Cast Away Baits on Talk Radio 12-28-2013

Brad and Jim

I spent a little time in the studio talking with Brad Myers on Saturday morning the 28th of December on Georgia Outdoors Radio, 92.5 FM “The Bear”. We talked about striper fishing and tackle for over an hour. There is a lot of good striper fishing info in the show so if you missed the live version and you want to listen to the edited version including a report from Arnie Davis live from Lake West Point and my segment live from the studio you can Click Here.

If you would like to listen to the full show including a saltwater report from Captain Judy Helmey from “Miss Judy Charters” and a Lake Lanier fly fishing report from Captian Henry Cowen from “Henry Cowen Quality Flies and Guide Service” you can Click Here.

*Be patient, it will take a minute for the upload!

Lanier Stripers 12-20-2013

I fished yesterday afternoon, Thursday the 19th and zero’ed for the day. Just before dark I found some stripers back in the creek but they were feeding on small threadfins so the trout I pulled behind the planer boards didn’t work well. I figured they may hit a trout early in the morning if they stayed in the general area so my plan was to hit the same area at first light. I left my dock just before 7am and motored up the creek at first light. After getting a spread out I started marking a few big arches in less than 20 feet of water and I knew the stripers were still there. It didn’t take long till the trout on a freelined balloon started getting very nervous. I was pulling the trout on a balloon about 150-200 feet behind the boat at the time. I picked up the rod out of the rod holder and pulled the bail lever back to free spool. The striper chased the trout around the balloon and soon my thumb and rod tip felt the striper nail the trout and at the same time the balloon took off skimming across the water. I threw the bail lever forward and set the hook on my first striper of the morning, a healthy 15 pounder. It was a nice way to start the morning. I decided to pull boards to the back of the creek so I got as far back as 49 degree water temps and 7 feet of water when I turned around. The back of the creek was like the land that time forgot. Plenty of run down docks and summer homes and it seemed every tree had a few turkey buzzards hanging around. It was like a scene out of “Apocalypse Now”. I kept thinking spears and arrows were going to start flying out of the tree line so I turned around. I went through a dry spell for several hours but I checked another area we had been catching some nice fish further out in the creek and found the big arches on the graph again. Another striper started chasing the balloon bait again in shallow water and after a game of cat and mouse with the striper, I set the hook on him and the fight was on. Just as quick, the fight was off and the striper was gone. I had turned the video camera on early in the cat and mouse game and I had some great footage of a big striper chasing and slapping the trout before he inhaled it. I was holding the rod and talking to the camera as I set the hook on him. It would have made a great video along with the first striper footage I had from my early dawn striper. The camera ran out of memory and I had to dump the videos I had so I could video the next fish.

I made a big circle back to the same area I had marked the arches. I gotta tell you, I can really tell the difference between a big striper directly under the boat in 20 feet of water, and your run of the mill spotted bass swimming to and fro. The big arches looked like they were just dripping with electronic static because of the high sensitivity on my graph in shallow water. It looked like 3 bigger fish just off the bottom in 20 feet of water so I figured I still had a shot at the other two. This pass I aimed the right planer board at the same area and just as the trout passed over the big stripers I saw a big boil where the trout should have been and the planer board rocketed across the water. That’s when I grabbed the rod and reached back to turn on the camera. Here’s what happened next:

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Solo Striper Trip 12-17-2013

I got out for a couple hours before lunch and then hit it again for a couple hours before dark. I picked off a good teenage striper right after getting a spread out around 10 am. The fish hit my biggest trout which was on a freeline with a balloon tied just above the swivel for the leader. The striper was in the same area that we had caught fish a few days earlier. It was my only fish before lunch. After lunch I decided to look around a bit and see if I could find more stripers in a different location but on the same pattern. I found some stripers in a choke down area suspended over the deeper part of the channel and I caught 3 more nice stripers over the course of the afternoon. I gave it up around 5 pm and left them biting.

The stripers I found today were out in the wind over deep water. Most were suspended and the only thing that worked was trout on a balloon about 150 feet behind the boat. Here’s a video from today.

Striper Fishing on 12-15-2013

I walked out on the deck facing the lake and saw the wind was picking up and blowing out of the northwest. The forecast was calling for gusts up to 25 mph with a good steady north wind. I saw my neighbor on his dock and I couldn’t resist inviting him for a quick run up the creek and a little striper fishing with the left over trout from 2 days earlier. He agreed and we layered up for a cold ride up the creek. As we rode out of the cove I noticed the water temps had dropped more than a degree from my last trip out in the creek 2 days earlier and was sitting right at 52 degrees. We idled up the creek channel and saw pod after pod of threadfin shad on the graph, and sometimes we would see long clouds of bait hugging the bottom that would continue on and on across the graph. I had scoured the back of the creek earlier for signs of stripers but I saw none. We had gotten several inches of rain over the past month and the back of the creek was still a bit muddy from the run off. We saw some birds working an area out in the wind and we watched for any surface activity beneath the birds. The birds didn’t seem to be diving on the water but it was apparent that they were concentrating on an area close to a wind blown point. We settled on pulling medium sized trout behind planer boards and a few downlines with our smaller trout. I had a few rather large medium sized trout and we put one out on a balloon straight out the back 100 feet. Our plan was to pull 2 points in the general area where the birds were circling. They seemed to be circling one point and then slowing circling another, occasionally diving at the water. The first point was a wash so we decided to run the baits across the second point and around to the leeward side where the wind was very calm and the water was glassed over. Just as we pulled the planer boards into the wind break I looked at the graph and saw that we were directly over some nice sized fish, judging from the fat arches just off the bottom of the 20ft flat on the calm side of the point. We had an audience as a younger fella was loading up his bass boat that was tied to the dock, preparing to launch. I watched the graph as the number of arches grew and I knew we had just jumped a school of stripers sitting on the leeward side of the point ambushing bait as it made its way into the calmer area behind the point. Some of the fish were moving on the graph and some were just stacked in wait. The downlined trout were going nuts just above the bottom and I told my neighbor it was just a matter of time now before something good happens. Sure enough, the right side planer board hit the speed brake and started skimming the water backwards at a high rate of speed. Gene was on the rod in a nanosecond and he set the hook on the running striper. When Gene set the hook I looked at the rod tip and the bow in the tip told me it was a good striper. I could tell the planer board was doing its job by keeping the striper near the surface and swimming parallel to the boat. The downlined trout had been picked up and dropped several times by the stripers beneath, but there were no hook ups as Gene fought his fish to the boat. Gene’s fish was a respectable teenage fish and it put up a great battle to the boat. After releasing Gene’s fish we continued on towards the back of a small cut and we marked sporadic fish as we went. We re-baited the downlines and replaced the trout on Gene’s planer board as we approached the end of the cut and the turn around point. I looked down at the graph and in 13ft of water and directly below the boat was 2 large arches and I knew from experience that we were just above two big stripers in the back of the cove. I looked at my downline and the rod tip loaded up like I had just picked up a brick just below the boat. I grabbed the rod as one of the two stripers hammered the trout on my downline. The striper was determined to get to deeper water and I was determined to get him to my side of the boat for a landing. After I won the battle the stripers left the area and we decided to head back to the house for lunch and to get warmed up. Here’s a short video of the trip to help with the visual effect from the trip.

Fishing on 12-13-2013

My neighbor and I got out this afternoon, looking for stripers. We picked up a few trout at the marina and started searching. We didn’t find anything where I had left them biting 2 weeks ago and the water had cooled another 4 degrees. I couldn’t find any surface activity, not even the occasional bass chasing bait on the surface. The lake was like glass and the gulls were just floating around on the water. The surface temps were 53-54 degrees and the lake was about a foot above full pool. The only fish we could find was over deeper water and bunched up and not moving. We had put out a spread of 2 planer boards with medium sized trout about 50-100 feet behind the boards. We also ran our biggest trout on a freeline 150 feet directly behind the boat. Our 2 smallest trout went on downlines. As the planers passed over the fish we marked the left planer board took off and my neighbor David brought in a nice teenage striper. We had another nice striper chase our freelined trout around for a while, but the striper couldn’t catch the trout and he finally gave up. We fished from 1pm till 4pm and caught 1 nice striper; not a bad way to finish off the work week. Here’s a pic:
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From the Southern Tackle Box (December Angler Magazine)

“It’s all about sight in December”

If there is one major attribute that I can say increases my success rate on any of our major striper lakes in the south in December, it would have to be my sight. Even if I had to, I couldn’t read a newspaper today without my glasses, but if you put me in a boat, I can still see a striper roll from a mile away on a glassed over lake on a clear December morning. For me, December is all about the birds and rolling stripers. The birds have been my guiding eye for stripers for years and I couldn’t begin to count the times birds have helped me in tournaments on strange lakes.
Last weekend we were running down lake and as I scanned the lake I caught a few circling birds out of the corner of my eye. As I looked closer I saw several loons popping up and quickly diving back down as the gulls hovered and darted into the water’s surface. I watched for signs of rolling stripers and soon I saw a tail and a dorsal followed by several surface splashes from other fish around the area. I knew these fish were on the move and the frenzy wouldn’t last long so time was critical. As I approached, I started thinking about what I should throw and settled for burning a bucktail through the area if the fish were still on the surface. The bucktail allows me the ability to cast from a fair distance away and speaking from experience, this kind of fish feeding activity was better observed from a distance. These fish would spook as soon as a boat approached on previous outings and I wasn’t going to take a chance this time. From a fair distance away I cut the motor and quickly dropped the trolling motor. I cranked up the trolling motors speed and got up to the bow platform with my half ounce bucktail at the ready. I picked out a good boil on the surface and put the little bucktail just beyond the boil and started the quick burn back to the boat. Seconds later two quick jerks on the rod tip told me a striper had fell for the little bucktail offering. After setting the hook I was fighting a decent striper on light tackle.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been in that scenario. Not only on my home lake here on Lanier but on numerous lakes throughout the south. The best part about that scenario is that at times the stripers will stay in that general area as long as the bait is there. Last year I was returning from a run up to Browns Bridge from the south end of Lanier and a saw a few gulls and loons working the surface in a pocket in the back of a large bay. I was using live bait at the time, so I put out a spread of planer boards with large trout and gizzard shad as bait behind the boards and my biggest trout straight out the back 150 feet. It didn’t take long till one of my boards was headed back towards Brown Bridge at breakneck speed being towed by a large striper. I fished that general area for the next two weeks and netted four fish over 20 pounds and some nice teenage fish to add to the mix, and the best part was that I had the place all to myself. That is another scenario that plays out for me year after year on our lakes. Just find the birds working the bait and that should be the start to good things if you are a live bait fisherman. If I’m live bait fishing in December I like using a good mix of large and small baits such as trout, gizzard shad and blueback herring on planer boards, downlines and freelines. But whether you’re a live bait fisherman or you enjoy the challenge of using artificial tackle, December is the month of the birds so let them guide you to some great striper action. Happy Holidays!
Jim Farmer is an avid fisherman and is the owner of Cast Away Bait and Tackle, a custom tackle shop located just off the shores of Lake Lanier in North Georgia.

Our Families Military Pictures and Videos

“I’m very proud of our families military service and it’s been an honor to serve this fine nation”. Enjoy the pics. -Jim Farmer

My son Derek spent most of his childhood life traveling around different Navy bases with me and my career. I was a single parent for the last half of my career and my squadron members were like family to him. He joined the Army in Oct. 04 and is still serving today. These are a few pictures from my son Derek’s combat tours in Iraq: Picture006-1[1]

Sleeping quarters at the outpost

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They were loading gear to come home from a long deployment to northern Iraq hulk[1]

Green Zone with Iraqi counterparts

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Derek and Melissa’s wedding shortly after Derek enlisted in the Army Derekwedding038[1] Derekwedding015[1]

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A little about my Navy career from 1982 through 2002.

When I joined the Navy in 1982 I had no idea what I was getting into but I felt a strong desire to serve my country and carry on the tradition of our family.

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I joined the Navy in the summer of 82 and spent most of my career working in Navy fighter and fighter/attack squadrons. It was always fast paced hard work with a little danger and a lot of travel thrown in, but it was an experience I could of never imagined as a youngster growing up in the Midwest. After 20 years of Navy life I decided to call it quits and go see the world! Ha ha. I retired on a hot July evening at the Sunset Bar and Grill on a little Key just north of Key West, Fla. Key West and the surrounding keys was probably my favorite place to hang out and fish. Over the years our fighter squadrons would participate in adversarial ACM or “dog fighting” training or we would help with drug interdiction operations and fly out of a small air base on Boca Chica near Key West. At times, we spent so much time in Key West and Boca Chica, it was like our second home so we became friends with a lot of the locals. I still return to the Keys to do a little fishing on occasion and I probably always will.

We had scheduled a training detachment for the same time I was retiring so we decided to have my retirement ceremony while we were there. I had scheduled a deep sea fishing trip for the next day so about all I was thinking about during the ceremony was getting out in that blue water and dropping a line on a sailfish or bull Mahi Mahi. A Navy retirement is a ceremony full of tradition and can be pretty interesting to see and can be a tear jerker for some. I had to hold back the tears myself. Lisa and my son Derek got to be there with me and we got to hang out and fish in the Keys for a few days after I retired. Retirement Day photos: DSC02597[1]

This is the exact moment my Navy career on active duty ended. You can see the boatswains mate blowing the boatswains whistle in the background to pipe me ashore. As I walk down the red carpet, that signifies walking down the gangway and going ashore at the end of a career. I think it should be noted that those 6 guys and gals lining the path were some of my best friends in the Navy and we worked side by side through thick and thin. We donated a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the years and we probably spent more time together, away from home than we did with our families.The picture doesn’t show that.

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This was the Boatswains mate presenting me with the whistle that retired me. That whistle is encased in my shadow box. DSC02600[1] DSC02604[1] DSCN4108[1]

The flag in the shadow box was presented to me at the ceremony. The flag was flown over the USS Arizona and our state capitol before being encased in the shadow box.

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This was my squadron skipper. Great guy and we had a lot of fun while he was the squadron Commanding Officer.DSC02584[1]

Derek with his first military attaboy. He’s gotten several since. DSC02582[1]
These were some of my co-workers, friends and spouses from our squadron attending the ceremony.DSC02579[1] DSC02578[1]

My good friend and master of ceremony, LCDR Rudy Chavez. Rudy and I were distance runners and competed on the same Navy marathon team as well as competing against each other in smaller races.DSC02577%20(2)[1] DSC02575[1] DSC02574[1]

On my 3rd re-enlistment, a good friend and SEAL Team Commander I met while stationed in San Diego dropped by my F/A-18 squadron in southern Louisiana in his uniform and swore me in for another 4 years. When I left San Diego for La. he had just returned from Operation Desert Storm and received a Silver Star to go with a couple bronze stars. His girlfriend and I were partners on the same coed billiard team so when he was in town we got to hang out and have a few beers. Good guy to have around in a bar while having a few cold drinks and shooting pool for money.

It’s not very often that a Navy SEAL with the ranking of Captain walks through the halls of a fighter squadron in uniform for a re-enlistment ceremony. More than likely a first but I will always be very humbled that he took time out from his busy schedule, got dressed up and flew half way across the country to swear me in for another four year tour. It was one of the proudest moments of my Navy career and something I’ll never forget. It was very small, very personal and private. Although our Navy careers took different paths, it was nice to sit around and have a few beers and talk about where we grew up and few of our adventures. God bless our Navy SEALs.

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On my 2nd re-enlistment, my Maintenance Officer and close friend Lieutenant David “Lucky” Lopez swore me in. He and I spent a lot of time fishing just about everywhere we went. We were a close nit group of fishermen in the squadron and Lucky usually provided the entertainment for all of us. I think he spent most of his career getting us out of trouble but he never complained a bit. Lucky passed away as a result of a car accident while we were on a short detachment to an Air Guard base close to Klamath Falls, Ore. He and one of our civilian tech reps had a car accident while they were returning to the base from a fishing trip to one of our favorite trout streams. Lucky was full of life and a great friend. It was very tough on all of us, especially us fishermen in the squadron. I never returned to Klamath Falls after Lucky’s passing. RIP Lucky. We miss you buddy!

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Lucky with a pacific sheepshead he caught while we were on a 2 night charter. My dad is in the background taking a picture of me taking a picture of Lucky. There were 5 of us on this trip and we had a blast. We ate fish, played poker, smoked cigars and drank whiskey half the night and fished all day.

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This picture was taken when I was leaving my job as the LPO of the Marine Mobile Repair Unit. We worked out of little refrigerated boxes and we could go mobile and repair electronic equipment on the battlefield at a moments notice. The little fella in the foreground was Gunny Sargent Lane presenting me with a framed Barlow knife encased in a wooden box made by my good friend Sargent Wood. Gunny Lane was a former Marine drill instructor and pound for pound, the toughest Marine I’ve ever known. I worked with the Marines a lot during my career and working with the guys and gals in the unit was hard work but a lot of fun.

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I really enjoyed competing in Navy sports as well as local sports where ever I was stationed. I competed in military and civilian softball and baseball teams, track and field as well as distance running, golf teams and I’ve competed in billiards tournaments and leagues where ever I traveled while in the Navy. Here are some random pictures of our running teams.

This was my buddy Rob and I after the Blue Angel Marathon in Pensacola, Fla. Feb. 2002. We took first place in the military team branch competition and dethroned the Kansas National Guard team who had owned the competition for years. It was a very happy day for our team. Our team names were put on a trophy that is on display at Naval Station Pensacola.

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This was the trophy and our team, minus Rob with the Commanding Officer of NAS Pensacola

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This was taken at my last marathon in 2004. This was a team Rob had put together with Rudy and I. I think we took first and this picture was myself, Rudy and Rob with the Commanding Officer of Pensacola presenting us with the award.
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Rob and I presenting the NAS Atlanta Commanding Officer with our 1st place finish plaque for his trophy case. 1910540_1163004485072_6019235_n[1]

This picture was taken during the anchor leg of the 2000 Atlanta Track Clubs Ekiden Corporate Marathon Challenge. I ran the final leg for team Southern Power. When I took over my leg, Home Depot was leading the challenge. At the end of my leg I had passed the competition on won the race. One of the best races I’ve ever run. 603659_3558613498629_908977815_n[1]

My Ekiden teammates 227843_3558611978591_633346364_n[1]

Run the Reagan half marathon in Snelville, Ga. NAS Atlanta Running Team

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Pensacola with Rob, Russ, myself, Bruce and Morris clowning in the morning before the race 424762_3558612338600_1228252132_n[1]

My first Marathon team, Pensacola in 98. We took 3rd in team competition that year. 198780_3558613218622_617760324_n[1]

This was a few runners and our support crew for the race

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I think this was 99. We had 2 teams and team 1 took second  with team 2 finishing 4th 57958_3558614858663_631111137_n[2]
Here’s a picture of myself and my teammate Chris with coach Mike Smith during the 2010 Atlanta Falcon Wounded Warrior Project. Coach Smith is a class act and really enoys working with the wounded warriors.
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Here’s one I found which is a birds eye view of my day to day job on Aircraft Carriers. We generally worked through the day and into the night, doing this over and over. The crazy thing about working on the flight deck of the carrier is that the whole thing is like a well orchestrated dance that plays out all day long. Everyone knows their place and their job. There are colored lines on the deck that help with where you can go and where you can’t go during flight operations.

This is another video of my workstation aboard the Aircraft Carriers. I was a Final Checker or “Checkered Shirt” aboard ship and I was one of those white shirt guys looking over the aircraft as it rolled into the catapult area. Final Checkers are the last set of eyes to look over the aircraft before it launches. We were trained to look for anything that would keep the aircraft from flying in the form of a catastrophic problem. The pilot was depending on us to see anything that may be a problem and we had about 60-90 seconds to inspect or “Smoke Over” the aircraft while it was rolling into the catapult area. This is a good video to show what that looked like from my perspective. We usually worked a minimum of a 12 hour shift and nothing but this all day and into the night. This video was what we would call a “Dog and Pony Show” for guests like foreign dignitaries, political types and Navy brass. Blow it up to a big screen to get a high definition look.

One of the most impressive capabilities is for a fighter jet to break the sound barrier or perform a high speed flyby. We always got a kick out of that and when we were out at sea we would have small dog and pony shows and one or two of the jets would bust mach for us.

The following video is a great demonstration of what happens when you provoke a Tomcat pilot and RIO. You get Sparrows and Sidewinders up your ass. You gotta love that growl of the heat seeking head on that sidewinder right before he smokes the second mig.