The real fall fishing at Lake Lanier is finally here! Black bass, white bass, crappie, and stripers are already feeding like crazy. In fact, surface feeding activity has dramatically increased during the past week. Large groups of bass and other predators are being seen driving schools of shad to the surface and devouring them with such intensity that the spray can often be observed from a great distance.
Catching these congregated, aggressive predators has been fantastic using topwater baits or lures that run horizontally. Striper Series Swirleybirds are especially hot again, and the new “Dam Store Special” Swirleybird has proven to be very productive for fish that are feeding primarily on threadfin shad minnows. Call 770-932-2031 for more information.
Most of the marauding fish have been observed attacking shad in creeks that deliver fresh water into the lake. One only has to cruise slowly and scan the surface for breaks made by bass or fleeing baitfish.
When searching for these surface feeding fish, keep a spinning reel handy that’s filled to capacity with 8 pound test fishing line in a visible color so that strikes can be easily detected. When surface fish are spotted, cast the lure past the feeding fish so that it can pass right through the thickest part of the action during the retrieve. Move the Swirleybird faster if the breaking fish are still being seen. If the hungry bass fail to break the surface for a few minutes, however, then cast at expanding angles to where the fish were last seen and reel slowly enough to allow the lure to fall. Swirleybirds are especially effective with this method because they are still spinning as they sink.
Richard Anderson with a Striper Caught on a SwirleybirdWhen feeding fish are not visible on the surface, it is necessary to use a good graph recorder to find the schools of bass and other predators that are suspended in open water areas around concentrations of baitfish. When this happens, the answer is often a vertically jigged, flat-sided structure spoon of 1/2 to 1 ounce in weight.
Use the graph to locate the baitfish suspended above the bottom. If these schools appear to be more vertical than horizontal, then predator fish like bass are nearby and can be caught. One only has to drop the spoon straight down into the approximate depth where the baitfish are shown on the fish finder and jig it upwards about twelve to twenty-four inches, allowing the spoon to flutter down slowly on a tight line. If the bass and other types of feeding fish are in or around the school of bait, the action should be fast and furious!
The fall will brings plenty of change, and this change already has Lanier anglers thirsting for more. The bass and other predators are having a ball with their favorite fast food source of congregated shad. Catching these aggressive schooling fish is often frantic, but plenty exciting!