Many anglers are sitting at home thinking the fish are not biting due to the cold weather. Many have just hung up their fishing gear waiting for springtime. However, there is one activity that can greatly help your year-round fishing.
That activity is building fish attractors. One of the top subjects that I receive emails about are fish attractors. It is not until after Christmas that I see trucks and trailers headed to the lakes loaded with discarded Christmas trees that will be placed in the lakes as fish attractors.
Placement of the Christmas trees or any other type of material to attract fish is a good idea but one major consideration is the current produced by the Georgia Power pump-back in lakes Oconee and Sinclair. Without properly weighting the trees or other materials, the current will move your hard work overnight.
I had to learn that hard lesson when I initially began placing fish attractors in the lakes. Fish attractors placed in the main lake are especially vulnerable to water current that is so strong that it can easily move a single cinder block holding an attractor. Attractors placed in coves are not as likely to be moved by the current, but they also need to be adequately weighted.
Almost any object placed in the water can attract baitfish and game fish but the type of material, the size of the material and where that material is placed can mean the difference between success and failure. It can mean the difference between a pretty good place for an angler to catch an occasional fish or it can an excellent place where an angler is almost assured of catching good numbers of fish regularly.
I love to build and place structures in lakes to improve my opportunity to catch fish. Why would I be excited about the activity of building and placing fish attractors? After all it is hard work especially as I have gotten older and it can be done in the most unpleasant of weather conditions. Nothing is more rewarding than to construct a fish attractor, place it in the lake in a good location and then return to that fish attractor and catch fish.
I have over the years had both success and failure from my building and placement of fish attractors but I have learned from my failures. Other than current consideration and proper weighting, one of the most important aspects of building and placing fish attractors in the lake is the material used to construct the attractor.
You need to consider the type of structure material that is best suited for building a fish attractor and do not get carried away and assume you need to create an underwater forest. Sometimes less material is better.
You want to use materials that will last for some time and will not require you to redo the structure every year. I have found that old Christmas trees will last at the most two years (some varieties will last longer) where some hardwood trees will last two to six years. Unfortunately, beavers can be a problem when using hardwoods and overnight the beavers can eat away your hardwood attractor if placed in shallow water.
However, structures made from PVC pipe, vinyl and other manmade materials will last just about forever. One problem with some materials like PVC and vinyl is that they can be hard to detect on your fish finder. I have several structures that I have placed in the lake that are made from hardwood trees. I try to improve or add to those structures about every two to three years.
One problem with many woody products is density. Most Christmas trees are evergreens that have limbs and foliage that are too dense. They will attract small baitfish because baitfish can hide in the dense foliage. However, larger fish will find it difficult to hide and maneuver within the tree.
The density problem with evergreens is what lead me to initially using hardwoods and then lead me to using wild bamboo. I now use wild bamboo because it will last a long time in the water and beavers do not like it.
The bamboo is readily available along many local roadways, easy to work with and comes in lengths from five to 35 feet. That makes it suitable for almost any depth of water. It weighs much less than evergreens and hardwoods and is not nearly as dense.
Next week I will discuss some ways you can build your own attractors and look at some of the best locations for those attractors. I will provide an update on the latest attractors placed in Oconee and Sinclair by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division.
Good fishing and see you next week.
Outdoors columnists Bobby Peoples can be reached at email@example.com.