Hybrids and stripers remain easy catches on Thurmond Lake, but if you are looking for something different, try the salt air and the Atlantic Ocean for a change.
Even if you have a boat big enough to fish offshore, unless you know where to go and what to do when you get there, it’s more economical to go out with a guide.
Call Capt. Ralph Goodison on Fripp Island, S.C., and he can suggest guides who know the waters around that place. Or contact my friend, Capt. Judy Helmey, if you’re interested in fishing Savannah, Ga., waters.
Either way you’ll get a winner.
• Tryouts for the inaugural Columbia County Youth Fishing Team continue at Wildwood Park Sept. 27. Organizer Rosie DeAnnuntis said increased interest from other children is the reason. DeAnnuntis is still looking for help from local bass clubs. She can be contacted at (803) 624-0463 or by e-mailing columbia firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 831-8756 – Hybrids, stripers and bass were schooling in Cherokee Creek around the deep trees on Monday morning. The largemouths were chunky 3-pounders, the stripers were skinny and the hybrids weighed up to 6 pounds. The fish started schooling at 9:30 and quit at 10. I was by myself and had a field day. The fish hit Pop-Rs.
Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 21, WRDW-My12, WOW! Ch. 7, Atlantic Broadband (Aiken) Ch. 7 and Charter Ch. 9 (Fort Gordon).
Bill Speer, The Fishing Coach, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass fishing on Lake Russell (www.thefishingcoach.com) (706) 421-6630 – I am back on the water after a nice vacation at the beach. Funny, I looked back at my last report and nothing has really changed. Water temperatures are still in the low 80s, the lake is in great shape and hovering around full pool. Last Sunday, I fished with Herbert Flick, of Harlem, and we caught all our fish early. The bite seemed to die as the sun got high in the sky. My fish are coming on deep-diving and medium depth crank baits such as Rapala DT-16s in blueback herring and Strike King XD 5 and 6 in sexy shad. I also am catching bass on a Greenfish Shaken Head with a six- or seven-inch Robo Worm. Fall is on the way, the water is going to cool, bait fish will move to the creeks and coves and the bass will follow. On Russell, I always put in at Beaver Dam Marina, where you can have a nice lunch as well as a safe launch.
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) – A mid- morning bite was the pattern this week. Water temperatures were in the mid 80s. We fished humps and points, with others catching fish around the oxygen lines at Modoc. Some fish are schooling in the upper part of the lake, with The Thing Popper doing the catching. Fishing with us this week were Frank Wodzisz, Tommy Duncan, Charles Stewart, Scott Steves, Lee Cooper, Glen Belanger, Dewayne Holliman, all from the Augusta area, and Mike and Susan Turner, of Atlanta, and Bill and Thomas Regal, of Columbia.
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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) – Even though it feels like we never really had a full-fledged summer, it’s always a great time of the year when the private trophy streams reopen in the fall. And because we never really had a summer (in the north Georgia mountains, anyway), that reopening is occurring several weeks earlier this year. All of the properties are reporting a zero loss of trout, so this fall promise be a great one.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706) 722-8263 – Plans are being made to hold a bowfishing tournament on the ponds from 9 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday. More information can be obtained from Gene Kirkland. Carp, gar, catfish and mudfish can be shot legally with bow and arrow. Kirkland said the daily fee to fish will be lowered from $8 to $5 as of Saturday.
Brickyard report: David Morris caught 30 bass in the Farm Pond on plastic worms and lizards and released all of them. Roland and Doris Bass caught 50 catfish on liver in the Ditch. Ronald Jones and James Carr caught six bass, 22 bream and six crappies on worms, minnows and crickets in the Shack Pond. Lynn Carter caught 24 bream, 18 crappies and a bass in the Garden Pond on crickets and minnows.
Lock & Dam report: David Cooper caught 30 bream on a fly rod and a white popping bug. Ronald Williams limited out on bream on worms and crickets. Charles Rooker caught 22 bream, seven catfish and 13 crappies on minnows, worms and crickets.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Small kingfish are being caught near the shore, while offshore are the larger ones. The season for dolphin (mahi mahi) and wahoo is about done, while deep water live bottom is producing huge red snapper up to 30 pounds. Trigger fish, grunts and black sea bass are plentiful. Inshore, redfish, whiting and black drum are being caught, but spotted sea trout and flounder bites are slow. The 23rd annual Fripp Island Invitational Kingfish Tournament over the Labor Day weekend resulted in good catches and happy fishermen. The latter shared a $5,000 payout while $3,500 was raised for the Keyserling Cancer Clinic in Beaufort. Capt. Danny Furlong and his crew on Sole Mates brought in the winning 34-pound king. Billy Powell and company on Low Country Native were second with a 31.4-pound fish. Two fish weighing an aggregate 46.4 pounds was caught by Capt. Chris Tilton and his crew aboard Full Tilt. Largest Spanish mackerel weighed 3 pounds and was caught by Capt. Bill Turbeville and crew on 3 Kings. Runner-up was Capt. Gus Brown and crew aboard Full Tilt. Austin Flanders won the Junior Fisherman Award by catching a 32-pound amberjack. Coming up are the Owen Perry Memorial Inshore Tournament Oct. 25-26 and the Kids’ Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 29.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – We’ve had a lot of rain move down the Savannah River and into our area. Not only does this influx of fresh water slow the fishing, but also poses a mystery as to where the fish are to be found. The whiting bite has been great and some of the fish have been nice-sized ones. The Spanish mackerel bite also has stayed strong, with Clark Spoons in sizes 0 and 00 trolled doing the hooking.