There have been some exciting times on Thurmond Lake this week, with most of the fast action provided by hybrids and striped bass coming during the early morning hours before the day's heat sets in.
Downlining live blueback herring; that is, dropping the live bait into the depths from 30 to 40 feet down, have been depleting the hybrid-striper populations, but don't worry. There are plenty of fish to go around.
While professional guides might have the edge as far as knowing where schools of the two species can be found, average anglers owning boats with depthfinders and bait tanks to keep the herring healthy can do almost as well.
Let's not forget the potential to see schooling fish, especially during the first hour of the day before sunrise. Thing Poppers, those cork "bugs" tied to a two-foot-long leader behind weighted popping corks, are among the lures that will catch 'em.
l There will be more boats on the water starting today because of the holiday weekend so stay alert and be safe.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 - A.B. West, of Appling, Ga., caught 19 crappies in our fish house. Our free fireworks show will be held tonight, starting at 9. There will be a live band, too.
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.
(www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) - Fishing is hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth of July. Water temperatures are approaching 90 degrees and the fish are eating the bottom out of the boat. George Dudich Jr., and his wife, Karen, son, George III, and daughter, Alexandra, smoked the stripers on a recent trip. George Jr., knew he'd married the right woman when she asked to go fishing during their honeymoon. George III had the day's big fish of 12 pounds. Terrell Kitchens brought his Mom, Oratta, Aunt Edith and baby sister. They killed the fish, having multiple hookups for a solid hour. Scott Sherman, his son, Scott Jr., and Mike Latargia had an exciting morning catching their limits. Tom Hall wanted his son, Andrew, and father-in-law, Jack, to catch some nice fish. They hammered some 6- to 8-pound stripers during an afternoon adventure. I look for good fishing to continue for awhile. Fish live herring 30 feet down and hold onto the fishing rods.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide, (706) 860-7373 - No report. My new show is all about family catching fish. It features my son, Ralph Barbee III, and my grandsons, Houston, 11, and Christopher, 23. Billy Murphy and his son, Jim, and grandson, Johnathan, took us out hybrid fishing. We caught some great fish in two days, with Johnathan outfishing me, but I caught a 10-pound striper.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com)
with twins Brad and Jim - My parties have been wearing out the stripers. Last Thursday, my grandson, Johnathan, accompanied me on a scouting trip. We caught 32, with him catching the big fish of 9 pounds. We released all the fish that were unharmed. Last Friday, I had the honor of fishing with the "Striper Queen," Coreena Fecko, of Augusta, and Kevin Duncan, of Augusta, to fish with my son, Jim, and I. This was their first striper trip and they had a blast. Not only did Queen Coreena catch the big fish of the day with a 10-pound striper, she also caught the most. After running out of bait, I gave Kevin a lesson on how to pull Capt. Mack's Umbrella Rigs, which some nice stripers bit. They wound up with 25. Larry Freeman and I took out 7-year-old Loflin Phillips and 5-year-old Ballou on a birthday trip as a present from their grandmother, Pat Blanchard. Their father, John Phillips, also was on the boat. All were from Augusta. Pat was the designated photographer and Dad helped the boys catch the fish, but Pat had to step in as rods were going down faster than the boys could keep up. Loflin and Ballou each caught 10-pound stripers and wound up with 22.
My VHF radio handle is doubletrouble on Ch. 68.
Mark Crawford, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in hybrid and striped bass. www.teamsaveonemore.com (706) 373-8347 - We had another great week of fishing, with Mike Dunbar, Barthetic Dotson, Mike Lowery, Leon Burrell and John Perry, all of Augusta, and Alvin Vaughner, of Hephzibah, catching 44 fish up to 10 pounds. Mike and Patty Yohe, Frank Knox and Steve Morris, all of Appling, and Ken Coleman, of Harlem, had a tough day, winding up with 14 fish. Richard Braden, of Edgewater, Fla., his son, John, of Lincolnton, Ga., Chuck Courtenay and his wife, Vickie, of Lincolnton, Knox Smith, of Evans, and Tyler Cleary, of Edgewater, caught 28 nice hybrids and stripers. Randy Colter, of Augusta, and his son, Staeve , of Bartow, Calif., caught limits of stripers.
Capt. William Sasser, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass. (706) 589-5468 - George Brownell, Bob Wrenn and Dave Lause, all of Augusta, fished with me earlier this week. We caught 15 fish on a slow morning. Robert Paist, Lem Paist and Ricky Crawford, all of Augusta, got back onto the fish and caught a quick 30-fish limit. Butch Powell, Keith Powell and Sheriff Clay Whittle caught a limit, but Keith lost a monster fish next to the boat. Hunter Fuller celebrated his ninth birthday with grandfather Chuck (Pop) Nutt, Kerry Moore, Mom Melissa Fuller and Grandma Gail and Mike Faglier, all of Augusta, blistered the fish. Ralph Folger, Brett Folger and Blake Folger, all of Evans, caught limits of fish. Bill Inglett, Augusta, Lee Inglett, Martinez, Jim Jatho, Augusta, and Joe Olliff, Martinez, caught a limit of fish in 1½ hours. We're fishing live herring 40 feet deep. 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 - It's been an absolute spectacular week and my parties have just killed the big fish. It's only taking between 20 to 25 fish to fill up the cooler. Th e fish range from 10 to 18 pounds. Paul Moffett and his son, Cain, from Columbia, caught big downlined fish up to 10 pounds, with action so fast I could hardly keep 'em baited up. They kept a 20-fish limit. Kim Howard and son, Patrick, of Aiken, got on some fast downline fish that kept them running to the rods. They kept a 20-fish limit and then went on catch and release. Ralph Taylor, of Augusta, and Jake Butler, of Atlanta, enjoyed a great first striper trip, with rods slamming the water and multiple hookups. They kept 16 fish with six in the 10-pound range.
My VHF radio handle is Boat Racer and I can be reached on Channel 68. My Web site is www.fishlake thurmond.com.
Albert Moody, Clark Hill Herring Hut, Clarks Hill, S.C. (864) 333-2000 - Jamie Cosnahan and Conlee Stone caught a 44½-pounder, a 22½-pounder, a 15-pounder and a 4-pounder, all flatheads, noodling around the lake last week. Matt Napier caught a limit of hybrids including 7, 8 and 10-pounders on live herring. Andy and William Tisdale, of Evans, caught a beautiful limit of hybrids and stripers up to 10 pounds.
New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam
Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle, Billy Hambrick and Russ Peyton), (706) 496-1173 - Deja Stokes caught four bream and bass on jumpers (red wigglers). Charlie Dickinson kept six bass and a limit of bream, fishing down river. Michael Hartley caught a nice striper, but released it, fishing off the dam. The mullet bite remains strong.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 (www.brickyardponds.com) - Mike Johnson's 5.95-pound bass won the Big Fish of the Month contest for June and $50. Gene Moyer and Mike Craig caught 4.77 pounds of bass to win last Friday night's bass tournament. Mike Grubbs and Marty Pearson had big fish of 2.78 pounds. Our bass tournaments run from 6 p.m., to 10 p.m., every Friday. Entry fee is $20 per fisherman in each event. A fishing license is not required to fish in our ponds.
Beaufort, S.C. & vicinity
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 - Last weekend's high tides and this week's hot weather have caused our inshore fishing to slow down. Oh, anglers are still catching trout and redfish, but they've been on the small side. The cobia bite is still strong around the Betsy Ross wreck, while Spanish mackerel and king mackerel can be found in schools just offshore. Heading out to the Gulf Stream, anglers are running into bull dolphin, wahoo, a few mackerel, blackfin tuna and some billfish. Next weekend is the annual Fripp Island Fireworks Fishing Tournament July 10-11. A captains' meeting and Lowcountry cookout starts at 7 a.m., at Fripp Island Marina on Friday, July 10. Fishing starts at 6 a.m., on Saturday and weigh-in commences at 6 p.m. For more information, call (843) 838-1517.