Love them or hate them, umbrella rigs are here to stay and for just one reason: They catch fish.
Professional guide Billy Murphy, of Augusta, was introduced to the rigs during a trip to Lake Lanier several years ago. He was among the first to use them in Thurmond Lake.
Personally, I don't like umbrella rigs, so named because the vanes that support bucktails and other lures resemble those of an umbrella. I equate them to trolling a 20-pound anchor. You have to maintain a constant boat speed or else the lures will snag on the bottom.
I also don't like that you can catch more than one fish at a time.
Murphy uses a 9-bucktail rig and has caught up to four fish at a time. Those fish are pulling against one another, so you don't get the thrill of a fight that you would get if you were one-on-one against a fish.
Murphy has also modified the rig by adding a spinnerbait in the center. That gives the rig a bit more "flash" and might attract even more fish. He trolls three rigs at a time -- two out each side and one out the stern.
If you get a strike on one, the other rigs must be reeled in quickly to avoid getting snagged on the bottom.
- Jerry Adams, of Augusta, caught a world-record hybrid of 22 pounds, 6 ounces, from the Savannah River several years ago. I have the negative and a photo of the fish and ask that he either call or write, giving the address to which they can be sent. There is no charge. Phone number at The Augusta Chronicle is (706) 724-0851, ask for the sports department and leave the message. Current world record is 35 pounds, caught in the Tennessee River in 2004.
David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers and trophy largemouth bass. Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (email@example.com) -- Fishing has been super all week. Water temperature is in the low 80s, and the lake is clear. My parties have been catching limits every morning with hybrids in the 3- to 5-pound class and stripers 8 to 12 pounds. Chris McCord wanted to put a group of kids together from where they were camping for a trip on the lake. All were boys, except for Deanna. Chris and his son, Thomas, were accompanied by David Harris and his sons, Grant and Gunner; Gary Adams and his three boys, Justin, Kyle and Landen; and Joseph Johnson and his son, Jarrett. We had a boat full of kids, and they caught a cooler full of fish. They had a great fish fry at the campground later. Dee Creswell and his son, Trey, and Brett McKenney and Rick Farthing caught a limit of hybrids and stripers up to 10 pounds. David Harley, Larry Bohannan and Mike LaTargia caught a limit of hybrids and stripers up to 12 pounds. All of our fish came on live herring on 30-foot humps.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide, (706) 860-7373 -- I fished with Billy Murphy on Thursday and used umbrella rigs while taping next month's TV show. We caught eight to 10 nice fish. Billy knows what he's doing.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (Web site doubletroublefishingguides.com) with twins Brad and Jim) -- Ricky Peace, of Harlem, his 5-year-old son, Mason, and his 13-year-old son, Hunter, went fishing with me on Friday, the 4th of July. The elder Peace caught the biggest fish, an 8-pounder, with Mason catching the most with Hunter's help. Larry Freeman, of Evans, and Jerry Olson, of Harlem, caught a limit of fish on our trip last Tuesday. The fish weighed between 2 and 5 pounds. Ray Dowdy and Cody Burns, of Harlem, fished with me last Wednesday, catching 15 fish, with Cody catching 11 and the biggest, a 9-pounder.
Mark Crawford, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in hybrid and striped bass. www.teamsaveonemore.com (706) 373-8347 -- Fishing has been on the fast and furious side all week. I took out Claude and Charlie Spires, of Lincolnton; Gary Law, of Appling; Donald Law, of Augusta; and Colby Clary. We caught a cooler full of fish before the heat of the day. Joey Hadden and his son, Brent, of North Augusta, and Gary McMahan, of Evans, caught a mess of nice hybrids. Brent outfished the older men. Manolo Porro, Jorge Porro and Joe Diuaz, all from Miami; Mike Payne, of Modoc, S.C.; and Carlos Marbin, of Clarks Hill, had a great time catching stripers and hybrids.
William Sasser, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass. (706) 589-5468 -- It's been another firecracker week for striper fishing. Dianne Gordon brought her two girls, Olivia and Natalie, and J.B. Gordon on a trip celebrating his birthday. Instead of letting dad catch some fish, the girls decided to let dad rest and let him watch them catch all of the fish. Dianne caught the day's biggest -- a 12-pound striper. Jake, Lisa and Stuart Roberts also had a great morning, catching their limits quickly. Pastor Harold Daniels, Joseph Daniels, Andrae Daniels, Louise Glee, Necole Daniels, Dalvin Daniels, LeCeitha Dyches and Roberta Glee-Stevens wound up with 60 fish. Thank goodness they brought the women. Harold Daniels decided they'd had so much fun that morning that they wanted to go again. So he, Joseph and Barbara Daniels, Roberta Glee-Stevens and Dyches came up the next afternoon and boated 50 fish. Bruce Brady Jr., of the Mississippi-based Catch A Dream Foundation, brought Casey, Brandon and Buddy Haun, of Powell, Tenn., to fish with my wife, Donna, my son, Austin, and me. We fished two mornings and caught 43 one day, 47 the next before the sun rose. Thanks to the Herring Hut's Albert Moody for donating the bait fish. All our fish came on live herring in 50 to 60 feet of water. 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.williamsasserfishing.com.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 -- Fishing this week continues to be great. Just find an area with lots of bait, and you'll find fish. Most of the fish I've been catching are in 50 feet of water. We've been getting limits early. Mike and Eli McKinney and Will Carter, Todd Laniak, all from Athens, Ga.; Scott and David Cohen, of California; and Catherine Payne, from Texas, in the area for a family reunion, had a wonderful morning. They had their limit of 70 fish by 9 a.m. Joel Britton took his sons, Craig and Derrick, and son-in-law, Ben, out for a great morning of fast fishing. They put 36 in the boat. Glenn Ridgeway, of Savannah Lakes, and Matt Mieser, visiting from Michigan, limited out early.
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 -- Gilbert Sheppard, of Evans, is the undisputed Eel King of the Savannah River. He's catching eels every day. He eats most of what he calls "slimy catfish." James Meyer, Frank Todd and myself caught a limit of hybrids and stripers Wednesday morning on live herring. Keith Remkus and Sheree Wylds, of Martinez, caught hybrids ranging from 31/2 to 12 pounds on umbrella rigs.
New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 793-8053 -- Mike Grover and Connie Nunn caught 10 catfish, six bass and 25 bream downriver. Ashley Flynn, 11, limited out on redbellies on a trip with her father, Jack, upriver using crickets and worms. Mack Peeler and John caught a cooler full of mullet down river. Jayson Freund, 7, caught bream on red wigglers at the Mayor's Fishin' Hole. Gerald Hunt Jr. and his father caught bream on crickets at the Baurle boat ramp. Gary Springer caught a huge striper on a small bream and mullet on red worms at the Baurle ramp.
Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) -- Scott Craig won last Friday night's bass tournament with 6.35 pounds and caught the big fish of 1.93 pounds. Only 10 boats were in the field. Bill Gilbert had 5.77 pounds and a 3.09-pound big fish to win Sunday's tournament. Chris Kelly finished in second place, with 2.60 pounds.
Our bass tournaments are in progress on Fridays and Sundays. The Friday tournament runs from 6-10 p.m., while the Sunday event runs from 6-11 a.m. A fishing license is not required to fish in our ponds.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 -- Flounder fishing is excellent around the Fripp Inlet rocks and the south end of the island. Redfish and whiting fishing is good. Tarpon are breaking in the inlet and in the breakwater between Fripp and Pritchard's islands, as well as in Trenchard's Inlet. Spanish mackerel are schooling near the shore, and kingfish are moving into Port Royal Sound. Cobia fishing is just fair. Offshore, dolphin, kingfish, wahoo, marlin and black fin tuna are around the Gulf Stream. Spadefish fishing is excellent.