Whenever you hear Thurmond Lake fishermen say their success is coming on or around "humps," they are referring to the hills that were inundated when the lake was formed back in the 1950s.
Those places often have rocks, stumps or bushes where bait fish like threadfin shad and blueback herring seek shelter. Those places also usually have a nearby deep-water channel used by both bait and game fish as a "road" leading to and from the humps.
Use your boat's depthfinder to locate humps, because at this time of the year, they're producing some great catches of bass, hybrids and striped bass. Early morning and late afternoon hours are the best times to cast top-water lures or Carolina-rigged plastic worms over and onto the humps.
- Congratulations to Willie Feaster, of Evans, for finally breaking the 20-pound striped bass barrier. He'd caught many nice fish before, but never over 20 pounds. Fishing in waters adjacent to Clark Hill Park, he cast a Roostertail, let it settle to the bottom and then began his retrieve. It didn't get far when a 24-pounder struck. For a little while, Willie's little bass boat was propelled by "1-fishpower." He's planning to have the fish mounted. He later caught a 10-pound hybrid on the Roostertail in the Church Cove.
Raysville Marina, near Thomson (Doug Pentecost, Leon Buffington) (706) 595-5582 - Brenda and Larry Harding, of Thomson, caught 55 shellcrackers and 11 catfish.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers and trophy largemouth bass. 410 Sprouse Road, Clarks Hill, S.C. 29821 (803) 637-6379 (crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) - Fishing is hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth of July. Schooling season has started and we're having some nice bunches of hybrids surface all around us while we're fishing live bait down 24 to 30 feet. Schooling got so intense Thursday morning that we took time to cast top-water plugs, especially the Gunfish, into the schools and were rewarded with 2-to-3-pound hybrids and some 2-pound largemouths. We also trolled bucktails and picked up some nice 3-to-5-pound fish. The old standby is the live blueback, which is still producing. We did fairly well until the jet skiers showed up. We'll give them a few more days to enjoy the holidays and then we'll be back for some serious fishing.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide specializing in hybrids, stripers and largemouth bass, (706) 860-7373, 957 Windmill Lane, Evans, Ga. 30809 (Check out my Web site at www.fishingwithralph barbee.com) - Danny Sheehan and I fished the river below the Bob Baurle Boat Ramp on Tuesday. Danny caught a rooster redbreast on a BeetleSpin and on the next cast, a 6-pound striped bass. I never had a strike. Danny and I fished the lake Thursday and he didn't catch a fish, but I did. I cast a Tango Prop River 2 Sea in yellow and hung five bass, caught two 3-pounders and had LDRs (long distance releases) on the rest. I threw the River 2 Sea V-Crank, which gets down about six feet, and had a 6-pound channel catfish almost snatch my rod and reel out of my hands. Fishing was over at 11 a.m..
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (Web site doubletroublefishingguides.com) with twins Brad and Jim) - Last Friday, Glenn Gray and Larry Freeman, both of Evans, and Doug Holland, of Augusta, fished with me. We were down-lining and freelining and caught 22 hybrids and stripers 4 to 8 pounds. Jim took out Curtis Peterson, of Augusta, last Saturday and they ended up with 16 hybrids and stripers. Curtis caught the big one of 15 pounds-plus. The fish are in 24 to 45 feet of water.
Capt. William Sasser, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass. (706) 589-5468 - Jerry Corum of Waynesboro, Ga., and his fishing and hunting buddy, Leigh Ann Ulmer, of Watkinsville, Ga., had a great morning until the rain decided to last for six hours. They didn't complain, but fished right through it, catching a nice mess of quality crappies in 25 feet of water around the Fort Gordon Recreation Area. Lia Tillman, of Evans; my daughter, Autumn, and wife Donna and I fished with live herring in 50 feet of water in Little River. This was the night of the Little River Marina fireworks show. Lisa caught her first striper and I thought it was going to pull her out of the boat. We also landed a large flathead catfish.
My VHF radio handle is Crappie Master and I can be reached on the lake on Channel 68. Check out my Web site at www.williamsasser fishing.com.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids (706) 833-4807 - The moon and the weather slowed the fish down Monday and Tuesday, but the bite came back after the weather cleared out. Most of the fish have been coming 24 to 40 feet down in 70 feet of water at the junctions of creeks with the Savannah River. Ninety percent of the fish are coming at 30 feet. Jim and Sandy Atols and grandson, Justin, from Chicago, had a great Thursday morning. They kept 30 3-to-9-pound fish and caught and released quite a few more. Sandy had the big fish of 9 pounds, edging her grandson's 8-plus. Pam and Tom Atwater and nephews, Daniel and Weston, visiting from Atlanta, took a while to learn to hook the fish and caught and released 30 nice fish. Jeff Hadden, Sam Fouch and the latter's son, Noah, all of Augusta, fished with me Wednesday after the weather cleared. We had some hot action for about an hour. My VHF radio handle is Boat Racer and I can be reached on Channel 68. My Web site is www.fishlakethurmond.com.
Albert Moody, Clark Hill Herring Hut, Clarks Hill, S.C. (864) 333-2000 - My cousin, Ooollee Bricker, and I went catfishing on the lake late Wednesday and she caught a 15-pounder. I caught several smaller ones. Joshua Long, of Hephzibah, and Dwayne Carter, of North Augusta, fished in the river and caught large amounts of bream, shellcrackers and redbreasts on meal worms and crickets. Other reports are coming from anglers fishing live herring over humps and catching limits of stripers and hybrids.
New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053 - They're catching some nice stripers off the dam on Pencil Poppers. Lee LeGrand caught about a 40-pounder. A good many mullet, suckers and carp are being caught. Jackie Mimmie caught a 7-pound largemouth and three stripers down the river.
Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) - Chris Kelly caught 11.61 pounds of bass to win last Friday night's bass tournament. He also had the big fish of 4.16 pounds. J.J. Dixon and J.C. Dicks were second with 8.36 pounds. Mike Johnson and Clayton Hardin won the Sunday morning tournament with 5.99 pounds. Billy Gilbert and Jesse Toole had big fish of 4.62 pounds. Bream and crappies are being caught in the King, Pollard and White Elephant ponds. Hardin's 7.37-pound bass won the Big Fish of the Month contest for June.
The open team bass tournament is scheduled again today. A fishing license is not required to fish in our ponds. Tournament hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Our Sunday tournament starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, S.C. (843) 838-2530, and Doug Gertis, professional guide, (843) 524-5250) - Goodison: The Fripp Island Fireworks Fishing Tournament will be held out of the marina on Saturday. A captains' meeting and dinner will be held today at 7 p.m., with the tourney starting Saturday at 6 a.m. Weigh-ins at the marina will close at 6 p.m. Awards for the top two kingfish, largest wahoo, dolphin and Spanish mackerel will be presented. More information: (843) 838-1517.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 - Flounder are plentiful in our area, especially in the inlets, and are sight feeders, burying themselves in the sand with their eyes facing up the current to see what they can grab on the way down. My favorite time to fish for them is from the low tide until four hours into the incoming tide. These are bottom feeders so you want to use a rig that keeps the bait on or near the bottom. You can actually slow-troll for flounders, using an egg sinker above a swivel with about a two-foot leader. Or, you can anchor and fish the rig all around the boat for best results. Cast the mud minnow as far as you can and then slowly retrieve it two feet at a time, pausing for a short time between retrieves. Where you catch one flounder there likely will be more.