Thanksgiving Stripers

My Thanksgiving travels landed me down south in Atlanta, GA where I teamed up with an old friend, Brian Shinall and guide Henry Cowen on the city's water source reservoir and premier striped bass fishery, Lake Lanier. Our observations told us conditions were prime but the stripers had another idea for the day... lockjaw! However, tough catching we explored and did see some fish here and there, it just wasn't happening. Growing up near Lake Lanier I was very familiar with the fickleness of this inland striper fishery and to be persuing these fish with flies only, well is asking for a skunking. It brought to my attention, not for the first time but reminded me why we fly fish... it is to persue gamefish in an artistic manner, combining predator/prey knowledge and biology of the fishery into a well thought out plan; in this days case the fish won. Lastly, and perhaps most important is the fact that catching is not required to be successful; yet, just learning from what the journey and experience has to offer.

Early morning run on Lake Lanier
After a wonderful turkey day with family in the North Georgia mountains, my wife and kids and I headed to South Carolina for the final leg of our trip to see more family. I couldn't let the stripers go and my father-in-law and I joined up with guide, Tim Marchbanks on Lake Hartwell, another well know striper fishery bordering GA & SC. This day I reverted to the use of live bait under the high recommendations of our guide(always listen to your guide) but kept a fly rod near in the case that fish showed near the surface or shallow on the depth graph. I lucked out with several nice stripers in the 4-7lb class on the live herring but only one small grab on the fly. The fish were just not interested in eating much, not even the bait and due to the depth they were holding(30-40') it was very hard to get a fly in the strike zone. I did however, see the exciting potential for hot fly action, we just didn't find it this trip. That is why they call it fishing!


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