Where and How To Catch February Logan Martin Bass, with GPS Coordinates

        Although winter still has a firm grip on fishermen, bass are responding to longer days.  They are starting to feed up for the coming spawn and venture from deep water to nearby shallows to eat. At Logan Martin this means they are on deep rocky banks that have shallow cover and on shallow points that drop into channels.

    Logan Martin is on the Coosa River east of Birmingham and I-20 crosses it near Pell City.  It is full of fat Coosa Spots and quality largemouth. Rocky river channel shorelines with docks and points at mouths of creeks and coves line the lake and both species are feeding on them this month.

    Tim Ward grew up fishing Logan Martin. He and his family stayed at a campground in Clear Creek often and he had a small boat to explore the nearby area and learn to catch bass.  He really got into bass fishing when he was 13 and fished his first tournament when 18.  His experience club fishing led him to join the Auburn Bass Team and he fished with the team from 2011 to 2015.

    Now Tim fishes with the Marathon Bassmasters in Birmingham and is working on fishing on the pro side of big tournaments by fishing as a co-angler in BFLs.  He placed second in a Bass Nation tournament and won a couple of BFLs on the co-angler side. He also fished the ABT Southern Division.

    Logan Martin is Tim’s home lake and he fishes it often.  He knows that the bass start feeding more and more in late January and all during February, even if the water remains cold.  Toward the end of the month when the water does start warming they are even more active.

    “All during February Logan Martin bass still want to be near deep water, but will move shallow to feed,” Tim said. Rocky river channel banks with a shallow ledge along it is a good place to find them, as are points that drop into deep water. Rocks are the key but wood cover on them helps.

    To cover those kinds of places, Tim relies on a variety of baits. A jerkbait, crank bait, rattle bait and chatterbait all allow him to cover water and find feeding fish. If he is not finding active fish, a shaky head will always catch fish on Logan Martin under any conditions. 

    The water is usually a brownish stained color this time of year, with clearer water in some creeks. The water color controls his choice of colors.  Shad colors are good in clearer water but brighter colors like chartreuse are better if the water is stained. In muddy water Tim says red is hard to beat.

    We fished on a cold, cloudy windy day in early January and caught some spots and largemouth on several of these places. 

    1.  N 33 29.288 – W 86 14.998 – Going up the river from Cropwell Branch the river makes an “S” bend and Powel’s Campground is on the left bank going upstream.  The right bank across from it is an outside bend with docks on it and wood cover washes in. It is a good example of the kind of river bank he likes.

    As the river turns back to the left there is a big bay on the right with a smaller bay just upstream of it.  Start at the upstream point of the upstream bay with a dock on it.  The dock has a covered boat slip and there is a matching smaller covered deck on the bank.  There is a small private ramp on the upstream side of the dock. 

    Start at the point and fish upstream, casting to the bank and covering any wood cover and all the docks along this bank.  Your boat will be in 20 feet of water or deeper a fairly short cast off the bank, but there is a small shelf the docks sit on, and bass move up out of the channel to feed all along it.

    Tim will fish all the way up to the next pocket if he is getting bit. But if he fishes a hundred yards of this bank without a bite he will move to another place.  He does not expect to catch a bunch of fish in one spot.  He is looking for individual feeding fish holding on the cover along this bank.

    2.  N 33 30.754 – W 86 15.618 – Going back down the river there is a double creek entering on the outside bend on your right. There are two islands in the mouth of it. The downstream point runs way out to the creek and river channels and fish hold and feed on it until moving in to spawn.

    We rode over this point and Tim’s electronics lit up with baitfish holding near the bottom in 20 to 25 feet of water.  Baitfish are always a good sign that bass are in the area.  We did not stay long since the wind was blowing strong but if you can fish a place like this you should stay on it and cover it carefully.

    Keep your boat in 25 feet of water off the end of the point and fan cast all over the point. Cast toward the bank will be in eight to ten feet of water and you can cover it out to about 12 feet deep with a crankbait that dives that deep, Tim’s choice this time of year. He likes a chartreuse and cream color and wants his bait to bump the bottom from 6 to 12 feet deep.

    Also try a rattlebait in places like this.  Cast it to eight feet deep and work it out to 15 feet deep, the range Tim expects bass to hold right now.  Work it back by slow rolling it near the bottom or pumping it up and letting it fall back.

    3.  N 33 29.529 – W 86 17.354 – Going down the river past the mouth of Cropwell Creek the first opening on your right is a cove with docks in it, and there is another smaller pocked just downstream of it.  Fish stage on the points of both these pockets and spawn in them.

    The downstream point of the downstream pocket is rocky with a dock on it. The upstream side is flatter with docks along it, too.  Tim likes to fish both sides of this pocket this time of year.  Cast a chatterbait and squarebill crankbait to the dock posts.  Try to bump the post with the squarebill.  Tim uses a Strike King 1.5 in chartreuse and black. Bump it off dock posts and any other wood cover on the bank.

    Also work a shaky head around the docks and wood cover, and probe for brush around the docks with it.

The first dock on the upstream side has a yellow bench on it and there is a good brush pile out from it. 
We missed a couple of bites in that brush pile, the wind made it hard to fish a shaky head.

    4.  N 33 26.822 – W 86 17.321 – Run down into Clear Creek to the bridge.  The riprap on the bridge holds fish all month long and more move to it as they work up the creek toward spawning areas.  Fish both side of the riprap on both ends of the bridge.

    Fish the rocks with a jerkbait and crankbait.  Tim says a Megabass 110 in sexy shad is hard to beat. The water in here is usually clearer, as the creek name implies.  A shad colored crankbait bumped along the rocks in 8 to 12 feet deep will also catch fish. Both baits allow you to cover the riprap quickly.

    Work the rocks with a shaky head, too. On the rocks a fairly light head will get hung up less. Tim uses a three sixteenths to one quarter ounce head and he puts a green pumpkin or Junebug Zoom Trick or Finesse worm on it.  He also dips the tail of the worm in chartreuse dye.  Fish it with a drag and shake action. 

    5.  N 33 26.928 –  w 86 16.688 – Going up the left arm of the creek a long point comes off the right bank and runs over half way across it. The creek channel runs along the upstream side and the end runs out to where the channel swings around it. There are big rocks and a danger marker on the end of the point.

    Keep your boat in 25 feet of water and fish the end and upstream side with a jerkbait and crankbait.  Try different cadences with the jerkbait but Tim says the typical jerk, jerk, pause works well most days.  Pause the bait longer in colder water.   Also try your shaky head here. We caught a keeper spot here on a shaky head.

    6.  N 33 26.839 – W 86 18.577 – Going down the lake from Clear Creek there is a big cove on your left. Arms run off both sides in the back. There are good channels running into them and there are a lot of docks along the banks. Bass move into this cove to spawn and hold along the channels, moving up to the shallows to feed this month.

    Tim said this is one of his favorite places and we fished all the way around it, and caught a good largemouth and two spots, as well as missing several bites.  Start on the left as you enter the pocket at the dock on your left in front of a brick boat house at the mouth of the arm that goes back to the left. There is a flag pole on the bank beside the dock and a cement boat ramp going to the boathouse.

    The water is shallow along the banks here and Tim choses chatterbait and squarebill around the docks and gravel banks.  The largemouth hit a chatterbait and the spot hit the crankbait here. Hit any cover along the bank.

    Also fish your shaky head here. Some of the docks have brush in front of them where the fish feed. Probe for the brush and work it thoroughly with your shaky head.  Fish all the way to the last dock on the right side.

    7.  N 33 26.927 – W 86 18.704 – The upstream point of this big cove has riprap around it, a white bird house on the bank and big rocks up shallow.  Rocks also run out to deep water on the point that runs across the mouth of the cove.

    There were fish and bait fish on it when we rode over it and we caught a largemouth out in 15 feet of water. Stop out in 25 feet of water off the end of the point and fan cast it with a shaky head, crankbait and rattlebait.  Then work toward the bank, covering the shallows around it with square bill and shaky head.

    8. N 33 26.659 – W 86 19.208 – A little further down the lake toward the dam a long point runs out from the left bank, drops into a saddle and comes up to a small island. There is a yellow smiley face flag on it and there are rocks all around it and a big tree off the bank on the downstream side. The river channel runs right off the outside point of it.

    Start at the saddle on the upstream side and work around the island with your jerkbait.  When you get to the outside point keep your boat in 15 feet of water and cover the point with both jerkbait and shaky head.   This point is one of the few places Tim expects bass to school up and he says you can catch a lot of fish on it.

    9.  N 33 26.469 – W 86 19.673 – Across the lake a big island with a causeway sits near the right bank going toward the dam. The outside bank of this island drops off fast with rocks and docks on it. There is a small pocket half way down the bank.

    Tim starts on the upstream side of the pocket at the dock in front of a house with red umbrellas by it and fishes around the pocket. Tim says this is a good place to catch a big fish this time of year.  Fish all around the pocket and docks on both sides with chatterbait, jerkbait, squarebill and shaky head. Tim uses the Z Man half ounce bait with a chartreuse and white skirt.

    10.  N 33 27.487 – W 86 17.826 – Back up the lake on your right at the mouth of Clear Creek, Clear Creek Harbor Marina has a riprap breakwater point running off the right bank.  Bass hold and feed all along this riprap on both sides, and concentrate on the end. We lost a decent fish that was right on the edge of the water.

    Fish all the way around the riprap point with crankbait and jerkbait. Get in close to the rocks and parallel them, especially if there is wind blowing in on them. There was a good chop on the water here when we fished, perfect for this time of year.

    If the wind is not blowing stay off the rocks and cast a shaky head to the edge of the rocks and work it all the way back to the boat.  This is a good spawning pocket so fish gang up along the rocks as they get ready to move in and spawn.

    All these places are excellent this month, and many similar places hold fish right now.  Check Tim’s favorites to see when he looks for and you can find many similar spots all over the lake.

Fishing South Carolina’s Lake Thurmond

It will always be Clark Hill to me! And most of the lake is in Georgia
Photo courtesy Old 96 Tourism District

By David Lucas
from The Fishing Wire

Whatever you call the lowest lake in the Savannah chain along South Carolina’s “West Coast” the fishing there is red hot, even when the weather turns cold.

Ask an old-time Sandlapper (that’s a South Carolinian for you folks “from off”) what the big lake bordering the Sumter National Forest North of Augusta is called, and like as not, they’ll tell you it’s Clarks Hill.

That was true for a long time, but both the dam and the lake impounded by it were renamed after South Carolina’s longest-serving U.S. Senator in 1987 as the “J. Strom Thurmond Lake and Dam.”  Before that, the lake was known on both sides of the border as “Clarks Hill,” though it’s official name when opened in 1954 was “Clark Hill” (a clerical error later corrected at the insistence of Senator Thurmond.)

Anyway, that’s history (and politics) for you — one lake, three names.

Today, with nearly 71,100 acres of water and 1,200 miles of shoreline at full pool, Lake Thurmond is a haven for outdoor recreation such as fishing, boating and paddling, as well as a major attraction for anglers, tourists and people looking for a nice place to retire.

Though the lake was built with the primary purposes of flood control and power generation in mind, recreation was part of the plan from the beginning. Constructed between 1944 and 1954 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project plan included numerous shoreline recreation spots for camping, picnicking and bank fishing built at the same time that have remained popular throughout the years.

Numerous private camps and marinas also sprung up around the lake in the years after it opened, and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism maintains three beautiful state parks that all offer lakeside camping and water access via boat ramps — Hickory Knob, Baker Creek and Hamilton Branch. 

Four-Season Fishing
Lake Thurmond is sometimes referred to as an “angler’s paradise,” and it’s easy to see why; there’s a reason Bassmasters magazine and Bassmasers.com recently included it on their list of the Best Bass Fishing Lakes of the Decade in the Southeast.

The lake’s abundant underwater timber and large forage base of blueback herring, gizzard and threadfin shad provide the essentials for great fishing — food and cover. Anglers at Lake Thurmond can successfully target largemouth bass, and a large population of stocked striped and hybrid bass. Flathead and blue catfish, crappie and bream are also plentiful.

With the area’s mild weather, late fall and even into winter is a great time to get out on the lake and chase schools of stripers and hybrids. The fish are in winter prep mode and can be found loading up on schools of shad or herring. Landing a forty-plus pound fish isn’t unusual.

Experienced guides on the lake will advise you that the way to find winter stripers and hybrids is to find the baitfish, and one way to do that (other than using sonar equipment) is by looking for flocking gulls feeding on the surface. The birds also show up in big numbers beginning in fall, which just goes to show you – the Palmetto State’s “West Coast” is a popular stop for winter migrants of all kinds (even the two-legged type).Striped and hybrid bass stocked in the lake by SCDNR’s Freshwater Fisheries Section can be successfully targeted nearly year-round at Lake Thurmond. [photo by David Lucas, SCDNR]

In the spring, crappie on the lake begin moving into shallower water to spawn, and that’s when knowing where the lake’s well-maintained fish attractor site can work to your benefit, especially if fishing from the bank is your thing.

Visit the USACE’s Lake Thurmond Recreation pages to find maps, or the SCDNR lakes pages.

The largemouth bass bite also turns on in the spring, when water temperatures begin to rise and the fish seek coves and shallow water to spawn.  But bass can be caught on Thurmond even throughout the dog days of summer if you know where to look, and just like with the wintertime striper/hybrid bite, the key will be locating the baitfish – blueback herring in particular. When the spawn is finished and hot weather takes over, the bluebacks head for deeper, cooler water and the bass will follow.  Points and deepwater brushpiles are key spots, and topwater lures can be deadly effective in that scenario, according to a pro angler who should know – local bass fishing hero Casey Ashley.S.C.-based professional bass angler Casey Ashley knows Lake Thurmond and advises fishing deepwater structure when the weather turns hot. [photo courtesy Bassmaster]

But don’t forget about catfish during the summer months. From June, all the way into early fall, catfish in the 1-10 pound range are pulled out of the lake in large numbers. Fish fry anyone? Anchoring or drifting off of points or humps while fishing cut bait or stinkbaits close to the bottom are the tried-and-true tactics. Night fishing is also popular, and some say that’s when the bigger cats are more likely to be landed.

Whatever time of year you choose to visit, it won’t take long for you to discover why Bassmaster magazine recently included Lake Thurmond/Clarks Hill as one of the top bass lakes of the decade in the Southeast.

If You Go
For more information about the lake’s recreational fishing and camping opportunities, visit the USACE’s Lake Thurmond Recreation web pages.

For a broader look at the area’s other attractions – scenic drives, historic sites, hiking trails and local hotspots for BBQ or country cooking, try the website for the “Old 96” tourism region for help with itineraries, accommodations and travel plans.

Cutting Firewood

  I miss cutting firewood.  A “memory” popped up on my Facebook page from just three years ago. A picture showed my pickup loaded with wood.  The comment from that day said, “not a bad hour’s work, especially since I had to gas up and change chains.”

    I had cut down a dead red oak, cut its trunk into sections about 26 inches long to fit into my wood burning insert, and loaded them in the truck. They were big enough that three filled the bed across, and there were about 21 pieces total.

    In 1981 when I moved into my current house it had a wood burning insert.  I bought a Sears chainsaw and learned to use it; I had never used one.  I also learned a lot about different kinds of wood, how much effort it took to split wood with a maul and the best way to load my insert and get a good fire that would last all night.

    The first five years here I did not even light the pilot light on my furnace.  We put a sheet over the stairwell to the unused upstairs and used a fan in the doorway to move warm air into the bedroom. Then one March while I was gone for six days to fish a Top Six tournament, Linda got pneumonia and could not get wood or build a fire.

    I lit the pilot light as soon as I got home.

    Splitting wood was always my least favorite part of the process.  After I turned 60, using a hand maul hurt!  A gas splitter solved that problem and made it go much faster.

    I liked red oak wood since it cut cleanly, split evenly and burned down to good coals that lasted a long time.  White oak was similar but the grain was not quite as clean. Hickory was great but I did not have many hickory trees I could cut, and I saved them for grilling.  I mostly cut trees that had died in the past year, the wood was still good and I did not remove live trees from my land.

    I liked burning pine and popular during the day since I didn’t need to produce good coals.  Both split easily, were light weight to carry and easy to light and get burning fast.  The smell of burning pine is my second favorite burning wood smell.  And the “pop“ of burning popular was not a problem in my enclosed fireplace insert.

    I never cut down a cedar tree on my land, but after having some timber clearcut there were a dozen big cedars that were damaged.  I cut them and used some trunks for posts, but cut most of it up into two-foot-long sections.  I would add one to the fire during the day and make the yard and house smell wonderful!

    Sweetgum was just about impossible to split by hand but my gas splitter handled it fine.  Sweetgum really doesn’t split, its twisting grains just tear apart with enough pressure.  It burned without producing coals, but it was the most plentiful type of tree on my land and was pretty useless for wildlife.  So I cut and burned a lot of it during the day to produce fast, hot first that warmed the house quickly..

    I haven’t been able to cut wood for two years now and have not had a fire for the past two winters.  Maybe again someday.

Virginia’s Prime Trout Streams for 2021

By Alex McCrickard
Virginia DWR Aquatic Education Coordinator
from The Fishing Wire

Virginia anglers are truly blessed with an abundance of trout streams in the Commonwealth. The diversity of these streams provides opportunities for every trout angler whether you prefer fishing for wild trout or stocked trout, spin fishing or fly fishing, or fishing with bait versus artificial flies and lures. No matter what you enjoy, Virginia has you covered.

However, with 3,500 miles of trout streams across the state it can be hard to know where to start. One could truly spend a lifetime exploring all the trout opportunities that Virginia has to offer. If you are wondering where to get started, consider these eight destinations listed below in alphabetical order.
DWR Fisheries Biologist, Steve Owens, hooked up at the Clinch Mountain Fee Fishing area.

Fee Fishing Areas 
(Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek, Douthat State Park)

The Department’s three Fee Fishing Areas provide excellent “put and take” trout fishing opportunities. These fee fishing areas also have the added bonus of being stocked numerous times a week throughout the season. Both fly anglers and spin anglers will enjoy the fee fishing areas.

During the fee fishing season, which opens the first Saturday in April, the daily permit is $8. The Clinch Mountain fee fishing area is an excellent opportunity for anglers in the southwestern portion of the state as you can try your luck on Big Tumbling Creek, Briar Cove Creek, and Laurel Bed Creek. The Crooked Creek fee fishing area is in Carroll County, not far from Galax. Here anglers can try their luck fishing for stocked trout. Finally, the Douthat State Park fee fishing area provides opportunities to target stocked trout on the 60-acre lake and in Wilson Creek. These fee fishing areas are great places to take family members and beginners when teaching them how to trout fish.

The author with a 21″ brown trout caught on a large streamer while floating the Jackson River tailwater.

Jackson River Tailwater

Anglers looking to fish a larger river for wild trout should look no further than the Jackson River tailwater. Wild brown trout and wild rainbow trout thrive in the tailwater from Gathright Dam 18 miles downstream to Covington. This larger river provides anglers the opportunity to fish from a raft or drift boat for wild trout, with many in the 12- to 16-inch range. There are six public access points, giving anglers a variety of float options. Please note that some riverfront landowners have brought successful trespassing claims to anglers fishing in a couple of distinct sections of the river. Reference the map on the DWR website for additional information on access points.

Both fly and spin anglers will enjoy the wild trout opportunities on the Jackson. High spring flows can be the best time of year to hunt for larger brown trout with streamers and sinking line. Spin fisherman will also find luck pursuing some of the river’s larger specimens with trout magnets, live bait, or spinners like the Joe’s Fly during this time of year. A variety of caddis and mayfly hatches keep the trout happy throughout the spring, summer, and fall and can provide for technical fly fishing situations. Since the Jackson River is a tailwater, make sure to check the river flows and release schedule before planning your trip.The author with a nice brown trout from the upper section of the public stretch on Mossy Creek.

Read the rest of the story here:
The post Virginia’s Prime Trout Streams for 2021 appeared first on The Fishing Wire.

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Fishing A Lake Sinclair January Tournament

Last Saturday catching bass at Sinclair was very “hit and miss” for the 21 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters in our January tournament.  In 7.5 hours we landed 35 12-inch keeper bass weighing about 58 pounds.  There were two limits and seven people did not land a keeper.  

    Shay Smith won with five weighing 14.50 pounds and Mitch Cardell came in second with five at 12.68 pounds.  Tom Tanner had three weighing 7.65 pounds for third and Frank Anderson had one fish for fourth, but it was the right one and was also big fish at 5.65 pounds.

    There were three largemouth weighing more than five pounds each, and two more between 4.5 and five pounds weighed in.

    I thought I started my day right with a good 1.75-pound keeper on my second cast with a crankbait, but my next bite came seven hours later, on the same crankbait in a similar place as the first one.  I tried just about everything I could think to do except make a long run to clear water.  The wind was howling, and I just did not want to beat myself to pieces in the waves. And it waw cold!

    We put in up Little River at Dennis Station and the water was extremely muddy.  Downstream, if you went up the Oconee River it got a little clearer and a decent color to fish, if you could get out of the wind.  After the tournament I heard the creeks at the dam were the clearest water on the lake, as is usual this time of year, and where I should have gone, I think.

Even with just two fish I felt pretty good as the first five people weighed in. Nobody had more than three, and I hoped I might place. When Mitchell put a 5.05 pounder on the scales, then added a 4.9 pounder, my hopes sank. Then Shay showed up at the scales. 

I did place – eighth with two at 3.62 pounds!

We are fishing Sinclair this Sunday in the Spalding County club.  I hope the wind isn’t bad and I can go to clear water!

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Guntersville Winter Bass

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 1/23/21


Cold 45-degree water temperatures put the bite into typical wintertime conditions with bites
at a premium and lots of work during a day on the water. Persistence and toughness both
mentally and physically were the only way to succeed. Have no fear though as heavy rain is
expected this week with temperatures more near the averages moving forward; this will pick
the bite up quickly and hopefully extend into the rest of the pre-spawn time frame, making
for some great days going forward.


We spent most of the week fishing SPRO rattle baits, Picasso Chatter Baits, Picasso spinner
baits, Tight-Line swim jigs, targeting reaction bites all week long. We did see some results
from SPRO Little John DD-60 crank bait puling and snapping it out of the grass edges. Fish
hard, be persistent and you will have some success; you just cannot let the slow bite beat
you!


Come fish with me I have guides and days available to fish with you; no one will treat you
better or work harder to see you have a great day on the water. Need to entertain your
customers we do corporate trips and days and times available for that also. We fish with
great sponsor products, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Boat Logix mounts, Mercury
Motors, Vicious Fishing, Duckett Fishing, Lews Fishing, Missile Baits, Tight-Line jigs and more!

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service
www.fishlakeguntersvilleguideservice.com
www.facebook.com/FishGuntersville
Email: bassguide@comcast.net
Call: 256 759 2270
Capt. Mike Gerry

NC Study Indicates Some Fish are Caught Repeatedly–Possibly Skewing Population Estimates


By North Carolina State University
from The Fishing Wire

A new study reports that, for several species of oceanic sport fish, individual fish that are caught, released and recaught are more likely to be caught again than scientists anticipated.

A new study reports that, for several species of oceanic sport fish, individual fish that are caught, released and recaught are more likely to be caught again than scientists anticipated. The findings raise some interesting questions for policy makers tasked with preserving sustainable fisheries.The study makes use of data from tagging programs, in which researchers tag fish and release them into the wild. When those fish are caught, and the tag information is returned to the researchers, it can give scientists information that informs fishery policies.

“Fisheries researchers who work in tagging programs have long noticed that certain fish seem to get caught repeatedly, and we set out to determine the implications of this phenomenon,” says Jeff Buckel, co-author of the study and a professor of applied ecology at North Carolina State University.

To that end, researchers examined decades’ worth of Atlantic coast tagging datasets on four fish species: black sea bass (Centropristis striata), gray triggerfish (Balistes capriscus), red grouper (Epinephelus morio), and Warsaw grouper (Hyporthodus nigritus). Using a computational model, the researchers determined that—for the black sea bass and both types of grouper—survival was significantly higher after the second, third, and fourth release as compared to the first release.

“Think of it this way,” says Brendan Runde, first author of the study and a Ph.D. student at NC State. “Let’s say you tagged 1,000 fish and recaptured 100 of them for a first time. After re-releasing those 100 fish, you would only expect to recapture 10 of them a second time. But that’s not what we’re seeing. We’re seeing much higher numbers of fish getting recaptured after the second time.

“Our hypothesis is that this increase in catch rate stems from selection for robust individuals,” Runde says.

In other words, because some fish don’t survive the first release, and you can’t catch a dead fish, the fish that were robust enough to survive their first encounter were more likely to survive following catch-and-release events.

The finding could have a significant impact on stock assessments, which inform fishery policies.

“One might assume that every catch and release in a recreational fishery is a unique fish,” Buckel says.

“So that if 5 million black sea bass were caught and released in a given year, that would mean there were at least 5 million black sea bass in a fishery. For these three species of fish and likely many others, that’s just not true. At least some of those 5 million catches were the same fish getting caught over and over again.”

“Reliable estimates of how many unique fish are released are critical to accurately assessing the health of the population,” says Kyle Shertzer, a co-author of the study and stock assessment scientist at NOAA Fisheries.

“On the positive side, the study also suggests that for many species fish mortality from being released appears lower than we thought,” Buckel says.

“For those species, if a fish survives its first release, it has an even better chance of surviving subsequent releases.”

“We think that the issues raised by our findings are likely relevant for many marine fish stock assessments that rely on catch-and-release data—though this will vary based on the species and the details of how each stock assessment is performed,” Runde says.

The paper, “Repetitive capture of marine fishes: implications for estimating number and mortality of releases,” is published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Sandboxes and Eating White Dirt

Do any kids still play in sandboxes?  I see plastic sand boxes advertised online, and they even come with bags of sand.  My sandbox was different.

    Daddy nailed four six-foot long 2x6s into a square, put a lip on top with 1x4s and filled it with sand.  To get the sand we drove to a sand road a few miles south of the house and filled the bed of the pickup with sand from the ditch.

    I spent hours making sandcastles. Many times they were made for toad frogs.  Tunnels were dug big enough for a toad and sometimes I would put a quart jar at the end so they had “windows.”  We caught toads and put them in the castles and tunnels and watched them move around.

    The most amazing sand structures I have ever seen were on the Baja Peninsular on a trip to the Sea of Cortez.  We stayed overnight in Loreto Mexico on the sea.  There was a big festival and part of it was a contest making sand statues on the beach.  Everything from forms of people that were very lifelike to airplanes, cars and buildings had amazing detail.

    A pier there was closed off and people were grilling different kinds of food to sell.  Across the entrance to the pier was yellow police tape with the words “Caution, Men Grilling!”

    I lived on Iron Hill Road, so named for the red clay and rocks everywhere.  Our farm was near the fall line where Georgia’s topography changes from rolling hills with lots of clay and rocks to flat sand lands.

    On the farm we never bought anything we could get for free. “Free” meant no money, much of that free stuff, like sand, required a lot of work.  Many times I helped shovel sand into the pickup to take to the farm for everything from making cement for chicken houses to filling in depressions in the yard.

    The difference between the farm and the area a few miles south is amazing. Sand Hill road is only a short drive from Iron Hill Road in McDuffie County. We never saw rattlesnakes on the farm but they were common in the sandy areas a few miles from us.

    What brought all this to my mind was seeing “white dirt” for sale in a local store.  Growing up, some of my friends at school from the sandy area brought chunks of this white dirt to school to eat.  It is a form of chalk and many very poor people ate it just to fill their stomachs. And it helped stop diarrhea.

    In the early 1960s mining companies came to my area and dug pit mines to get the seams of white dirt. We found out it is kaolin and is used for everything from making medicines and cosmetics to making the slick covering for magazine pages.

    Many of those mines were very deep. When they stopped the mining, the pits filled with water. I have never seen water that clear anywhere else.  It was a very light blue and seeped in so there was no sediment. You could see the bottom 25 feet deep.

    Unfortunately, with the steep sides, they were very dangerous.  Every year it seemed someone drowned in them on a swimming trip when they could not get back out of the water.  

    Its almost scary the memories seeing something as simple as white dirt for sale can bring.

Garmin Striker Cast GPS Review


Frank Sargeant, Editor
from the Fishing Wire

Garmin Striker Cast GPS—Castable Sonar For the many anglers around the country who fish from shore, piers or docks, it’s always a bit of a mystery how deep the water is within casting range, what structures are on the bottom, and where the fish are in relation to that structure. Without a sonar/GPS screen to tip you off, you’re fishing blind.

Garmin’s Striker Cast GPS puts fish-finding technology into the hands of these anglers, at a very affordable price. It provides quality sonar and GPS on any smart phone.The whole system is encased in a hard plastic housing about the size of a tennis ball. The unit turns on when it’s immersed in water, and links via Bluetooth to your smart-phone once you download the Striker Cast app. You attach the device to your fishing line, cast it out to the water you want to check and presto, a sonar screen appears on the phone.

The Striker Cast is about the size of a tennis ball. It can transmit to your phone from up to 200 feet away.

The device weighs about 3 ounces, so it’s not something you’re going to throw on your light action spinning rod. And it would be easy to pop your line and lose the Striker if you got a dead-stop backlash on a hard cast. I tied it on with 65 pound test Spider Wire braid on the heavy duty snap swivel, just to be sure—that braid will hoist a couple of concrete blocks, so it’s not going anywhere.
Here, a bass hanging over tree limbs on bottom at 8 feet shows clearly. Note the water temperature and depth digital readout on the upper left.

You don’t really cast the Striker—it’s more like lobbing a tennis ball, unless you put it on a 10-foot surf rod. I used a heavy action Shimano Sienna 7-footer and a 4000 size reel that would whip a kingfish, and it was about right.

Manipulating the rod, reel handle and your smart phone all at once is a challenge unless you have three hands. The way I worked it out was to hold the rod in my right hand, the phone in my left and also lightly hold the reel handle. I then rotated rod and reel to retrieve line—it sounds more difficult than it is once you’ve made a few casts.



As with any sonar, the faster the transducer moves, the more the terrain and fish below are compacted, while the slower things move the more they are stretched out. Thus, a foot-long bass going slow under a fixed transducer can look like a 40-pound pike. However, you quickly learn to adjust. The system automatically sets range and gain, or you can adjust both manually at the tap of a virtual scale.

Bottom shows red/yellow, water blue, fish and structure also red if large, yellow if small or scattered. The screen has digital depth and water temperature readouts on the upper left.

The unit also has a very accurate GPS system which allows you to map the area you are graphing. Walk all the way around your favorite pond, casting every 50 feet or so as you go, and it draws a chart of all the water you can reach, complete with depth profiles. You can name and save this, and you can also share it publicly. (I suspect that’s a function not many serious anglers will use!)

The chart was made by repeated casts with the Striker Cast. The opening at the center was where the author walked around a creek, so there’s no graph of that area.

The transducer is not like your boat floating over a fish, which usually flushes anything shallower than 10 feet in most lakes. Fish are not aware of it, and in fact I had a catfish come up and bump it apparently to see how it tasted. So, you can graph an area with a couple casts, spot fish, tie on a lure that gets to their appropriate depth, and hopefully connect.The Striker Cast would also be very useful for ice fishers—it’s compact, easy to carry, and would give you a quick read of what’s happening at each hole you open.

After saltwater use, you’ll want to rinse the connections thoroughly before hooking it up to the included USB charging wire—corrosion is not your friend. I wished the charging LED was a bit easier to see or had an alternate color when fully charged, but that’s a minor inconvenience. The battery lasts 10 hours with a full charge.

Here’s a useful video that teases out the many functions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEew_HQ90lY.

The Garmin Striker Cast GPS goes for about $180, and it’s sized about right for a stocking stuffer.

Check it out here: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/665274

Jackson Lake in January

Last Sunday five members of the Flint River Bass Club braved the 27-degree temperature at blast off to fish Jackson Lake for our January tournament. At least it warmed up to the mid 40 by the time we weighed in.

    There were no limits and two people did not catch a 12 inch keeper. We had a total of eight bass weighing 13 pounds.  I was happily surprised to see four of the eight were largemouth. 

    I got lucky and won with four weighing 5.73 pounds. Niles Murray came in second with three at 5.23 pounds and had big fish with a 2.58 pound largemouth.  New member David Picket, who has lived on Jackson and fished it all his life, had one weighing 1.99 pounds for third. 

    I knew it would be tough fishing with water at 47 degrees and heavily stained.  I started on a point near the ramp and, with my hood up, did not see another club member stop about 50 feet from me. I fished there a few minutes and left it to him.

    I’m glad I left. On another rocky point, I caught my first keeper, a spot, at 8:00 AM on a crankbait.  That made me start going to other rocky points but they didn’t pay off until 11:00 AM, when I caught a bare keeper spot on a shaky head. 

    On the next point I caught another keeper on a different crankbait. So three keepers on three different baits, but all on rocky points.

    The next point I fished didn’t produce anything, but when I cast a jig ang pig to a nearby dock I caught my biggest keeper of the day, another spot.  There were some rocks around the dock.

    When I tried to crank to go to the next point, my motor would not turn over, even with jumper cables. The battery shorted out. My electronics winked out one by one.   Rather than try to change batteries on the water, I spent the last three hours fishing back to the ramp. I felt blind without my electronics!