I'm happy with my St. Johns finish. I was in fifth on Day 1, but I didn't have a good practice and finished 29th, so I'm happy with everything.
I basically had one spot, and I was sharing it with another guy. We put the hurt on them, and it just didn't hold up. The first day I caught everything off that one hole. The second day I caught four there. Then I had to scramble on Day 3, because the wind was really bad, and it was blowing directly on it. I couldn't position my boat right because the wind was opposite of the current. So I punted and did some different things, and it didn't work out.
My one spot was an offshore shell bed. The fish looked postspawn to me – they were long and skinny. It didn't seem to make sense, but that's my take on it.
I was throwing a Booyah! 1/2-ounce One Knocker in gold, and also a Yum Dinger on a Neko rig. I also caught one on a Heddon Super Spook in Okie shad.
From there it was back to my home, Georgia and Lake Lanier. I live in Newnan, which is about 90 minutes from Lanier.
My first day of practice here at Lanier was terrible. It was really weird. It was cloudy all day long, so for now I'm blaming it on that. The spots are kind of visual feeders, and when they can't see as well, the fishing generally isn't good.
Lanier's nowhere near the spawn right now. It's definitely winter. The water temps are in the 40s, and in my opinion, they're probably three or four weeks away from being in a prespawn mode, unless it gets really warm.
Wintertime is one of the most important seasons for the herring bite here. The bait gets out really deep and herring use the ditches to travel a lot. So the fish relate to those deep ditches, and they even get out in the deep timber – super deep, like 60 or 70 feet.
I think the key baits are going to be a small swimbait, a jerkbait, a drop shot and an underspin with a small swimbait on it.
For day two of practice I'm going to do generally the same thing, but I'm going to spend a little more time in different sections of the lake. It's going to rain all day, so we'll see what happens. I'm just trying to get a little clue here or there of what the fish want and what they're doing. That way I can have something to run with.