Cold temps trigger big action on Thurmond

My favorite time of the year on Thurmond Lake is just around the corner, with the best period from Thanksgiving until late March, especially in the Raysville area.


Colder weather will soon bring in thousands of sea gulls. They’ll feed on the zillions of threadfin shad, which also attract striped and hybrid bass, not to mention white perch.

When a flock of gulls dive onto a school of shad, it tips off fishermen who happen to be nearby. While many anglers will use live blueback herring to fish beneath the gulls, others will tie on white ice or pearl Zoom Super Flukes on quarter-ounce lead-head jigs and cast them into the melee.

Jigging a three-quarter ounce spoon off the bottom will sometimes catch white perch, especially in 35 to 40 feet of water.

A few of my favorite areas in the vicinity of Raysville Marine: Little River down to the mouth of Lloyds Creek, Germany Creek, Hart Creek up to Hart State Park, Red Bank Island above the Georgia DNR Goose Farm off Little River and on up to Holiday Park, the Wilkes County Pumping Station and beyond to Goat Island.

The area is loaded with trees, but with the lake nearly at full pool, they shouldn’t pose a problem. Still, the area is not one for running your boat in wild abandon.

• My wife, Bea, and I spent a couple of days and nights last week at Andy’s Trout Farm near Dillard, Ga. We rented a rustic cabin situated on the banks of a trout stream. There was electricity, but no TV or telephone and we enjoyed the peaceful setting. If you’re interested, go online and search for Andy’s Trout Farm and the Web site will come up. We’re going back next spring.


Fishing report


Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington), (706) 595-5582 – Limiting out on crappies this week were Brooks Weeks, William Hawkins, Johnny and Margaret York, Sid Johnson, Jerry Moye and Gene Jordan. All fished with minnows. Don Ginder caught 10 catfish on liver. The McColloughs, of Augusta, caught seven crappies on a yellow jig. Geno Bell caught 14 crappies in the fish house on minnows and jigs. Maurice McDonald caught 10 on minnows in the fish house.

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 70s and the lake is clear and gorgeous with fall colors along the shore. The fish are still breaking the surface at times and it makes them easy to find. Mike Stratton, of St. Louis, fished with me three days. We got into breaking fish at the mouth of Little River and caught nice stripers and largemouths 20 feet beneath them and stripers up to eight pounds on the bottom at 50 feet. I’m glad to see the colder weather, which means the fall fishing pattern will be coming sooner rather than later.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 831-8756 – Bob Vernoy and I fished the Raysville area on Tuesday. We caught three bass in the 2 to 3-pound range. I caught mine on the Yellow Fellow and Bob fished a spinnerbait. Kurt Daniel and I fished the Cherokee Creek section on Monday. We caught just three bass, mine coming on the Yellow Fellow, his on a small yellow 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).

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 – Mid-morning and late afternoon – best times to fish for hybrids and stripers this week. Water temperature is in the low to mid 70s

Check out our Facebook page for up-to-date pictures. We are catching fish on live herring fished 30 to 50 feet down over humps and in ditch lines. Schooling fish have been reported in Murray and Fishing creeks. Fishing with us this week were Jennifer Warner, Collin Castillo and Bo Rhyne, all of Evans; Ross Warner, Augusta, and Rob Jones, Grovetown.



Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 ( ( – Cool nights and streams full of leaves have made flyfishing difficult in north Georgia streams and rivers. We are still catching nice fish on big hopper patterns when the trout can distinguish the fly from the leaves. Going deep with big stone flies and streamers has fooled some large rainbows. Best time to fish is from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m., and when there is little or no wind to blow leaves into the streams. Leaves are turning and fall has definitely arrived. Seasonal trout streams close the last day of Oct. 31 and the Delayed Harvest streams open Nov. 1.



Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706 722-8263) – Brickyard report: Mel and Sharon Langston caught 25 crappies and 10 catfish in the Membership Pond on minnows. Jerry Skinner and friend caught 50 crappies in the Garden Pond on minnows. Jerry Wilcox and Robert Haynes caught 30 crappies and four bass in the Ditch on minnows. Jim and Betty Smith caught 40 crappies in the Ditch on minnows. Keith and Darlene Bass caught 70 catfish in the Stick Pond on minnows. Mr. and Mrs. George Hunt caught 20 crappies and 15 bream in the Cornell Pond on minnows and crickets. Bret Brown caught 20 crappies and six bass in the Expressway Pond on Minnow. Lock & Dam report: Gary Edge and friend limited out on bream, using crickets. Mullet continue to bite.


Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Fishing for redfish and spotted sea trout is red hot, just in time for the competitors in the Owen Perry Memorial Inshore Tournament this weekend out of the Fripp Island Marina. Fishing for whiting is good, while flounder is poor. Just offshore are king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Coming up Nov. 29 is the Kids’ Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 29.



Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – The inshore bite continues to be amazing. For anglers looking to catch what is known as the “Savannah Slam,” now is the time. You are considered slammed when you catch on one day a redfish, spotted sea trout and flounder. Best bait is live shrimp, with the alternatives finger mullet and mud minnows.