the Editor 26 June, 2006
Charlie's Excellent Adventure
Editor's note: In early April of
2006, John (SumterShoalieFan at GRF) and Charlie (Shoalieseeker)
took a week off from work and played around in some of middle
Georgia's best shoal bass rivers and creeks. John wrote an excellent
blow-by-blow account and they both did us all a favor by taking tons
of pictures and by releasing every fish they caught. Be sure to
check out all of Charlie's pictures down at the bottom!
Last week, Shoalieseeker and I took the
whole week off for fishing. We had this trip planned since the
beginning of the year. I did a similar trip this time last year and
plan to make it a yearly thing.
As I had to teach an ACLS class on Saturday, we couldn't begin until
Day 1: We started the trip on Sunday, but we didn't get to the
campground until after lunch. By the time we got our base camp set
up it was around 2:30pm so instead of doing a float, we just did a
little paddle up. We only managed a couple of 1-2lb largemouths. After a
couple of hours we called it quits so we would be well rested for
our first real float the next day.
Pic of the basecamp
Day 2: We decided to do a float on a small flow for the first day.
The weather was sunny but a bit chilly, so we both started the day
in our waders. The bite was really slow for the first half of the
float. I don't think we caught anything before lunch.
While we were enjoying a lunch of cold canned goods we started
talking about what we were doing wrong. After talking for a while,
we really couldn't think of anything. So, still pondering what to
do, I asked myself, "What would Shoalieman do?". The answer popped
into my head, "Shoalieman would throw the buzzbait".
After lunch we continued down the river. I started throwing my newly
tied on buzzbait. On about the 4th cast, something sucked it under and
I yelled out, "Fish on!". A few seconds later I landed about a 2lb
shoalie. That was enough to convince Sholieseeker, and he soon
followed suit. About 10 minutes later I cast the buzzbait into a
shallow pool that followed a small set of rapids and a good fish
took a swipe at it but missed. It was pretty cool as I watched it
come up and miss. The water was really clear. I cast back in the
same spot to see if she would come back and...blam, she hit it again
and this time I landed her. It was a 2-15 shoalie that culled 1oz
for me. About 5 minutes later another one sucked down the buzzbait.
This one was a 3-2 shoalie. Great, I thought, just culled off the
2-15 and 2 cullfish in 10 minutes is not bad action. The bite
continued to be pretty good the rest of the day, all on the buzzbait
for both of us but no more cullfish for day 1. Charlie and I both
caught around 12 fish but Shoalieseeker caught more than I did, a
trend that would continue all week. Not a bad day considering we
didn't catch anything before lunch. Shoalieseeker has all of the
photos for day 1 and will add them after this post.
Day 3: For our second float we decided to head over to the Flint.
The weather was a little warmer so we didn't bother with the waders
and started the day off in shorts. Again the day started off pretty
slow, but I think that was due more to the 2 guys that were really
hammering the shoals we were looking to fish. Charlie had already
caught 4 fish before I caught my first. Sometimes fishing with Shoalieseeker can make you doubt your fishing abilities. I finally
landed my first fish around 11:00am and it was a 3-6 shoalie,
another cullfish! Man, I was pumped.
Here's a pic of Charlie after lunch on Day 3
The fishing picked up as the day went on and we both caught lots of
quality 2-3lb shoalies, almost all on the stick bait but I did
manage 4 on the buzzbait. We ended up catching close to 30 fish
between us. Again, Shoalieseeker will have to post the pics from Day
Day 4: As we were pretty tired after 2 days on the river, we decided
to take it easy for day 3. We slept in to around 8 and had a nice
breakfast and we both took showers. We put in on the river after
lunch for a leisurely half day float. We both threw buzzbaits for
most of the day, but the bite was pretty slow. We managed a few
small redeyes and a few smaller shoalies until we got towards the
end of the float. Shoalieseeker was about 50 yards downstream from
me when I heard him yell that he had a nice fish. I paddled towards
him just in time to see him heft this nice 3-15 cullfish out of the
After we weighed, photographed and released the fish, I debated
about paddling back up to where I had been, but decided just to stay
where I was instead. Boy, was that the right decision. About 2 cast
later I landed this beauty.
Two cullfish, back to back. Man, that was an exciting 5 minutes!
Day 5: For Thursday we decided to try a stretch of river that no one
was doing. "No one is doing that, there's got to be some good fish
there"! Wrong, that stretch of river was awful and we caught mostly
small redeyes, but I did catch about a 2 1/2 lb shoalie.
Just thought I'd take a pause here to show ya'll some photos of some
of the redeyes that we caught throughout the week. They were really
aggressive and beautiful as well.
Day 6: For Friday we decided to hit the Ocmulgee. We wanted to hit
it all week, but the gauge at Jackson didn't really cooperate.
Turned out, we should have stayed away from the Ocmulgee as the
fishing was terrible. Kind of funny because the river really looked
great and the weather was absolutely beautiful with temps around 90.
I think we caught 7 fish between us all day.
Here's a pic of us cooling off
I can't remember what we had for dinner Friday night but we had hot
dogs several nights. That Shoalieseeker loves hotdogs almost as much
as he loves shoalies
Day 7: Saturday. As we were both really tired by this point, we
decided to just do a half day float and then pack it in so we could
have a day of rest before returning to work. Again we both threw the buzzbait a good bit, at least until we saw some bedding fish. We saw
several 3-4lb shoalies on the bed, but we couldn't catch any of them.
Some of the smaller ones were easier. Before some of ya'll become
alarmed, don't worry as we didn't harrass them very much and the
ones we did catch off the bed were quickly released without
photography and they returned straight back to the bed.
Both of us also were standing up and fishing out of the yak this
week. I'm sure Drew will be proud. Here's a pic of Shoalieseeker
After the float was about 3/4 of the way done, I decided to throw
only the buzzbait, even though I hadn't caught a single fish on the
buzzbait all day. All of my fish so far that day had come on the
J-11 and the worm. Just after a small set of rapids, I cast my
buzzbait into shallow water and started reeling. The hit came only
about 4 feet from the bank. She barely sucked it under, the hit was
very slight. After I saw it get sucked under and I felt a slight
tug, I set the hook hard. As my rod bent over I shouted, "Fish on!,
looks like a good fish....maybe a cullfish!". As I battled the fish
it got closer and I got a good look at it....."definitely a cullfish".
I horsed her a little, so when she got close to the yak she dove
under it and I got pretty nervous but I quickly brought her up and
then lipped her after only one attempt. As soon as I lifted her out
of the water I said to Shoalieseeker that she looked 5lbs, but she
was only 4-11.
Here I am doing my best Dennis-the-Fish-Menace imitation
Just a short while later, as I was still flying high with my heads
in the clouds and not really fishing, Charlie cast toward me and to
my right. I heard his buzzbait churning the water and then I heard
what sounded like a bowling ball hitting the water. I turned to look
and could see that Charlie had a good fish on. I got pretty exited
as I thought, "Could we cull back to back again?" Turns out it
wasn't a cullfish for Shoalieseeker but it was a very respectable
3-6 shoalie that turned out to be the last fish of the week.
It was one great week and I can't wait to do it again next year.
Shoalieseeker has already said he is in. I gotta tell ya'll that you
couldn't ask for a better fishing partner than Shoalieseeker if you
don't mind being out-fished because he is one heck of a fisherman
and a great guy to hang around the camp with and have a few cold
P.S. Shoalieseeker will be adding his pics and comments soon so make
sure you check back to see that because he has more pics than me