From Captain Mack Farr
Winter fishing has been good on Lanier, with typical patterns and the typical weather changes
associated with January. Many of the fish are very deep, and I do not think the big fronts have
had the expected negative effect on the bite as may be expected. So, if your only day to fish
falls behind a front, bundle up and go fishing!
Speaking of fronts, another nice one arriving just
in time for the weekend, right? Oh well, take heart, spring will be here before you know it.
water level as of Friday was 1070.20, .80 feet below full pool and down .30 feet from last week.
The surface temp is trending down, but still a couple of degrees above average Friday at 49
Striper fishing has been good and the patterns have been very consistent over the last few
weeks. The deep bite continues to produce well, although you find that some groups of fish are
getting very picky as opposed to past weeks. The intensity of the bite varies from day to day,
and even from different times of day, so if they seem lock jawed just keep fishing and the fish
will either start biting or you will find a school that is hungry.
The Primary pattern is to set up a bait spread over deep bait, 35 to 60 feet. Live Herring, Shad,
Trout and Shiners are all effective. Down lines are accounting for most of the bites, but there are
some fish responding to shallow baits so a pitch line in the spread is a plus. If you are moving,
say .5 to 1.5 mph with the live bait spread, as opposed to spot locked, keeping a Mini in the
spread is definitely a plus. Fish it like a down line, or behind a planer and it will often keep pace
with, or out fish the live bait.
The biggest question is how deep to fish the Mini? Here is a rough
guide line to address that issue. Drop the Mini to whatever depth you are marking fish. If you are
moving at .75 MPH, you will lose approximately 15 to 20% of the depth of the Mini. So if you
drop the Mini to 25 feet, it will be fishing about 20 to 21 feet down. Keep in mind that line size
will effect the depth. This same general rule will apply if you elect to put the Mini Behind a
planer, which is a very good technique as well. If you are pulling the Mini with the outboard, you
may want to use the lead core. The total weight of the rigged, bladed Mini Mack is just over 2
oz. so treat it like a 2 oz Chipmunk Jig (it runs about 4 feet of depth per color) and you will have
a good idea of how deep the rig is fishing.
Trolling the full size umbrella rigs is also a strong pattern, and can be a real plus if wind makes
bait fishing difficult. The depth is really across the board on the rigs, and you may need to drop
the rigs back as far as 150 to 160 feet, especially if you are trolling around the deep bait
schools. Target the bait concentrations, and flats or points adjacent to the creeks. Contour
trolling, over a 25 to 35 foot bottom will also produce some fish, this is mainly a singles pattern
but it is high saturation and if are diligent this can be a pretty strong pattern, Clip points, pull
over the humps or down a bank in one of the creeks. The buck tail or shad body rigs are both
producing on this technique.
This part of the report is really starting to sound like a broken record, but if you are on the fish I
guess that is a good! We still have several patterns that will produce, but the deep water
ditches, bluff banks, and timber lines are offering good numbers and consistency. What is deep
you ask? 35 to 50 seems to be a good place to look for fish, and while they may be adhering to
structure, if the bait is there the bite present the bite will probably be better. Like the Stripers the
Bass can be picky on some days, but overall the bite is good.
Downsizing tackle and bait size
can be a real plus if the fish are stubborn.
If you are fishing ledges/ditches, remember that you may not see fish until you drop the baits, if
they are really tight to the ledge they may be difficult to see. The activity of the baits will get
them up and moving around. Worms and Jigs are probably the primary baits for this pattern, but
Blade baits and Spoons are also very relevant.
The “reel and kill” technique that I have
mentioned in past weeks is still a plus with the spoons and the blade baits and should be worth
a few extra bites.
Fish are still on the rocks, perhaps not as consistently as in past weeks but the pattern is still
viable. Crankbaits, jigs and worms will be good baits to try on the rocks, Sun may help this
pattern making it stronger in the afternoon. The docks are also producing well, target 20 to 30
foot docks with some will type of secondary structure underneath. Worms and jigs will be the
best producers on the docks!