May is an amazing month for bass fishermen. Many big bass are hungry after the spawn and feed heavily. Some are still on the beds early in the month so you can sight fish if you like that. And males are guarding fry, making them aggressive and easy to catch. This is a good month for catching lots of bass as well as landing one big enough to brag about. You would be hard pressed to find a better May lake than Wedowee.
May bass fishing on Lake Wedowee is a pleasant surprise to many who have not tried it. Limited access keeps big tournaments off the lake so it is not real crowded. The lake is full of good sized spots that are very aggressive. And you can catch some big largemouth if you target them.
Dammed in 1983, Wedowee is the newest Alabama Power Lake and is officially known as R.L.Harris Reservoir. It is on the Tallapoosa River and covers just less than 11,000 acres on it and the Little Tallapoosa River and has 270 miles of shoreline.
The steep, rocky banks and clear water favor spotted bass and they are the predominate species on the lake. Wedowee is not a real fertile lake so the Alabama DNR set a slot limit, requiring the release of all bass between 13 and 16 inches long to give that group of bass a chance to grow. Spots became so common that they are no longer included in the slot and fishermen are encouraged to keep spots to eat. You are also encouraged to keep largemouth under the 13 inch limit to give more food for the bigger bass.
In the 2008 Bass Angler Information Team (BAIT) survey, Wedowee ranked first in angler success in club tournaments. That means club anglers caught more bass per fisherman on Wedowee than any other lake in Alabama. It ranked third in bass per angler day and a surprising fourth in the amount of time it took to catch a bass weighing over five pound. So, you will catch a lot of bass and have an excellent chance at landing a five pound plus fish.
Due to all those factors, Wedowee was ranked as the best lake in Alabama for bass fishermen in 2008, and it seems to be getting better and better. Plan a trip in May to take advantage of some excellent bass fishing.
Eric Morris loves bass fishing. Right now Eric is service manager of All Pro Auto Group in LaGrange. A few years ago he, his father and brother bought and now operate Wedowee Marina on Highway 431 right at the bridge on the Little Tallapoosa River. They are taking on Legend Bass Boats this year and Eric is on the Legend Pro Staff. He is also sponsored by Falcon Rods. He visits a wide variety of lakes and fishes more than 40 tournaments a year but Wedowee is his favorite lake.
Although he never fished a tournament until he was 25 years old, the first one his father took him to got him hooked to the point of addiction. He loved it and now fishes tournaments every chance he gets. He has fished with a couple of bass clubs and now competes with the Harrelson Hawg Hunters bass club in Georgia, where he won the point standings two years. He also fishes every pot and charity tournament he can enter on Wedowee.
Eric has won four straight January club tournaments on the lake, but May is his favorite time to fish Wedowee. He loves topwater fishing and it is excellent this month, and he catches some big fish on Spooks and Zell Pops all month long. And he can catch numbers of bass on a variety of baits.
We fished Wedowee on a rainy day the second week of April and some bass were already on the beds. There should be a big wave of bass moving onto beds in late April around the full moon on the 28th, and some will bed even after that. So, for the next few weeks, you can catch bedding bass, a few pre spawn fish, and a lot of hungry post spawn bass.
An 8.5 pound largemouth is Eric’s best from Wedowee, and he has landed a 4.45 pound spot there. His best tournament catch on Wedowee was five bass weighing 21.36 pounds and, surprisingly, included three largemouth and two spots. And that weigh gave him third place in the tournament. It often takes well over 20 pounds to win on Wedowee.
Largemouth are Eric’s target in tournaments since they get bigger and weigh more, but he may fish all day for five or six bites to win. For fun catching lots of bass, Eric will go after spots, especially when taking kids and inexperienced fishermen out. He separates the methods and areas of the lake to catch each although you can catch some bass of each species on either pattern.
For largemouth, Eric says fish the upper stretches of either the Tallapoosa or Little Tallapoosa Rivers. There is a higher percentage of largemouth to spots up the rivers so you are more likely to catch them. And Eric uses baits that bigger largemouth eat, like a full size Spook.
In late April and early May Eric will fish back in the pockets, looking for fish around the bedding areas. Any small pocket is likely to hold bedding bass on Wedowee since there are not many creeks for them to go to. Work every inch of the bank with your Foxy Shad or chrome and blue Spook or a ghost pattern Zell Pop with a feather trailer since there is a lot of underwater wood you can’t see that will hold fish. Make repeated casts to wood you can see.
As the water warms and it gets later in May, Eric will work more toward the outer banks of the pockets and the main points at their mouths. Post spawn bass will migrate out of the backs of the pockets and feed as they work their way out to the main channel.
Early mornings are best for topwater baits but Eric will fish them any time there is low light. If the day is overcast he will throw a Spook or popper all day long. On sunny days, anytime there is a patch of shade on the water he will work it with the topwater baits, too.
A spinnerbait is another good bait for big largemouth, especially during the shad spawn. Watch for shad on the rocky banks early in the morning and throw a double willow leaf bladed white spinnerbait right on the bank. If there is no activity, slow roll it from the bank back to the boat. Eric says he will reel four or five turns of his reel handle then stop the bait and start it moving again with a twitch of the bait to give it more action.
If the bite is slow and the largemouth sluggish, Eric will pull out a green pumpkin Senko and work it weightless around all wood cover in the pockets. A big Senko works best and he lets if fall slowly by any cover he spots.
Watch your line carefully for any twitches as a bass inhales the bait, and tighten up your line very slowly before moving it. If you feel weight, set the hook. Bass will often take the Senko and not move, and the first thing you feel when you move it is them spitting it out!
The main lake below the Highway 48 Bridge is the area to fish for spotted bass. The water is clear, most banks are rocky and it is ideal spot habitat. A wide variety of baits will catch fish down the lake.
First thing in the morning a small topwater bait like the Zell Pop will draw strikes when cast close to rocky bluff banks. The strike will usually come within two feet of the rocks, so get in close and make parallel casts to the rocks, keeping your bait it the strike zone longer.
A jig head worm is Eric’s “go-to” bait and he uses it to catch, in his words, a “whole lotta numbers” of spots on the lower lake. He fishes a one-eight ounce jig head on eight pound fluorocarbon line and puts a green pumpkin or Bama Bug color Trick worm on it. He says the lower lake is full of rocky points that hold large numbers of spots.
The best points are flat points at the end of a bluff wall, where the vertical rocks change to a flatter, gravel and rock area. Eric will sit out in the channel with his boat in 20 feet of water, but near the end of the bluff, and cast up onto the flat point, working his bait from the shallows out and down the drop.
Cast your jig head right against the bank and make sure it goes to the bottom. Eric says too many fishermen keep their line tight and that makes the bait swing away from the edge of the rocks, and many start moving the worm before it hits bottom. Eric says he makes sure the jig is on the bottom then starts moving it “a half-inch” at a time, shaking his rod tip to make the tail of the worm dance.
Bass will often hit as the bait falls, so be ready as soon as your jig hits the water. And move the bait slowly. Some of these points drop off steeply and if you pull your bait too far it will drop right past the fish holding on the bottom.
Jig head worms are great baits to let a kid use to learn to catch bass. They will get a lot of bites on this bait fished on this pattern so they don’t lose interest, and they will catch some hard pulling fish.
If the wind is strong, making it difficult to fish a light jig head worm, Eric will throw a Carolina rig in the same areas. Fish the same worm or a green pumpkin lizard on a three-foot leader behind a heavy enough sinker to keep your bait near the bottom. He fishes Carolina rigs on 12 pound Segar Fluorocarbon line, his choice of brand of line for all his fishing.
Also ride the points on the lower lake and watch your depthfinder for brush piles. Eric says every point on the lake seems to have a man made brush pile. Look for them where you would make one and there is probably one there. Back off them and fish them with the jig head worm or a Carolina rigged worm. Brush from 15 to 20 feet deep will hold bass best, in Eric’s opinion.
By the middle of May night tournaments start on Wedowee and night time is a great time to catch fish there. Eric fishes as many of the night tournaments as he can, and enjoys the change from daytime fishing. He says by early June the lake will be on fire at night, with lots of bass feeding in the dark.
Dock lights attract bait and bass in the dark and Eric will fish any lights he can find with a small light colored crankbait. He tries to match the shad swimming around the lights and works the edges of the light first, then under them in the brighter light.
Spinnerbaits work well at night when fished on the down-lake points, too. Eric surprised me when he said he uses a white spinnerbait with silver blades in the dark. He does use a black or sapphire blue trailer on his white spinnerbait. Make long casts across the points and reel the bait back steadily to give the bass an easier target in the dark.
You can catch bass at night on the points and brush piles, too. Fish them like you do during the day, but fish even slower. When you hit brush or a rock, jiggle your bait in one place longer to let the bass find it in the dark.
Wedowee is a great lake for catching bass right now and will just bet better and better over the next several weeks. Give Eric’s patterns a try and see how he catches them. These tactics will work for you.
How You Can CELEBRATE TIME ON THE WATER DURING NATIONAL FISHING AND BOATING WEEK: Two Free Fishing Days!
SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (May 30, 2023) – If offered a chance to go boating or fishing, most people will instantly say “yes!” Let the celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week (June 3-11, 2023), which includes two FREE Fishing Days, give you a reason to extend that invite, says the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“Boating and fishing are both great activities, and offer tremendous bonus benefits for everyone who participates,” said Scott Robinson, Chief of the WRD Fisheries Management Section. “When you are out on the water, boating and fishing helps you make stronger connections with family and friends; it provides an opportunity for stress relief; and it means you are actively supporting conservation efforts with the purchase of fishing equipment and boating fuel.”
National Fishing and Boating Week began in 1979 and was created to recognize the tradition of fishing, to broaden the spirit of togetherness and to share the values and knowledge of today’s anglers with tomorrow’s anglers.
How to Celebrate: FREE FISHING DAYS: This is a GREAT time to introduce family members or friends to the sport of angling, Georgia offers two FREE fishing days – Sat., June 3 and Sat., June 10, 2023 – during this special week. On these days, Georgia residents do not need a fishing license, trout license or Lands Pass (WMAs/PFAs) to fish.
Where to Celebrate: There are so many great places to fish in Georgia, from trout streams in North Georgia, to large reservoirs, to lazy rivers in the south part of the state. You can always start at one of the 11 Public Fishing Areas ([GeorgiaWildlife.com/allpfas]GeorgiaWildlife.com/allpfas) or at one of many Georgia State Parks (GaStateParks.org/) that offer fishing opportunities for family and friends. There also will be multiple Kids Fishing Events during the week-long celebration (License.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com/Event/Calendar.aspx).
“In the spirit of National Fishing and Boating Week, be sure to make it a mission to take someone new when you go, such as a child, a relative or a friend. You could be the person that inspires another person’s life-long love of the water,” says Robinson.
For more information on National Fishing and Boating Week and all it has to offer, including free fishing days, nearest kids fishing event or places to fish, visit GeorgiaWildlife.com/nfbw .
Most bass fishermen would pick April as the best month of the year for fishing. And most bass fishermen would pick Lake Guntersville as the best bass lake in Alabama for an incredible catch. So, put the two together and pick Guntersville as your lake to fish every chance you get right now.
Guntersville is an incredible bass fishery with most major tournament trails scheduling events on it each year. State trails, local pot tournaments and club tournaments are held there every week. The lake is often covered with tournament fishermen practicing or fishing an event and hundreds of other bass fishermen are on the lake testing its waters.
Built in 1939 on the Tennessee River, Guntersville is a Tennessee Valley Authority lake with 67,900 acres of bass filled waters and has 890 miles of shoreline. But the shoreline is not as critical as it is on other lakes since the lake has vast shallow flats and grass beds even in the middle along the old river channel. Guntersville is definitely a bass factory.
In the 2008 Bass Information Team Report, (BAIT) Guntersville showed the highest average weight for a bass in tournaments and also was the lake where it took the least amount of time to catch a bass weighing over five pounds.
But it can be tough fishing. Guntersville ranked 19th out of 20 lakes in the survey in percent of success and dead last in the number of bass caught per angler day. Part of those low numbers are due to the 15 inch size limit, making it harder to bring in a keeper bass in a tournament.
So, you have a better chance of catching a five pound plus bass on Guntersville than any other lake in the state but you will not catch a lot of keeper bass. The ones you do catch will be fat and healthy, and the 15 inch size limit insures a good future supply of bigger bass, but there will be frustrating days where the catch rate is very low.
Good advice will help you catch more bass this month on Guntersville and Curt Staley can provide the information you need. Curt moved to the Guntersville area as a teenager 16 years ago when his father moved there for a job. Since Curt has been fishing since he was big enough to walk, and his father was a bass tournament fisherman, competing on the old Redman trail as well as others, it was like throwing a rabbit into a briar patch. It was a perfect fit.
Curt took advantage of living near the lake and studied it carefully. For the past ten years he has been guiding on Guntersville as well as fishing as many tournaments there as possible. He fishes about 290 days a year and 240 of them are on Guntersville, so he knows the movements of bass there very well.
Last year Curt placed second in the BASS Weekend Series Alabama North circuit, after winning the points race in 2008 on that trail. He placed third in the regionals and then came in 18th in the nationals in 2008 and 9th in 2009. Curt is on the Triton Pro Staff through The Boat House in Athens and is a tough competitor, and Guntersville is his favorite lake.
“Our major spawn on Guntersville is in mid-April, but waves of bass move into the spawning flats from late March to May,” Curt said. He expects to catch bass shallow from now through April, and will catch prespawn fish, fish on the beds and post spawn fish.
One great thing about Guntersville is the way you can find huge spawning flats that may contain hundreds of bass at any time this month. You can start on the contact points where the prespawn fish first move in and where they hold in post spawn, and go just a short distance and find others on the bed.
Curt fishes shallow this time of year, fishing water two to six feet deep. But he slows down. Curt says the bass are less aggressive now, especially the bigger ones, so gone are the rattle baits and other fast moving baits. He will have a split shot Baby Brush Hog, a Senko, and a Lil Hustler jig and Zoom Craw rigged up for catching fish now.
Curt does not look for bass on the bed to sight fish for them but will cast to them if he spots a big female. His methods catch bedding bass but it is often hard to spot the beds on Guntersville so he fishes the bedding flats knowing he will drag his bait across beds.
He will also watch for light spots that indicate a hole in the grass on them, It might be a bed, it might be a stump, or it might just be a hole in the grass where the bottom is hard, but bass will be there no matter what caused it.
On a cold, windy day the last weekend in February Curt showed me some of his best spots on the lake for April bass. The bass were still in the winter pattern but a few were trying to move up to the pre spawn areas even that early. Check out these ten spots now, they all be loaded with fish.
If you put in at the ramp across from Waterfront Grocery and Fishing Tackle you will be in the middle of all these spots and can get everything you need from tackle to grub at the store. The day we put in there were several tournaments out of this ramp and both parking lots were full, but a trailer set up there provided some fantastic BBQ for hungry fishermen.
1. N 34 31,513 – W 86 09.825 – Run up to Preston Creek and stop at the middle point between the two forks. It is a steep point with riprap around it and nice houses on the hill. Curt likes to start on the point where the rock seawall ends and the riprap starts and work to the right, toward the fork of the creek with the small island in the mouth of it.
“Bass move into this creek by the thousands to spawn,” Curt said. They will hit this main point and the island then move on back on both forks to spawn. After the spawn they move back out to the point and island on the way back to deeper water, so you can catch them coming and going off the point and island and on the beds back in the shallow flats.
Keep your boat out in about ten feet of water and work a jig and pig, Senko or Baby Brush Hog on the rocks around the point. Concentrate on the areas where there are bigger rocks and also the wood cover. Fish around the docks carefully, bass often hold on them. Jump over to the island and fish around it, too, working the shallows where there are rocks and blowdowns.
After hitting these areas work on into the back of the creek, slowly working each of your baits along the bottom, dragging them through the beds that will be there even if you don’t see them. The bass will bed all over the right fork in two to six feet of water so don’t just cast to the bank, work the whole flat in those depths.
2. N 34 30.756 – W 86 08.419 – Across the lake you will see a line of islands across the mouth of a big slough. There is a church in the back so this is called Church House Slough and it a major spawning area. The bass will hold around the islands then move back into the slough to bed.
Start out in front of the islands and work them, fishing through the grass beds with one of your slower moving baits for bigger bass. We got a good keeper here the day we fished and bass will feed around the islands year round, so it is a good spot to hit.
Work on back into the slough, fishing slowly and looking for light spots in the grass in two to six feet of water. If you cast and hit a stump, work it hard. Hit it from all anglers. Curt says he is sure there is at least one bass beside every stump this time or year so he does everything he can to make it hit.
It is not unusual to catch more than one bass off a stump, too. Curt says he often takes three or four good fish off the same stump, so don’t move too fast. Give the bass a chance to bite. Remember that these bass tend to get sluggish near the spawn, so even if they are holding in the same areas where a rattle bait worked a few weeks ago you will do better now by slowing down.
3. N 34 29.293 – W 86 09.654 – Head down the lake to the next big slough on your left. Curt says this is Murphy Hill and it is just downstream of a big island. There is a small island in the mouth of Murphy Hill.
The downsream point of this slough has some rocks and as you go into the slough on that side there are a lot of blowdowns on the right bank back in the slough. Bass often hold in the wood cover to feed both pre and post spawn and will spawn around the trees, too.
All over the cove in the middle you will see lily pad stems sticking up and bass will feed and spawn around them, too. Work all around these shallow flats, probing for stumps and casting to light spots. Fan cast the whole area to drag your bait by a bedding bass.
Curt says one of his tricks it to rig the Baby Brush Hog on a split shot rig. He crimps two small split shots about 12 inches up the line from his bait and fishes it slowly over the flats. He says the split shot rig seems to catch more bass than either Texas or Carolina rigged baits. The light shot come through the grass and also makes you slow down.
4. N 34 29.019 – W 86 10.576 – Run downstream and you will pass two riprap points that run well off the bank. Past the second one a slough will open up on your left just past a duck blind on the point. Go into the slough and start fishing just inside the duckblind.
Curt said last year he and a partner fished this slough for three hours and landed 65 bass in April. That gives you an idea of the numbers of fish that can be spawning in these coves. This one has a little deeper water in it that some others and seems to attract bigger bass.
One of the reasons Curt likes this slough so much is he landed his best Guntersville bass here. He caught a 12 pound, 4 ounce beauty here in April and released it to spawn, and possibly be caught again.
As you fish this slough work both arms of it. As you round the middle flat point with another duck blind on it, you will see a refrigerator on the bank, which will tell you this is the right area to be working. There are also some blowdowns on the bank past it toward the river that hold fish.
5. N 34 28.172 – W 86 11.321 – A little further downstream a string of islands sits out from Mountain Lakes Resorts and you want to fish around them. Go in behind the first island, the one out from the campground, and fish the back side of it up to the firs gap. Work the gap, especially if some wind is blowing through it. Wind will move the baitfish through gaps like this and bass will follow to feed on them.
Fish the front side of the next island and work it carefully. Wind blowing in on this bank will improve the fishing it is not too strong. Keep your boat well off the band make long casts, probing for underwater cover like rocks.
Behind the islands look for shallow flat points running out and you will find bass spawning on them. Fan cast all over shallows you find here. Stumps hold bass here as in other places.
Curt likes to fish his Lil Hustler jig on 17 to 20 pound fluorocarbon line and uses 15 pound fluorocarbon on his split shot Baby Brush Hog and Senko. The heavier line is necessary for the big fish you will hook and the grass they can get into. But the clearer line helps you get more bites.
6. N 34 33.605 – W 86 07.947 – Head back up the river on the other side to the first opening into Mink Creek. There are several islands across the mouth of the creek and the main channel is upstream, but go in through the first gap you come to running upstream.
Ahead of you when you come through the gap you will see a shallow flat point with a two door beige boat house to the left of it. Out on the end of the point there are several stumps and rootballs piled up on the bank right at the water’s edge.
There are lots of shallow flat points covered with stumps in this area. Curt starts at the boathouse, fishing around it then working out onto the big flat point. Work all around it, staying way out on one pass then closer in on the next. Try to cover all the water two to six feet deep in the area.
There are some incredible five-fish limits caught at Guntersville each April. Curt’s best was five weighing 27 pounds, nine ounces and he sees 30 pound plus limits in many tournaments. Fishing areas like this are where many such limits are caught.
7. N 34 34.644 – W 86 07.255 – Go to the bridge and under the tunnel in Mink Creek and start fishing the riprap on your right. Work it to the bank, crawling your jig and pig along the rocks and grass in this area. The riprap holds both pre and post spawn fish.
When you get to the bank fish across the mouth of the small inlet and up the bank past the area where people fish from the bank. Further up the bank you will see an old boat filled with tires in the shallow water. Fish past it, working the grass. Curt got two nice keepers here on his jig and pig and a smaller keeper on a rattle bait the day we fished.
Toward the bank of the creek you will see a power line crossing and on the right bank there is a sign about dredging. If you head toward the sign, as a 90 degree angle to the power lines, you will find a spring. You can see it by the green water coming out of it. The bottom around it is two to four feet deep but it drops to 15 feet in the spring.
The GPS coordinates on the spring are N 34 34.885 – W 86 07.335. Fish all around the spring. Fish often hold in the deep hole and feed on the edges, and the water coming out is a stable temperature.
After fishing this hole ease toward the power lines there is another hole that drops to over 20 feet deep. There is no water flow here to see but fish still hold in the deep water and come to the edges to feed. The holes are just a few yards across so you may have to look hard to find them.
8. N 34 32.266 – W 86 06.314 – Run across to South Sauty Creek and go in between the upstream bank and the first island. The main channel is downstream and there will be big open water to your right past the island.
Ahead of you there is a group of houses then banks with trees and some pockets with reeds in the back. Curt starts fishing on the clay point on the left across from the last house and works around the point, then across the big flat. Fish into the pockets with reeds in the back. Bass bed all over these flats and in the pockets between the clay point and the houses.
If the water is fairly clear Curt likes a watermelon, watermelon/purple flake and watermelon candy Baby Brush hog on his split shot rig. He will use a black and blue jig in stained water but go to a watermelon jig and trailer in clear water. For his Senko fishing Curt usually uses green pumpkin or black.
9. N 34 31.723 – W 86 06.573 – Out in the middle of the big open water the creek channel makes a sharp bend around a four foot deep hump and bass hold on the channel and feed on the hump, and will bed around it, too. To find the hump line up the last downstream island out in the mouth of the creek with the red boat house on the far bank. Also look to the bridge and line it up with the last upstream gap in the islands. That will put you near the hump.
Fish all around this area, watching your depthfinder until you find the shallow hump. Then work around it, fishing the edges of the channel and on top of the hump, too. This area is especially good when water is being pulled at the dam and current moves across it.
10. N 34 31.154 – W 86 05.252 – Run to the bridge in South Sauty Creek and go under it. To your left you will see a campground on a big point across from a big two story house sitting by itself on a flat bank. Go toward the front of the house and look for a seawall just to the right of it, going into the big cove there. There are two big trees standing in the open behind the seawall.
The seawall is hard to see but you need to start fishing out in front of it and work all the way around the cover to your right. Fish to the big shallow point on the other side of the cove. Bass will hold on the points and bed all over this shallow area.
These ten spots will give you a starting point for catching April Guntersville bass. Fish them and get an idea of the kinds of places Curt likes to fish, then you can find similar places all over the lake, from the day all the way up the river. Get in on some of the fabled spring fishing at Guntersville right now.
To book a trip with Curt to see how he fishes the lake call him at 256-990-0376 or visit his website and email him through it at ww.gundervillebass.com.
Water Temp: As of Wednesday, on the south end, water temps were hovering around 71 on Garmin and 75 on Lowrance. Temps are slightly higher in the backs of creeks and up the rivers.
Water Clarity: As has been the case for the past few weeks, the water is clear on the main lake with an increasing amount stain as you go back in the major creeks and up the rivers, especially above 369. Expect to find strong mud lines Memorial Day weekend due to boat traffic and wind.
I fished the Big Bass Tour on Lake Chickamauga last weekend, so that cut into my Lanier time for this week. I was out three days before heading West for the Memorial Day week. As a result, this report will be a little shorter than normal. But to make up for that, I have posted a video on how I work the Cast Fishing Co – USA OG (link below). As for the bite on Lanier, it is improving, but was inconstant day to day.
Most of the fish I found this week were on points and humps near dry land. Meaning, these fish were hanging out on areas that is only a short distance from places they spawned in. Brush in 15-25 FOW was key. While the fish were not always fixed on the brush, they were in the general area. If you have FFS, you can use it to help identify these schools that are just in the area roaming around. This is particularly true early and late in the day as well as on overcast days.
I am approaching catching these fish by starting out with top water for a few casts. If they don’t react, I will pick up something that is a mid-column or bottom bait. A Lanier Baits FZNH20 jerk shad produced well one day this past week. But this was not always the case. On a different day, the fish refused to come up and hit anything high in the water column. BUT we were able to get them to bite a Georgia Blade Headquarters jig and a Z-man TRD. This adjustment turned the day around for us and we were able to have a very respectable day on the water. We fished these two baits in the same areas we had been throwing top water and soft jerk baits. Sometimes the fish would hit the jig on the fall, while other times it would get hit while slowly dragging it across the bottom. While this is not the most exciting way to catch fish during the summer, it can be deadly on those days when the fish refuse to play ball with top water.
As we move into the summer, I will also keep a DS and a spy bait handy. Like the jig and shaky head, these two baits will save the day from now through September. Our fish will be pressured heavily over the next few weeks, and there will be days where a more finesse approach will be needed. Both the DS and the spy bait are great techniques to get bites as well as hook into some giants on very light tackle.
For June, I have the 3rd and 4th, 13-15, 17-26th, 29-30th. I am only running ½ day trips on the weekends. Additionally, if you prefer an afternoon to dark trip, that is available as well. Please reach out if you are interested in getting out on the water.
The last week of May has felt more like the first week of April? The water temps reflect that with a surface temp of 71 degrees on the 26th. A normal temp for this date would be the high 70’s. The fish seem to be following the calendar more than the actual temps as we are seeing more fish move offshore or get deeper, relative to the species. with that being said, there are still fish shallow as to be expected with these temps. The lake level continues to fall and as of mid day on the 26th the level was 1069.38. That is .36 feet lower than last weeks reading.
The Striper bite is starting to change, we are seeing more activity on the lower end, and there are some fish showing up in deeper water. On the other hand, mild water temps are encouraging some fish to stay relatively shallow, so be prepared to use a variety of methods. Freelines and planers are still probably the best overall pattern, with downlines beginning to have some application as well. Umbrellas are also very applicable, and pitching Herring is still a very viable technique.
Herring behind the planers and free lines continues to be a solid pattern. Target areas where there is, or was, a bait fish spawn, long points, seawalls and humps. If you begin to mark deeper fish, which became common in the last few days, add a little weight to the free lines, or deploy the down lines. Don’t let the calendar or water temps fool you, there have been some fish taken on down lines as deep as 70 feet this week. The free lines may also be a better technique early, moving to weighted free lines or down lines later in the day. Pitching Herring is still a very good technique on the above mentioned structures.
Generally, the Herring will need to seek out the best water quietly, so even on the pitch rods they will swim down to the depth where there are good levels of O2, just like the game fish. You can always add a small split to expedite that process and get them into the strike zone more quickly. Points, humps, (pitching at the brush on the humps is a big plus) pilings, and seawalls remain excellent places to pitch the Herring.
In last week’s report I mentioned that pulling the rigs was a pattern worth mentioning? We can upgrade that to a primary pattern as the rig bite is very strong. This pattern has lake wide application, but seems to be strongest in the middle and upper ends of each river. Contour trolling over a 22 to 30 foot bottom with the full size rigs is the technique. Don’t be discouraged if you are not marking big schools of fish. Often there will only be small schools and singles, but fish over the 25 foot bottom have been quick to take the rig. This pattern is also very good later in the day and into the evening. If the wind becomes a problematic for live bait presentation, the rig pattern is an excellent alternative!
Bass Fishing remains very strong and while there are good numbers of fish on offshore areas, we still have some fish enjoying the cool water temps and staying relatively shallow. The cooler water temps, cloud cover in recent days, and a persistent east wind, have been aiding the shallow patterns. Jerk baits, flukes, hard swim baits and spinnerbaits on wind blown points are a good pattern, and remember the slow rolling technique on the spinnerbaits to get to the fish over the 8 to 15 foot bottom. A popper type bait in the pockets is also a very good pattern, especially early or with low light.
Plenty of fish are orienting to the brush in 15 to 25 feet. I think flukes over the brush will be hard to beat, but the magic swimmers are also a great option. You can pull a few of these fish up to a top water, walking baits and poppers are both good choices. Of course the worms in the brush are effective, drop shots or shakey heads are both effective. Casting the drop shot to the shallower piles may be more effective than a vertical presentation.
Want to know a pattern that has been neglected, we’re going old school here, but can be very productive? Buzz bait fishing. This is historically very good late May and into June, mostly an early bite in the backs of the major creeks. So if you are out early and you want a change of pace give this a try. Cast the buzz bait to any visible structures, and if you’ll get back in the creeks you’ll have a shot at some nice Largemouths along with plenty of Spotted Bass!
A couple of other footnotes, the afternoon evening bite remains strong, likely due to the Corp having some nice water releases recently. Spot tail Minnows? Absolutely, that bite is on and the baits have been easy to catch. This is an extremely productive and fun way to introduce young anglers to
The week on the water was not without a lot of change on a daily basis; wind early in the mornings, cool temperatures every morning and bright sun as the day progressed changed the bite from hour to hour. It was however some really good results once you relocated the fish, as we caught numbers size and on many different baits on a daily basis. It’s been a strange year for sure, but the best of the year is upon us.
We fished several baits but when it came down to it the producers were, Missile bait 48 stick baits, Tight-Line swim jigs and SPRO Pop-r’s with other baits sprinkled in during the day. The fish moved as each day progressed, but the location was mainly scattered grass 4 to 7 ft. of water no matter where you fished.
When the water gets hot, and the bass are looking for oxygen, looking for cooler water or just suspending nothing duplicates the results of a jigging spoon. What makes it even better than most realize its bait that even the most inexperienced fisherman can use and be successful at? You can present the bait with long casts or drop it over the edge of the boat and just jig it up and down.
There are a few key things you need to prepare for when using a jigging spoon. If you use heavy 1 oz. spoons, they have big hooks and snag everything on the bottom and when you get one stuck into a stump, well it becomes a bottom decoration. The next thing to be prepared for is if you cast it hard and snap your cast it will break your line fairly easily so hook it up on braid, so you have enough strength in line to keep it from snapping off. Braid also gives you a fair chance of being able to pull the spoon off a snag on the bottom and retrieve it from hang-ups. Many times, just popping the line will get it off the bottom structure.
Another key to using a jigging spoon is to fish it with a fast speed reel like a 7:1:1 reel or faster and rig it on at least a heavy rod where the tip strength aids the hook set when you’re fishing it. Catching up to the fall speed of a heavy spoon requires the fast reel to catch up to the drop speed; it also allows you to be in position quickly to set the hook when needed in a retrieve. The key to catching a fish when struck on a jigging spoon is snapping the spoon off the bottom and whey you do that the spoon falls quickly back to the bottom this is when you generally get hit and the reel and rod must support the hook set so rod strength and reel speed to catch up to the spoon is very important. There is no real technique to jigging it is nothing more than snapping it up and letting it fall the spoon does all the work. The back and forth fall of a spoon is a great reaction bait and will catch fish!
Come fish with us, June will be a great month and we shouldn’t see much change until we hit the heat of August and September. Call today 256 759 2270. We fish with great sponsor products, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Motors, Ranger Boats, Boat Logix mounts, Dawson Boat Center, Duckett Fishing, Vicious fishing, Power Pole, Strike King, Toyota Trucks, Lew’s Reels, it just doesn’t get much better than this! Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service www.fishlakeguntersvilleguideservice.com www.facebook.com/FishGuntersville Email: email@example.com Call: 256 759 2270 Capt. Mike Gerry
Everybody should practice these tips on FISHING ETIQUETTE FOR EVERY TYPE OF ANGLER
A great day fishing is as much about catching what you’re after as it is about the experience you had while away from home. But to keep your fishing trip memorable for only the best reasons, follow Nebraska Game and Parks’ rules of fishing etiquette.
Etiquette for every angler
Remember the Golden Rule
It’s easy to get tunnel vision, especially in pursuit of a big catch, but always treat others how you’d wish to be treated. Staying considerate helps others stay considerate, too.
When in doubt, ask. Not sure whether someone is working a shoreline north to south? Or if he or she thinks you’re too close? A simple question — “Mind if we fish here?” — can help avoid conflict.
Share the water
Don’t hog one spot or stretch of water all day and don’t get too close to other anglers — either on shore or on the water. Public waters are meant for everyone to use, so be reasonable about sharing the space. At the same time, remember some people just want to swim, kayak, ski, or leisure boat, and have the same rights to the public waters as you.
Respect the fish
Not intending to eat the fish you catch? Work hard to ensure the fish stays alive by taking care of your catch. Limit time out of water, remove hooks quickly or while keeping it in water, and do your best to prevent damaging the fish’s protective slime coat.
Leave no trace
Did you pack it in? Then pack it out, too. Your spent line, broken lures, hooks, Styrofoam bait containers, snack wrappers and cans have no business being left on shore or in the water. It risks the lives of wildlife, is bad for the environment and ruins other’s experiences in nature. Instead, leave the place better than you found it.
Follow the law
In addition to purchasing your fishing permit, know what type, how many and what size fish you can keep at water bodies across the state. Following the law helps sustain the state’s fisheries resources for the future. Find current rules in the 2023 Fishing Guide at OutdoorNebraska.gov.
For the shore or pier angler
When fishing from shore or pier, it can get tight. Be aware of where you are, where your hook is and the direction of your cast. Never cast over or under someone else’s line. If you’re unsure of your skill, move away from the crowd so you can build your casting skills safely.
For the boat angler
While it can be tempting to troll where you see others having success, don’t. Give anglers ample room. Don’t cut them off or intersect their path when you see them working a shoreline or honey hole, either. Respect those who arrived before you to snag a productive spot.
For the bow fisher
When your adrenaline is coursing at spotting a big one, it can be easy to overshoot — and end up hitting a dock or a boat. Always look beyond what you’re aiming to hit. When in doubt, don’t shoot and wait for the next safe opportunity. Being aware of your surroundings and practicing caution is extremely important when archery fishing.
NSSF, USFWS, AND TAURUS RELEASE LATEST VIDEO IN THE “PARTNER WITH A PAYER” FILM SERIES: Highlighting Manufacturers and Their Support of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 24, 2023) – NSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, highlights a partnership with Taurus Holdings, Inc., in support of the “Partner with a Payer®” initiative by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). In the video, titled “Building Our Partnerships,” the world-class manufacturing facilities at Taurus are showcased, which have been vital to assisting the state of Georgia and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in their economic development of creating and maintaining resources for the public to utilize for outdoor activities.
Companies including firearm and ammunition manufacturers and importers contribute to the USFWS initiative by paying excise taxes into the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (known as the Pittman-Robertson Act). More than $16.1 billion (over $25 billion when adjusted for inflation) have been contributed and distributed to individual states to allocate funds toward wildlife conservation, hunter-education programs and target shooting programs.
“This is a win-win situation for everyone involved, but especially outdoorsmen and women who are passionate about these activities and creating additional opportunities that future generations can utilize too,” said Tom Decker, Brand Manager, USFWS. “It enables manufacturers to also be active participants in managing wildlife areas and improving resources and facilities such as target shooting ranges. In return, the available facilities encourage the local community and industry partners alike to increase their regular participation and recruit others to use them as well.”
Employees from Taurus, Georgia DNR, NSSF and USFWS came together to nourish relationships and gain insight on each partner’s industry challenges. Through these shared experiences, the partners find ways to work together, support one another to overcome challenges, and understand each other’s opportunities for the betterment of wildlife resource management and public hunting opportunities. Understanding how each partner contributes to the American system of conservation funding is essential to the overall success of the initiative.
Taurus Holdings, Inc., whose 205,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is located in Bainbridge, Georgia, produces high-quality firearms with the support of employees who are passionate about the industry. A portion of each of its sales contributes to the excise tax, thus making public target shooting facilities and natural habitat more accessible to outdoorsmen and -women.
“Having more public resources, like this shooting range, made available around the country is very important to our business,” said Bret Vorhees, President and CEO of Taurus Holdings, Inc. “It makes these activities more accessible for current owners and new shooters to hone their skills, learn and practice proper firearm safety, and ultimately help expand the shooting sports and hunting alike. Without our contribution of excise taxes and the state fish and wildlife agencies’ dedication to managing these funding opportunities, initiatives like these wouldn’t be possible.”
These latest videos and others in the series were produced by Shine United LLC / Kingdom Filmworks for NSSF through a Multistate Conservation Grant administered by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
About NSSF: NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, visitnssf.org.
Want a nice get-away to the mountains for some scenery, cool air and fishing? I just got back from a few days around Blairsville and Lake Nottely. On the trip I ate some good food, looked at scenic views and fished for bass. And I was constantly having flashback memories of my youth.
All the years I was in elementary school, grades one through eight back then, my family went on summer vacation for a week in the mountains. We would load up the 54 Bel Air – and later the 1962 Bel Air – and head north from Dearing. All the roads were two lane back then and it was a slow, enjoyable trip.
Each night we would stay in a cheap roadside motel, four of us in one room, and eat at a local diner. Daddy insisted on country food just like we ate at home no matter how much I wanted a hamburger or hotdog. At lunch we would stop at a picnic table, often right beside the road but sometimes at a scenic overlook, and mama would make sandwiches.
My most vivid memory of lunches is not about the food. We always had Cokes in small bottles back then. I picked up mine for a swig and didn’t notice the yellow jacket on the mouth of the bottle. It took exception to being pressed against my lip and, after the burning sting eased a bit, I swelled up for two days!
The roadside attractions back then were not politically correct. At many you could buy a nickel Coke or candy bar and give it to a chained bear cub to drink and eat. I never wondered what happened to those cubs when they got too big, the owners probably ate them.
I learned about scams on one of those trips. A sign said give the owner a nickel and he would open the lid of a box cage and let you see the baby rattler and copperhead inside.
Sure enough, there was a baby shake rattle toy and a penny inside.
I loved the mountain streams and lakes but we never stayed in one place long enough for me to fish. But the year I was eight we changed our plans and I could not wait for my dream trip.
My family and another family, close friends, rented a cabin at Vogel State Park for a week. It was right beside a small stream that had trout in it, and only a couple hundred yards from the lake.
The other couple had a baby girl and she had colic. Her loud crying kept me up all night and almost ruined the trip. That is when I decided I never wanted kids of my own!
One morning before daylight I put on my overalls, slipped out of the cabin without waking anyone, picked up my cane pole and can of worms and headed to the lake. Where the stream entered it several row boats for rent were chained up. One was half full of water with its back end in the lake.
I sat on the edge of that boat for a couple hours as it got light, catching small bream, yellow perch and trout with live earthworms. I put my fish in the end of the boat that was full of water and it was supposed to work like a livewell.
Mama came hustling down the path to the cabin calling my name. When they woke and I was not there they panicked and went looking for me. Mama found me after she asked two teenage girls out walking if they had seen a kid.
Apparently they answered that yes, Huckleberry Finn was fishing down by the lake the lake! I guess that fit me with my bare feet, overalls and straw hat!
Many things have changed, you will not see chained bear cubs or baby rattlers. But a trip is still fun and fishing is good on Nottely and other area lakes.
My trip was to go out with guide Will Harkins and get information for my June Georgia Outdoor News article. Although Will is in college he is a great fisherman and knows Nottely and Chatuge well.
I stayed in a nice fifth wheel camping trailer through brooksiderv.com in a retirement camper community. It was cheaper than area motels and more comfortable and quieter than a motel would have been. It was only a few miles from Nottely and Blairsville.
About a mile from the camper and Nottely Dam is Papaw’s Bac-yard BBQ where I got some of the best brisket I have ever eaten, delicious and tender enough to cut with a fork. He has a wide variety of sauces and his Brunswick Stew was very good, too.
Next door at the Amish Store some interesting jelly is available. Frog jelly is fig, raspberry, orange and ginger. Toe Jam is tangerine, orange and elderberry. Traffic jam is mostly strawberry for some reason. There are also many other things, from furniture to funny signs, for sale too.
The first night I drove into Blairsville and ate at Mike’s Seafood. The scallops were delicious, cooked just right, and the bite of grilled tuna I tried was excellent. I always like walking into a place like Mike’s and see you order at the fresh seafood counter.
I planned on eating there on Saturday night before I left. Although Google Maps said they got less busy after 8:00 PM, an hour before the close, at 8:00 that night the wait to order was 90 minutes!!
Sicily’s Pizza & Subs Pasta was just down the street and there was no wait. The pizza I got was great but it was not the scallops I wanted! Till next time – Gone fishing!
Find Out WHY LITHIUM BATTERIES SHOULD BE IN YOUR BOAT
Be sure to buy from a reliable source, not just the cheapest lithium battery. I made the mistake of buying a ECO-WORTHY battery and charger and had constant problems – never worked right. They are sitting on the floor in my garage now.
New Hope, Minn. – Many early adopters of lithium marine batteries have strong opinions. It’s true—a lot of the first products to hit the market were prone to failure, offered questionable performance, and were very expensive compared to lead acid, AGM, and gel cell alternatives.
Despite these growing pains, it seems the entire world has gone the way of lithium battery power. It’s all around us, from inside the computers and phones we rely on every day to medical devices implanted in the human body. Power tools, lawnmowers, snowblowers, generators, and anything you might have in the garage that once took fuel or AC/DC can now be efficiently and safely powered by lithium batteries.
With chemistries changing for the better over the past couple years, lithium batteries are not only being used in our homes, they are the backbone to many mission-critical industries—from medical devices to aerospace. And it looks like the marine electronics/boating markets are next…
If lithium batteries are so great, then why aren’t more anglers and boaters using them?
Many anglers—even guides and pros—have only a limited understanding of how lithium battery technology works and its many benefits. First, potential customers shy away from the price tag, having no idea that it’s actually more cost-effective to operate lithium in the long-run. Amortized over 10 to 12 years, the cost of running lithium is actually less than having to replace a boat’s lead acid battery banks every two to three years.
Another issue? A lot of anglers are still living in the past, and rigging their boats each season like they did ten years ago.
Problem is, power consumption on your typical fishing boat has drastically increased as fish-finder screens have grown larger, brighter, and like technological leaps in personal computing, now operate with faster but power-consuming processors.
Same goes for the progression we’ve experienced with trolling motors, electronic shallow-water anchors, forward-facing sonar, and other imaging technologies and their requisite power requirements. Not only do these technologies require a lot of power—they need a clean source of power with steady voltage for optimum screen resolution, brightness, and on-screen fish/structure imaging. Compare the imaging on a graph being powered with lithium versus lead acid; the difference in picture quality is very noticeable.
Yes, running today’s fishing electronics requires a lot of juice—and you better have it or you’re destined for compromised performance, short days on the water, and sad songs back at the dock.
Battery Types Explained
First, let’s walk through the three major types of marine batteries so we can compare the benefits of lithium to what’s traditionally been used for onboard, marine power.
12-volt marine batteries fall into three main categories: Starting (aka “cranking”) batteries, deep-cycle batteries, and dual-purpose batteries.
Hence the name, starting batteries are designed to start the main boat outboard; deep-cycle batteries are intended to power accessories, electronics, and trolling motors; and lastly, dual-purpose batteries will power both outboard engines and accessories/fishing electronics.
Marine starting batteries allow quick bursts of power via cold-cranking amps (CCA) to turn over an outboard; then, when the engine is running, they provide power for accessories, with battery power constantly replenished by the outboard’s alternator.
A starting battery does not work well in a deep cycle application because of the internal arrangement of the plates and its inherent design.
Deep-cycle batteries—as opposed to starting or “cranking” batteries—are designed to provide lower amp draws over a longer period of time to marine accessories like fishing electronics, trolling motors, livewell and bilge pumps, radios, etc.
*Note: Your outboard does not need to be running for deep-cycle batteries to do their job. They are not replenished in any way by an outboard’s alternator.
In terms of construction, a deep cycle battery has fewer bulky and thick lead plates than a lead acid starting battery. A starting battery has thinner plates but more of them. Operation-wise, starting batteries require ample surface area through which to release more current in a short amount of time—what is required when starting an outboard.
A dual-purpose battery has a mixture of both starter and deep cycle battery plates, and, as is true with most products intended to serve double-duty, the dual purpose battery makes a serviceable starting or deep cycle battery in a pinch but isn’t perfectly designed for either application. The attraction to some anglers to the dual-purpose battery is thinking that, if they need to start their outboard in a pinch, they could start their big motor with a dual-purpose battery that is primarily used to power accessories.
Lead Acid Batteries
Lead acid batteries are the marine standard and have been used by anglers for countless decades. Design-wise, lead acid batteries are composed of big, heavy lead plates that are surrounded by acid which is the medium through which the charge travels from one plate to the next.
Prior to AGM, gel cell, and lithium, lead acid was the only game in town. The drawbacks? Limited longevity/charge-discharge cycles, weight, and outdated technology for producing DC current. But the major drawback with your average lead acid battery is you can’t use it to its full capacity, something most anglers and boaters are completely unaware of.
While big, heavy lead acid batteries may give a boater or angler the impression they have a significant power supply, the reality is you can only utilize about 50% of the capacity before you start damaging a lead acid battery. Frequently discharge your lead acid battery beyond 50% of the capacity and the damage occurs rapidly–and the damage is permanent.
The result? Before long, if you’re fishing long and hard, you’ve got a battery that needs replacement. The average life of a lead acid battery for an angler who fishes long days is just under two years. Toward the end of its life, a lead acid battery is apt to only provide 5 or 6 hours of on-the-water runtime, which is unacceptable to most serious anglers.
Lead acid batteries’ power curve – how they discharge current – exhibits a huge voltage drop when you apply a load. The voltage will go from 13 volts into the low 12s, even with small loads, in a very short amount of time. Thus, the battery you started with at the beginning of the day is not the battery you end up utilizing in your boat by lunchtime.
Depending on how you use the lead acid battery—like if you’re powering lights—you’ll notice that the lights dim and aren’t as bright over time. You also see that a lot with trolling motors. As that voltage curve drops, the trolling motor power head and prop will start to slow down so the user experience—even fairly early in the day—is already starting to suffer. Fish-finder screen brightness and image clarity also diminishes as lead acid voltages drop.
Of course, the other big drawback to lead acid batteries is weight. Average marine lead acid batteries weigh between 50 and 65 pounds, while a comparable lithium battery weighs between 22 or 25 pounds.
Absorbed Glass Mat Battery (AGM) Batteries
AGM batteries are an improvement over standard lead acid batteries. They are non-spillable, maintenance-free, and feature separators made of fine fiber Boron-Silicate glass mats between the internal plates. Most AGMs are pretty hardy and will not leak acid if broken and feature a much longer lifespan. However, the lifespan is still only measured in hundreds of discharge cycles, much like a lead acid battery.
AGM batteries also feature low internal resistance so the battery doesn’t overheat even under heavy charge and discharge currents. An improvement over standard lead-acid batteries, AGMs offer a low self-discharge rate, which allows for storing the batteries without a maintainer or charger.
On the downside, AGM batteries are heavy—and they’re not “smart”—so if you’re not careful you can over-discharge and destroy an AGM battery and essentially discharge it to the point that it will not accept a charge of any kind no matter the charger used. It is simply dead and beyond resurrection and you’re off to the battery store to spend good money to replace another AGM battery rendered useless after being accidentally over-discharged.
Gel Cell Batteries
In terms of construction, gel cell batteries are an improvement over both standard lead acid and AGM batteries. Like it sounds, gel cell batteries feature an internal gel within the electrolyte that reduces movement inside the battery case, making its non-spillable design more suitable for vibrations-prone environments.
On the downside, gel cell batteries must be charged at a lower voltage than standard lead acid and AGM batteries. Many gel cells have been destroyed through charging at too high of a voltage with typical automotive-style garage chargers.
While AGM and gel cell marine batteries offer slight improvements over lead acid, there’s a jump in cost. An AGM of similar voltage and amperage of a comparable lead acid is double to triple the cost—and you still haven’t really solved many of the problems with lead acid batteries.
When you then compare the cost of AGM or gel cell to lithium the answer is pretty simple. Don’t make incremental steps in solving problems. Solve it right when you buy the boat. Start with a set of lithium batteries and you’ll find they probably outlast the life of your boat.
Why Lithium Batteries Make Sense
While trolling motors, fishing electronics, and outboards get all the press, it’s the quality and reliability of your boat’s batteries that make all the fun stuff happen on the water. Think that’s an exaggeration? How much fun is that shiny 250 horsepower outboard when you turn the key and, instead of being greeted by the growl of an outboard roaring to life, you are left with nothing but the disappointing “click” of a starter starved of the amps it needs to bring those 250 ponies to life? In that moment, the boat ramp or tournament weigh in has never felt further away, while your boat has never felt smaller due to those uncomfortable stares coming from your fishing partner.
And what role do quality, reliable lithium batteries play in making all the advancements in sonar technology possible? As all too many anglers have experienced after they’ve made the investment to upgrade their boat’s electronics, if you overlook how they’ll be powered on the water, you’re in for a very disappointing first trip putting all that fancy sonar to use.
Fact is: You cannot power three big graphs at full brightness all day with a lead acid battery and avoid the dreaded low-voltage alarms popping up time and time again on your sonar screens. Sorry, ain’t gonna work. Collectively, those big screens simply draw too many amps for even the largest lead acid battery to handle and, if you add in MEGA Live, LiveScope, or Active Target, you can tell your wife when you leave in the morning that you’ll be home for lunch and actually keep that promise, albeit reluctantly.
NORSK Lithium CMO, James Holst, remarks: “With our LifePO4 chemistry, we guarantee 80% percent capacity will remain after 4000 discharge cycles. You’d have to be a retired person who fishes every hour of every day for over a decade to get to those numbers. To get that out of lead acid batteries you’d be looking at replacing your batteries 8 to 10 times.”
“Who wants to spend that much money on a boat and fish-finders so you can fish for half a day? Personally, I want to control my experience completely on the water. Cutting yourself short by choosing subpar batteries as foundational power is ridiculous. After a lot of bad experiences on the water, a lot of anglers are waking up to that and moving to lithium.”
Holst continues: “I’ve used the same set of NORSK lithium batteries in my past four boats: two Skeeters, a Lowe jet boat, and now a Warrior 238, and they still pull like a tractor. I have not seen any reduction in capacity over this time. I fish long and hard days, deeply discharge my batteries, and there’s no chance I’d be able to say the same thing about a set of lead acid, AGM, or gel-cell batteries. I would have plowed through numerous sets in that span of time and had multiple days on the water ruined due to batteries that were no longer up to the task at hand.”
An additional and often overlooked advantage of lithium is the voltage discharge curve of a lithium battery is very flat, ensuring that your first 10% of discharge will be almost the same as the last 10% of the discharge cycle.
Why does this matter? A flat voltage discharge curve means the trolling motor head and blades will turn at the same speed at the end of the day that they did at the start of it, giving you the control and speed you expect from your expensive bow-mount trolling motor.
NORSK Lithium founder and Engineering Director, Derek A., interjects: “With lead acid batteries, as soon as the second and third year of operation you aren’t getting full utility out of your boat because your batteries are only running half as long as they did the year before.”
Derek continues: “It’s amazing how disabling but predictable lead acid batteries are. If you’re fishing like I do and constantly discharging them below 50% and recharging them back up, you probably need to change them annually. That adds up year after year. That’s precisely why I founded NORSK Lithium. As an angler, I knew there had to be something better. So I—along with a very knowledgeable team of other engineers and anglers—designed it.”
Gain Boat Speed
Given the decrease in weight from lead acid or AGM, anglers/boaters who have switched over to lithium batteries report an average boat speed increase in the neighborhood of 2 to 5 mph. Do we recommend you buy lithium batteries for a couple more MPH? We conceded that likely shouldn’t be your primary motivation. But going fast is fun and, given all the other foundational benefits lithium batteries provide, who’s going to turn up their nose at being able to walk away from the competition at the next shotgun start?
Lithium: Lighter and More Compact
Lithium is also very light in comparison to lead acid, AGM, and gel cell batteries—what typically amounts to about 45% less weight than the similar size group size lead acid or AGM.
For example, a NORSK Lithium 100AH battery weighs approximately 25 pounds. A comparable battery would be a 31 series lead acid deep cycle that weighs approximately 60 pounds.
Lithium batteries often have a smaller footprint, too, which makes installation in a lot of boats easier. With NORSK’s new advances in starting/deep cycle lithium battery combinations, finding a spot in your boat for a fifth battery (frequently referred to as a “house” battery), is no longer required.
NORSK Lithium has done significant testing to design the ultimate starting/deep cycle lithium battery.
Company founder and Director of Engineering, Derek A., remarks: “We’ve figured out which cells can deliver that big, quick burst of energy in the shortest period of time to turn over very large outboard engines. We’ve also made sure the internal wiring as well as all the conductive cells can handle that current. Lithium batteries sold as starting batteries up to this point have had significant issues. If you don’t have the proper internal wiring to carry high current, that power surge can melt the terminals right off the top of the battery. It all comes down to managing the resistance, something we’ve been able to do with our new dual-purpose NORSK Lithium starting/deep cycle battery design.”
Holst interjects: “We took Mercury’s requirements for a starting battery—the specs that spelled out their stringent guidelines and warranty expectations—and used that as a starting point. We have the absolute best starting battery on the market in our 180Ah Starting + House battery and we added a lot of extra capacity to it so an angler struggling to find space for a “house” battery to power their sonar units doesn’t have to tear their boat apart and give up valuable storage space looking for room for yet another battery. Our 180Ah Starting + House battery performs both roles beautifully and frees up anglers to stop worrying about battery capacity and runtime and just focus on fishing!”
Holst continued: “With NORSK Lithium, anglers can uncomplicate things a bit and, in the case of a traditional 36V setup, pare down to three 12V batteries rigged in series for the 36V trolling motor set-up and one dedicated “Starting + House” battery for both your outboard engine and electronics. Our new design has plenty of capacity to run everything all day long. It meets and exceeds Mercury’s warranty requirements for starting batteries, offers up to 1200 cold cranking amps (CCA) and is going to last a long time—10 plus years, easy—or a minimum of 4000-plus discharge cycles. It’s a great solution. Solves two problems with one battery.”
Prismatic vs Cylindrical Cell Lithium Battery Design
NORSK Lithium is one of a few marine battery manufacturers offering a design consisting of prismatic vs cylindrical lithium cells.
What’s that mean?
“Cylindrical cell-based lithium batteries are made up of 80 to 100 cells, usually all spot-welded together—what amounts to a lot of components that could potentially fail,” says NORSK Lithium’s Derek A.
“We went the route of prismatic cells, which reduces the cell number from nearly 100 to four primary cells with large connection points, a whole lot less to potentially fail.”
Derek continues: “Obviously, anglers are attracted to the long warranties lithium battery companies are offering, which is a good thing, but what they’re ignoring is the actual battery construction—internal hardware and electronics that are continually subjected to a violent working environment of waves, water, wind, and cold/heat. Having too many small, weak parts is just a recipe for disaster. I saw this working in aerospace for nearly 20 years. All of the FAA-certified lithium batteries used in aerospace are prismatic cell-based for that same reason. The FAA has very harsh test requirements for vibration, and cylindrical assemblies tended to break down on the test table, whereas prismatic cell battery designs tested much better with fewer small, internal components.”
Buy Right The First Time
If you’re a buy-right-first kind of guy who gets only two years out of lead acid and is tired of dying batteries and fishing trips cut short, lithium batteries make complete sense.
The math is self-evident. For example, a standard lead acid battery costs around $200; quality AGM or gel cell batteries are priced between $300 and $500 each.
While lithium batteries are more expensive ($900-$1000 each), you can buy right, once, making the investment up-front to get batteries that are incredibly light, have a flat discharge curve that provides consistent voltage from sunrise to sunset, offer a lifespan measured in many thousands of cycles instead of hundreds, while offering advanced monitoring with Bluetooth-connected apps, like the advanced Norsk Guardian App, that allows an angler to set up the batteries in the boat in logical groups and monitor them all simultaneously from a smartphone.
What does the future of lithium hold? For starters, lithium technology will continue evolving, becoming even more powerful, efficient, faster-charging, and lightweight.
“It would be naive to believe that LifePO4 is the chemistry we’re going to stick with forever,” says NORSK Lithium’s Founder and Engineering Director, Derek A.
“There are other lithium battery chemistries not currently on the market that in testing beat LiFePO4 in every single way, they’re just not commercially ready yet, but they will be. And our marine battery case design is intended to accommodate these emerging technologies. Any NORSK Lithium technician can open one of our batteries and repair or replace every single part in minutes.”
Derek continues: “First, our easy-to-service case design was intended to allow our batteries to be serviced if a component fails over the 10 Year Warranty period. We’re not worried about the cells dying during the warranty, it’s the other parts like the BMS module and other little electronic parts that have some limited potential to go bad. If you can’t open the case (like we can) if a small component does fail your lithium battery might just be junk. Secondly, we anticipated the emergence of better cell technology in our case design so we could support upgrading customers in the future with the latest and greatest lithium chemistries.”
It’s an exciting time in history to be an angler. Lithium has become the de facto power source for ice anglers; open water is next.
As you read this, countless anglers are getting boats ready for the season or re-rigging based on springtime experiences already on-the-water. Many are focused on replacing lead acid batteries for a more reliable experience.
While that’s great, the burgeoning acceptance of lithium power is also allowing the entire sport of sport fishing to evolve. Prior to today’s lithium batteries there is no possible way you could have run multiple 12-, 13-, and 15-inch screens and forward-facing sonar/live imaging sonar with lead acid unless you created a multi-battery grouping of the large, heavy, and outdated power source. Given the space in most boats, there is no way you would have been able to house that much lead acid power.
Trolling motor design and functionality is starting to evolve, too. Not only is the trend toward brushless technology, we’re starting to see the first 48-volt trolling motors and standalone electric outboards powered by lithium batteries–a design paradigm that may just replace small two- and four-stroke outboards. For walleye and muskie anglers, higher voltage bow-mount trolling motors may just eliminate the need for a kicker outboard on the bow.
So, you can start to see all the advancements, both here today and just over the horizon made possible by lithium batteries. The future is bright… and it will be powered by advancements in lithium battery technology with NORSK Lithium leading the way.
When it’s time to start catching fish and taking names, you want NORSK Lithium on your side. We aren’t some overseas battery manufacturer. We are open-water anglers and ice fishermen who traverse the U.S. and Canada chasing the best bites. We make the bone-jarring 50-mile run across big water. We live for the adrenaline rush of a 40-mile trek by snowmobile in the freezing cold just to snag the best ice fishing hits. Our lithium batteries have been tested in the harshest conditions by the harshest critics – us. We push our lithium batteries to the limit because we crave the finest fishing experience possible. No angler should be thwarted by second-rate battery performance. You don’t need to settle for your grandpa’s technology. Utilizing the super-efficient, unbeatable potency of lithium technology, NORSK Lithium batteries reduce cheap knock-offs to fancy paperweights. Every NORSK Lithium battery is built to endure. Our batteries outwork the competition every time. Norsk Lithium powers your passion so you can chase adventure. We personally rely on these same batteries to power our pursuit of an exhilarating outdoor experience. Our commitment to you is the same promise we make to ourselves – we will never cut corners, we will never stop improving our battery technology – and we will always take care of our customers after the sale. Your story is our story. We have intentionally tethered our business’s success to our customers’ satisfaction. Including us. NORSK Lithium exists to power your passion for the great outdoors.