Hard to believe another year has passed. In the month of January, look for the striped bass fishing on Lanier to be very dependent on the weather. If the weather stays somewhat warm the fishing will be hot. If the ice or an extended cold front with a week of sub freezing weather shows up, look for the striper fishing to slow down. The good news is find the large pods of bait and the creeks and the fish will bet there. They have no reason to leave the food. Their metabolism will slow down but they will still eat. Pay attention the lunar charts and the weather.
Several patterns will develop in January. In a nutshell, you can slow your presentation down with live bait, jig spoons, or pull umbrella rigs for reaction strike. With the live bait, continue to use the downline like last month. Rig up a Penn Squall 20 Linecounter reel with Trilene 15 pound Big Game Line and pair it with a Shakespeare Medium Light Striper Rod. On the end, tie a Capt. Mack Swivel Sinker and a 5 foot leader of Trilene 100% 15 pound Flourocarbon and a size 1 Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap hook on the end. The Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap Hook is small but it will get more bites. If the bite is tough, try using a smaller flourocarbon leader. Many times we use a 10 pound Trilene 100 % Flourocarbon leader. Every day is different and be prepared to make the changes. On the small Gamakatsu hook, you will need a live herring or a small rainbow trout. Drop the bait on the large schools of bait in the creeks. Good electronics are crucial. You have to be able to see the bait on the graph. On the Humminbird Onix Series you can see the sinker right on the graph and the herring swimming around the sinker.
Another option is the jiggin spoon. The most popular spoons on Lanier are the Berry’s Flex – It Spoon and the Capt Mack Jiggin Shad. All the sizes and colors work at the appropriate time. The most popular being the .6 SIlver Foil Flex-It and the 1/2 ounce Capt. Mack Jiggin Shad in White Silver. Work the spoon in a yo-yo motion along the bottom around the schools of bait. Here again, you will see the spoon on Humminbird Onix jigging on the bottom.
One other thing on artificials. If you see fish rolling on the surface pull out a Spro Prime 1/4 ounce bucktail jig. In the cold water, stripers always fall for a small white Prime bucktail slowly swimming by them. This will most likely happen on the cold cloudy days. You may also catch a monster spotted bass.
If the fish become even more dormant, go to the Capt. Mack Umbrella Rig. The three ounce rig is most popular with chartreuse trailers. The technique takes some practice. Watch the instructional videos on Youtube under Catching Not Fishing to save you money. Also buy a Jerry Hester Umbrella Retriever. You also need a proper rod and reel. The Shakespeare Medium Lite Tiger Rod is a great option paired with a Penn Squall 30LW spooled with 40 pound Trilene Big Game line. Some people prefer 120 pound braid as another option. You need a heavy duty reel for this technique or the reel will not last. Go with the Penn Squall 30 LW. Once you master the basics of this technique fish will be flopping all over you boat, It is not uncommon to hook up multiples on the Capt. Mack umbrella rig. Great month to be on the water with no skiers and cruisers. See you on the water,