Late Spring/Early Summer Report

Not much has changed since my last report and fishing is pretty typical for this time of the year. I will say one thing that is a noticeable difference from past years and that’s the population increase of stripers. I’m sure we can attribute that to the Georgia DNR’s stocking program and the great numbers of fingerlings they have been putting in the lake for the past few years. I think there were a few stockings in upwards of 600k fingerlings over the past 10 years which is almost double from what the lake would generally get. The stripers from those stockings are starting to get bigger and showing up around the lake in good numbers. The water quality is good all around the lake including the far reaches of the creek arms which means the fish are scattered throughout the lake. Right now you have many options for catching fish. The biggest ticket item has been the early morning striper and bass topwater bite. It’s fun, fast and furious. A lot of the fish I’ve been catching on topwater have been relating to structure, particularly the bass but the stripers have been present in the same areas. Basically the fish are using the structure as home base while moving around the structure looking for a meal. My recommendation right now for targeting these fish is some kind of bone or light colored plug, whether it’s topwater or something running just below the surface. Here’s a short video to explain how I’ve been getting a few. The second striper in the video was taken with a Sebile Magic Swimmer. I was just moving around sight fishing.

I’m still getting a few fish on the Emerald Popper on cloudy days and low light conditions but the more aggressive fish have been hitting the solid bone or light colors right now. There are several different topwater baits that will work and several different manufacturers that make a bone colored topwater bait or sub-surface bait. Here’s a picture of one I make in the shop and the one I used in the video above.IMAG0778

Once the topwater bite dies off about 9-10am it’s time for the grind. I’ve been squeezing out a few more fish with a chrome Rattle Trap or a Sebile Magic Swimmer after the surface activity subsides in the same areas but once that’s over I’ve been hitting the docks and shoreline with the shaky head or a shallow diving crankbait in a shad pattern. The docks have been producing a lot of smaller fish lately but if you’re looking for numbers and not size, docks and the backs of pockets will provide a lot of smaller fish on a variety of baits. I’ve also been catching a few fish around blow-downs with a shad pattern jerkbait. Here’s a picture of the jerkbait pattern I’ve been using around blown-downs rocky points and shallow structure.
One other way I’ve been picking up fish recently after the topwater bite slows is to circle back around and keep fishing the same areas of early morning surfacing fish but casting a Blueback Herring pattern Shadow Rap. I’m just casting around the areas and particularly over areas of underwater structure from 20-30 feet in depth. It seems that some of the bigger fish are heading out to deeper water for the summer and spending their days looking for drifting bluebacks. Here’s a pic of a nice one caught in the early afternoon over deep water with the Shadow Rap.IMAG0794

Here’s a few recent rattle trap and popper fish.IMAG0772IMAG0773IMAG0776

IMAG0774With the water temps fluctuating right now the topwater pattern is hit and miss so it’s good to have a few alternate methods because there are going to be days the topwater just doesn’t happen. Water temps as I write this are just above 70 degrees and the water visibility is getting clearer by the day. Over all the topwater bite should last another month or so before the fish hunker down in the depths for a hot summer.

Fishing the “Green Points”

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I fished 4 days last week including Saturday and Sunday. Sunday was the HD Marine tournament and our club tournament. My club partner covered the club tournament and did very well as a solo. My HD partner and I fished Saturday to pre-fish and had no problem finding a limit on 2 tactics. It’s been the same pattern for a while now with the topwater very early in the morning on humps and points followed by docks, rocks and shoreline. When I say very early in the morning I mean right at the crack of dawn. In the overnight hours the fish have been loading up on the points and by morning the fish are ripe for the picking. If no one has fished the points where we have been catching fish or we see fish come to the surface in the creek and those fish remain undisturbed, we called that a “green point”. It’s pretty easy to find green points on the weekdays. Most of the points remain undisturbed for hours and I can go from point to point and get first dibs on the fish that are cruising the point and feeding on the spawning bluebacks and shad that are also moving over the points. Here’s a quick video from some green point fishing early in the morning.

Those kinds of days are great for making cool videos but during the weekends things change with recreational and tournament fishermen hitting the points in the creek and reducing the number of green points very early. The idea is to hit as many green points as you can before the masses flood into the creek and spoil the fun. Another challenge you have once you start fishing the green points is those pesky stripers. There are a few times a year the stripers and bass mix together and you can catch a bass on one cast and a striper on the next. The problem is that when you’re fishing a bass tournament and a big pesky striper decided to snatch your lure, it wastes time….I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like fighting a striper as much as the next guy but you can’t bring em to the scales and time is money. This is one of the time gobblers from yesterday:
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So yesterday, tournament day, our plan was to hit a big fish road bed I found followed by hitting the green points and then go to the docks after lunch. I found a nice road bed out on the main lake earlier in the week that held some good fish and from fishing in the same area earlier during the week I knew that it had been undisturbed by just about everyone for days. There were a lot of 3-5 pounders coming up very early and with the overcast skies predicted for the morning I figured we could get a good start with a nice fish or two very early on tournament morning and then assess the creek situation for green points. We were in the first flight so we were able to put the hammer down out of Little Hall and make it to the south end fairly quickly. When we pulled up to the road bed I popped a nice 4.10 on one of the first casts but after we netted that fish the stripers stole the show and snatched just about everything we put in the water which spooked the bass. We moved on to the creek and started hitting points, 2 of which were green. We were able to boat the other 4 fish to make up our 5 limit off the green points with 3 on the popper and 1 on a donkey rig my partner was throwing. When we moved to the docks around mid to late morning we only upgraded one small fish on the docks for an 11.50lb finish. We had a few opportunities for bigger fish and lost 2 very nice fish but it is what it is.

Basically the pattern has been the topwater popper early with follow-up baits like a light colored Sebile Magic Swimmer, Chug Bug or even a Fluke donkey rig will work. If the wind is up we caught a few using spinner baits on points and rocky banks. We’ve also been doing well for numbers around and between docks, very shallow, with the shaky head, donkey rigs and weigh less flukes. I’m still using the darker worms on the shaky head and sometimes it’s amazing how shallow the fish have been between the docks. Some of them were so shallow their little dorsals were still bone dry when I got them to the boat. LOL This little largemouth was one of the very shallow fish, hiding in the shadows.IMAG0766 (1)

Water temps are creeping past the mid 70’s and summer is on it’s way. I’m looking forward to more and more fish headed out to the main lake humps and the typical summer patterns.