There’s never been a better time for spring fishing in Georgia, so grab your favorite rod and reel and hit the water! Here are the places you won’t want to miss.
Crappie are staging in the mouths of creeks and then move into the shallows for the spawn. Oconee’s crappie population has been steady over the last few years and should continue to produce both good size and numbers of keeper fish. Crappie fishing doesn’t get much easier than during the spawn, and now is the time to fill the stringer.
Tips: Target standing timber and man-made brush piles in Sugar Creek and the upper end of the lake, as well as the upper ends of other major creek arms, such as Richland, Sandy and Lick creeks. When the fish are staging, trolling minnow or jigs is a good technique. Once the spawn begins, cast to fish around shallow timber.
Savannah River striped bass fishing is good. Fish bridges around Port Wentworth on the first of an outgoing tide. Avoid spring tides since they muddy the water and slow the fishing.
The Coosa River white bass run is one of the most popular fishing events of the year in northwest Georgia. Both boat and bank anglers can get in on the action, with several boat ramps available and good bank access at Mayo’s Bar Lock and Dam near Rome. Although many anglers get anxious to shake off the winter doldrums by fishing the early part of the run in March, the best fishing usually peaks in early April and then the numbers slowly decline throughout the month as the spawn runs its course and the fish disperse.
Tips: Good places to find fish are creek mouths, around blown down trees in current, and sandy banks. Fish deeper to catch the larger females. Medium-diving crankbaits in chrome or shad patterns are a great choice. A quarter-ounce jig and plastic grub combo is a proven producer. Good colors include pearl, white, and yellow. Live bait anglers also do well with minnows.
Trout season is in and anglers would do well to give Rock Creek a try. This trout stream southeast of Blue Ridge is heavily stocked and public access is excellent since much of the creek flows through the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Clarks Hill Lake near Augusta is excellent bass fishing year round, and April is no exception. Carolina-rigging a plastic lizard across flats and gravel points is sure to produce.
The bream are hot when the mayfly hatch is going strong. A tree dropping mayflies attracts fat bluegill like moths to a flame. A fly rod is a fun way to get into the action.
Tips: Even a novice can have good success their first time out. Topnotch equipment, casting accuracy, and delicate presentations need not apply here. Just slap a buggy-looking fly or popper down near where the fish are feeding, and get ready for a strike. A 5-weight outfit is a good choice since it provides a fighting chance at any bass that may decide to join the fun.
The Altamaha River is the premier destination in Georgia for monster flathead catfish. Pick a time to go when the water level is stable and before the heat begins to really set in.
The striped bass run is on in the Oostanaula River near Rome. Shad, either live or as cut bait, are favorites with anglers enjoying the best striper fishing of the year on the Oostanaula.
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MSRP: Pricing starts at $22,195.
The 186 VLO measures in at 18 feet 9 inches with an 89-inch beam. The boat is built on a fiberglass, foam-filled hull and weighs in at 1,450 pounds and can hold a payload of 1,320 pounds. Maximum room is devoted to rod and tackle storage and fishing deck. VLO comes with a cus-tom-built, single axle trailer with submersible lights, a swing jack and a swing-away tongue.
The YUMphibian creature bait has two small swimming arms at the top, a pair of longer curl tails at the end, and two big “flappers” at the mid-point. Pitch it, flip it, or work it deep. Customize by pinching off appendag-es to create less water disturbance for finicky or pressured fish. 4 1/2, 5 1/4 and 6 inches in 10 color options.
Suzuki’s two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki’s Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
Shakespeare’s new Micro Series Combos provide lightweight actions and are suited perfectly for panfish. They come in spinning and spin-casting models with high-quality components and each is spooled with Stren monofilament.
Ranger Boat is introducing a line of aluminum boats called The Tourna-ment Series. There are three models:
• RT 178 sports a 17-foot, 8-inch bass configuration.
• RT 178C has a similar platform (17 feet, 8 inches) but designed for crap-pie and multispecies angling.
• RT188, an 18-foot, 8-inch bass de-sign rated for 115 horsepower.
Rapala is hoping the new Scatter Rap Series lures and their “evasive action” will be as popular as the original “wounded minnow” style action that the company is famous for. The new lure has a “Scatter Lip” that creates an evasive, erratic, aggressive sweep-ing action. Ideal for multispecies gamefish, the Scatter Rap Series is available in 14-16 classic and new color patterns. Baits 5- to 9-feet deep.
YUM’s F2 MightEE Worm is 10 1/2-inches long, has an arrowhead shaped bulge toward the end and is made for big bass. Because the worm tapers to a smaller circumference before blow-ing back out to the bulge, the tail sec-tion wags back-and-forth in the water with each breath of current.
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano’s new Flex ‘N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
Honda Marine’s BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There’s enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
Triton’s 21 TrX measures 21 feet and features a 95-inch beam. The bow has a 20 percent larger fishing area than last year’s model. A bow panel is ready for flush-mount electronics up to 12 inches, and has an organizer for pliers and baits. Stows 24 rods in the bow, 10 more in the center locker and another 14 in the port side. tri-tonboats.com.
MSRP,Package of 12 Juice Worms $3.49.
Designed by Boyd Duckett, the new Havoc Juice Worm gives anglers more action which produces more strikes than any other worms on the market. The slim ribbed 8-inch body has a long, flexible ribbon tail that produces a unique swimming action. 20 colors.
G-Loomis’Jig and Worms Serie GLX rods offer sensitivity to feel the bite and the power to control the fish. GLX models feature Fuji Titanium SIC guides, along with a new proprie-tary reel seat and split-grip handle configurations.
Crestliner’s VT19 has a .100 gauge aluminum hull, is 19 feet long with a 91-inch beam. Rated for 150 horse-power and has a top speed of 60 mph. 1,085 pounds and a maximum pay-load of 1,300 pounds. An elevated starboard console has a windscreen, switch panel, gauges and in-dash Lowrance depth finder. 30-gallon aerated livewell. Motor Guide trolling motor.
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you’re standing in deeper waters. It’s adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
MSRP, Jacket $249.99-$269;
Cabela’s Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
MSRP, $18,178-$22,950, no motor, trailer.
Carolina Skiff’s DLV Series is an unsinkable, all-fiberglass, modified-V hull designed for offshore or shallow-water fishing. The series has five siz-es, from the 17-foot DLV 178 with a 90-horsepower outboard to the 25-foot DLV 258 that powers up with a 200hp. High-speed bilge pump, cush-ion seat set, built-in cooler and plenty of storage.
Abu Garcia’s Revo SX baitcasting reel is now 25 percent lighter than before. The SX frame is crafted of a strong alloy while the handle sideplate are built with weight-reducing C6 carbon. Holds 145 yards of 12-pound mono.
Anglers who use jar baits know it’s a pain to carry more than a few. Berk-ley now has two Jar Bait Folders to keep the baits at hand and make them easy to transport. Model 1170 holds 10 jars. Model 1490 holds 16. Both have various pockets and a D-ring for pliers.
Berkley says they’ve improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.