Atlanta Athletic Club Electroshock Recap

Many moons ago the 18th hole pond was legendary at the Atlanta Athletic Club. It was notorious for producing huge bass and lots of them. Unfortunately time has not been kind to her. Just as humans get some aches and pains as they age the pond began to show her age. This degradation is an all to common theme we see in our managed lakes. People see great results the first few years and assume the lake is clicking along. Often times they forget to keep managing the lake. Even when a lake is producing well bass still need to be harvested, habitat spiced up, and fertilizer applied etc.

Steeped in history the Atlanta Athletic Club is ranked in the top 10 of athletic clubs in the United states. The club was formed in 1898. Boosting two championship golf course among the many other amenities it comes as no surprise why the PGA host tournaments here.
Dave Copeland, an AES sales rep, netting the first big fish of the morning.
There are still a few legends swimming around in this lake.
We always like having kids on the boat. It’s one thing to read about science but seeing and touching it takes it to another level.
Capt. Matt always on the hunt for prop busters.
Dave is great at explaining lake metrics. At AES we take pride in being able to make science understandable to all. We know everyone isn’t as excited as us about bass recruitment variables and macroinvertebrates. 
These small 8-12″ will ruin a fishery. Too many mouths to feed and not enough forage. Lucas doing his part to get the AAC back on track.
Just as the early summer heat and humidity was rolling in we wrapped up shocking. Shocking in the heat is not our favorite. The warm water holds less oxygen thus stressing the fish more.

At the conclusion of the shock it became obvious that the lake has become out of balance over time. There were plenty of 5-7” bluegill but only a handful of 3-5″ bluegill. Those 8-12″ bass are becoming stunted because there isn’t enough 3-5” bluegill to keep fueling growth. The bigger bluegill are reproducing great but there is little habitat for the small bluegill to hide so the bass pick them off before they get any size. With a little time, money, and effort we are sure to get this lake back to her glory days.

If you talk about your lake’s glory days then give us a call to make it things right!

April 2nd-6th Electroshock Recap

This was an interesting week for the shock team. They started the week in Metro Atlanta shocking the Piedmont Driving Club. This is a 140 acre lake chalk full of healthy bass. They have been a managed client for years and take our fisheries recommendations very seriously. They have a strict policy concerning bass and crappie harvest. The results speak for themselves as you will see.

Post-spawn bass that is still very healthy.
Inside her gut was a 12 inch crappie. Nature has no rules.
What’s left of the crappie.
Hard not to smile when the bass fishing is this good.
Hybrid striped bass will test your drag when they get this big!
Rough week?
Bass and chocolate milk….what a combination!
Trying to beat the cameraman to Instagram?!
Small boat shocks are reserved for lakes with poor access. This one fit the bill with the access road being tight, muddy, and bordered with cliffs.

Next week the shock team will be heading out to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi to finish off the spring shock season in the Southeast. People are always surprised that we travel this far. Georgia is our main area but we are more than capable to shock any pond in the lower 48.

 

Photo credit: Grant Bobo; [email protected]

March 12th-16th Electroshock Recap

Shock season is beginning to gain momentum even with the temperamental Georgia weather. This week the boys were everywhere from Aiken, South Carolina to Newnan, Georgia. Although every pond is different the one theme of this week was pre-spawn. The warm spell we experienced a few weeks ago got the fish in the mood but didn’t last long enough for most fish to finish business. The largest fish that were shocked came about ten to fifteen feet off the shore line. If you are fishing this week think staging areas. Save your bed fishing baits for another two weeks.

Capt. Matt looking for a place to launch. We don’t need a boat ramp just a gentle bank slope.
She was about five minutes from being post-spawn.
First generation bass will always be the best year class. They are surrounded by forage and have little competition.
Cutting it close.
Healthy bass look like footballs.
One day I’ll find a dog that likes me more than Capt. Matt.
Another benefit of getting us to shock your lake is you get to pick the brain of a seasoned biologist that has seen it all.
This big girl came out of a severely out of balanced fishery. This shows us as a biologist that at one time the lake was in balance and producing trophy fish.
Cold launch in Newnan, Georgia but at least we had ramp.
Busted a large number of pre-spawn fish in shallow flats.
On the road a lot this time of year but there are some things you can’t skimp on. Say no to hotel sludge(coffee)!
According to the owner this old mill pond has been around since the late 1880s. Can thank Georgia’s old agriculture industry for this gem.
Old mill ponds might look swampy and uninviting but they can produce.
Aging bass gives us insight into how fast the fish grow thus showing us the overall health of the fishery.
Aging some fish from the old mill pond.
The mill pond was so far south some of the bass had already spawned. These are baby bass fry.
Swampy ponds always hold some unusual fish we don’t see in North Georgia or the Metro Atlanta area. This is a chain pickerel.
The mighty bowfin is one of the oldest fish we run into. In low water conditions they can breath air. They will make a mess of your spinnerbait and compete with bass so it’s best to remove them.

 

 

 

March 8th Leslie, GA Electroshock Recap

Spring is shaping up to be a roller coaster in the South. February was borderline Caribbean like with humid, sticky afternoons and warm nights. March rolled in with a bitter cold sucker punch and stiff North winds.  This inconsistent weather has the fish confused. We were worried that some bass spawned in late February and missed our chance at shocking bass at their largest. Luckily the cold fronts that came in March knocked the bass back to deeper water. 

This week we shocked in the Albany, Georgia area. This particular pond was designed by AES about eleven years ago with the intent to grow trophy largemouth bass. Builders placed truck sized boulders in deep water to give bass refugee and MossBack habitat kits shallow to protect bluegill.  Texas Hunter fish feeders are placed throughout the lake to ensure the bluegill are well feed. Well feed bluegill have more energy to spawn and thus reducing your need for future fish stockings. Also if more bluegill are successfully spawning then bass have more forage which equals bigger bass.

Besides growing big bass this is also a functioning farm and hunting lodge. Mike, the property manager, is a busy man between quail hunts, bass management, and farming.
Capt. Matt holding up some big pre-spawn females. Fish on the left went 7.9 lb and right 9.2 lb
We measure in grams since it is more accurate.
Know she is a big girl when her eyes bulge.
Like any pond harvest is still important to keep the system in balance.

As the days get longer and days warm up fish will start their rituals. If you want to see your lake at its best give us a call. Once your bass spawn you will have to wait a whole year to see them in this condition. Spring is a great time to make memories on your lake.

Photo Credit: Grant Bobo; [email protected]

 

Berkeley Lake, GA Lake Liming

Many people are surprised that we are capable of working on large bodies of water. Our bread and butter lakes are usually two to fifteen acres however larger lakes are no problem. One of our favorite clients is Berkeley Lake which is eighty-eight acres. They recently contacted us about liming the lake, so they will get the most out of their summer fertilization program. Keeping in mind budget the amount of hundred and fifty tons was decided on. Obviously, the lake could handle much more but something is better than nothing. Liming is used to raise alkalinity and stabilize pH. Well fertilized lakes can carry more pounds of fish which is important if you’re wanting to get maximize the lake. Why stock fish in a poor environment?

The start of day two. Lime never moves as fast as you want it.
Quality skid steer operator is key to keeping a good work flow.
Blasting away.
Been a rainy February in Georgia. Always a blessing to work under blue skies.

After two long days the boys wrapped up with a strong sense of accomplishment after moving so much material. Give us a call if you have a job that you think is too big to tackle. Nothing a little planning and creativity can’t solve.

First Shock of 2018-Duluth, GA

If you’ve been outside recently you’ve noticed the days are getting longer, Sandhill Cranes are flying high, and buds are starting to pop. This also means it’s time for Big Ugly (an affectionate name for our shock-boat) to start purring and sending some electricity underwater.

Anyone in Atlanta has probably taken notice of this gloomy, rainy weather pattern we are stuck in. For the vitamin D lovers it’s a struggle but there is an upside. Morning lows have been in 60’s and highs in the 70’s. This means water temperatures are on the rise which gets the bass thinking about spawning. If you want to see bass at their heaviest and healthiest spring is the time.

We have been managing this fishery for over two years. It was the classic bass crowded fishery. The lake was full of small, stunted bass which are no fun for the owner. The owner bought into our vision and has followed through on our management suggestions. Give us a call today if you want to turn your pond around and start making memories.

Winter Chores

Ever wonder why the Midwestern United States grows such huge deer versus other parts of the lower 48? A little hint is good dirt grows big deer. The same concept applies for growing trophy bass. Unlike the Midwest, here in the Southeast we are not blessed with good dirt. Being famous for having red clay isn’t a huge source of pride for most lake owners. Luckily liming is an easy and effective way to improve water quality.  Liming does a lot of good things for your pond such as raising alkalinity and reduce pH swings. High alkalinity will make fertilizer more effective and small pH swings will make the aquatic environment stable.

Digital titration is the most accurate way to measure alkalinity. Want alkalinity to be at least 20 ppm.

With deer food plots landowners typically apply one ton per acre every year. As lake managers we apply four to six tons per acre. This seems like overkill. That is exactly what we want because at this rate you only have to lime every three to five years. Some will luck out and be good for many years. Factors such as watershed size effect the rate. Also years with flooding will wash out lime quickly.

Liming a lake is a straight forward process. First we will get lime brought in and dumped near the shoreline. We will bring our lime barge to the lake. No boat ramp is needed. There just needs to be an area with clean bottom and good drop off. Of course we need plenty of room for the trailer and trucking company.

A front end loader is needed to load our barge. Typically one bucket is enough. We require the loader to be 4 wheel drive and at least 20hp. We’ve used small loaders and they will tip over or break due to lime’s density.

The final step is to blast the lime off. On our barge we have a 2in trash pump that produces 213 gallons per minute. With this flow rate we are typically able to move eight to ten tons of lime in a hour.

When liming we are liming the soil not the water so we drive around blasting lime off.

Typical lakes only need 24-50 tons so we can get your job done in an afternoon. Winter is the time to get this done so when it warms up you will be back to enjoying your lake. Call us now to get ahead of the spring rush.

Discourage Grass Carp and Fun Shooting

Do you have grass carp? Do the they come to your fish feeders? If the grass carp are younger and smaller, shoot into the water with a shotgun to discourage this behavior. Grass carp are pretty intelligent and may stay away for a while allowing other fish come back to the feeder. If left unchecked, they dominate the feeders and scare away the target species you are feeding.

Larger Grass Carp

If the grass carp are larger fish, then take them out. These fish are benefiting very little to your vegetation control. How to take the grass carp out? You can try to trick them into biting bread balls, cherry tomatoes, or try using some of Stubby Steve’s. If that doesn’t work, then bow fish for them for great entertainment. Lastly, like Greg Grimes did yesterday, shoot the grass carp and put a .22 round to their heads. Not a bad shot at twenty yards, if I do say so myself. By the way, grass carp are excellent table fare. It’s a firm white meat.

If you are taking out some of your older, less effective grass carp and would like to replace them, give us a call. We are back to stocking grass carp and other species starting at the end of the month.


 

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Shot the Grass Carp
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Discourage Grass Carp

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