Unseasonably warm weather has kept Thurmond Lake’s surface temperatures in the low to mid 50s and fishing conditions have warmed up as well.
Reports have come in from Little River, S.C., that fishermen in as many as 25 boats at a time have been catching stripers and hybrids via live herring fished beneath planer boards. Let’s hope that didn’t lead to tangled lines and bits of profanity.
Another report says schooling fish chased by sea gulls have been surfacing on the Lincoln County side of Little River Bridge from 9 a.m. until late afternoon. The schools have chased bait fish all the way to Cherokee Creek.
Retiree Bob Kerwin, of Evans, fished again last Monday with William Hooker (isn’t that a great name for a fisherman?) from the entrance to the Dorn Fishing and Boating Facility in McCormick County down the Savannah River to Fishing Village. They started about 9:30 a.m., and ended at 3:30 p.m. Sea gulls and terns were diving on baitfish chased to the surface by marauding schools of stripers and hybrids.
“We caught a 10-pound striper and two hybrids weighing between 3 and 5 pounds,” Hooker said. “We kept 25 white perch and released about that many. All the fish were caught on half-ounce white Berry’s Flex-It Spoons. We also hung a couple of fish we were not able to turn. They were either big flathead catfish or stripers.”
• Congratulations to Bradd Sasser and Andrew Tubbs for having passed the tough U.S. Coast Guard license test.
Both are guides with William Sasser’s Guide Service.
• Coffee Bluff Marina in Savannah, Ga., will hold its second annual sheepshead team tournament on Jan. 28. Entry fee is $50 per team, which can have as many anglers as their boats can safely hold, according to Capt. Ray Golden. Payout is 75 percent of the purse to the first-place team and 25 percent to the second-place team. Fishing hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information: (912) 925-7474, or www.coffeebluffmarina.net.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Jack Owens and Terry Seeba caught 36 crappies, the largest 2½ pounds – on small minnows. Tommy Blum has been catching hybrids in Lloyds Creek, using live herring.
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 is in the low to mid 50s; the lake is clear and very low. I was planning to wait to March to get started, but the weather is predicted to be so nice and I have some of my regular clients who are itching to give it a try. If the weather holds, I guess we’ll go the first of next week. My scouting has produced more fish in the afternoons with a few degrees warmer water and that’s typical for the time of the year. We pulled some planer boards in the shallows on some spots that (believe it or not, didn’t have any hydrilla) and caught some 2- to 3-pound hybrids, a 6-pound striper and several nice largemouths in the 3- to 5-pound class. White perch are still hitting back in the creeks on a Berry’s Flex-It Spoon. They’ll also hit cut herring, but that’s sort of expensive.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 21, WRDW-My12, 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) – William: Dean Johnson, Gary Johnson, Jack Bailey and Ben Knight, all from Waynesboro, Ga., caught just six fish. They were trying to catch big fish, but wound up with just a 9-pounder. Sid Thurman, Aiken; Jack Schwarz, Monetta, S.C., and Eric Fox, of Aiken, caught 24 hybrids and stripers 2 to 8 pounds. The fish came on downlines in 30 feet of water.
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’s finally gotten somewhat cold in the north Georgia mountains, meaning it’s finally time to streamer fish for the largest trout in the streams. These fish got to be the biggest by being the hardest to trick. But this time of the year, it’s hard for them to resist the big meal swimming across their noses. Look for undercut banks and submerged logs that provide sufficient cover for the big ones. Try fishing from the middle of the stream and casting toward the banks and slightly down stream, using a Muddler Minnow or a White Zonker.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) – The Ditch has been producing some good catches of crappies, with live shiners the bait, for Ron Hoke and Ronald Hoke, 40; Willie Greene, 85; Harry Garfield, 65; Jay Robinson, 58, and Edwin Jones, 63. Lamar Glover and Sidney Watson caught 76 big crappies in the Membership Pond. Mick Yates caught nine bass including a 7-pounder in the Garden Pond on plastic worms. Willie and Sandy Starke caught 54 bream and catfish on worms and liver in the Pollard Pond.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – The cold weather has kept many fishermen from venturing out. But there have been some nice days and some anglers have taken advantage of those to try their luck. Most, however, will wait for a warming trend.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – It’s the time of year when you can find redfish in shallow water during low tides. When the tide is high, I’d check out the marsh grasses. If we get a warming trend with daytime highs in the 60s and 70s, that’s the time to go fishing.