Last Monday I met Tyler Schmidt at Lake Lanier just before sunrise to get information for a November Georgia Outdoor News article. He showed me ten good places to catch big spotted bass on the lake during November, which baits to use and how to fish them.
We ran to a rocky point and, on my very first cast with a topwater plug, a fish sucked it under. The fish fought hard and I said it might be a striper or hybrid, but it was fighting more like a spotted bass. It was big and I let it fight against the rod and the 12 pound line I was using.
When it got almost to the boat, just before we could see it in the clear water, it made a couple of strong runs, stripping drag. Then my line went slack. I said I could not think of anything I did wrong, I guessed it was one of those fish that was just meant to get away.
When I reeled in my Whopper Plopper plug the front treble hooks were gone. The fish had straightened out the split ring holding them to the plug, something I have never had happen to me. I was disgusted.
When I got home I posted a picture of the plug on Facebook and told the story of what happened. Several fishermen, a couple of them pros, said the hooks and split rings on that plug were sorry and you should immediately change them to stronger hardware before fishing the plug.
Those plugs cost between $15 and $20 and it is ridiculous they don’t put good hardware on them. At Martin I landed about 15 bass on that plug and never had a problem, but all those fish weighed less than two pounds. I was impressed how sharp the hooks were. Usually when I hooked a fish it would have one set of trebles in its mouth and the other set would have stuck into is further back, a sign of very sharp hooks.
But is does not matter how sharp the hooks are if the split ring holding them to the plug opens up!
Another plug, the Rat-l-Trap, are notorious for having bad hooks. They don’t straighten out, they just are not very sharp and are hard to sharpen. For years I have replace those hooks, but the plug costs $6.95 at Berry’s Sporting Goods!
The rest of the day We fished the places he put on the map and saw a lot of schooling fish, and caught some weighing about two pounds each, but nothing big. My biggest spot is a 4.4 pounder I caught in a tournament at Lanier last fall about this time. The fish I lost fought harder so if it was a spot it was a big one! But I almost hope it was a striper.
The guides at Lanier are posting pictures on Facebook of big spots they are catching right now, many on topwater plugs. They are also catching a lot of stripers. If you can stand the traffic a trip to Lanier would be great right now.
On Monday I left home at 5:40 and was a little surprised how much traffic was headed north that time of night. Georgia 20 was not bad and I 75 and 675 were busy but not crazy. But when I got on I 285 headed north, it was ridiculous. It was bumper to bumper at speeds less than 30 MPH all the way to I-85. And I was not even puling a boat.
The traffic is why I don’t go to Lanier more often. Its no wonder that more folks that have to drive in that every day seem so on edge and nervous all the time! It would drive me crazy.
These Map of the Month articles have been put into eBook format – one article for each month of the year, giving you 120 spots to fish! A book for Lanier and one for Clarks Hill are available.