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Aldrich: Ability to adapt a key to fishing

POSTED: January 1, 2009 11:54 p.m.

Lake Lanier is rising and is just under 18 feet at 1,053.1 feet (full pool is 1,071). Lake temperatures are in the upper 40’s. The main lake is clear and creeks slightly stained. The Chattahoochee River is stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river @ 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been a little bit of a challenge this week, but some nice fish are being caught. Weather plays a huge part in the behavior of a bass, and recent up-and-down temperatures are a prime reason why adaptability is so important for angling success.

The jigging spoon bite has been good at times. Target areas around mid-creek channels, bluff walls and at the ends of long tapering points at around 30- to 40-feet deep. Pay close attention to your Humminbird Electronics and look for clouds of bait or, even better, lines or arcs that indicate larger predator fish. You can actually see fish and track your spoon with almost all of today’s modern fish finders.

Factory settings work fine with my 777c unit, but if you have trouble with your finder seeing a lure drop you may want to bump up the sensitivity to 90 percent. Make sure you fish directly above where your transducer is mounted. You should be able to see your spoon as it drops and often you will see a fish rise from the bottom to eat the lure. It still amazes me and I have seen it hundreds of times!

If the deep bite is not working remember that spotted bass will move around as the fronts roll in and out.

When the weather starts blowing on Lake Lanier, anglers should head for the windiest banks that they can find on the main lake.

The waves will cause these areas to warm up slightly and the oxygen levels are higher, which brings in the baitfish.

Spotted bass and stripers will hang around relatively shallow and corral the baitfish in water less than 10-feet deep. I use a SPRO Bucktail, large white and silver Rooster Tail or a Fish Head Spin with a Zoom Fluke Trailer and parallel the banks on the retrieve.

You can do this while fishing from the banks or from a boat.

The shallower fish will hit a lure surprisingly hard and you can often find quite a few more in the same area. Other lures like crankbaits and jerkbaits are also very good choices for active shallow bass.

We even caught a six-pound spotted bass on a live trout from Hammond’s this past week.

A simple jig head with finesse worm fished around the docks is hard to beat.

Largemouth and spotted bass will move close to docks on warmer days because the black-coated Styrofoam used to float most docks also warms the water, which attracts fish. There are many brands of jig heads so stop by Hammonds and pick out a few to determine which will work best for you.

I use a ¬-ounce SPRO K-Finesse wide bite jig head because it has a great keeper that keeps the worm from sliding off the jig when I skip it under the docks. Rig this with a Zoom Finesse Worm in Green Pumpkin and dip the tail in Chartreuse JJ’s Magic for an extra edge.

Sensitive line is a must in finesse fishing, and a lot of anglers use Fluorocarbon or braided line for increased sensitivity. I use six or eight pound test Berkley Fluorocarbon and it works very well.

Striper fishing is very good most days.

As with the bass, uncertain weather can cause these fish to move around a lot. Live bait is the best method this week and several baits are producing. Blueback herring or a small trout fished on a down or flat line midway in the creeks has been producing consistent catches.

Pay very close attention to the gulls and loons as they will give away the best locations.

If gulls are working an area where stained water meets clearer water than this is a great place to start.

Use your Humminbird Electronics and look for bait clouds and arcs or lines that indicate bigger fish. Position your baits just above the depth where you mark fish. Both flat and down lines are working this week.

Trolling umbrella rigs in the creeks has been very productive in the right areas. Troll a three or four arm umbrella rig with SPRO Buck Tails.

Stop by Hammond’s for the best bait and tackle and up to date reports for striper fishing on Lake Lanier.

Not many people target crappie in winter. If you find a school, they can be fat and healthy in winter and this means they are eating.

Some of the best fishing can occur when most anglers are staying home. Use your electronics to explore the mid to backs of the creeks at around 15- to 25-feet deep. Target docks, bridge pilings, brush piles and timber with small jigs and crappie minnows on light line for your best success.

Trout fishing on the Chattahoochee River is slow. Continue to fish below the dam with live bait (where permitted). A night crawler fished two-feet below a squeeze on sinker will coax the winter fish into biting.

Eric Aldrich is a part-time outdoors writer, bass fisherman and is sponsored by Humminbird, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammonds Fishing and Boat Storage. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from his readers so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his Web site at aldricihfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!



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