Popular fish deserve a better name

Of all the names of game fish caught in Thurmond Lake, don’t you think crappie deserves a name change?


During 1960-61 when I was an informational assistant with the Georgia Game and Fish Department, part of my job called me to phone in fishing reports to radio stations. A part of what I said went like this:

“Crappie fishing is good on Clarks Hill Lake.” Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it?

The fish are called “speckled perch” or “specks” in Florida, but those fish are the same black or white crappies we catch in our favorite lake.

As far as I recall, crappie fishing has never been crappy. It’s a fun fish and doesn’t require much skill to catch. It does require a good depthfinder to locate submerged trees and brush piles where the fish likes to hang out with many others of his species.

Catch one and you’ll catch others.

You can catch crappies year-around, with the basic live bait small golden shiners fished on golden hooks. Many anglers prefer to use tiny jigs of various colors. Raysville Marina offers a covered fishing dock or “fish house” to anglers willing to pay a reasonable fee.

Others go in search of submerged brush or trees, anchor their boats fore and aft to prevent swinging off the target, and fish shiners on light tackle straight down below the boat.

• Most people didn’t think of last Sunday as a special day, but I did. It marked the 81st anniversary of George W. Perry’s 22-pound, 4-ounce world record largemouth bass catch in Telfair County’s Montgomery Lake. George’s son, George L. (Dazy) Perry, called me from his Young Harris, Ga., home to remind me, but, of course, I already knew. I also had something special arrive in my e-mail and our outdoors editor, Rob Pavey, will share it with you this Sunday.


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 striperfishing.com) – Water temperature is in the upper 70s and the lake is clear. The fish bite improved a lot this week as the moon phase as well as the water temperature turned to the good side. We had fish breaking everywhere. It was the kind of week guides love because you could catch fish everywhere you went. There are lots of fish breaking on the Georgia Flats and in the Horseshoe Island area as well and Mosley Creek. I’ve been running up the river about 5 a.m., and flipping a coin to decide whether to go left up Little River, Georgia or the main river. Larry Heinrick and his grandson, Brendan, had a blast catching hybrids, stripers and largemouths on an early morning trip as did the Johnsons from Summerville, S.C. Corey Moore, from Savannah, brought up a band of fish killers and had a great morning catching some really nice stripers and slab hybrids. Most of our fish were caught on the surface down to 20 feet.

Capt. Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletrouble fishingguides.com) – It’s great to be on a full lake during the early mornings with air and water temperatures in the 70s. I am still finding fish on humps and points in eight to 12 feet of water. Planer boards and free lines are working great. Last Friday, Larry Freeman and I caught 18 stripers, including Larry’s 6-pounder. My son, Jim, and his son, James, 8, went out with me last Saturday. When all six of your rods go down and there are only three people on the boat, things get wild and fun. We missed a lot of fish, but caught 12 stripers. James had the big fish of 5 pounds. Jeff Coleman, of Augusta, fished with me last Tuesday. He caught 10 fish. I learned that the fish had moved from my usual areas and had to go hunt. I start my guide trips at 6 a.m. and fish until 11.

William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, 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) 267-4313 (Bradd), (803) 507-5083 (Andrew) – Water temperature is at 79 degrees and the lake is full. We are catching fish along underwater shoals on live herring fished behind planer boards right at daybreak around Bass Alley, Hamilton Branch and just off Fort Gordon Recreation Area. Some downline fish are being caught in the evenings fishing 25 feet down in 45 feet of water. Having a great time with us this week were Terry Thigpen, Jim Thigpen and Leslie Thigpen, all of Evans; Gary and Kathy Branch, Millen, Ga.; Julie Fitzgerald, Chris Fitzgerald, James Fitzgerald, all of Richmond Hill, Ga.; Sandra and Phil Lancaster, Myrtle Beach, and Terry Blackwell, Mt. Pleasant, S.C. Check out our Facebook page for up-to-date pictures.

Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – We have had a wonderful, spectacular week of fishing. Fish have started to group up good and they’re moving into deeper water. I’m catching my fish in 30 to 50 feet of water out close to the main channels. Hybrids have been 3 to 8 pounds, We had a lot of fish under the boat, blacking the screen out for 30 to 40 minutes. I don’t think the tropical system will have much effect on our fishing. It might put a bit of stain on the water, which could help.

Check out my Web site: www.fishlakethurmond.com.



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/flyfishingnorth georgia) – Hunter: This year, we’ll get a few extra weeks top fish the private trophy streams of north Georgia. Thanks to the abundance of spring rains, there is plenty of water in the rivers to keep the bigger fish active even as temperatures rise. So instead of closing at approximately this time (as was done last year), Fern Valley and Frog Hollow, among others, have decided to remain open until the July 4 weekend.



Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706) 722-8263 – Plans are being made to hold a bowfishing tournament on the ponds. Anyone who has the knowledge of how to operate such an event is asked to call Gene Kirkland. Another bass tournament will be held on the ponds on Fridays from 6 to 10 p.m., under the direction of Gene Moyer, who can be reached at (803) 270-1580.

Brickyard report: J.C. and Aaron Skinner 30 bream, 25 crappies, minnows and crickets, Cornell Pond. Mel Langston and Gary Edge caught 35 bream in the Stick Pond on crickets and worms. Billy and Sue Kaylor caught 20 shellcrackers and 25 bream on Louisiana pinks and crickets in the Garden Pond. Jim Smith caught 30 bream in the Shack Pond on crickets. Charles Long caught 10 bass on plastic worms in the Expressway Pond. John and Willie Jones caught 30 catfish in the Ditch on rooster livers.

Lock and dam report: Jay Aldridge limited out on redbellies down river on crickets. Jim Taylor and John Ryan caught 26 bream and 32 redbellies on crickets. The mullet are beginning to bite.


Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – With the tropical system due to hit our area, I suggest you wait a few days before coming to fish with us. If you have any doubts about weather conditions, just give us a ring.