Looking back on Thurmond Lake during 2011, if there was one species of fish that really stands out, it has to be the white perch. They were everywhere.
Professional guides hate to get into a school of the little bait stealers, but several of the guides will put up their herring and break out rods and reels equipped with Berry’s Flex-It Spoons in ¾ of an ounce or half-ounce sizes. They’ll allow the spoons to free-fall to the bottom, then jig ’em up and down and in no time they’ll catch a perch. The little fish are popular with their clients.
My friend, William Hooker, took out retiree Bob Kerlin, of Evans, last Tuesday and introduced him to “perch-jerkin” with great success.
“We started about noon and left about 3 p.m.,” Hooker said. “We wound up with 25 perch, a 13-pound flathead catfish and an 8-pound channel catfish, and 10 hybrids in the 1.5- to 4-pound range.”
Hooker said the fish were caught between the Dorn Boating Facility in McCormick County and Fishing Village.
“The fish are feeding on small shad so we used quarter-ounce and half-ounce white spoons,” he added.
The fish offer exceptionally fine eating as well.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Jack Owens and Terry Seeba caught 38 crappies in our area. The next day, they caught 40.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373.
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).
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: Mack Morgan, Tyler Morgan, Tanner Morgan and Thomas Morgan, all of Edgefield, S.C., caught three stripers and nine hybrids. Big striper weighed 26 pounds. Also caught were seven largemouths. Don North, Tim North and Joel Garnto, all of Evans, caught seven stripers 12 to 18 pounds. Jason Cunningham caught 11 stripers 12 to 20 pounds and eight largemouths 2 to 5 pounds. All were caught on live herring fished beneath planer boards. 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) (facebook.com/flyfishingnorthgeorgia) – Hunter: It has felt more like October than January and the trout have behaved as such. It’s been several winters since I remember catching this many fish without having to resort to winter fishing methods. Although streamer fishing has still proven most effective, nymphing and even dry flies have caught a nice of really nice trout. Try big stonefly patterns when nymphing and big terrestrial dry flies during the midday hours.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) – Mark Smith caught 130 crappies in the Ditch on minnows. Aaron Hudson caught 145 crappies in the Membership Pond on minnows. Ray Walters caught 62 crappies, all over a pound, in the Ditch on minnows. Mabel Johnson caught 52 bream and catfish in the Pollard Pond on worms and liver. John Wooten caught nine bass, two over 6 pounds each, in the Clayton Pond. The fish bit a crank bait. Jay Robinson caught more than 200 crappies in the Ditch on minnows and jigs. Irvin Griffin caught 96 big crappies in the Membership Pond on minnows and jigs. Many weighed more than a pound. Donnie Davis caught 75 good crappies in the Ditch, also on minnows and jigs.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – The redfish continue to stack up in deep holes in the tidal creeks. Mud minnows are the best baits. Sheepshead fishing has been good around wrecks and artificial reefs. There are no offshore reports at this time and few fishermen have been out.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – During this time of the year, the artificial reefs are holding a lot of fish. The ones you can keep are sheepshead, black drum and flounder. The downside is the reefs are covered by black sea bass and this season is closed until June 1. You might catch 30 black sea bass before catching one fish you can keep.