Fishing after dark can be tricky if you don't know your way around the lake in daytime. So after launching your boat, take it slow and don't run up and down the lake with wild abandon. Make plans ahead of time as to what area you're going to fish. Also, leave a float plan with members of your family and don't deviate from it so they'll know where to look if motor trouble keeps you stranded.
You'll also need a special tool called a "black light," which will allow you to re-tie lures without affecting your "night vision." The "black light" is really purple in color and sheds just enough light for you to see a knot in a monofilament line.
Make sure your boat's navigation lights (red and green on the bow, white at the stern) are in working order, and it's wise to carry a handheld spotlight that runs off the 12-volt battery system in your boat to avoid running into things like trees and other boats.
This time of the year, top water lures that make a racket, like the old Jitterbug, or a buzz bait, or a propeller-type bait like the Tiny Torpedo can be fished with some success over flats or around shoreline cover.
Years ago, I fished a Texas-rigged black plastic worm around cover at night and it worked, too. You'd think largemouth bass wouldn't be able to see the worm, but apparently the fish can sense its presence. Plastic worms don't really replicate worms, but eels upon which they love to feed.
Be careful out there and good luck.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed full-time professional fishing guide specializing in hybrids and stripers and trophy largemouth bass. (Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriper fishing.com) -- Fishing continues to be good despite water temperatures in the high 80s and it hit 90 on Wednesday. Fish are starting to break on top and we were able to locate schools by going to where the action was. When I got over to the spot, there was fish all the way from the surface down to 40 feet. My clients had a blast catching 3- to 6-pound slab hybrids and 8- to 12-pound stripers. Fishing should continue to be good. Our baits are living and we've seen good stripers in the top 20 feet of the water column, thanks to the oxygenation system.
Billy Murphy, professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) -- Last Monday, O.G. Penner, Tony Sheppard, Larry Freeman, my grandson, Johnathan, and I limited out on fish up to 4 pounds. We started the day with live herring fished on downlines and switched to Capt. Mack's Umbrella Rigs about mid-morning. Bonnie Jackson, of Augusta, fished with me on Wednesday. My grandson was first mate. We limited out on stripers fishing live herring on downlines. Johnathan caught catfish weighing 12 and 8 pounds.
William Sasser's Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser and Capt. Mark Crawford, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (706) 589-5468 (William), (706) 373-8347 (Mark) or (864) 333-2000. (Clark Hill Herring Hut) -- Mark: Randy Barrs, Grovetown, and Randy Meehan, Augusta, caught a limit. Hunter Redman, Marietta, Ga.; Kevin Redman, Grovetown; Zane Redman, Evans; Jason Redman, Evans; Stephen Redman, Grovetown and Nathan Deas, Evans caught 37 hybrids 2 to 6 pounds. Fred Hannan, Evans; Bill Roper, Acworth, Ga.; Bill Roper, Acworth, caught a limit. Michael Zorn, Gabriel Morrison, Donnie Caldwell and Trey Bland, all of Aiken, caught a limit of 2- to 6-pound fish. Susan Bridges and Hossain Alavi, Ali Alavi, Badri Alavi and Mark Alavi, all of Evans, caught a limit of fish. Curt Strickland, Martinez; Marc Huff, Aiken; Don Ferguson, Rock Hill, S.C.; caught 24 fish. Eli Putnam, Don Putnam and Josh Putnam, all of Modoc, S.C., had a limit of hybrids and stripers and a 7-pound largemouth. William: Stewart Price, of Wilmington, N.C.; Joe Price, Evans, caught a limit of stripers and hybrids on bottom in 40 to 50 feet of water. Check out www.williamsasserfishing.com.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 -- The fish are stacking up and I am still catching them in the deeper ditches in 40 to 60 feet of water. They have been hitting right on the bottom, but now we're catching some suspended fish. We're catching some big fat hybrids and top quality stripers as well. Joey and Kathy Hutchinson, Augusta area; Jerry Cato, North Augusta; and John Constantine, of North Carolina, smoked the big hybrids with nonstop, multiple hookups and filled the cooler by 8 a.m., before going on to catch and release. Tyke Brown, his wife, Beth, and daughter, Autumn, of Spartanburg, S.C., had a great first striper trip. They caught some huge hybrids and will return for another try in two weeks. Vince Rambo, of Savannah Lakes Village, and friend Scott, visiting from Iowa, had a great morning catching and releasing deep-water hybrids as fast as I could keep the hooks baited. Scott took home a few deep-hooked fish. Check out my Web site: www.fishlakethurmond.com.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Gene Kirkland and Brantley Toomer, (706 722-8263) -- Chris Davis and Robert Pope won the bass tournament with 11.65 pounds. Lonnie Pope and Clarence Gay were second with 5.47 pounds and third were Bubba Koss and Chris Chambers with 4.72 pounds. Big fish was 4.65 pounds caught by Pope and Davis. Twenty-one anglers were in the field.
Scott Myer caught a 6-pound bass in the Expressway Pond on a plastic worm. Ray Boatwright caught 25 catfish in the Ditch on liver. Steve Ringler caught 32 bream on crickets in the Pollard Pond. Chase Jones caught 15 crappies of 11 pounds each on minnows in the White Elephant Pond. Charlie May and Ida Scott caught 41 bream on worms in the Cornell Pond. Leonard Scrogams caught five bass in the King Pond on a top water plug. Bob Grinder caught seven carp, including an 18-pounder, in the Ditch on a "secret bait." Sally and Ben Grooms caught 48 catfish on liver and worms in the Stick Pond.
Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 (www.flyfishingnorthgeorgia.com) -- Carter: It's still mighty hot in the north Georgia mountains and the trout fishing is not so hot. We have to work hard to catch a few nice trout in a half-day fishing. The best trout fishing is to be found in the high altitude streams where water temperatures are in the low to mid 60s and the fish are active, taking small dry flies. Fish the streams that face north and are above 2,500 feet and you'll be rewarded with some beautiful wild trout. The Toccoa River below Lake Blue Ridge should begin to fish great as they have begun to release very cold water from the lake bottom.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 -- Finger mullet have joined shrimp in the creeks and rivers. If there is a bait fish like more than shrimp, it's finger mullet, so take your cast net along.
Redfish can be found along the beach fronts, in the sounds and hanging around tidal rips. I suggest taking a sightseeing trip, but don't forget live bait or some good lures.
The Spanish mackerel bite is getting better. I caught some nice large Spanish while trolling small Clark Spoons behind planers. I also caught some schooling on the surface. King mackerel of less than 7 pounds -- called "snakes" -- have arrived and are being caught in schools of Spanish. There is a minimum fork length (tip of the nose to the fork in the tail) before you can keep a king, with a creel limit of just three per person.