Largemouth bass should be a nature for a license plate

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is conducting an online contest to pick special license plates whose revenue will be used by the Non Game Division. Of all the species depicted on the licenses, it’s my opinion that a natural is missing – the largemouth bass.


Not only does Georgia still hold the world record for the species (although it was tied by a Japanese fish), the largemouth also is the state fish. If you’re a bass fisherman, don’t you think you’d be willing to buy a special license plate if it depicts a leaping largemouth bass in full natural color? I know I would, but the powers that be at the DNR are reluctant to agree. They say the Non Game Division needs the money. So what’s to prevent the bass tag money from going to Non Game?

Georgia does have a special trout tag, but its design is not attractive and I am not going to buy one. Presently, our family vehicles sport two eagles and the deer/quail tag. I’d love to have a bass plate for each of our boat trailers.

• My friend, Joey Bishop, has opened a bait and tackle shop on the site of the late Bob Baurle’s Lock and Dam Bait and Tackle. “The Tackle Box” is open seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’s a location that is convenient for fishermen who try their luck at New Savannah Lock and Dam as well as in the Savannah River above and below that structure. Here’s wishing Joey the best of luck.

• Eighty-seven people have ordered the free Albert Moody maps showing local place names in lower Thurmond Lake, including the two I found in my mailbox when I came into The Augusta Chronicle on Thursday.

• Back in 1963, Wally Walworth, who wrote a fishing report for the Augusta Herald, produced “Wally Walworth’s Fishing Chart of Clark Hill,” which is what the lake was called back then. He marked 13 sites and added what fish were to be caught and on what lure or bait. For example, in Mims Creek (a.k.a. Mims Branch) next to the Fort Gordon Recreation Area, he lists black bass and crappie as the predominate species. Plastic worms, Shysters (an inline spinner), shiners and Bombers cast or trolled are what he recommended. Reader Ashley Williams, of Augusta, found the map. Walworth is deceased.

Fishing report



Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – William Hawkins, of Raysville, caught 15 nice crappies on minnows.

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 ( – Water temperature is in the upper 80s, the lake is clear and continuing to fall. Fishing has continued to be good this week with live herring producing nice catches of fish in the 60- to 70-foot depths. The oxygenation system is really helping keep the bait alive and hopefully, within a few years, we’ll have our big fish back. Most of the stripers are in the 8 to 12-pound range with an occasional larger fish. Those fish should be in the 20-pound range next year or shortly thereafter. Sam Fouchet brought up a group of Savannah fish killers and they caught a cooler full of nice stripers and hybrids. Scott Athens and his brother, John, from Abbeville, S.C., limited out on some nice fish up to 12 pounds. The Parksville area continues to be good, all the way down to Modoc as is the main Little River channel near the Fort Gordon Recreation Area. If we’re going to see some breaking fish, it will probably be after the next full moon. September has traditionally been the hottest month for this kind of action and it’s always fun to be able to incorporate some top water action with our live bait fishing.

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 – Fishing couldn’t have been any better this week. Fish moved a little bit shallower into the 50- to 70-foot range toward the lower end of the lake off points between Scotts Ferry and Clarks Hill Park on the South Carolina side and from Lake Springs to Bussey point on the Georgia side. Coolers filled quickly with hybrids and stripers during the morning and afternoon bites. Customers who enjoyed taking home bags of filets included Jessie Tremble and Kendrell Johnson, both of Blythe; Eric Crawford, of Thomson; Demarest Hammond and Shawn Patterson, both of Augusta; Chris and Tom McLaughlin, Evans, and David Bagwell, Augusta.

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Clarks Hill Herring Hut, (Capt.Bradd Sasser) (864) 333-2000 – With cooling water temperatures and bait life improving, everyone is beginning to put up their umbrella rigs and bucktails until next year. Most are fishing live herring on the bottom 40 to 70 feet down. Morning fishing has been hot and heavy from 7 a.m., all along the Carolina shore in the main channel. In the evening, the fish bite isn’t starting until 6:30, but it’s fast and furious until near dark. More bait is being spotted just beneath the surface with a few fish breaking, so schooling fish ought to be consistent soon. Several nice catfish were caught in 50 feet of water off points near the Church Cove, using cut herring.



Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 ( ( – Hunter: The private trophy streams are getting ready to reopen for the fall. Cooler temperatures and rainfall means Frog Hollow on the Chestatee River will open in early September and Fern Valley on the Soque River will open later in the month. This is always a fun time of the year because the big trout that haven’t been active for a few months will be getting active once again. Don’t discount the Toccoa River either, as this is the time of year when the bigger fish move out of the deep holes into pocket water so they’re much more likely to eat a big hopper or other big dry fly.




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: Raymond Wilson caught 45 bream on worms and crickets in the Shack Pond. Joe Maynor caught two crappies, three bream and one warmouth on worms in the Shack Pond. All the fish were big ‘uns. David Hewitt and Maria Quinones caught nine catfish and eight bream on worms and crickets in the Ditch. Bill Hunter and Bob Welch caught 34 bream and 13 catfish on worms and liver in the White Elephant Pond. We’re going to start a bass tournament Saturday at 7 a.m. See the shop for details. Lock and dam: J.C. Skinner caught 33 crappies, 28 bream and eight catfish on crickets and minnows down river. Billy Gilbert and Greg Warren caught seven catfish and 46 mullet on worms. Wayne Johnson caught 25 bream and 10 catfish on worms and crickets upriver.



Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – The 22nd annual Fripp Island Kingfish Invitational Tournament, featuring a $5,000 payout, will be held tonight and Saturday out of the marina. Entry fee is $250 per boat, with $60 per each additional person. For more information, call (843) 838-1551.



Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – The season for black sea bass closes next Tuesday. The spotted sea trout bite is on the upswing. When you catch one, there are bound to be others, so don’t leave! Best bait remains live shrimp fished below an adjustable float. Our artificial reefs are holding Spanish mackerel, a few kings, barracuda, little tunny and a few cobia. Trolling is the best and fastest way to catch something. I suggest using a Clark Spoon of 2 inches in length or less.