Early Fall Striper and Bass Report 9-19-2015

I’ve been doing a good bit of fishing this week, both stripers and bass. For the stripers, it’s pretty short and sweet. I’ve been running out over deep water on the south end around mid day and it hasn’t taken long to find a few fish. Once I find a few suspended fish on the sonar I drop a chrome Ben Parker Magnum Spoon and get it going up and down. I think the flash of the spoon on sunny days attracts more fish and pretty soon you have a whole school under the boat wondering what all the flashing is about. Then they’ll all get worked up swimming up and down the water column trying to find the bait making all the flash and then they start hammering the spoon. That’s pretty much the way it goes down right now. Find the stripers over deep water, drop the big spoon through the fish, reel up and repeat till one hammers it then hang on and enjoy the ride.

For the bass, it’s been a little more complicated but you can catch a few nice ones if you have patience and fish the right areas. I started the week on the south end trying to find a good early morning bass pattern and after playing with the finicky suspended fish over my brush piles I started looking for shallow fish. I had pretty good luck with a craw on the shaky head for bigger fish but I probably missed more fish than I caught on the shaky head. I made my shaky heads jigs in the shop and I didn’t use a wider gap hook which cost me some fish. Early in the week I was throwing the crankbait but not getting a whole bunch but on Friday my partner and I fished up on the north end of the lake so I hit my crankbait holes up there and it was absolutely ripe for crankbaits on shallow rocks. The fish were running threads up into the shallows and whacking them right on the bank very early in the morning. Several times we saw bass pushing bait in less than a foot of water so hitting them shallow with the cranks was the ticket. As the day progressed a lot of the fish were backing off the shallows but you could still hit a few cruising the rocks during the afternoon. Our biggest fish came in a couple feet of water around 1pm and we caught a few more nice fish after lunch on both days. I did the unthinkable and didn’t clear the scuffed up flouro after I wrapped it around a dock cable. Two casts later I hooked a good one and the line broke right at the scuffed up area. It was a heart breaker but I probably won’t make that mistake again.

Today we fished the Shriners bass tournament out of Little Hall and they had a great turn out of around 40+ boats to raise money for the Shriners Children’s Hospital. I think we finished in 7th place with 11.88 and I think the winners had around 16. We just missed big fish by a couple ounces. Both yesterday and today just about all of our fish came off cranks fished very shallow. Here’s a couple videos from yesterday and today and a couple pics from some afternoon striper spooning on Thursday.

This is a bait that I make in the shop and has been my “go to” crankbait for the last year or so. I did very well with it last winter and you can see the bait in several pictures and a few videos. It accounted for 3 of our best 5 tournament fish and 90% of the fish I caught over the 2 day stretch including our biggest on Friday and Saturday. I only had one in that size and pattern and it took a beating on the rocks for 2 days but hooked the biggest fish as usual.
The day after the tournament I made these so I’ll be a little better prepared next time.
Here are a few stripers we caught on the afternoon of 9-17-2015 while we were suppose to be doing some bass pre-fishing for the upcoming tournament. My partner Joey caught his first and second Lanier Stripers on the Ben Parker spoon.



Bald Ridge Creek Report 9-7-2015

Well, as most of you already know, I’ve been on the fish lately. I’ve been enjoying our resident creek stripers out at the mouth of the creek with my new Ben Parker spoons. A good friend brought a couple spoons with him a few weeks ago and I jumped in the boat with him for a day. I had never used a spoon that big before but it took all of about 2 minutes to figure it out. Basically, the way the spoon bite is working is to find the big schools of stripers and drop the big spoon through the fish and then just reel the spoon back up through the fish and hang on. The stripers are moving around inside and outside the creek and it’s no easy task to find them but when you do, it’s on!

As far as the bass bite is concerned, as I write this we are noticing more and more bass moving into the shallow water. The drop shot bite was very strong for the past month but now it’s starting to slow down a bit. The fish are still hanging around the deeper structure in a drop shot pattern but many of the fish are looking for swimming baits and not vertical baits. I think the pattern is getting ready to change a little and I believe were going to start catching more quality in the shallows. The topwater bite should be just around the corner if the fish follow the surface temps that are cooling. Right now the surface temps are still in the lower 80’s but once it hits the 70’s we should start seeing a great surface bite. Here are some pictures and videos from the last month including some very nice dropshot fish as well as some awesome striper videos. Enjoy!








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Bald Ridge Creek Report 8-1-2015

It’s been a while since I’ve done a creek report so I thought I’d get ya’ll caught up. The creek is about as busy as it’s going to get right now. The boat traffic this past weekend was off the chain. I’ve never seen so much traffic in the creek. As far as fishing is concerned, get it done early or late. Some of my brush piles are right out near the creek channel where points come up shallow. There are plenty of bass holding in these areas but in order to target them this time of year you have to do it in off peak traffic hours or very early in the morning. The drop shot has still been our primary pattern right now but we can still find some nice fish in the back of the creek near a little deeper water. Lisa has been doing some fishing out of the kayak and doing pretty well around structure in the back of the creek. The fish are there and we’ve been seeing a lot of bass coming in and out of our cove feeding on the bream population. Here’s a couple videos and a few pictures from the last week of fishing.













The summer drop shot is hot!

I‘m thinking…and hoping that we have reached the apex of summer heat this month. The topwater bite has slowed to a crawl due to the rising surface temps so we’ve been concentrating on the drop shot bite of late. The drop shot is a finesse tactic and is something we’re still learning but Lisa and I have been fortunate enough to find a few fish and we’ve had some good success with it this summer. I first started exploring the drop shot tactic for spotted bass on Lake Lanier years ago after reading a few local fishing reports from a fella that goes by the name of “Lanier Jim”. There’s no doubt that he’s the best on Lanier at catching spotted bass in the summer months on the drop shot rig and after reading his reports and seeing some of his pictures I was intrigued.

My first experience with the drop shot came from live bait on a drop shot rig. Basically, with the drop shot tactic you’re using your electronics to locate fish while slowly moving above structure holding fish and when the fish show up on your sonar, you drop the drop shot rig down to them on the bottom. Often times we can see our drop shot rig on the sonar as it drops to the bottom. You can watch your bait and the fish in real time and some call it “video fishing”. Once I got used to catching fish on live spottail minnows I started using artificial worms and fluke type baits. The rig itself is pretty simple and is nothing more than a small in line hook 1-2 feet up from a small weight. My main line is 6lb XPS fluorocarbon with an 10-18 inch Sunline 8lb FC Sniper leader holding the weight and I paint my weights green. Mostly I’m using a 3/8 ounce teardrop type weight and in heavier wind I use a 1/2 ounce weight. The hooks are #2 VMC Spin Shots. My thought is to make the worm look like it’s jumping and dancing either close to or on the bottom without moving the drop shot weight as much as possible. Every once in a while I’ll pick up the weight and pull up an arms length and then let it drop. I’ll move and re-drop every few minutes. I’m not sure how important hooking the worm is but I hook mine up in the head vertically at an angle and in a fashion so when I pull up on it the whole worm will whip up. I don’t expose the point but it’s right at the top of the end of the worm. I believe the way you hook the worm determines the action you can put on it and I like the whipping action from the little 4 inch worm.

The idea is to keep the weight on the bottom while keeping the line tight and bouncing the rod tip slightly to make your bait on the hook dance in a suspended state. The bait can vary from live bait to artificials.

Probably the most important thing we’ve learned about the drop shot is location. These summer spotted bass on Lanier reside in the underwater structure such as brush piles or small timbers submerged in the 20-40 foot range and come out to forage for their meals. Some days they hold tight to the structure and other days they may range out onto flats or shallow rocks. Since I’ve gotten my new boat, I’ve been making trips to the lake in search of structure and brush piles that are holding fish to mark on my gps and fish. I’ve been concentrating my efforts to water depths between 20-35 ft. It seems like the summer bass like to hold at these depths if there is structure nearby to provide cover and safety. I posted a couple of videos below so you can see the drop shot technique and I included a few pics from some of our recent trips with the drop shot:





















Late Spring and Early Summer Report

It’s been a while since my last post but not much has changed as far as the pattern is concerned. The water has warmed into the mid to high eighties as I write this. The topwater bite has came and went but I’m still able to get a bass or two on the surface. The most action has been the surfacing stripers. I’ve channeled my efforts to the main lake humps recently and I’ve been doing well targeting bass in these areas. My best strategy has been to find humps that come up to 15-20 feet near the river channel. I’ll move around with the trolling motor and cast around topwater plugs while watching the graph. If I mark a group of fish on a flat or a few fish around a brush pile I’ll throw out a marker and start dropshotting the area. Some of the humps have been producing stripers very early in the morning. The stripers are usually in small groups and pushing bait into the shallow areas and feeding on the surface. Usually it’s smaller bluebacks that are skittering across the surface in an attempt to out run the feeding fish. Sometimes a big spotted bass will mix in with the stripers and if you’re lucky you can pull in a very sizable spotted bass on a topwater lure or a soft swimbait body on a leadhead jig. Lisa caught her biggest bass of the summer while we were catching stripers on topwater. We thought it was another striper that hit Lisa’s topwater lure but when we got it to the side of the boat we realized it was a big spot mixing it up with the stripers. Another pattern that has been working for me is throwing crankbaits on rocky points and rocky outcroppings. There are a few nice bass hanging out around the rocks early in the morning. I’ve been using a natural shad medium and deep diving crankbait for the rocks and that’s been working the best.

Lisa and I also made a road trip to my hometown in Ks and then headed south to Lake Texoma for a visit to a friend and fishing guide, James Carter with “Rippin Lips Guide Service”. James took us out on the lake for a day and we had a blast catching stripers on Texoma. I made a little video from our fishing trip on Texoma and it’s posted below.

Our next stop was southern Louisiana and a visit with an old friend from the Navy, Frank Puydak. Frank and I go way back to the late eighties with both of us being stationed at Miramar, Ca. in a F-14 Tomcat fighter squadron and then again at a small air base south of New Orleans. We hadn’t seen each other in 20 years and we did some catching up with a few beers and a fishing trip. Lisa had never caught a redfish so our goal was to get Lisa a redfish or two. I posted a couple videos below from our trip to Louisiana.

One other noteworthy milestone was that we sold the Carolina Skiff and bought a Ranger bass boat. I included a few pictures of our new ride.
Here are a few pics and videos since my last post.







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Creek Report 5-5 through 5-9 May.

Everywhere I fished for the last week or so held a lot of fish. I don’t really use a graph but I let the fish tell me where they are. It’s been easy lately because the creek has been glassed over in the morning and I can see the surface for a long ways. I just sit and watch until I see fish surface. I either make a mental note of where I saw the surface activity or I go to it and start fishing right away. If it’s just a single bass and he only surfaces once I may not go to that area, but if I see a fish surface multiple times or I see multiple fish, it goes on my list of places to fish. Sometimes I’ll see fish surface way off in the distance and make a mental note and go there later. 9 times out of ten the fish are still there and active.

Carp and gar can be an issue when it comes to watching for surfacing fish. They can fool the heck out of you while sight fishing. Yesterday we kept seeing fish roll in a little bay and when we got to the bay we realized we were in the middle of a giant carp orgy. Gar will do the same. If you watch enough, you can tell the difference. The bass and stripers are mainly pushing bluebacks to the surface and then chasing them down. They are very aggressive and they will rip across the surface in pursuit of the blueback. Sometimes the bluebacks will be jumping across the water to get away.

The bass and stripers are very aggressive, feeding on the surface and the carp and gar are just coming up and rolling or breaching the surface in a social manner. I can tell the difference most of the time. Most of the fish I’ve been catching are relating to shallow areas like points and reef markers but they are staged in 20-40 feet of water and running up on the shallow areas to chase the bluebacks.

There is also a little shallow water bite for us right now as we approach the shad spawn. Usually the afternoons evenings are better for us to fish shallow water cranks. I think the bass have been moving up shallow in the evenings and over night with the bright moon and then pulling out in the mornings to chase bluebacks on the surface over a little deeper water. My plan here lately is to hit them early on the surface and then go to the rocks and docks. Cranks on the rocks and spinners and little squarebills around the docks.

Something else that I found that was noteworthy pertaining to colors. This is the time of year that we switch to a more natural shad color like black over silver. When I researched my videos from this time last year I can see where we were using a black over silver (zebra shad) jerkbaits and some cranks in the same color pattern and we were doing pretty well. I have been hitting the banks with a blue over chartreuse without much luck which is normally a great color choice but I’ve been doing a lot better with the natural shad, black over silver when using a shallow crank or jerk.
Here’s a few videos and pictures of some of the action and fish this week.





Bald Ridge Creek Report 4-19-2015

I made it out to the creek 3 times over the past week. When we fished the last HD bass trail tournament a week ago, I caught most of my fish on the medium diving sand key crankbait around rocks. Although we fished the tournament on the north end of the lake I used the same crankbait in the creek over my last 3 trips and I’ve done well with it. I’ve caught some nice keeper bass by working the crankbait around the rocky points, shallow rocky road beds and shallow water markers. I’ve been keeping my boat in around 20 feet of water and working the crankbait from the shallow shoreline back to the boat. The smaller fish have been coming from the shallower 1-10 feet of water and the bigger guys have been coming from 10-20 feet of water. The key to getting fish with the crankbait is to find the bottom and keep it there as long as possible. Once I find the bottom with the bait I hold the rod loosely with the tip pointed down and I bounce the crank¬†softly off the bottom. You want the crank to mimic a small bait pecking at the bottom as it travels along so a soft bouncing motion with the rod tip has gotten me more bites. The hits have been soft and most times the rod just loads up. Another pattern that has been working for us is throwing small plastic 1-2 inch swimbaits around shallow blow downs and grassy pockets. There are a ton of smaller bass and a few big spawners around the shallows right now and throwing small stuff around shallow structures will definitely net a few bass.

The water temps have been steadily cooling over the week and as of yesterday the surface temps were in the mid 60’s again. I have been seeing some surface activity and I’ve been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time last Friday when I happened onto a striper and bass topwater feeding frenzy at mid creek in a pocket. I was able to catch a nice striper and 3 bass on the surface with the Vixen topwater plug. I gotta tell you, right now is the time to keep a good topwater plug tied on and at the ready. For the most part the topwater bite is just about non existent for me but every once in a while I can get a good fish on the Vixen if I time my cast right and I have perfect placement of the plug. There are stripers showing themselves in the creek right now. You can find some nice fish over the creek channel and pulling boards and freelines is a good way to catch a couple of nice big stripers on the surface. Soon we’ll be seeing a shad spawn and the crankbait bite should really get going good. It’s only going to get better as the water temps warm.

I’m going to offer a 2 pack of my two favorite Lanier medium diving crankbaits that have been producing for me on Lanier for the past year at a great price. These two cranks are a must if your fishing Lanier this spring and summer. These are hand painted with my Sand Key pattern and the two different body styles offer 2 different wobble patterns. Both baits have produced for us just about any month of the year and if you look through my photo page (http://castawayblog.com/pictures/) you can see the two crankbaits in some of my photos over the past year. These cranks have produced some big fish over the past year and now is your chance to get a couple of rare Cast Away custom crankbaits. If you’re interested in the cranks, just shoot me a message for the details on how to get the two pack. Here’s a picture of the two pack and one of the fish from last week.