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.

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