November 15, 2023 Lake Lanier Striper Fishing Report
It’s been a few months since I had some time to write up a Striper report! Summer was busy and flew by too fast. Also, I have been tied up with a couple trips down to the Gulf and been in and out of the deer woods. I was lucky enough to fill a couple tags and I’m finally back to the regular schedule. A fishing trip isn’t complete without some deer jerky to snack on, right? I see all the Halloween decorations have come down, skipped Thanksgiving, and went right to the Christmas decor! With that some folks have started their Christmas shopping early and have been jumping on the fishing trip gift certificates. Thank you so much to y’all!! I wish I did that and wasn’t such a last-minute shopper. Over the seasons I’ve received great feedback from the trip gift certificates. Everyone seems to like the idea of giving a physical gift for a special occasion but allowing the recipient to schedule the trip anytime to their convenience. Not to mention they are a fantastic gift idea. I have a special addition to the gift certificate purchases this year I think you might like! I’ll touch on that at the end of the report.
Lake Lanier surface temps have been fluctuating in the mid 60’s. The lake level remains low and continuing to fall. It is currently at 1063.08’ MSL, that is 7.92’ below full pool. October had its ups and downs. Overall, it was tough fishing with some decent days mixed in. The fish have scattered lake wide as well as in the water column. November is looking much better. The past few trips have yielded a much better bite with great topwater action. The biggest tip this time of year is to go out armed with the kitchen sink. Be able to adjust tactics and locations daily, as well as throughout the day. We have been finding some nice schools which is a blast chasing them down and sight fishing while they are exploding the surface.
It’s November and that means threadfin are on the menu. These shad are small, anywhere from 1-3 inches. They are dialed in on chasing these bait schools most of the time. The migratory gulls and loons have been showing up and are already helping us locate active fish. Right now, dawn until about 9:30am we are seeing decent schools fired up on the surface. Look for the gulls diving in the distance and get over there quick. My go-to’s when they are on the threads is the Cast 3” Prodigy in the blueback herring pattern on a jig head or Captain Mack’s Super Jig to make those long quick casts. Throw right on their heads. These aren’t spooky redfish. Get the bait there quick and start working it. Their brains are keyed in on chasing these bait schools. A common error I notice is when anglers see the big dark shadow closing in on the lure. The angler will pause or slow down the retrieve. To them it makes sense to give the fish a chance to catch the bait. That Striper more times than none will hit a 180 and bail out. If you see them chasing your bait down moving it faster or an erratic movement can trigger the strike. Just like an actual baitfish will do, you are mimicking it. Remember, these fish are fast. They can swim faster than you can reel. Set that hook and get ready to hear that drag scream!
On the days when we are not seeing the surface activity going nuts, trolling live baits on planer boards and freelines have been the dominate pattern. I have been trolling both herring, medium/large shiners, and gizzard shad 50-60’ behind the planers with a combo of unweighted and weighted with a small split. The gizzard I hang down the middle of the stern about 75’ back. The idea is to use it as an attractor to the spread. Both the deep river channel and backs of creeks are holding fish. As well as the southern and northern halves of the lake. Which is the better producer? I would say the lower end has been yielding the bigger fish, but don't rule out the northern end. Stick to the area you know best.
Downlines are still very much in play, and I have been using them daily. Some days they are the better producer. Take what the defense gives you. When you see the fish and bait up high run the freelines, planners, and work those artificials. Days that you may have the post front conditions and high barometric pressure, you might notice fish/bait sounded deeper and are hugging the bottom. That could be one of those times to deploy baits deep. My trip yesterday landed 1/3 of the fish casting artificial at schooling fish, 1/3 caught trolling freelines, and 1/3 caught on downlines. Bring the kitchen sink, keep your eyes on the birds.
Okay, let get down to the good stuff. I have the fishing trip gift certificate back and available online. No need to think of what he or she wants or spend time in crowded malls looking for socks and underwear. They make a perfect gift for all anglers new or experienced. You can thank me later!
For the Black Friday Sale, now through November 25th all gift certificates receive a FREE Big Bite Charters Camouflage hat shipped right to their door! Yep, it's hunting season and time to breakout my favorite color camo. Even better.. Use promo code: BIG50 at checkout when you purchase a gift certificate and get $50 off. I'm also honoring the Black Friday $50 off sale on all trips booked by that Saturday. They can be scheduled for future dates, just mention code BIG50 when you book. Remember it's good through the 25th, one day after Black Friday. I Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with your friends and family. See you on the water soon!
Capt. Andrew Hammond