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Tour of Lake George continued...

For our tour, let's start mid-way along the eastern shore, at Runaway Bay fish camp. Exiting from the small, short canal that leads from the ramp to the lake, we turn North, up along the eastern shoreline. As we start this turn, we note the large, wooden pilings far out into the foggy mist that shrouds the main lake. These we file away for later reference. The area in near the shoreline is very shallow and generally bordered by reeds and some standing grasses. To the outside of the reeds, we find significant amounts of eelgrass, mixed with some peppergrass. The eelgrass usually thins out and disappears when the depth gets to 4-5 feet. From that point, out to the gentle, rolling main drop-off, there appears to be no vegetation to speak of. It is generally 100-400 yards from the natural shoreline, out across this flat, to the main drop-off into the main lake. Once past the drop (into 10-12 feet) and in the deep water, we found no vegetation, either. This shoreline and vegetation pattern seems to hold constant all around the main lake body. You will note old pilings scattered along the shoreline flats, with some extending out to the edge of the deep water. Those, which reach close to the deeper area, have potential for bass. We found a plastic worm to work well. Obviously, a Springtime lure would also be a spinner bait. These pilings also indicate that for each one we can see, there are possibly 10 underwater hidden from view. A 'word to the wise' says to confine your high-speed motoring to the deep-water areas and only idle in the flats. At the North end of Lake George, we find Drayton Island. The main river channel and lake exit passes to the East of the island, with numerous marinas and camp areas along the East shoreline. To the West of the island, another passage exists. This one is not a main passage, but most boaters can navigate it easily if they follow the deeper water. The area around Drayton Island is Coquina stone, a form of compressed small stones, sand and shells. This provides some very hard and clean bottom structure and has some nice drop-offs and deep bank areas. The West side of Drayton Island, in-between Kinsley and Rocky Points, was found to have a very sharp drop from 6 into approximately 12 feet of water. A medium-depth crank plug (we used a Bagley DB II and a Rebel Deep Wee-R, as examples) produced good, chunky largemouths all along the West drop-line. The drop on the East side was not as steep and a plastic worm seemed to work better there. As a suggestion, this area would appear to be best on windy days, when strong southerly or northerly winds would push induced water currents through the channel. We suspect that the bass gather to feed on this artificial current flow. As we start down the West shore, we first come to Salt Cove. This is fed by the influx of the already-mentioned Salt Springs Creek. This section of Lake George is usually the first to experience a spawn of both bass and speckled perch (crappie). This is primarily because the entering spring waters run a constant 72 degrees (F) year-round. Also, the northern portion of a lake always gets more of the warming late-Winter/early-Spring sun and the northerly winds of Spring have less effect in this area. At the lower corner of Salt Cove is a small feature known as Lisk Point. There is a good amount of eelgrass in this area and it produces some fine bass angling. Just below Lisk Point, there is a shallow flat that extends far out into the main body of the lake. There are some pilings out on the edge of the deep water, which nearly always seem to hold bass. If the bass are not in against the pilings, move out on the drop and try a very deep crank plug (such as a DB III or Magnum Hellbender) and a plastic worm. There are some remains of an old pier or some structure that collapsed and slid off into the deep water, right at the base of the drop-off. These remains have rotted away significantly, but can still hang up a lure. Hunt for them and you should also find a bass or two. In the Summer, crappie will also hang out on this deep cover. Approximately two-thirds of the way down the West shoreline, we come to Silver Glen Spring Run. About two miles further South, we find Juniper Point, just above the entrance of Juniper Creek. From Silver Glen Spring Run to Juniper Point is another of those FG&FWFC off-limits areas to fishing during the bass spawning season. Again, it will be well marked and easily detectable. All three creeks on this side of the lake are very good bass fishing, especially when heavy rains have made the creeks run strongly. Try the areas around the mouth first and then move into the creeks for a distance. Since all three run at the constant 72 degrees (F), the cover and flats near their mouths are good for spawning bass. Striped bass also make good spawning runs into the creeks (although they do not actually reproduce in these waters), particularly the more-saline Salt Creek. We were told that this Striper migration usually occurs in the Spring. From the mouth area of Juniper Creek to Volusia Bar, there is a line of submerged pilings. Some are visible, especially when the water levels are low. Bass and crappie are regular inhabitants. We suggest you motor carefully in this area and place a few marker buoys to reference the piling line. Juniper Cove is rated as very good for drift fishing for crappie. A the extreme South end of Lake George is the entrance of the St. Johns River. Through years of river flow, a very large and shallow slit area, called Volusia Bar, built up across this entrance. In order to retain navigational freedom, a channel is maintained. A portion of this man-made entrance point is lined with rock and some timbers and is locally referred to as the 'Cow Pen'. Many different species of fish gather at this moving-water location to feed. Largemouth and striped bass are the two most commonly found. Watch for surface feeding action in and around the Cow Pen and use spoons, top-water lures and Shad-A-Lac (vibrating, free-running crank plug) style lures. Also, be sure to toss crank plugs and plastic worms near the obstructions present. In the Southeast corner of the lake is Jones Cove. Surface schooling bass use this location well during the May/June and September/October periods. Some of the lake's larger crappie are taken drifting live minnows and small jigs a few hundred yards out from the shoreline. Nine-mile Point is the next feature and lies just up the lower East shoreline. On the bank, you will note a bombing range control tower and a microwave communications tower. Directly in front of this complex, a line of old pilings runs from the shore out to the drop into deep water. At the end of these pilings, some 250 yards into the lake, there are the remains of a deteriorated dock. While the squared-off set of dock pilings are mostly still visible, the platform materials have long since rotted and sunk. Some of the old boards and timbers are in amongst the remaining pilings, while other slid off into the deeper zones. On our visit to George, we took a good string of 2-3 pond bass off the dock remains and the outer 100 yards of pilings. A Texas-rig plastic worm was used in the more snag-prone dock area, while a Carolina-rig worked extremely well around the individual pilings. When we started the tour of Lake George, we noted a cluster of pilings out in the lake. There are actually three of them and they are laid out in a circular pattern and serve as 'targets' for the bombing range. The center cluster is the largest and is significant because it has a ship sunk in the middle of the piling circle. Local anglers, who know the ship is there, find it a fine place to take crappie year-round.

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