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Old 09-17-18, 01:10 PM   #1
muddy waters
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Default Prepping for the Maiden Voyage

It's taken about 4 months but I've finally got my jon boat ready for its first serious trout fishing trip on the hooch. I've been out between Azalea and Island Ford about 5 times getting used to the new motor, learning how the dam affects things, and getting confident fishing while also piloting a drift and I think I'm ready to take it to the special reg section of the river this weekend. It'll be my first time ever on that stretch and I wanted to see if yall have any advice for a first timer.

My plan is to launch at Abbot's bridge and motor up to the mcginnis ferry bridge before drifting back. First, can I launch a full sized trailer at Abbot's? If not, where's the best spot on that stretch to do so? Second, can I use treble hooks (always barbless) in the special reg areas? Third, are there any shoals/shallow spots I should be aware of? Fourth, does the one rod rule mean I can only fish one rod at a time or does it mean I can only have one rod per person even if I'm only fishing one of them at a time?

I appreciate any other advice y'all have to give. Hopefully I'll see some of yall out there on Saturday. Look for the big guy in the little blue boat.
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Old 09-17-18, 01:22 PM   #2
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It's taken about 4 months but I've finally got my jon boat ready for its first serious trout fishing trip on the hooch. I've been out between Azalea and Island Ford about 5 times getting used to the new motor, learning how the dam affects things, and getting confident fishing while also piloting a drift and I think I'm ready to take it to the special reg section of the river this weekend. It'll be my first time ever on that stretch and I wanted to see if yall have any advice for a first timer.
Cool. That's a fun stretch of water to fish. Thanks to @Swampangel, @Browniez, and @Philhutch for helping me out on the river and giving me the confidence to motor and float that section by myself and with my 7 year old and also with my research student.

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My plan is to launch at Abbot's bridge and motor up to the mcginnis ferry bridge before drifting back. First, can I launch a full sized trailer at Abbot's?
YES.

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Second, can I use treble hooks (always barbless) in the special reg areas?
YES. And no 'need' to debarb them. That's not part of the regs. It's artificial only, not catch and release.

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Third, are there any shoals/shallow spots I should be aware of?
YES. I was fortunate enough to go with swamp angel guiding and pointing out the spots in CRYSTAL clear water. Right now, the water is between light stained green and full on opaque green... depth visibility is about 2 feet max, IMHO. Be careful. Go slow. PM Swampangel who knows that stretch like the back of his hand. I'd recommend doing at low water first to be safe, but that's your call.

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Fourth, does the one rod rule mean I can only fish one rod at a time or does it mean I can only have one rod per person even if I'm only fishing one of them at a time?
Can only fish on rod at a time, but can have multiple on the vessel. That's what many of us do. [/quote]

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I appreciate any other advice y'all have to give. Hopefully I'll see some of yall out there on Saturday. Look for the big guy in the little blue boat.
Good luck and make sure to make a post about your success and of your boat!
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Old 09-17-18, 02:21 PM   #3
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Thanks for the answers, splatek. I'll be sure to document the trip for all y'all but I can't guarantee that I'll be posting any fish pics. Not that I don't have a phone full of them but it seems like y'all prefer trout and I don't want to give away any of my bluegill honey holes.
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Old 09-17-18, 02:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the answers, splatek. I'll be sure to document the trip for all y'all but I can't guarantee that I'll be posting any fish pics. Not that I don't have a phone full of them but it seems like y'all prefer trout and I don't want to give away any of my bluegill honey holes.
We prefer two eyes, a tail, and a wiggle in the middle round these parts!

If you see a silver jet boat covered with stickers holler at me.
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Old 09-17-18, 04:24 PM   #5
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We prefer two eyes, a tail, and a wiggle in the middle round these parts!

If you see a silver jet boat covered with stickers holler at me.
Will do. I've seen you post about getting through Shakerag with that thing. Where/what exactly is that and how hard would it be to get past in a boat that can get through anything that's more than 12 inches deep? I max out at 4.5 mph upstream if that makes a difference.
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Old 09-17-18, 04:41 PM   #6
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Will do. I've seen you post about getting through Shakerag with that thing. Where/what exactly is that and how hard would it be to get past in a boat that can get through anything that's more than 12 inches deep? I max out at 4.5 mph upstream if that makes a difference.
I would only take your boat on low water if that is the case. 4.5mph is SLOOOOWWWW against a current. If you can lighten your boat up any that will help. What kind of boat do you have?
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Old 09-17-18, 05:48 PM   #7
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I would only take your boat on low water if that is the case. 4.5mph is SLOOOOWWWW against a current. If you can lighten your boat up any that will help. What kind of boat do you have?

It's a 12ft rhyan craft flat-bottom jon. I think was built in 1981 and its been in the family for 3 generations mostly doing pond work below the fall line. It's only rated for a 5hp and I've got a 3.6 on it right now. 4.5mph is definitely slow but I'm careful to put in when the flow is lower than 2500cfs and/or falling. The plus side to going that slow is I can get a real crisp image of the banks with the side scan sonar on the way up.

It sure doesn't compete with the jetboats but it'll smoke an unpowered driftboat going upstream.
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Old 09-17-18, 07:22 PM   #8
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My first boat was a 12 ft. jon boat that my buddies and I caught a ton of farm pond bass out of in Mississippi. I'm guessing your naked boat is around 100#, which is pretty light. Be careful not to get sideways in fast water or you could be floating downstream upside down. The Hooch is not a farm pond, the power of fast water is amazing.
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Old 09-17-18, 08:23 PM   #9
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Will do. I've seen you post about getting through Shakerag with that thing. Where/what exactly is that and how hard would it be to get past in a boat that can get through anything that's more than 12 inches deep? I max out at 4.5 mph upstream if that makes a difference.
Given your rig as you described below, you would be much better served getting out and pulling the boat over the rapid all the way to the far left. I used to do it in my 14 footer. Not too bad.

Going up the middle probably wouldnít work for you with that motor, and it really is dangerous. Iíve almost flipped, seen other flip. Itís just a lot of water moving real fast.
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Old 09-17-18, 08:28 PM   #10
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Given your rig as you described below, you would be much better served getting out and pulling the boat over the rapid all the way to the far left. I used to do it in my 14 footer. Not too bad.

Going up the middle probably wouldnít work for you with that motor, and it really is dangerous. Iíve almost flipped, seen other flip. Itís just a lot of water moving real fast.
I'll keep that in mind, its easy enough to pull that its not worth it to shoot rapids. Where's it located?
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