This fishing tale is nothing but the truth

Charter Capt. David Willard poses with 8-year-old Lucy Tomeo, of Augusta, with two of the 24 fish landed with her parents, Drs. Jay Tomeo and Rebecca Talley, and the latter's nephew, Max Seijn, on Thurmond Lake.

Casting back on memories of more than 65 years of fishing, I have heard some strange stories from fishermen who swore they were true.


Since most fishermen are prepared to swear about almost anything, I just nodded my head and said “uh-huh” to avoid hurtful confrontations.

But I am prepared to swear that the following story is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me (and I need help!).

A non-fisherman friend a few years ago explained to me why he was (and is) still a non-fisherman.

A fisherman friend invited him to go fishing on Thurmond Lake. After launching the boat and arriving at a spot on the lake that (to him) looked like most other spots, his friend stopped the boat. He handed his guest a rod and reel after tying on what he guaranteed to be a dynamite lure.

“Just throw it out there,” he instructed.

His guest complied and the lure, rod and reel landed in the water.

One can imagine the series of looks that ran across the fisherman’s face, from a jaw-dropping astonishment, to a quick flash of bewilderment, to you don’t want to know.

My non-fishermen friend did not reveal what his former friend said after the incident, but I am sure it wasn’t very nice.

• The July issue of Georgia Outdoor News features a pair of stories written by Augusta Chronicle Outdoors Editor Rob Pavey and another story featuring bass fisherman Chris Rodwell, of Evans, written by Ronnie Garrison. Check ’em out.

• Larry Lesser, owner of Broadway Tackle, has agreed to provide prizes to winners and first runners-up in the SKISH (Skill in Fishing) contest following the Aug. 4 afternoon game between the Augusta GreenJackets and Charleston RiverDogs.

He will donate a rod-and-reel combo to winners in each division and a fishing rod to each of the runners-up. The GreenJackets will award tickets to a future game to third-place finishers.

The $7 entry fee includes admission to the game and tickets must be purchased using a special form on a flyer. A set of rules governing the kids only (10 and under, 11-14, 15-18) event and a free visor will be given to each participant.

To get a flier, contact Bill Levy, the team’s group sales manager, at the Green­Jackets office at (706) 736-7889 (ext. 212), or at his e-mail address at Completed fliers must be turned in to Levy by Aug. 2.



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 low 80s and the lake is slightly stained on the lower end and rising. The rising water has not helped the fishing. They seem to be more scattered this week than last. We are doing our best right at daylight, fishing live herring 24 to 30 feet down. Jake Jacobson, from Grovetown, and sons Daniel and Ryan from Bend, Ore., fished with Scott Blevins and his son, Karl. We found the fish early and the boys had a great time catching the largest fish of their lives. Then the fishing got tough and we just picked them up one at a time after that. More rain is predicted for Friday through Tuesday. We’ll just have to wait to see what kind of effect that has on the fishing.

Bill Speer, The Fishing Coach, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass fishing on Lake Russell ( (706) 421-6630 – While the corps work to bring the lake back to full pool, take advantage of the current. That will activate the entire predator/prey cycle. I’d try the main lake points near deep water looking for baitfish and the largemouth and spotted bass won’t be far away. Last Sunday, I fished with Herb Flick, of Harlem, Ga., once again. The water we fished was in good shape – 80 dgrees and clear. Early in the day, we caught two nice largemouths in the 3-pound range as well as numerous spotted bass. We found the largemouths hanging around major creek bends in about 15 feet of water.

Later in the day, we caught a number of bass on a Greenfish Creeper shakey head with floating Robo worms. Pat Carroll, from Abbeville, S.C., fished the Beer Garden Creek (also called Manor Creek) area. There was some initial school activity around the No. 5 marker coming out of the creek. He caught all his fish on a fire tiger Bandit mid-range crank bait. With the cloudy water, the shad color wasn’t producing any fish. He also saw a number of small bass shallow in the backs of coves. The summer pattern will be arriving late this year and as far as I am concerned, that will be just fine. On Russell, I always put in at Beaver Dam Marina where you can have a nice lunch as well as a safe launch. If you’d like to book a trip to Russell in the coming weeks, give me a call, or find me on Facebook at Lake Russell Bass Fishing with the Fishing Coach, or check out my Web site.

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) – With water temperatures lingering in the low 80s and plenty of water in the lake, the hybrid and striper patterns are a little inconsistent. But when you find the right depth for that day, they are feeding aggressively, We have been catching stripers weighing 6 to 18 pounds in ditches 50 to 60 feet down in the Parksville, Georgia Flats and Bass Alley areas. Groups of slab hybrids in the 3-to-7-pound class are being caught from 25 to 40 feet down on the bottom off main channel points around the Modoc area and also on the other side of Georgia’s Little River Bridge around the Grays Creek area. We are catching them between 6 and 9 a.m., thus avoiding the afternoon thunderstorms. This week, we enjoyed fishing with Brian, Kaitlyn and Buddy Applewhite, Evans; Darriek Rush, Chris Cowart, Jeff Forehand, Chris Higginbottom, Jimmy Wortham, Greg Hamilton, Jay Arnett, all of Augusta; Shawn and Keri Carver, Lincolnton, Ga.; Billy Gray and Tom Harper, Bluffton, S.C.; Ron and Brandon Waller, Martinez; Johnny Lovett, Waynesboro, Ga.; Hollie Temples, St. Simons Island, Ga., and Chad Temples, Effingham County, Ga.

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 – I’ve been out every day. I’m tired of rain. We’ve done well this week, finding big schools of fish containing 3 to 6 pound hybrids. We haven’t been able to find the big stripers in the 10-plus range lately. The fish are scattered out in the river channel, with lots of small stripers and hybrids out there. All the bigger fish are coming from 30 to 40 feet deep. My fishing is pretty much over by 9 a.m. Check out my Web site at


Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 ( ( – Hunter: With no end of the rain in sight, we have adjusted accordingly and have caught a lot of big trout by getting nymphs down deep and using the high water to our advantage. Smaller streams are actually easier to fish when the water is up so be willing to add some depth by using extra weight.

On bigger streams, big trout will often push closer to the banks and be surprisingly more likely to come up and eat a big terrestrial dry fly due to the extra cover they get from higher water levels.


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.

Brickyard report: Jimmy Langston caught 14 crappies, six blugills and eight catfish on minnows, worms and lures in the Stick Pond. Gary Edge and Joe Fowler caught 18 shellcrackers and five bream on worms and crickets in the Cornell Pond. Brandon Prickett caught nine bass on crank baits and plastic worms in the Membership Pond. Sam and Leila Hogan caught 18 catfish, four bream and one bass on worms in the Stick Pond. Jimmy and Sarah Barlow caught nine crappies, five bass and two catfish on minnows in the Garden Pond. Mary Jones and Dorothy Brown caught 12 bream, one bass and two catfish on worms and crickets in the Shack Pond. Lock and dam report: High muddy water, no report.


Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – The Fripp Island Fireworks Fishing Tournament originally set for today and Saturday has been canceled because of the threat from Tropical Storm Chantal. Inshore, the redfish bite is strong, with good fishing for whiting and fair fishing for flounder. Offshore, fishing is good for black sea bass, triggerfish, grunts, Spanish and king mackerel. Offshore toward the Gulf Stream, fishing is good for kingfish and dolphin, with the wahoo bite slow and black fin tuna still hanging around. For more information, call at (843) 838-1517.


Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – In a word, fishing is great, but keep an eye on the path Tropical Storm Chantal takes and act accordingly.