so I don’t really know if there is a best “area”. Herring are still the bait of choice for this technique, but jigging spoons may also be effective if the fish are very densely grouped up . 

This schooling fish pattern has been pretty strong, with some really nice groups of fish pushing bait to the surface. I think the greatest activity is early and late, but there are some fish showing up throughout the day. This bite can also be very good in the afternoon and evenings. Cast buck tails, wake baits, Chug Bugs, Steelshads and Magic Swimmers to the schools, all have been effective in recent days.  

The after hours Bomber bite has also improved with anglers reporting good catches beginning right when the sun sinks below the tree line. Nothing unusual about this technique, run and gun the saddles, long flat points or shallow humps, the bite is quick if the fish are there! Long a bombers, and McStik jerk baits are staples for this pattern. Dock lights are also holding plenty of fish so that makes for another good pattern to fish after dark or prior to sunup. Flukes, Jerk baits, small buck tails, and live baits on the pitch rod are all good choices for casting to the lights. 

Bass fishing is good and many of the patterns that have been in place are still very effective, just add some shallow water patterns into the mix to complement the deep water patterns. Topwater and swim baits are very viable choices for the Spotted Bass, cast them over brush, points and humps, use the wind to your advantage. Still plenty of fish in the 18 to 25 foot brush/humps but these same baits will also work over shallower targets as well. Small Chuggers, Magic Swimmers, Flukes and walking baits are producing well over these areas. If the fish do not respond to the top waters and swim baits, or you want to show ‘em a change up, swimming a Keitech swim bait over the same areas will also produce well along the Spybaits. If the wind will help you out a little, a big spinnerbait, 1 oz or 3/4 oz, over points and humps can also be a very solid pattern. Anglers have reported some good catches using this bait/technique in recent days. One footnote on the Sebiles: If is really calm, maybe high blue skies, and the fish seem reluctant tot take the bait on or near the surface, let the bait sink to the bottom, or down to 12 to 15 feet then start the retrieve, Often that will trigger the bite! 

Plastics on a drop shot or a Weedless Wonder continue to produce well, with finesse worms, trick worms and Senkos all being good choices. These combos are working well on a variety of sructurtres, brush, points and humps, or just fishing secondary points, rocks and docks. Basically, there are enough shallow fish that the “bank beating” pattern with the plastics will amount for some pretty good numbers.  Fish any points or structures you see, and docks are always worth a cast or two.

We also have some schooling Bass, still sporadic, and lots of single fish or small schools of fish pushing bait mostly early and late. They are catchable if you can get a bait to them, small baits that cast well are the ticket. The Steelshad is always a good choice, Spy baits, Flex-it spoons or sliced spoons will also be effective. 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-October 21, 2020

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

I’m guessing that fall has made it now since we received our first frost this week. I love this time of the year and while others take off to the mountains I just hit the water and it’s amazing to see the beauty in the islands and the backs of the creeks as the leaves change colors. Last year I had the greatest experience as I watched two big bucks fight for a doe that they had pinned on the bank of the lake and it was about this time of the year that it’s very common to see deer and turkey as you pull Planer Boards quietly in the backs of Lake Hartwell creeks. It’s not going to be long now with forecast of much cooler weather predicted this whole week that the schooling fish will be at their peak. I personally have decided to hit the water this November under protest from a few that have done a great job in helping me recover from my surgery in June. In my best opinion fishing is good medicine and I’m ready to hit the water in time to get in on some of the schooling activity that has already began. So as I tell my fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find The fish, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool them into biting while Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

This week’s picture is of a good friend of mine named Dale Gilbert who is one of the weathermen from New Channel 4 WYFF who loves to Striper fish. We already have trips planned for 2021These fish were caught during the spring spawn.

The Lake Hartwell bite still remains fair with the water conditions beginning to change quickly for fishing. The lake should turn over very soon and that will have a big effect in the fishing improving. The levels at the time of this report are 661.31 which are.1.31 feet above the 660 full pool levels. This same time last year the lake was nearly six feet below full pool and the fishing was much better. The current water temperature is holding in the low seventies and will continue dropping every few days during this month if the air temperatures continue to drop into the low forties each night.  

Stripers and Hybrids

Schooling activity has picked up on Lake Hartwell and this begins at day break and last until the sun begins to come up and then again in the evenings as the sun goes down behind the tree lines. Many of the fish that are being caught are smaller with the largest being about a pound. Small Buck tail jigs, Steelshads, and the smaller Sebiles are all good options to cast to the schoolers. On these smaller fish, I know they can be fun to catch , but they represent our future and letting them go and grow may be beneficial to our fishery in the coming years. . I’m hoping the rain will hold off long enough for the lake levels to drop a couple of feet which would make the winter fishing conditions perfect. My personally advice is to pull your Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs over humps and into the coves where you see fish breaking. As a rule of thumb the bigger fish usually are only a few feet deeper than the small fish and the umbrellas are the best way to catch the bigger fish. I also have had a lot of luck pulling my lighter Captain Mack Mini Mack rigs over long points where the water is much shallower or across under water road beds or ditches where the bigger fish are hanging out. Now everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids is here  now while we begin our fall and winter Instructional Trips, 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, Behind the Perfect Planer, and free lines. All three methods are producing and you you’ll do to be prepared to use them all. 
  • 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. It is a versatile setup that will cover almost any type of live bait fishing you will do on Hartwell or other area lakes. 
  • Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition especially if you decide to pull Gizzard Shad this winter and you have them in your tank with your herring.
  • SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish, and a must have for this time of year. 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 . These rigs offer incredible versatility. They are excellent to cast to surfacing fish or to points and humps and especially productive for Stealth trolling!

BASS

Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass and Spotted Bass fishing has remained excellent with a lot of fish being caught off of Shakey Heads and Flukes as well as live bait while Striper fishing.  It seems that every year we catch more and more Spotted Bass than the year before and right now top water baits will get the job done as the Spotted Bass are schooling somewhere on Lake Hartwell everyday. Drop shots around the brush and humps are also very effective, your favorite Roboworm in the 6 or 4.5 inch model will get the bite, and on the really tough days try the smaller Roboworm Alive Shad.  Lake hartwell Fishing Marine carries a great selection of Robo’s so stop by and check them out!

  • 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. Big Spots are crushing the MIni’s , cast them to the tops of humps, over brush, long tapering points or around the bridges. 
  • Ned Rigs, hard and soft Jerk Baits, and Sebile magic Swimmers.  
  • Flukes of several different sizes and colors. 

CRAPPIE

  It’s time to get those Crappie rigs all set up! I’m getting some good reports of Crappie being caught dock shooting and fishing old and new brush piles. It won’t be many more days and I will have some first-hand information as I’m ready to go!

Go to Baits.

  • Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. Dock Shooting has been very good, the Bobby Garland on a Jighead has been bring’em in! Heavier Jigheads may be a plus on the deeper docks or brush, and a minnow under a slip cork is a good choice over the brush piles. 
  • 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.
  • Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s always a good idea to see what to check with your local retail outlet to find out what is the best bait or color! Use the SI on your Humminbird Solix or Helix graph to locate the fish on the docks. Ride until you se then usually a fish fry in quickly in the works!
  • 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-October 16, 2020

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

Last week I stated  “lake conditions had been pretty stable” which has not been the case this past week. With the remnants of Hurricane Delta creating a big rain dump in the Lanier watershed, we saw the lake level rise over 3 feet in less than 48 hours! We are currently 1073.30, 2.30 feet over full pool. That is up 2.50 feet from last week. Fyi, the Corps is planning to pull the lake down to 1069 by the end of November to complete a maintenance project on the dam. That means they will be have to be releasing a lot of water to reach that number, which could be a big plus to fishing! Check the generation schedule to use this circumstance to your advantage. The lake temperature is still right at 72 degrees, that’s been pretty constant for almost 4 weeks now. That will likely fall as the weather forecast indicates some cooler temps, lows into the 40’s for the weekend! 

The Striper bite has been ok. The fish are scattered, vertically and horizontally, with a wide range of applicable techniques and methods. Overall, I think the down line bite is still the best overall pattern, with many fish being taken in 30 to 50 feet over a 35 to 90 foot bottom. The fish may orient to the areas adjacent to the river channel or back up in the creeks. Flats, points and humps near the channels are likely areas to look for fish. You do not have to see a ton of fish to warrant dropping a bait, a few fish will often turn into a bunch once you start dropping the baits. Blue backs have been the baits of choice, with a few anglers reporting taking some fish down lining small Gizzard Shad. If you get them really piled up under the bait, try dropping a spoon to them, a Flex-it or Super Spoon, or Jig n Shad will be effective if the fish are grouped up Densely enough. 

Casting top waters or swim baits to points and humps will account for a few fish, the key here is to move fast and cover plenty of water, it’s very much a numbers game. This pattern varies in intensity from day to day, and can be very weather influenced. This bite is also often good in the middle of the day or into the afternoon, so don’t give up on this technique after the first part of the day. As a general guideline, keep your boat positioned in 30 feet and cast to the point or top of the high spot, expecting the bite to occur over a 15 to 25 foot bottom. These parameters may change on any given day so watch the sonar to see where the greatest activity is, take note of what depth the boat is positioned in, and where the fish was on the strike. Sometimes you’ll be able to establish a pattern that will increase your efficiency. 

The Bomber bite has been somewhat slow to ramp up, not sure why that is, perhaps as the water cools that will become stronger.  While there have been a few anglers taking some fish casting Bombers and Jerk baits to the points and saddles, the dock lights are probably a more productive pattern. Small buck tails, jerk baits, Keitech’s on the lead head, or live baits on the pitch rod are all likely choices for the lights. Lights in a variety of depths in the creek backs or towards the main lake may produce.

While the schooling fish are sporadic at best, they may show up so be prepared when they do. Many anglers have reported being in some nice schools of fish that were really hard to catch? Often at this point in the year they will key on very small baits and it your bait does not match the size of what they are feeding on they will often totally ignore your offering. Small buck tails or Flies under a casting bubble, 1/2 Flex -its or Jig N Shads, and the 95 Sebiles will give you some options that are size appropriate. Down sizing your line will be a plus allowing you to fish these smaller baits effectively and increasing casting distance.  

The bass bite has been pretty good, with many applicable baits and patterns. Top waters have been producing well, the type of bait varies with the weather, but the small Chug Bug and the Magic Swimmers have been consistent producers. The fish are locking in to smaller baits so the smaller Sebiles, 110 and 95’s may also be good choices to “match the hatch”, as is the 1/2 Flex it or Nichols Mojo Spoon.

Another good pattern is to fish small secondary points with a Weedless Wonder with either a finesse worm, trick worm or Senko, The fish may be anywhere from 10 to 20 feet deep, in cover of roaming around a clean bottom. While you are soaking the worm, watch for schooling fish to show up. If there is bait around chances are the fish will push the bait to the top so have a bait  ready to cast. Tim Hawkins from Hammonds recommends casting the 72 Duo Spybait to the schoolers. It is small enough to match up with the small Shad but weighs in at 1/2 oz., allowing that little bit of extra distance on the cast to reach the fish that like to appear about 10 feet further than you can cast. 

Casting subsurface baits over the brush is also a good tactic, a lightly weighted fluke and the Keitech 3.3 or 3.8 inch baits on a 1/4 head are very good choices for this pattern. After you have throughly worked the brush with the moving baits, cast a drop shot to the brush to get a couple of add on bites. Rig the drop shot with your favorite finesse worm or the Roboworm Alive Shad!

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-October 14, 2020

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

This past week was great for football but not so great for fishing but don’t stop reading here. Now if you didn’t mind getting wet you would not have had such a tough time this past week but as of this Monday the lake was back up over full pool with a level of 661.90. That’s a lot of water since last week’s report and it all came from the remnants of hurricane Delta. If you look back over this year’s reports and the low numbers of Striper and Hybrid catch’s you might tend to agree with me that one of the main problems with catching Stripers this year had everything to do with the lake being over full pool or higher than normal almost all year. This same date in 2019 Lake Hartwell was four plus feet below full pool and the fishing was good most of the year as the water levels remained much lower. Now for some positive news, I personally saw a really big school of fish working bait in the mouth of my cove this past Saturday morning from my dock. There was about an acre of fish and they were feeding aggressively! It was very overcast and raining and I don’t have to guess what species I was looking at. My grandkids were fishing off the dock in the rain when the fish came up and no one had anything heavy enough to throw to them. What a time not to have a boat in the water or a Mini Mack or a Captain Mack Chipmunk rigged! This was all I needed to see to know that the bite is fixing to be good again and the fish are moving into their winter locations and preparing to feed their winter patterns. It’s not going to be long now with forecast of much cooler weather predicted by this weekend with the possibility of our first frost by Saturday with weather in the low forties. Now is the time to locate and load the boat with your winter tools and apply the techniques and tactics that will put fish in the boat once again. So as I tell my 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 them 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 quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 661.09 which are.1.09 feet above the 660 full pool levels so in the last two or three days the Corp  of Engineers have been dropping the lake levels at a steady pace. This same time last year the lake was two feet below full pool and the fishing was much better. The current water temperature is holding in the low seventies and will continue dropping every week during this month if the air temperatures drop into the fifties as predicted.  Our first frost is predicted for Lake Hartwell this Saturday with the air temperatures dropping into the very low forties.

Stripers and Hybrids

Still not much to report for Hybrids and Stripers this week with everyone stating that fishing has been a bummer with rods not bending but this is normal when you spend about half the time on the water as normal and the rest of the time in the woods now with deer season open in many areas. I feel that this will change soon as I’ve seen my first big school of fish feeding on top in the mouth of my cove the past Saturday morning.  With cooler weather on the way, It’s not going to be long now we will be hearing drag being pulled off our reels again. I’m hoping the rain will hold off long enough for the lake levels to drop a couple of feet which would make the winter fishing conditions perfect. Now everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids is here while we begin our winter Instructional Trips, 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 allow you to keep your bait healthier and increase the amount of  bait you can carry. 
  • SteelShad’s are one of the best baits to cast to surfacing fish. The Minis have been very effective lately and work well when the fish are keying in on smaller baits..
  • 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.

BASS

Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass fishing has remained good with a lot of fish being caught off of Shakey Heads and Flukes. Lake Hartwell has developed into a very good Spotted Bass Fishery it seems that every year we catch more and more Spotted Bass than the year before. Top water baits have been really productive lately, along with the following baits: 

  • 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 Mini is an excellent choice when the fish start locking in on small baits, 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, have been catching plenty of fish, Spots and Largemouths. Cast the Minis to the points, humps or to any schooling fish you see!
  • Ned Rigs and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. The Ned rigs are always a good choice and can be a lifesaver on the days the fish get really picky.
  • Flukes of several different sizes and colors. 
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head paired with your favorite Robo Worm. Cast this rig to docks, points, brush, and ditches, This is the most consistent 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

  It will not be long now and the Crappie bite will begin to peak. When this happens I will begin the reports again so we can help put you on some good fish. 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-October 9, 2020

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

Fishing has been pretty stable in the last few days, as have the weather and the lake conditions. After an elevated rain chance Sunday through next Monday the 12th, it looks like a return to another stretch of very pleasant weather. The lake level dropped .43 feet over the last week to 1070.80, .20 feet below full pool. The surface temps remained stable at 73. 

STRIPER FISHING

The Striper bite still revolves around the down lines with the fish continuing to cruise open water/channel areas in 35 to 60 feet. This has been the dominant pattern, almost like you would fish during the summer months. The fish are showing up all over the lake, with anglers using this basic pattern on the lower, middle and upper parts of the lake. Herring have been the dominant bait, but there are a few fish being taken on Gizzard Shad as well. Down lines are the best producers, but pitch lines are also accounting for some extra  bites. Fish are showing up in a variety of areas, over the channels, sometimes around the periphery of deeper humps and points, and there are some fish in the backs of the creeks.  Search these ares until you see fish, often  they are in some very big schools, but even just a few fish are worth sending a bait to, and often a few will turn into a bunch. Again, think summer on this technique.

There are a few surfacing fish showing up, mostly early, so keep that in mind. The Sebile Magic Swimmers are still a great choice to cast at the schoolers, but small bucks tails and walking baits are also good choices. You can also catch a few just casting the above mentioned baits to points and humps, again mostly early but not limited to the am. Wind and clouds will enhance this pattern as well. 

Trolling is also accounting for a few fish, mostly pulling the rigs over the humps, with a few fish being caught by anglers pulling lead core over the open water areas. Targeting the humps will work almost anywhere on the lake, but that pattern may be a little stronger in the middle part of the lake, and the fish seem to be slightly shallower when you get above Browns Bridge. So target humps and points 25 to 40 feet and hopefully you can define that depth range into a smaller number which will make you more efficient. Both methods can be good ways to locate fish and you can always switch over to the down lines once you locate a big groups

The Dock lights are starting to produce some pretty good numbers of fish if you are out early or late. Live baits on a pitch rod, Jerk baits, and small buck tails will all be effective on the nights. If you like to target the Stripers on the fly, the lights offer an excellent opportunity to take a fish on the fly rod  Lanier Fly Fishing Guide Henry Cowen suggest 3 to 5 inch Flies, either the Coyote or Cowen’s baitfish should be quick to get the bite. 

BASS FISHING

Bass fishing is pretty good, with several patterns producing well. The Sebile Magic Swimmers are still accounting for good numbers, you can cast them over the brush, to humps and wind blown points. Top waters and flukes would also be effective for this pattern. The small Chug Bugs have been doing well, especially on the slick, windless days, as is the Fluke. If you get a little help from the wind the larger Chug Bug or walking baits may draw a better response. Spybaits and Steelshads are good options if you need something surface to get the bite. 

The drop shot rig is still very reliable, and although it may not catch as many of the really big fish as some other baits it will consistently produce, it will catch plenty of very nice keepers and there will be the occasional big fish mixed in. Brush, points and humps are all good areas to target the fish with the drop shot. If you go into the middle part of the lake, and the bite is good in that section of the lake, secondary clay points are holding decent numbers of fish. Worms on the shakey, top waters, and Flukes are all good choices here, and this pattern will produce some pretty good numbers. 

Vertically Jigging Spoons is a secondary pattern, but may be worth a look, Dropping the spoons around brush, anomalies in the creek channels, or bait concentrations will get you a few extra bites, and having the spoon tied on is a plus if you have surfacing fish pop up within casting distance! 

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-October 7, 2020

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

 

Okay this week I’m going to keep it short and sweet, well what I’m reporting may not come off very sweet but it will be the gospel truth. What do you call four guide boats lined up at the dock after a day of fishing and some guides who on many occasions will hardly speak to each other circled around each other in a deep conversation? I call that  “confused”! Hartwell Striper Guides are a different group than most and on many occasions if they tell you to go up the lake you had better go a different direction. Right now we are in a calm that goes beyond understanding and we are all putting our heads together to try to figure this out. The solution is just waiting a couple more weeks and the Stripers and Hybrids will appear again and there should be a plenty of them. I’ve been in contact with several Biologists and they are finding a lot of fish and when they shock them up there are no doubt that they are Hybrids and Stripers. So why did the Stripers and Hybrids suddenly stop biting this year, well my best guess is it has something to do with the high water all summer, but that’s just a guess. In a few weeks the fish will have found their way back into the upper waters of the lake and it will be much harder for them to hide.  They should resume feeding aggressively getting ready for that  onset of colder water temps that winter will bring.  So check back with me and see if I’m right! It’s not going be uncommon to see fish schooling on big pods of bait as they make their way back up the lake at the same time during October. 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 quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 659.73 which are.0.27 feet below the 660 full pool levels with coastal rain from a hurricane moving in by this weekend which gives us the chance of one or two inches of rain fall depending on the direction and speed of the storm. This same time last year the lake was two feet below full pool. The current water temperature is 73.8 and will begin dropping every night during this month if the air temperatures drop into the fifties. 

Stripers and Hybrids

Not much to report for Hybrids and Stripers this week with everyone stating that fishing has been a bummer with rods not bending. Let me give you my best reason to go fishing during these times. The fish are going to bite very soon and many of them will be schooling, I can’t know that or catch these fish if I’m not on the water. Mom never had to call me more than one time for supper and the fish will not call me and tell me that today is the day they are going to bite, so being there will be an experience that you want forget. Now everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids is here 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.
  • Okuma Cold Water CW203D or CW354D Reels paired with the Okuma7’6” live bait rod. Either reel makes this rod and reel pair 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 keeping your fish healthy and active! Notice I said fish and not bait? O2 is a huge plus for keeping gamefish alive for a weigh in. So if you are a tournament angler, look at adding this to your boat. O2 will maintain your catch and insure your catch is weighed in alive and released back into the lake alive. 
  • 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! Pulling them over the humps and points in 25 to 35 feet of water is a great way to search for and catch the Stripers and Hybrids!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – cast ‘em to schoolers, or to the points and humps and you should find Striper, Hybrids and Spotted bass will respond to this versatile bait. They are also very effective when flat line or Stealth trolled!
  • 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.

BASS

The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass School Tournaments have started and these young fishermen will not take defeat very easily. They have what we all use to have, a lot of heart when they hit the water and getting skunked is not in their vocabulary. Shakey Heads and Flukes got the job done this past weekend and it was all smiles at the weigh in. There are some hard hitting and heavy Spotted Bass on Lake Hartwell and if you will work at it some you will never come home without having a rod bent. If these young folks can do it all we have to do is show the same determination that they have. 

  • 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.
  • Flukes of several different sizes and colors. ( Hot this past week)
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Green Shiner or Bold Bluegill Robo Worm.  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! ( Bold Bluegill was hot this week)

 I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when the water 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. 

Go tWishing 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-October 3, 2020

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

Very seasonally appropriate temperatures accompanied the arrival of Fall, enough so that you probably broke out the hoodie last week, at least for that first boat ride! Similar weather looks to be in the trend until late in the week when our next cold front is forecast to approach raising the rain chance. The lake level on Saturday the 3rd was 1071.23, down .31 feet from last week but remaining over full pool by .23 feet. The surface temp was 71 degrees. 

October can often be a challenging month with the conditions that the turnover brings, but this year fishing has been pretty good throughout that process. The Striper bite has evolved into primarily a deepwater downline bite, with some secondary patterns to supplement that. The fish are also using the whole lake, so the playing field is larger than in was three or four weeks ago, with fish being taken from the dam to the upper ends of lake. So, load up a tank of Herring, start searching around major points/humps along the river channel river, on the river channel proper, or points and flats adjacent to the major creek channels. You may locate fish almost anywhere, but the middle part of the lake may be the most consistent. As a general guideline, the fish have been suspended from 35 to 50 feet over a 50 to 90 foot bottom. 

There is also a topwater/swim bait bite going on, I would consider this a secondary pattern, but it will produce some bites. This technique seems to be better when the weather if conducive, which means clouds, rain and wind be beneficial to this type of fishing. Sebile Magic Swimmer 125’s have been a favorite for this, but walking baits and poppers may also produce, with the bigger nosier baits being better in the wind. The schooling fish are hit and miss, probably more miss lately, but I would still keep a buck tail, Steelshad or spoon tied on and ready to cast. I think he surest way to up the odds of seeing surfacing fish is to not be prepared and ready to cast to them. 

Night fishing is producing some fish, with the traditional pattern of casting Bombers and jerk baits to sand saddles and points yielding some fish. The fish are also starting to congregate on the dock lights, with the dock lights probably being the better of these two options. However, casting the old faithful Bomber is producing and will probably get better as we move further into October. The fish on the lights will respond to a variety of baits, small buck tails, jerk baits, Sebiles and of course a pitch bait, so extending your day past dark may be with quite a few extra bites. 

Bass fishing has been good, but like the Stripers there are several patterns working and the fish are on a several patterns and using in a variety of depths. Top waters are catching some very nice fish, walking baits and poppers are both strong, and let the weather dictate which size and style of bait you choose. The Sebile Magic Swimmers in the 125 size have been a staple for the Bass fisherman, along with Chug Bugs, Zara Spooks, and the Flukes. 

We have a pretty good spoon bite going on, with fish responding to Jig N Shad’s, and Flex-It Spoons. There are really two patterns here: one is to find concentrations of Threadfin Shad on or near the bottom and a fish the spoon around the bait Schools. You can also drop the spoon around structures, tree lines, ditches, and deep brush piles. I think most of us have trained ourselves to think the spoons are only effective in very deep water, often fish as shallow as 18 to 25 feet will often respond to vertical jigging, so do not limit yourself to water that is 30 feet plus. This spoon bite will generally only get better as the water cools, so spending time with this pattern will be very worthwhile. 

With the water temps in the low 70’s there are also some shallow fish roaming the banks or holding on 5 to 15 foot structures, especially in the creek backs, and the middle and upper parts of the lake. Small secondary clay points have consistenly held fish, and the worm on a shakey has been the ticket here. Your favorite finesse worm and the Trick worms have been producing well. Other structures to try are blow downs and docks, the worm/shakey combos will be effective on these types of areas as well!   

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-September 30, 2020

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

It’s here the beginning of the fall bite and a great time to go fishing and have the lake to yourself as many Striper fishermen are in the woods now that deer season has opening up. I’m not able to deer hunt so you know where I will be spending my time. The month of October really is one of my favorite months to catch fish as they are much easier to find and catch as they start moving back up the lake away from the deeper waters of the dam and they feed aggressively as the water temperatures start to drop every week which tells them it’s time to fatten up for winter. With air temperatures forecast to drop into the forties over the next couple of weeks during the evening and only getting up into the high fifties to low sixties you need to be looking for the bait and fish to be on the move quickly as the water changes. This means the bite will be strong and it will not be uncommon to see fish schooling on big pods of bait as they make their way back up the lake at the same time. 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 quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.02 which are.0.02 feet above the 660 full pool levels with very heavy rain from this past week. This same time last year the lake was two feet below full pool. The current water temperature is into the lower-seventies and will begin to drop quickly if we continue to get these cool evenings. As soon as the lake makes a complete turn over you will see a huge difference in the fishing.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell is fixing to make a big change. For those who have had a tough summer locating and catching fish this will be changing any day now as large schools of Stripers and Hybrids headed back to the creeks and rivers in the upper lake where they will ride out the rest of fall and all the winter months. This is a great time to catch a lot of fish and there’s so many ways to catch them. Live bait, jigging spoons, Captain Mack Umbrellas will all put fish in the boat. The best thing to remember is the colder it gets to more fish you will catch on artificial baits because when the water gets really cold they will not chase live bait. Usually by January I’m pulling my umbrellas rigs every trip. Working a Captain Mack’s Mini Mack or vertically fishing a  Super Spoon always gets the job done.  October and November are great months to take an Instructional Trip. 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, behind planer boards, or on freelines. 
  • Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels and a 7’6” Okuma Live Bait Rod. 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. Not only for keeping bait alive but gamefish as well. If you are a tournament angler, using O2 on your catch will vitally guarantee no dead fish at weigh in!
  • SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. You can cast it a mile and almost any type of gamefish will eat them!
  • Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. A great tool for catching, and searching for fish! 
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – Incredibly versatile bait! Cast them  to schoolers or troll them on a flat line, behind a Perfect Planer, or stealth troll them!
  • Perfect Planer Boards. A great tool for live bait fishing, or slow trolling the Mini’s!!
  • BASS

The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite continues to be good. The BassMaster Opens were fished this past week on Lake Hartwell September 23rd – 25th for the Eastern Open.  Patrick Walters from Summerville SC won the tournament with a three day total weigh in of 44.5 pounds with second and third place not far behind. To tell you these boats were on the move would be an understatement. Most anglers were chasing the bait that was being chased by the bass. Most anglers reported burning some fuel running and gunning looking for fish! The top water bite was hot with many fish being caught off of different colors and sizes of flukes. If you are interested in a top water bite and hooking up on some big Spotted Bass now is the time to hit the water.

  • 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. Cast the Mini to surfacing fish, humps and points, or around the bridge pillars
  • Flukes of several different sizes and colors.
  • Sebile Magic Swimmers, cast them to the points and hang on!

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.

  • The Bobby Garland is the go to, brush piles, Crappie Condos, or shooting the docks are all good areas to target. Fish the fish on the side imaging and they should be quick to bite! Check with your local retailer to see which color is performing the best!
  • 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.
  • 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. The side imaging feature is a must for Crappie 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 please call Captain Mack Farr at – 770-235-8135

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-September 25, 2020

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

The first week of fall, which officially began Tuesday the 22nd at 9:31 am, brought in some cooler air temps which dropped the water temps down to 72 degrees. The surface temps were around 82 degrees two weeks ago so that is a significant drop in that time frame. Fishing conditions have changed accordingly, and fall patterns are in play. Lake levels dropped slightly from this time last week, .10 feet to a level of 1071.54, .54 feet over full pool. Our long term forecast indicates really nice weather for the weekend, followed by a rain chance Monday and Tuesday, then some very fall like temperatures for the remainder of the week. FYI, a couple of noteworthy events this week: Saturday the 26th is National Hunting and Fishing Day! Georgia residents will NOT need a license to fish on any public waters in the State! The October Full Moon occurs on Thursday the 1st, so their you go, I have provided you with two excellent excuses to get out on the lake! 

The Striper bite has been pretty good, with some ups and downs and the expected movement associated with the turnover. The patterns are varied, and the shallow water patterns have been much better with lowlight conditions and wind. The biggest change is probably the number of fish that are in deeper water, 40 to 60 feet down over a 60 to 80 foot bottom. Live Herring on the downline have been producing well on this pattern, with fish over open water or on points and around humps. 

The topwater bite is still producing fish, Redfins, walking baits, and Magic swimmers are all good choices. Many days this bite has been good mid day or late into the evening, with the surface activity generally being best the last couple hours of the day. If you are not seeing fish chasing bait on the surface, blind cast the topwater/swim bait to points and humps. Keep the boat in 30 feet and cast to the banks, the bite may occur anywhere from the bank to the boat, but I think most of the strikes will be over a 15 to 20 foot bottom. 

Trolling the umbrella rigs over 35 foot humps remains a viable pattern although not as strong as it was in recent weeks. The 3 oz. 9 bait 4 arm rigs seem to be the strongest on this pattern, either buck tails or swim bait rigs, and if you see fish on the crest of the high spot they will generally take the rig. This pattern has diminished in the last few days because the fish have not been on the high spots in the numbers that we saw during most of September, with more fish staying in the deeper water on the periphery of the high spots. This bite has been generally best In the afternoons and evenings. When you are trolling the humps and start seeing see fish around the humps, switch to the downlines, keying on any points that tail off of the high spots into the 60 to 80 foot water.  

Many of you have asked about the after dark Bomber bite, and I can’t really give you a good report as I have not been out to try yet. I tweet that bite sneak up on me this year, usually by now I have been out there several times if the weather is decent. It should be full on, water temp is almost perfect and with a full Moon bearing down on us Thursday, a little after hours fishing may be a very worthwhile endeavor! I’ll update accordingly next week!

Bass fishing is ok, a lot of movement and inconsistency, typical stuff we have to deal with during the turnover. The shallow patterns that really became energized when the remnants of Hurricane Sally passed over North Georgia will still be effective, and that type of cloudy, rainy windy weather seems to really influence those patterns. The topwater/swimbait bite may also may be very good mid day and in the evening, not limited to early am. So, use the run and gun method to maximize this bite, and it is effective on there main lake or in the creeks. 

While the previously mentioned pattern is the main focus of most fishermen, here are a couple of other options that are also producing pretty well. Clay points in the middle and upper parts of the lake are producing some good numbers of fish, a trick worm on a Weedless Wonder has been a consistent producer. The bite may occur anywhere from 5 to 20 feet, weather will again be a big factor on the depth of the fish. There are also some fish on wood that will respond to Flukes and Chatterbaits. This bite is all better in the middle part of the lake, or creek backs on the lower end. After Thursday’s rain we should have some stained water that you may be able to use to your advantage Don’t forget the docklights, if you are out prior to sunup or after dark. They are becoming more prolific with the onset of cooling water temps. Jerk baits, Flukes, and bucktails are all good choices to cast to fish roaming the lights!

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-September 23, 2020

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

Welcome to fall, it did not sneak up on us this year as the air temperatures dropped and if you caught yourself on the lake this past weekend wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt you most likely were seen talking to yourself about the chill that kept running up your backbone. This past Saturday was a special day for me because I got to see my boat pull out of the driveway just before daylight on its way to the lake. The only thing missing was I was not going to be in it but one of my very best friends in this world Lester Hughes who I met during an Instructional Trip last year was kind enough to come get my boat my fishing gear and best of all my three grandsons and take them fishing. Now I know what some of you may be thinking, you let someone else take everything that means the world to you fishing and in your own boat, you bet I did and I’ll do it again. If you have ever talked with me on the water or tried to schedule an Instructional Trip you know by now that every other weekend no matter what the situation I take my three grandsons fishing and let me tell you these boys can fish. Now that the doctor has me off the lake until I completely heal I’ve had to watch them come over every other weekend with all their gear and walk down to the dock and spend their day fishing one area and they usually catch fish and even if they don’t they never give up. So to see the look on their faces when I told them that Lester was going to take them fishing in my boat this past Saturday was worth everything to me. Now the boys love to hook up with a Striper or Hybrid and I usually can make that happen without a problem but Lester is an old Bass Tournament fisherman and he knows how to catch fish so the boys got the opportunity to fish for Stripers and a bunch of green fish all in the same day and that was like winning the lottery to them. They had a great day and boated some good Spots as they learned some things as they picked their guides brain. I can tell you this they had a blast caught a good bunch of green fish and will be ready to go again whenever Lester decides to take them again. My boat had been sitting long enough and it needed running and it needed some fish hooked up and flopping on the deck. I’m getting better and it should not be long before I will be fishing again! Late fall or early winter is the target date, with or without my doc’s permission. A Special thanks to Lester for thinking enough about me to take my boat to the lake and let my grandsons tag along for a fun day of fishing. A person with friends can call their selves BLESSED and I’m truly blessed! 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 quickly for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.46 which are.0.46 feet above the 660 full pool levels with very heavy rain from this past week. This same time last year the lake was two feet below full pool. The current water temperature is into the high seventies and will begin to drop quickly if we continue to get these cool evenings. There have been some storms over Lake Hartwell over the last week that dropped as much as five inches of rain that’s still running in from all the creeks and rivers that feed the lake. As soon as the lake makes a complete turn over you will see a huge difference in the fishing.

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell still remains as tough as I’ve ever seen or heard in all my years of fishing for Stripers or Hybrids. Just as a follow up to what I hear and know about what’s happening on the lake is this past weekend there was a Striper Tournament on the lake and not one single Striper or Hybrid was caught! Now there were not that many folks Striper fishing but the ones that where on the water are some of the best on the lake. So what’s up, first of all let me tell you that the lake is not empty of Stripers and Hybrids. The Biologist I talked with last week said when they shock fish up on Hartwell they have no problems finding numbers of Stripers and Hybrids. So let me tell you that how I explain it best to my grandkids the best I know how. I believe that the lake has been way to full all year, so hear me out. At the end of the day we know that when we leave the dock we will never cover the nearly one thousand miles of shoreline that Hartwell offers. Now let’s break it down in how hard it can be to catch fish when the lake is full. I have a big bait tank in the front of my boat and when the day of fishing is over with I usually ask one of my grandsons to catch the bait out of the tank and cast them back into the lake. Now if there’s a bunch of bait left the first dozen are not hard to catch but wait until you get down to five or six. It’s then that the bait tank seems like it has one thousand miles of shoreline and when it gets to catching the last one or two it feels like you’re trying to catch them out of the ocean. Now let’s talk about making things easier, pump the water level down in the tank and the lower it gets the easier it is to catch the bait so now when I ask one of the boys to empty the bait tank they have found that they lower the water level first by pumping some water out and then they have no problem catching the left over bait. So let’s put it into perspective, when the Lake Hartwell water levels fall below full pool the Striper fishing is always better and when the Striper fishing gets better it doesn’t take long for the word to get out the when, where and how to catch them. Fall is now here and that is a good thing because the fish will move into smaller areas where the fish will be easier to catch when they move back into the upper lake as it gets cooler and cooler. I’ve been kidding a bunch of folks that the fish are just waiting for me to get back on the water, I promise you there’s no truth in that but by the time I’m able to hit the water again the fish will be just where I want them to be and they will be much easier to catch. So with the fish that we know that are already in the lake and and the numbers of fish stocked over the last two years, it’s going to get better and better very soon! Let me assure you that I know personally that even though that there are not as many Stripers and Hybrids in the lake as what we saw many years ago, there are still a big number of fish in the lake and if you do your homework you will find them and catch them. 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 – Great for Stealth trolling, flat line trolling, trolled on the Perfect Planer Boards or casting to surfacing fish!
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite is cranking up and will only improve with cooling water temps. Get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.

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 Opens will be fished this week 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. 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 rigged with a Bold Bluegill Robo Worm. 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 18, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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