Captain Macks’ Lake Lanier Fishing Report

Nice Lake Lanier Striper with Captain Mack

Also see: Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

A big thanks to all who attended the Striper
Seminar on the 28th! Your admission of
non perishable food was much needed, and
appreciated by the North Gwinnett Coop!
Also, thanks to Andrea and Jim Ellis Buick
GMC Mall Of Georgia for hosting the event
and providing the meal, and to Bill Carson
for presenting! FYI, we will begin planning
our next event for sometime early next year!


Hopefully you can utilize the information
from the seminar last night to good use this
weekend! Lanier continues to fish well, with
Bass and Striper Fishing patterns very
seasonally appropriate. The lake level
continues to fall, down to 1069.31 or 1.96
feet below full pool, down .77 feet below last
weeks level. The surface temps are 88
degrees.


Striper Fishing


The Stripers are really gravitating to the
lower end and the patterns are typical for
late July. One shift that you are probably aware of is the heightened activity late in the day.
Again, typical for this time of year, the bite has been solid in the afternoons and evenings. The
increased water draws have probably enhanced this, so planning a trip around the water
releases may be a plus.


Live baits on the down lines, trolling, and power reeling are all producing well, just match the
technique to the situation. Lead core trolling has been solid, with spoons, jigs, and Mini Macks
keeping the rods bent. The best depth is a big variable, but on the lead core starting out at 250
feet out with any of the above mentioned baits has been a good number. Adjust accordingly
based on where you are marking the fish. On the down riggers, Placing the bait 50 feet behind a
25 foot ball will be a good starting point.


On the live baits and power reeling, the best depth will vary here as well, so stagger the live
baits to locate the depth where the fish are most active. A pitch rod will still be a benefit, so keep
one in the spread. Of course one of the pluses of power reeling is you are fishing for fish in
every depth, so drop the bait below the deepest fish you are marking, and reel it up to 5 to 10
feet above the shallowest fish you are marking.


Bass Fishing


The Bass Fishing is good and typical late July patterns are the norm. The worms in the brush
are the best overall pattern, with a jig thrown in for a change up or as an enticement to the
larger fish. The worms are effective on many types of rigging, but the ‘ole drop shot will be hard
to beat. Target brush in 22 to 35 feet, with some fish roaming over clean bottom in the same
depths. If you are fishing late afternoons or evenings, especially during the water draw, deep
humps will generally be holding active fish that are very catchable. One of our local anglers,
Franco Curotto, has had some good luck with the bigger Spotted bass casting swim jigs tipped
with the Cast Apex Swimbait.


You can still get the occasional top water fish, but be prepared to make plenty of cast if that is
your primary bait. Walking baits, the Cast Down under, and Chugs bugs are all good choices to
entice the top water bite, and will also be effective to any schooling fish that surface within
casting distance. Spoons remain a great choice with the Flutter and Hawg Spoons accounting
for some nice fish.


Good Fishing!
Capt. Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry


Guntersville Bass caught with Captain Mike Gerry

Also see:

Captain Mack’ Lake Lanier Fishing Report

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 7/30/2022

It is absolutely amazing to me that the fish have been on the move so much this summer as it
just appears that the bass have changed locations again, we generally see the summer as a
time when the bass just do not relocate as much. This season seems to be the time of change
as the bass are constantly moving and relocating and staying on top of them is a constant job
and not an easy one at that!

We did see some change in baits as the early in the week bite was about slow presentation
Tight-Line football jigs, Missile bait Quiver worms and then by the end of the week spinner
baits and Tight-Line swim jigs became the bait of choice. The late afternoon bite is easier as
there is more schooling fish late in the day and SPRO Pop-r’s and Missile Bait 48 stick baits
worked well over grass.

The Tough Summer Bite

As we move thru July and into the heat of the month of August one thing that remains
constant is that you must present your bait, so the bass reacts to it. If you are someone that
constantly struggles during the hot days on the water, then you are not creating a bite. Just
throwing your bait out and not putting any thought into what the bait is doing on the end of
your line just does not get it.

It never fails when I put customers in the boat that tell me they just cannot find fish in the hot
months, the first thing I notice about their fishing skills is they just do not concentrate on the
bait at the end of their line. You must work your bait until the presentation you are using
creates a reaction and hauls you in a fish. Presentation is everything, the key is for you to
make your cast with thought and execution until you find a movement of the bait that causes
the fish to bite.

There are no limits in my mind as to how many ways you try to move your bait. The thought
process is endless, and it is your job as an angler to determine what movement of your bait
catches a fish. There are three elements to making a bait move erratically in the water, the
rod, the bait, and your wrist. All three can make the bait move differently just by doing
something different with each. You can change rods from softer to stiffer tips, you can change
from one bait to the next with color, size and noise and you can hold the reel with your wrist
in various locations, like palming the reel or holding it with one hand or two. You can even
change locations with your hand on the reel and it causes your wrist to move the bait
differently with each change of location.

There is something I have always believed in if you do the same thing over and over you get
the same results, and if you are struggling getting bites in the heat of summer you must
examine your presentation and do something different to change the results, variety of
presentations are key!

Come fish with me I have days available to fish with you, we fish with great sponsor products,
Ranger Boats, Mercury Motors, Lowrance Electronics, Boat Logix Mounts, Duckett Fishing,
Vicious Fishing, Power Pole, Dawson Boat Center, Lews fishing, Strike King, and more.

St Croix Rods Win At ICast

ICast winner St Croix Rods


New St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass GRASP Swimbait rod recognized by the industry as Best New Freshwater Rod at ICAST 2022

PARK FALLS, Wisc. (July 29, 2022) – Advancing and showcasing its mission to handcraft the Best Rods on Earth® that give anglers the upper hand in any angling situation, St. Croix Rod of Park Falls, Wisconsin unveiled an unprecedented 12 new or completely reengineered rod series at ICAST 2022 in Orlando last week.

The 74-year-old family-owned American company was awarded Best of Category honors in the Freshwater Rod category of the ICAST 2022 New Product Showcase Awards for its three all-new Legend Tournament Bass GRASP swimbait models.

The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades’ (ICAST) New Product Showcase Awards recognize the best new fishing products in multiple categories each year. Voted on by attending product buyers and members of the sportfishing media, these “Best of Category” awards represent the pinnacle of achievement in the fishing tackle industry and are fiercely competitive. Winning one of these prestigious awards isn’t easy; it takes good ideas and even better execution to develop a tangible product that helps anglers find more success on the water.

“We’re humbled and honored that those industry professionals who report on or sell fishing tackle for a living selected Legend Tournament Bass GRASP as the best new freshwater rod amidst a packed category, which included 34 other significant new rods from other manufacturers,” says St. Croix CEO, Scott Forristall. “St. Croix is built – top to bottom – to seek out, understand, and serve the needs of anglers; it’s what drives each one of our St. Croix team members every day, so everyone in the St. Croix family feels great pride and a real sense of gratitude for this recognition. Ultimately though, this award is for every angler around the globe who takes as much pride in using a St. Croix fishing rod as we feel in making them. It’s also for our retail partners who are on the front lines of helping anglers choose the Best Rods on Earth® to meet their specific angling needs and objectives.”

The trio of all-new Legend Tournament Bass swimbait models featuring St. Croix’s proprietary GRASP reel seat firmly establishes a new standard in heavy-bass-lure rod design and performance. Designed to excel in the presentation of swimbaits and Alabama rigs from ¾ to 8 ounces, these three all-new swimbait rods bring the newly reimagined Legend Tournament Bass Series to an expansive total of 27 distinct technique-specific high-performance models for the benefit of bass anglers worldwide.

New Legend Tournament Bass swimbait models (LBTC710HF LIGHT SWIMBAIT, LBTC710XHF MID SWIMBAIT and LBTC86XXHFT HEAVY SWIMBAIT) have the distinction of being the first-ever contemporary St. Croix rods released with proprietary St. Croix-designed componentry – in this case, the all-new St. Croix GRASP real seat.

“The angler-requested St. Croix GRASP reel seat helps give anglers the upper hand by delivering superior ergonomic control of Legend Tournament Bass swimbait rods during the cast, retrieve, and throughout fight,” says St. Croix Brand Manager, Ryan Teach. GRASP effectively combats the hand and wrist fatigue that commonly sets in when casting and retrieving heavy lures and doing battle with large, powerful fish. GRASP accomplishes this by always keeping the wrist properly aligned while affording the most comfortable and efficient grip on the rod and casting reel – straight and in line with the rod in the ultimate palming position, not canted back or forward which commonly happens with traditional casting-rod grips. The result is total control over rod and fish, with less fatigue so anglers can fish longer, harder, and earn more success.

In addition to GRASP’s ergonomic design, its angler interface is sweetened with an extremely durable and tactile SoftTouch coating. “The selection of the proper coating took years of discovery and trial and error, and it’s a big part of what makes GRASP distinct in the marketplace,” Teach says. “The SoftTouch coating we landed on is just as important as the refined geometries that make GRASP a complete and unique design. It is incredibly resilient yet remains slightly tacky when wet.”

New Legend Tournament GRASP swimbait models will be available to anglers at St. Croix dealers worldwide and at stcroixrodfactorystore.com in October. All 24 other new Legend Tournament Bass models which were announced earlier this year at the 2022 Bassmaster Classic are available right now.

New Legend Tournament Bass rods feature markedly lighter and stronger next-generation hybrid SCIV+ carbon fiber blanks. Select reaction bait models feature all-new iACT Glass hybrid blanks. In addition to their unique combinations of proprietary materials, all-new Legend Tournament Bass rods also incorporate all of St. Croix’s top technologies and premium components.

While every new Legend Tournament Bass rod is special and distinct, St. Croix Engineering Supervisor, Gavin Falk, says the three iACT Glass models – specifically engineered for hardbait applications like crankbaits and chatterbaits – represent an even greater technological achievement for anglers. “These rods introduce a third material – our linear S-Glass – to the hybrid SCIV+ blank to produce rods with the softer actions reaction presentations demand. We call the combination iACT Glass. It stands for Internally Active, and it allows us to deliver those slower, parabolic actions while maintaining peak sensitivity in a blank that’s significantly smaller in diameter and lighter than a pure glass cranking rod,” Falk says. “Our anglers have asked for this and we’re always listening, not being reactive but addressing ideas and opportunities as they come forward.”

Falk wants to remind anglers that these are not “composite” rods. “All three materials in Legend Tournament Bass iACT Glass models – SCIV carbon, SCVI carbon, and Linear S-Glass – are individually patterned and laid up to spec, then all rolled together,” he says, emphasizing that each of the materials are distinct, and adding that Legend Tournament Bass iACT Glass models are the first carbon/glass hybrid rods ever to be rolled on St. Croix IPC mandrels.

Teach says these three iACT Glass models deliver everything anglers have asked for in a reaction-bait rod and more. “You can even walk a topwater with complete control using one of these Legend Tournament Bass iACT rods,” he says. “That’s not something typically thought to be possible with a rod that has any type of glass in it. You can walk these baits with precision and never even think you have a glass rod in yours hands until you’ve hooked up on a fish and the benefits of that moderate, parabolic action kick in. St. Croix is the only company I’m aware of that’s been able to do this.”

The ‘deepest’ cranking rod in the series with iACT Glass is the POWER GLASS CRANKER LBTC74MHM. “This is a 4/5/6XD cranking rod,” Teach says. “We’ve got an 8XD/10XD/DD22 rod in the lineup, too – the LBTC710XHM – but it’s all carbon. This is a rod Dennis Berhorst and Stephen Browning have become quite fond of. The other iACT Glass models are the LBTC72MM FINESSE GLASS CRANKER designed for smaller squarebills and the LTBC72HM RIP-N-CHATTER, which is optimized for fishing bladed jigs and lipless crankbaits.”

Bassmaster Elite angler, Bob Downey says, “I was very impressed with the lighter weights and significantly reduced blank diameters of these new Legend Tournament Bass iACT rods when compared to a pure glass cranking rod. I’m not aware of anything else remotely like these rods on the market and I found their overall performance with chatterbaits and crankbaits to be in a class all their own.”

MLF angler and crankster, Jesse Wiggins agrees. “I’ve always been a huge fan of St. Croix’s Legend Glass rods – and I still am – but these new blue iACT rods have really impressed me, especially in any cranking situation where you need that extra bit of sensitivity.”

Despite the improvements, some things will stay the same: new Legend Tournament Bass rods remain handcrafted in Park Falls, Wisconsin, USA with a 15-year transferrable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. They also retain their iconic Tournament Blue Pearl color.

New St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Features

Next-generation hybrid CARBON FIBER SCIV+ blanks
Technique-specific iACT SCIV+ and linear S-Glass hybrid blanks on specific models
Fortified Resin System (FRS) technology
Advanced Reinforcing TechnologyTM (ARTTM)
Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) mandrel technology
Taper Enhancement Technology (TET) blank design
Fuji® K-Series tangle-free guides with Alconite® rings
Fuji® SK2 reel seat on casting models with ergonomic complimenting componentry
Fuji® VSS real seat on spinning models with extended foregrip
Precision machined aluminum reel seat nuts and wind checks on spinning and casting models
Split-grip, super-grade cork handles customized per model
Swimbait models (3) feature GRASP reel seat technology
Full-grip super grade cork handles on select models
Model specific hook keepers selectively placed per technique
Single coat sealer on blank with slow cure finish
Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish on guides
15-year transferable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service
Designed and handcrafted in Park Falls, U.S.A. for bass anglers worldwide
Retail price $290 to $395

New St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Casting Models

JERKBAITS / LBTC68MXF – 6’8”, medium power, extra-fast action / Retail $295
ALL-IN / LBTC71MHF – 7’1”, medium-heavy power, fast action / Retail $300
FINESSE CARBON CRANKER / LBTC72MHMF – 7’2”, medium-heavy power, moderate-fast action / Retail $315
CARBON CRANKER / LBTC72MHM – 7’2”, medium-heavy power, moderate action / Retail $315
FINESSE GLASS CRANKER (iACT) / LBTC72MM – 7’2”, medium power, moderate action / Retail $315
RIP-N-CHATTER / LBTC72HM (iACT) – 7’2”, heavy power, moderate action / Retail $315
POWER FINESSE / LBTC73HXF – 7’3”, heavy power, extra-fast action / Retail $320
WORKHORSE / LBTC73MHF – 7’3”, medium-heavy power, fast action / Retail $320
FLIP-CHAT-CRANK / LBTC73HMF – 7’3”, heavy power, moderate-fast action / Retail $320
SLOP-N-FROG / LBTC74HF – 7’4”, heavy power, fast action / Retail $325
POWER GLASS CRANKER / LBTC74MHM (iACT) – 7’4”, medium-heavy power, moderate action / Retail $325
WARHORSE / LBTC75MHF – 7’5”, medium-heavy power, fast action / Retail $330
FLIP’N / LBTC76HMF – 7’6”, heavy power, moderate-fast action / Retail $335
BIG CRANKER / LBTC710HM – 7’10”, heavy power, moderate action / Retail $345
*LIGHT SWIMBAIT / LBTC710HF – 7’10”, heavy power, fast action / Retail $350
MAG CRANKER / LBTC710XHM – 7’10”, extra-heavy power, moderate action / Retail $345
*MID SWIMBAIT / LBTC710XHF – 7’10”, extra-heavy power, fast action / Retail $360
POWER FLIP’N / LBTC711HMF – 7’11”, heavy power, moderate-fast action / Retail $340
*HEAVY SWIMBAIT / LBTC86XXHFT – 8’6”, extra-extra-heavy power, fast action / Retail $395
*New at ICAST 2022, available October, 2022

New St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Spinning Models

PINPOINT / LBTS68MXF – 6’8”, medium power, extra-fast action / Retail $290
DROPSHOT FINESSE / LBTS610MLXF – 6’10”, medium-light power, extra-fast action / Retail $290
VERSATILE / LBTS71MF – 7’1”, medium power, fast action / Retail $300
POWER VERSATILE / LBTS73MHF – 7’3”, medium-heavy power, fast action / Retail $300
DROPSHOT FINESSE XL / LBTS73MLXF- 7’3”, medium-light power, extra-fast action / Retail $300
POWER FINESSE / LBTS73MXF – 7’3”, medium power, extra-fast action / Retail $300
HAIR JIG / LBTS710MLXF – 7’10”, medium-light power, extra-fast action / Retail $335
SWIMMING BAITS / LBTS710MMF – 7’10”, medium power, moderate-fast action / Retail $335
#CROIXGEAR

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Where and How To Catch March Bass At Pickwick Lake with Roger Stegall Including GPS Coordinates

March Bass at Pickwick 

with Roger Stegall

     Many national tournament trails are drawn to Pickwick Lake because of the amazing smallmouth fishing.  The lake is known nation-wide for producing stringers of quality smallmouth.  Four and five pound fish are common and in many tournaments five-fish limits between 20 and 25 pounds are weighed in.  It has an excellent population of largemouth and some spotted bass as well.

     Pickwick is a 43,100 acre lake with 490 miles of shoreline.  The dam on the Tennessee River was completed in 1930 so it is a very old lake. Although its dam is in Tennessee and some waters back up into Mississippi, most of the lake is in Alabama.  Two locks at the dam provide barge traffic access as does the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway that connects with the upper end of Yellow Creek.

     Roger Stegall has been fishing Pickwick for 31 years and guides there about 200 days a year.  He has been bass fishing all his life and got his tournament start in college. Roger and some of his friends started a bass club and he liked the competition.  He fished clubs for several years and has fished tournaments with prizes ranging from a trophy to $200,000.

Roger is well known on the tournament trails and has done well in the BFL, Stren Series, FLW and Bassmasters trails, especially in the Pickwick area.  He has won six BFL tournaments and at least that many second place finishes where he was within ounces of the winner.  He has many top ten finishes in all the trails he has fished.

In 1998 Roger won the BFL point championship for the Mississippi Division. In the Division Championship that year on Pickwick he set a record catch of smallmouth that still stands in the BFL. He brought in an incredible five-fish limit of smallmouth weighing 27.5 pounds.  His biggest smallmouth that day weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces and he culled a 4.5 pounder.

Roger shared his knowledge of Pickwick with me on a very cold day in late January and showed me the spots where he will be fishing from late February through March.  His record catch came on March 18 so this is an excellent time to be on the lake.

     As soon as the water starts warming in late February both smallmouth and largemouth start moving toward spawning areas, according to Roger.  They will hold and feed in predictable area and will hit a variety of baits.  Roger firmly believes lake bass spawn on the lake and creek bass stay in the creeks to bed, but there are plenty of quality fish in both kinds of areas. 

     Bass will be on rocky points in creeks and on the main lake and you can catch them there during this time. They will also move up on grass flats to feed and spawn so that is another kind of spot to find them.  When the water temperature is between 49 and 59 he expects them to be feeding well in both kinds of areas.  Smallmouth will spawn when the water gets to 59 and the largemouth will follow when it hits 64 to 65 degrees.

     Most of the bass on Pickwick will be pre-spawn from now to the end of March.  Roger will fish rocky points with a Strike King Wild Shiner jerk bait, a Strike King spinnerbait a Series 5 crankbait and a football head jig. On the flats he will be throwing either a Red Eye Shad or Diamond Shad lipless bait and the spinnerbait.

     The following ten spots will all hold both largemouth and smallmouth this month and they will give you a variety of kinds of spots to hit on the lower lake and in Yellow Creek.  Fish them like Roger suggests and you will catch fish.

     1. N 34 59.515 – W 88 14.324 – If you put in at the ramp at Sportsman Boat Storage and One Stop on Sandy Creek you don’t have to go far.  Look down the creek to your left and you will see a small island sitting just off the bank.  Roger says he has caught the lunker in a bunch of tournaments off this island.  You will be sitting in 12 feet of water not far off the bank and there are rocks all around the island.

     Roger fishes this spot like a rocky point.  He stays out from the bank and makes casts in close to the bank. He will work his jerk bait back in short pulls at a right angle to the bank rather than getting in close and making parallel casts. He says he wants to cover the water at a variety of depths.

     If the jerk bait doesn’t draw a strike he will follow up with a spinnerbait, slow rolling it down the slope of the bottom, again working it straight out from the bank to deeper water.  Fish all the way around this island, covering all of it on both sides. 

Before leaving Roger will work a football head jig in the same area to find fish that are very inactive. Sometimes fish will not move up to chase either the jerk bait or spinnerbait so he wants to tempt them with something on the bottom.

2.  N 34 59.584 – W 88 14.249 – The point behind this island is also rocky and an excellent place to catch bass this time of year.  There is a sign on a tree that says “Cheerio” and Roger calls it Cheerio Point.  There is a dock on the point with two white poles holding it in place and it has blue floats under it.

You will see there are two pockets, one on either side of this point.  Both are good spawning pockets so bass hold on this point before moving in to them to spawn.  Fish all the way around the point with jerk bait, spinnerbait and jig.

Roger likes the Denny Brauer Pro Model football jig with the Rage Craw or Rage Chunk on it.  Natural colors like green pumpkin are best.  The football head does not hang up as bad as other shapes and it gives the bait a wobble the fish like.  Roger fishes the heavy football jig rather than a Carolina rig to cover water and keep in contact with the bottom.

3.  N 34 58.996 – W 88 14.170 – Start up Yellow Creek and you will see Yellow Creek Port on your right. There are usually some barges tied up along the left bank.  Upstream of them are some rocky points and Roger starts at the one with a small pine leaning over the water and two small old logs running from the bank out into the water.  There are stumps and chunk rock on this point and it holds bass.

Fish all the way around this point with all three of your baits.  Roger fishes Pflueger reels and All Star rods with all his baits and says the Pflueger best reel for the money on the market. They are two of his sponsors and he likes and uses their products.

The channel swings in close to the bank here and you will be sitting in 35 feet of water a cast off the bank.  Roger says some wind blowing in on the rocks helps as does some current. When water is being pulled at the dam there is often a noticeable current here. Sometimes there is a slight upstream current when the lock is operated on the Tennessee-Tombigbee canal upstream but it is inconsistent and you can not depend on it.

4.  N 34 57.764 – W 88 13.692 – Run upstream and watch for red channel marker 447.2 on a point on your left. This point has stumps all over it and is rocky.  There is a small gravel pocket upstream of the point.  Fish all your baits all the way around this point, from the pocket below it to the rocky beach upstream of it. The other points around this one also hold bass.

 The colder the water the slower you should fish. Roger works his Wild Shiner jerk bait in short pulls rather than jerks. He says that more imitates the action of an injured baitfish.  They don’t dart around, they move slowly then suspend or slowly move up. He wants his jerk bait to look like they do.

     5.  N 34 57.123 – W 88 13.299 – Upstream Goat Island runs way out from the right bank.  This was really a long point where the creek made a sharp bend before the channel was cut through near the bank.  There were some goats on the island the day we fished and that is how it got its name.

     On the upstream side there is an underwater point running out near the outside edge of the island.  The channel swings in right beside it and it looks like a bluff bank but the point is the key.  Watch you depthfinder as you fish along this bank and you will see it.  Keep your boat out in at least 20 feet of water and cast all three of your baits all around and across the point.

     6.  N 34 59.261 – W 88 13.448 – Head down Yellow Creek past the first spots following the channel and you will go through the narrow cut on the right. Downstream of it watch for red channel marker 449 on a rocky point on your right. The point with the channel marker and the one upstream of it are both good March spots since they run out to the old channel and have rocks and brush on them and there are spawning pockets behind them.

     Fish all around both points probing for rocks and brush. When you hit heavy cover make several casts over it with a jerk bait and run your spinnerbait just above it. Then work your jig through it. Roger says you will get bit on a jig here is you can fish it without hanging up, but you will lose a lot of baits in the rocks.

     7.  N 34 59.800 – W 88 12.355 – When you get to the mouth of the creek you will see a Spanish style house on the main lake point on your left.   There was a US flag on a pole in front of it the day we fished.   Roger calls this “YMCA Point” since there used to be a YMCA camp on it. On the creek side of the point you will see a steep rocky bank change to chunk rock and gravel then to flat rocks. 

     Roger fishes the creek side of this point from the steep bank to the flat rocks. He will use the same three baits as in the creek but will add in the Series 5 crankbait here. He likes the sexy shad color if the water is clear but will throw the bright chartreuse with green or black back if it is stained.  He stays way off the bank with the crankbait and makes long casts to the bank, fishing it back from shallow to deep.

     8.  N 35 01.267 – W 88 11.289 – Run across the river and go behind the big island. Head downstream but be careful until you find the deep water here. You will see a duck blind on your right near where there is a gap in the island on your left. Just downstream of the duck blind it gets very shallow and there are some big stumps and rocks so be very careful.

     This is a good example of the kind of grass flat Roger likes this time of year.  The water is fairly shallow way off the bank and grass grows on it. Right now the grass is just starting to grow so you won’t see a lot of it, but both largemouth and smallmouth will hold in the grass and feed.

     This is where the lipless crankbaits work best. The Diamond Shad has a good wobble and will flutter down when paused, but the new Red Eye Shad will swim down like a hurt baitfish when it is paused. Try both for different actions.  Roger likes shad and bream colors in both baits.

     Roger will also throw a spinnerbait here.  He likes the Strike King with either a single or double willowleaf and goes with the double willowleaf if there are shad present. White is his choice if the water is clear and he uses a white and chartreuse combination if the water is stained.

     Bass move in to feed up on these flats before the spawn and they will also spawn on them, so this spot is good the whole month of March and into April.   They will also feed here after the spawn.  Stay about two casts off the bank and make long casts, covering lots of water as you work this flat.

     9.  N 35 02.749 – W 88 10.756 – Go downstream, being very careful until you learn where to run since there are shallow flats on this side.  Go to the rocky point on the upstream side of Dry Creek and fish it with jerk bait, spinnerbait, crankbait and jig. The point is rocky and there are cedar trees on it.

Start on the upstream side and work to the creek side. Roger does not fish up the creek side. It gets very deep on the creek side but runs out shallow on the river side so stay way out and make long casts.  Two boat lengths from the bank the water will be only six feet deep and you want to cast to that depth, not sit over it.

     Roger likes Sufix Elite line since it does not have much stretch and he can feel his baits better with it.  He fishes the green line so he can see it and watches his line on every cast. Sometimes you will see a bite you don’t feel. Also the low stretch means he feels the lipless baits and crankbait vibrating better and knows to set the hook if the vibrations stop.

     On the lipless baits Roger uses 14 to 17 pound Sufix to feel it better and get the fish out of grass.  He throws his jerk bait on 10 pound clear Sufix Seige and fishes both jig and spinnerbait on 12 pound Sufix line.

     10.  N 35 03.079 – W 88 10.927 – On the downstream side of Pompeys Branch, just below Dry Creek, you will see a big shallow point running out to a flat on a good map.  This flat comes up to a hump on the end about 300 yards off the bank.  The hump is a ridge about 200 yards long and grass grows on it.  Bass feed and spawn here and hold here before moving back into the branch and creek to spawn, too.

     Stay on the outside of the ridge and make long casts across it with lipless baits.  Keep your boat in deeper water and cast to the top of the ridge, covering the slope back to you.  Fish it from one end to the other then go back along it with your spinnerbait.

     Roger likes the middle of the day on this spot and others. He says that seems to be the best time to catch fish on the flats.  On the points you can catch fish any time of day but the first three weeks of March are going to be best because a lot of the fish will move back into pockets to spawn after that.

     Check out these spots and see the kinds of patterns and places Roger fishes. There are many others all over the lake that are similar.  You can catch fish on these spots then find others after learning the pattern.

To get Roger to show you how he catches bass on Pickwick call him at 662-423-3869 or E-mail him at rogstegall@fishpickwick.com for a guided trip. You can see more information and pictures at his web site at http://www.fishpickwick.com

The 2nd Amendment IS NOT About Hunting

 A popular meme on social media says “The Founding Fathers had not just returned from a hunting trip when they wrote the 2nd Amendment.” 

    That immediately came to my mind when reading Mona Charen’s emotional ”we gotta do something about guns” editorial in the June 8th Griffin Daily News.  I think was the fourth or fifth such editorial in the past two weeks. 

    Charen says “less than 4% of the population hunts.”  She uses that figure to call for eliminating a right in the Bill of Rights.  I wonder what other minorities she would restrict just because of low numbers. 

It’s ironic that the same folks that say hunters don’t need 30 bullets to hunt now try to say hunters guns should not be considered when gun bans are brought up. 

Among other proposed restrictions are so called “red flag laws” where someone can report a gun owner, claiming they have some kind of mental problem, and get the police to confiscate their guns.   

None other than a California congressman, Eric Swalwell, immediately claimed that would be great, he could report anyone he didn’t like and get their guns taken away. He was specifically talking about a conservative writer, but the same scheme would apply to any gun owner.  Most proposed red flag laws have no due process in them. 

Charen lists many mass shootings and shows all were committed by individuals that either met all the laws about guns to get one or broke current gun laws to get one.   

How rational is it to call for more of the same things that are not working?  If gun laws worked there would be no need for additional laws. 

As always, convince me new gun laws would help by showing facts on how they would have stopped any of the shootings. 

DO BACKLASHES CAUSE BREAKOFFS WITH FLUOROCARBON?

from The Fishing Wire and Sunline

Backlashes damage your line


The dreaded backlash in a baitcast spool can end the use of that reel very quickly. Whether it is an errant cast into the wind, or a skip cast that didn’t go as planned, a bad backlash can require a scissors to get you up and operational again. This video quickly shows you how to dial in a baitcast reel, to help you prevent this from happening. No matter how good you are, that errant cast still happens to even top-level tour pros. Protecting your line while removing a backlash will help your fluorocarbon last longer and prevent critical break offs.

Anglers choosing to use fluorocarbon line with a baitcaster reel may experience backlashes or loops in their lines during use. Those errant casts cause the spool to overrun and that creates loops, kinks, and tangles in your line. Those overruns can cause a kink in the line when they occur or when an angler is working to remove them. You pull on the line when it is stuck, and a kink is created in the line in that spot. Those kinks can damage your fluorocarbon line and lead to failure later during your usage of that reel and line. The more kinks you cause in your line the more damage you are doing to it and the more likely it is that your line will break when casting or during hooksets.

Kinks in backlashes can cause line breaks

You take the kink like the one above out of your line and it may seem ok, but the damage is often done by then. Sunline has 15+ employees that work in their R&D Department and they spend their days studying line and factors that impact the performance of line. The Sunline R&D team studied the impact that kinks can have on the performance of fluorocarbon line on a bait cast reel.

Below you can see a cross section image of two lines when viewed under an electron microscope. Line A is a normal fluorocarbon line that you can see has no defects. Line B shows an image of the same line where it had been kinked. You will see in image B that micro cracks are now visible inside the line at the spot where it was kinked. Those micro cracks weaken the line and lower the overall performance of the line.

Microscopic picture of damage from backlash

These lines were also tested for straight breaking strength before and after the kink. The line that had been kinked showed a measurable decrease in breaking strength. The micro cracks from the kink had caused the line to break at a 5% lower strength on average after repeated testing. More kinks are only going to continue to weaken the line causing it to fail below the rated level. This can often be seen when fluorocarbon line unexpectedly breaks in the spool on a cast. The kinks from backlashes in your spool have weakened it, so that it breaks inside the spool on a random cast.

The line damage from kinks is also magnified on powerful hooksets where higher stress is placed on the line, and it breaks at the weakest point.

Having your reel dialed in with optimum settings for that lure and technique is the best way to avoid backlashes. No matter what, backlashes and tangles happen when using baitcast reels, just make sure to remove the tangles as carefully as possible to avoid any kinks in the line which will decrease the breaking strength.

Hot July Tournament At Bartletts Ferry

 The first Sunday in July eight members of the Flint River Bass Club fished our June tournament at Bartletts Ferry. We also had one youth fish the tournament.  The club has a special category for youth; they fish with an adult club member or family member and there is no entry fee for them. If they catch a keeper fish they win a prize package of fishing lures. We do not give participation prizes! 

    After eight hours of casting, we weighed in 27 12-inch keeper bass weighing about 31 pounds. There were three five-bass limits and one fisherman didn’t have a keeper.   

Lee Hancock won with five bass weighing 7.87 pounds and Doug Acree placed second with three weighing 5.74 pounds. Doug also had big fish with a 3.41 pound largemouth.  My five weighing 4.96 pounds was third and Niles Murray placed fourth with five at 4.80 pounds.  

Fishing with Lee Hancock, Jett Collins won the youth division with four bass weighing 3.57 pounds, enough to place fifth in the regular tournament.   

I started out pretty good with a keeper spot on a buzzbait within five minutes of our start at 6:00
AM. Then just over an hour later I got a keeper largemouth on a weightless worm under dock. Two in the livewell in less than two hours gave me hope. 

At noon the hope was about gone. It was miserably hot with no breeze to cool me off. And the lake had gotten really rough from pleasure boaters by 9:00 and it was dangerous to sit out in open water fishing. Too many folks do not pay attention to where they are going when driving a boat.  

Even halfway back in coves I thought I was going to get run over twice, once by a pontoon boat full of folks cruising the shoreline and once by a big wake boat pulling two little kids. 

At noon I decided to go to an area with some docks that have produced some keeper fish in June for me in the past.  My first cast with a shaky head hit a post and I got hung. Rather then go in and get it and mess up the fishing, I put that rod down, picked up a rod with a whacky rigged Senko on it and skipped it under the dock. 

A keeper spot grabbed the bait as it sank and I was able to pull it away from the post and land it.  Then on the next dock my first cast produced a keeper spot then another keeper spot, giving me my limit.  Then the same dock produced a spot too short to weigh. 

That was it. I fished docks for the last two hours and caught a couple more short fish, but no more keepers.  

The hot summertime is not the best time of the year for bass fishing.  Many bass go to deep water to avoid the heat and bright sun, and others get as far back into cover like docks for the shade. They are hard to cast to and even harder to land. 

It can be dangerous, too. Way too many folks get in boats and run around without a clue there are rules on driving a boat, just like a car.  I can’t count the times I have been meeting a boat going in the opposite direction and they insist on going to my right to try to pass me, the exactly opposite of the law. 

I prefer fishing at night this time of year, it is more comfortable, the fish bite better and there are fewer boats out there. The clubs used to have night tournaments in the summer but some members don’t like them so they got them ended rather than just not fishing them. 

It can be dangerous at night, but no more dangerous than during the day, and with fewer boats there is less dangerous.   

Bigger lakes offer places to hide from the pleasure boaters.  Fishermen can go way up creeks and rivers where stuff in the water keeps some pleasure boats out.  But skidoos seem to thrill in running such places and making them tough to fish. 

There are a few ways to cool off. I try to fish shady banks as much as possible. And dipping a cap full of water and dumping it over my head helps. Riding on plane in my boat creates a nice breeze, but the water is often so rough that is no fun. 

Even with all the problems, I would rather be out there fishing rather than sitting at home at a computer wasting time! 

C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives Preserves History for the Future

By Craig Springer, USFWS
from The Fishing Wire

Channeling William Faulkner: “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.”

The past is present here at D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives in Spearfish, South Dakota. The facility is dedicated to preserving images, documents and objects related to fisheries conservation. The archive is located at one of the oldest operating hatcheries in the U.S., which still produces trout.Barton Warren Evermann, Chief of Scientific Inquiry of the U.S. Fish Commission (the forerunner of today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created nearly 150 years ago in 1871) came to the Black Hills in the early 1890s to assess the area’s fisheries.On what now seems like a pittance, Congress granted Evermann in August 1892, “for investigation and report, respecting the advisability of establishing fish-hatching stations at suitable points in the States of South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska, $1,000, or as much thereof as may be necessary.”

We don’t have an accounting of what was spent, but he noted what streams he seined, the fishes he found, and with whom he traveled.And he didn’t waste time: “Oct. 6. Began work at Deadwood, S. Dak. Oct. 7. Drove to Spearfish and examined Spearfish Creek and numerous springs in vicinity,” states his 1894 Report upon the Fishes of the Missouri River Basin.

His field work ceased with the onset of winter and resumed in June 1893. Then over the next two months Evermann and crew examined not only potential hatchery sites, “but included an examination and study of the physical and biological features of the waters, with especial reference to the species of fish and other animal life they already contain, and their suitability for stocking with other species of food-fishes not indigenous to them.”The waters of the Black Hills were thoroughly vetted by the scientist. It was Spearfish to which Evermann returned.

And he tells Congress why:“Spearfish Creek—This is by far the most picturesque of all the streams of the Black Hills seen by us. We examined Spearfish Creek at the town of Spearfish where it was 30 feet wide, 1 foot or more deep, and with a swift current. The bottom was gravelly and there was considerable vegetation along the banks. From it we took brook trout, Jordan’s sucker, and western dace. The stream is a fine one, indeed. The bulk of its water comes from the hills, but even at Spearfish there are some fine springs. If fish-cultural work should ever be undertaken at any place in the Black Hills, the most satisfactory natural conditions could probably be found here.”And so it would come to pass. By July 1899, Spearfish National Fish Hatchery situated about a mile from the bustling downtown, was operational with 17 ponds and a handsome hatching house designed by U.S. Fish Commission Architect and Engineer, Hector von Bayer. It was neatly tucked in narrow Ames Canyon. The hatching house sat in a commanding position above the creek. DeWitt Clinton Booth, a New York native likely named for his home state’s former governor and U.S. senator, took charge of the new federal fisheries facility.Spearfish National Fish Hatchery produced trout.

Booth and crew, sometime attended by their families, made arduous annual forays into Yellowstone National Park to collect the spawn of “black-spotted trout,” as cutthroat trout were called at the time. The fertilized eggs were returned to Spearfish for raising and stocking in the Black Hills streams and beyond. These trips were made by rail and by wagon, hauling most of their physical needs, including boats and nets. Other species of trout would come from the Spearfish hatchery: brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout.

The quality of the spring waters that Evermann found did not last. The springs dried up about 1940 and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service looked for reliable water nearby and built the McNenny National Fish Hatchery a few miles west. The Spearfish site became a training center for work with fish diets and nutrition, adding a genetics research laboratory to the mix along Sand Creek in Wyoming, while the new McNenny station produced the bulk of the trout.

Spearfish National Fish Hatchery would go through another permutation when something else dried up: funding.In the 1980s the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service divested of a number of facilities in the National Fish Hatchery System. McNenny was turned over to the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks. The City of Spearfish took over operations of the Spearfish facility and changed its name to honor the hatchery’s first superintendent, D.C. Booth.In 1989, the past and the present would come to live on the same contour when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established its National Fish & Aquatic Conservation Archives at Spearfish.Today, on the grounds of the 

D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives, Spearfish Creek batters downhill over rounded stones. Its silver music fades as you approach a preserved boat, “U.S. Fisheries 39,” a craft that operated on Yellowstone Lake in the 1920s. A railcar rests near the boat emblazoned with “Bureau of Fisheries.”  

Inside von Bayer’s hatching house, still in its commanding position, you’ll find a museum with old tools and artwork and photos that tell the fisheries conservation story. The superintendent’s home up the hill is as pleasant to look at as it is entertaining to tour. Appointed with period furniture and accessories—some of it original pieces—you’ll learn how the Booth family lived their lives.

Perhaps the greatest treasures are those most protected—housed in a climate-controlled collection management facility cared for by a professional curator. Some 1.8 million archival items and 14,000 artifacts related to fisheries conservation are preserved here.

A 1919 photograph of a now-extinct yellowfin cutthroat trout from Colorado is particularly moving. It may be the only known image of the fish. It seems appropriate to have a home here in a circularity of experience. Barton Warren Evermann described the yellowfin for science the year before he visited Spearfish, and the image now lives in a place that he deemed suitable to carry on conservation work.

Researchers of history and conservation are encouraged to send their queries to the curator, April_Gregory@fws.gov  

Craig Springer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Fish and Aquatic Conservation, Southwest Region

Bryozoans Look Like Jelly Blobs In the Water

“Jelly Blobs”  is a term often used for a type of single cell animals called Bryozoans. They are one of several strange critters you may encounter in lakes and rivers. Several varieties live in freshwater and attach in colonies to twigs, limbs, ropes and dock posts in the water. They look like brown blobs of jelly.  If you look at them closely they have small star-like structures that are different groups of the animals, called zooids

      Bryozoans Description  – Round or oval-shapped blobs of jelly-like material attached to things in the water.  Color is shades of mottled browns.  They feel solid but slimy to the touch.

          Bryozoans Size  – The balls can be as big as two feet across and contain 2,000,000 individual zooids. Most are smaller, with a one-foot across blob fairly big in most waters.

          Bryozoans Distribution  – Different kinds of jelly blobs are found in almost all freshwater worldwide. 

          What Bryozoans Eat – Normally, diatoms, green algae, bacteria, rotifers, protozoa, tiny crustaceans or nematodes are in their diet.   

          Bryozoan Reproduction  – Asexual reproduction is the norm, through budding to form new animals, but sexual reproduction does take place.

          Bryozoans Attraction to Light – none

          Bryozoans Life Cycle  – A single zooid can attach to something in the water and reproduce by budding, building a colony that looks like the blob you see. Some die off in the winter, with just a few individuals surviving to start a new colony in the spring.

          Bryozoans Problems  – These blobs may look and feel bad, but they actually indicate good water quality.

          Jelly Blobs or Bryozoans are common and do not cause problems.  They indicate good water quality.  These tiny animals that are similar to corals should not bother you unless they are on your dock ladders and ropes.   

What Is Power Rigging for Walleyes and Why Should I Try It?


Tips from Tony Roach
from The Fishing Wire

Nearly fifty years after the inception of the modern live-bait rig—what’s today known simply as the ‘Roach Rig’—its sheer effectiveness still raises eyebrows and turns heads. Take a vigorously squirming minnow, nightcrawler or leech, and couple it with a hook, leader and sliding sinker and you’re fishing the deadliest walleye presentation of all time. Get a natural, lively bait to the bottom, and just start creeping your way along fruitful structure. Sooner or later, a walleye is going to eat. It’s just that simple.

Well, sort of. During the same fifty years, a number of nice little developments have transformed a serviceable bait delivery vehicle into a precision live-bait system. The walking sinker evolved into the Quick-Change Roach Sinker. The bottom bouncer transmogrified into the Northland Slip Bouncer. Live bait care tools, like those by Frabill, now ensure a healthy supply of critters. All the while, hooks, lines, and electronics have advanced almost beyond comprehension.

Which is where “power rigging” enters the equation. It’s old school rigging (light and easy) meets heavy metal bottom bouncing (head-banging fast), plus a dash of new wave tackle and tactics. Developed by ace guide Tony Roach, this hybrid live bait system is indeed, as he calls it, “Roach rigging on steroids.”

“Power rigging lets me maintain a natural live bait presentation, while triggering fish with a bit more speed,” states Roach. “Sort of like rip jigging, the presentation induces a reactionary response, while the live bait closes the deal. Early in the season, you’re moving slow with rigs and jigs, presenting bait to fish on a definite ‘feeding bite’; show ‘em a tempting morsel, keep it in front of their snouts, and they’re going to eat. Later on, as water warms, and the food supply expands, walleyes can turn a little tricky—a slight boost in speed is often all it takes to get fish to go.

“What I really like about the power program is that I can work quickly along a lengthy edge or over a vast flat, moving .9- to 1.2-mph,” he continues. “I can still put natural bait in front of them, but I can show my wares to a lot more active fish. What I also like is that the more boats there are working a spot slowly with rigs, the better. I can cruise right along and mow down the active biters.”From a lake-wide perspective, Roach’s power spots aren’t secrets. “This approach works on nearly any classic late summer and fall walleye location. Rock points, weed edges, transition areas, mudflats—anywhere you can drag a standard walking sinker and live bait, you can power rig,” he asserts.

“It’s really sort of a hybrid between slow-down rigging and dragging spinners on three-ways. I’ll start doing this pretty early in the summer—right after those initial insect hatches— and stick with it on and off through late summer into early fall. Once surface temps hit 60-degrees or so, it’s time to break out the power rigs. Then again in August and September, it really shines as water begins to cool a bit.“Those days when everyone is either creeping along with a standard rig or bottom bouncing at a good clip–especially on flat calm days–that’s when I’ll break out the power rigs.

”Roach’s power program employs a straight wire bottom bouncer, such as the Northland Slip Bouncer, coupled with a super long leader—up to 15-feet for coverless flats— tied with 8-pound test Berkley XT. At slower speeds he typically rigs a live ribbon leech, small shiner or chub on a single #6 or #4 hook. If Roach is pulling crawlers, it usually means he’s moving a bit faster, employing a dual hook harness. For added attraction, he occasionally adds a single fluorescent bead, or a single 00 flicker spinner. Often, too, especially with longer snells or near vegetation, he likes to add a Rainbow Float, 1 to 8-inches above the hook. “You can pin the float in place using a rubber Snubber Stop,” he asserts. Keeping the float well above the hook holds the entire leader off bottom, rather than just the bait itself.

While the hook, float and live bait power the presentation, the Slip-Bouncer drives. Unlike the standard R-bend bottom bouncers, Slip-Bouncers are composed of a single straight wire shaft with an open eyelet on top, which lets you feed line freely to biting fish—no resistance. The 5-inch wire “feeler” transmits bottom types like a stethoscope, while a slide-on weight system yields rapid adjustments to varying depths, speeds and currents. Another advantage: tickled over soft silt, mud or sand, these needle-like weights disturb very little bottom substrate, an occurrence that often spooks walleyes.

“Slip Bouncers are a gem—something every angler should add to their bag of rigging tricks,” Roach says.“Power rigging is ideal for inexperienced anglers and old pros alike. If I’ve got beginners in my boat, I can just set soft-tipped 8-1/2- foot trolling rods, like my Mr. Walleye SuperPros, in rod holders, and let them load up and set themselves. If we start missing fish, we simply hold rods and delay our hooksets. Drop the rod tip back toward a biting fish, feel for solid weight, and give a nice long sweep. Once you get things dialed in, you’ll hook every biter. It’s a pretty forgiving system.

“Really, power rigging can be the answer on any given summer day. Right in the middle of a classic ‘slow-down’ rigging bite, you can really put on a clinic. But the power program shines later on, too, when everyone else is moving faster, pulling standard spinner rigs. In both cases, the system can really make you a hero on those tougher flat calm day bites. Tell you what, any method that saves my hide on tough guide days is okay in my book.”