Lake Hartwell Fishing Report November 29 2019
I’m so full from a huge family Thanksgiving dinner that I have to do something to work off all of the good food that I naturally ate too much of.
Fishing is a sport so I would suggest that makes fishermen athletes. So what does any good athlete do when he needs to work out, my wife has suggested that I spend today, “BLACK FRIDAY” with her shopping and she believes that will help me feel better, wrong! I love my wife but Rick doesn’t do Black Friday shopping especially when I can go fishing instead, actually I don’t even want to go in a store that doesn’t sell fishing gear on Black Friday or any other day of the week.
Have you ever been in a fishing store after Thanksgiving and found a bunch of fishing gear on sale? The answer is never (unless it summer clothes) and I believe that’s because most of the folks who buy fishing gear are always fishing the day after Thanksgiving. So today if you are reading this fishing report and you want to know where I’m at, it’s not the Mall, Sam’s or Wal-Mart or any other place that has a line of folks fighting to save a few dollars.
On Black Friday I will be somewhere on Lake Hartwell fishing, that’s what any good Fisherman or athlete should be doing. Remember that Thanksgiving is every day, so pack you a turkey sandwich and a piece of sweet potato pie and some Gatorade to fuel the athletic side of your fishing trip and do what any old athlete would do, Let’s Go Fishing! The Lake Hartwell bite still remains good with the water temperatures still dropping daily.
We will see a few days in the low sixties this week and some rain showers but enjoy this week while you can because another arctic blast is in next week’s forecast. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 655.52 which are 4.48 feet below the 660 full pool levels. The lake levels are continuing to drop even with the rainfall that we seem to be getting weekly. The current water temperature has dropped to 61.5 degrees each day due to the much colder weather and should hold steady until next week’s major cold front.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has been good this week. The fish are really bunching up right now and you may just locate some of the largest schools that you have marked all year. Now that the seagulls are showing up on the lake it not much of a problem to locate the bait and where there’s bait the fish are going to be very close. It’s time to tune up your Planer Boards or replace the ones that have seen better days. I have found that my Perfect Planer Boards are catching the fish that I’m marking on my side imaging and the Perfect Planer Board is the fastest deploying board that I have ever used. This past week I had the opportunity to prove something that I preach in most every fishing report or to anyone that asked me why I’m trolling Umbrella Rigs.
I had the great privilege to fish a couple of guys on an Instructional Trip during this past week and we found a dump truck load of fish on a windy day just after a front moved through. So you may think that on a school of fish like this that my next sentence would be how we nailed them on live bait, that was not the case. We tried everything including four down rods under the boat right in the schools of fish with some beautiful live herring just waiting for the bite and we never stuck a single Striper. Now I said all of that to say this. How many times have you read a Lake Hartwell Fishing Report and read that I will not go to the lake without my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs and trolling rods? The answer to that question should be about every report so let
discuss the reason why.
On this particular trip we marked huge schools of fish for hours and we tried every live bait method that we knew to catch these huge schools of fish and we just couldn’t make it happen even though we sat on them long enough to get the bite we were looking for. The Stripers would never take a live but during this trip the fish were in for a big surprise, Captain Mack was in the boat on this Instructional Trip and after trying everything except the Umbrella Rigs I said, “Captain Mack let deploy the Umbrella Rigs”! No joke guys after fishing these huge schools of fish with no luck for nearly two hours Captain Mack deploys the first rig and before he can get the second rig in the water the first Umbrella Rig is hooked up with a Striper.
Now I will say it again, Rick NEVER goes to the Lake without his Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs and this just proves why. Let me let you in on a secret, the Umbrella Rig bite is only going to get better as the water temperatures continue to drop on Lake Hartwell, so if you don’t know how to pull a Captain Mack Umbrella Rig we cover this method in our Instructional Trips and it’s a fun way to catch some good Stripers. The key to catching Stripers and Hybrids is first to know how to locate them and then the best methods to catching them. If you don’t have Umbrella Rigs in your boat there will be days that no matter how many fish you are marking you will not get the bite without the U-Rigs.
There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell and when I load the boat I put in all the tools that I need to get the bite. You always hear that it is better to fish smarter than harder so we continue to have the great occasions to fish Instructional Trips and this gives us the opportunity to meet some really good fishermen while doing so. Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, it’s a great time to witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does and how to adapt to a new fishing pattern.
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 not many other professional Striper fishermen will share, so if you are interested in learning all the different techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrid now is one of the best times to get in a teaching boat for an Instructional Trip or a good time to go ahead and book a future trip. This could be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.
Go to baits for this week.
• Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and free lines. The bait shops are all suppling quality bait. Be sure to add O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip. The live bait bite has been really good this week.
• 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 is 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 Spin Jigs. This Jig is great for schooling fish especially after they go down or if you need to cast a long distance to get to the fish schooling on top.
• Any top water bait of your choice; I prefer a spook or anything in a chrome color. Flukes and swim baits also work well if you can cast them far enough.
• Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during your day and increase your odds of catching fish.
• 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.
• Captain Mack Mini Mack Umbrella Rig’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards early mornings is working great right now!
• Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards 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.
The Bass bite remains good with Spotted Bass now chasing the big schools of bait up the creeks. Weedless Wonders rigged with several different plastics especially the Robo Bluegill color is working great. Currently the shakey head bite is working the best over all the other fishing methods and baits that we are fishing so give the Weedless Wonder a try along the banks and docks of Lake Hartwell. You still can’t fish to shallow to catch some good Largemouth Bass in the backs of coves, but we are also catching Spots and Largemouth in structure in thirty to forty of water.
The Largemouth Bass are following the bait back into smaller creeks and they will bite when you find them. The bite is not consistent right now but I do believe after these fronts move through and the water temperatures get more stable the bite will improve. I look to see bass being caught very soon fish lead jigs (Captain Mack Super Spoons) directly over fish that are marked on your sonar.
The resident Largemouth can still be found packed up in the backs of many coves so when you find them you will boat some heavy fish if you can trick and older bass into taking your bait. A Golden Nugget for some large Spots is to cast the Mini Mack off of points and over flats in thirty feet of water for some fat quality fish and have a Mini Mack ready for schools of fish.
SteelShads, Mini Mack’s as well as your various Crankbaits, Spinner baits, Topwater baits, Jerk baits and swim baits are all working. My golden nugget to share with you this week is to fish a Captain Mack Weedless Wonder rigged with a Bluegill Roboworm or several other selections of the Robo Worms (fisherman’s choice) pitching it to the bank or around docks and slowly retrieving it back to the boat.
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.
• Captain Mack Mini Mack’s with or without blades, both work great. This bait is catching some hogs while being fished off of deeper points or in schooling fish. This bait produces a guaranteed bite when fished in or near schooling fish.
• Captain Mack Super Spoons
• Captain Mack under Spin Jig.
• Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swimbaits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers.
• Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn or Bluegill worm. Use the plastic of your choice. 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!
The Crappies continue to bunch up in their normal fall and winter brush piles. There are several brush piles that are now loaded with Crappie so if you locate them you will catch a good limit of fish. They are feeding well on live minnows under floats and jigs fished around and in deeper brush piles and around and under docks as well as in deeper water around bridges.
If you are like most Crappie fishermen you are always on the lookout for new baits that work well for your tackle box. The next time you are in Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine check out the Crappie Country Jigs and drop something new into your brush piles. You will find that this bait works great and they have some new colors that you may have never used before.
The Crappie bite will only get better and better as the water temperatures drop. I’m already seeing Crappie fishermen launching their boats before daylight to get on their brush piles early. Over the next few weeks I will continue putting out brush piles as I normally do after dark and on many occasions the Crappie will be on them the next day. Now is the time to get those brush piles that have produced well over this past year freshened up and add a few new ones while you are doing all the hard work to prepare for the winter bite.
As the Striper bite gets tougher later in the year or into January and February I will fish for Stripers and Crappies all in the same day so when this happens then the Crappie bite will be my main reason to get on the water every week so stay tuned for further updates.
Go to Baits for this week.
• 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 – 770-235-813