|Buy Fishing Line Based on Diameter, Not Lb. Test, Advises Sunline|
from The Fishing Wire
Making enough line to go around the world nearly 34 times each year, Sunline has the largest stand-alone line factory on the planet. Despite making so much line every year, quality and accuracy are guiding principles for production of every spool of line that Sunline makes.
Sunline manufactures their lines to strict diameter tolerances that require a specific diameter range for each lb test. These diameter specifications are held across the globe for any line we offer.
Japanese laws require line companies selling line in the Japanese domestic market to label lines with a specific lb test based on pre-determined diameter ranges. This policy ensures lines rated at a specific lb test will break at that lb test for true accuracy.
The true measure of a line or fiber is the denier rating. Denier is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers. It is the mass in grams per 9000 meters of the fiber. This provides a true measure of the strength of a line or fiber and allows the strength of different materials to be compared regardless of the diameter. One fiber may have a higher breaking strength because it is larger in diameter, but that does not mean it is stronger, only thicker in diameter. Denier allows fibers to be tested and compared regardless of diameter for a true comparison.
Companies selling line in Europe are also held to a similar standard for diameters with the EFTTA Line Charter. The charter is a pledge by over 35-line manufacturers stating they will only manufacture lines that meet agreed upon standards.
A few of those include:
To print on their products clear and accurate descriptions in terms of diameters and breaking strength that are easy to understand, truthful and respectful of consumer protection laws and the standards of the industry, in compliance of the ISO 2062 Standards.
To run quality controls in sufficient quantities and sufficiently often to ensure that products labels are always accurate.
Not to use any other labeling in terms of breaking strength that is not scientifically demonstrated or agreed by the industry so as to avoid any confusion among consumers leading to unfair competition.
So, what about the US? There are no such guidelines or charters in the US market regulating diameters. Line companies can produce a line and label it with any lb test they want. What better way to make a line seem stronger than it really is than to make a larger line and label it with a lower lb test. This will make the line seem much stronger than it really is. An angler thinks the line is strong but doesn’t realize they are fishing with a much larger line size.
If an angler were to catch a record fish using one of these inflated lines, the record would not be upheld when they submitted the record catching line for testing.
In some cases, an angler thinking he is buying 12lb line is actually buying 22lb line with a 12lb label on it.
This can obviously impact the status of record fish caught with inflated line sizes. Other ways inflated lines impact anglers are in the performance of their lures. Many lures swim or run better with lighter line. If you are buying line you think is 12lb which will allow a lure to perform at its best, but the line is much larger it can impact the performance of the lure.
Crankbaits and jerkbaits run deeper with smaller diameter lines allowing them to reach maximum depth. Similarly, anglers that troll a lot purchase lines based on the diameter knowing it will impact the diving depths of their crankbaits when trolled.
The Precision Trolling Data shows the impact that a larger diameter can have on the diving depth of a crankbait.
Trolling data, https://www.precisiontrollingdata.com/
Sunday was a “Three Dog Night” at my house due to the storms.
That saying comes from olden times when it was so cold you needed three dogs in bed with you to keep you warm. Warmth was not the problem at my house.
I have three dogs. Ginger is a brindle pit bull, Cinnamon a sooner that is mostly hound, and Mika is a registered border collie. Mika at 60 pounds is tall and lean and the other two weigh about 80 pounds. They fit their species, with Ginger built like a tank and Cinnamon with long legs a little taller.
All were rescue dogs. Ginger showed up at a rental house, flea infested, skin and bones and with heart worms. She had a broken choke collar on her neck.
Cinnamon showed up at the gun club, full of puppy energy the Monday after I had to put Rip to sleep.
And Mika was from a renter that had to get rid of him due to allergies.
Ginger is terrified of lightning. I swear she can hear it thunder in Birmingham, Alabama. Several years ago Ginger and my lab Rip were in the back yard during a thunderstorm. They dug out under the gate and disappeared. A couple of days later we got a call that Rip had been hit by a car on Highway 19.
Linda took him to the vet and they hoped he would recover, but went into convulsions and had to be put down. Ginger wandered back home a couple of days later.
Cinnamon was never bothered by storms until lightning struck the house, burning out two TVs and a computer. She was in her wire kennel and I guess she got a shock. Now she will not go near her kennel when it thunders.
Mika is not bothered by anything.
With all the thunder Sunday night, we moved their beds to our bedroom. All went well until the thunder got loud about 1:00 AM and Ginger started whining. I finally got her into the bed where she buried under the sheet at our feet and went to sleep. The other two slept happily on their beds.
All three are pretty useless. Mika lives to chase a tennis ball and would kill himself chasing it if we kept throwing it. Ginger just waddles around unless chasing Mika and the ball. She will not bring it back, though.
With Cinnamon’s nose, I thought I might teach her to trail deer. She can sniff out a lost tennis ball in the weeds and loves to trail squirrels in the back yard.
A few years ago, I shot a deer that left a little blood trail but I could not find it. I got Cinnamon and put her on the trail. She would sniff the blood, follow it a few feet, then get distracted by a squirrel or sound in the woods. I don’t have a clue how to train a trail dog and never found that deer.
Dogs are wonderful companions, most of the time!
Note: I found this especially interesting! Ronnie
It is thought that fish may miss critical migration cues in the barges that they would otherwise pick up during in-river migrations.
|By Allison Lebeda, Joe DuPont, Lance Hebdon, and Jonathan Ebel. |
Idaho Fish & Game
from The Fishing Wire
Barging Juvenile Salmon and Steelhead through the Columbia and Snake Rivers does not work as well as natural migration.
Juvenile salmon and steelhead born in Idaho waters must swim hundreds of miles and navigate a network of eight dams before they can reach the Pacific Ocean. Migrating through the mainstem hydrosystem can be one of the more daunting obstacles these young fish must face.
These fish, which we commonly refer to as “smolts” can pass through a dam in one of three ways.
First, they can be swept through the turbines, where the water forces large blades to rotate at high speeds.
Second, a series of screens can guide smolts away from the turbines where they will be routed through channels and pipes around the dam. We call this the juvenile bypass system.
Third, they can be carried over one of the dam’s spillways where they will plunge over a hundred feet into turbulent waters below.
Thanks to recent changes in the operations of the dams, most smolts pass over the spillway. The diagram above depicts the three passage routes that smolts can use to pass dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
In the late 1970s, poor adult returns of salmon and steelhead prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (from hereafter referred to as “the Corps”) to develop a fourth method of passing large numbers of juvenile fish past the Snake and Columbia River dams: barging.
Initially, two barges were available to transport juvenile fish, but gradually more barges were added, and by 1981, the barging program had the ability to barge large numbers of fish on a daily basis. Today, between 15 and 22 million smolts are collected from the juvenile bypass systems at Lower Granite, Little Goose, and Lower Monumental dams and placed in one of eight available barges.
Barging typically occurs from late April through July, and transports smolts through the hydropower system until they are eventually released below Bonneville Dam. Collection and transportation, known as the Juvenile Transport Program, is a considerable collaborative effort by the Corps with private, federal, and state agencies. Each barging trip lasts two days and covers nearly 300 river miles, but is ultimately faster than the migration for fish that must pass through the dams on their own power.
At first glance, barging juvenile salmon and steelhead through the hydropower system seems the obvious solution to increase adult returns. Immediate survival of barged juveniles is nearly 98% compared to the 40-60% survival rate often experienced by smolts that must make the full journey past the dams in-river.
Barging was the dominant method of passing smolts through the hydrosystem from 1981 through 2006 when 60-100% of smolts passing the dams were put on barges. However, with increased spill over the dams, the addition of surface spillway weirs, and upgrades to existing juvenile bypass systems, the relative benefits of barging have declined in recent years. The proportion of smolts put on barges now ranges from 10-50% of the run as a result of increased spill over the dams and the consequent decrease in fish entering the juvenile bypass systems.
Despite high survival of barged smolts to the release site downstream of Bonneville Dam, transported fish often return at lower rates as adults than fish that migrated down the Snake and Columbia rivers on their own.
One explanation for this is multiple species of smolts are often confined in crowded conditions when being barged, which can increase stress and allow diseases to spread more easily between fish. Additionally, returning adults that were barged as smolts tend to migrate upstream slower, fall back over the dams more often, and stray more than fish that were not barged.
It is thought that fish may miss critical migration cues in the barges that they would otherwise pick up during in-river migrations.
Ongoing research using smolts tagged upstream of the hydrosystem and tagged at Lower Granite Dam has helped modify the barging program to improve survival of barged fish. Of fish that enter a juvenile bypass system, those that are subsequently transported tend to return as adults at higher rates than fish that are bypassed and returned to the river.
This is important because millions of smolts migrate past these dams this way each year. But, it is not as simple as one may think. The relative benefits barging provides to smolts varies by the timing of their migration, what species they are, their size, and whether they are a hatchery or wild fish. For example, endangered Snake River Sockeye Salmon do not benefit from barging in most situations. This may be because they are smaller, can be easily descaled through abrasion, and prefer uncrowded open-water habitats found in lakes.
Meanwhile, steelhead benefit from barging in many situations potentially because they are larger, more resilient, and prefer faster flowing habitats not found in reservoirs. Both these species migrate at the same time and are transported together. Unfortunately, there is no current way to separate the two species after they have entered the juvenile bypass systems and transport-destined raceways.
For smolts migrating later in the season, those that are barged tend to do better than those that aren’t. This is likely because later in the year, migration conditions tend to worsen for smolts as flows decrease and water clarity and temperature increase. These conditions increase their stress levels and increase predation on them.
When you consider all these things, it certainly adds complexity on evaluating whether a smolt should be barged or not. For now, managers have taken a spread-the-risk approach using barging in concert with improving in-river migration conditions.
In summary, although barging can increase the number of smolts that reach the ocean, transported fish often return at lower rates as adults than fish that migrate in-river. Under certain conditions, barging juvenile salmon and steelhead can lead to higher survival and higher return rates as adults. Migration timing, fish size, river conditions, and fish species are just some of the variables that play a role in whether barging can be beneficial or not.
Researchers with the multitude of cooperating agencies continue to learn from and modify the Juvenile Transport Program to best increase adult returns. Barging juveniles through the complex network of dams is not the sole solution to salmon and steelhead restoration, but it is one of multiple tools managers have that can aid in increasing juvenile survival and adult returns in some situations.
May Bass at Clarks Hill
with Tony Green
May fishing is good anywhere you go in Georgia but blueback herring have made Clark’s Hill one of the best bets in the state to catch big largemouth this month. And they are hitting on top, the most exciting way to catch bass. You can’t go wrong with a trip to Clark’s Hill in May.
Clark’s Hill is a big 72,000 acre lake on the Georgia/South Carolina border. Built in the early 1950s it has 1200 miles of shoreline and is full of islands and humps. There is good access all over this Corps of Engineers Lake even with the water level down six to eight feet this year.
Tony Green was born in South Carolina but moved to the Macon area when he was three years old and has lived and fished there all his life. While growing up he went to Clark’s Hill a lot, camping and fishing with his family. They caught crappie and bass on those trips.
About eight years ago Tony joined the Procasters Bass Club in the Macon area and got into tournament fishing. He has made that club’s state team most years and enjoys the competition and chances to learn more about bass fishing by being in that club.
Tony has fished the HD Marine Trail for several years but took this year off. You can find him entered in a good many Berry’s and R and R Tournaments. He also fishes some pot tournaments and a few BFL tournaments in the area.
This year in March Tony beat out 417 other club fishermen in the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Top Six tournament at Clark’s Hill to win first place. His eight bass weighing 30.4 pounds beat out second place by over three pounds.
Tony loves Clark’s Hill in May and tries to make several trips to the lake every year this time of year. His club also tries to schedule tournaments on Clark’s Hill or Hartwell in May to get in on the great fishing both lakes offer. The herring bite is similar on both lakes and can be some of the fastest action of the year.
The pattern is fairly simple in May on Clark’s Hill. Bass have mostly finished spawning by the first of May and they have moved out and are feeding heavily. Find the herring spawning on main lake structure and you will find big bass nearby. The herring spawn on hard bottoms near deep water and like long points, humps and blow throughs.
A blow through is a saddle or dip between the main bank and an island or between humps or islands on big water. Wind blows through these shallow areas and the waves wash away the soft soil, leaving gravel, rocks and hard clay the herring like. The same action clears soft bottoms away leaving the hard stuff on long points and humps, too.
Tony will have three rods rigged and ready to take advantage of the herring bite. His first choice is a big Spook or Sammy on an outfit he can use to cast it a long way. The topwater plug is worked as fast as he can move it early in the morning, fishing water from a foot or less deep to about ten feet deep. Topwater baits are better first thing in the morning.
As the sun gets on the water Tony will usually switch to a Fluke and fish it over water three to six feet deep. The sun moves the bass a little deeper but they will usually still come up to eat something near the surface. Herring like the sun and will usually be near the top on sunny days.
After the sun gets bright Tony thinks the bass move a little deep and are less likely to come up, so he will drag a big Carolina rigged lizard along the points and break lines in six to ten feet of water. He likes to use the bigger lizards to attract bites from bigger fish.
Before a tournament Tony will try to be on the water at daybreak and ride, looking for places the herring are moving and he sees surface activity. During the day he will throw a spinnerbait or crankbait around spawning areas and watch for herring following the bait back to the boat, or will sometimes hook one. If he finds the herring near a spawning area he knows the bass will be nearby.
Tony is always looking for “nervous” water while fishing. Any small movement on top indicates the herring and bass will usually be following them. He will move toward any activity he sees and cast to it. That is why it is helpful to use a rig you can cast a long way.
Although the water is down this year the herring will still spawn near the same spots they have used in the past when the lake was full and will use in the future. Tony thinks the low water may actually make the herring bite better this year because low water may push the bass out of the creeks to the main lake even faster.
The following ten spots have all produced fish over the years during the herring spawn. You can check them out to see what Tony looks for then find others. With the lake low you can see exactly what the structure looks like and get a good picture of it when the water covers it.
1. N 33 41.329 – W 82 17.915 – Mims Branch just downstream of the Highway 47 Bridge has Ft. Gordon Recreation Area in it. The downstream point of this creek is an excellent place to find herring spawning and bass eating them. The point is rocky with some sand and clay so the hard bottom attracts the herring. Two smaller side points add to its attraction to the herring and it is near deep water but runs way out, making it even better.
The point you want to fish runs out toward green channel marker L 15. There is a hard drop on the upstream side of the point. You will see a tall light pole and light on the point to know you are in the right place.
Start on the downstream side out from the light pole and work all the way around the point. Start at first light keeping your boat out as far as you can and still make casts with your top water baits right on the bank. Some times the bass will be extremely shallow and will be looking for herring in a few inches of water so start real shallow.
Work around the point to the upstream side, working your topwater baits back to water about eight feet deep then reel in and make another cast. Work your bait fast. You can not take a top water bait away from a bass that wants it and they seem to like a fast moving bait. Fishing fast also allows you to make more casts in the short time before the sun gets on the water.
As the sun comes up fish back around the point, staying out a little deeper and working water three to six feet deep with a Fluke. Then fish back around the point even further out dragging a big lizard along the breaklines in six to ten feet of water.
2. N 33 42.251 – W 82 17.560 – Across the lake a long arm of land runs out on the north side of Bussey Point and there is an island off the upstream end of it. A shallow point runs out upstream on the upstream side of the island and there are also several humps around the point. This is an excellent place to find a lot of bass and herring.
One of the small humps had a danger marker lying on its side on the hump right at the water line when we fished. The water was right at eight feet low. Start fishing out from that danger marker and work the whole area. You will see some of the high spots just above the water and there are others all around. Work from the end of the point around all these high spots.
Always watch for any surface disturbance and cast to it. Tony’s description of “nervous water” gives you a good idea of the little ripples the herring will often make on the surface. If the herring are there the bass will be nearby. Cast to any swirls you see, too.
3. N 33 41.733 – W 82 18.848 – Back across the lake on the upstream side of the long point on the upstream side of Mims Branch you will find a long shallow point running out toward green channel marker L 21. There is a big round cedar tree on the point that stood out a few weeks ago but might blend in more now that the trees have more leaves on them.
Start on the downstream side of the point and fish upstream, keeping you boat close on the first pass so you can almost hit the bank then fishing further out on your next pass. This flat runs way out and there are a lot of rocks on it that are normally about eight feet deep at full pool There are some stumps and brush piles on this point and they help, but the hard bottom is more important for the herring spawn.
4. N 33 41.568 – W 82 19.397 – A little further toward the bridge on this peninsular on the upstream side of Mims Branch is the swimming area. There is a small island just downstream of the swimming area and a point runs out there. You will see the bathhouse on the bank and some lights and benches on the point.
Start fishing near the downstream side of the little island and point and work around it. If you fish fast you can hit this point and two more before you get to the swimming area, throwing topwater before the sun gets on the water. Then work back around them. All three parallel points hold bass and herring spawn on them so watch all for activity as you fish.
This area and the others are even better when some wind blows in on them. You won’t be able to see the surface activity as well but wave action will help the bite. Waves seem to disorient the herring and make them easier prey, and waves also break up the light making it a little more difficult for the bass to tell your bait from a live herring.
5. N 33 42.159 – W 82 20.318 – Across the lake on the upstream side of the cove where Cherokee Ramp is located is a marked hump. It is way out of the water now and you can see how it has a big pile or rocks on the downstream side and tapers off toward the bridge. It drops fast at first down to about six feet deep at full pool but then flattens out. On the downstream side are three small high spots.
All these high spots hold bass and herring. The downstream side of the marked hump seems to hold more bass. Start out in front of the hump about even with the rock pile and work around it toward the ramp. Cover all this area with all your baits. Watch your depthfinder to note the contours since it changes a lot around this hump. You don’t want to get in too close, especially after the sun gets on the water.
All the tournaments held out of Cherokee Ramp make this an even better spot. The bass population is constantly supplemented by released bass so the concentration in this area is high.
6. N 33 41.910 – W 82 20.829 – Go under the bridge and head toward the right bank. Not far out from the riprap you will see an island that is usually not much more than a hump before you get to the bank. It has a danger marker on a pole on it but has a lot of rock out of the water right now. Some cypress trees have been planted on top of it.
Fish the outside of this hump, starting on the end toward the bridge and working to the upstream end. That side gets most of the waves, has a harder bottom, and drops off faster. Work it will all your baits before leaving the area.
7. N 33 40.428 – W 82 21.766 – Cliatt Creek is the one with Mistletoe State Park in it. There is an island on the downstream point of this creek. Go in on the downstream side of this island and you will see some humps and points running way out toward the lake. All are good for the herring spawn. The river makes a big bend right here and they are on the outside of the bend and that makes them even better.
You can see the rocky humps and point with the water down and there are stumps and brush on them as well as the rocks. All help make it a good spot. Note the brush piles while fishing in close and hit them later with the sun on the water. Bass will often hold in brush and around stumps in six to eight feet of water after the sun gets bright so dragging your Carolina rigged lizard through them is a good bet.
8. N 33 40.555 – W 82 22.194 – Out off the end of the island there are some good humps to fish. One was barely above the water when we were there, with less than six inches of it showing, so be very careful in this area if the water has come up above eight feet low.
You will see a marked hump out from and a little downstream of the island and the smaller hump is out from it. Again, this is a big area where lots of herring spawn so watch for activity to tell you exactly where to fish. Also keep an eye on your depthfinder to keep your boat in a good depth.
Fish all around the marked hump and the others that are out from it. Make long casts. The water is usually clear in these areas and longer casts help by not spooking the bass and herring with your boat. Long casts with all three baits are best.
9. N 33 40.278 – W 82 22.582 – The island on the upstream side of Cliatt Creek, just off the campground, has a rocky point running out on its downstream end. The rocks run out toward the middle of the mouth of the creek. About in the middle of the island on the outside a long clay point runs out toward the middle of the lake.
Start fishing on the inside of the rocky point and fish around it. Continue upstream and fish the clay point, too. Fish all your baits on both points and the hard bottom between them. Keep and eye out for surface activity in the area as you fish.
10. N 33 40.363 – W 82 23.734 – Straight across from Mistletoe is a long ridge with a small island on the upstream side. This ridge runs parallel to the river. Go upstream past it and there is a big island on your right. Upstream of this island is a marked hump. The danger marker was bent over at an angle when Tony and I were there in mid-April. We got a bass here that pushed three pounds even that early.
Start on the downstream side of the marker and fish around the hump. This area has a lot of high spots that all attract herring and the marked hump is good year round. It is best for the herring spawn since it is the outside hump of the group but all will hold fish. Work this area carefully and watch for changes in the bottom to tell you which areas are best.
These ten spots are all close to Mistletoe Park and Cherokee Ramp but there are other similar places on Little River and the Savannah River. Check these out but don’t limit yourself to this small area of the huge lake. You can find many similar herring spawning spots that hold largemouth for you to catch all over the lake.
| Timely Tactics for Tempting Speckled Trout |
from The Fishing Wire
“I can see the grill marks on that one already,” exclaimed Capt. Ryan Lambert as a beautiful Gulf of Mexico speckled trout was wrangled into the net and deposited in his boat’s ice chest.
Lambert, the owner of Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras Louisiana, has been guiding clients to spectacular speckled trout, boisterous bull reds, and more for over 41 years. Collectively, Lambert and his guides spend tens of thousands of hours on the water every year, and one lesson they have gleaned from these fertile marshes and bayous is not about baits or locations, but instead, about their lines and leaders.
“Many of the largest trout we see every year come from water that is surprisingly clear,” notes Lambert, “and those fish can be pretty skittish. The key to getting more of those fish in the box is to rig up with a clear fluorocarbon leader.”
Lambert and his guides like Seaguar Gold Label for its low visibility, knot strength and its toughness.One of Lambert’s guides, Capt. Joe DiMarco, puts it this way: “in the fall, trout move off the shallow flats and into cuts and channels where the water is deeper. There, they sit close to the bottom, in water that is warmer, saltier, and cleaner. The water might not look great from above, but often, just below the surface, chocolate milk-colored water can rapidly change to a perfect ‘trout green’.
That’s where a Seaguar Gold Label leader can make the difference between a few small fish and some spectacular photo-ops.”
Gold Label from Seaguar is a 100% fluorocarbon leader manufactured using a proprietary coextrusion process that unites a strong, sensitive core with a soft, supple exterior. The result is a double-structure fluorocarbon leader that exhibits the beneficial attributes of each of its two resins. With line diameters that are as much as 23% smaller than comparable fluorocarbons, Seaguar Gold Label is the thinnest 100% fluorocarbon leader available and is perfect for stealthy trout presentations. “Thinner leaders are always better,” asserts Capt. Mark Davis, host of BigWater Adventures TV. “When I fish with Gold Label, baits swim more naturally, triggering more bites and helping me to catch more fish.”
Yes, thinner is better. But that’s not the end of the Gold Label story; rather, it’s just the beginning. Seaguar Gold Label excels at any presentation for line-shy fish, like fall speckled trout, because it is nearly invisible underwater. With a refractive index that more closely matches that of water than any other line choice, Seaguar 100% fluorocarbon leaders virtually disappear beneath the surface, ensuring that fish see your bait long before they ever detect your line.
In addition, because Seaguar fluorocarbon leaders offer enhanced abrasion resistance compared to monofilament or braid, you’ll experience fewer line failures from sharp speckled trout teeth, or from the shell beds they frequently hold near.
Moreover, the supple outer shell of Seaguar Gold Label ensures that knots snug down tight and strong, whether you’re connecting Gold Label to Seaguar Smackdown braided main line, or tying a jig to the business end of your leader. The exceptional tensile and knot strength that you’ll experience with Gold Label means fewer heartbreaks after the strike.
Lambert says he targets speckled trout with one of two presentations – either tight-lining with a jig, or with a bait suspended beneath a popping cork.”I prefer tight-lining because the sensitivity of Gold Label, when paired with Seaguar Smackdown braid, lets me feel everything that is happening to the jig,” says Lambert.
Gear up with a 7-foot, medium-heavy power, fast action rod equipped with a 3000-series spinning reel. Spool the reel with 30 lb. test Seaguar Smackdown in Stealth Gray, and use an Albright or Double Uni knot to tie on a 3-foot section of 20 lb test Gold Label. Add a ¼ oz jig like the Z-Man Trout Eye jighead dressed with a Z-Man Swimmin’ TroutTrick, and you’re ready for fall trout.”The wide spectrum of Z-Man TroutTrick and Swimmin’ TroutTrick colors will help you trigger speckled trout under lots of sky and water conditions, but if I had to choose just one, it would be Pumpkin/Chartreuse tail,” says Lambert.
The ultra-thin diameter, near invisibility underwater, abrasion resistance, and exceptional knot and tensile strength of Seaguar Gold Label will elevate your speckled trout fishing to the next level. Gold Label leader is offered in 25-yard spools, and is available in 15, 20, 25, 30, and 40 lb tests with MSRP $18.99-$34.99.For more, visit www.seaguar.com.
About Seaguar Fishing Lines
As the inventor of fluorocarbon fishing lines in 1971, Seaguar has played a prominent role in the advancement of technologies to improve the performance of lines and leader material for both fresh and salt water anglers. Seaguar is the only manufacturer of fluorocarbon fishing lines that produces its own resins and controls the manufacturing process from start to finished product. Today, Seaguar is the #1 brand of fluorocarbon lines and offers a full spectrum of premium products including fluorocarbon mainlines and leader material, 8-strand and 16-strand braid fishing lines.
April Bass at West Point
with Charlie Williams
April may well be the best month for bass fishing in Georgia/Alabama and West Point may be the best lake in the state to catch bass on this month. The lake has great spawning coves that attract bass to predictable places and some simple patterns will catch them from late March through the end of April.
West Point is a fairly new 25,900 acre Corps of Engineers lake that was filled in 1974. It runs for 35 miles on the Chattahoochee River and has plenty of access points on both sides of the lake. A 14 inch size limit on largemouth helps maintain quality size for them and the increase in spotted bass over the past ten years offers anglers plenty of keeper size fish to eat. There is no size limit on spots (in either state) but there is a ten bass creel limit on them.
Charlie Williams grew up on Maple Creek just upstream of the lake and caught his first bass ever on the riprap while fishing on that creek under the bridge for crappie. He fished for bass with his grandfather and also his best friend and father, Randy “Rock Man” Williams who was a member of the LaGrange Bass Club and helped found the West Georgia Bass Club with Rickey Childs.
Living so close to the lake gave Charlie a chance to spend a lot of time on it. He started fishing tournaments on the lake with his dad when he was 12 years old. Charlie now works for Toyota dealership in Columbus and at State Line Marine on some of his days off. At State Line he gets to talk with lots of bass fishermen and that, along with all his fishing friends and contacts, helps him keep up with what is going on at West Point every day.
Charlie fished the BFL and other trails until two children blessed his marriage and he has slowed down fishing tournaments the past few years. He still fishes with West Georgia Bass Club and in some BFLs and pot tournaments on West Point. And many afternoons he hits the lake for a few hours after work.
“Don’t even fool with the first half of creeks this time of year,” Charlie said. By late March most West Point bass have moved back into the creeks and are looking for bedding areas. Charlie will run and gun, hitting a lot of places back in creeks and covering water. He says too many bass will hit to fool around in one area trying to make them bite.
When the bass go on the bed Charlie will do some sight fishing but water is often stained and it is hard to spot them. Many times a better plan is to run a Rat-L-Trap across gravel where the fish spawn then follow it up with a Carolina rigged lizard. This will get bites from fish that are spawning too deep to see.
The one exception to fishing back in creeks is the shad spawn. Charlie says it will start when the water hits 68 degrees, usually around the second weekend in April. A full moon around that time helps. When the shad spawn is on there will be 15 to 20 minutes of fast and furious action right at daylight if you are in the right spot.
For fishing this month Charlie will have several baits rigged. For pre-spawn fish he likes a pearl with red eye Bandit 200 crankbait. If the water is stained he will go with the same crankbait in spring craw. A chrome and blue half-ounce Trap will be on one rod and he will have a white spinnerbait with two small willowleaf blades ready for the shad spawn.
A Carolina rigged six inch lizard in green pumpkin or black will be rigged on a 30 inch leader and quarter ounce sinker unless the wind is strong, then he will go with a heavier lead. And he keeps a three eights ounce All Terrain Tackle jig and pig ready to flip into any heavy cover. He likes a black and blue jig and trailer in stained water and a Texas craw color in clearer water.
Charlie keys on several kinds of structure and cover this time of year. He especially likes rocks and likes to hit “hidden” riprap and boat ramps. Many creeks and coves have patches of riprap back in them that hold bass now and during the shad spawn, and unused boat ramps built by the Corps but never opened are very good spots to find bass since they have concrete and rocks.
For pre-spawn fish, banks that drop fairly fast are best. Clay banks with some rock on them are good and Charlie will often put his trolling motor on high and hit every little bit of cover back in creeks and coves. He says he doesn’t mess with wood that doesn’t stick above the water, but will run his crankbait by every stick of wood, even small pencil-sized stickups. Thick cover will draw a flip of his jig.
When some fish start spawning Charlie looks for flatter banks in coves and creeks and wants a bottom with gravel on it. If he knows where the gravel is he will run a Trap across it then drag a Carolina rig on it. A Carolina rig is a good way to find gravel and see how far it runs out.
February 27th Charlie and I fished West Point on a bitterly cold, windy day. We even had snow flurries that morning. Yet under almost impossible conditions Charlie caught bass. His best five keepers weighed 15 pounds. The fish were already beginning to move to the outer points on these spots and will they will be much better now. The following ten spots give you a variety of kinds of places to fish right now.
1. N 32 55.705 – W 85 10.327 – R. Sheafer Heard Park sits between the mouth of Maple Creek and the dam. The middle point of the park has riprap around it and is an excellent place to find shad spawning in mid-April. Some bass also hold on it in late March and early April as they move into the pockets on either side to spawn, then feed on it again as they move back to deep water post spawn.
The middle point is the big point upstream going toward Maple Creek past the Corps work area. It has a picnic shelter on it and a boat ramp on the upstream side back in the pocket. Start fishing at one end of the riprap and fish all the way to the other end.
Before the shad spawn and after it fish a crankbait from the rocks out. There is good deep water just off this point so bass feed here, Keep your boat out in 10 to 15 feet of water so you crankbait covers the water down several feet off the rocks.
During the shad spawn get right on the rocks and run your spinnerbait parallel to them as close to the rocks as you can get. Charlie says a few inches make a big difference. If you are more than a few inches from the rocks you are less likely to get bit. Charlie likes a spinnerbait since it has a single hook. He says the action it too fast and short to mess with removing treble hooks.
2. N 32 57.118 – W 85 11.957 – Another good rocky point that holds bass all month but is especially good during the shad spawn is the entrance to Southern Harbor Marina. The riprap on the lighthouse side is especially good and shad spawn here because it is close to deep water. Tournaments constantly restock bass into the area, too. Charlie caught a solid three pound bass here the day we fished.
Start where the riprap starts on the outside of the point and fish around it to about even with the lighthouse on the back side. Charlie says he hardly ever catches bass further down the back side of the rocks. Before and after the shad spawn work the blowdowns near the point on the outside carefully. During the shad spawn the bass will be right on the rocks and you are wasting precious seconds trying to fish the trees when the bass are concentrating on easy meals in inches of water.
Corners of riprap are especially good during the spawn. It seems bass hold right where the rocks make a turn and ambush shad as they come down the rocks to where they change directions. Charlie often sets up right on the corners and makes constant casts to them even if there is not a school of shad passing the corner. If they are coming down the rocks they will be there soon.
3. N 32 58.032 – W 85 11.417 – Run up and across the lake to the cove just downstream of channel marker 16. The woods around this cove were burned not too long ago and it is open under the big pines. This is an excellent example of the type of place Charlie looks for bass during April. Bass will bed in every little pocket in this cove. It is near deep water but is protected and has the flatter gravel banks he likes. He seldom fishes the right bank since it drops off faster.
Run in to the white pea gravel point on the left about two –thirds of the way back. Start throwing a Rat-L-Trap and work around the left side of cove, covering it fairly fast. Run the Trap over all the gravel banks you see. If the water is up or you don’t know where the rocks are, drag a Carolina rigged six inch lizard until you feel the rocks.
When the bass start bedding they will often be on these rocks and will hit the lizard when they won’t chase the Trap. Charlie likes greens like watermelon and green pumpkin in clearer water and black in stained water. Drag it slowly along the rocks and bass will hit it.
If you are catching fish in an area, any time you see brush or thicker cover flip a jig into it. Charlie likes the All Terrain jig in black and blue and will also pitch it to bass he sees that are on the bed. Work it slowly in the cover even if you don’t see a bass holding there. Some big fish have to be tempted to bite this time of year.
4. N 32 58.519– W 85 11.350 – Go in Bird Creek and you will see a big rocky point in the middle where the creek splits. Start on the big rocks on the left side of the point and work to your right. Fish to the right and the bottom will change to gravel. Work out to the next small point.
This is the kind of place where the bass first pull up on in late March and early April. Fish your crankbait here and try to hit ever bit of cover. Bass will hold and feed around rocks and wood so don’t miss anything. Charlie calls this “beating the bank” and it works for bass before the spawn. Shad will spawn on these rocks, too, so watch for them in mid April.
5. N 32 59.019 – W 85 11.355 – Go into the cove just downstream of channel marker 24 and fish all around it. You will see an old unused bathhouse in the woods on the upstream point. This is another good spawning cove and it has lots of little secondary points that are good places to throw Carolina rigs and Traps. The flatter bottom means it is good for spawning fish.
This cove has the flat bottom and sits right off deep water. Bass moving in to spawn don’t have to go too far. It is protected and always has bait in it, too. There are two ditches in the back that show the kind of channel running through it and Charlie says they are good places to see spawning bass. He says bass love this cove.
For spawning fish Charlie does not look for beds on West Point. He says you hardly ever see the saucer shaped bed like you do on some other lakes. He looks for the bass themselves. You can spot them holding by a stick or on dark patches. They may be hard on the bed without you ever seeing the bed and you can catch them.
Watch the fish. If it runs off and does not come right back, move on. If the bass stays close and seems to concentrate on one spot, pitch a bait to that spot and work it in one place. Try a Paca Craw or All Terrain Jig worked right under the fish.
6. N 32 59.223 – W 85 11.160 – Go around the point and into the cove between channel markers 22 and 24 just downstream of Earl Cook. There is an old unused boat ramp back in this cove and it is a good one to fish. You will see the unused bathhouse on your right that was on your left going into hole #5 and there is a white danger pole marker on the upstream point.
Bass hold around the ramp and rocks and feed and the shad will spawn on them, too. Charlie says all ramps like this one that are “off the beaten path” are good places to fish.
Charlie says the Bandit crankbait is his number one weapon this time of year. Work it and a jig on the rocks and ramp itself. If the shad are spawning cast a spinnerbait right up on the rocks. Fish the ramp and rocks at different angles and work it to different depths.
7. N 33 00.097 – W 85 11.320 – Head upstream you will pass black channel marker 27 and a hump on your left at Holiday Campground. The cove just upstream of this maker is a good spawning spot. The point on the upstream side has some picnic tables and you will see a cedar tree right on the edge of the trees about half-way down this bank.
Start fishing on the upstream point near the picnic tables and fish into the cove, working downstream. This is a good spawning pocket and has a flat gravel bottom. Work it with your Trap and Carolina rig to the back. Charlie does not fish the downstream bank of this pocket this time of year.
8. N 33 01.833 – W 85 09.928 – The Highway 109 Bridge is an excellent shad spawning place with lots of riprap to draw them. Shad work both sides of the bridge and the pilings but Charlie usually has his best luck on the upstream side on the left going up.
Watch for the shad on the rocks. You will see a ripple right on the rocks and shad flipping out of the water. Get in close ahead of them as they move along the rocks and work your spinnerbait right on the rocks.
9. N 33 02.245 – W 85 10.064 – Above the Highway 109 Bridge you will see two islands to your left sitting in the mouth of a creek. Channel marker 41 sits downstream of these islands and you want to fish the pocket downstream of the big point at Indian Springs Group Campground straight in from the channel marker. There is a fish attractor buoy off the upstream point.
Start out on the main lake at the point with the picnic tables and buoy and fish downstream into the pocket. Work this pea gravel bank for spawning fish like the others. If the wind is blowing in on this bank and others like it the Trap will often be better than the Carolina rig. Wind does help and makes the fish bite better.
10. N 33 02.571 – W 85 10.252 – Go around the upstream point and between island the island into the small creek. The right bank going in past the island has rock on it and the whole area in the back of the creek is good from late March on. The banks are steeper out past the old roadbed and better in late March and early April. The bottom past the roadbed flattens out and has gravel and is a good spawning area, making it better later in the month. This kind of transition makes a place even better.
Charlie likes all these places and will fish them in tournaments as well as when trying to locate fish. Check them out then use the pattern to find other similar spots and you can catch bass at West Point now.
|Take the family fishing|
From the Maine Division of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
from The Fishing Wire
Fishing can be very rewarding and educational for children, especially after they’re been housebound for a long time. Here are some tips for taking them along and introducing them to a sport they might enjoy the rest of their lives. (Of course, everyone needs to practice social distancing from those outside the immediate household during the epidemic, and also hand-washing anytime they touch surfaces outside the home that might be exposed, such as restroom doors and flush handles.)
Be relaxed: As you head out the door, leave behind the tension and take along a smile, an open mind, and a lot of patience.
Share the Plan: Paint the trip as an adventure. Show the kids where you’re going on a map before you leave the house, and ask them to help navigate.Make it fun: Above all else, make the fishing trip fun and safe.
Key to Success: Don’t measure the success of the trip by the number or size of fish caught, but rather by having a fun, safe time outdoors.
Be Generous in Praise: Praise the kids for their patience and cooperation.
Make it a shore thing: Try giving a child their first few lessons at a local park, farm pond, or a lake with a dock or gentle shoreline where they can run and play when their attention span runs short. Knowing how to fish from shore will allow them to go on their own or with friends when they are old enough.
Boating Basics: If and when you progress to a boat, be sure to have the proper safety equipment for you and your youngster.
Fish for little fish: Most kids prefer to catch lots of fish versus big fish. Start new anglers off on species that are plentiful and more easily caught, like sunfish or perch. Once the child has developed basic fishing skills, you can move on to larger pursuits.
Every fish is a trophy: Little fish, big excitement on your part will make a lifelong angler.
Start with the basics: Begin with simple equipment and bait. Use simple spincasting equipment, a bobber, and a hook with live bait, as it will work well for a variety of fish species. And be sure the equipment your child uses is in good working order to avoid any unnecessary frustration.
Practice a bit at home: Most kids enjoy learning to cast on their own. Practice, a little at a time with no hooks, in the back yard until they can do it themselves–they’ll enjoy fishing much more.
Ask for Input: Where would the kids like to fish? Over by that old tree? Let’s give it a try–sometimes, they discover the best spots themselves, and giving input will make fishing more fun for them.
Teach skills: People, regardless of their age, enjoy fishing more when they are in control and can do it themselves. Resist the temptation to do things for your children. If you are using live bait, teach them how to put it on the hook themselves. Teach them how to tie their hook onto their line and how to cast. On future trips, watch their skills, and their confidence, grow.
To eat or not to eat: If your children show interest in cleaning and eating the fish, go for it. If they’re catch and release fans, show them how to quickly release the fish to fight again.
Save the Moment: Don’t forget to take plenty of photos of that first fish. Post them on social media so the kids can show their friends and the grandparents.
Enjoy the outdoors, stay safe and introduce your family to fishing as a respite from these tough times.
March Bass at Jackson Lake
with Barry Stokes
For many years Jackson Lake was known for its big bass. Then spots got into the lake and it seemed the big lunker largemouth got very rare, but you could catch a pile of keeper size spots. Stringers with several six to eight pound bass are not seen like they were years ago, but 20 pound tournament catches still happen.
Filled in 1911, Jackson is the oldest big reservoir in the state. This Georgia Power lake on the headwaters of the Ocmulgee River covers 4750 acres and its shoreline is lined with cabins, docks, rocks and wood cover. Most of its channels are silted in but there are plenty of sandy spawning coves on the lake.
Barry Stokes grew up near Jackson and fished farm ponds but did not get to fish Jackson much. He watched bass boats go by his house headed to the lake and was determined someday to be in a bass boat on Jackson like those guys. He made those wishes come true in the early 1990s and joined the Conyers Bass Pros bass club. Later he joined Bear Creek Bass Club.
In the past 15 years Barry has learned the lake well and, starting in 2001, fished as many pot tournaments on it as he could. He fished the old R&R, Dixie Bass and Charlie’s Bait and Tackle trail as well as the night and weekend pot tournaments on Jackson. Now he fishes the Berry’s trail, ABA, and any other tournaments on the Jackson. He also fishes the BFL, HD Marine and other tournaments on Sinclair and Oconee. He is usually waiting around on a check after weigh-in in them.
Barry has learned the lake so well he now guides on Jackson as well as Sinclair and Oconee. He knows how to pattern the bass on the lake and has learned how to catch them. His best day ever on Jackson he landed a 12 pound lunker and had five fish weighing 30 pounds. In one string of tournaments he won 11 of 13 tournaments and had big fish in all 13.
Over the years Barry has figured out good patterns for March bass. In late February they start staging on rock, clay and sand points near spawning coves and feed up on crawfish and baitfish. He can usually catch them four to eight feet deep on those points.
As the water warms during March Barry follows the bass from the points back into the spawning pockets. Some bass will bed in early March if the water temperatures go up and stay stable for a week and bass move into the bedding areas in waves all spring. There will often be a lot of pre-spawn fish on the points, some moving back and even some on the beds this month.
“Details are the key,” Barry told me. He keeps a variety of baits tied on and also has others ready to try. He will vary the details like lure color, depth and speed he retrieves them all during the day until he finds the key. If the fish quit hitting he will start varying the details again until he unlocks the new pattern. Barry will have several kinds of crankbaits in different colors, a Ol Nelle spinnerbait, a Net Boy Jackson Jig and pig, a Net Boy Shaky Head, a Terry Bowden’s Cold Steel lizard worm and a Cold Steel Walking Stick all rigged and ready when he heads out this month. The colors will vary with water color, with brighter colors for stained water and more natural colors for clearer water. But he will vary all the details during the day.
One of the details Barry pays attention to that many bass fishermen get lax on is speed he works the baits. He will vary his speed until he hits what is working. Too many bass fishermen have a speed of retrieve they are comfortable with when using certain baits and don’t very it. Barry constantly changes.
As the water warms the fish will get more active this month and chase a bait better, but some cold days they want a fast moving bait, too. As a general rule you should fish slower in cold water and faster in warmer water, but Barry says pay attention to details and vary your speed constantly.
Barry and I fished the following ten spots in mid-February and bass were already on them. We caught 20 to 25 bass that day and Barry caught almost all of them on crankbaits, but I managed a few of the bigger fish on a jig and pig. These spots will pay off all month long as fish move up on them then move back to spawn.
1. N 33 25.195 – W 83 49.875 – Run up the Alcovy to the cove on the left called “Parker Neck” and look at the upstream point. There is a small concrete piling/pier on the up stream side right on the edge of the water and a blowdown runs out off the end of the point. The house on the point is brick half way up with green wood above it.
This point is an excellent staging area. The bottom is rocky and the pocket on the downstream side, Parker Neck, is a good spawning place. Fish hold out on the point on the rocks and in the blowdown feeding then move into the cove to spawn as the water warms.
Barry starts out on the end of the point at the blowdown and fishes the tree and the rocks with a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig. He will then work the bank going downstream all the way past the cut to the next point with a gazebo on it. Fish the above baits but also try a shaky head worm, and a Texas or Carolina rigged Lizard Worm along this bank. Work the sand where the bass will be bedding.
2. N 33 24.301 – W 83 49.746 – Headed downstream Price Neck is on your right and a good rocky point is on your left. The point you want to fish has a small cabin on it with lattice work around the crawl space. There is a white painted tire laying in the yard. Back in the pocket on the downstream side there is a house that runs right to the water’s edge.
This point runs out shallow toward the downstream side and there is some brush on the downstream side. The bass spawn in the cut on the downstream side. Stay way out and fish a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig around the rocks and brush, then work into the pocket with the other baits. Try to vary your colors and speed until you find what the bass want.
One trick Barry uses is to Texas rig a Cold Steel Walking Stick, a Senko like bait, and fishes it around all the cover in the pockets. It skips under docks well and has a little different action and look than the jig and pig that most anglers will be throwing. This is another example of the types of details Barry uses to catch bass behind other fishermen.
3. N 33 23.035 – W 83 50.279 – Downstream of the bridge and Berry’s there is a point on your left heading downstream that has a beige house with a brown roof on it. There is a three globe light pole in the yard and a dock on the point with a deck on the bank. The deck has lattice panels around it. There are big rocks on the point and the bass spawn in the pocket on the upstream side.
Barry says this is a numbers game point. Spots stage and spawn here and you can often pick up several fish. Crank the point then try a spinnerbait. Start on the downstream side and parallel the point fishing from near the bank casting out toward the lake. Then work out around the point fan casting both baits. It gets real shallow on top so don’t get in too close.
After working the point work into the spawning area dragging a worm on the bottom. Barry likes a green pumpkin Lizard Worm this time of year and dips the tail in JJs Magic chartreuse dye to give it some color. Spots seem to especially like the wiggling chartreuse tails.
4. N 33 22.225 – W 83 51.113 – Go under the power lines and you will see a swimming beach and picnic area for Turtle Cove on your left. There are three buoys in front of the beach and the point that runs out downstream of it is a good staging area. The point is red clay and rock, an excellent combination for holding bass this time of year. They are often feeding on crayfish on this kind of point.
The point runs at an angle downstream across the mouth of a cove. Start near the swimming area where the sand transitions to clay and rock. That kind of change often holds bass. Work it then keep your boat way our and go downstream, fan casting around the point.
There is a real good drop on the inside of this point where the small creek coming out of the pocket runs by it. Fish that drop and the blowdown on the inside of the point. Flip a jig in it and work a spinnerbait through it. Then work on into the creek for spawning bass. This is an excellent spawning area and holds a lot of bass.
5. N 33 22.044 – W 83 51.376 – Go past the next cove downstream and you will head straight in to a high bluff bank. The old river channel swings in right by it and it drops off fast. There are three small points along this bluff bank you should fish in March. Start on the outside one at the dock on the rock sea wall in front of the series of decks running up the hill to the house.
It is rocky and holds the first transitioning fish coming up out of the river channel. Stay out and fan cast it then work toward the next dock. There is a rock ledge that runs out under the dock. You will see the dock with a walkway that runs behind a tree leaning out. The dock has the numbers “3108” on the walkway.
Stay out from the dock on the downstream side and cast toward the walkway and tree. You can see how the rocks run parallel to the bank coming out. Run a crankbait, spinnerbait and jig along these rocks, then work around the dock and fish the other side. Also drag a plastic bait along the bottom here.
The next point going into the creek is a round clay point and you should fish all around it, then fish into the creek, concentrating on any sand you come to. The Lizard Worm is a good choice on sandy spots since spawning fish will hit it. You may not see the bed but can catch fish off the beds with this bait.
6. N 33 22.202 – W 83 51.771 – Round the point headed into the South River and you will see a sharp narrow point on your right. It comes out and drops off fast on both sides but is shallow on top. There is no house on the point but you will see four benches on it and there is a concrete boat ramp on it. There are two pines on the point with black protectors around their bases.
The point is rock and clay and bass spawn in pockets on both side of it. It is steep and gives bass quick access to shallow water. They can hold deep and quickly move shallow without moving far.
Start on the downstream side and work around the point, staying way out. Fish along the upstream bank leading into the next pocket up. Rocks, clay and sand along this bank hold bass and they will move along it feeding and working into the spawning pocket. Barry will usually stop fishing about where the seawall starts unless he is going back into the pocket for spawning bass.
7. N 33 22.294 – W 83 61.856 – The next point up also has good deep water access. This point has a brown cabin and there was a US flag flying on the dock in front of it when we were there. There are two floodlights on a tree right at the dock. There is a big blowdown on the upstream side and a rockpile out on the point.
The wind can be important here and on other spots this time of year. Some wind blowing across the point or into it helps and Barry will fish wind-blown points as long as he can hold his boat on them. Wind creates current that moves the food baitfish eat and they will follow it. Bass wait on the baitfish.
Start at the blowdown and fish it. Then get out about even with the flag pole and cast across the point, aiming your casts parallel to the bank toward the cove. You will hit some rocks on this point and that is where a school of bass will often hold.
The downstream pocket is full of wood and a good spawning area. Especially near the end of the month Barry will fish into it, running his Ol Nelle spinnerbait along the wood. He likes a double Colorado blade bait with white skirt, especially in clearer water, but will go with double willow leaf and chartreuse and white skirt in stained water. He will also flip a jig around the wood before leaving.
8. N 33 21.446 – W 83 51.763 – Head back down the river and it will narrow down. Straight ahead you to the right you will see a pink house with tin roof on a flat point that runs out upstream of a bluff point. There is a green picnic table in the front yard.
Get on the downstream side of the point and cast in toward the seawall. The bottom is very rough here and often holds a lot of bass. Fish this bank into the pocket, working the dock and fishing to the boat ramp. Be sure to his this boat ramp and any others you come to before leaving.
9. N 33 21.393 – W 83 51.391 – The lake opens up just at this point and the far left bank going downstream has a creek coming out. In the mouth of this creek is a hump that is marked with three danger buoys. It is deep on both sides and bass stage on this hump before going in to spawn.
Barry likes to stay out on the lake side and cast up onto the hump, bringing his baits back shallow to deep. Wind often blows in here and makes it better. There are rocks and clay on this hump and you should fish all the way around it before leaving. Try all your baits in different colors and speeds. Assume the bass are here and you just have to figure out the details to get them to hit.
10. N 33 22.047 – W 83 53.882 – For something a little different run up Tussahaw Creek under the bride on up to the last pocket on the right before the weekend “no wake” section. You will see a green metal roof dock in front of a brown house. There is a little narrow point here downstream of two small pockets. The point has a cross tie seawall and a big Pampas Grass clump on it. Downstream of the point you will see a white cabin with a red roof just past a blue cabin.
There are some stumps on this clay point and the bass will stage on it. Fan cast all around this point and try all your baits here. The water is often clearer in the Tussahaw so you may need to change colors to draw strikes.
These are some of the places Barry will be fishing this month. They will pay off for you, too. Barry has caught a lot of bass off all of them and gives credit to Jesus Christ, his lord and savior, for his successes.
Call Barry at 770-715-2665 for a guided trip on Jackson, Sinclair and Oconee or visit his web site at www.barrystokesfishn.com. You can see Cold Steel products at www.teamcoldsteel.com/, JJ’s Magic at www.jjsmagic.com/ and Net Boy Jackson Jigs at www.netboybaits.com/.
|Tips on fishing the Ned Rig|
from The Fishing Wire
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Ned Rig is one of the hottest techniques in bass fishing these days. Just a few years ago though, this ultra-finesse setup was known only in the backyard of its birthplace in the Midwest, and when Z-Man brought the Ned Rig to the bass fishing mainstream six years ago, most serious bass anglers laughed at the idea of using ‘crappie jigs’ to target bass. The technique has now proven its worth, racking up multiple tournament wins and helping cash countless checks, and today, you would be hard-pressed to find a tournament bass angler who didn’t have some variation of the Ned Rig on-hand.
Nonetheless, while many anglers have picked up on the Ned Rig due to its simple ability to produce bites in tough conditions, most are still not maximizing its effectiveness due to a few simple – and easily corrected – misconceptions or errors in tackle selection and technique. Below is a list of missteps we see time and again from our customers that limit their success of this technique.
1. Using Hooks That Are Too Big
Initially, many anglers scoffed at the small, light wire size 1 and 2 hooks on our Finesse ShroomZ jigheads and labeled them ‘crappie jigs’ that weren’t suitable for bass fishing…until they actually tried them. The fact is that you will get more bites and maximize the effectiveness of ElaZtech finesse baits by using a jighead with a small, light wire hook, whether it’s one of our Finesse ShroomZ or a jighead made by another manufacturer.
One of the main reasons why the Ned Rig works so well is because of the buoyancy of our ElaZtech material. At rest, the baits stand up off the bottom and move ever so slightly, even when deadsticked. On the fall, the buoyancy allows for a slower, more horizontal, sometimes spiraling descent.
A larger hook can not only weigh down the bait and cause it not to stand up properly, but it can throw off the balance of the rig and cause it look unnatural in the water.
Moreover, the ElaZtech material is extremely soft and limber, much more so than conventional soft plastic materials. The portion of the bait with the hook running through it is stiffened by the hook shank itself, but the section behind the hook is completely uninhibited and moves freely and naturally. The more material behind the hook, the better action the bait will display in the water.
In fact, Midwest pioneer and Ned Rig namesake Ned Kehde routinely uses tiny size 6 hooks in his fishing. Ned is the most meticulous note-taker and documenter of his fishing efforts, and his logs reveal no problem with hooksets or thrown hooks with these tiny hooks. We selected size 1 and 2 hooks for our Finesse ShroomZ as we felt it was a healthy balance between allowing for plenty of bait action and lift and offering a product that consumers would not be uncomfortable using for bass fishing.
Of course, there are times when a larger or heavier hook is beneficial, like fishing around cover or in heavy current when more pressure is needed to horse in fish. That is precisely why we created the NedlockZ, which features the strongest size 1 and 2 jig hooks known to man, and the Pro ShroomZ, which utilizes a strong size 1/0 custom hook. Day in and day out, the lighter wire hooks of the Finesse ShroomZ get the nod, as they simply provide better bait action and get more bites.
2. Using Tackle That Is Too Heavy
When we say that the Ned Rig is an ‘ultra-finesse’ technique, we mean it! Chances are that many bass fishermen may not even own a rod that is suitable for a Ned Rig. Due to the light weight and diminutive size of a Ned Rig, spinning tackle is a must. Spinning rods designed for shaky head, drop shot, or split shot techniques may be suitable, provided that they have a very light tip to accommodate the small hooks of the Finesse ShroomZ jigheads. Other anglers have employed trout or panfish rods, which probably are a better choice. Several manufacturers, like Lew’s for instance, have designed technique-specific Ned Rig rods to help anglers match the right rod to the rig.
Generally, rods should be light or medium-light power with a fast action and a very soft tip.
While standard 2500 or 3000 size bass reels will work fine, we have found that smaller 1000 size spinning reels usually reserved for trout or panfish are even better, as they are built to handle fine diameter lines. In addition, the smaller spools on 1000 size spinning reels take up less line with each turn of the handle and enable anglers not accustomed to this technique to slow down their presentations.
Though some anglers opt for fluorocarbon line, light braided line of 10 lb. test or less is better as it allows for longer casts with very lightweight jigheads. Tying on a light fluorocarbon leader is always recommended.Just as important as tackle is the drag setting. Due to the small hooks on the jigheads that work best for this technique as well as the light wire they are deliberately built from, much lighter drag settings than bass fishermen are accustomed to are required.
One common complaint we get about our Finesse ShroomZ jigheads is that the hooks bend out on big fish; however, the bottom line is that if you are straightening hooks, then your tackle is too heavy or your drag is not set light enough.
Many bass over 10 lbs., pike over 20 lbs., and redfish over 30 inches have been caught using these jigheads with appropriate tackle, so they’re plenty strong to catch big fish.3. Using Too Heavy a JigheadWhen we get asked which weight jighead to use for the Ned Rig, we always tell people to use the lightest jighead possible. Fish routinely hit the Ned Rig on the fall, and if you’re using too heavy a jighead, the bait will plummet past the fish straight to the bottom. A lighter head will simply keep the bait in the strike zone for longer and will allow for that tantalizing, slow descent that makes the Ned Rig so effective. A lighter head also hangs up less on rocks and helps keep the bait out of grass or algae that lines the bottom of many lakes.
There are certainly occasions where a heavier 1/6 or 1/5 oz. head is necessary, like in depths of greater than 20 feet or in significant current. Day in and day out, a lighter head will simply produce more bites. For general shallow water lake or pond fishing in depths of 10 feet or less, the 1/10, 1/15, and 1/20 oz. jigheads should be your mainstay.
4. Throwing Away a Bait After a Few Fish
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen a novice Ned Rigger toss an ElaZtech bait after catching a few fish on it. This may seem counterintuitive, but ElaZtech finesse baits actually get better with age! After being chewed on by a few fish, the flexible material starts to exude salt and takes on a softer, spongier feel with a slimy coating that is irresistible to fish. Small rips or tears from teeth limber the bait up even more.
Many diehard Ned Riggers go as far as to gluing worn baits onto their jigheads or even tying them together with thread. Others stretch their baits before using them to eliminate some of the salt and give them the sought-after spongy texture, while others soak the baits in water to achieve the same effect.
5. Fishing Too Fast
Most bass fishermen love power fishing and love fishing moving baits. There’s just something exhilarating about covering ground with a ChatterBait® bladed jig or swimbait, yanking bass from thick cover with a flipping stick, and having a bass smash a topwater plug is equally exciting – not to mention that’s how most tournament anglers are fishing these days, and bass fishermen are quick to mimic their techniques even on recreational outings.In our mind, fishing the Ned Rig is just as much – if not more – fun and exciting, though the excitement comes from the sheer number of bites you get and the fight on light tackle – not to mention out-catching just about everyone else on the water!
The key to generating all of those bites is to slow down your presentation.This takes discipline, especially when using lightweight jigheads. Let that bait sink all the way to the bottom. Deadstick it for a few seconds on the bottom before hopping, dragging, or swimming it. Drag it very slowly along the bottom and then let it sit again. Doing all of these things truly maximizes the effectiveness of the ElaZtech material, allowing it to work for you whether the bait is slowly spiraling through the water column or standing up off the bottom and moving ever-so-slightly at rest.
6. Setting Hooks Too Hard
Just like tackle and drag settings must be adjusted to account for the small, light wire hooks used with the Ned Rig, so must hook setting techniques. Most bass fishermen are accustomed to hard hooksets while power fishing, but setting the hook hard with the Ned Rig is counterproductive and can result in bent or pulled hooks.
The hooks used on our Finesse ShroomZ jigheads are made from light wire and are very sharp out of the pack, a combination that leads to easy hook point penetration with very little pressure. When setting the hook, simply reel tight and lean into the fish, loading up the rod. Just a little bit of pressure is all that’s needed to firmly embed the hook in a bass’ mouth.
To that end, maintaining a sharp hook point is critical when using the Ned Rig. It is always wise to carry a small hook file when fishing the Ned Rig to touch up those hook points after a fish catch or dragging the hook across a rock. We prefer a small diamond hook file, the type used more commonly by fly fishers to sharpen tiny hooks meant for stream trout. It really is amazing how much of a difference keeping a sharp hook point can make.
7. Using Baits Made From Materials Other Than ElaZtech
While this point may sound entirely self-serving coming from a manufacturer like Z-Man, it is perhaps the most important note on this list. Sure, the small and simple profile of the Ned Rig has a lot to do with why it gets so many bites, but the ElaZtech material is just as important. As noted above, the buoyancy and softness of ElaZtech are keys to providing the absolute best action, both on the retrieve, on the descent, or at rest. In addition, the material’s durability presents a superior value, but more importantly, keeps you fishing rather than re-rigging when the bite is on. And with a Ned Rig, you get a tremendous number of bites, making durability even more important!
This importance of using ElaZtech baits truly cannot be overstated, and we hear this nearly every day from customers who have experienced this for themselves. Case-in-point, here’s a note we received recently from a customer: “I have to admit, after recently learning about and deciding to try the Ned Rig, it just wasn’t working out. Of course, I was ripping a standard Senko in half and using a mushroom-shaped swimbait head. What a joke – I couldn’t figure out how people were actually catching fish on it. I was at a local retailer and saw the TRD and the Finesse ShroomZ heads and bought 2 packs of heads and 4 packs of plastics and set out for my tournament the following day. I AM A BELIEVER!!! What a difference! I am so impressed, I caught so many fish doing something I had never done before. Best part – one single bait lasted all day. To top it off, I ended up winning the tournament by over a pound.
“While we routinely read in tournament reports about professional anglers using other non-ElaZtech plastics on their Ned Rigs, most of this can be chalked up to sponsor obligations and conflicts that prevent them from using or mentioning Z-Man baits. The fact is that we’ve shipped product directly to dozens and dozens of tour-level anglers with conflicting soft plastic sponsors over the last couple of years, including overnighting baits to tournament locations at the last minute on multiple occasions. And, the most dedicated and diehard Midwest finesse anglers are still using ElaZtech virtually exclusively.8. Limiting Yourself to Certain Bait ProfilesAgain, this last point definitely may come across as self-serving, but we feel it is absolutely worth mentioning, nonetheless.
The 2.75″ Finesse TRD is far and away the most popular Ned Rig soft plastic, and for good reason – it flat-out catches fish. However, anglers are shorting themselves by having a few packs of TRDs on-hand and figuring that they have their Ned Rig bases covered.
Like other types of soft plastic fishing, there are many Ned Rig profiles that work at different times of the year or under certain conditions. Most any small soft plastic bait can be used with the Ned Rig; in the Z-Man line alone, the 4″ Finesse WormZ, Finesse ShadZ, Hula StickZ, 3.75″ StreakZ, TRD TubeZ, Slim SwimZ, CrusteaZ, 3.5″ GrubZ, TRD HogZ, TRD CrawZ, TRD MinnowZ, TRD TicklerZ, and TRD BugZ all complement the Finesse TRD as part of Ned Rig system. Each of these baits offers its own set of advantages and can be utilized to match predominant forage in different fisheries.
One advantage of the Ned Rig is that it works so well on pressured fish, but keep in mind that fish can become accustomed to and resistant to certain profiles that are over-utilized; when the bite slows down, mix it up by switching to a completely different profile to show the fish something that they may not have seen.
If you read Ned Kehde’s frequent entries in the Finesse News Network, you’ll see that he consistently relies on the Finesse WormZ, TRD MinnowZ, TRD HogZ, and Finesse ShadZ while fishing in Kansas reservoirs. Z-Man finesse bait designer and Bassmaster Classic veteran Drew Reese, along with several tour-level anglers like Z-Man and Bassmaster Elite pro Jeff ‘Gussy’ Gustafson, feel that the Hula StickZ gives them a better shot at connecting with larger fish on a regular basis. A group of finesse devotees in Texas have seen their catch rates increase by adding the Slim SwimZ, a diminutive swimbait, into the mix, while northern anglers have recently latched onto the TRD TubeZ as a go-to finesse bait. We could go on and on, but the point is that having several different profiles on-hand and experimenting with them in various situations will undoubtedly help up your success with Ned Rig!
Note – this was written before Georgia Power closed nd tore down the power plant
February Bass at Sinclair
with Todd Goade
Cold winter weather always puts a damper on bass fishing in February on most of our lakes. Bass go deep and school up tight and don’t eat much. But Lake Sinclair is an exception to that rule. The warmer waters from the steam plant make it the most popular lake for club and other tournaments this month.
There is a good reason so many tournaments are held on Sinclair in the winter. Bass are more active because the water is warmer and also because of the currents created by the steam plant intake and outflow as well as those generated by power generation and pump back at the Oconee dam.
Sinclair is a 15,330 acre Georgia Power lake on the Oconee River. It was dammed in 1953 and the lake is ringed with cabins and docks. Almost all docks are on posts and many have brush piles around them. There is a lot of grass in the lake and it still attracts baitfish this time of year although it is brown now. There are sandy pockets and banks, rocks and wood cover to fish.
When Plant Harlee Branch, the coal fired steam plant, is taking in water to cool its boilers, current near the mouth of Little River around the bridge and intake moves upstream. In Beaverdam Creek release of warmer water from the boilers not only heats the lake, it creates a strong current around the discharge, under the bridge and downstream.
When the power plant at the Oconee Dam is generating current a strong flow comes down the river. When the turbines are reversed and water is being pumped back into Oconee there is a strong current going up the river. This current also affects the creeks and will reverse the flow in Little River, too. The strongest effects are from the mouth of Little River upstream.
Most of Lake Sinclair stays stained in February with Little River often the muddiest area. Near the dam, Island and Rock Creek almost always remain clear. Those creeks down the lake are also less affected by the warm water so are usually the coldest water on the lake. So you can fish shallow relatively warm stained water or colder clearer water within a few miles.
Sinclair is usually one of the top three lakes in Georgia for numbers of tournaments reported in the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Creek Census Report, with over 80 tournaments reported each year. In recent years Sinclair has been one of the best lakes for numbers of bass with over 20 percent of anglers catching a five fish limit. But the bass are small, with an average weight of about 1.5 pounds and an average tournament winning weight of about 10 pounds.
Todd Goade remembers the first bass he ever caught and it turned him on to bass fishing. He was eight years old and caught a six pound bass on a topwater plug in Missouri. That would turn on any fisherman, especially a young fisherman.
Most of his life Todd lived in Tennessee where he fished with local clubs and the pot trails. When he moved to Georgia in 2002 he quit fishing for a few years but got back into it in 2005 and started fishing the BFL trail, the HD Marine Trail, Boating Atlanta and others.
Over the past few years Todd has been very consistent in tournaments, placing in the money in many of them. Last year he finished 3rd overall in the Bulldog BFL point standings and in 2006 was 7th in the HD Marine point standings. Last February he finished in the top 20 at Sinclair in the BFL and needed just one kicker fish to finish much higher.
“There are always some shallow fish at Sinclair,” Todd told me. He prefers to fish Sinclair shallow this time of year and likes to go after them with lighter tackle and smaller baits than most anglers use. Finesse fishing will catch lots of bass on Sinclair most winter days and will often get you in the money in tournaments.
For fishing Sinclair this month Todd has a variety of baits rigged and ready. He will have a small jerkbait like a Pointer on a spinning rod with eight pound test line, a Texas rigged Zoom Finesse worm and another Finesse worm on a 3/16 Spot Remover jig head, both on eight pound line, a crankbait like a Bomber 7A or a Bandit Flat Maxx and a small spinnerbait on 10 to 12 pound line and a Carolina rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hog or six inch lizard. He will also keep a Flexit Spoon ready for deep jigging if he spots bass holding on deep structure.
Todd prefers to fish in eight feet of water or less and will often be sitting in 12 to 15 feet of water fan casting a point or working a bank. Although the bass are shallow they will usually be on cover and structure with deep water nearby. He likes main lake banks and points or banks near creek channels that drop off fast now.
Current will position bass on structure and sun will position them on cover, according to Todd. He likes banks and points where the current is moving and will concentrate on brush, docks and rocks when the sun is bright. This time of year Todd says he does better on sunny days.
Todd and I fished Sinclair the second Sunday in January, a tough day for us and others, based on the weigh-in of three clubs at Little River that day. He showed me the following places he likes to catch fish on Sinclair in February and they will hold fish you can catch, too.
1. N 33 11.211 – W 83 17.476 – The bank above the steam plant intake drops off fast has overhanging brush and rocks along parts of it and the pockets have grass in them. Todd likes to fish along this bank and often catches a limit of keeper size bass here.
Start on the point above the mouth of the intake on the right and work upstream to the next main lake point. The channel swings in near the big upstream point and the deep water is good. You will be sitting in 12 to 14 feet of water along most of this bank. The water is usually stained in this area and is warmed by current coming up the river. When water is being pulled into the steam plant current will run downstream.
Cast a Texas rigged Zoom Finesse worm under the overhanging brush to the rocks and also work it around any grass you see. Todd likes a green pumpkin worm and will dye its tail chartreuse. Work it with short hops and jiggles, trying to hit any cover along this bank.
If water is moving and the bass are more active, cast your jerkbait close to the bank and work it back in short jerks. Try several cadences until the bass show you what they like. The colder the water the slower you should fish the bait with longer pauses between jerks.
2. N 33 11.351 – W 83 16.242 – Run down the lake past the mouth of the river and watch for the first cove on your left. There is a big mesh satellite dish on the point. Go into the pocket downstream of this dish and start fishing before you get to the first dock that has a green metal roof and several PVC rod holders on it.
Fish down this bank with your Texas rigged and jig head worms, casting to the bank between docks and working under the docks and around the posts. When you get to the third dock you will know you are in the right spot if you see a big UGA emblem on the dock and house and the walk going up from the dock has little UGA helmet lights and a sign that says “Dog Walk.”
Fish that dock and the grass just past it. You can run a spinner bait through the grass and work your worm rigs around it, too. Todd likes a small white spinner bait with silver blades. He fishes this cove to the dock with the US flag on it and stops since the water gets real shallow past it.
3. N 33 11.330 – W 83 15.679 – Across the river is an island and just downstream of it a marked hump. There are three danger buoys on the hump and three PVC poles, two side by side. Stop straight out from the PVC poles in about 25 feet of water and fan cast your crankbait as you ease in toward the poles. You can cast to the top of the hump and it is very rough here. Try a worm along the bottom, too.
If you have a GPS on your boat you will see a point running out from this hump and that is where you want to stop and start fishing. You can see the point on a good map, too. The contour lines will be close together and that is a key Todd looks for this time of year. That shows a fast dropping bottom and the fish hold on those kinds of places.
4. N 33 09.806 – W 83 13.802 – Head down the lake to the big island just upstream of the mouth of Reedy Creek and the airport. There is an old quarry under the water on the upstream side of the island and the bottom is hard clay. Stop on the outside point of the island in about 20 feet of water and work around the point, casting a crankbait up shallow. Try to hit the bottom with it.
After working the crankbait back off a little and cast a Carolina rig or other worm rig here. There is a good brush pile in 12 to 14 feet of water that often holds bass. They will hold in the brush and run in to feed. Probe the brush carefully with all your worm rigs.
5. N 33 09.752 – W 83 13.973 – Idle over to the center of the upstream side of the island. You will see three points, the one you just left and two more. Stop out from the center point and you will be in the quarry in very deep water. Fish the center point here with your crankbait, then probe for brush in 16 feet of water.
Todd likes a half-ounce lead on his Carolina rig and usually has a 24 inch leader. He will drag the green pumpkin lizard or Brush Hog with dyed tails around and through the brush, working it slowly and feeling for any resistance. The bass will be sluggish most days in the cold water.
6. N 33 11.106 – W 83 12.509 – Run toward the back of Island Creek and watch for a bright red barn on the left side before you get to the power lines. Start on the point just upstream of the pocket with the red barn and work around the shallow pocket to the dock with a green slide on it. The bottom drops off fast and it is rocky, with docks and brush along it.
Fish your Texas rigged worm or jig head worm here, hitting rocks and wood cover on the bottom and also fishing around and under all the docks. Todd says this is a good place to find bass pulled up to feed this time of year. He will hit this place and others several times during a fishing day since fish may move in to feed anytime during the day. You just have to be there when they are feeding.
7. N 33 10.775 – W 83 12.444 – Running down the middle of Island Creek back toward the river, watch on your left for a flat point with a seawall around it. There is a house sitting way back from the water but nothing out on the point. Across the creek you will see a big brown brick house and just upstream of it a green roof dock.
On a line between the point and green roof dock, out in the middle of the creek, is a hump that comes up to about 18 feet on top. There is brush on it. Todd will stop here and jig a spoon on this hump, especially if he sees baitfish or fish near the bottom with his depth finder. It is close to the creek channel and often holds a school of fish. He says he will not spend a lot of time here but does check it out.
8. N 33 09.568 – W 83 12.765 – Near the mouth of the creek on your left is a small island sitting close to the bank. A long shallow point runs off it toward the middle of the creek. Todd stops his boat just upstream of the island, lining up the trees on the upstream side of it with the red top dock on the bank behind the island.
Sitting in 15 feet of water he will cast a crankbait all over this point, covering it with fan casts. He will also try his jerkbait here as well as worm rigs. This long underwater point is typical of the kinds of places winter bass hold on Sinclair and the water is clear enough here they will come up for a jerkbait.
9. N 33 09.448 – W 83 12.700 – Downstream of the island a big cove runs from the island to the main lake point between Island Creek and the river. About in the middle of this cove is a long shallow point running out to deep water. It has a sharp drop off on the downstream side.
Look for and old high boat house roof with no sides and a gazebo on the bank near it. There are swift gourds on a pole near it. Just downstream is a gray roof dock with a boat ramp just upstream of it. The point runs out with the downstream sharp edge right at the ramp. You can see this point on your GPS or map, too.
Todd starts way out on this point and make long fan cast across it with crankbaits and jerkbaits. Try to hit the drop from several angles. Then work your worm rigs across the point and down the drop for fish that are not very active.
10. N 33 08.296 – W 83 11.535 – Run down to the dam and start into Rocky Creek. On your right is a point between the river and the creek. There is a Georgia Power park and pavilion on the bank here. This point runs way out shallow and Todd starts way off the bank with his boat in 15 to 16 feet of water and casts his crankbaits up toward the point. You will be casting to water about eight feet deep.
Try to bump the bottom with your crankbaits. Todd likes a fire tiger coach dog pattern for his Bomber and will usually throw a pearl and chartreuse or blue back Flat Maxx. Those baits will dive deep enough to bump bottom in eight feet of water so you will cover the depth many bass will feed this time of year.
Check out Todd’s spots and try his methods on Sinclair this month. There are many other similar spots you can then find and fish. You should catch a lot of keeper size bass.