I sometimes receive the strangest phone calls. For instance, a call came in from a reader whose 35-pound Boykin Spaniel, Meadows Ray of Sunshine, a.k.a. “Sunny,” wrecked his owner’s fishing tackle. The owner, who did not want his identity revealed, said the dog fragmented seven fishing rods inside a walk-in closet.
“He’s 11 years old and the older he gets, the stranger he acts,” he said.
Two All-Star rods, a Shakespeare Ugly Stik and a Falcon rod were shattered. Three Cabela rods also bit the dust. How did he break the Ugly Stik? I own one and it’s one tough fishing rod.
The owner contacted all the companies and All-Star and Shakespeare offered replacements. Falcon will send him a new one for a $50 fee, while Cabela’s wasn’t interested in replacing the trio. So the owner is looking for someone who can repair those three. If anyone knows a good rod repairman, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll then contact the anonymous one.
• There now has been a total of 65 readers who ordered the local place name Thurmond Lake map. I appreciate the personal notes sent by some who said they enjoy reading the fishing report. One man said he had been reading my stories for 40 years. Wow!
• Many fishermen who have been targeting bass in the lake ought to look for humps 40 feet or more deep. The live bait fishermen have been catching quality largemouths around those areas.
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.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) – Water temperature is in the upper 80s, the lake is clear and continuing to fall. Fishing continues to be excellent, but it’s an early morning bite. After that, it’s steamy and a bit unpleasant. The fish have gone into a thermocline in the 40- to 60-foot range. Get out of that range and all you catch is small fish and your baits die quickly. Little River Georgia, Keg Creek and Parksville are producing good catches of 3-to-5-pound hybrids and stripers 8 to 12 pounds. We’re also catching some really nice largemouths off 40-foot-deep humps. The famous fishing Kennedy family – Phillip, Denise, Granville and Reagan – blistered the fish, boating 33 nice stripers and hybrids in a little under an hour. They called later to say how much they enjoyed a fish fry and we were able to get off the water before it got hot. Jerry Shaffer, of Aiken, brought his boys, Chris and Mark, and Chris’s daughter, 11-year-old Imogene. I asked her what was her largest fish and it was a 1-pound bream from a pond. When she got off the boat, she had a new personal record of a 5-pound hybrid. They caught a cooler full of hybrids and stripers. Fishing should continue to be good and we all look forward to fall fishing when it’s much better.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – I’ll appear at the outdoor show at Warren Baptist Church today. I’ll sign autographs and talk fishing. I’ll have my Armed Forces-wrapped boat and truck.
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).
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 – The afternoon bite has really turned on, with large slab hybrids and 10-pounds-plus stripers being caught between 4 and 8 p.m., off main channel points in the Modoc and Parksville areas. We’re fishing live herring on down lines dropping 50 to 80 feet down in 90 to 100 feet of water. Some evenings, the fish are stacking up so heavily that you can’t get your bait fish past the fish at 50 feet to see what’s at 80 feet. Morning fishing also has been strong and steady, starting about 8 and shutting off by 10:30. We took out 12 parties last week and everybody caught fish. One group consisted off 22 physicians and all went home with a cooler full of fillets (our guides do the filleting). Other successful anglers included Randy Martin, Bill Parker, Matt Smith, all of Baxley, Ga.; Wally Powell George Walton, Bill Rhodes, Shannon Delsinore and son Noah, all of Augusta; Jarrod Oerman, Aiken; David Johnston and Roman Guerrero, both of Martinez; Roscoe Collins, Richard Collins, Daniel Collins and Brett Collins, all of Guyton, Ga.; Steve Morris, Trevor Morris and Wilson Perdue, all of North Augusta, and Keith Glore, of McDonough, Ga.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – We’ve had a good week, catching lots of quality fish and we’re catching them deep. We’ve had some huge fish on, which is encouraging. We had one fish that was the first fish in a while that we couldn’t do anything with. Twenty minutes, the hook just pulled loose. Disappointing. My fish are coming from clear areas and not around the trees. The best area is from the mouth of Georgia Little River to the dam. That oxygenation system is really doing the trick. The Waldrop party, visiting from Greenville, S.C., had a fantastic day. They filled the cooler with slab hybrids and a mix of 8 to 12-pound stripers. Walt Smith and his son, Levi, from North Augusta enjoyed a great day, although we did have some trouble. They wound up with a good catch. Check out my Web site: 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: It’s terrestrial time on the Toccoa River, meaning that hoppers, ants, etc., are luring big trout to the surface. Additionally, big stone fly nymphs have been catching a lot of nice trout during the midday hours. Mid-afternoon thunderstorms have made for excellent fishing in the hour or two following the rain. Bring a rain suit or jacket (or umbrella) in case you have to wait out a short storm, but be ready to catch a lot of trout soon after.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706) 722-8263 – If you’re in the military, or are a senior citizen, you can fish for half-price. If you’re handicapped, you can fish for free. Contact the bait and tackle shop for details.
Brickyard report: J.C. Skinner caught 10 crappies, 17 shellcrackers and 12 catfish on minnows and worms in the Ditch. Ray Carter and Wayne Sikes caught 22 bream, 11 catfish and three bass on minnows, crickets and worms in the Expressway Pond. Wayne Atkins and Tommy Franklin caught 16 crappies, seven catfish, one bass and eight bream on minnows and worms in the Ditch. Larry Thompson and Neal Walker caught 36 bream and 22 catfish in the White Elephant Pond on worms and crickets. Lock and dam: Sammy Hogan, fishing from the pier, caught 36 catfish on cut bait. Cliff Raley and Don Rollins caught six stripers down river on live herring. Lonnie Davis and Lee Elliott caught 66 mullet on worms. Gary Waters and Lonnie Adams caught 17 catfish and 38 bream on cut herring and crickets.
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – We got much needed rain and the weekend is looking good for fishing. The bite is improving for redfish, flounder and trout and is excellent for whiting. We’re seeing tarpon in Fripp and Trenchard’s inlets. A hot spot is between Pritchard’s Island and Fripp near the shore. Spanish mackerel are schooling near and off the shore. Good bottom fishing is taking place for black sea bass, grunts, trigger fish and grouper. Offshore near the Gulf Stream, kingfish and wahoo are hungry, but get them aboard the boat quickly. Hungry barracuda are in the same water. The 22nd annual Fripp Island Kingfish Invitational Tournament, featuring a $5,000 payout, will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at the marina. Entry fee is $250 per boat, with $60 per each additional person. A captain’s meeting will be held from 6 to 7 p.m., Aug. 30 and a representative from each boat entered must attend. More information: (843) 838-1551.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Spanish mackerel have arrived in a big way, with schools found off beach fronts to the artificial reefs. During this time of the year, expect bites from big gag grouper while bottom fishing. A live ruby redlips hooked on a 14/0 circle hook ands fished on the bottom resulted in a good catch for me.