Mr. Clark Hill Bass Fishing Championship a wide open tournament

The annual Mr. Clark Hill Bass Fishing Championship will be held Oct. 4-5 on Thurmond Lake and defending champion Larry Atkins says it’s anybody’s to win – himself included.


Atkins, a member of the Augusta Bassmasters, caught a two-day, 10-bass limit weighing 24.82 pounds to win the 2012 tournament.

“Right now, the fish are doing nothing special, and I figure if I can catch 12 pounds per day like I did last year, I’ll have a chance,” he said.

Ralph Barbee spotted huge schools of baby bass in the Hart Creek section of the lake above Raysville Marina earlier this week. So had Atkins. “There was probably a 30-yard square of the little fish near Petersburg Campground, none of them larger than 6 inches.”

I always like to say that those fish represent a bright future for the lake’s bass fishing. This time next year, they probably will reach catchable (12 inches) sizes.

• Tryouts for the Columbia County Youth Fishing Team will continue at Wildwood Park today from 3 p.m., to 7 p.m. Open to middle schoolers 11-14 and high schoolers 15-18 (boys and girls). Organizer Rosie DeAnnuntis said increased interest from other children is the reason. DeAnnuntis is still looking for volunteer help from local bass clubs. Rosie can be contacted at 1 (803) 624-0463 or by e-mailing


Fishing report


Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington), (706) 595-5582 – William Hawkins limited out on crappies with minnows and on another limited out on shellcrackers on pink worms.

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.crockett rocketstriperfishingcom) – Water temperature is in the low 80s and the lake is clear. We are just a couple of weeks away from the fall pattern. A lot of fish are moving down river from Russell Dam and will make a run toward Raysville. With the lake being full this year, the fall fishing should be good. There are fish breaking at Hawe Creek when generation from Russell is occurring. The main group seem to be moving down Soap and Shriver creeks. Larry McKenzie, from Charlotte, N.C., and his group caught stripers up to 10 pounds and hybrids up to six, fishing live bait over the river channel in 40 to 60 feet of water.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 831-8756 – Bob Vernoy and I went to Rasyville and caught fish on crank baits and Yellow Fellows. Bob caught one bass on a rattling bait and I caught 14. Biggest bass weighed about 4 pounds. He also caught a catfish. We started at Amity. Kurt Daniel and I fished Thursday in the area of the pumping station. We fished Hart Creek and caught just five teeny bass on the Yellow Fellow. He caught a 3-pounder on a crank bait.

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 ( (706) 421-6630 – The lake is holding steady just under full pool. Jojo Norwood reports the bass are scattered and running bait. Crank baits and top water plugs are taking fish, including a 4-pound Kentucky spotted bass. As water temperatures drop into the 70s, the top water bite will begin to pick up and the fish will begin moving back into the coves and creeks. I begin my days on main lake points near deep water and fish back into the creeks with good depth and pronounced secondary points. I am throwing Rapala DTs in various sizes, but usually the blueback color unless the water is dirty. I also like the Strike King XDs in the same setup on 10-pound line. My top water baits vary from a popping bait if the wind is up, a slush bait and even a Zara Puppy. My worms are Robo floating worms on a Green fish Shakey Head.

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), (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – A mid morning bite was the feeding pattern this week. Water temperatures are still in the mid to low 80s, the water is stained in the mid lake area. We fished points and shoals in 30 to 50 feet of water with live herring. Good-sized fish are being caught in the upper end of the lake, with reports of schooling fish below Russell Dam. The Savannah River below Thurmond Dam is yielding good catches of bream, shellcrackers and hybrids and stripers. Fishing with us this week were Tom and Richard London, Charleston, S.C.; Bill, Cathy and Tim Simpson, Columbia, S.,C.; Robert Smith, Mark Freeman, Alex Hudson and Lee Hart, Atlanta, and Randell Redmond and friends, from Augusta..

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Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 ( ( – The Toccoa River is starting to get sporadic caddis hatches throughout the day. If cooler temperatures continue, the annual October caddis hatches in the river should be in full effecting another week or two. All the private trophy streams are officially open and all are fishing extremely well.



Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706 722-8263) – Brickyard report: Gene Kirkland and J.C. Skinner caught 67 bream and 46 crappies in the Garden Pond. Keith and Deborah Bass caught 36 catfish in the Stick Ponds on liver. Rowland Sapp and Kim Brooks caught 46 crappies, six bass and seven catfish on minnows and worms in the Ditch. Sam Poole and Lynn Carter caught 26 crappies and six bass on minnows in the Expressway Pond. Ronald Miller caught six bass and 18 crappies on minnows in the Cornell Pond. Paul Wolfe caught six bass (the biggest 6-pound-plus) on artificial lures in the Membership Pond. Lock & Dam: Robert Logan caught eight bass on minnows. J.C. Skinner and friend limited out on bream and redbellies on crickets and worms. Bob and Sally Cox caught six catfish and 48 mullet with worms. Ed Myers and Frank Griffin caught 28 bream, 10 catfish, two bass and seven crappies on worms, crickets and minnows.



Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Plenty of fish, but few fishermen. Just around the corner is the Owen Perry Memorial Inshore Tournament Oct. 25-26. That will be followed by the Kids’ Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 29.



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