Wonders never cease on the lake

Strange and unusual things can happen during a fishing trip on Thurmond Lake.


For instance, I was casting a Gunfish (top-water lure) around a shallow point Wednesday morning. I'd seen a fish strike at bait fish.

On about the third cast, I had a 4- or 5-pound largemouth bass strike the lure. It jumped twice and on the second, the lure was shaken free from the bass' boney jaws. When the lure hit the water, it was nailed by a 4-pound striper, which I landed.

I've been fishing the lake for more than 50 years and it's the first time I'd hooked a bass of one species and caught a bass of another off the same cast.

Check out Tommy Dudley's report below for another unusual occurrence.

Largemouths, hybrids and stripers can be found in good numbers chasing blueback herring and threadfin shad off rocky points, long, sloping shallow points, along shallow ridges and humps.

Most bass fishermen I know are nice guys, but there are a few rotten apples who forget the Golden Rule once they get onto the water.

Dudley was in the vicinity of the Plum Branch Yacht Club on Saturday and thought he'd gotten into the middle of a boat race. "One man came barreling up the lake at high speed and just missed hitting my boat," he said.

David Willard, another guide and good friend, was frustrated on Saturday. He couldn't find a point without a boat on it and when he did, bass fishermen would move in on him to where he couldn't pull planer boards.

I've always tried to practice what I preach and, if I see bass or other fishermen inside a cove or on a point, I give them a wide berth and go elsewhere. With 70,000 acres of good fishing water, I've had no problems finding other areas where I can catch fish.


Capt. 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 (crockettrocket@ bellsouth.net) - Water temperature is 72 degrees and the surface is slightly stained. Fishing has been good all week. We're catching some nice hybrids and stripers and some huge largemouths. The trick has been to locate the fish. They're so shallow, the electronics are no help. Several times I've found fish by seeing one break. When we got there, they were there by the hundreds. I enjoyed taking out the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association group. The standard joke was they could shut down the fish faster than anything, but they had a great trip. Vernon Gildins, his son, Bo, and his fishing buddy, Ed, caught some nice fish on a crowded Saturday morning. We saw boats on every point. Jerry Shafer and his sons, Mark and Chris, had a blast free-lining herring and catching nice stripers, slab hybrids and 4-to-6-pound largemouths off rocky points. Fishing should be great this weekend and lots of fish should be caught.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide, (706) 860-7373 - I took out two outdoor writers, Victor Miller, and K. Sayden, a freelancer, both of Albany, Ga. They caught seven fish. She caught her biggest fish at 5 pounds and he was using a fly rod and catching bream. Dr. Barry Goldsmith, of Augusta, and Dr. Hank Powell, of Columbia, caught six largemouth bass. They caught all on the Yellow Fellow along points in Grays Creek. Roger Williams and Pete Dawson, both of Atlanta, and I caught 12 bass averaging 3½ to 4 pounds. I caught two, each of them caught five. I fished by myself on Thursday and caught six bass within an hour, the biggest 4 pounds, on the Yellow Fellow.

Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides .com) with twins Brad and Jim - My son, Jim, helped me scout for fish for this week's parties. We fished for an hour on Monday, had to leave the lake because of lightning, having caught eight stripers. After the storm passed, we returned to the lake and fished until 1 p.m. Our total catch was 35 stripers and hybrids weighing a total of 128 pounds, six largemouth bass weighing 26 pounds, and one 4-pound catfish. We were pulling live bluebacks behind boards and freelining around shallow points. We also caught some of the fish on a red-and-white Pencil Popper. On Tuesday, Wayne Bland, of Snellville, Ga., joined Jim and I, By 9 a.m., we'd caught four fish and Wayne was ready to go in. The fourth fish weighed 40 pounds and was caught on a freelined herring in less than 4 feet of water. Wayne was given the option of returning to the lake, but he just had to go show it off to friends. Larry Freeman, of Evans, Ga., joined me on Wednesday. When we left at 11 a.m., we'd caught 25 stripers and hybrids, most coming on the small blue and silver Pencil Popper. SFC Gary Hosier and his wife, Jennifer, of Hephzibah, fished with Jim and I on Thursday. We pulled planer boards and fished freelines and ended up with 15 stripers and hybrids. She caught all the fish. Biggest was a 6½-pounder. It's almost umbrella rig time and on May 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. I will be at Broadway Tackle and Rod and Reel Repair to answer questions and demonstrate how I fish Captain Mack's umbrella rigs. Check out new photos on my Web site. My VHF radio handle is doubletroubles on Ch. 68.

Mark Crawford, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in hybrid and striped bass. www.teamsaveonemore.com (706) 373-8347 - I fished downlines in 20 to 30 feet of water on the lower end, using cut herring. Bigger fish were caught on planer boards pulled over humps in eight feet of water. I took out Evan Hall, Randy Thompson and Greg Crabtree, all of Proctorville, Ohio. We caught 29 stripers and hybrids on Wednesday. We caught about 15 more on Thursday.

Capt. William Sasser, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass. (706) 589-5468 - Spring has definitely arrived for excellent fishing. Our trips this week enjoyed a number of fast bites. John Trussell, of Warner Robins, Ga., Dean Wohlgemuth, of Jesup, Ga., Hovey Smith, of Sandersville, Ga., and Ken Freel, of Marietta, Ga., all members of the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association, wound up with 29 fish. Jeff Brannon and his wife, Gail, from Kennesaw, Ga., limited out on quality fish, with Gail catching the most. O ur fish this week came on live herring pulled behind planer boards.

Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 - I struggled today. I fished downlines, planer boards and cut bait on the bottom. We wound up with five fish. I don't have many of those days. My big fish have moved and are to be found on primary river points. The quality hasn't been as good the last few days. A woman fishing with me this week had a hard hit. I asked her to pull the line up so as not to lose the depth. She did and found a bare hook. So she threw the line overboard and while she was reeling it in, a hybrid hit a bare hook. First time I'd ever had that happened. A.R. and Maryanne Charnes, of Savannah Lakes Village, and grandson Austin Suggs and friend Andrew Johnson, visiting from Florida, caught some better fish on the bottom during the morning and some fast downline f ish later. They kept 30. Jack Grados, from Aiken, Dave and Dalton McNally, from Charlotte, N.C., fought a windy day and ended up keeping 18. I dropped two fish into the water while taking them off the hook. I figured out I'm supposed to hold 'em over the boat. Andy and Drew Pye, of Augusta, and friend, Garnett, had a tough day today (Thursday).

My VHF radio handle is Boat Racer and I can be reached on Channel 68.

Albert Moody, Clark Hill Herring Hut, Clarks Hill, S.C. (864) 333-2000 - Megan Palmer, of North Augus ta, caught an 8-pound, 12-ounce striper (her biggest ever) on live bait. Keith Remkus and "Modoc Dave" caught stripers, hybrids and cat fish on cut herring. Catfish weighing 23 and 11 pounds were their biggest fish. Israel Brown, of Hephzibah, caught an 18-pound, 9-ounce flathead catfish on cut herring near the dam.


New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam

Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle and Russ Peyton), (706) 496-1173 - Lots of stripers are being caught on bucktail jigs and Pencil Poppers. Sammy Hogan caught and released 23 stripers. Lee Legrande, Preston Wilson and others have been tearing 'em up. The mullet bite has turned on. Redbellies and bream are being caught downriver and the shad are still going bonkers. The bigger stripers are being caught on the South Carolina side.



Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) - John Majers caught four bass weighing 10.96 pounds on a spinnerbait in the Garden Pond. Charlie Houston caught an 8.25-pound blue catfish. J.C. Dicks and J.J. Dixon won last Friday's bass tournament with 9.18 pounds. Dixon had the big fish of 5.32 pounds and it's leading our big fish contest as well. Gene Moyer and Mike Craig were second with 7.30 pounds. Twenty-six fishermen were in the field. Our bass tournaments run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Friday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Entry fee is $20 per fisherman in each event.


Beaufort, S.C. & vicinity

Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 -The Fripp Island Memorial Day Kingfish Tournament will be held next weekend at Fripp Island Marina. For more information, call (843) 838-1517.



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