by Steve Scott
In February, the pattern remained pretty much the same with smaller baits (shiners), smaller hooks (#6) and smaller leaders (8-12lb) on downlines and unweighted flat lines 75-100’ out.
While March water temperatures were beginning to get into the 55-59° range, we used the same patterns as in February. Large gizzard shad were also freelined at 100’ but on a short line under a bobber or a balloon. The short line gave you more control over the shad in the event you stopped or slowed down over some targets to prevent the shad getting ahead of the boat. My last trip out we went up the Chattahoochee River only to find the same shallow waters as on the main lake, but I thought that the river stripers would still be there trapped from last year. We still wanted to test the waters, so we put out our usual spread. With planer boards and freelines out for several hours, we didn’t have any luck. I remembered to add a BB shot to one of the freelines and it was fish on for the next 2 hours. Sometimes the smallest detail can make a big difference.
A final word about big striper season lasting to mid-April; big baits will deliver big results.
IMPORTANT: big baits greater than 10” need a stinger. Use a #6 Gamakatsu treble hook cinched on the main line hook with enough line to put one treble hook into the vent.
April’s Log: Early morning – water temp 49° – planer boards ¼ ounce weighted 50’ behind the board in shallow water. Mid-morning to 1:30pm – water temp 64° – weighted planer boards & unweighted flatlines; weighted free lines 70-100′; flatline trolling on main lake points & humps; river channel, river bends near channel and over trees; LM 22 to FC 1; River Forks area 50′ depth. Midday 1:30pm – umbrella rigs; weighted flat lines; weighted planer boards in river channel; back of Shoal Creek, Saddle Dike, Orr Creek, Mud Creek, Balus Creek, FC 1-4. Other methods to use include topwater lures and downlines. Other locations for topwater action; Little Hall reef pole and other flats nearby; Chestatee 9-10 and LM 37; Chattahoochee River points above Hwy 53 bridge; FC#1 to LM 29; LM#1 & Rip Rap at the dam.
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TIP OF THE MONTH: Quickly change from flatline to downline and back by using a removable disc weight with a snap swivel attached. This will allow you to snap the weight on through the swivel on the bead side.
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