Did you catch the fish-related Pearls Before Swine comic in Wednesday’s newspaper? In it, Pig says, “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t named ‘Pig’. . .it seems like a word that can sometimes be used as an insult.” In the center frame, a fish-like figure says, “I’m a crappie fish.” In the last frame, Pig says, “It’s hard to complain about your name around a crappie fish.”
All this brought back memories of more than 50 years ago when I was a public relations assistant at the Georgia Game and Fish Department (now DNR). A part of my duties was to tape fishing reports for many radio stations throughout Georgia. So every Friday I phoned in my report that included “crappie fishing is excellent” at such-and-such a lake. I don’t ever recall saying that “crappie fishing is crappy,” because that would have attracted the unwanted attention of my boss.
It’s too bad such a great fish has a sorry name.
However, if one was to conduct a poll among fishermen, it is likely that crappies would surpass largemouth bass as everyone’s favorite fish. The reasons would include the fact that crappies are easily caught on both live bait and artificial lures. This time of the year, as Thurmond Lake cools, the fish can easily be caught around submerged trees and brush, fishing live small shiners or jigs 18 to 20 feet down. These fish are in schools so if you catch one, you’re likely to catch more.
• The lake is 11 feet down and, because no rain of a significant amount (like in Noah’s day) has fallen to replenish the reservoir, it is likely to keep falling. The Lake Springs boat ramps are still usable, with several more feet of concrete available, but the courtesy dock is high and nearly dry. The Keg Creek ramp is still usable, but is very steep so caution is needed when launching or retrieving boats. The Wildwood Park ramps are still usable, the best thing being the courtesy docks are adjacent to the ramps. Be careful.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Danny Johnson, of Thomson, caught 27 crappies weighing a total of 19 pounds. He fished with minnows and green jigs. Tonya Burdett, of Thomson, caught 12 crappies in our fish house on small minnows. Clifford Crowe, of Raysville, caught 23 crappies this (Thursday) morning on minnows.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids and striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. (Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com – Water temperature has moved into the low 60s and the lake is clear. We’ve had a great week of fishing, although we had to pick our days. Larry Wendt and family caught hybrids and stripers up to 10 pounds. Larry Heinrich and his group caught 25 hybrids and stripers, largemouths up to 4½ pounds and a whole bunch of white perch. Fishing should continue to be good through Christmas. The white perch bite is as good as I’ve ever seen it and largemouth also are hitting well. It’s always a treat for my clients when they catch largemouths in the 4- to 6-pound category. Be aware of the ramps during the early mornings because of the possibility of ice. We’ve had several people slip and slide to their boats this week.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, (706) 860-7373 – Kirk Daniel and I fished Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, we caught and released 15 bass, biggest about 4½ pounds, and eight jacks (chain pickerel), all coming on the Yellow Fellow fished over and around live hydrilla. On Wednesday, we braved the rain and the wind and caught 12 bass. Biggest fish was a 4-pounder caught by Kirk. All came on the Yellow Fellow. We caught a lot of fish in Grays Creek. The wind had to blow before the fish would bite.
My new show features Capt. Dan Utley out of Hilton Head, S.C. We catch large redfish, a 100-pound bull shark and another fish that got away. We fished cut mullet. Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 21, My12TV, Knology Ch. 7, Atlantic Broadband (Aiken) Ch. 7 and Charter Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon).
Billy Murphy, professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – Last Monday was a great day to be on the water. Stripers and hybrids were hard to find, but we could have loaded the boat with white perch. Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, fished with me. We ended up with eight nice stripers and hybrids. The striped bass are moving quickly into the creeks. It’s hard to find the fish stacked up for a period of time.
William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser and Capt. Mark Crawford, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (706) 589-5468 (William), (706) 373-8347 (Mark) or (864) 333-2000. (Clark Hill Herring Hut) – Mark: Buddy Attebery, Metter, Ga.; Jimmy Colson, Metter; Willard Jones, Metter; Wayne Colson, Thomson, caught 14 stripers 2 to 11 pounds. We pulled live herring beneath planer boards in shallow water. William: Chris Cosper, with sons Alex, 8, and Eli, 6, and a friend Jonathan Bullard, all of Augusta, caught 44 stripers, hybrids and white perch on free-lined herring. Glenn Butler, Charlotte, N.C., and sons, Marshall, 10, and Grayson, 8 years old, caught 30 stripers and hybrids up to 10 pounds. Jeff and Jessie McIntosh, Grovetown, with Buddy Woehler, North Augusta, and Jason Waller, Martinez, caught 56 hybrids, stripers and white perch. www.williamsasserfishing.com.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807– Because of family issues, I won’t be making any guided trips for awhile. I’ll let everyone know when I am able to be active again. Check out my Web site: www.fishlakethurmond.com.
NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAIN STREAMS
Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 (www.flyfishingnorthgeorgia.com) – Carter: Trout fishing on all the delayed harvest streams has been great since the waters have been loaded with freshly stocked trout looking for something to eat. The recent rain ought to improve fishing conditions. Best bet for trophy trout right now would be at Fern Valley on the Soque River. Hunter had a couple of successful trips there this week. I had a couple of great trips on the Toccoa River and the Amicolola River. We caught browns, brooks and rainbows on the Toccoa and rainbows on the Amicolola. Most of the fish were caught on Olive Stone Flies.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1410 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) – Willie and John Black caught 48 crappies on minnows in the Ditch. Larry Jenkins caught 26 crappies in the Ditch on minnows. Al Stokes caught eight bass in the Garden Pond on plastic worms. Ida Murray caught six carp, one 11 pounds, on dough balls in the Ditch. Bonnie Phillips and son caught 36 catfish on liver in the White Elephant Pond. Reggie Lewis and his wife caught 36 bream and catfish on crickets in the Pollard Pond. Gene and Brantley caught 20 crappies, each over 1½ pounds, on minnows in the Ditch. Donnie and Sharon Pinckney caught 43 crappies on minnows in the Ditch. Joe Warren and Randy Jones caught 72 crappies in the King Pond on minnows.
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Many of our fishermen out of Fripp think the trout have gone on vacation. Redfish bite is still good. Offshore, bottom fishing is producing some nice catches of black sea bass, trigger fish and grouper. Don’t forget the Kids Fishing Thanksgiving Tournament next Friday, Nov. 25. Registration is free and T-shirts, food, drinks, ice cream and many prizes will be awarded. Kids must bring their own tackle plus an adult sponsor. They’ll be able to fish off the marina docks just during this event. More information: Fripp Island Marina, (843) 838-1517.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Some of the smaller sheepshead have made their way to the artificial reefs. As always, the No. 1 bait is fiddler crab, although small bits of shrimp work, too. The sheepshead bite will be mixed with black sea bass, flounder, bluefish, pig fish and lots of other smaller, hungry fish.