Bill Baab: It's a good time to go fishing at Thurmond Lake

This is one of the best times of the year to fish for largemouth bass, hybrid and striped bass on Thurmond Lake. There’s almost a guarantee you’ll catch fish.


Blueback herring are spawning in the lake’s shallows. They are the “filet mignon” of favorite fish food. And all the game fish want them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks in between.

Norm Attaway, of Clearwater, took advantage of the situation last weekend to catch a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds, 2 ounces and win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament.

“It’s my home lake and I made my game plan based on the fact there was a big team tournament going on at the same time. I didn’t practice, but fished hidden points and other spots I knew about.”

Attaway caught bass on Zoom Super Flukes, but all his keepers came on a translucent Heddon Zara Spook.

The strike was ferocious, he said.

“I probably caught over 30 fish and had two fish on at the same time three different times.”



Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington), (706) 595-5582 – Henry Wright of Thomson limited out on crappies in the fish house, using minnows. Leonard McZilkey caught 14 crappies in the fish house on minnows and jigs.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 831-8756 – We’ve had a great time this week. Bob Vernoy and I caught about 25 pounds of bass and 10 big hybrids (5-6 pounds). They’re schooling on points and blow-throughs. Bob and I joined Ronnie Duncan and Keith Remkus on Duncan’s pontoon boat. We trolled Lil’ Fishes and doll flies. Bob caught a 2-pound slab crappie. I caught a couple of 4-pounders on the Pencil Popper. Bluebacks are spawning everywhere so now is the time to be on the lake.

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).

Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed guide specializing in striped bass and hybrid bass. (706) 733-0124 – We’ve tried to fish between the wind and the rain, but haven’t done too well. Last Monday was a great fishing day for Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, and I. Water temperature was 67 degrees and. winds were light. We put out a planer board and a live herring about 20 feet behind it. Before we could get in another, the board was out of sight. We usually put out four boards and two free lines, but before we could get all of them out, we had six nice stripers and hybrids in the boat. Anything under 2 pounds we released. By 9 a.m., we had limited out, but we culled some of them, putting the smaller ones back in so we could legally fish other areas. By 11 a.m., we had caught 33 fish and kept 20 for a fish fry. Larry caught a 12-pound striper.

Bill Speer, The Fishing Coach, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass fishing on Lake Russell ( (706) 421-6630 – My apologies for not reporting for a while, but business forced me to be out of town for four weeks. The lake has received lots of beneficial rain and is at full pool. Active creeks and coves with drains are a bit muddy, but are clearing from the backs. I am still fishing the Beaver Dam Creek area on main lake and secondary points. Fish are hitting shallow diving crank baits and a Greenfish shakey head with a Robo floating worm. On Russell, I always put in at Beaver Dam Marina, where you can have a nice lunch as well as a safe launch. The marina is open from 11:30 a.m., until 9 p.m., on Friday through Sunday and until 6 p.m. Sundays.

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) – Water temperatures have eased into the mid- to high 60s and the fish have really turned on. More downline fish are showing up in schools, but the majority of fish are still being caught on live herring fished behind planer boards. Pulling the boards across points and shoals from five feet to 20 feet deep has been the key to catching good fish. Hybrids and stripers have been chasing spawning blueback herring in the shallows and after the spawn will move back into 25 or 30 feet of water. That means more quality fish will be caught on downlines. Areas like Pointes West (Fort Gordon Rec Area) and Grays Creek have been extremely productive. Good slab hybrids are stacking up in South Carolina’s Little River. This week, we enjoyed fishing with Marshall and Wyatt Moyer, Aiken; Michelle and Christina Lowrys, North Augusta; Louis, Jerry and Nichole Valliant, Augusta; Ashley, Jessie and Josh Busbee, Grovetown, and Christopher Harrison, Grovetown.

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Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – I just look for blueback herring in the grass, find a blow-through and I’m in business. I’ve seen a considerable amount of schooling. I’m carrying six rods for pulling boards, six for downlines, four for flipping and four for artificials. My boat cockpit is sort of crowded. Most of the schoolies are small, with the best fish coming off planer boards. We caught some really big crappies on live herring pulled behind boards. Great bunch of guys came down from the Saluda area for striper fishing and wild turkey hunting. Grant Brauder and his brother, Andrew; John Rowe and Billy Wall. They found the fishing to be much better than the turkey hunts. John Clark, New York; Kyle Peterson from the Midwest and Shamis Al-Rabbi of Muscat, Oman, had two great days on the water.

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Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, John Byars, (706) 722-8263 – Our bass tournament continues tonight. Hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Entry fee is $20 per man.

Brickyards report: Steve Williams caught 30 bream in the King Pond on crickets. Keith Anderson caught 25 bream and 10 bass in the Garden Pond on black trick worms and crickets. Joey Newman caught five bass in the Expressway Pond on plastic worms.



Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Somebody hit the “good weather switch.” We need it. Inshore fishing is slowly improving, but the best fishing is around the near shore wrecks and reefs, with back sea bass, sheepshead, black drum and some redfish reported. Not many boats have ventured offshore, but dolphin and wahoo are out there.



Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – The redfish and spotted sea trout bites have been hot and cold. The whiting fishery has been truly amazing. Artificial reefs in more than 50 feet of water are losing the interest of large populations of black sea bass. Reefs in 40 feet of water have been yielding catches of summer trout, trigger fish, bluefish and a few Spanish mackerel.

I‘ve had many good reports from the Gulf Stream area, with bull dolphin, black fin tuna, wahoo and king mackerel catches among the reports. It’s time to go.


Sun, 08/20/2017 - 01:40