Brrrr! Crazy weather. Work up a sweat during March, freeze and get wind-blown during April. Is this global cooling?
Last Thursday’s full moon has still got Thurmond Lake’s shellcrackers in the spawning mode. Louisiana and hybrid pink worms are best. Ease around the shore until your nose tells you something’s rotten. The bad egg smell pervades the areas around the fishes’ beds. There’s no other smell like it, unless you come across some bad eggs.
High winds have made it tough to spot schools of hybrids and stripers. Everything looks like a white cap. But I have heard reports of schools being spotted on the Georgia Flats on the Lincoln County side of the Savannah River, as well as in Bass Alley just down from the flats. The wind forecast for today, unless it’s been changed, called for light winds.
The schools are up and down quickly, so after reaching the spot where you last saw them, keep your eye on your depthfinder. If the fish show up, you might get a chance to drop a jigging spoon into their midst 20 to 30 feet down and catch a few that way. Otherwise, I’d cast Zoom Super Flukes on quarter-ounce lead-head jigs into the area, let them sink and reel in slowly.
• Congratulations to North Augusta’s “Friday Night Bites,” the youth fishing team. Grayson Brandt, Kyle Shreve, Brad Wilson and Francisco Bucio defeated Saluda (S.C.) High’s Austin Colson, Dakota Smith, John David Forrest and Chase Crouch. Francisco’s first ever tournament bass was the day’s big fish of 5.04-pounds and was caught on a Super Fluke. Sean Hall is North Augusta’s coach, while Russell Quattlebaum is Saluda’s.
• The Clark Hill Committee continues its financial support of Augusta State University’s fishing team with a $2,500 donation following last Saturday’s Tommy Shaw Memorial Open Team Bass Tournament.
From the lakeside
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Cody Creighton, 16, North Augusta, has caught 34 largemouth bass from Saturday through Tuesday of Masters Week. He fished a Carolina-rigged plastic worm. Danny Johnson, of Thomson, caught white perch, shellcrackers and bluegills. Gavin and Michelle Matthews caught two catfish, 15 crappies and 10 shellcrackers on worms and minnows. Kenneth Kenner caught a 5.4-pound bass on a plastic worm.
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.crockett rocketstriperfishingcom) – Water temperatures are in the upper 60s and the lake is clear. Fishing has been good, especially at the first part of the week before the cold fronts and high winds came in. Most of our fish are being caught on herring pulled behind planer boards and on free lines in the shallows. Chris Hibshman from Chicago had a good morning on the lake, catching stripers, hybrids and largemouths. James Taylor and his wife, Eilleen, from Birmingham, Ala., caught a limit of hybrids and stripers up to 12 pounds. Evonne Beaver and her son, Cole, from Charleston, S.C., caught stripers, hybrids, largemouths and white perch on a windy morning. Evonne caught a 10-pound striper, her largest fish ever. Fishing should continue to get better, especially after the cold front.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – Buddy Hadden, Martinez, and I fished Tuesday morning. He caught two hybrids in the 5-pound range, the first of the species he ever caught. He also landed two small largemouths. All came on the Yellow Fellow. We fished from Cherokee Creek to Little River Marina.
My new show features The Bassmasters. 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, G-Force (Aiken) Ch. 7 and Northland Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon).
Billy Murphy, professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – It’s been good to get back onto the lake after a few weeks’ absence for various reasons. My son, Brad, and I went scouting for crappies last Tuesday. We fished eight to 18 feet of water, trolling Hal-Flies four to six feet below corks. Crappies hit flies of different colors, including white, green with red tails, white with red tails, red and white with red heads. We wound up with 32 fish, most on the small size.
On Wednesday, Brad and I fished for stripers and hybrids, catching a total of 18, with Brad catching the big fish of 9 and 15 pounds. The fish were caught on live herring fished beneath planer boards and on freelines. Most of the fish weighed 4 to 7 pounds. We pulled the boards across points in eight to 46 feet of water, with the deeper fish coming during mid morning.
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: Matt McAlvin, Michael McAlvin and Michael Kay, all of Evans, caught some nice hybrids and stripers. John Schmidt and Adam Schmidt, Livingston, Calif., and Gerald Koehn, Louisville, Ga., caught a limit of hybrids and stripers 7 to 10 pounds.
William: Matthew, Becky, Luke, Ben, Jim and Jeanne Bethel, all of Waterville, Ohio, caught a nice mess of stripers and hybrids.
Bradd Sasser, Clark Hill Herring Hut, Clarks Hill, S.C. (864) 333-2000 – Good hybrids are being caught fishing live herring on downlines in 25 feet of water off the Carolina side. Red worms and hybrid pinks are catching some nice shellcrackers.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – I had a trailer problem and had to reschedule a couple of parties. We’re still catching some pretty good fish. We’re averaging 15 to 25 fish, but everything we’re catching is between 5 and 25 pounds. Ten to 15-pound stripers are hitting, with 95 percent coming off the boards. Just a few are being caught on freelines and even fewer off downlines. Crappies are doing great. We’re fishing in 14 to 15 feet of water around trees and catching some good fish.
Check out my Web site at 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) – Carter Morris: I had a great trip this past week to Frog Hollow on the Chestatee River with Augusta dentist Mike Scott. Mike landed six nice rainbows and had two bigger fish break off. Most fish were caught on dry flies since there was a lot of bug activity along the river. Black caddis flies and flying ants were the most prevalent. Hunter and I also hit a high altitude north slope small stream full of feisty rainbows and native brook trout. I fished small dry flies and Hunter fished a nymph rig and both of us were successful. I was also in town for a couple of days and caught several 4 to 5-pound bass on a gold Rapala while fishing a couple of farm ponds. Trout fishing should be at its peak the last weeks of April and during the month of May. I think this is the best time of the year to fish dry flies for hungry mountain trout.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) – Bubba and Dana Koss won the bass tournament with 15.92 pounds. Preston Crews and Raymond Klaus were second with 12.96 pounds. Mike Chapman and Chase Harmon with 9.22 pounds were third. The Kosses landed the big fish of 6.40 pounds. Brickyards: Streve McDaniel caught 40 bass in two days on plastic worms in the Garden Pond. Paul Wolfe caught an 11-pound largemouth bass in the Membership Pond on a plastic worm. Stella Jeffers caught 31 bream on worms in the Cornell Pond. Bosey Black caught 32 crappies on minnows in the Ditch. Willie Jenkins caught 38 crappies in the Membership Pond on minnows. Gahagan Peters caught 27 catfish 1 to 3 pounds on liver in the White Elephant pond. Jerry Skinner caught 43 crappies in the Membership Pond on minnows. Sarah and Rick Thompson caught nine carp, including a 14-pounder, in the Ditch on dough balls. Larry Johnson caught 15 bass, one 7-pounder, in the Membership Pond on plastic worms. He practices catch and release. Lock and Dam: Matt Wayatt caught three catfish totaling 42 pounds down river on cut herring. Phillip Owens caught and released 30 shad on pink grubs. Jack Perdue caught eight shad at the dam on Sabiki Rigs. Tysheika Reese caught 67 bream and warmouth in two days up the river, plus seven bass, all on Louisiana pinks fished off the bank.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Capt. Judy has been reporting on catching strange or strange-looking “things.” Here are a few guaranteed to liven up any offshore (or inshore) fishing trip: Atlantic guitar fish (because of its shape. It doesn’t do any pickin’ and grinnin’!) Mantis shrimp: This looks like the onshore insect. They’re also called thumb-busters and shrimp mammies. Northern sennet: They look like juvenile barracuda without the black spot. They have a serious set of sharp teeth. I caught mine on Sabiki rigs.
Meanwhile, the whiting bite has turned on and the offshore vermilion snapper season opened April 1.