Aunt Susie’s Southern Baked Beans

This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to do for a while but didn’t get the pictures I needed till yesterday afternoon when we made the baked beans to go along with our smoked brisket and potato salad for ourselves and our house guests.


  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 large cans of pork and beans 53 ounce (we drain 1 can)
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1/2-1 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped Vidalia onion
  • salt to taste
  • course black pepper to taste
  1. Brown the hamburger meat, drain and set aside

Finely chop the onion

Prepare the bacon and set aside

place the 2 cans of pork and beans in a aluminum pan for baking.

Add the ground beef, onion, brown sugar and ketchup to the beans

When everything is mixed thoroughly, top with the stripes bacon and bake the mixture uncover at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Ready to serve.

Stopping, Locking and Hot Afternoon Plopping

If there was nothing more to learn from this week, it would be to find the wind and find the fish and if you mixed a little wind with some midday sunlight, the topwater bite was on and plopping.

This was definitely a hot week out on the lake but the fishing was good if you could stand the heat. For me the best bite didn’t get started till late morning and I left them biting every afternoon this week. I’ve been without electronics this week so I had to adjust my strategy just a little. A lot of my favorite main lake humps we’re out of the question this week so I mainly stuck to the points and familiar stuff that I have been fishing all summer on my milk run. The topwater bite is still my most viable option and this week I caught some good ones, especially after introducing a new bait to the rotation late this week.

The week started with temps in the upper 80’s to low 90’s and the wind was light and variable but you could find patches of little choppy water from small random breezes on the water and if one of those little choppy areas just happen to be over a point or hump it was game on for me. Basically, when I left the creek in the morning my eyes were on full scan across the lake looking for the choppy areas over the points or humps I could fish. If I saw a place that looked good I would set the boat just upwind of the point and I’d make casts down wind with the topwater bait. That was the primary objective but if I had to fish into the wind I was probably going to use the Grande Ima because that thing casts a mile like a bullet into the wind and works well bringing it back down wind. If I fished down wind the popper was my primary bait from Monday till Wednesday and then the popper bite just died. I used the Ima a good bit after the popper bite died on Wednesday but the problem with the Ima is that the fish are seeing it a lot now and they aren’t totally committed to the bait so I was getting a lot of short strikes and near misses. It was getting frustrating to make all those casts with a bunch of blow ups but no fish to show for it. On Thursday I decided to put my custom whopper plopper back into the mix to throw the fish a curve ball. They had been on a steady diet of walking baits and popping baits but I hadn’t hit them with the whopper plopper since April so I put it to work in the same areas I was using the other baits. To my surprise, on the first cast with the little custom 110, I caught a decent fish and followed it up with fish after fish. The bite only got better as the day progressed and on Thursday afternoon it was blazing hot but the fish were responding to the plopper very well. I didn’t need another bait and lost count of the fish I was catching. I started shaking as many smaller fish off as I could, only landing the bigger fish if possible. The big question on Thursday evening was whether or not it would work on Friday. That was answered in short order yesterday as I picked right back up where I left off with the whopper plopper, they killed it yesterday too.

Sometimes for me it’s just a matter of introducing something different to these fish and they will react. Finding the right setup like looking for the areas of a disturbed surface is crucial to success also. Keep in mind, when you have chop on the water it distorts the fishes view when he’s looking up for a food source. The fish is far more likely to make a mistake and attack something that’s moving over a distorted surface than a smooth one. Understanding that and eliminating slack water will also eliminate wasted topwater casts. Another key is to use the ghost patterns now. The fish can also get confused and make a mistake with a lure that he can’t really figure out and a lot of times they keep coming after a clearer bait over a solid color bait, especially this time of year when the water is gin clear. Here’s a picture of the custom whopper plopper that did the damage this week. I used a hint of pearl on the sides and a pearl black color for the back of the bait.

I had a few fish over 4lbs this week and some of the explosions were magnificent! These fish are pushing bluebacks around all afternoon on the big water and in the creek. If you find the areas where the bass are chasing bluebacks like points and humps, there are a few different ways to catch these fish but I’m just running and gunning in the hot sun, not spending more than 10-15 minutes in one place and then moving on. I’m covering my skin and keeping hydrated in the hot afternoon sun and moving around frequently usually cools me down if I start getting hot. I’m guessing water temps are in the upper 80’s and the lake is just below full pool and dropping. The corps is generating in the hottest part of the day and what little wind we had the week was out of the west. Here’s a few pictures of my memorable fish this week and I also included a link to my “On the Cast Away Deck” video with some cast to catch footage this week.

Back to Old School

This week is back to school for a lot of our youth but for me this week has been back to old school in terms of fishing. For the past few months I’ve been using one graph on my boat, a Helix 12 mounted on the bow. I can easily see the Helix mapping from the cockpit while I’m driving around so it’s been all I’ve needed after my console Helix went out. Well, this week it happened, my remaining Helix on the bow bit the dust so now I am graph-less until I determine what to do about the graphs that are out of warranty… and you know, I’ve been thinking, it’s not such a bad thing.

This week, when my only graph on the boat failed I had a momentary panic attack, so I freaked out for about 15 seconds before I realized that there was a time when I fished successfully before mapping and 2d sonar was a thing. There was a time when I fished by landmarks and I read the shoreline to figure out where those underwater humps and points were, I just needed to adjust my thinking to get back to that thought process. It was like a few weeks back when I went out fishing with a striper guide and my whole thought process changed in a matter of minutes when my brain shifted from chasing bass on points and humps to locating stripers in the deeper channels of creek pockets and the river valley floor. I even recognized when the shift occurred in my brain and it was like I had dialed my life back 10 years and I was out there hunting stripers again.

Unfortunately, when it comes to summertime bass on Lanier, you really need those electronics if you’re going to use the drop shot technique or you want to locate offshore structure or bass suspending over deep timber. You can be severely handicapped without the use of electronics and it can make for a long day of fishing in the hot sun but I made the best of it and it’s been fun.

I started off the week with a working graph and on Monday I was out with a friend who wanted to refine his popper technique so we mainly focused on main lake topwater but it was slow with very little wind to work with. I skipped Tuesday and took my neighbor and his grandson out on Wednesday after a weak cool front moved through and the wind picked up. On our first stop I set the boat upwind of a hump in the creek where I figured we would find some early morning fish over a small group of brush piles. I didn’t fish but instructed my crew on the location to make the casts down wind and over the area of brush. It worked to perfection and no sooner than the Ima hit the water we had our first fish of the morning.

My neighbor David and his grandson Caleb did a fine job of bringing the fish to the net. We had set a goal of 4 fish since Caleb’s record was 3 fish for one trip and school started back tomorrow so it would be a fine way to end summer vacation. After we released the fish and made the next cast, it happened again, another nice bass crushed the Ima on the surface. They were spectacular explosions and very exciting to see on two consecutive casts. We were half way to our goal and we had only made two casts. Needless to say, the old record was shattered in short order and we ended up with 11 for Caleb’s new record to finish the summer. Here are some of Caleb’s fish for our morning trip.

Caleb is actually looking forward to school and the start of football season. Caleb wants to be a wide receiver and has already set goals for himself as well as a workout routine for preparation. He wants to play for Auburn and later on, the nfl. We had a great time talking about football and his drafted fantasy team this year while catching fish on a very mild summer morning. The weather couldn’t have been better and I knew the fish would respond well to topwater.

Wednesday evening it was so nice out Lisa and I decided to take a short ride into the creek and do a little drop shotting. That’s when the graph died and we were graphless for the evening. That didn’t stop the action though as the fish were still responding well to the topwater baits and we caught topwater fish at every stop. We really couldn’t do much else but throw topwater and spybait on points and areas we were familiar with but the fish were responding well to both topwater and the occasional spybait fish. We had some wind and I think the corps was pulling water at the time so the bite was going well. We made one last stop and I had a group of fish school on my Ima and it just so happened that the bass that got hooked was a nice 4.3lber, my biggest of the week and a nice way to cap off the evening.

This week I would say that 90% of my fish came from topwater and the other 10 from spybait and drop shot. I tried to focus my efforts to offshore brush and making my topwater casts with the brush being and the surrounding area being the primary focus. I’m also focusing on new areas to fish on every trip. There are plenty of areas on Lanier that hold bass and don’t get a lot of pressure from day to day and I’m always trying to add new prosperous locations to my milk run.

The water temps had dropped a little with the cloud cover and wind so surface temps were back down to the mid 80’s by late this week. The lake level is still around full pool and the corps is pulling water during the heaviest power usage in the afternoons.