Dog Days

By Capt. James McManus

Well, they’re here, the “Dog Days” and if you are a Georgia fan, that may be a good thing but for a fishing guide it’s just not my favorite time of year. To make the best of it, there are a couple of things I do to help out. One is to be on the water early. The only trouble there is that, for some reason, the fish this year seem to be answering to some sort of short term dinner bell rather than the usual break-of-dawn breakfast feed. Some mornings, the best bite has been around 10:30 or 11:00. Not that I complain, a bite at any time is a good thing. This summer just seems a bit off at times. My son and I took a trip this spring to salmon fish Lake Michigan. We caught some but our Capt. Kevin and wife, Trish, just said they are having the same issues up there. Like they say, it’s called fishing.

The obvious solution to staying on fish is to change tactics as your targets change. This can be as easy as going deeper, moving to different parts of the lake, or something we are pretty blessed to be able to do is simply go to another lake. One of the most pleasant solutions is to move to higher ground. This means heading to smaller, cooler reservoirs like Wolf, Bear, Nantahala or Glenville. While you won’t be as isolated as you might think, being way off the beaten path you can usually get in a few hours before the dreaded wake board and jet skis show. Another solution is tail water lakes where the water stays cold enough to require a jacket first thing in the morning, Cheoah is a good choice here with lots of trout.

If you want to stay on your home water, you might just change baits and gear. Put up your bass rods, grab your light stuff, and go after bream with bugs either live or at the end of a fly rod. There is nothing better than constant action followed by my favorite meal of fried whole ‘brims’. They don’t seem too picky unless you end up way up the Nantahala River on Fontana when the Smoky Mountain Railroad rumbles through. We have been loading the boat until the train comes and the bite stops for almost an hour. Don’t know why they quit but wouldn’t venture out during an earthquake, you might be skunked.

Remember to keep hydrated, you dry out quickly on the water. An occasional dip will cool things off, just be careful, I make everyone wear a life vest if they go in, adult or child, no sense pushing the envelope if you don’t need to. Different depths, tactics, targets, and places can keep you on fish even through the hottest days. When I was younger, I would fish at night but no more. If you do, you need to be really careful cause that can be a long, sleepy ride home. So, try different things, go different places, and don’t quit just because it’s gotten a little warm.

Capt. James McManus owns 153 Charters. Give him a call for a great day on the water at (828) 421-8125.

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