Forum Replies Created
Zach, I’d second Shallow Water Expeditions – I’m sending you an email with contact for my old striper partner, Jason Stacy.
I don’t know Rich but have heard only good things. `Met him years back and spent some fly tying time at an FFF conclave. His Mardi-Gras Mama is wilder & gaudier than the stealth bomber so I loved it (and have caught many SC reds with it).
I think the Sprewell to 36 trip is an ideal start. It’s great water and fishes good. Plenty of swimming and picnic spots too.
For the Yellow Jacket shoals trip, I’d look for under 7′ at the 36 bridge if taking the wife & 7-yr old. Yellow Jacket only gets dangerous at higher levels. At normal flow, it is more a matter of reading the water and choosing your lines. The tough spot is at the very bottom, but at a reasonable flow it’s pretty easy to get out and portage (river right). If you run it and choose wrong, you can swamp or flip the boat but usually then stand up in waist-deep water (tie down stuff in the boat).
More likely issue is shallow water and having to drag the boat. But that’s not so bad, as these are usually spots you should get out and fish anyhow.
The scout campground at Lawhorn is very nice and well maintained.
I’m not sure whether individuals can camp at Lawhorn base – rules have changed a couple of times over the years so you’ll want to confirm if you have not.
Outside of Joe Kurtz, there is camping at Big Lazer WMA but not on the river. Flint River Outdoors has a campground at their location on Hwy 36 – it’s targeted mainly at RV’s but tent camp is available. They also have a campground at Goat Mt (about a half-day float above Sprewell) Facilities are fair unless things have changed. Sprewell Bluff is strictly a day use facility.
Flint River Outdoors will shuttle you upstream to from their place on Hwy 36 to Goat Mt or Sprewell – makes things very simple as you float back to your car. Only downside is the first one isn’t til 9am.
For fishing floats, I wouldn’t do anything above Hwy 18 – the shoals are limited and there’s lots of flat water. One you didn’t mention is from Hwy 36 down to Big Lazer – it’s very good though the takeout is a little less convenient for dropping a shuttle.
Hey Zach –
Phil’s on target here. I think the knot Twitter guy referred to was the Homer Rhodes loop knot.
I’ve used the basic HRL for year’s – it’s in the Kreh-Sosin knot book from way back and several of Lefty’s books too.
It’s strictly a shock/bite tippet knot for heavier mono, as it’s almost impossible to pull anything over 20# tight in a non-slip mono. It’s only a 50-60% knot so you want use it only in line that’s at least 2 times heavier than your class tippet. Because of it’s simplicity, it can be pulled tight even in very heavy mono though you probably need to use pliers to really pull down.
It’s a good knot for the purpose and very quick. It’s also very easy to tie a specific size loop for your particular circumstance.
Here’s a good video on tying the knot. Beware however, he mentions using it in 8-10# line – if you do this you’ll have a 4-5# test knot in your system. I’d use it only on heavy bite tippets.
They can be finicky and hard to predict. My best success comes on a slow, stop-start retrieve with the fish often eating on the stop. I tie my flies with quite a bit of weight (lead tape wrapped around the “non-shank”). This actually makes them easier to cast, and lets the fly sink fairly quickly on a stop. The takes are very quick and hook-ups will be much more likely if you don’t have the line clamped down – I put little if any pressure on my line-holding finger of my rod hand and keep a very loose grip with my stripping hand (always ready to give line). If there is not some give when the gar swipes the fly, the fibers are apt not to sick enough to tangle.
When the fish are doing those air-gulping porpoise rises, I try to quickly throw leading them a little and just let the fly sink, then follow with very light, quick, short strips with a lot of stops in between. Takes can be on the strip or on the stop. The tough part is to make your strips with the lightest of grips – if you have a tight hold on the line with your stripping fingers and the gar eats on the strip, it can pull out of his mouth almost without you feeling anything.
Maybe the hardest situation is when the fish are in clear shallow water and you get follows which you can see. Standard advice with most species is don’t stop the retrieve, but it works both ways for me. Sometimes if you continue the steady retrieve, they’ll follow right to your feet and then turn away. Probably my best results in this scenario come with a quick short acceleration when the fish turns on the fly, followed by a stop, then slow bumpy strips. But sometimes they want it otherwise. Luckily they seldom actually spook (why would they be scared of us?), but rather just lose interest. I’d say you just kinda’ have to read their body language and adjust.
Also bear in mind that gar tend to strike from the side – they come up alongside the prey and side-swipe – their teeth function much better this way to capture and hold the prey. So sometimes with a following fish, right at the moment he comes directly behind the fly, I’ll stop my retrieve to let him get alongside.
If you get fish laid up near the surface, then I try an intersecting retrieve much like with tarpon. The difference is that the intersection point is very near the gar. Those laid-up fish are posing as logs I think, and waiting for bait to come in range.
I also like my flies tied very full – more fiber equals better “hook-ups”.
Top float choice would be Sprewell Bluff to Hwy 36. It’s a good all day fish/float with about 3-4 hrs actual paddling (depending on level). The vehicle shuttle is a short 15 min drive.
Hwy 36 to Big Lazer WMA or Pobiddy Rd is also a good one, but longer paddle and longer shuttle. Pobiddy is an iffy place to leave a takeout vehicle too.
Don’t let the water levels drop too much more for a paddle. Wade fishing is good too – I’ve been doing about half and half.
Is that someone you? If so, email or phone me (I might tag along and help you shuttle).
Chattooga is awesome …lots of options – up from Hwy 28, up from hatchery, up or down from Big Bend…
Zach, I’m thinking that there were some more stripes stocked a year or two after 2005, but can’t say for sure. The decision to start stocking stripes again in was made to further the goal of the re-introduction of native species (Gulf strain stripes) as well as lower costs as striper fry don’t require the in-house cross fertilization.
Striper stocking started in West Point in the 1980’s I think. Those were Atlantic strain. The 1990 and 1992 stockings were Gulf strain. After that (`til 2005), it was only hybrid stripes that got put in as they tolerated the warmer better and were more manageable because of their shorter life expectancy. Also (and I never quite got this one) a lot of Atlanta anglers complained about stripes running up river eating the the snit trout.
I would guess that the over-20# fish would have to be from the 90’s stocking. Or it’s even possible that there has been some very limited reproduction of the fish from the 80’s or 90’s.
The big 43# (on the bogo) fish we caught was actually below West Point on the riverine headwaters of Bartlett’s Ferry (aka, Lake Harding). They have continued to stock stripers there since the 80’s and still do. Interestingly, there was a phenomenal hybrid fishery on Bartlett’s Ferry in the late 90’s though the early 2000’s….even though hybrid had never been stocked there! These were all fish that had come down from West Point (through the dam). So I don’t know, but it may even be possible that some of your Hooch stripes came down from Lanier.
I think the current West Point record stands at 35#, caught back in 2009 (upriver during the spawn). That was certainly a fish from the 90’s (or even the 80’s).
Here’s a 2005 press release from the DNR:
Gulf race Striped bass stocking into West Point Reservoir
Gulf race striped bass are native to the Chattahoochee River, and before dams blocked their movement, probably traveled the river well above Atlanta. Native Chattahoochee River striped bass are genetically distinct from Atlantic basin striped bass, which is commonly stocked into Georgia’s reservoirs. Gulf race striped bass were once found in rivers from Texas to the Suwannee River, Florida. Except for small populations in the Apalachicola River system including the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers in Georgia, and infrequent catch reports in a few other river systems, they are no longer common throughout their range.
One of the WRD, Fisheries Management Section’s priorities is the recovery of native riverine fish species, which includes Gulf race striped bass in the Chattahoochee and Flint River systems. In 1990 and 1992, WRD tried an experimental stocking of Gulf race striped bass into West Point Reservoir. This action was taken to assist Gulf race striped bass restoration efforts. These fish can provide a brood fish source for later hatchery production, and are a source for additional numbers of fish in the Chattahoochee River when they move through the dam. Stocking West Point with striped bass has the added benefit of providing anglers with a fish that will reach a large, trophy size.
The experimental stockings proved successful. Fish survived and grew well, with reports of fish over 20 pounds caught by anglers. Fish traveled from West Point upstream as far as Morgan Falls dam. The area below the dam is stocked with trout, and there was initial concern that striped bass would negatively impact the trout population. The area below Morgan Falls is also now stocked with shoal bass fingerlings in an attempt to reestablish this native species in the Chattahoochee River. Shoal and striped bass are both present in their native range and will successfully coexist without negative impacts to the shoal bass population.
Striped bass stockings will be phased in and hybrid stockings phased out over several years to avoid sudden changes in the fishery and allow time for evaluation of the stockings. Some of these striped bass will undoubtedly move into the Chattahoochee River as far upstream as Morgan Falls dam. Research conducted in 1998 found that striped bass below Morgan Falls dam consumed a variety of prey including crayfish, shad, suckers, sunfish, and trout. However, trout made up a small percentage of the prey found in striped bass stomachs.
The reservoir stocking efforts will hopefully accomplish two goals.
· Hasten recovery of the naturally reproducing Gulf race striped bass population in the Chattahoochee River by providing a brood source and by enhancing the existing remnant population downstream of West Point when fish move through dams.
· Provide reservoir anglers the opportunity to catch larger striped bass. Striped bass are much more likely to reach ten pounds than are hybrid bass, and many will be over twenty pounds.
In March 2000, a survey of Chattahoochee River anglers was conducted by WRD. Eighty-four (84) percent of anglers responded that they supported WRD considering stocking fingerling striped bass into the Chattahoochee River below Morgan Falls dam. WRD is assuming that those sentiments have not changed and that Chattahoochee River anglers will support stocking Gulf race striped bass into West Point Reservoir. Please contact Brent Hess, Fisheries Biologist (706-845-4290) if you have questions.
I could use a refresher myself
Zach, don’t believe that as you wrote the [s:3fvq65ey]book[/s:3fvq65ey] article…
Clay, sorry but I don’t know how to use spinning tackle…
My Flint page has info on Flint tactics.
And if you page down to the bottom of this page , you’ll find links to Zach’s article and to an Eastern Fly fishing article on the Flint and its shoal bass.
BTW, the river is ready!
Scott, Flint has gotten almost fishable twice this spring. I had been planning on tomorrow.
Most years I get on in late March to mid April, but didn’t happen this year. Plus I’ve been pretty hung up on the striped fish for the last month…not a bad thing.
All good advice. I’d have two suggestions. One is to make all answers as short and concise as possible. and phrase the answers as you would when teaching a novice caster. If you think the examiner wants more detailed info, ask first if he wants your explanation as you would give to student. Don’t ramble, and make dang sure you know what you’re talking about…or you’ll step in it.
Secondly, make really sure you understand tails and the possible errors that precipitate them. And no, “over-powering” the rod is NOT one. Be prepared, after demo-ing a tail, to explain what you did to cause the tail. And then be ready to demo another tail with a different cause. If you understand tailing loops, then you’ll have at least 4 errors under your hat and be able to demo all. Then you should be able to explain the single reason all those errors caused a tail. Bruce Richard’s method for diagnosing and correcting the cast is key here (read and understand everything Bruce has on the study materials!).
Definitely got for it. Pass or fail, it’s a great learning experience.
Funny Zach, but I had a discussion today with a bud about the photo-realistic patterns. I don’t think most I’ve seen would be effective for me. Maybe for a dead-drifted dry, but I seldom chase the slimy fish that eat those. 😎
We always heard the mantra of “size/silhouette/color” for matching the natural, but I think movement is the #1 trigger to a bite. I personally would rather have more impressionistic pattern with a general s/s/c match that has a natural, “alive” movement.
An example is the hellgrammite, a major food source for shoal bass on the Flint. For near 20 years, I tried tying a realistic hellgrammite. They are distinctive critters and pretty complex.
Though not the artist that some of these realistic tyers are, I have come up with several flys I thought were near perfect. I was weaving bodies for a different color underneath, tying in the 8 pair of lateral filaments with biots, duplicating the gills underneath with tiny tufts of antron, etc, etc… For a long while I thought the white gill tufts were the ticket as they really glow underwater when they puff out (see photo below).
Completely ignoring the hours I had spent at the vise, the shoal bass didn’t like my creations as well as a big wooly booger. Or a basic zonker strip on a hook.
I continued to dig hellgrammites and take photos. Finally I started to turn them loose in the water and watch how they moved. On the bottom or in a weed mat, they crawl, creep, or maybe scurry. But when adrift in the current (and when they’d be most available to fish), they wiggle frantically trying to find a “foothold” with their legs or rear prolegs. They arch, curl and wiggle side-to-side almost simultaneously.
To date, my most effective imitation is shown above -a zonker strip trimmed to look segmented. It moves, breathes and wiggles (and it’s easy to tie). `Works just fine without legs, gills, or any of that other stuff. As Guy Turck said when asked about the effectiveness of his Tarantula, “it ain’t the meat – it’s the motion!”
Rob Mead, who ties the Gutless Crab, also has top-water “Gutless” flies:
And here’s some tying directions though the foam is a little small and the hook sitting a little high –
I like a DT in many applications too, mainly for mending. Since I fish a lot of big water (and generally not for slimey fish 😉 ), I do mend (& roll cast) a good bit farther than normal WF head lengths.
I also build short 6′ sink tips with LC-13 or such spliced onto 8 wt & 9 wt DT lines with the forward taper cut off – you can mend these out to 60′ plus. That’s the ticket when you’re fishing big flies in a 10,000 cfs worth of conflicting currents. I don’t usually have to get real deep but want to get there in a hurry – only long mends will make it happen in hard uneven currents.
Phil, not much doubt that the 5 wt flyline would break before the 50# Guidbrod loop.
Thanks Zach. Interesting, if a little frightening (though I too have gone to Albrights or home-made, double locked braided loops on striper rigs).
– Did std. nail knots break in knot, in line outside knot, or just slide off?
– Did albright break in knot or line?
-I’m guessing (since you were using the boga) that testing was with steady pull? Would you expect different results with jerking stress?
It might be interesting to try with a premium mono and see if are comparable.