Category Archives: Fishing Information

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Also See:

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

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

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Lanier Weekly Report
24 March 2023

Water Level: 0.37 feet BELOW full pool. 

Water Temp: After a roller coaster of a ride over the past week to ten days, the water temps are starting to flirt with that magical 60-degree mark.  On Thursday, my Garmin was reading low to mid 50s in the morning and high 50s in some places in the afternoon. My Lowrance units were reading mid 50s in the AM and 60/61 in the evening. 

Water Clarity: 8+ feet on the main lake with increasing stain going up the river arms.  The backs of the creeks have cleared up immensely over the past week, but I would not call the backs “clear,” at least by Lanier standards. The further up the river arms you go, the more stain in the water, which is completely typical for this time of year and it’s also why bass generally start the spawning process above the 53 bridges before the lower end of the lake.

Even being post cold front, the lake fished much better for me this week compared to last.  I had several client trips and several solo days this week before heading to the Classic Friday AM.  

Like the past two weeks, two patterns produced most of the fish.  A finesse swimbait in the vary backs of creeks on flats and dragging a worm.

As with the past two weeks, I found large schools located on flats in the backs of some creek arms.  This is not something that is happening everywhere, but if you put in the time and find one of these places you will not need to crank the big motor again until it’s time to leave.  The key is not spooking the bait as you move in and to keep your lure underneath the schools of threadfin.  A chatterbait, A-rig, and crank bait will catch some of these fish, but the most effective way I have found to catch them is slowly winding a finesse swimbait along the bottom. 

I rig the bait on a 1/8 oz head and make as long of a cast as possible.  I will let the bait hit the bottom then start a slow steady retrieve back to the boat.  I also keep my head on a swivel looking for shad flickering on the surface.  That is where I am going to cast next.  Again, this is not a time to put the motor on high and chase bait pods.  Just ease around, cast around and keep your eyes open.  If the bait is there, the fish will be there too.   Make your swimbait look like a stunned shad barley hanging on to dear life and you will get bit. 

In addition to the backs of the creeks, this technique will also work in the “guts” of spawning flats as well.  This produced one of the biggest fish on Thursday.  

A shaky head probably produced the most fish this week.  Two different rigs were the most productive.  First, on the advice of a close fishing buddy, I started to throw a Z-Man Big TRD on a 1/4oz Boss head.  I did this early in the week and had a lot of success with it.  Later in the week I changed gears back to my old trusty 3/16 Davis head with a Trixster Tamale in sweat baby candy.  This bait loaded my boat last spring and summer, and it appears that this year will be no different. 

When fishing the worm, clay banks and rocky secondary points in the mornings on sunny days and all day on cloudy days.  When the sun gets high, it’s time to target the shade lines on medium depth docks.  Again, most of the fish that I am catching off docks are still coming from the middle to the deep side of the dock.  For the clay banks and points, I am casting into about 4/6 FOW and working the bait back.  Some bites are coming very shallow while some are coming deeper.  It is just a sign that the fish are in transition. 

I posted a video this week on my FB page that shows the hookset that I use for a Shakey head.  This is also the same hookset I use with a finesse swimbait.  If you are breaking off a lot of fish on your hookset with light line, check it out.  I think it will help improve your hookup and land ratio.  There is a shot of the actual video as well as a slow motion.

With the forecasted weather and a full moon approaching in the first week of April, more and more fish will continue to pull out of deeper water and head towards the banks.  The next 6 weeks or so is one of the best times of the year to catch pure numbers of fish with some very good ones mixed in. 

Some other baits that have produced for me this week are a crankbait, chatterbait, and jerk bait. 

Thank you, Tabor Reins at Advantage Boat Center, for getting me scheduled and my 100hr service completed in one day.  I really appreciate the support in keeping me on the water day after day. 

For March I have 29th and 30th available.  For early April, I have the 1, 3, 4, 5, 7th available as well as a few dates later in the month, although it is filling up quickly.

I want to thank everyone for the support, it is greatly appreciated. 

Best of luck this week on the water, it is getting exciting out there.



#TritonBoats #advantageboatcenter #hammondsfishingcenter #LanierBaits #trixstercustombaits #stcroixrods #castfishingco #gillfishing #Spotchoker


Fishing Innovator To Be Inducted Into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

ATHENS — The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame committee is pleased to announce that Wally “Mr. Crappie” Marshall of Anna, Texas, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2023. Marshall revolutionized crappie fishing through innovative products, tournaments and promotion of the sport. Marshall generously gives back to the fish community through his philanthropic work, teaching youth to fish and donating time and products to multiple charitable organizations and events.

“Wally Marshall’s outstanding accomplishments as a trailblazer in the sport of crappie fishing are unparalleled,” said Dan Kessler, Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame selection committee chairman. “His leadership in bringing forth new ideas and innovative products to crappie fishing and the fishing community in general are second to none. On their own merits, these accomplishments warranted Wally’s consideration for membership in The Hall of Fame. However, it is Wally’s commitment to a lifelong passion for educating current and future anglers as well as the willingness to give his time and resources back to the fishing community that resulted in unanimous support for his induction to the Hall of Fame.”

Marshall grew up in Garland, Texas, for 50 years prior to moving to Anna. Marshall’s first career was as a master plumber, but his love and passion are being on the water casting for crappie. Marshall stepped into the crappie fishing spotlight in 1987 when he won the first-ever National Crappie Tournament at Cedar Creek Lake. That tournament victory opened the door for Marshall to promote and teach crappie fishing through seminars at tackle dealers, tackle shows and boat shows, and on radio and television across the state.

Marshall inked his first sponsorship agreement with Joe Hall, owner of Blakemore Lures, maker of the famous “Roadrunner” jig. Marshall launched a crappie fishing guide service in 1989 that operated until 1994 on Lake Fork, Lake Lewisville and Lake Ray Hubbard on weekends and days off. He was the first “crappie only” fishing guide to set up shop on Lake Fork.

Marshall teamed up with Bass Pro Shops to design crappie fishing products in 1997 and trademarked the name “Mr. Crappie” in 1998. Marshall retired as a master plumber in 2002 and pursued his passion of crappie fishing full time, designing “Mr. Crappie” products and promoting the sport of crappie fishing.

Marshall joined forces with Lew’s to design “Mr. Crappie” and Wally Marshall Signature Series rods and reels along with a “Mr. Crappie” fishing line in 2010. Marshall partnered with Strike King the following year to design a wide variety of specialized crappie lures under the “Mr. Crappie by Strike King” brand. As a result, “Mr. Crappie” is one of the most recognized and popular brands in the country.

In 2004, Marshall created the “Mr. Crappie Big Crappie Classic Tournament” with adult and youth divisions to encourage families to spend time together on the water. Marshall had a vision to create a show like the Bassmaster Classic for the crappie industry. Four years ago, the vision became a reality with the inception of the “Crappie Expo.” It consists of the “Mr. Crappie” $300,000 Invitational Tournament, the world’s largest crappie fry and a three-day consumer show featuring over 100 exhibitors, including lure and tackle companies, boat manufacturers and tackle dealers.

Marshall has garnered numerous honors and awards throughout his career:

  • First-ever National Crappie Tournament Champion at Cedar Creek Lake in 1987
  • Multiple crappie tournament titles on Texas lakes that include Texoma, Ray Hubbard, Lavon, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Fork, Livingston and Tawakoni
  • 26-time National Crappie Classic Qualifier
  • 2002 National Crappie Angler of the Year
  • 2003 National Crappie Classic Champion
  • Seven-time National Crappie Classic Runner-Up
  • Inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame in 2008
  • Name an “American Icon” in the 2018 February-March issue of Field & Stream magazine
  • Numerous articles and TV appearances

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Marshall is committed to introducing kids to the sport of crappie fishing. He has donated numerous fishing trips to youth organizations over the years and took youth fishing from the Buckner’s Children’s Home in Dallas.

Marshall has donated thousands of dollars of “Mr. Crappie” rods, reels and lures to youth organizations, schools, churches and the Boy Scouts. He was involved with the Garland Police Departments’ Mad Dog Fishing tournament that raises money for fallen officers’ families. He also donates products and his time to police and fire department functions and fundraisers.

“When I was approached to be nominated, it was a surprise and an honor,” said Marshall. “I look at the years gone by and all the things I’ve been blessed to do in Texas and abroad. I think about all the people I have met who helped me get to where I am at today as the 2023 inductee. You don’t really know how many people you actually touch through your work and I’m grateful that I get to represent Texas in the Hall of Fame. My motto in life and in business is “Whatever It Takes To Get It Done.” I wasn’t looking for success but I worked hard at it — the reward is having the honor to be included in the Hall of Fame with my peers.”

The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is housed at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. Its mission is to “recognize and honor those who have made a lasting contribution to freshwater fishing in Texas, and to foster a sense of appreciation, awareness and participation in the sport of fishing.”

Since 1997, the Hall of Fame has inducted 37 individuals and organizations, including Gary Klein in 2022. Marshall will be inducted as the 38th member during a ceremony at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center on Oct. 6.

Nomination forms and instructions are available online or by calling (903) 676-2277.

FISHING OBSERVATIONS – Is the Midwest the Best Place To Fish?

Bob Jensen of

from The Fishing Wire

Fishing Observations

The 2022 fishing season is in the books. In conversations with anglers over the past few weeks, several observations have been presented more often than others. Some of these probably can’t be answered with any degree of accuracy, but to this angler, they’re interesting and worthy of some thought.

It seems that big fish are being caught with more regularity in recent years than in the past. It’s not unusual to see pictures of trophy muskies, bass, and walleyes on internet and social media sites on a weekly and even a daily basis. We never used to hear about or see photos of so many big fish. That’s because we didn’t have access to the internet and social media sites until recent years. It wasn’t that long ago in fishing history that magazines were a primary form of communication about fishing, and most of them came out on a monthly schedule, and often the deadlines for those magazines was several weeks or months in advance of the magazine being printed. The photos that appeared in those magazines were already a few months old when the magazine arrived in the mailbox. Today, if an angler catches a big one and wants to highlight the experience, it’s on the internet the same day.

I also think that many anglers are much more willing to share big fish catches today. There are a variety of reasons why anglers are more willing to pass along their successes, but there certainly are a lot of impressive fish catches showing up.

It also seems like fish in some areas are easier to catch than they are in other areas. Cole Floyd is a bass tournament angler. Cole lives in Ohio but fishes in a variety of different states every year. He has noticed that largemouth and smallmouth bass can be more willing to bite in some areas than in others. Last summer Cole participated in a bass tournament in Minnesota, and after the tournament he hung around Minnesota for a few days to explore the bass action. He found that the bass were more willing to bite, fought better, and looked healthier than they do in many other regions that he fishes. In his travels he’s also learned something that many of us can benefit from. There will usually be a hot bait from area to area, but plastic baits such as those in the Rage line of plastics will produce anywhere. Green Pumpkin is a color that bass will bite regardless of region. When he’s trying to establish a pattern and just wants to get bit, Cole will often tie a Midsize Rage Bug rigged Texas-style onto his line and start throwing it anywhere that looks like home to a bass. Many of the most successful bass-catchers agree that a Rage Bug or Rage Grub will catch’em almost anywhere.

Many anglers also agree that for variety, the Midwest offers the best when it comes to freshwater fishing. If the bass don’t want to bite, there will usually be some panfish, pike, or walleyes that will. Some lakes aren’t the best walleye lakes, but they’re outstanding for other species. When it comes to just getting bit, it’s really hard to beat the lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and ponds that are generously scattered across the Midwest. Almost anyone who lives in the Midwest realizes that, and anglers who come from the south, east, or west quickly make the same observation. For the next few weeks I’m going to be observing ice fishing stuff, and when Mother Nature permits, I will look forward to more open water observations.


from The Fishing Wire


Women Who Fish Have Greater Grit and Self-Esteem According to New Research

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) today announced new research that shows fishing provides positive psychological benefits for women. Conducted in partnership with global market-research firm, Ipsos, the research reveals female anglers were more likely to have a positive outlook on life, higher levels of perseverance and a greater self-worth. These insights come after the 2022 Special Report on Fishing revealed women now compose 37% of all anglers, the largest share on record.

“While we’ve known being near the water provides mental health benefits, this study demonstrated the significant, rewarding effects of fishing specifically for women,” said RBFF Senior Director of Marketing, Rachel Piacenza. “Their experiences on the water foster confidence, patience and determination that they can rely on in other areas of life.”

The research shows active female anglers demonstrate greater perseverance and grit, meaning they’re better able to face setbacks and handle adversity. It also reveals women continue to face adversity and under-representation in the fishing community. Almost half of female anglers do not feel respected by the angling community, and 77% do not feel represented in advertising for fishing gear and apparel.

“Understanding both the advantages and problems for women who fish can help the industry better recruit and retain female anglers,” explained Stephanie Vatalaro, RBFF’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “As we fight to plug ‘the leaky bucket’ of participation loss, these insights are the first step to creating a more appealing and supportive environment for women who represent a significant opportunity for increasing participation overall.”

Additional results from the study will be released January 11 during an industry-wide webinar where RBFF and partners will dive deeper into these insights and provide recommendations on how the fishing and boating community can continue to recruit, retain, and reactivate female anglers of all ages. The webinar will cover:

  • Why women start, continue, and stop fishing
  • How fishing contributes to female anglers’ mental wellness and quality of life
  • What hurdles female anglers face on the water and in stores
  • How the industry can improve women’s fishing and boating experiences and foster a sense of community

Reserve your spot for the webinar here.

For further information: Bruna Carincotte,, 202-743-9894.

Fishing Industry focuses on females – and Florida

The fishing industry contributed 49.8 billion dollars to the US economy in 2018 (most recent report available). That spending contributed $63.5 billion to the National GDP and total economic impact, including all multiplier effects was nearly $126 billion in 2018 according to this report

Female anglers spend billions of dollars each year, creating tens of billions in economic impacts.

Female fishing participation on rise

Florida data for fishing:
Florida ranks number one for numbers of anglers. One out of every four trips in the U.S. occurs in Florida and 60 percent of recreational fish caught in the U.S. are caught in Florida.

The highest region for female participation is the South Atlantic. Its share has the strongest three-year annual growth rate overall.

Female Participation over Time
While female fishing participation fell slightly in 2021 from its 2020 all-time high, in 2021 there were 2.8 million more female anglers than five years prior, and 3.8 million more than in 2011.

Female activities outside of fishing
In addition to fishing, nearly half of all female participants walked to stay fit. The next most popular activities were camping, hiking, bowling and bicycling.

This information is provided by Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing (LLGF), according to statistics from RBFF, NMFS and other sources. The goal of LLGF is to activate, recruit and retain new anglers through educational programming and communications, aligning with the mission of the American Sport Fishing Association’s R3 endeavor.

Featured on national network television and more, the series is supported by major partners including Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation, Take Me Fishing, Vamos a Pescar, Mercury, Magic Tilt trailers, Shearwater Boats, Power-Pole, Penn, TACO Metals, Lowrance, Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Fish Florida. Largest Annual Sponsors are Freedom Boat Club, ICOM America, CCA Florida STAR, Bob’s Machine Shop, AFTCO, Costa, Smith Optics, Frogg Toggs, Hubbards Marina, Star Brite and Future Angler Foundation. Other sponsors and donors are listed on the website.

For the 2022 Special Report on Fishing from RBFF visit

Fishing Industry statistics from 2021 or most recent available according to the Special Report on Fishing:
54.4 million Americans ages 6 and over went fishing

Women now account for 37 percent of anglers in the U.S.
3.7 million were first-time participants, of that number, 43 percent were women
Nearly 41 million Americans ages 6 and over freshwater fished
13.8 million fished in saltwater
19.4 million female anglers fished
2.8 million more female anglers than five years prior, and 3.8 million more than in 2011.
1.6 million female participants were first-timers
7.9 million children ages 6 to 12 fished
5 million adolescents ages 13 to 17 fished
4.7 million Hispanics ages 6 and over fished
17 percent of the American population went fishing
More Americans fish then play golf and tennis combined in 2016, no new data available
Income brackets, females participating in fishing:

25% Income of over $100,000
24% income 25K to $50K
19% $50K to 75K
Fishing and the economy:
Fishing contributed 49.8 billion dollars to the US economy in 2018 (most recent report available). That spending contributed $63.5 billion to the National GDP and total economic impact, including all multiplier effects was nearly $126 billion in 2018 according to this report

Female anglers spend billions of dollars each year, creating tens of billions in economic impact dollars.

Story and images provided by Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing

About Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing
The Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing Foundation (LLGF) is a national charitable 501C3 organization dedicated to attracting women and families to fishing and encouraging conservation and responsible angling. LLGF promotes networking among women anglers and emphasizes mentorships. Founded in 1997 by Betty Bauman, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, LLGF has over 9,000 graduates and is the largest organization in the world whose objective is to introduce women and families to fishing. In addition to fishing education and hands-on practice, most events offer a fishing experience depending on venue, from charter boats to land-based fishing. The mission is supported by sponsors and donors. Both Bauman and the University series – dubbed “The No-Yelling School of Fishing” – are known nationally in the fishing and marine industries. The organization has earned rave reviews from media including Inside Edition, The Early Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS, Good Morning America, Outdoor Life Network, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Southern Living and more.

ABOUT Future Angler Foundation

The Future Angler Foundation (FAF) is an incorporated 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation formed in April of 2012. The FAF’s mission is to “Create New Anglers and Boaters” through its support of angler education and boating safety programs hosted by passionate, knowledgeable volunteers throughout the U.S. and through its “Getting Families Fishing” initiative, a series of free source digital educational programs developed to engage young anglers and boaters as they educate them about angling in an exciting, informative, and effective manner. More information about the FAF can be found online at



SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (January 5, 2022) – Start planning your fishing adventures for the new year and be sure to review the updated 2022 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide, says the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). 

“Whether you are brand new to fishing or an experienced angler, you can always find something of interest in the Sport Fishing Regulations Guide,” said Scott Robinson, Chief of the WRD Fisheries Management Section. “This publication is developed with the help of fisheries biologists and staff to ensure it has the most current and accurate information on regulations and new opportunities and anglers can access it in multiple ways, including online, from our Outdoors GA app or in the printed copy.”

Anglers should note there was delayed production of a printed copy of the 2022 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations guide due to paper accessibility and manufacturing issues. It is anticipated the print version will be available by the end of January. The guide can now be found online at, or through the Outdoors GA app (free app for iPhone or Android users). If you need a printed copy sooner, a pdf of the publication will be available online (you can choose to print the full book or only the information you need). 

The 2022 Georgia Sport Fishing Regulations Guide provides information such as a color fish identification chart for both freshwater and saltwater fish, license purchasing information, contact information for Wildlife Resources Division and Coastal Resources Division fisheries management offices and DNR Law Enforcement offices, trout stream listings, public fishing area information, state record fish listings, fishing regulations for Georgia and so much more. 

What’s New for 2022? Check out this quick bullet list below and get all the details in the new guidebook:

•         Minnow trap use is now legal in freshwaters.

•         Waters Creek trout regulations have changed.

·       Largemouth bass regulations have changed on two Public Fishing Areas.

Need more fishing information? Check out the Angler Resources page on the WRD website (

Alternative Ned Rigs


By Ted Pilgrim
from The Fishing Wire

Alternative Ned Rigs elevate your finesse game

The legendary Ned Kehde isn’t likely to utter the phrase that’s made him famous; the term for the rig that’s forever transformed the bass fishing landscape. Actually, the chances of Kehde going third-person like some Prima donna wide receiver are roughly the same as his odds of playing in the NFL. That’s just Ned being Ned: the fact the humble Hall of Fame angler would rather credit those other fathers of finesse—Chuck Woods, Guido Hibdon, Harold Ensley, etc.—than acknowledge his own momentous role in bass fishing’s backstory.

Such modesty can be misinterpreted, but in Kehde’s case simply underscores the exceptional skill with which he practices the method known more broadly as ‘Midwest Finesse.’ Friend and former NASCAR driver Terry Bevins says, “Ned’s one of the best finesse anglers in the country. Put him in the back of the boat with one of his finesse jigs, and he’s likely to whoop your butt.”

To hear Kehde tell it, the bass-catching power of his “little jig” is so great there’s simply no reason to change it. “In years past, we’ve experimented with just about every new rigging refinement you can think of.” notes Kehde. “In the shallow impoundments we fish, none have been so fruitful as an exposed-hook, mushroom-style jig dressed with half a ZinkerZ or other finesse worm. Day after day, season after season, it inveigles dozens and dozens and dozens of bass.”

The Ned-Miki

The ‘Ned-Miki Rig’ has scored big bags of largemouth, spotted and striped bass for pro angler and guide, Joey Nania

Interestingly, the same simple motivation to catch more bass has inspired anglers across America to create unique and individualized versions of the Ned Rig framework—both in retrieve and the way they fasten a finesse bait to a hook.Longtime Ned Rig fan Joey Nania, professional angler and Alabama based fishing guide, has devised a couple key mods to the presentation. Recently, he’s guided clients to loads of spotted, largemouth and striped bass, wielding a concoction he calls the Ned-Miki Rig.

“As bass fans know, the Damiki Rig has been a money presentation for enticing shad-focused bass suspended in 15 to 30 feet,” says Nania. “But you need a really well-balanced, 90-degree jighead and a compact shad-shaped bait to pull it off. Having fished the Z-Man NedlockZ HD jighead for a lot of my regular Ned Rig fishing, I realized this head would really shine for ‘video-game’ fishing—working individual bass on sonar, vertically, playing cat-and-mouse. It’s versatile enough that you can cast the bait to suspended fish, too, just letting it glide and pendulum as you work it back to the boat.

“The Ned-Miki Rig: NedlockZ HD jighead and StreakZ 3.75A 1/10- or 1/6-ounce NedlockZ HD, says Nania, melds perfectly with a Z-Man StreakZ 3.75, a bait he calls “one of the best small shad imitations ever. And because it’s made from ElaZtech, the bait’s super buoyant. When you pause and let the Ned-Miki soak, the bait maintains a natural horizontal posture. Similar fluke-style baits aren’t buoyant, making them ride tail-down, rather than hovering horizontal like a live shad.

“Northern anglers fish a similar method, keying on suspended or rock-hugging smallmouth bass. The Ned-Miki has even evolved into a superlative substitute for a dropshot rig, which isn’t quite so precise for big sluggish smallmouths hunkered down between boulders.”Watch the bait drop on the sonar screen until it’s about 1 foot above the fish’s head,” Nania explains. “Hold the bait still. When a bass begins to rise and chase, lift the bait to take it away. Sometimes, a bass will chase the Ned-Miki up 15 or 20 feet, absolutely crushing it on an intercept course. Other times, you have to entice them a little, using the bait’s super-soft, high-action tail to close the deal. Almost like a dropshot, but even more dead-on.

“All-Terrain NedGoing where no Ned Rig has gone before, Nania is ecstatic when he mentions another new finesse device. “What can I say about the Finesse BulletZ, man? This jighead is off-the-charts cool. Rig one with a Finesse TRDMinnowZ or TRD CrawZ and fish simply can’t tear it off. I’ve had the same bait on the same jighead for the past week, and dozens of bass later, it’s still going strong.

“Made to snake Ned Rig style ElaZtech baits through the thickest cover, the Finesse BulletZ sports a subtle bullet-shaped head and a slender keel weight molded precisely onto a custom, heavy-duty size 1 VMC EWG hook. “People look at this jig and wonder how the heck you rig a bait without tearing it. It’s funny because it’s actually a non-issue with ElaZtech, which is pretty much tear-proof. And once the bait’s in place, it’s there until you take it off.

“Goes without saying that the bait’s weedless,” says Nania. “But I’m also just discovering how well the little jig skips under docks,” he adds. “Regardless of the cover— rocks, brush, grass, manmade structures, etc.—this is one incredible jig-bait combo for finessing big bass in places you couldn’t previously throw a Ned Rig.”I like to rig a 1/10-ouncer with a TRD MinnowZ—Smelt and Hot Snakes are two of my favorite patterns—and skip it under docks. Rigging the same bait on a 1/6-ounce Finesse BulletZjig also shines for casting into deeper schools of bass.

“Nania notes how the jig’s keel weight makes the bait glide and slide horizontally, rather than nose-down. “It’s like some radical, improved version of the slider head, except this jig perfectly matches 2- to 4-inch finesse-style baits. And you can pull it right through the thickest brush piles with no problem at all.”From southern impoundments to northern lakes and rivers, the Finesse BulletZ jig may be at its best when rigged with Z-Man’s authentic mini-crayfish bait, the 2.5-inch TRD CrawZ.

“The TRD CrawZ is a subtle, unassuming little critter,” says professional angler Luke Clausen. “But rigged with the Finesse BulletZ jig, the bait rides in this freakishly lifelike, claws-up posture. Put it in the water and its buoyant little claws flap and wave, virtually taunting bass to bite—and they do,” Clausen laughs.

Ned-Neko Rig

Blurring boundaries between Ned-style and other finesse presentations, creative anglers have concocted what we’ll call the Ned-Neko Rig.

Coupling a Finesse TRDHula StickZ or other buoyant finesse bait with a Neko hook and Neko weight yields astonishing action, and an intriguing underwater posture.Hooking configurations depend on cover and bass activity level. The simplest is to Texas-rig your chosen finesse bait onto a #1 to 2/0 Neko style hook. Finish the Neko-Ned Rig by inserting a 1/32- to 1/8-ounce Neko weight into the bait’s tail-end, resulting in a compelling pogo-stick-action along bottom.

Also effective is a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, particularly in small, high-percentage zones.Or, you can get extra wacky (pun intended), and hook the worm right through the middle, leaving the Neko weight in the tail. The toughness of ElaZtech even eliminates the need for an O-ring; just a 1/0 Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap hook, your favorite TRD and another alluring look bass can’t say no to. Ned inspired. Ned approved.

Fishing Lake Weiss, Lake Allatoona, Mobile Bay and A Visit To Battleship Park and the Battleship Alabama

    I love my job!  The past week – in October 2017 – gave me a chance to fish Weiss Lake, the Mobile Delta and Lake Allatoona.  Its tough work, but I’m glad I get to do it.

    Last Friday I drove up to Weiss and met Cal Culpepper and his dad Saturday morning to get information for a Map of the Month article that will be in the November of both Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News.  Cal is a high school senior and on the Harris County High School fishing team, and a very good fisherman.  Weiss is on the state’s borders and if popular with bass fishermen in both states.

note – Cal has gone far since this trip!

    We had a good day, catching largemouth and spotted bass.  The best five we landed weighed about 13 pounds.  All were in shallow water around grass, docks and wood cover and hit chatterbaits, topwater and shaky head worms.

    On Sunday I drove to Mobile to meet Captain Dan Kolenich, a guide there on the bay, to get information for a saltwater fishing article.  I don’t fish saltwater much so I was looking forward to the trip, hoping to catch my first redfish. I knew I would eat some great seafood and I definitely accomplished that goal.

    Unfortunately, Monday morning the wind was strong and it was raining.  I talked with Captain Dan and we decided to try to go out Tuesday morning when the weather guessers said conditions would be better.

    Since I had the rest of the day with nothing to do I went to Battleship Park.  This military park has a variety of exhibits, including aircraft, a World War 2 submarine you can tour, and the battleship Alabama docked so you can tour it, too. I spent almost six hours there.

    Walking through the submarine I could not imagine being on a crew. The tiny, cramped work and eating areas were bad enough but the racks, or bunks, hung along the walls one over the other, would never have allowed me to get a good night’s sleep.  And I could just imagine the smell during missions.

    The aircraft fascinated me since I always wanted to fly a fighter for the Air Force.  One especially interesting display showed one of the fighters the “Tuskeegee Airmen” flew in World War 2 and a video had very good special effects.  It took me several minutes to realize I was not watching actual videos of the dog fights.

    Tuesday morning was clear but still very windy. We tried to fish but the wind made it very difficult so I did not catch a redfish.  Maybe next time.

    On Thursday Wyatt Robinson and his dad met me at my house and we drove through the horrible traffic to Lake Allatoona so I could show them what little I know about that lake.  Wyatt is A senior at CrossPointe Christian Academy and on the fishing team.  He is a very good young fisherman.

    I had a lot of fun and we caught several keeper bass and even more short ones under the 12-inch limit, on topwater plugs and shaky head worms.  But the catch of the day was a four-pound channel cat that thought my jig head worm was lunch. Turned out he became dinner. Although that trip was not really part of my job it was fun, except for the traffic going and coming back, and I was impressed, as I often am, with a young fisherman’s ability and knowledge.  It is kinda scary that high school fishermen often know more than I do about bass fishing.

Trophy Florida Bass Tests Angler Weight Estimates

The “Eyeball Challenge” for Trophy Florida Bass Tests Angler Weight Estimates
From The Fishing Wire

Nearly 900 anglers completed the final round, and the results were quite revealing: on average, anglers were off by plus or minus 2.22 pounds per bass in estimating weight from photos. Even the top 5% of all guessers — the A-pluses at the head of the class — were only able to shave their error down to plus or minus 1.35 pounds of the actual weight.

How big do you think this bass is? Ten pounds? Seven? Twelve? A unique study by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) along with partner, Bass Pro Shops, recently revealed that guessing right is harder than you think — whether you are an experienced bass angler, fishing guide or even a bona fide fisheries biologist. The Eyeball Challenge arose from FWC’s TrophyCatch program, which collects data from anglers on bass eight pounds or larger for use in fisheries management and conservation. The core requirement for submission is a photo or video of the entire bass on a scale with the weight reading clearly visible. And, every trophy bass must be released.

“Given the very specific submission requirements, I’m still a bit mystified whenever I get the ‘That bass isn’t 10 pounds!’ comment on one of our posts,” said biologist and TrophyCatch Facebook Manager, John Cimbaro. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from looking at thousands of bass photos, it’s that the same fish can look very different depending on how the picture is taken and how the fish is held. A hero shot of an angler holding a trophy bass up is usually the best-looking photo for a Facebook post. But the fish-on-scale photo is the one that matters for the research program and that’s the photo l point a doubting commenter to.”

The Eyeball Challenge asked anglers to estimate the weights of bass in three separate challenges, each with a series of photos. Each bass was weighed by a biologist with field scales to ensure accuracy. The Eyeball Challenge culminated in August with Round 3, which featured 24 individual Florida bass. Nearly 900 anglers completed the final round, and the results were quite revealing: on average, anglers were off by plus or minus 2.22 pounds per bass. Even the top 5% of all guessers — the A-pluses at the head of the class — were only able to shave their error down to plus or minus 1.35 pounds of the actual weight.

Does fishing experience endow anglers with weight-guessing skills? Eyeball Challenge participants told us if they identified as novice, intermediate or avid anglers, and they provided the number of years of bass fishing experience they had accrued. Interestingly, statistical analysis indicated that there was no performance difference among the three levels of anglers. Technically, increased years of bass fishing experience translated into improvements in guessing bass weights, but in practical terms, it takes anglers a lifetime of fishing experience (60 years) to gain only about .5 pound of accuracy over inexperienced anglers. The bottom line is that no matter how good you are at catching fish or how long you’ve been fishing; a variety of factors makes it hard to accurately guess the weight of a fish from a photo.

One key result from the Eyeball Challenge was that how an angler holds his or her bass in a photo makes quite a difference in how we perceive it. Half of the bass featured in the Round 3 challenge were held out toward the camera, at arm’s length. The other half were held much closer to the angler’s torso. As anglers might guess, there was a highly significant difference in anglers’ ability to accurately guess the weights of bass in the two groups. Anglers were much more accurate at guessing weights of bass held at arm’s length but had a slight bias toward overestimating those bass. For bass held close to the body, anglers underestimated those bass by over 1.25 pounds on average. For more details on the study, visit

“It’s now scientifically proven—If you want the best photos of your catch, hold that fish out toward the camera,” said biologist Drew Dutterer, who helped design the study. “If not, it may be impossible to convince your fishing buddies just how big that bass really was!”

The TrophyCatch program has been popular for not only allowing citizen-scientists to contribute their data, which anglers report is their primary reason for submitting catches, but because industry partners such as Bass Pro Shops provide rewards for participation. To register for TrophyCatch and learn more, visit For more information about the TrophyCatch program, email Laura Rambo at

Bass Are Always Biting Somewhere for Someone

Bass are always biting somewhere for someone on a big lake. The Flint River Bass Club July tournament on Lake Sinclair last Sunday proved this in a big way. In eight hours of fishing, 11 members and guests landed 29 12-inch keeper bass weighing about 61 pounds. There were two five bass limits and one person did not catch a keeper.

Niles Murray blew us all away with five bass weighing 17.08 pounds and his stringer included two identical 4.52 pounders. Lee Hancock placed second with three weighing 8.46 pounds and had big fish with a 4.76 pound largemouth. Doug Acree came in third with fiv weighing 8.39 pounds and Niles’s guest, Otis Budd, came in fourth with four weighing 7.32 pounds.

My day started and ended bad. On the way to the ramp I hit either a hole or something right on the side of the road with my trailer tire. When I got in the boat and Alex started backing me in, I heard the telltale sound of a flat tire. I had not noticed anything wrong until then.

I waited to put the spare on after weigh-in since it is much easier to put it on an empty trailer. Thanks to Doug Acree and Niles Murray for their help, it took only a few minutes. Then Chuck Croft stuck around and pulled me out after I loaded my boat.

In the tournament my start was not good. I missed two hits on a buzzbait, jerking one keeper out of the water all the way to the boat but it came off. Then I caught a keeper on the buzzbati between two docks. There seemed to be no reason for the fish to be where it was.

I noticed some mayflies and started fishing around them but caught only bream. I finally caught a second keeper at 9:00 on a shaky head worm near some brush, then with an hour left to fish caught my third one on a floating worm in grass. My three weighed 3.46 pounds and was good for sixth place, not the day I wanted.