Late summer Lanier report 8-27-2016

It’s been a rough 2 weeks with a bout of bronchitis and the lose of a dear family member and my shop mate for the last few years, our cat Blacky. It took him 16 years to used up those 9 lives but after a 2 year battle with diabetes, he passed yesterday. I decided I could be sick and depressed at home or out on the lake so I I’ve been hitting the lake. A few things are starting to change right now and all we need is a good cold front to come through and drop the temps and humidity. Right now the heat of summer is hanging in there like a hair in a biscuit and even though the days are getting shorter the surface temps are still in the upper 80’s with no relief in site. I’ve been spending most of the time messing with the bass but I’ve thrown in some striper fishing out over deep water. For the bass, not much has changed but I have started to mix in some cranking on the big natural chunk rock piles on points and I’ve found a few nice fish willing to hit a crankbait early in the morning. My philosophy is that the early morning rocks are providing the bait and fish a nice little cool haven to hang out in and some nice big bass are foraging the shallow rocks in search of crawfish, bream and shad. I would look for this bite to get stronger and stronger and it won’t be long till the fish start running the shad up into the shallows. When this happens there are 2 crankbaits I like to use, the first is the DT-10 in a shad pattern. It’s been a favorite of ours in the fall and the perfect bait for bass on the rocks when they are pushing shad into the shallows early in the morning. Here’s a picture of the crankbait, it’s definitely one you need for the collection in Sept. IMAG1009My second “go to” crankbait is my old favorite and one I make in the shop, the DT-10 knockoff Sand Key crank. Here’s a picture of that one. IMAG0613

Believe it or not, I’m still getting some bass on the topwater and just yesterday I nailed a good one on the surface throwing a popper. My buddy has be getting some good ones on the surface with a blueback pattern Whopper Plopper over brush but you have to make a lot of casts to call up the topwater fish right now. The surface bite is only going to get better and by late September we should see a lot more fish rising to feed on the shad pods and bluebacks swimming on or near the surface. The key to calling up topwater fish right now is a little bit of chop on the water. With a little chop to distort the surface in gin clear water you can fool the bass where as with no chop they can see the topwater bait better and usually just swirl on the bait without eating it. Most of the bass we’re catching on the surface are bigger fish in the 2-4lb range right now so it’s worth making a few casts on points and over brush.

If you’ve been out lately, you’ve probably seen more and more bass suspended above brush piles in 5-10 feet of water. These bass can be frustrating but a couple baits that have been working for us is a spy bait and a little 1.5 squarebill in a shad pattern. I’ve also had some success with a shallow suspending LC Pointer jerkbait in a blueback pattern and it makes a good follow up bait for surfacing fish that refuse to resurface for a topwater bait.

The drop shot bite is still going strong but frustration can set in with more window shoppers and chasers than eaters on the drop shot but we can still get good numbers with a bigger bass or two mixed in, mainly in the afternoons and evenings. The biggest mystery for the drop shot is the color selection. A month ago the fish were killing the Aarons Morning Dawn 4-5 inch worms and I wiped out Hammonds for every bag they had. Since then the bass have been eating the lighter colored baits and I’ve been catching a few on flukes as well as the worms.

For the stripers, I’ve been using a Ben Parker spoon and a 2-3 ounce bucktail with a 5-6 inch paddletail in a chartreuse over white pattern. For the spoon, it’s as simple as dropping it through the fish and bringing back up with a steady retrieve. With the bucktail/paddletail combo I’ve been having a blast enticing the fish to bite it by using a yoyo pattern while watching it on my graph. With this technique I’ve been dropping it down as deep as I can get it and getting the fish to chase it. The stripers are very curious of this bait and if I can get multiple fish to chase it, I just keep bring it up and down between 20 feet and 60-80 feet and just keep going up and down with it until a fish reacts. I’ve come to the conclusion that these stripers are very competitive and if I can get a few fish to chase it, one of the fish will inevitably get aggressive and take a whack at it. It’s a challenge but a lot fun to watch all this unfold in real time on the graph. Here’s a little video using the bait and a pic of a nice one I caught this week. IMAG1007
If trolling is your thing, there are plenty of stripers to be caught with leadcore right now and a variety of baits will work for that. I’ve got some older videos on my YouTube page that will explain and demonstrate how the leadcore works. Just go to YouTube and type in Jim Farmer or jfarm44 and look at some summers past for my trolling videos.

We’re right on the verge of weather changes and pattern changes and I’m more than ready for cooler weather. Stay cool out there

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Lanier Summer Report #2

Since our return from Lake Guntersville I’ve fished a few times out on the lake and it seems that not much has changed since my last report. The bass are out on the brush piles in full force but getting them is just a little tougher than it was a month ago. Today we caught them on the drop shot as shallow as 15 feet and as deep as 40 feet but most have been around 25-30 feet in and around brush. A month ago I was loading the boat using Robo worms in Aarons Morning Dawn on the drop shot but that bite has slowed considerably so we’ve had to change our color tactics. It seems the fish are liking the lighter colored worms right now and Lisa has been doing well on a clear white ice color scheme that my buddy makes for us in his shop. I’ve been doing ok on my little 4-5 inch sky blue drop shot worms but Lisa has the magic touch and has been wearing them out on her ice worms. Here’s a pic of Lisa and her new favorite drop shot worm color. 13902205_10206079241854690_2100370255_o13902205_10206079241854690_2100370255_o (1)13898178_10206080872055444_1787630607_o
Drop shotting has been hit and miss for us but when the bite is going good we can get a dozen or two a day but not very many big ones right now. I’ve been using light tackle spinning gear with 6lb test fluorocarbon line, Mustad twist free or VMC Spin Shot hooks and a 3/8 ounce weight about 18 inches below the hook.

The big ticket item for me has been the topwater bass bite this summer. If there is a little chop on the water I could probably sit out in the heat and catch fish all day on my emerald topwater popper on points and humps. The bass are pushing singled out bluebacks to the surface all day long and the emerald popper is a great imitation of a blueback getting hammered on the surface by a bass. I’ve been using a lot of splashing and popping to get the basses attention and the chop on the surface causes enough of a distortion to fool the bass into hitting the popper. Here’s a couple pics we took this morning with the emerald popper and a couple nice bass on top.20160801102805 (3)
13898504_10206079241814689_417112716_o (1)I’ve also been catching a few by adding some red eyes and a red dressed trailer hook. Here’s a pic of that color pattern and a nice bass on it.IMAG0924IMAG0920
If I feel like the topwater popper isn’t working or there’s no chop, over the past few days I’ve been using a suspending Lucky Craft Pointer blueback colored jerkbait when I see the fish are moving around in the upper water column or suspending over the brush. I like the blueback pointer because when you jerk it a few times it creates a good flash in the water and I can flash it and suspend it over the brush and usually I can get a few to slam it while letting it sit on a long pause. It’s a fun little bait to use and I’ve been using a jerk-jerk-slow moving pause pattern for it to be successful. I’m still throwing a underspin but it really hasn’t been getting very many bites lately.
Here’s a little video I made last week that kind of explains what I’ve been doing and a couple fish we’ve caught over the past few days.
For the stripers we’re using 2 baits to get bit. The first is the big Ben Parker spoon and the second is a big 7.5 inch swimbait on a 1-2 ounce jig head. The hardest thing about the stripers right now is finding them. Once you find them just dropping the spoon up and down is all you need to do to attract more fish and catch a few. If I really want to have some fun and we’re over a lot of active fish, another bait I’ve been using is a big swimbait vertically jigged just like the spoon on a Heavy 7’9″ Mojo Bass rod and a Revo baitcaster with heavy flouro. I can also cast it, count it down to around 40-60 feet and bring it back to the boat in a horizontal retrieve. You can figure out your sink rate with the swimbait jig by dropping it under the transducer cone and counting it down while watching it on the graph. 13918662_10206079958072595_590005335_oSwimbaits and spoons are a lot of fun this time of year on Lanier for stripers and it’s pretty easy to catch a few if you can find them. Around the river channel or the deep 100 foot ditches near the mouths of our south end creeks have been the best locations to look for the stripers. Here’s one of a few I caught this morning on the spoon. 13918739_10206079241774688_797089199_oIf If you can stand the heat, now is a pretty good time to get out there and get a few. Surface temps are in the upper 80’s and the bite has been varying from early morning to late evening but the best bite seems to be when the sun gets up. Good luck out there and take plenty of water, cover up or use sun screen.