It's fishing day on Lakeview Landing Lanier!
As I awoke naturally from a sound night rest at Lakeview Landing Lanier I am overwhelmed with the anticipation of the day. It's our first morning at the lake house and the plans are set for a spectacular day. The boat rental and tubing with friends is everyone’s favorite, but there is no better way to start the day than what I had upon me: a beautiful sunrise over the cove, a fresh cup of coffee and most importantly two amazing children eager to “land a big one”. Lake Lanier is famous for striped bass fishing which we have found to be quite elusive. We talked about fishing for stripers all week, the stage was set.
Fishing Lake Lanier can captivate my children and I for hours. “Fish on” is heard loudly and often. It seems like we have to research a new species every time out. Last time it was a silver fish with black spots, shaped like a blue gill and 12 inches in length. It was quite an unexpected catch from the kayak. From the dock I handed my son a rod with a small paddle tail swimbait. Almost as soon as the lure hit the water, “Fish On!”. Surprisingly for such little line having been out, it was a challenge for him to reel in because the drag was set so lightly. It threw us for a loop because it didn’t have the color of a blue gill or crappie, yet didn’t have the shape of a bass or perch, all common fish in Lake Lanier. Later that day as we were relaxing back at the house we searched it out in our fish guide (Ken Schultz’s Field Guide to Freshwater Fish) and discovered it was a white bass. It didn’t quite have the traditional bass-like shape, but at 12 inches in length, 2 planks, it had good size and was a very exciting catch from the fishing kayak.
It’s a short walk from the house to the dock. My son, daughter and I were armed with coffee, juice, and worms. The rods and reels are provided in a shed at the dock. Worms are key when fishing with kids, you are almost guaranteed fast and frequent action. Live bait is always best and my son has a minnow trap he leaves in the water that does surprisingly well. He pulls it up and sure enough several small fish. We set the bait, worms and minnow on various rods and we are set.
The kids love to fish the shallows for crappie, its “Fish On!” as soon at it hits the water. I am insistent on going for the channel catfish that are very common, large and put up a strong fight. It requires being more patient and casting some worms into the deeper part of the cove, off the front of the dock. When fishing with the minnows, we have a lot of luck dropping the lines right around and under the dock where large fish harbor.
“Fish On!” she says. The first crappie has been landed followed by “Fish On!” and another crappie. The kids are catching and releasing crappie pretty consistently, flying through the worms. Some think the are called “crappie” because of their small size, but it doesn’t matter to a child, all fish are exciting! We did however learn quickly to portion the worms by cutting them in halves and thirds, especially when fishing crappie. We’ll use full worms when seeking out catfish and bass.
Now its my time, “Fish On!” and the kids drop their crappie rods and scurry to the front of the dock. “Dad let me have it?!” I relinquish the battle to my son who arrived first. “It’s a big one! Get the net!” he says. You really get everyone’s attention when you request ‘the net’. He battles and the fish surfaces… the fishing net is required! I’m on hands on knees as the fish swims deep taking advantage of the light drag and pulling much line with it. Another pull of the rod and aggressive reeling and the fish surfaces and I scoop it with the net. With an ear-to-ear grin, “it’s a huge catfish” announces my son as we scurry to release the fish from the net and hook and get our photos in. We measure our fish by planks on the dock and this one was 3.5 planks, about 22 inches. It beat our PR (personal record) of 3 planks which was a large mouth bass a few weeks earlier. Photos are taken and the fish is returned to the water.
“Fish On!” before we finish our celebration the rod set with the minnow is bent in half and in need of an angler to work it. My daughter grabs this one and begins the batter of her life. This is clearly not a crappie and the anticipation builds as she reels franticly. “Get the net!” I am laying on the deck ready to swoop as a fish unlike any other surfaces. “It looks like a tiger” she says. “A tiger bass, wow!”. We pull a golden fish with dark black stripes and a bright orange underbelly. It was about 10 inches in length, just under 2 planks, and beautiful. We were in aw of the “tiger bass”, because hadn’t seen one before and we had become so accustom to catching other fish in Lake Lanier. We referenced our handy fish guide again and… you experience anglers might have guessed… it was a yellow perch.
No stripers were caught today, but all in, we caught more fish than we could keep track of. When bedtime came around I asked each of my kids what their ‘favorite part of the day’ was... You know it’s a great day when tubing from the boat isn’t the clear-cut winner. Tubing had to share ‘favorite part of the day’ recognition with a channel catfish and a yellow perch!