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Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-September 9, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for September 09, 2020

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

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

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

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

Go to baits for this week.

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

BASS

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

  • SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelShad is working the best on points in the mornings when the bait is shallow. The Heavy Series is working over schools of bait in the main lake. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s with or without blades, both work great. This bait is catching some hogs while being fished off of deeper points or around bridges and docks.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits as well.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head in Green Pumpkin. Use the plastic of your choice. This is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder Shakey Head!

CRAPPIE

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

Go to Baits.

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

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

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

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-September 3, 2020

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Super Spin Bucktail Jig

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-September 2, 2020

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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

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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