The ultimate aim of most anglers fishing for largemouth bass is to catch the biggest fish of their lives and some do accomplish that while fishing in Thurmond and Russell lakes.
Now there exists a pond in southwest Georgia offering an incredible population of huge largemouths. Fisheries management chief John Biagi says the average weight of bass coming out of the pond is 6 pounds, with 10-pounders common.
“Panic Pond,” a 15-acre natural lake found at Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area in Decatur County near Bainbridge and Lake Seminole, will open to the public for the first time Saturday since the state took ownership in 2010.
The pond will be open Saturdays through Mondays from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. It will stay open all year except during July and August.
Fishermen can catch one largemouth bass (minimum length of 24 inches), but can take photos of other big fish catches before releasing them. Anglers will need a valid state fishing license. No live bait can be used. There are no boat restrictions, but anglers might want to note the lake is loaded with stumps.
Since Decatur County is more than a four-hour drive from Augusta, anglers might want to make the trip one afternoon after work, spend the night in a nearby motel and fish the next day.
A map of the lake and directions to it are available from www.georgiawildlife.com.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington), (706) 595-5582 – Water is still muddy, so no report.
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.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) – Water temperature is in the mid 50s and we’re picking up some nice stripers in the 8- to 10-pound class on live herring. My parties are catching 10 to 12 per day. Mornings work better for us because it gets too windy after lunch. We’re also catching small hybrids 35 to 40 feet down on down lines in the backs of creeks, and a few white perch. Jim and Rhonda Taylor, Jesup, Ga., visiting some kinfolks in this area had a good morning.
Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 831-8756 – Bob Vernoy and I fished Monday afternoon. We caught 15 bass in the back of Cherokee Creek on the red Rat-L-Trap and the Yellow Fellow. The bite was very light and we lost three good fish over 5 pounds at the boat. We fished Mosley Creek on Tuesday. We caught nine bass and lost four bass on the same two lures. The fish were in the grass and pockets. Bob also caught his first hybrid of the year.
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 – We’re still riding the weather merry-go-round. Last week, I could not find water warmer than 52 degrees and the lake was off color in most areas, with additional rainfall contributing to that. Remember, the lake is above the fall line and spring comes later and fall earlier than on Clarks Hill. I’ve been fishing English Creek and beyond where I’ve found better water color and slightly warmer temperatures. I’m throwing a small Alabama Rig, a Greenfish swim jig and flat-sided crank baits with a little success. Others have been throwing larger spinnerbaits with either large Colorado or Indiana blades with some success.
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). (William) (706) 589-5468, (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – The water has cleared up a bit, with surface temperatures inching up into the mid 50s on both upper and lower ends of the lake. Stripers and hybrids decided this week to move back into the creeks in a bit shallower water, with planer boards pulling live bluebacks or gizzard shad resulting in good catches. Creeks such as Bennefield, Hawe and Wells have been the most productive. Slow-trolling Lil’ Fishies and medium to large shiners also have produced some good hybrids. We enjoyed fishing with Shawn and John Glass, Warner Robins, Ga.; Chucky Davis, Augusta; Herbert and Jeremy Mulcher, Evans; Fred Fears, Augusta; Kenneth Lovings, Augusta; Jason Steinmeyer, Augusta; Danny Steinmeyer, Martinez, and Rufus Williamson, Evans.
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) – The black caddis hatch on the Toccoa River is in full gear, with significant Blue-winged Olive hatches happening most evenings. So right now is one of the best times of the year to fish the Toccoa. As we predicted, most of the big rainbows on the smaller streams have moved out of the deep holes and into the riffles. This has made for some fun pocket-water fishing on the Soque River and Noontootla Creek.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706 722-8263) – We’ll start our night bass tournament on the first Friday after the time change. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Entry fee is $20 per man. Tournament entrants will meet at 6 p.m. today at the check-in station off Molly Pond Road to discuss rules and regulations. Brickyard report: Sam and Lily Stoop caught 10 catfish and 14 crappies in the Expressway Pond on minnows and worms. Wayne Gill caught 14 crappies in the Ditch on minnows. Lee and Nell Carpenter caught 26 crappies, seven bass in the Cornell Pond on minnows. John Carr and Ed Blake caught 33 crappies and 14 bass in the Garden Pond on minnows. Ray Collins caught 18 crappies and five bass in the Shack Pond on minnows and jigs. Glenn and Linda Hope caught 27 crappies, six bass and eight catfish on minnows and worms in the Ditch. Joe and Mary Lynch caught 28 catfish, six bass in the Ditch on liver and minnows.
Lock and Dam report: Larry Horner caught eight catfish and 24 bream on crickets and worms. Lee Carter caught two bass and 26 crappies on minnows. Ricky and Hope Day caught eight bass, 12 yellow perch and six crappies on minnows and jigs.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – The redfish bite has picked up since we’ve had more sunny days and temperatures have been above average. When low tide comes about midday and the sun is out, it produces a winning combination. Artificial flukes rigged weedless, but dead frozen shrimp with heads removed and the body threaded onto a hook works great. The sheepshead bite is still strong.