With the hot days of summer on the way and several weekend holidays on the horizon, fishing seems to be a secondary thought for many anglers. It’s true, fishing any busy lake on weekends during high traffic times can be frustrating to even the most seasoned angler. Nevertheless, for folks who must work all week to earn a living, a statement from an ancient angler still holds true: “The best time to fish is when you can.”
Taking those wise words into consideration and adding the words of a modern day fishing scholar, Doug Hannon, known by most as the “Bass Professor, one might find the fishing during busy traffic periods to be quite bearable. Hannon said, “People seem to always look at things negatively, but fish tend to find a way to turn negative-appearing situations into positive results.”
The key to most success stories is knowledge! One must understand what is happening and how artificial changes to the underwater environment can become an advantage. For instance, the water at Lake Lanier is mostly very clear, which often makes fishing during daylight hours difficult. Nevertheless, boaters and their accompanying wave action are plentiful, and the combination of all that commotion and the expanding line of muddy water being washed out from the shoreline partially solve the fisherman’s problem. This newly-formed mud line offers the predator fish all the cover needed from which to hide and attack bewildered baitfish that are being helplessly thrown around in the churning water.
Fishermen also equate most human activities as detrimental to fishing successes, so they usually avoid busy boat ramps, which are excellent locations to catch bass. The fact is that busy boat ramps always hold fish and the busier….the better!
These structures include a long expanse of concrete that becomes a natural highway for fish from the deep to shallow water. Each side of the ramp has a 3 to 4 foot drop-off with uneven granite rocks that were placed there to deter erosion, but make a perfect home for crayfish, minnows, and other smaller fish. Therefore, any boat ramp becomes the perfect hunting grounds for predator fish seeking fast food.
When boats are being launched, big outboard motors are cranked on the ramp, then driven backwards towards deeper water. The churning propeller that causes this movement also mixes all the water adjacent to the ramp and rocks. This tremendous suction confuses smaller fish and often pulls crayfish out of the rocks, and provides a scrumptious feast for the waiting predator fish.
Since most of the food around mud lines and boat ramps is small, the smart fisherman will use down-sized lures to fool these hungry fish. Two of the best lures available when fishing these conditions are the 1/8th ounce Original Swirleybird Spinner, or the 1/4 ounce Striper Series Swirleybird. Both of these lures are locally manufactured, and can be purchased from Hammond’s Fishing Center and The Dam Store.
So, don’t let the boat traffic scare you away from your date with those feisty finny creatures. Just look at all of this commotion in a different light, and busy weekends on local lakes could be a bonus instead of a bummer!