Stretching the truth about fish weight is a habit as old as the sport

Fishermen have been branded as liars ever since somebody dropped a hook into the water and caught that first fish eons ago. We wouldn't have that reputation if Og had just told his friends that first fish truly weighed 5 pounds and not 25.


Og didn't know it, but he was using a ploy most of us have been using ever since. It's called a "truth stretcher."

When we catch a fish, we usually don't have a set of scales with us, so we're forced to "guesstimate" its weight. So if the fish actually weighed 3 pounds and we tell our friends we caught a 5-pounder, we're really not lying, just stretching that truth, and hope our friends give us the benefit of the doubt.

I must admit some of my friends look at me doubtfully when I boast of my fishing prowess, but that's because they didn't know of the existence of the "truth stretcher." Now they do, and I hope this clears the air.

- Congratulations to Mario Marcel Palmer, 10, who caught his first fish this month. The new member of the fishing fraternity, the son of Kevin Palmer, also is a Cub Scout and an A/B student at Westminster.

- Want to see a movie at Wildwood Park on Sept. 4? Travis and Cathy Hayes, of Hayes Marine on Thurmond Lake, have come up with the new idea of a "boat-in" movie at the park. Cost is $3 by land (the park entrance fee) and free to boaters who come in by "sea." The film is Avatar, rated PG-13. For more information, call (706) 541-9111.


Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 -- Dwayne Cunningham, of Augusta, caught a 31/4-pound catfish and some shellcrackers in our fish house. Jesse Dawson caught 13 crappies in the fish house. Jerry Moye, of Thomson, caught a limit of crappies in our area.

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.crockett -- Water temperature is 88 degrees and the lake is clear. The level seems to be dropping faster, but the fish are still biting. I took out the famous fishing Sheffield family, of Panama City, Fla., on a picnic/eagle-watching tour of the lake. This was at their request. They didn't want to fish and definitely did not want to get up and go at daylight. They were able to photograph bald eagles, osprey and great blue herons up Little River, Georgia. On the way back down, I saw fish breaking around Lloyds Creek. Old habits being hard to break. I had a few herring in the bait tank. I put my trolling motor over and we started putting baits down to 24 feet. The hybrids ate 'em up. They had a blast catching nice hybrids and stripers and called the next day to say how delicious the fillets were. They said they'd be back, but wanted more fishing time. The fish were in 24 to 30 feet of water.

Billy Murphy, professional guide, (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides. com) with twins Brad and Jim -- O.G. Penner, of Grovetown, and I fished together Thursday. We caught nine stripers on umbrella rigs fishing over 25- to 30-foot humps and also trolling in 120 feet of water in the main Savannah River channel. My VHF radio handle is doubletrouble on Ch. 68.

Capt. William Sasser, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass. (706) 589-5468 or (864) 333-2000 -- Christina and Nate Rinke and William and Susan Mitchell, of Columbia, fished with me this week. They caught half their fish (good stripers up to 7 pounds) downlining live herring, and the rest on Zara Spooks cast into schooling fish. "The schoolers were decent size," Sasser said. "You can avoid catching the little ones by casting the larger plugs." Check out my Web site at

Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 -- We're catching a mix of fish, some good, solid, 3- to 6-pound hybrids and stripers, as well as smaller ones. Schooling fish up my way (near Fishing Village) has been sporadic. My Web site is

Capt. Mark Crawford, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 373-8347 or (864) 333-2000 -- Bernie Till and Barry Beasley, both of Barnwell, S.C., Roger Hunnicutt, of Wagener, S.C., Don Shelley, Aiken, and Stan Maciaszek, of Augusta, caught 30 hybrids and stripers averaging from 11 to 6 pounds on downlines in 28 feet of water. Bryan Patterson, Danny Patterson and David Bass, all of Augusta, caught 27 hybrids and stripers averaging 2 to 4 pounds. Keith Neal, Frank Neely, James Paul, Ricky Todd, Jim Burg, and Brad Lillard, all of Augusta, caught 26 hybrids and stripers up to 4 pounds.

Donna Sasser, Clark Hill Herring Hut, Clarks Hill, S.C., (864) 333-2000 -- George Coleman, of Augusta, caught enough bream, catfish and white bass to fill two 5-gallon buckets, fishing off the bank. Joe Burg, of Plum Branch, S.C., has been locating and catching schooling fish. Tank Walker, of Parksville, S.C., has been catching fish on live herring, fishing below schooling fish and catching bigger ones. Hybrids and stripers are schooling around Horseshoe Island and in Catfish Creek (Parksville, S.C., cove).



Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle (Bob Baurle), (706) 798-3252 -- Gavin Pinion, 6, and Bobby Gilbert caught 25 channel catfish and seven bream on red worms down river. Plenty of mullet are being caught, as well as bream.



Harrison Sears (706) 722-8263 ( -- J.C. Dicks' 7.33-pound bass remains the current Big Fish of the Month. Jamie and Ervin Hodges weighed in a 3.54-pound catch to win last week's bass tournament. Marlin Goodnight and Greg Childs had big fish with 2.37-pounder. Our bass tournaments run from 6-10 p.m. each Friday. Entry fee is $20.


Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 (www.flyfishing -- Carter: Air and water temperatures are beginning to fall in the mountains. Temperatures are in the mid-60s at night and high 70s or low 80s during the day. Stream temperatures range from 66 to 69 degrees. I talked to Chad McClure, of Thomson, who did well on brook trout on Walnut Fork located in the Warwoman Wildlife Management Area near Clayton. Ga., in the northeastern part of the state. I fished Jones and Frick creeks in the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area and caught some nice brookies and brown trout. The Georgia DNR is still stocking Wildcat Creek and the Tallulah River near Clayton, so come on up and enjoy the cool air and hungry trout.



Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, S.C., (843) 838-2530 -- Inshore fishing is red hot for redfish, while more spotted sea trout are beginning to show in catches. Tarpon are feeding around Fripp, but few anglers are fishing for those tackle busters. Spanish and blues are schooling strongly near the shore. Deep water kingfish fishing is good, but Gulf Stream wahoo and dolphin are slow. Meanwhile, the 20th Fripp Island Kingfish Tournament will highlight the Labor Day weekend. Awards include $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second for kings; $750 for the winning Spanish mackerel and $550 for second place. Proceeds will be donated to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Keyserling Cancer Center. For more information, call Fripp Island Marina at (843) 838-1517.


Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga., 31410-0771 -- Lots of people are waiting for the weather to cool off before going fishing. Truth is, the fishing is just as hot as the weather for many species.

The key to finding fish is to find the water that is abundant with food. Spanish mackerel and blues are schooling and they're easily spotted by watching for flocks of sea birds hovering over the schools. A quality pair of field glasses will help ease the eyestrain.