Learned an important lesson with Altamahajon this weekend...

Discussion in 'GEORGIA RIVERS TALK' started by Fivebraids, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Denise and I met up with Altamahajon and his wife Terri on Saturday morning to hit the river...in spite of the still really low water level. (Is if EVER gonna rain down here???)

    We hit a few spots up near Jaycee's to load up on some bream for bait. Thanks for sharing those spots Greg. Worms for bream are sure cheaper than those goldfish!!!

    Once we had bait, we started heading down river. Since Greg and Terri haven't been very far down river, we decided to take them quite a ways down. I'm not sure just how far we went, but I think Greg mentioned it was about 13-15 miles according to his GPS.

    We decided to turn around and start heading back up river, since we got into an area where the river widened out quite a bit and the water was only aroulnd 4-5 foot deep. Just a mile or two up river from there, we were in 10-12 foot of water with some nice deep holes around the outside of the bends in the river.

    We set up in a few of those nice deep holes and fished for a while. As others have posted in recent threads, the bite was REALLY slow, almost non-existant. I guess I was the lucky one since somewhere during the afternoon on Saturday, my clicker started going and I was able to boat a flatty that was about 6-8 pounds. Better than nothing, but certainly no monster!

    Unfortunately, that flatty was going to be the only we'd see all weekend.

    Just before dark, we went a little further back down river to a nice cove and loaded up a few more bream since we were planning to fish all night. With our bait buckets re-stocked, we headed back to a nice open sandbar we spotted during the day. (Open area is important since there are PLENTY of gators down that way and we really didn't want to have to deal with any surprise uninvited visitors during the night.)

    The water at the sandbar was pretty shallow so we all got out into the water and dragged the boats up so they'd be safely beached for the night. (Us getting into the water will come up again in a minute...)

    Greg and I setup camp, poles, etc., while Denise and Terri headed out to find some firewood. Once Denise had a nice little fire going, we all settled down to do some fishing. As I mentioned above, the bite was slow/dead. We were getting our bait be-headed or de-tailed. Turned out we were dealing with GAR having their way with our bait. I know because at one point we SAW about a three foot gar come up out of the water with MY BREAM in its mouth and I no longer had a hook on my line!

    Ok, so I said in the title that we learned an important lesson. Actually, we learned more than one lesson...

    The first lesson we learned was that we need to better scope out a sandbar before we decide to camp for the night. The actual sandbar we chose was fine. Unfortunately, the spot we chose ON the sandbar wasn't. The water was very shallow, and it stayed that way almost half way across the river. If we had done a better job of scoping things out, we would have discovered that there was a sharp dropoff in the river only a few hundred yards down from where we chose. Had we setup camp there, I think we would have had much better luck. At least I think so...

    Now for the REALLY REALLY important lesson we all learned this weekend...

    It's official...FALL IS HERE! Be sure to pack spare warm clothes..and be prepared for cold nights!!!

    The weather was gorgeous on Saturday...mid to uppers eighties, and nice and sunny. But...when that sun went down it got downright CHILLY. And recall that we were all in and out of the water, getting the boats beached, then getting supplies and such out of the boats, etc.

    What we learned is that 50 degree weather, coupled with soaking wet feet and pants legs makes for a MISERABLE night of fishing!!!

    And I mean we were miserable!!! Luckily, Denise had packed a Coleman stove and a coffee pot with our supplies. We really enjoyed the warmth of that coffee...but it was short lived. We also enjoyed that campfire, but it too was short lived. Denise and I got in the boat (wetting our shoes and pants again) and went across the river to try to break off some firewood to keep the fire going. Well, that was a good idea, but produced no more wood, so back across went...once again getting wet as we beached the boat.

    We all decided to save a little firewood for a small fire just before the sun came up...hopefully to take the edge off the night. We also saved the second gallon of water so Denise could make us a pot of coffee in the morning.

    What that meant is that the four of us spent the night on the bank shivering, complaining about the cold and lack of fish, and trying to get some shuteye. Oh yeah, Greg used his cell phone some time during the night and checked the weather. It was 54 degrees...but more importantly, it was 95% humidity! So, not only were we cold...we (and everything we had with us) was SOAKING WET!

    Around 6 or so Sunday morning, as dawn started to shed some light on us, Denise got the last pot of coffee going, while the rest of us got the fire going again.

    We must have been some sight...the four of us huddled around a tiny little fire, stomping our feet trying to get warm, while we sipped on steaming hot coffee.

    Once the sun started to come up, we realised there was some very heavy fog on the river, and there was no way we'd be able to navigate back up to the landing until it cleared a little. So, what else could we do but FISH as we packed up!

    After an hour or so of fishing, we still had NOTHING...but at least we were thawing out and weren't quite so miserable. We finally gave up, packed up the poles, pushed the boats back off the sandbar and headed back up river.

    It was pretty slow going since the river level had dropped even more over night. When we finally got back to Jaycee's, we saw that they had posted the level as 1.0 foot! We will NOT be going back on the river until it gets back up a little. Trying to find passable channels around some of those bends up near the landing became more of a challenge than we need!

    In spite of a freezing cold, wet night, all in all we had a very enjoyable time with our new friends Greg and Terri. We agreed that we'll have to go back out...as soon as the river comes up.

    Rest assured...we WILL be more prepared for the cold next time! :wink:

    Thanks Greg and Terri...
    - Marty n Denise -
     
  2. jolie

    jolie New Member

    Messages:
    828
    State:
    PA

    and up here in the North a night time temp of 55° is pretty toasty almost any time of the year:wink:

    I always dress so I'm nearly uncomfortably warm, cuz there aint anything worse than being cold and glued to watching two stationary poles...

    and you southern boys ought to come up here and try ICE fishing! often times the worse weather is a nice crisp day with alot of wind.... the ice partially melts in the weak sunshine , seeping towards your boots and clinging to your snowsuit. and when a bad, brisk breeze comes racing towards you, on a large lake (which in my neck of the woods in unblocked by the hills for nearly 50 miles when it comes from the north)!!

    whew, it honestly knocks the breath out of you Thats how cold it is. ICE fishing is about as cold as it gets:cool2::cool2::cool2:

    Frigid just thinking about it, Jason
     

  3. catman4926

    catman4926 New Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    State:
    Texas
    Thanks for a great story and reps to you.
     
  4. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    The problem with dressing uncomfortably warm when we set out is that it was almost NINETY degrees when we set out!

    As for 'real' cold, I know it all too well...having lived in South Dakota, Minneapolis, Upstate NY, etc. But we live down south...and we just weren't prepared the other night. Our bad! It won't happen again! :wink:

    - Marty -
     
  5. altamahajon

    altamahajon New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    Jesup, Georgia
    I had emailed Marty earlier to let him post our trip that we took since he writes better and is more detailed than I. We all had a great time, learned allot from navigation of the Altamaha during this low water level. Fishing is in awesome sport, hobbie and what other description you wish to give it. One thing for sure that I can say is Marty knows how read the waters.

    I will share this story with you. Going 14 miles down a river that I have never been down that far during one of the lowest levels that I have ever seen in the 25 plus years I have lived here. Working fire and rescue in this county for many years helping with dragging the river for body recovery from many of the lives from drownings this river has taken. I was never the navigator and did not know anything about it at that time just working the drags.

    Marty and Denise took the lead and we headed south. Through the many areas that were shallow, filled with stumps, trees down, deep areas with some swift in them making it difficult at times since the motors were tilted up so much and the props couldnt get a good bite on the waters to steer with. After making our trip down to numerous areas fishing, navigating and scouting areas out we stayed at the sandbars all night other than Marty and Denise going for fire wood.

    Heading out the next morning after some of the river fog lifted and burned off we navigated back.... Marty and Denise did not have a gps however I had my hand held and kept it running the whole time keeping track for future navigations. After getting back to the landing loading our boats on the trailers we hung around for a bit and discussed some our trip... One thing that brought up to Marty was I could not believe that 14 miles down and then staying over night and returning the next morning and looking back at the log file and tracks... I was amazed that and told Marty that he sure knew how to navigate and read the waters... Showing him on the monitor...... He was never more than 3-5 feet all the way back off course coming down and returning. With a river this size and low and dangerous as it is I have to say give Marty a huge THUMBS UP for the fantastic job he did on this trip.

    About the Cold..... there is dry cold and wet cold and sure makes alot of difference. After spending years in the service being all over this country, over seas in mulitple countries I have endured alot of cold but for some reason even with jackets on, sweat shirts, hats, jeans, socks and shoes when the temp is down along with damp dew points and humidity it makes your whole body wet and no way to stay warm with out more clothing and proper gear.

    Again it was a pleasure to make this trip with our new friends and look forward to doing it many more times. I think this makes it more pleasant than the cold. lol

    Greg AJ
     
  6. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,883
    State:
    Oconee
    50 degree in georgia sure does feel colder than 50 degree in michigan or ohio, or maybe i've just been down here too long. I haven't seen snow in three years, lol. Scouting an ideal sandbar there are a few things to look for, as proximity to a hole..and of course space to camp and line up a ton of rods. I like those sandbars on the inside of a narrow bend where you can cover the upside and downside of the bend easily. I saw a few down there at the gathering but all the mullet fisherman had them took. Once we get further into the fall the daytime bite gets really good....try it out. I probably won't be doing anymore overnighters this year.
     
  7. Plowboy411

    Plowboy411 New Member

    Messages:
    918
    State:
    Georgia
    thanks for the flashbacks. LOL:smile2:
    Brrrr
     
  8. bumper

    bumper New Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    State:
    Georgia
    Just think, in about 4 months it will only get up to around 55 during the day!
     
  9. altamahajon

    altamahajon New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    Jesup, Georgia
    Kinda like Bassmassey...... there will definitely be more day trips more than all nighters. lol
     
  10. ArmyCatfish

    ArmyCatfish New Member

    Messages:
    210
    State:
    Georgia
    wish i had been able to make it with you guys but like i told greg the money is tight maybe in a few weeks we can all get together and have us a real party complete with big flatties
     
  11. Cuda-Cada

    Cuda-Cada Member

    Messages:
    748
    State:
    Jacksonville, Fl.
    I spoke with Greg and he told me about your trip. I spent a lot of miserable nights on the river before I finally got the right clothes, boots together to be dry and warm on cold nights.
     
  12. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Oh yeah Bob,

    Miserable is right!

    Denise and I both 'have' the right sort of clothes, boots, etc. We just weren't prepared since we didn't think it would get that chilly that night. Almost ninety during the day, then drops to 50 at night.

    As I've already said, we WILL be prepared for our next night trip. I spent Monday cleaning the boat and removing everything we don't use. That'll give us extra space to stow spare dry clothes and such.

    We won't get caught off-guard again! :wink:

    - Marty -
     
  13. Fishmaster1203

    Fishmaster1203 New Member

    Messages:
    3,603
    State:
    PA
    Quote: "whew, it honestly knocks the breath out of you Thats how cold it is. ICE fishing is about as cold as it gets:cool2::cool2::cool2:"
    That's why we live in Georgia. :big_smile:
     
  14. smackover

    smackover New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    Georgia
    Great article. Got a chill as I read about your trip.

    Hope you will continue to post more of your adventures. As I read it, felt like I was there with you.

    Keep on writing them up !!
    Regards

    Smackover
     
  15. Fishmaster1203

    Fishmaster1203 New Member

    Messages:
    3,603
    State:
    PA
    Marty, you should write a book and title it "Catfishin' the Altamaha".
     
  16. altamahajon

    altamahajon New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    Jesup, Georgia
    See Marty I said that you write better than I.....lol:eek:oooh:

    He does write well and his descriptions are right on target.
     
  17. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Amen Paul! I've hopefully seen the last of snow and ice!

    Thanks for the kind words Glenn. I'm just trying to share with everyone on here in return for everything they've shared with all of us! Glad you like my ramblings...


    Again guys, thanks for the kind words.

    Paul, as for that book...I have A LOT more to learn and several monsters to pull out of that river before I'd feel qualified to write more than just my ramblings here on BOC.

    Then again, I could always just write a "Lessons learned while learning to catfish the Altamaha"...but I doubt anyone would want to buy it since I'm still learning. :roll_eyes:

    I'm glad to hear though, that enough people appreciate my ramblings, so I guess I'll keep them up.

    Thanks everyone...
    - Marty -
     
  18. Fishmaster1203

    Fishmaster1203 New Member

    Messages:
    3,603
    State:
    PA
    Hey Marty, are your poles big enough to handle that 90# flathead you're fixing to hook? :big_smile:
     
  19. r ward

    r ward New Member

    Messages:
    2,954
    State:
    Kathleen G
    Marty I can relate to the cold the Saturday night of the gathering me and Paul [Catfish commando] spent the night on his boat on that river going out it rained just enough to get us wet no coffee no fire and only 1 good bite and I did not boat him still the quite and the friendship that was there was worth every shivering minute but the next time a sweat suit may sneak in the boatLOL
     
  20. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Well Paul,

    I guess it'll be a good test of Steve (Catfish Safari)'s Flathead rods that I'm running now. I think they'll be up to it, but I guess we'll find out...:roll_eyes:

    Richard,

    Rain would have been the only other thing that could have made that night worse...but thankfully there was none.

    And as I said, I've cleaned out the boat to make room for more than just a sweatsuit! :wink:

    - Marty -