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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 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 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

 

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 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