Most of us have been joined on trips to Thurmond Lake by individuals who shared our passion for fishing. In time, many of them became our fishing buddies. But how many of us have experienced the joys of having a doggone great fishing buddy of the four-footed variety?
Like Ed Lepley’s Zaack, a Yorkie who was born to go fishing.
“I called him my ‘Clark Hill Fish Hound,’” said Lepley, who lives in Martinez. “He was quite observant when it came to watching the fishing rods. He’d sometimes climb onto my lap, put his head on my shoulder and keep his eyes on the rods. When one started bouncing, he’d start barking to let me know about it.”
Kenneth Brooks, of Grovetown, went fishing with Ed and Zaack one day.
“Zaack didn’t like me to be in the front seat of the truck with Ed, but sharing some food with him made it OK,” Brooks said. “We put out fishing lines before the sun came out. Zaack started barking and ran back to one of the rods. Ed walked back to look and said, ‘Fish on!’ A big striper had struck the bait on that rod. I’d never seen a dog do that before.”
“One foggy morning on Murry Creek,” Ed recalled, “the baitfish were unusually active and the rod tips started bouncing up and down. Zaack barked his head off. One of my friends, who also was on the water, remarked to another: ‘Well, somewhere out there, Ed’s catching fish!’ Zaack was my best buddy and I miss him.”
Zaack died four years ago.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Debbie Percival caught a 2½-pound crappie on minnows. Danny Johnson, Thomson, limited out on crappies on minnows. Cliff and Doane Crowe caught 60 crappies on minnows and jigs. Jack Owens and Billy Englett, of Grovetown, caught 36 crappies on Jan. 14 and 20 on Jan. 25. Minnows were the bait.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – Fishing by myself on Thursday, I caught three jacks, two white perch, one hybrid and two bass, all small, on bone-colored Rat-L-Trap. I fished ditches, casting out, letting it fall, lifting it up, let it fall, and they’d hit it sluggishly on the fall.
My 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: Josh Sandt, McCormick, S.C., Jason Sandt, Savannah, and Herb Marks, McCormick, caught 13 hybrids and stripers running 3 to 12 pounds. They hit herring pulled beneath planer boards in the shallows. Ed Wiley, Summerville, S.C.; Jim Wiley and John Bracknell, Greenwood, S.C., filled a cooler with stripers ranging from 8 to 24 pounds on rainbow trout and herring pulled below planer boards. Check out my Web site: www.williamsasserfishing.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: Rainfall and erratic temperature changes seem to have the trout wondering what and when to eat. Dad and I had another great trip at Fern Valley on the Soque River this week, but it was the perfect indecisiveness of the fish. Although we landed a lot of nice trout, we never were able to find a pattern or method that was consistently good. As long as the weather keeps changing so frequently, try the same thing with the fly patterns you are using, but change them often. An even more effective approach is to change methods often. If you’ve tried a couple of nymph patterns without much success, switch to wet flies or streamers, or vice versa The fish want to eat – you just have to give them a little extra encouragement right now.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) – Crappies remain on a tear, with minnows the preferred bait. Tim Johnston caught 65 big crappies in the Membership Pond. Bill Wright caught 72 crappies in the Ditch. Lula and Pete Williams caught 48 bream and catfish in the Pollard Pond on worms and liver. Larry Hamilton caught 71 crappies in the Membership Pond. Shawn Loper caught 76 crappies in the Ditch. Mitchell Brown caught nine bass, one an 8-pounder, on a crank bait in the Expressway Pond. Nick Loumas caught 67 crappies in the Ditch. Stephen Mobley caught 52 crappies in the Ditch.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – “Playing and swimming with the fish!” Capt. Judy gave a plug to Mike Dick, of the Savannah Dive Company, who offers private Scuba instruction. More information: (912) 210-6317. And don’t forget Capt. Judy’s own inshore fishing school on Feb. 4 and offshore fishing school on Feb. 11.