Friday, December 23, 2011

Kathy, Bonnie and Todd

Sunny and Pleasant, Water temperature 50* and stained.
I got out early to catch bait then picked my crew up and went fishing. I concentrated on areas this morning where we had success yesterday. I started off deploying boards on the bank side of the boat when the closest board to the bank started skipping across the surface. Before I could get another bait in the water a second board got hit. I started thinking to myself that my worrying last night of the fish turning off due to a cold front blowing through was in vain. Todd had called many times wondering if we should reschedule the trip due to the weather and after him changing his mind several times at 7 o'clock last night he decided to go today. It actually was a beautiful morning with the sun out and little wind but that did not last very long. It took me a little while to figure out what the fish were doing but once we did we worked on them. I figured out a pattern they were using and every spot that we hit that fit the pattern we caught fish. Kathy had been the luckiest today reeling in the largest fish until Todd hooked up with his big fish. He had fought a nice fish prior to catching this one but messed around with it until it got tangled in another line and broke off as I was ready to put the net in the water. He was having trouble with this other fish and I was teasing him about loosing the big fish of the day but he came through for us and we landed the nice Striper. This family really enjoys fishing and have been clients of mine for many years. Although we have had plenty of great trips in the past this trip will stand out in their mind and as Todd put it what a wonderful Christmas present.
I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope all my friends and family will
take time to remember our loved ones who are ill or who can not be with us this Christmas.

PS...A long time Striper fisherman of Lake Anna, Allen Worsky, aka...TRASH CAN... is in the hospital recovering from surgery. We will keep him in our prayers.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Scott and Mark

Cloudy and warm, Water Temperature 51* and Stained.
I got out early to catch bait this morning but after a couple hours of throwing I only had 2 baits that I wanted to use so I picked the guys up at 7 and went back out to catch bait. Finally caught a beautiful tankful of bait around 8, located some fish and set up on them. The fog was thick this morning and didn't clear off till around 10 o'clock. Fishing was slow so I relocated to an entirely different area and set out a spread of boards. Once the sun came out of the clouds we started taking hits. For the next couple of hours it appeared when the sun was out the fish would hit and when it was cloudy we didn't. Hopefully the sun shines tomorrow and everyone catches fish. Although it is December 22nd it felt like October with light winds and air temps into the 60's.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lowrance Pictures

Quite often I receive emails requesting more depth finder pictures with explanations of how to interpret what I am seeing on my Lowrance so that my viewers can understand what they see on their own units. Although I am not an expert I can relate to my experiences of what we catch when I see different scenarios while fishing for Stripers. Last week while on the water I took this picture [lower picture] at 7:50 in the morning. The screen is set up with 3 screens showing bottom lock on the left of the screen set to show from the bottom up 7 feet off the bottom, the center screen traditional sonar in a 30 foot scale and on the right half of the screen side scan set on a 80 foot scale. I was looking for Stripers on 30 foot flats at the time and crossed over the channel which was 36 feet deep. I saw a couple arches on the center screen but when I looked at the side scan I noticed actually how large the fish were. I was traveling 7 tenths of a mph and noticing extremely long lines with large shadows out behind them. The boat is at 0 in the top middle of the right screen and fish were showing up around 20 feet with the larger fish showing shadows further out to the side on the screen. In the past seeing lines this size at this speed produced Stripers usually in excess of 8 to 10 pounds. The problem with fishing here is that they are in the middle of the channel, an area where Stripers seldom feed. I continued to search for fish and at 8:30 found a school of Stripers up on a flat where they will feed. After observing the screen seeing smaller fish above the larger fish we put our downlines down to 20 feet immediately hooked up with 6 Stripers at once. After boating the fish I changed my left screen to show the middle of the water column [12 to 22 feet] where I could see the fish more clearly. I saw more fish on the right side of my screen so a gradually steered the boat in that direction to stay on the fish. After about 10 minutes of working the school a couple of boats came nearby us with their big motors on and we watched the fish break up into all directions, time to get our baits in and find another school of Stripers!
Click on the picture for a larger view.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jeff Prather

Cloudy and cold, Water temperature 50* and Stained.
A friend and I got out early this morning to catch bait then we picked Jeff up at 6:15. We went back out and spent about 30 minutes catching some nice Gizzards then set out a spread of boards and downlines pulling flats nearby the channel. We had no sooner got our baits out when a couple downlines went off. Jeff boated them and before we could rebait boards started skipping across the surface being towed by Stripers. For the next hour and a half it was all we could do to keep baits in the water. I had taken a friend Brian out to do some video filming today. He had his camera running when we had 6 rods hook up all at once. Jeff wrestled all of the fish to the boat without loosing a fish. I guess the action was a little too reveling because before we knew it jump fisherman were all around us. I eased off of the school and popped a couple more a few hundred yards away before the front blew in around 9 this morning. We had caught 21 by then and had enough of other boaters so we got on our big motor and looked for other schools. The temperature falling about 10 degrees coupled with the wind howling made it quite uncomfortable for awhile. The front took its toll, we only caught 5 more fish the rest of the trip. We still were happy catching 26 fish for the day but we were also bummed out knowing that if the front had not come through till later in the day we could have easily doubled our catch.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shelton, Greg and Vinnie

Partly cloudy and Pleasant, Water Temperature 49*to 53* and Stained.
Anthony took Vinnie and Shelton [Ferguson Enterprises] along with Greg their Kohler rep fishing today. Anthony and Vinnie got out early enough to catch bait, picked the rest of the crew up at 7 and hit a flat that had been producing some nice fish. After pulling the are for an hour and a half without much action he change tactics and converted to using down lines over deeper water. Before they knew it the action got hot and heavy. By noon they were out of bait so they ate a great lunch prepared by Greg and caught more bait. Anthony wanted to try fishing boards again over shallow flats so he converted back to pulling boards hoping to catch some bigger fish that we know are feeding this time of year. Unfortunately the water is still very stained [6 inch visibility] coupled with the cold water making fishing difficult using this method. Today was a great day on the water, little wind, warm air temperatures and plenty of fish to take home for table fare.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Reed, Todd, Matt, Johnny and Bruce

Cloudy and Warm, Water temperature 50* and clear.
Got a late start this morning, one of the guys got lost so we left the marina around 7. I threw for bait for a an hour and a half, caught enough to get started so I put out a spread pulling shallow flats. After getting 3 baits in the water one of the boards started skipping across the water and after a short battle we had our first fish in the boat. The guys faces lit up with smiles, there was a lot of chatter about maybe they may catch some fish today. Later I found out that some had bad experiences of fishless trips with other guides and some others had not caught fish so large before. We continued to put baits out and catch fish. We fished till about 11:30 taking strikes about every 15 minutes or so. I decided to make a move to collect more bait and hit another area. After throwing for a couple more hours I had what I wanted and tried once again to put a spread out. I had only gotten 5 baits out when we had a double hookup so the guys wrestled them into the boat. The rest of the afternoon was slow, the fish had turned off. I was hoping for a big bite in the afternoon like we had yesterday but it simply did not develop. The guys had a great day and had plenty of fish to take home for the table.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Anthony and Greg

Sunny and Beautiful, Water Temperature 50* and Clear.
After hanging around the house this morning wishing I was on the water I called a couple of friends to see if they wanted to go out for a couple hours this afternoon. We left my house after 1, put the boat in the water, caught bait and went fishing. Less than 2 hours later we had these fish to show for our efforts. The guys had no smiles on their faces, we left while the fish were still biting because I had to get home to prepare the boat for a trip tomorrow. While we tried to take this picture the largest fish of the day hooked up but it was released to fight again. This afternoon we had about 22 to 25 hits.

Anthony and DP

DP also decided to fish today so he got his son and a friend and headed to the lake. DP is pictured holding up all the fish Anthony caught today. Anthony is holding up his biggest fish of the day and is smiling because he doesn't have to clean all the fish, he has to get ready for school tomorrow while his daddy does the dirty work. There was another picture that I wanted to show but it did not come out very well. I was playing with Anthony on the radio today and after awhile he said they finally caught something, a leaf. We all had a good laugh but he got the last laugh of the day, he caught more fish than we did! Sure is great to see kids enjoying the outdoors.
If anyone would like to book a trip with little Anthony, let me know and I will set it up. You have to supply the boat and gear, he will tell you what to do and where to go.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

WT Carter

How about this Deer? A friend who belongs to my hunt club harvested this one yesterday. The buck was with another buck chasing a doe that was in estrus. I heard from many people yesterday that they witnessed Bucks chasing does. Looks like the rut is late this year!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pat Kelly

Sunny and warm, Water Temperature 55* and Clear.
Anthony took his neighbor from when he lived on the lake fishing today. They got out early before daylight to catch bait with intentions of catching fish this morning. They caught a couple fish early but before they knew it boats were everywhere, not only fishing boats but skiers and Jet skiers. The fish turned off until boat traffic settled back down later in the afternoon when they caught plenty of fish. Pat kept a few fish and released the rest of the days catch. The holiday weekend coupled with the beautiful weather prompted most people with boats to get out on the water to enjoy one of the last pretty weekends of the year.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Although fishing has been very good lately I have been looking forward to hunting this year with my grandson Michael. I fish for a living and one of my other passions is hunting. The lake gets pretty busy this time of year with fisherman so I take time to avoid the traffic of the lake by relaxing in the woods. Michael has been hunting with me since he was 2 years old and is as passionate as I am about the outdoors. I have passed on dozens of Bucks this year and was hoping to see a nice one while Mike hunted with me over his Thanksgiving vacation from school. He is 6 years old and still a little too small to use and even fit a weapon that will kill a deer with an ethical shot but next year will be his first year of carrying a weapon. His best friend [Mosby] is a bird dog that I converted to a Deer dog that we take out into the woods whenever we can. This morning we were hunting a 400 acre property with 10 other hunters putting on drives to move the deer around. Mike and I were the drivers and we were taking Mosby in to an area where we knew big Bucks were living. We had only walked about 200 yards when I saw Mosby's head rise up into the air then immediately he took off. Within seconds he was barking every breath. He ran the deer almost out of hearing then the next thing we knew he had turned and his barks were getting louder and louder. I told Mike that the deer was coming our way and to get ready and be alert. Mosby was only about a hundred yards out when Mike whispered "Its a big Buck". I threw a round of OO Buck into the deers shoulder and the deer expired immediately. I don't remember who's heart was pumping the loudest, Mosby's for running the deer and bringing it to his two best friends, Michaels for experiencing the excitement of the hunt or my heart, being able to share my life's passions with my grandson who is as enthusiastic as I am about hunting and fishing. Hopefully next year Michael will take his first Whitetail Buck.
The deer was a 4 1/2 year old buck that had been seen on the property over the last 3 years. It is a main frame 8 point with 6 stickers. Its antlers were well developed with a lot of mass and long tines.
I will be back on the lake next week chasing Stripers but in the back of my mind I will be counting the days until Mike comes back to spend time with him. He will make the decision whether to hunt or go fishing.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Anthony Seay

DP wanted to take his son Anthony fishing today so he caught bait and put out spread of planner boards pulling shallow flats. The boat traffic was pretty bad today but they managed to hook up with some nice fish. Anthony really enjoys fishing taking after his daddy DP and his granddad Donnie Seay, long time resident of the lake who many moons ago use to take everyone's money in Bass tournaments on the lake. It is great to see traditions passed down through the generations.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Cloudy and Warm, Water Temperature 55* and Clear.
Couldn't fish yesterday due to the high winds and after looking at the weather this morning it appeared today was going to be the best day of the week to fish so I called Anthony up to see if he could get off work this afternoon and it didn't take him long to answer. I met him at the lake about 1 this afternoon, caught 40 10 inch Gizzards and set out a spread of a dozen boards and a bobber. I found an area where there were no other boats and where the "Jump fisherman" would not encroach on us. Just as we put our spread out a guy that had been winterizing his jet ski put it in the water. I told Anthony this guy was going to be a jerk and low and behold he ran a couple circles around us barely missing our boards. Well he messed that area up so we moved to another area that I knew held fish. On our first pass on the area we had every rod on the bank side take hits. The Stripers would blow the baits out of the water a couple times before hooking up. Watching the baits get hit was as much fun as reeling the fish in. We boated 5 on the first pass them made a big circle to hit it again. Anthony did not want any fish today, I wanted 2 and had a friend that wanted 3 so we kept the first 5 fish and decided to release all the rest of the Stripers that we would catch today. By the time we got back to the area where we caught the fish we had baited all the rods and were ready for action. The Stripers seemed mad at these big Gizz and would chase them to the surface and punished the bait before taking it. We worked the area until just after 3 when a front blew through the area. It looked like it was going to pour down rain. We looked at each other and thought the same thing, we had already gone through 30 baits, caught 15 or 16 beautiful Stripers and neither of us wanted to get wet or ruin the afternoon. We emptied the tank of the remaining baits with fish still slamming our Gizzards that were still out. The fish we kept today had big shoulders and were very healthy. The fish we released were all in good shape and will certainly live to fight again. Tis the season for great Striper fishing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jack Miller and Stan Cobb

Sunny and Windy, Water temperature 55* and Clear.
Anthony wanted to see if he could catch Stripers on a sailboat so he took Jack and Stan out this afternoon to do battle with the wind on Lake Anna. It certainly is a challenge to try and control a dozen planner boards while fighting the wind but by the looks of their catch it appears his trolling motor held the boat long enough for the guys to catch a few nice Stripers. Greentop Pro Stan Cobb gave the Bass on Lake Anna a break today also by laying down his casting rods opting out for pulling big Gizzards around the lake. When they weren't fighting fish or the wind Stan was enjoying watching and playing with Anthony's Lowrances, he has a HDS-10 and a HDS-8 on his dash using the 10 for Structure Scan, the 8 for sonar and a HDS-7 up on the bow which he uses for catching bait and also networking with the others to view sonar reading from the stern. Regardless of the weather these "High Tech Rednecks" enjoyed their day off today and took home a couple of fish for the table tonight.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Small school of Stripers

I went out this afternoon with a friend to scout for bait and fish. After catching about 40 8 to 10 inch Gizzards we started looking for Stripers. The wind was blowing out of the East so I did not expect to see very large schools today. We looked and fished for a couple hours finding schools like the one on the picture above. The sonar screen on the left shows a small school only about 10 yards wide with the fish stacked up pretty tight. When I see this configuration of fish the Stripers are generally not feeding. The Stripers were very tight to each other and there was no streaking which would indicate the fish were not feeding. The upper line on the sonar is my sinker and the line just below it rising up to the sinker is my Gizzard getting chased by the Striper that can be seen streaking up chasing the bait which did hook up and eventually boated. The fish was a smaller 5 pound Striper and notice only one fish was interested.
The right screen is Structure Scan set on Side Scan in a 80 foot range. The boat is at 0 and we can see the size of the school and actually how tight it was. The school was only about 100 feet wide by 10 yards long with maybe a couple hundred fish mixed into the group. We boated only 2 fish out of this particular school, again the fish were pretty lethargic at the time this picture was taken. The fish would only hit the downlines that I had set at 24 feet deep, [The big Gizz had swam up to avoid the school of fish]. The Stripers would not engage my freelines that I had out on a dozen boards. If the school was broken up more and numerous fish could have been seen on the Lowrance my boards would have also hooked up. We caught our limits easily and got home in time to climb up in a stand for the evening.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Len Ralston Birthday Trip

Cloudy, Cold, Wind, Cold front conditions, Water temperature dropping to 62*and Clear.
I would have postponed today's trip but this trip was scheduled about a month ago when a hurricane blew into the state and this would be the only day they could get everyone together to go fishing. I told Len's son Mark yesterday that fishing could not be any more challenging than fishing today with a major cold front blowing through last night dropping the air temperatures 25*, high winds and the lake turning over. Mark thought it would be a great day to learn the ropes on locating bait and Stripers and cracking the code on how to put fish in the boat in less than desirable conditions. We hit the water at 5:30 and went to where I caught bait the last couple of days but after an hour of looking never saw a piece of bait. The cold front had worked its magic and dissolved the acres of bait I had been working into thin air. We picked up the rest of the crew at the marina even though I warned them of the frigid day and poor expectations for bait collection and fishing. After burning 3/4 of a tank of gas and 5 hours later we finally located enough bait to get started fishing. I had been looking for fish as well as bait for hours and set up nearby where I had seen fish a few hours before. We had pulled an area for about 250 yards when I saw a school of fish off the right side of my side scan so I turned the boat hard right and chaos erupted. Eight people on the boat with boards and downlines hooked up on their first experience with this type of fishing was needless to say interesting. I might as well been speaking Russian when I asked them to hold their rods up high, follow the fish, avoid the other lines or to give them any assistance in boating the Stripers. They had been so cold and patient with me trying to catch bait they were ready to warm up reeling in the fish. After the first round I had to retie and rebait most of the rods resulting in loosing the school. We worked an area of about 400 acres never finding the school or even picking up a single. A couple hours had gone by, I only had a few smaller baits left in the tank, my baits on the hooks were tired, I wanted to catch fresh baits and suddenly I ran over a school of big Gizzards so I had everyone reel in the lines, throw away the baits , got my net ready went back over the school and caught 35 in one cast. Now I was feeling better although my shoulder was killing me from throwing the net so many times today. I got on my big motor and found an area where I felt we could put a few fish in the cooler. I set up my spread again of 8 boards, a bobber and 8 downlines and trolled around popping a fish here and there. I glanced at my side scan and saw about 20 Stripers 80 feet out to the side of the boat so I made a gradual turn in their direction. Within the next 10 minutes everything we had out had been hit, Stripers were hooked up going every direction, some coming in the boat some tangling up with other lines. Once everyone stopped screaming with joy one gentleman spoke up and said "My wife need to use the rest room"! My heart sank as I looked at the Lowrance with fish everywhere. I had struggled all day to put a fish in the boat but it was getting late and when nature calls their isn't much you can do. We reeled in all the lines and headed for the marina. Although I was disappointed in leaving feeding fish on a day that I knew would be difficult the smiles on everyone faces especially Len's made all my pains and labors of the day seem worthwhile. Patience, perseverance, confidence and Lowrance gave a group of people memories that will last forever.
Happy Birthday Len

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lowrance HDS Pictures

Anthony and myself went out yesterday morning looking to catch some big Gizzards to use as bait today. Anthony was going to give me a break throwing the net so I got behind the wheel and searched for areas that were holding bait. The bottom green screen was taken off of an HDS-10 which was programmed to side scan on an 80 foot scale [the 20, 40, 60 and 80 on the scale represents feet out to the right and left side of the boat, we are looking at a total of 160 wide area]. We were in 23 feet of water and came upon a broken up school of bait. The boat is currently at the top of the picture in the 0 range, we are looking at scattered bait [small dashes] increasingly getting denser as we travel forward [The screen travels top to bottom, the further down the page you look the further behind the boat the picture shows]. I had Anthony throw the net when I took this picture resulting in catching about a dozen 8 to 10 inch Gizzards. The middle screen is showing 3 different screens, the right screen is down scan, the middle screen is regular sonar and the left screen in bottom lock which is showing the bottom 10 feet of water zoomed in 3x, the other 2 screens are set to a scale of 0 to 40 feet deep. On this screen you see clearly on down scan 4 or 5 Stripers located about 30 feet deep attacking the Gizzards on the edge of the school of bait [Stripers are the longer streaks]. The middle part of the screen shows the Stripers again as longer arches and the left screen is zoomed in on the whole mess. The upper screen picture shows 2 screens, the left screen is traditional sonar and the right screen is Structure Scan set on Down scan. These screens move right to left, history is moving to the left. It is clear to see that we are on a school of Big Gizzards with a few Stripers on the lower left edge of the school. I was slowing down as I took the picture so the Gizz are showing up as smaller dashes on the down scan at about 4 mph and when the boat gets to about 1 mph they start to arch toward the top right of the page nearer to the transducer because the boat has slowed down to the point where the bait stays in the picture longer. If I were running at a speed of 30 mph the school would show up as a large cloud of bait packed so tight you would not be able to see any individual baits beside the school. Needless to say we caught plenty of Gizzards this morning which resulted in a cooler full of fish after a couple hours of fishing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gilles Lizimaque with guests Steve and Tom

Sunny and Pleasant, Water Temperature 65* and clear.

I got out early this morning and caught 40 baits, picked up the guys at their dock and went fishing. I intended to put out my spread of a dozen boards and a couple free lines before I got to the flat that I expected Stripers to be holding but we started getting jammed after getting only a few baits out. For the next couple of hours we did battle with the Stripers till we ran out of baits. We got all of our rods in and took off to catch more bait. After about 20 minutes of looking I found what I wanted and filled the tank up. It was still early in the morning so I decided to look around to see if I could located any schools. I set up putting out 10 boards and 8 downlines rigged with beautiful fresh bait. I pointed my boat uplake, set my speed and turned on my auto-pilot because it was very little wind and no boats out. By lunch time and eighteen Stripers later we called it quits, took a picture and took them back to their dock. The picture of the Lowrance is a school of Stripers I located a couple days ago around the power plant.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Paul Redmon and Son Paul

Sunny and Pleasant, Water Temperature 68* and Clear.

I picked the guys up at the marina at 6:30 and we went to catch bait. I was very concerned this morning about the bait collection and fishing conditions after the last 2 days of major winds and a cold front blowing through. Bait was tough but we caught plenty and set our spread out of a bunch of boards and downlines. We had pulled a stretch for about a half a mile when I noticed one Striper blow up across the lake. After a couple minutes a gull flew over to the same area so I headed that direction. About 200 yards before getting there I started showing Strippers on my Lowrance. We had our downlines in there faces but we were not taking hits. Next thing we knew a board went off and before we could net it 6 or 7 other rods bent over. Needless to say we were quite active for a brief time. After tying a few lines and rebaiting we hit the area again with no success. We fished the rest of the day without putting another fish in the boat. The lake should settle back down in a couple days and I will start working on them again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Allen, Bill and Willard

Cloudy, Rain and Warm, Water Temperature 72* and Clear.

Last time I had this crew out we had an aftershock of 4.something which shut the fish down and just before I called Allen yesterday we had a 3.0. I knew I was in for a tough day because every time we get these earthquakes it messes up bait collection and fishing. Well I had to throw for about 3 hours today to get enough baits to fish with. Fishing today was also spotty, I would see plenty of fish but we would only take an occasional hit. The rain did not cooperate either, most of the morning it poured, we ended up getting over 2 inches. We caught fish on boards as well as downlines today, there was no pattern, rhyme or reason why the fish would hit or not hit. I believe the fish get very confused with the earthquakes. We ended up having a good fishing day with the guys taking home plenty of Stripers to feast on. Bill said they caught every fish that hit today. Bill is an old neighbor from when I use to live on the lake and it is always good to see him. [Hi Rita!]

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dave and Joe

Cloudy and warm, Water Temperature 71* and Clear.

Picked the guys up early and caught bait. We set out a spread of boards and a couple downlines and the boards started going off. The first fish we hooked into was a pig. Joe jumped on the rod and battled the fish while it pulled drag. Once he got it to the boat it went under the boat and motor and out the other side. He could not gain on it and it finally got into a downline. Dave thought he had a fish on so he snatched the rod up and, well you guessed it, broke the fish off. Before the guys could realize what had happened other boards started going down. We went through 2 hours of action then had to go catch more bait. After catching bait I made a major move and as I was running I spotted what I thought to be a large school of Stripers. I slammed on the breaks and told the guys to get the downlines out as quick as we could. My interpretation of the Lowrance was true, we pulled up into the school of fish that you see above on the bottom picture. The left screen is on bottom lock, the middle screen is traditional sonar and the right screen is side scan with each dash representing a Striper. Needless to say we had our hands full for a while. About an hour later I took a picture of the Lowrance on yet another school of fish, this time the left screen was side scan and the right screen was on down scan. There were not thousands of Stripers in this second school but enough to keep us busy. Joe is pictured holding a citation Channel Cat that weighed in at 14 pounds which he released alive and well. We had well over 30 hook ups today and kept our limit of Stripers for the table.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gary, Brian and Dan

Sunny and Warm, Water Temperature 72* and Clear.

Picked the guys up at 6 then went to catch bait. Every morning lately it has taken about an hour or so for the bait to get balled up enough to catch so we worked on bait collection for awhile then set up on an area that I knew was holding some nice Stripers. We worked the area for about 2 hours until we ran out of baits then caught 40 more baits and went to another area. I saw plenty of fish there but for some reason they were not real aggressive. After working the area for an hour I decided to make a move but after reeling in the first bait we started taking hit after hit. After hooking up with over 20 Stripers it got hot out and the guys were ready to go. The end to some beautiful weather is on its way, rain is coming for a couple of days this week.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Cralle 25th Annual Family Fishing Vacation

Sunny and Beautiful, Water Temperature 70* and Clear.

Maury contacted me a few weeks ago excited about setting up a fishing trip for his 25th annual family fishing vacation at Lake Anna. He had told me that although they had been coming to the lake for so many years on these fishing vacations they had never caught any fish and that he was ready to break the curse. I picked him up with 4 sons and a Grandson and off we went to catch bait. It was extreemly foggy this morning until about 8:30 which made bait collection a little difficult. I was in no hurry to set up fishing because I wanted to fish on the main lake but with a Bass tournament today I did not want to put my clients in harms way. [ Bass Boaters use their GPS to navigate in the fog driving at speeds up to 70 mph not giving themselves much chance to avoid a collision with another boat.]. Once the fog lifted we had caught plenty of bait so we put out our spread and fished. We popped a couple of Stripers and right when we got on a school 2 Tow Boats had to run right next to us spooking the fish. Michael was ready to go back to the dock to get some more Beers so we had a pit stop, dropped off a couple fish for the girls to clean and went to top off our bait tank. The picture of the Lowrance depics a major school of baits that I threw into. I barely could lift the net over the side of the boat due to how full the net was. We set up on another area nearby and took about 8 or 10 quick hits before the boat traffic ran us off. Maury wanted to let some of the other family fish so we hit the dock again, traded some fisherman and went to another area. We fished there till everyone caught a fish then they were ready to call it a day. We all had a great time today and I don't think I have ever seen a family get along with each other as well as this family does. It is a good feeling to see families regularly make time to reunite every year to enjoy each other before heading back to their lifestyles. Today we kept 10 nice Stripers to feed the family tonight. What a beautiful weekend for the Cralle's. Gus [the man holding the pole on the right side of the picture] is a Marine.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Enrico, Steve and Rod

Sunny and Beautiful Weather, Water Temperature 71* and Clear.

I picked the guys up this morning around 5:30 and went to catch bait. We put out our spread and our baits immediately started getting chased to the surface with Stripers boiling under them. We worked the area for quite some time taking occasional hits but never had numerous rods go off at once. Although fishing was slow today we all had fun and certainly enjoyed the weather. The guys were anxious to get off the water today because they were interested in meeting some Russian for dinner this afternoon. They kept 7 Stripers to take home for the freezer.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dominique, Hayden, Ian, Alex and Thomas

Cloudy and Pleasant, Water Temperature 74* and Clear.
Dom's mother Carol wanted to take her son and a few of his friends fishing for his birthday so she set up this trip for today. We were concerned about the rain today, it was forecasted to have thunderstorms all morning but we got lucky, it never rained a drop. After fishing today, I kind of wish it had of rained to keep some of the boaters off the water. There were 3 bass tournaments with boats on every point and by 8 there were skiers and jet skiers buzzing us. A jet skier took out 3 of my planner boards on one side while another boater circled for an hour pulling 2 tubes. A friend Anthony was also out and he had a nut take out his whole side of boards! The kids took advantage of all the waves and had fun trying to rock the boat and knock each other over. Although it was not the best fishing day and the fish did not cooperate with us the boys had fun all day, they never slowed down. I am sure they are going to sleep good tonight, after getting up at O dark thirty and fishing all day they left the marina headed for Bass Pro Shops then had to go back to Gainsville this evening.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

David "Chief" Gilchrist and Steve

Cloudy and Calm, Water Temperature 74* and Clear.

David recently bought a house on the lake and wanted to take his friend Steve out to catch a couple Stripers so I picked them up at 5am and went looking for bait. I was praying I could have the right bait by daylight this morning because the major feed today was early. As luck would have it bait was tough. We got lucky when Steve saw some trees up on the bank that he wanted to inspect. I took him over to the bank to drop him off and found the bait I was looking for. After a few throws we were ready to catch some fish. It was already 8 but there were not many boats out and it was cloudy so I felt the fish would not be too spooky. Once I hit the area that I wanted to fish we started hooking up with Stripers. On our first pass we caught the three Stripers that the guys are holding in the picture. We continued to fish till we ran out of baits so we attempted to catch more bait but again struggled for quite awhile. We put our spread out again and caught some very nice Stripers on the same pattern as we did this morning. We stayed away from the punks today and concentrated on catching decent fish and had a great time doing it. I can only imagine the day we could have had if bait was not such an issue.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A day of Practice

Cloudy and warm, Water Temperature 74* uplake, 78* midlake and 81* at the dam.

I have not been on the water lately [ earthquakes, aftershocks, hurricanes and tropical storms, etc] so I got out on the water this morning at 3am to check the lake out and to locate bait and fish for my next clients. I looked for bait the first part of the morning and also went all the way up lake to see the condition of the water. The left side is muddy above Christopher but fishable below Holliday Mill bridge. The other side is not as muddy, very fishable from Henry's down. Coolest water was 74* on both sides. I looked till 10 then decided to fish a little so I ran some areas that I thought would hold some nice fish. I had no interest in fishing for punks so I stayed away from scholling fish. The first area I pulled I had 4 hook ups in about 300 yards and after a guy in a Bass boat cut me off I pulled my baits in, caught some more bait and relocated to a similar pattern. I only put out 8 lines because I was by myself and I thought I could handle the action but I ended up busting my butt trying to keep up with the fish. Once I caught a fish I did not rebait because I did not want to hurt the pattern I was on. After catching 5 Stripers over a 200 yard area I got my remaining lines in and moved again. Had to try the same pattern a couple miles away from the last place and yup, same deal, caught more Stripers and an eleven pound Catfish. By now it was after 1 o'clock so I emptied my bait tank and went home. I released all the Stripers I caught and all of them swam away fine. I only put a couple of the pictures up to show the varied conditions of the fish. A third of the fish were very healthy [mainly the fish over 25"], a third had a sore on their sides and the remaining third had concave bellies, obvious they had not been feeding. Overall I think all the rain has helped the lake lowering the water temperature somewhat but replenishing the oxygen that it so badly needed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Martin Family

Sunny and Pleasant, Water temperature 85* and Clear.
Peter emailed me on Sunday expressing interest in taking his family fishing for a half a day this week while they were at the lake on vacation. He also had some concern as to what fishing would be like after reading my last journal entry. I explained to him that although fishing has slowed down from the 30 to 50 fish a morning that we were catching in June and July I felt we could catch some nice fish but it would be nice if the night before would be cloudy so the fish would not feed all night in the twilight of the bright full moon. Peter wanted to fish so we booked today and I told him I would go out on Monday to locate some fish. I did go out yesterday, Sunday night was cloudy and I hit 5 different areas catching fish in all the places that I checked. Unfortunately I picked his family up this morning and as luck would have it the moon had been bright all night. I had caught bait so we motored a short distance and set out a spread of boards and downlines. We hooked up on a downline immediately and put the first Striper in the boat. We had a couple more solid hits then the fish turned off. The fish started hitting just the back of the baits killing the baits so I decided to make a move. We set up on a small school of Stripers that were suspended off the bottom for about 100 yards but the fish did not want to eat, we continued to keep getting short hits with no hookups. I had spoken to two other friends that were fishing who were experiencing the same thing, seeing fish, putting baits on them and the fish simply killing the bait. By 10 o'clock I was almost out of bait but had a hunch that it had been 4 hours since the fish had feed, the moon was at the horizon which is a minor feed, and more times than not when the moon is bright at night the fish will feed mid day versus feeding early and late in the day. I had a friend out who was finished fishing call me that had 40 baits left so I got them from him and tried one more area that I knew some nice fish were in. We set up on the area and all of a sudden the 2 front downlines hooked up, then a board and another downline went down. We worked the area for about 30 minutes till we went through the 50 remaining baits I had. It was a great ending to a beautiful day on the water. Peter's family is pictured holding some of the fish we caught this morning.
Can't wait to loose this moon faze!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jay, Phil, Chance and Cooper

Sunny and Pleasant, Water Temperature 89* and Clear.
I had an opportunity to take 2 great kids fishing today. Phil their Dad had given them the trip as a birthday present. They had also received new rods and reels and brand new Remington 870 youth shotguns yesterday as presents [Lucky Guys]. I had spoke with Phil the day before and had told him fishing had turned sour this week and that we were averaging catching less than 10 keepers a day, would he like to reschedule the trip to a more productive time of the month. He said no way, the kids had been waiting for this trip and they were ready to go. I caught bait and picked the guys up at the marina just before daylight. He was right, they were ready to get on board and excited about catching their first Stripers. We looked for a few minutes for schools and located some fish to set up on. I had briefed Jay and Phil on deploying the baits so we tried to set up on the fish. The first set up is usually awkward for new clients and today was no exception. We had gotten only a couple baits in the water before we started taking hits. Chance grabbed the first fish and did a great job of wrestling the Striper to the boat. By the time we got all of our lines out the school had moved on. We found the school again, put the baits out and Cooper had his chance to reel in a Striper. We lost and relocated the school for about an hour and a half before the school dissipated around 8 o'clock. We looked and looked for fish the rest of the morning but never got back on any other keeper Stripers. For the last 8 or 10 days there has been a good morning bite then the fish completely turn off after a couple hours. The lack of action did not hamper the kids excitement, they enjoyed the day on the water and are looking forward to coming back when the fishing improves.

Monday, August 01, 2011

School of Stripers

I had the day off so I called a couple of friends and went to the lake looking for fish for my clients that I will take out later in the week. I found this school and thought it might be of some interest to some of my journal followers that want to learn how to locate Stripers on their own. The depth finder is a Lowrance HDS-8 with Structure Scan. I am looking at 3 different screens on the unit which I utilize most of the time while I am fishing. The left part of the screen is Bottom Lock, it is showing the bottom 2', 4', 6' etc. up off the bottom. It is always locked on the bottom whatever depth I am in and is set at 3x zoom so that I can see the fish better in the lower water column where most of the Stripers are hanging out now. The numbers on the Screen show the depth at 46', Water Temperature of 90, my speed was 1/2 a mph at 10 o'clock in the morning. The small middle screen is traditional sonar set in a 0 to 45 foot scale, showing Stripers stacked from 19' to 40'. The right half of my screen is Structure Scan which is set on left and right side scan on a 80 foot range. The boat is actually at the top of the screen at 0 and as the boat moves forward the history scrolls downward on the screen. The numbers 20, 40 and 80 are how many feet to the sides of the boat the scan is recording. I took this picture at the end of the school so there are not many fish showing up on the side scan. The fish show up at vertical dashes. Note there were more fish to the right of the boat than to the left of the boat at the moment I snapped the picture. This school of Stripers was not very large, it was only about 100 feet wide by 200 feet long [maybe a third of an acre at the most]. I did not bother to fish the school because the fish on the screen were not active fish. Certainly if you see this on your Lowrance I would suggest you fishing it but in my experience when I see the Stripers not streaking [arches moving quickly up and or down on the screen] I pass them up and continue to look for more aggressive feeding fish. Also I noticed some smaller Stripers in the school mixed in with the larger Stripers which usually means to me the fish are not feeding. When the larger Stripers want to eat normally they will not allow the smaller Stripers to feed along side of them. When they are aggressively feeding the sizes of fish will be more segregated.
You can click on the picture of my Lowrance to enlarge the picture.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jim, Lela and Tyler

Sunny and Hot, Water temperature 92* and Clear.
Met my clients at High Point this morning after catching bait. They were early so I had time to discuss how to deploy the baits well in advance of putting them on fish. I located some fish nearby the marina but hesitated to set up on them with so many fisherman passing by the area so I continued to look elsewhere. Charlie called me and said he had seen some scattered fish and by now we were seeing a few fish breaking on the surface. We went up nearby where Charlie had seen some fish and put our lines out because there were no other boats in the area. Within a couple minutes Tyler hooked up then Lela hooked up with the fish she is holding in the picture. A third rod bent over and Jim hopped on it. I netted all three Stripers and we were off to a good start, or so I thought. A boat had busted us and was determined to get in front of us and before we knew it there were 9 or 10 boats in the immediate area. It didn't take long for the fish to figure out what was going on so I decided to make a move. We set up on a few areas where we had it to ourselves and burnt up 200 Herring by 10am giving us time to get off the water before it got too hot and before the boat traffic got too bad. I think we made a fisherwoman out of Lela today, she wrestled in all of the larger fish and did well doing so. Jim took home 14 Stripers for dinners this weekend.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Katie and Tina

Sunny and Hot, Water Temperature 92* and Clear.
Caught bait, picked up the girls and found a school immediately. We set up on them and called a friend to us that was in another boat. We popped a few and before we knew it other boats moved in spooking the school so we got our baits in and went elsewhere. We set up on another school but after catching a bunch of punks we made another move. I located another school with very nice size arches so we set up on them. Katie hooked up first with a very nice fish pulling drag. We were still putting baits out so I did not pay much attention to where her fish was going until I saw it in another line. Next thing we knew the fish got off. We put the rest of the baits out and Tina hooked into the largest fish of the day. She is shown holding her catch. We caught a few more fish out of the school then tried to find it again without success. We located one more school and worked it for about 45 minutes only to catch punks. By 9:30 the action was over and did not catch any other keepers. We were all glad today was only a half day trip because when we came off the water it was HOT.