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Lake Hartwell Fishing Report-September 23, 2020

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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 August 6, 2020

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

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for August 07, 2020

So I’ve proved it once again, Lake Hartwell is good medicine and even on a tough day the lake can put some pick me up in your steps. This past week I was invited to my son’s camp site at Watsadlers camp ground just in site of the Lake Hartwell dam for a cook out and some rest and relaxation. What a chill pill for this old fisherman who is off limits to a boat right now but able to sit down at a picnic table with the smell of hamburgers cooking close by and the lapping of Lake Hartwell water on the bank just feet away from me, well how do you describe blessed in a few words? I just did! From my view point I would guess that the evening bite is still good as I saw a lot of fishing boats running and gunning before the sun started to set. August is a great time to catch fish on Lake Hartwell especially during the late afternoon or early evening and you never know when you are going to find a school of fish that are schooled up and feeding aggressively. Keep in mind that the late afternoon bite is always a good time to get out and try many of the things you learned in one of your Lake Hartwell Instructional Trips earlier in the year. This week I will begin sharing some information that you will need to get you through the next couple of months of HOT weather and you already know that you are free to call me at any time. The information that I will be providing will be first-hand information provided to me from several of the best fishermen on Lake Hartwell as well as information from my personal log book that I don’t normally share. 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 good with the water conditions remaining favorable for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 659.82 which are.0.18 feet below the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperature is into the high- eighties and has been holding at these temperatures over the hot days we have experienced this week. The Army Corp of Engineers will continue with their normal summertime generating schedules now that the summer demands are in full swing. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power. 

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has been good but it still has been an early morning and late evening bite. My log book shows that last year and in past years that I have always caught fish by fishing a clean bottom very close to the main river channels in sixty to eighty feet of water within a mile or two of the dam. When you locate one of these places some light drumming will help get the bite started so don’t forget your drumming skills. This works good in the morning as well as in the evenings. I always have found that this is the best time to Power Reel a Chipmunk Jig when you get the fish ganged up under the boat. When the live bait bite slows down as the sun gets high in the sky and the fish move to deeper waters and in many cases the bigger fish you came out to catch head for the river channels then you’re in luck if you have your Umbrella Rigs in the boat. I personally have talked with several good Striper and Hybrid fishermen who are catching most of their fish before daybreak and the rest are being found and caught suspending and trolling Umbrella rigs over these fish. While trolling if you mark a large school of fish in the river channel suspended be sure to throw out a marker and go back and Power Reel these fish also and you may just catch the bigger ones out of these schools. The late afternoon is productive and I know that there are several Striper and Hybrid fishermen fishing under sodium vapor lights in the river channel right in front of the dam. I don’t fish after dark in the evening but years ago I caught my share and had a bunch of fun night fishing on anchor waiting on the bait and the fish to come to me. Now is still a good time of the year to climb into a boat that teaches all the different method’s that you can use to locate fish and catch Stripers and Hybrids while learning all the seasonal patterns that Stripers and Hybrids follow as well as the best ways to catch these fish during these different seasons. Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids but if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat, book and take that trip. This could be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

  • Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
  • This has been my first week to pair up the Okuma Live Bait Rods with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing.
  • Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during a hot day and increase your odds of catching fish.
  • 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 Perfect Planer Boards. 
  • Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards will return later in the fall so now is a good time to get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.
  • Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling or while pulling 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 and Hawg Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.

BASS

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

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

CRAPPIE

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

Go to Baits.

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

LAKE LANIER FISHING REPOR -July 9 , 2020

 

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

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

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

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

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

those

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-June 19, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report June 17, 2020

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Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for June 17, 2020

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

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

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

The Striper and Hybrid fishing has been great with many improvements with several days this past week producing some quality fish. The fish have returned to a normal pattern with the early morning bite being a fast and furious bite right at daylight if you find yourself in the right place. The dock lights were producing fish before daylight but that bite is just about over with. Just as it breaks daylight many good schools of fish are now bunching up under the boat on clean bottoms while drumming. The Stripers and Hybrids are being caught all over the lake from the upper rivers and creeks all the way to the dam and the fishing should continue to improve for the rest of this month. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rig bite is doing really well right now. The Appalachian Striper Club fished a club tournament this past weekend and it was won by Ricky Harvey and his grandson Lukas and they won it by pulling Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rigs which Ricky is a Pro at. I would make a serious suggestion being if you are not prepared to pull Umbrella Rigs or Mini Mack’s or if you want to pull big baits on your Perfect Planer Boards you might want to look at the bottom of this report for my suggestions on gear to catch fish during the next two months. If you are not comfortable pulling Umbrella Rigs or Planer Boards it’s not as hard as you might think and it is covered in our Instructional Trips in detail. As for the last two weeks the Striper and Hybrid fishing has been great for me and I have moved back out of the backs of the creeks and back into the main lake where I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. If you have ever fished an Instructional Trip with me you know that I love light gear even when no one else is fishing this way and many of my bigger fish are caught on these rigs. I usually locate these fish one of two ways. I locate them on my Humminbird Side Imaging or Down Imaging and the minute that I get them near the boat I deploy the light tackle behind the boat and then I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish or behind my Perfect Planer Boards. After getting my rigs in the water I run my Minn Kota through the fish and it’s not long before I’m hooked up. If the fish decide not to eat my live bait then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite. I see way to many people return to the dock every day without a single fish and as always I find out that they know nothing about pulling Umbrella Rigs. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now and will continue to work the rest of this month and throughout the summer. If you want to catch fish during the next couple of months you should add Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs to your fishing gear for the guaranteed bite. Again we cover all these methods in our Instructional Trips and it’s a fun way to catch some good Stripers. One main item that we cover in our Instructional Fishing Trips is how to locate Stripers and Hybrids and then the best methods to catching them. There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell and our Instructional Trips cover all of these points. Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, it’s also a great time to witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns. When you fish an Instructional Trip you will learn everything there is to know about catching Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell or your home lake and you will be given the chance to ask all the questions that very few professional Striper fishermen will share, so if you are interested in learning all the different techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrid Bass now is one of the best times to get in a teaching boat for an Instructional Trip or it’s a good time to get your calendar out and go ahead and book a future trip. A Striper Instructional Trip will be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. Father’s Day is this Sunday, tell the kids to give Captain Mack a call and he will be sure that you get the best Father’s Day gift ever. If you are interested in booking a future 2020 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

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

BASS 

This past week has been another really great for Bass fishing. The Bass are feeding aggressively and are taking many different varieties of bait. The fish are feeding really well in the mornings and again before dark on Mini Mack’s, Ned Rigs, Drop Shots, Shakey Heads and Carolina Rigs with soft plastics. The Largemouth Bass are biting well off of points and in the backs of coves around structure or docks off of Spinner Baits and Crankbaits. We are seeing some Spotted Bass schooling activity around the banks just at sun down in the early evening hours as well as in shallow waters in the early mornings. Many Striper and Hybrid fishermen are still catching Bass off of freelines while Striper fishing so this should give you a good start and suggestion that the Blueback Herring bite is good so don’t overlook your herring colors.

  • River2Sea Whopper Plopper 90, 130 or 110 in a shad color are working great right now.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn or Bluegill worms as well as some new colors we are using. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s. If you want to catch some big Spotted Bass this is a go to bait!
  • Robo Worms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes are working around structure as well as in open water.
  • Spinner Baits of your choice will get the job done.

CRAPPIE 

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

 Go to Baits for this week.

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

 

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

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