Tag

Weedless Wonder Archives | Captain Mack's

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-September 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-September 18, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack 

 

Lake Lanier Fishing Report-June 19, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Fishing!!

Capt. Mack

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report June 17, 2020

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

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for June 17, 2020

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

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

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

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

Go to baits for this week.

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

BASS 

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

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

CRAPPIE 

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

 Go to Baits for this week.

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

 

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

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

 

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report- June 10, 2020

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

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for June 10, 2020

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

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

STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS

The Striper and Hybrid fishing has finally shown some improvements with several days this past week producing some quality fish. The fish have returned to a normal pattern and with some herring still spawning on points the early morning bite beached on these points are producing some good numbers and a fast and furious bite before daylight if you find yourself on the right points. With the lake levels falling back to normal levels it has been much easier to beach your boat without pulling into the tree lines. The dock lights are producing fish before daylight and many good schools of fish are now bunching up under the boat on clean bottoms while drumming. The Stripers and Hybrids are being caught all over the lake from the upper rivers and creeks all the way to the dam and the fishing should continue to improve for the rest of this month. If you have fished an Instructional Trip this past year you can use your Instructional Book to put yourselves in the right places to catch fish during the next month and don’t forget I’m just a phone call away. I would make a serious suggestion being if you are not prepared to pull Umbrella Rigs or Mini Mack’s and if you want to pull big baits on your Perfect Planer Boards you might want to look at the bottom of this report for my suggestions on gear to catch fish during the next few weeks. You’re Perfect Planer Boards with gizzard shad or herring pulled in the pockets that are holding fish will get you the bite that you are looking for and in many cases it will catch you fish when other methods are not working. I have moved back out of the backs of the creeks and back into the main lake where I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. If you have ever fished an Instructional Trip with me you know that I love light gear so take a look at this week’s picture, these fish were caught by my grandkids this past week and they were all caught on ultra-light spinning reels free lined behind the boat. I usually locate these fish one of two ways. I locate them on my Humminbird Side Imaging or Down Imaging and the minute that I get them under the boat I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish. If the fish decide not to eat my live bait then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite. I see way to many people return to the dock every day without a single fish and as always I find out that they know nothing about pulling Umbrella Rigs. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now and will continue to work the rest of this month. If you want to catch fish during the next couple of months you should add Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs to your fishing gear for the guaranteed bite. Again we cover all these methods in our Instructional Trips and it’s a fun way to catch some good Stripers. One main item that we cover in our Instructional Fishing Trips is how to locate Stripers and Hybrids and then the best methods to catching them. There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell and our Instructional Trips cover all of these points. Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, it’s also a great time to witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns. When you fish an Instructional Trip you will learn everything there is to know about catching Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell or your home lake and you will be given the chance to ask all the questions that very few professional Striper fishermen will share, so if you are interested in learning all the different techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrid Bass now is one of the best times to get in a teaching boat for an Instructional Trip or it’s a good time to get your calendar out and go ahead and book a future trip as they book up quickly when the weather begins to warm back up. If you have ever wanted to be one of the boats that come to the dock with your limit after a good spring fishing trip you might want to book a trip really soon. A Striper Instructional Trip will be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any lake with Stripers or Hybrids. If you are interested in booking a future 2020 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.

Go to baits for this week.

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

BASS 

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

  • KVD 1.5 Magnum Square Bill baits in the color of your choice, with all the rain I would suggest something in a shad or chartreuse color. Deeper diving crank baits are also working in these same colors.
  • Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
  • Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn or Bluegill worms as well as some new colors we are using. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder!
  • Captain Mack Mini Mack’s. If you want to catch some big Spotted Bass this is a go to bait!
  • Robo Worms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
  • Steel Shads in various colors and sizes are working around structure as well as in open water.
  • Spinner Baits of your choice will get the job done.

CRAPPIE 

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

 Go to Baits for this week.

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

 

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

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