January 02, 2014 | Umbrella Rigs Keeping Anglers Warm
If you decide to stay home because of low mercury here in the early stages of 2015, tie on an umbrella rig! Once you find the stripers: Troll – Hook Up – Reel – REPEAT!
Striper fishing has been outstanding, especially with the umbrella rigs. There are several patterns to focus on here, so I’ll start with the structure based pattern of trolling over specific structure like points, humps, and down the bank over a 20 to 30 foot bottom. This technique will work lake wide but I think it is strongest in the upper and middle parts of the lake. The point/hump pattern requires a lot of precision and you will need to really focus on your sonar/chart to keep the boat on the structure and in the proper depth range.
If you are not using The Lakemaster Charts, consider adding this valuable tool. It is a highly effective for all types of fishing, but it is especially applicable to trolling. The ability to offset the depth to reflect changing water levels is also a great safety tool.
Another technique to try is pulling the rigs around working birds. You may encounter this scenario almost anywhere on the lake, so be diligent about watching the gulls and loons. Another option is trolling around deep schools of bait over the river or creek channels. On either of these methods you will need to determine the depth to fish based on the depth of the water and the fish. Placing the rig slightly above the fish is generally the best guideline. Either of these pattern can be effective lake wide.
For either pattern, The Capt. Mack’s 4 arm 3 oz. 9 bait bucktail rig, has been very productive. I have been fielding many questions about jig color and trailer color so here are some guidelines. I don’t really worry too much about changing my jigs, changing the trailer color or style is usually the most effective, not to mention simple and quick. As a general rule, use darker colors on darker days and the lighter colors on brighter days. Changing from a twister tail to a shad body can also tweak the bite.
There is also a pretty good bite developing in the backs of the creeks. Pulling live baits, trout, Gizzard Shad, or Herring or Planers and free lines has been productive, best in the am hours. While you are pulling the bait spread, casting a small jig to the bank may get you some extra bites, tipping a 3/8 oz. Super jig with the fluke is a good combo.
Bass fishing has been good, and the deep structures are holding good numbers of big Spots. Worms are always a go to bait for this pattern, and you can rig them on Shaky heads, Texas rigs or the drop shot rig. Jigs and craw imitations are also a good choice. Deep is always a relative term and don’t be hesitant to fish as deep as 50 or 55 feet. There are some nice fish holding at those depths. Ditches, roadbeds, humps and rock bluffs are all good structures to target.
The Crappie are also cooperating and the docks are loading up. If you have side imaging sonar they are very easy to locate. Just ride until you scan a big group of fish and then start fishing. Popeye jigs are always a good choice in the cold water temps, experiment with different colors and sizes to tweak the bite. The new crappie Country Chenille jigs are also proving to be a good choice for the dock pattern.