My 2018 Halftime Report

by Wayne Wooten

Every January I start getting fired up anticipating some of those occasional 60 degree days typical here in Georgia in January and February. The crappie began to stage preparing to spawn, and hybrids and stripers get hungry as well as the bass. By the time March arrives it’s usually wide open.
January and February 2018 was a challenge. We had warm days, heavy rain, changing water levels, high winds and back too cold for a week with more wind. I didn’t fish but 2 times in January and February. When it was in the 60’s, it rained with 15-20 MPH winds, or it would be in the 40’s with high winds. I had to reschedule a charter with Capt. Mark Smith three times, finally making it in March!
When March arrived, it was back to Clark’s Hill with Larry Barnes for some hybrid and crappie action. Weather conditions had improved but not much. Rain and the generation schedule from Lake Russell into Clark’s Hill were all over the place. This combination caused water levels to vary every few days.
The 2 to 3-pound hybrid bite was on, but not only were we hunting fish daily, we also had to make lure changes throughout the day to keep them biting. I primarily fish with soft plastic swimbaits on jig heads and scroungers. The profile, size and fall rate were key, so I had 4 different rigs ready to go. I had ¼, 3/8 and ½ oz. jig heads swimbaits (flukes) in 4”and 6” also a LilFishy with a ¼ ounce head.
As March moved into April with the weather returning to normal, the 2-3 pound hybrid bite had picked up, but they were still on the move. We were staying on top of them limiting out (10 fish per person) almost every day.
May had plenty of rain, but we continued to catch our limit, however the 5+ pound fish had not shown up yet. The larger fish usually show up in the middle of April.
Crappie fishing was not good to me this year. We fished our normal brush piles, mouths of creeks and grass, catching lots of fish but mainly 8-9” males. I don’t keep them until 11”.
The month of March also brought my birthday and The Bassmasters Classic on Lake Hartwell and the Expo in Greenville, SC. Media Day was on my birthday which added to the fun for me.
The Media Day event was awesome! I interviewed David Walker, and John Cox after a delicious lunch provided by Power Pole. Kevin Van Dam sat at our table, and my friends Jason Sealock, Walker Smith and Terry Brown were at the next table over! The Expo was fantastic as usual with vendors showing off their latest and greatest! The Tournament was exciting watching Jordan Lee battle back to win 2 classics in a row! I want to give a shout out to BASS and JamieDay Mathews for once again hosting such a great event.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge my close fishing buddies that left us this year. Rest in Peace guys; Patrick Bunn, Mike Brown, Roger Stanford and Ben Aiken.