This is one of my favorite times of the year on Thurmond Lake, in particular around the Keg Creek area. where I use lead core line and troll double-rigged bucktails.
You’ve got to have the right stuff. I use a Penn 309 reel with star drag because it’s built to hold the heavy lead core line. My rod is a 7-foot-6-inch Shakespeare Ugly Stik. Lead core line is dyed with different colors every 10 yards, so if you need to go out 40 yards, that’s four colors. As each color comes off the reel, the lure drops about five feet, so if you need to be 40 feet down, that’s eight colors.
I tie the lead core line directly to one of the eyelets on a three-way swivel, using an improved clinch knot. I tie a three-foot length of 14-pound-test monofilament to one eyelet and a 11/2-foot-length of the same stuff to the remaining eyelet. I tie on a one-ounce white bucktail with white and green feathers onto the short line and a quarter-ounce bucktail onto the long line.
Then I go trolling, mostly during then early morning before it gets too hot.
• Recent storms have damaged courtesy docks at Clark Hill Park and Scott’s Ferry. While the ramp is closed at the latter place, the dock is convenient for boaters to tie up and go use the toilet. Some of the boards are missing, making it a bit hazardous. The Clark Hill Park dock was torn from its moorings by high winds. The ramp is one of the most popular with anglers, who are wondering when the dock will be restored.
• Condolences to the family of Jack Clements, of Belvedere, who died last Friday. He had been an active member of the Belvedere Bass Busters.
• My friend, William Hooker says striped bass are schooling during the late afternoon at the end of Ridge Road on the Little River side.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Mark Watson caught a 6-pound catfish on night crawlers. He also caught a shellcracker weighing more than 1 pound. Danny Johnston caught 21 white perch, four catfish and three nice shellcrackers, all on worms. Jack Owens and Timothy Saari, of Grovetown, caught two catfish and 14 crappies on minnows. Later, Johnston caught 12 shellcrackers, 11 white perch and one catfish.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids, striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocket striperfishingcom) – Water temperature is in the upper 80s, the lake is clear and continuing to fall. We’re catching some nice fish on live herring in 30 to 40 feet of water early in the morning. Some fishermen are starting to use the umbrella rigs. I plan to stay with live bait for as long as possible. Bass Alley, Georgia Flats and Shriver Creek are producing some nice fish, but it’s mainly an early morning bite. Dr. Matt Cranford, and his 13-year-old, Will, had a great morning catching some slab hybrids and nice stripers. We had Will running all over the boat from one end to another as rod tips were going down. I haven’t seen any significant surface action, but small threadfin are on top and hopefully the fish will start keying on them shortly.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – Kirk Daniel, Joe Cox and I fished Monday night. Joe, former backup quarterback at Georgia, showed off his throwing arm, throwing dead on the bank with a Rat-L-Trap and catching five bass. Kirk caught two on the Bandit crank bait and I caught one on the Yellow Fellow. We caught seven bass during the Wednesday night tournament.
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 Northland Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon).
Billy Murphy, professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – The stripers and hybrids are starting to stack up, but are moving fast. We’re fishing in the mouth of Little River, Ga., mouth of Keg Creek, Savannah River in front of Monkey Island, Clark Hill Park cove ands in front of the “camel humps” just south of Modoc Shores. It’s umbrella rig time. Trolling Capt. Mack’s rigs with me last Tuesday were Bonnie Jackson and Christy Hoover, of Augusta. My grandson Johnathan was first mate. The ladies had more fun guessing how many fish were on their rig when they cranked it in. The fish weighed 3 to 6 pounds each. The fish were 20 to 35 feet down in 40 to 60 feet of water. Our rigs were going down 20 to 22 feet. We started fishing at 7 a.m., and were off the lake by 10. Last Wednesday was a different fishing day. We started 20 to 35 feet down during the early morning and caught only nine fish. By 9 a.m., we moved into deeper water, put more weight on our lines and let out the rigs farther behind the boat. We marked fish from 40 to 60 feet down. Our rigs were running 40 to 45 feet deep. Ray Dowdy, of Harlem, and Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, fished with me. We caught 26 fish including a 15-pounder caught by Larry and a 12-pounder netted by Ray.
William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, Capt. Mark Crawford, Capt. Bradd Sasser, Capt. Andrew Tubbs, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (706) 589-5468 (William), (706) 373-8347 (Mark), (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – William: Our clients are having fun catching hybrids from 2 to 7 pounds during the early morning, fishing live herring 30 to 35 feet deep in 40 to 60 feet of water in the Parksville and Modoc areas. We also are finding nice stripers in the 8- to 14-pound class throughout Keg Creek, anywhere from Tradewinds to the mouth of Chigoe Creek, using bucktails, downriggers and umbrella rigs. Fish are being caught during late afternoons from the lookout tower to the Augusta Sailing Club, fishing live herring 40 feet down in 60 to 80 feet. Among anglers who enjoyed successful days on the lake were Tom Schwartz, Springfield, Ill.; James Earl Kennamer, Edgefield, S.C.; Donnie Buckland, North Augusta, and Scott Vance, Graniteville. Kenneth, Forrest, Bradford and Ashford Pettay, all of Johnston, S.C.; Laurie and Graham Wood, Martinez and Brittany and Graham Ange, Evans, caught a 6-pound catfish and a limit of hybrids.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – We’ve had pretty good fishing, but not as good as last week. The hybrids were not quite as big. Last Friday, I had a party out and they killed ‘em, catching 37. Last Tuesday’s return trip netted only 17. Most of my fish are suspended 24 to 30 in 40 to 80- feet of water. We’re catching a few down real deep. We’re finding a lot of pockets up here where the bait isn’t living.
Check out my Web site at www.acestriperguide.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: The Toccoa River is producing exceptionally well during early mornings and late afternoons. Big trout are taking dry flies early and late, while the rest of the day smaller trout are steady biters. We recommend wading trips to start at 7 a.m., and fish until around noon. Drift boat trips should start around 4 p.m., and last until 9. This will provide the best times to fish riffles with dry/dropper rigs in the mornings and catch big trout in slack water during the evenings.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706) 722-8263 – The bass tournament held every Friday night has been ended because of the extreme heat. It will be resumed next year.
Brickyard report: Jim Avery caught four bass, one a bit more than 4 pounds, on plastic worms in the Ditch. John Brooks caught 10 catfish and seven bream in the White Elephant Pond on worms and crickets. Bruce Johnson caught 18 nice bream in the Expressway Pond on crickets. Will Brown and Tom Price caught 22 bream and nine catfish in the White Elephant Pond on worms and crickets. Tina Frank and Lena Turner caught catfish on liver in the Ditch. Kyle Jackson caught a 5-pound bass on plastic worm in the Farm Pond. Lock and Dam: Melvin Moore and Tom Cox caught 46 mullet and three catfish down river on mullet worms and Louisiana pinks. Ray Meadows and Les Turner caught six stripers 3 to 5 pounds on bluebacks. Rex White caught 25 bream, on crickets.
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Winners in the Fripp Island Marina Fireworks Tournament last weekend were Capt. Kevin Ragsdale and his crew on Mahalo Kai with three winners – the largest wahoo at 76 pounds, 6 ounces; the largest kingfish at 22.4 pounds and the largest dolphin at 4 pounds, 2 ounces. Capt. David Stedmen on Fishing Hooky caught the second-place king at 8.8 pounds. The wahoo was the reportedly the largest of its species ever caught in off Beaufort County. Capt. John Williams landed the largest cobia of 15.2 pounds and Capt. Bob DiBenedetto the largest Spanish mackerel at 6 pounds.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – During a six-hour trip recently, we caught 45 legal summer trout. The size limit is 13 inches and over. The creel limit is one per person. That means we kept six fish and released 39.We also caught a variety of other fish including back sea bass and trigger fish near our artificial reefs. Spotted sea trout and black drum also are biting.