First all nighter on the Altamaha...

Discussion in 'GEORGIA RIVERS TALK' started by Fivebraids, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    First off, thanks to everyone that posted hints and tips and such in the threads I posted to ask questions. We listened to the advice and had a better time thanks to it!

    One of the things we did make a point of doing was getting new/better gear hoping that we were going to encounter larger flatties at night. Here's a link to the thread I posted in the Catfish Safari forum about our four new rod/reel combo's :wink: We also picked up a pair of Rayco headlamps that had red and white LEDs as well as a regular flashlight built in. Having the ability to turn on just the red light realy helped! The best thing is that Amazon had them on sale two for one!

    The next thing I have to say is we spent WAY TOO LONG on the river. Our original plan was to hit the river late Saturday afternoon, scout and maybe catch a few channels for the fryer, then spend the night. Well, it was such a nice day on Saturday that Denise and I decided to get on the water around 9 Saturday morning. We didn't get the boat out of the river until noon on Sunday...and boy were we tired! :eek:oooh:

    Now on to the fishing...

    We started out fishing for channels since it was early in the day. We were using shrimp, livers, and a goldfish or two. Around noon, Denise gets a hard tug on one of her lines and the clicker starts buzzing. She sets the hook and to my amazement pulls out a small flatty:

    First CF Flatty.jpg

    Like I said in that other thread, it's no monster, but it IS a flatty. And she caught it around HIGH NOON...and on a shrimp! :confused2:

    In the next few hours we added half a dozen more fish...three large eels, and three decent channels. We decided it was getting late enough that we should head back to the ramp to retrieve our firewood, folding chairs, and the rest of the gear we brought for a night on the bank.

    On the way back up river to the ramp we noticed a jonboat floating downriver with a guy sitting in the back tuggin and tuggin on his outboard. He was obviously having a hard time, so we pulled up next to him and his girlfriend and asked if we could lend a hand. Turns out he's a soldier back from Iraq less than two weeks, on the river with an older used boat he JUST bought, and the motor died!

    He explained all this and asked what I'd charge him to tow him back to the ramp. I did the only right thing and told him it would be OUR PLEASURE to tow him back...and that his money was no good to us. About an hour later (he was stranded a few miles down from the ramp) we had him and his girlfriend safely back up to Jaycee's landing and watched as he fought the boat up onto his trailer. I think the abundant Coors he drank was making the task a little harder than it should have been...but that's a whole other story! :tounge_out:

    So, we loaded up our firewood, etc., and headed back down to the sandbar just down past the plant. Luckily the wind was working on our side and we didn't smell the plant all night. We set up camp, Denise lit the fire while I set up our four poles in some quick-n-dirty rod holders I made:

    P1020302.jpg

    I took 2' lengths of some 2" EPVC I had in the shop, cut the ends at a 45 degree angle and hammered them in the sand. They held up great all night, were free, and left no damage when we pulled them up.

    Here's the bad news...we only caught (if I remember correctly) two more channels from the bank. It seems our goldfish bait were pretty smart. As soon as we'd cast them out, they'd run down into the very high grass along the botton and hide. Some of them hid so well they got tangled up and we couldn't even get them back in to cast again! :embarassed:

    As I mentioned, we caught a few eels, and I remember reading on here that they're good for bait so we decided to cut one up and see what happened. Well, something liked it for sure since it was getting hit on a lot. I don't know if the toughness of the eels, the kaehle hook, or the size of the chunk we put on was to blame, but we failed to set the hook once! We had several hard bites and runs on the eel, but not one fish to shore to show for it! It was probably our lack of skill...:roll_eyes:

    Just before sun-up we decided to motor across the river from the sandbar where we know there are a few really deep holes to see if our luck would improve. What we found has us baffled. There was "something" down there that was "gutting" the goldfish without even moving our lines. We'd pull up a goldfish since all movement stopped and we'd find that something had litteraly eaten the stomach and inside of the head clean!!! The rest of the fish was untouched...just the underside of the fish was gone!!! I should have taken a picture...it might help someone identify was doing this damage to our bait! Anyway, we did this a few more times without getting any serious bites and decided it was a waste of our time and bait, so we went back across, packed up, drowned out the fire and cleaned up camp.

    We were planning to head to the ramp and call it a night...but we had half a dozen goldfish left and didn't want to waste them...

    We fished until noon, when we finally ran out of goldfish, and the heat and lack of sleep got the better of us...and headed home.

    Here's what we learned from this trip:

    1. Forget the firewood and other camping gear if we want to catch fish
    2. Or...find a different sandbar...not bordered in heavy grass,
    3. Or...Fish from the boat
    4. Most importantly...Don't spend over thirty hours on the river in one trip!

    Thanks again to everyone that helped with tips and ideas. And sorry about the length of this post...it was a long night...

    - Marty n Denise -
     
  2. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    Thanks for a great post! I really enjoy a detailed post that puts me right there on the water with you.

    In the spirit of maybe helping to make you next trip even better, I'll offer my opinion on a couple of bits:
    The damage to your goldfish sounds exactly like what crabs will do. I know, though, from what you said that you were quite a ways up river. It surprises me that the crabs would be that far up, but maybe somebody that fishes the area more will know if that's possible.

    Other will likely disagree on this, but I feel that when you set up on a sandbar with the fire and chairs and all, you trade comfort for fish catching ability. You can catch fish from the sandbar, but I prefer to fish from the boat, and I move every 30 minutes to an hour if I'm not catching fish. Since you sound like you are fairly new to the river this is a good and bad idea: bad because it can be dangerous driving around at night if you don't know the area real well, good because you are still learning the good spots and moving will speed up that learning process - trying more spots will help to find good ones faster.

    Also, when fishing from the bank you almost have to cast across the current, which will tend to drag your sinkers and rigs some and result in two things - 1) it's harder to get the baits where you want them and keep them there, and 2) you get snagged more. I prefer to anchor directly upstream of the spot I want to fish and cast straight down to it, that way the current doesn't drag the rigs around.

    I have never fished with goldfish. Why not catch some sunfish while you're on the river and use those for livebaits?

    Hope my 2 cents worth is helpful. Congrats on a good trip and good luck next time.
     

  3. Sultan of Slime

    Sultan of Slime New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    GA
    Here's rig that will keep your live baits off the bottom and out of the grass.

    Here's another that shows how to rig those eel heads.A nice circle hook through the bottom lip works for me.

    And here is a nice spot you should try just upriver from the Uvalda boat ramp.
    Those old pier pilings always hold some nice cats!!


    Jonathon
     

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  4. Fishmaster1203

    Fishmaster1203 New Member

    Messages:
    3,603
    State:
    PA
    A+ on the effort buddy and it sounds like ya'll had a great time. I first started fishing on the Altamaha with my uncle and cousins, who are from Jesup, when I was just a kid. Have'nt been there in a long time but hope to get back down that way soon. Great post!
     
  5. Cuda-Cada

    Cuda-Cada Member

    Messages:
    751
    State:
    Jacksonville, Fl.
    What a great post! Thanks for sharing the story of your trip.
    I believe John was right, sounds like you had some problems with crabs. When the water is as low as it was the crabs do travel up that far.
    Were you using the eels whole? I know when I have used eels and got bit hard, but no fish, it was either a gar or a channel.

    -Bob
     
  6. red1691

    red1691 New Member

    Messages:
    84
    State:
    Meldrim, Ga.
    Great post!! Hope you catch more, with what you learned the next time! Keep up the posts!!! Thanks for your info. I'll have to give the over night cats a try soon, I hope. Thanks Ricky
     
  7. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Never thought about crabs, but that sounds possible...
    John, I can't agree with your more...as evidenced by items 1) and 3) in my list of what we learned. It was nice having the comfort of camping chairs, and the nice fire...but we went to catch fish! Those chairs and firewood are staying home on our next night trip!

    We 'normally' find a hole and move just upriver from that and anchor. Fishing from that sandbar was new to us, and it's something we probably won't do again.

    As for using goldfish...I actually brought along two ultralight rigs and planned to fish for bream to use as bait...but goldfish was so much easier! It'll probably be bream next time!

    Thanks...

    Thanks for the rigging ideas. We'll keep them both in mind for next time.

    As for the Uvalda boat ramp, it never occurred to us to put in that far upriver, since everything we've read says that the majority of flatties are caught downriver from Jaycee's landing.

    Also, the Uvalda ramp is listed as being managed by the Georgia WRD. It's not restricted in any way like the WRD PFA's are, is it?

    Thanks for the post...

    Well Bob, that's a second vote for crabs eating our bait...sounding more likely...

    As for the eels, we (Denise) cut them into about two inch chunks and fought the tough pieces on a kaehle hook. Like I said, they were getting hit, hard and fast, but it seemed impossible to get any sort of hook set...even making sure the hook was completely exposed.

    Thanks again to everyone...
    - Marty n Denise -
     
  8. Sultan of Slime

    Sultan of Slime New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    GA
    No Uvalda boat ramp is open to use anytime.
    From the boat ramp up there is some nice structure.

    Also at the confluence of the ocmulgee and oconee rivers there is a good deep hole to catch some big channels out of.Throw your anchors out onto the rip rap below the house on the point.Throw towards the ocmulgee and tighten up your lines and wait.There is alot of current down there so you need at least 3oz's of weight to keep your bait down.
     
  9. Sultan of Slime

    Sultan of Slime New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    GA
    Here this may help a little better.Put your boat on the X and make sure your baits end up on the Bullseye.


    Good Luck.
     

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  10. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,883
    State:
    Oconee
    damn s.o.s.......I've been wanting to fish where the rivers come together in a bad way...It's about 2 hours south from me................as far as more fish being caught near the jessup area......my answer for that is there are simply more fisherman fishing that stretch of river, of course if there's more fisherman there's gonna be more fish caught. There's flatheads thick all the way up the altamaha, the ocmulgee, and the oconee.
     
  11. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,883
    State:
    Oconee
    that would be a heck of a spot to camp from too.....! who wants to go spend a couple days on the river ?? no joking
     
  12. Sultan of Slime

    Sultan of Slime New Member

    Messages:
    40
    State:
    GA
    In 2007 & 2008 have finished in the top 10 twice (6th & 10th)in the BPS tourney on the altamaha. That stretch of river has helped out a lot.I went up while everyone else wasted the day riding down to jesup and back up.

    Not blowing my own horn just showing that that stretch of river Produces.
     
  13. altamahajon

    altamahajon New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    Jesup, Georgia
    Great report on the river trip. Hated that we couldnt get down there with yall. Daughter is doing well after surgery and is at home doing fine.

    I saw for my own eyes just a couple weekends ago with Armycatfish ..... when he reeled in the weight and current sure made him think there was on there. When it come in about 20 feet from being pulled up we saw that it was a very large crab. I myself would have never thought they would have traveled up the river as mentioned before.

    Yep there are lots of lessons to be learned and I myself have been in the same boat with ...... if your going to fish then fish and leave the comfort at home.....lol. We have loaded the boat down and get where your going and try to set up and fish and relax and all the other duties and responsibilities esp when you have others with you in the family and have to set up for them too...makes it a job and a half.

    Maybe next time..... just glad you made it home safely. Also Cudos to you for being there in need for a good deed. I would have done the same thing.

    Greg AJ
     
  14. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,883
    State:
    Oconee
    who would be interested in camping out for 2 nights right there where the two rivers come to form the altamaha? sometime in the next month or two so we can catch the fall feed would be great......we can live off of canned beans, hot dogs, and budweiser.......and if things get realy bad we will surely have plenty of bream.......I'm talking about getting as many folks that wanna go and lining up 20 or so rods.........I'm down if just one of ya say heck ya....but the more the merrier.
     
  15. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Glad your daughter is doing well Greg!

    Yet another vote for crabs...weird!

    And yeah, fishing beats comfort from now on! :wink:

    - Marty -
     
  16. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Aaron,

    I'm not up for the two day trip, but I sure am planning to hit that area.

    Thanks S.O.S. for the tip!

    You might wanna start a new thread to see if there's interest in the longer trip...instead of having the question buried near the end of my little trip story...

    - Marty -
     
  17. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Denise and I decided to run by the Uvalda ramp (actually Town's Bluff Landing as it's now known) today on our way home from Jaycee's landing.

    We saw the bridge you were referring us to but we have to know...how the heck does a person get up there? The water level is SOOOO low that there was only one boat able to launch today and that was an AIR BOAT!

    Denise wanted me to launch our boat and take a quick trip up the the confluence just to see the lay of the river. I just wasn't comfortable trying it without watching someone else launch and navigate that water. The ramp appears to dump right into a shallow swift channel, and then there's a big wide sandbar right in the middle as soon as you get into the water. And from the looks of things, from the ramp upriver it's a series of alternating sandbars right in the middle of the river.

    I guess we'll have to go back and watch others launch and run up river before we try it for ourselves.

    Thanks for the tip and map though. We'll get up there some day...hopefully soon!

    - Marty -