Early morning fishing is best bet at Thurmond Lake

If you’re going to head to Thurmond Lake this weekend and you’d like to catch a limit of striped bass and hybrid bass, don’t forget your umbrella rig.


It’s that time again and anglers like guide Capt. Billy Murphy have been catching 10-fish limits within a few hours of launching boats. Early morning times are best. You can be on the water by 6:30 a.m., and off the water by 9 or 11.

Like Capt. David Willard said last week, “I spend more time cleaning our fish than I do catching them!”

Here are a few tips from Billy that will help catch fish:

1. Have the right tackle. Billy uses a Shakespeare Tidewater reel, a Berkley Big Game Power Series Rod 6-foot-6 or 7-foot-long, Berkley 30-pound-test Big Game Line and Capt. Mack’s 9-jig, 2-ounce bucktails with chartreuse tails on each of the rig’s four arms. He ties a spinnerbait onto the middle wire.

2. He pulls off line from the reel 10 times (from reel to the first guide on the rod). This lets out 120 feet of line. He sets the reel’s clicker and loosens the drag so the clicker will sound off when fish strike. He runs the outboard motor at 800 revolutions per minute. This allows the rig to run 20 feet deep. He trolls two rigs at a time, placing each rod on rod holders with left-hand and right-hand threads.

3. When he gets a strike, a client will grab the rod.
He tells him to hold it and he lets the boat go another 10 yards to see if the rig on the second rod draws a strike. Then he’ll place the motor in neutral and let the client reel in his fish, in the meantime quickly reeling in the other rig. After working the fish close to the boat, he places the net beneath the fish and with the other hand grabs the loose rigs at the 2-ounce weight and pulls them in with the net beneath. This keeps the jigs from hanging up in the net.

• Tyler Matthews, of Evans, caught 7 pounds of bass during the Forrest L. Wood Cup junior tournament on Lake Wateree last week and finished in fifth place.

He used a Buckeye Lures Spot Remover with a Zoom green pumpkin finesse worm. Fourteen pounds won it.

Matthews was thrilled to meet Wood and former pro Hank Parker.

Fishing Report


Raysville Marina, (706) 595-5582 – Newt Parker and Doug Threet caught eight catfish, two stripers and two shellcrackers. Baits used were worms and liver. Dick Gant caught a 40-pound flathead catfish on liver. Cliff Crowe caught 40 pounds of catfish on liver beneath the Raysville Bridge. James McZilkey, of Evans, caught six crappies in the fish house on minnows and jigs. Curtis Brown and Anthony Howard caught three catfish, 10 bream and five crappies. Matt Milburn and friends caught 20 good-sized catfish on jugs in the Red Bank Island area. The fish weighed nearly 100 pounds.

Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids, striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. (Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) – Water temp is mid 80s and the lake is clear. The fish bite has gotten slower, due to the extremely hot weather, but we’re just having to fish harder to catch a limit. I keep looking for the fish to come to the surface and we’ve seen some activity, but not much. That’s usually the pattern beginning in August when the threadfin shad hatch. I hope we’ll also have that to look forward to in September. We’re fishing live herring 30 to 40 feet down. Pedro and Andrea Saucedo, their friend, Daniel, and Pedro’s mom and dad, Juan and Maria, from Miami, had a great morning on their first trip with me, catching stripers, hybrids, largemouth and white perch. It was their first trip on the lake and they had such a good time, they’re planning to return in the fall. Robbie Roberson, his son, Skyler, and friend Andrew Settle fished with me. Both young men are headed to boot camp – Skyler to the Marines and Andrew to the Air Force. They wanted to enjoy a fishing trip together before leaving for several weeks of intensive training.


Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed guide specializing in striped bass and hybrid bass. (706) 733-0124 – It’s umbrella rig time on the lake again. We’re pulling the rigs over humps as well as deep water, trolling in 25 to 40 feet of water around daylight and by mid morning we’re in 60 to 85 feet. We have limited out every day. Last Monday, Ray Dowdy, of Harlem, Ga., caught a 6-pound hybrid and we were off the water around 11 a.m. Last Tuesday, Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, caught an 8-pound largemouth and I landed a 9-pound striper. We were off the water by 9:30 a.m. We are pulling multiple jig rigs and catching three and four fish at one time. Among the places we like to fish are the four humps off Bussey Point.

I always update my Web site with photos and a fishing log. Check it out at www.doubletroublefishingguides.com.

William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, Capt. Bradd Sasser, Capt. Andrew Tubbs, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (William) (706) 589-5468, (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 (Joe Burg reporting for Bradd) – We are catching fish early on live herring around humps and main channel points in 35 to 45 feet of water. We move to deeper water later in the day. Surface temperatures have been ranging from 84 to 86 degrees. We’re also seeing some schooling fish around mid morning and early afternoon. Among those fishing with us were Bob and Dana Wren, Evans; Billy and Shirley Norton, Wrens, Ga.; Cory Brit, Modoc, S.C., and Kathryn Knittel, Augusta.

Check us out on Facebook for up-to-date pictures.

Little River Guide Service, Tony Shepherd, U.S. Coast Guard licensed guide specializing in stripers and hybrids (with Captains O.G. Penner and Ted Boileau) (706) 210-3474) – Early morning temperatures on the lake are still comfortable, with surface temperatures moving up to 85 after the sun climbs up. I’m finding the live bait bite a little deeper at 35 feet on the sides of humps and 45 feet down as the day progresses. The oxygenation lines near Modoc Shores are producing quality fish in the evenings. There’s been good night-time fishing beneath the Highway 47 and Highway 378 bridges. Trollers continue to score on better sized fish at the lower end of the lake. They’re fishing double bucktail rigs on downriggers, or on lead core line eight colors back.

We post up-to-date photos on our Facebook page (Little River Guide Service Facebook).




Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Inshore, good numbers of spotted sea trout are being caught, but many need to grow a couple of more inches. Fishing is just fair for redfish and flounder, while there is good fishing for flounder. Near the shore, there is good fishing for Spanish mackerel. Offshore, there haven’t been many fishermen out. But there is
good fishing for kings, while bottom fishing is good for black sea bass and trigger fish.

The 24th annual Fripp Island Kingfish Tournament will highlight the Labor Day weekend, with $5,000 in cash prizes. Beneficiary is the charity Fripp for a Cure. The tournament will start Thursday, Aug. 28, with registration and a captain’s meeting at 6 p.m., followed by a Lowcountry cookout. Fishing days start Friday and Saturday at 6 a.m., with a 5 p.m. weigh-in each day. First-place kingfish is worth $2,000 and runner-up $1,000. First-place Spanish mackerel earns $750 and second-place fish $550. More information: Fripp Island Marina, (843) 838-1518.



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