We're heading for the river at dawn, despite the low levels...

Discussion in 'GEORGIA RIVERS TALK' started by Fivebraids, Sep 19, 2008.

  1. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    If anyone's interested, we're heading for Jaycee's in the morning. The river level is WAY down, but we pretty much know what/where to avoid so we're headin out anyway. Maybe we can hook up with a fellow cat-fiend or two...

    - Marty -
     
  2. BassMassey

    BassMassey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,883
    State:
    Oconee
    I would like to try to get down that way sometime this fall or early winter......watchout for that sand, just don't try to cut any corners...lol
     

  3. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Let us know when you come down this way. We'd luv to meet up with ya.

    We'll be watching out for sand...and all those hidden trees...:wink:

    - Marty -
     
  4. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    As expected, the water was LOWWWWW...

    We got on the water around 7am, and started heading downriver. We got down past Dicks Swift and were approaching that really shallow channel that leads to the deeper water, when we see a bass boat tied off in some downed trees at the beginning of that channel. We slowed way down, both for them and because I knew what we were about to try to navigate. Well, when we got close enough, it was apparent these bass guys were having issues and not just fishing some bass-likely spots.

    Turns out these two guys were in a bass tournament that launched from the Altamaha Fish Camp landing. That's almost THRITY MILES down river...and these guys were in a fiberglass bass boat with a big motor on the back!!! How they made it as far as they did is a whole other topic!!!

    Anyways, they explained that they struck the sandbar leading into the channel they were at the end of (they were heading upriver towards Jaycees), and right after they got off the sandbar, the water pump alarm in their boat started sounding so they tied off where we found them.

    Well, as some of you might remember from our recent posting, we help folks that need it, and this was no different. We told them we'd be happy to tow them back to Jaycee's (no way was I gonna tow them almost 30 miles back down river). They said that would work since they had friends near Jessup that could help get their tow vehicle to Jaycee's.

    So we grabbed their rope, tied it to the cleat on the back of our boat and...it sure ain't as easy towing an 18' loaded bass boat with two guys it as it was a stripped 14' jon boat with a G.I. and his G/F in it!!! Our little 14' jon and 30hp motor struggled for the over four mile trip back up. It took a LONNNGGG time to get back, but we made it.

    Actually, we made it to within a mile of the landing when the owner of the bass boat started hootin' and hollerin' to get us to stop. Seems that us towing them (with their motor in the water) was enough to flush out the sand in their lower end and their motor was once again happy with a steady stream coming out of it!

    We tried to talk them into letting us take them the remaining distance to the landing, but they insisted they were fine so off they went back to bass fishing! We saw them much later heading back downriver to their landing, so I guess their motor was indeed fine!

    Ok, so now that we'd lost the first few hours of the morning...

    We started heading back down river. When we got to that little skinny water channel, I started taking a very close look at the lay of things...recalling what JAinSC said about fishing that main 'fish traffic corridor'. Well, fishing it wasn't an option since the deepest area is just over two foot, and there's so much debris, trees, stumps, etc., in it that we'd loose anything we cast! Maybe when the water level rises a bit I'll give it a second look.

    Once we made it through that tricky run, we headed off to the deeper waters. We continued a few miles past Cole and Doe Eddy's where we spent the night recently. The river isn't quite as wide down there, but that translates into deeper water...and we like deeper water...

    We found a few really deep holes, 18'-20' and decided to try a few. There's lots of cover in the holes, which is good and bad...good since it gives the flatties cover...bad since it means lots of snags and potential lost rigs!

    I lost the first goldfish and rig I cast out into the hole. I think it was on my second cast of a nice large goldfish, my clicker wailed and I knew I was gonna have my hands full. I have no idea how big that flatty was since I never got it to the boat, but boy-o-boy did it pull once I set the hook! I'm using my new Catfish Safari Flathead rod...8' M/H action...and that fish took off running and had that rod doubled over pointing at the water!!! Kudos to Steve for making a good rod!

    Anyways, I fought that fish for maybe five minutes, getting it a little closer to the boat then it'd take off running and I mean running. At one point, it started coming towards the boat so I started reeling like mad, but then it took a hard turn and pulled like it hadn't before and POOF...it broke my line! I suspect it ran under some cover and that's what broke the line, since that Ande' 50 lb test is some strong stuff!

    We tried for about an hour more in the various holes in that area and started making our way back up river, stopping to fish along the way. Unfortunately, that monster...whatever size it was...was the ONLY fish of the day. Denise and I both got skunked!

    At the end of the day, we were about a mile from the landing when my cell rings and it's Greg (Altamajon). We were hoping he'd be able to meet up with us and head out to fish, but timing was against us. Anyway, I explain how the day went...starting with towing an 18' bassboat 4+ miles.

    I hang up with Greg and round one of the final turns on the way to the landing and see something bright yellow floating in amongst the downed trees. Turns out it was a young guy on a dead Seadoo! He had no anchor, no rope, and no hope of doing anything but drifting towards land...after being a human pinball bouncing off every tree in his path.

    Yup, we got out the rope and towed him to the landing! (At least that was way easier than that big ole' bass boat!!!)

    Denise and I are wondering if we need to change "Here Fishy Fishy" we have stenciled on both side of our boat to "Denise and Marty's Marine Towing" :confused2:

    Thanks for reading my ramblings...and hopefully we'll get back out there soon and I'll get a picture of that monster that broke my line!

    - Marty -
     
  5. Cuda-Cada

    Cuda-Cada Member

    Messages:
    751
    State:
    Jacksonville, Fl.
    Sorry you didn't catch the monster you had on the line. You will catch one soon. Towing those fellows back was first class. It will come back to ya...
     
  6. puddle jumper

    puddle jumper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,507
    State:
    NW.Georgia
    Marty ,
    You are a good man indeed,,, thanks for helping all those folk out, it can be rough stranded on the river without a way back to the ramp, "been there done that" :wink: but it sounds like you are getting the flattys dialed in,, keep up the chace and im sure it will pay off for you...
    Puddle...
     
  7. altamahajon

    altamahajon New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    Jesup, Georgia
    Well we put in JC around 7 a.m. this morning and headed south..... found this great little honey hole to get bait bream.... we were catching 1 per minute and some even less as soon as the cricket or worm hit the water they popped it. We got us around 12-15 hand picking them putting the real small ones back. There were some bigger than the palm of your hand but put them back as well and kept the medium size ones.

    Once we caught enough bait fish we headed south not quite to Dicks Swift and fished multiple spots approx 8 of them from there back to the wall at the mill around the rocks. Not a bite. Gar was bad and tearing everything up.

    We left from the wall and went up river some just past the floating dock and tall stairway to a house up top. Tried a couple of places there.

    We were bombarded by boats and ski doo's from an apparent church group of sometype pulling kids on floats and giving rides.

    We had been on the water all day....started to sprinkle some not catching anything all day leaves you drained. It sure makes a difference when your catching something. lol

    Marty, got to hand it to you Sir, like Bob and everyelse has said... you de man and it will someday come back to ya. Just know this.. if you are ever on the water and having trouble down this way just call me...

    As far as the ski doo guy..... those today were yellow and getting it... I am thinking this guy was wearing a straw type near cowboy hat.... It was running fine today.

    Hope everyone has had a great week. Didnt catch anything but had a blast with my bride.
     
  8. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Thanks for the kind words Bob. I don't know about 'first class'...it was simply 'the right thing' to do!

    Funny you should mention it coming back to me. All three of the folks we've towed in the last few weeks INSISTED on us taking money from them. We FLAT OUT REFUSED all three offers. We told them all to "pay it forward". The G.I. and the see-doo'er didn't get it without an explanation, but the bass'ers did. I guess it's not too popular a concept with some of the younger generation...a real shame that is!

    I'm a firm believer in 'ya gets what ya gives' in this world. I'll keep helping/towing others as long as I'm able!




    Yup Puddle...that's exactly what comes to mind when Denise and I see one of these folks hopelessly floating down river, or tied off in the trees. If we got stranded, it sure would be nice for someone to come to our aid. Hopefully it won't happen, but if/when it does maybe our efforts will come back to us!

    As for them flattys, I'm STILL annoyed about that monster breaking my line. I'm even more determined now to get back out there and get back into them! I *WILL* be posting a pic of a new PB soon...and so will Denise! LOL!





    Dang Greg, maybe we can work out a deal. I'll take you down to some of the promising deep holes way down river...and you share a bream hole or two with us! Buying them goldfish is getting too expensive as often as Denise and I are going out! :wink:

    Thanks for your offer Greg. Hopefully we'll be calling you to join us for fishing, not to come help us out :wink:

    As for the 'yellow peril', I can just imagine they were 'gettin it'. THe guy we rescued yesterday was in his late teens, early twenties and just had that look to him. If that thing was running, I could see him buzzin past us a few times just to annoy us! :roll_eyes:

    Glad you had a good time...in spite of suffering the same 'skunk' Denise and I did.




    Hey Greg, it's kinda early for plans, but whatcha doing this coming weekend? Wanna go out and get us some flattys? Anyone else up to join us?

    - Marty -
     
  9. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    great report, thanks for the post
     
  10. cbblizard

    cbblizard New Member

    Messages:
    1
    State:
    GA
    Marty,

    I have enjoyed reading about your recent experiences on the Altamaha. My wife and I had really been looking forward to fishing the river for some time, and we finally got a chance last weekend for a couple of hours. We live in Richmond Hill.

    I recently sold my 14ft skiff for a 19ft Carolina Skiff. It has a 115 and a shallow draft, but when we went to Jaycee's a week ago not knowing just how low the river was, we found that the water level was just too low to launch our 19ft beast. We somehow made our way down to Altamaha Park by driving down there, which I believe is where the guys with the bass boat you towed were from. We actually got into some channel cat action down there for about an hour that night, but we didn't come prepared for the bugs and called it quits around 9:30 p.m. My wife caught all of the fish, but that's probably because as soon as I'd get one off her line, and she'd cast back out, she would have another one on for me to take off. HA!

    Anyway, we recently moved from NC and have never really done much fishing for flatties. We have made several trips to Santee, SC, and of course fished the rivers in NC where we usually did pretty good with blues and channels. I would very much be interested in meeting up with you sometime, especially when the water rises a bit. I could use some pointers on the best places to try and the best methods since we've never really pursued the flatties down there, and you and your wife seem to be pretty passionate about it. My wife and I are certainly passionate about our catfishing.

    Please let me know if the water levels improve or if there is some sort of alternative to doing some good fishing around the Jaycee's area. Take care and good luck with the towing service.

    - Chris

     
  11. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper New Member

    Messages:
    1,492
    State:
    Dallas, GA
    Thanks for sharing the story. It's good to know there are folks like you out on the river. I hope you get that jumbo Flathead next weekend!
     
  12. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    Messages:
    1,514
    State:
    South Carolina
    Thanks for the story and for doing the right thing to help out those in need. I hope I never need the help, but chances are we all will sooner or later, and I hope somebody as generous as yourself is around when I do.

    I know what you mean about the channel being shallow and too stumps to fish. Sometimes good theories just don't work out on the water. Is there a place, though, that it starts to open into deeper water at the bottom? Is there someplace where you could set up on one end of the channel?
     
  13. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Chris,

    First off, WELCOME to the BOC! :wink:

    You now see what I mean in the title of this thread about the water level being low, huh? It was so bad this past weekend that I was glad to have a bilge pump on our boat. As Denise was backing me down into the water, water started coming in over the transom!!! :eek:oooh:

    Launching a 19' skiff would probably be all but impossible. And to make matters worse the current forecast is for the water level to be LOWER by this coming weekend! That's NOT good news!

    I'm flattered that you think we might be able to give you some pointers as to where to fish on the Altamaha. But if you've been reading our posts, you'll see that we're pretty new too. We've only been on that river maybe a few dozen times. But we are DEDICATED and DETERMINED to find them monsters...and we're getting better every time we set out!

    So you and your wife put in at Altamaha Park, huh? Funny you should menton that since I just got off the phone with 'Peggy' at the baitshop there, trying to find out what the water level there is. She didn't know, so I dug around and found it here: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02226160&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062

    6.78 feet of water sure beats less than one and a half foot which is where Jaycee's is!!!

    Based on this new information, Denise and I just talked about this coming weekend. We had been planning to put in at Jaycee's and struggle down river...but now we're thinking about just heading to Altamaha Park and heading UP river!

    Maybe you can help us out for this weekend...

    What can you tell us about that landing and section of the river?
    What sort of parking provisions are there?
    Was the lot full when y'all went there?
    How wide is the river at the landing?
    Did you go upriver or down from there?
    Assuming you have a fishfinder on your new 'beast', what sort of levels/depths did you find?

    Heck, if you and your wife are available this coming Saturday, maybe we can get together and learn about that stretch of the river together...?

    Thanks in advance for whatever you can share...
    - Marty -


    Oh, and hey Greg, if you're interested in learning with us, let us know. It's not that much further away from you. We're thinking even if it's not as productive, at least we won't be strugglin with all that skinny water up near Jessup!
     
  14. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    John,

    I have by no means ruled out that channel. I really like the idea that it's a fish corridor that all good sized fish use to move up and down river. There is in fact a much deeper section where that channel ends. Denise and I have fished that area before, but we were targeting (and catching) channels.

    Once the water level rises a bit, I think we'll be reporting back to you on the success we've had there!

    Thanks again...
    - Marty -
     
  15. altamahajon

    altamahajon New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    Jesup, Georgia
    Well first of all Chris Welcom to the BOC. Marty I have been to Altamaha Park. It is a nice place and good folks running the bait store. Plenty of parking, camping areas. Some repairs were going on to one of the boat landings last time I was down there. I have been there only once when we all met for the Ga. Gathering there a few months ago.

    One thing for sure is that area of the river is tidal waters down there and it gets low.... you really have to pay attention to the tables so that you dont end up grounded on a sandbar somewhere till the tide comes back in. Also around the landing area can be very tricky when going out or coming in and especially down stream. I dont suggest going down stream with that size skiff unless you are real familiar with those waters.

    I would love to go this weekend but we have prior commitments unless plans change on that. I will get a hold of you if plans change.

    Greg AJ
     
  16. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Thanks for the info Greg,

    I assumed that area was 'tidal' given the daily changes in the river level:

    Altamaha Park Tidal.jpg

    But from the looks of things it's not all that drastic, and there seems to be 'enough' water to manuever around.

    As for going downriver, that's not what I had in mind. I was thinking we'd head UP river a good ten miles or so and wind up not all that far from where we were this past weekend...10 miles south of Jaycees.

    Do you think that would be all right?

    Oh, and sorry to hear our timing to get together with you and your bride is once again OFF! :confused2:

    - Marty -
     
  17. altamahajon

    altamahajon New Member

    Messages:
    151
    State:
    Jesup, Georgia
    Marty, IMO you may be better going to Paradise Park and putting in there...... it is around 7 miles from Paradise Park going up river. To my brothers river cabin....... it is 14 miles south of Jaycee....... To navigate from Altamaha Fish Camp would be nearly 32 plus river miles by looking at my map and talking with my brother.

    Going north of Altamah Fish camp there are some very shallow grounds just up from the first set of power lines to Barringtons Landing which is approx. 5 miles north of Alt Fish Cmp. It is 15.5 miles from AFC to Paradise Park cut off. then another 1.4 up thru a small creek to the camp.

    Hope this helps ya out.... I can give you directions to Paradise Park if you want them and a couple of river maps I have made from Google Earth. I use a program called Print Key and Google Earth. This allows me to hit the print screen on what ever I am looking at on the monitor at the time and turns it into a tiff, bmp or jpg format picture.. I can then save it, print it out....add way points etc to the picture using Google and it will show on the printed map. Great tool. Google earth also does line and path mileage estimates using lines that you draw for your directions etc.

    Enough rambling. I can send you print key.... it is a small program and works well with any program.

    Greg
     
  18. doodlebug188

    doodlebug188 New Member

    Messages:
    42
    State:
    ga.
    their not to many MARTYS AROUND ANYMORE never met the man would like to one day.
     
  19. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Wow Greg, THANKS!

    I do something similar with Google Earth, but I just use the PrintScreen key and past the image into Photoshop. Once in PS, I can do what I want with the images.

    I'm sure you're right about the distance from AFC up to Jaycee's, and you're probably right about putting in at Paradise Park...especially if there's more shallow stuff headin up river from AFC!

    Time to consult Google Earth more closely and get some sense of where things are.

    Thanks again!
    - Marty -
     
  20. Fivebraids

    Fivebraids New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Georgia
    Heck Billy,

    If you knew me, you'd be GLAD there aren't too many more of me around! :smile2: :roll_eyes::wink:

    Don't know where you are in GA, but Denise and I are planning to attend the gathering at Occonee next month. Drop by there and you'll be able to form your own opinion! :wink:

    - Marty -