Tommy Shaw and his wife, Rose Nell, helped spread the word about Clarks Hill Lake's great fishing during their nearly 32 years of marina operation.
From the late 1950s through the 1980s, they made weekly fishing reports to Atlanta radio stations and The Augusta Chronicle, among others, from their Little River Sportsman Camp located in the Columbia County section of what is now called Thurmond Lake. The reports attracted anglers from throughout the Southeast, who flocked to the lake to chase schooling white bass or fish for heavyweight largemouth bass.
They also made legions of personal friends now mourning the loss of Mr. Shaw, 84, who died Saturday at an Augusta Veterans Administration hospital. The Shaws had celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary Jan. 4.
Mr. Shaw was a native of Atlanta, born Feb. 10, 1923.
The Shaws began their careers as marina operators in 1954, a year after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the 70,000-acre reservoir to the public. Their marina (now called Little River Marina) grew with the lake's popularity, and Mr. Shaw, already an expert fisherman, devoted himself to becoming knowledgeable about how to find and catch the lake's fish.
When the lake fell 30 feet below normal pool levels just after it was constructed, he hired a photographer to fly over and take photos of the Little River section. The photos revealed the locations of river and creek channels, gullies, culverts, old road beds and other places where largemouth bass could be found once lake levels returned to normal.
"It's impossible to get to know the whole lake," he once said, "so I'm concentrating on this little bit." He shared his knowledge and skills with locals through his reports and personal contact.
He and his wife loved to get into their boat and chase schools of white bass, which he personally had persuaded the Georgia state game and fish agency to stock, during the spring and fall. He dubbed one of his favorite fishing spots "White Bass Island" where the game fish would congregate in great numbers during the late afternoons just before dark. It is still known by that name today.
Mr. Shaw also loved to fish for yellow perch in the Savannah River below the dam, enjoying fillets at breakfast time. After the Shaws sold the marina in the mid-1980s, he joined the Outcast Bass Club and enjoyed competing in club tournaments that he occasionally won. He was able to fish until earlier this year when his health began to deteriorate.
Visitation will be held Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m., and a memorial service will start at 3 at Platt's Funeral Home, 337 North Belair Road, in Evans.
Mr. Shaw is survived by his widow, a daughter, Linda S. Blanchard of Evans; a granddaughter, Marci Boyd, of Appling; a brother, Michael Shaw, of Lawrenceville, Ga.; a sister, Virginia S. Furmanski, of Germantown, Tenn.; four great-grandchildren, Lauren Scott of Waynesboro, Ga., and Clayton, Lindi and Lani Boyd, all of Appling.