White Perch are good fish food no matter how they're cooked

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Now that kids are out of school for a while, why not take them fishing? I’d recommend checking out Thurmond Lake for white perch.

Bill Baab shows off the first of 12 white perch that he caught in less than 15 minutes at Thurmond Lake's Shriver Creek. Baab used a Berry's Flex-It Spoon.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Bill Baab shows off the first of 12 white perch that he caught in less than 15 minutes at Thurmond Lake's Shriver Creek. Baab used a Berry's Flex-It Spoon.

There isn’t much of a skill level needed to jerk up a few perch. My wife and I visited Shriver Creek last Friday afternoon and, using a Berry’s Flex-It Spoon (3/4 ounce), I caught a dozen plump perch in less than 15 minutes. If I can catch ’em, anyone can. The main thing is to find where they’re biting.

Here, I’ll share my fishing hole with the rest of you. Put your boat in at the Modoc ramp off Gilchrist Ferry Road in Modoc, S.C. The courtesy dock is still afloat, making it easy for your passengers to climb aboard the boat. Keep your eyes on the depthfinder, giving the right bank a wide berth to avoid shallow water on the way out to the Savannah River arm. You’ll pass the pipes entering the lake as part of the oxygenation system. Head up the river, keeping to the right and move past Horseshoe Island (Parksville) and then Dordon Creek.

You’ll pass a good-sized island on the left and you’ll be able to see the Plum Branch Yacht Club a half-mile or so on the right. Don’t go there. Just past the island, Shriver comes into the river, so turn left and head into the creek. The first big, deep cove on the left is where you want to go. There is an island on your right as you enter the cove. Go back until your boat is in 40 feet of water. Tie on the spoon, drop it over the side and let it free-fall to the bottom. Engage the reel and then raise your rod sharply, jerking up the spoon, then let it hit bottom again. You may feel a “tap.” That’s fish. Strike and reel them in.

White perch are strong pullers, for about 3.5 seconds, and then they give up. They are excellent food fish with white, flaky meet. I usually fillet the fish and Bea will fry them in butter. I am sure you have your own favorite recipe.

Merry Christmas to all of you and your families.

Fishing report

THURMOND LAKE

Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Merry Christmas to our Augusta area friends.

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 high 50s, the lake is clear and continuing to drop. Fishing is good. My groups are catching a mixed bag of stripers, hybrids and white perch, with an occasional flathead catfish and largemouth thrown in – just to make things interesting. There is so much live bait – threadfin shad and small bluebacks – laying on the bottom in 40 to 50 feet of water. Most of the fish we’re putting into the boat are regurgitating bits of threadfin or bluebacks. Best bet is to use the jigging spoons as they seem to react to those faster then hitting our live baits. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and keep this quote in mind: Psalm 107: “Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business in great waters, they have seen the works of the Lord and his wonders of the deep.”

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 860-7373 – Bob Vernoy and I went back to Raysville last Monday. He fished a Rat-L-Trap on a point and an 18-pound striped bass slammed it. It was poring down rain and we both got soaked despite our rainsuits. He and I each caught four largemouths, all on the “Trap.” Merry Christmas to all my friends.

Fishing with Ralph Barbee airs Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast Channel 21, My12TV, Knology Ch. 7, Atlantic Broadband (Aiken) Ch. 7 and Northland Ch. 9 (Charter).

Capt. Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide, with twins Brad and Jim (706) 733-0124 (Web site www.doubletroublefishingguides.com) – Merry Christmas, everyone!

William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, Capt. Mark Crawford, 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) 373-8347 (Mark), (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – The midday winter bite has set in on us, with the window of fishing opportunity 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. That’s when it’s been possible to catch nice stripers while pulling live bluebacks or gizzard shad behind planer boards off points in the mouths of creeks around South Carolina’s Little River, Soap and Hawe creeks. On the other end of the lake up Georgia’s Little River at Raysville, you’ll catch more nice-sized hybrids pulling the boards. You’ll also find yourself fishing live herring on downlines 20 to 30 feet down in 40 feet of water. Panfishing is prime right now with monster crappies hanging out in treetops 15 to 20 feet down. Double-anchor your boat over the treetops and fish small shiners straight down. Jigging cut herring, Berry’s Flex-It Spoons (¾ ounce) and medium minnows in 40 feet of water on the bottom around Wells Creek and fill up your cooler with white perch and an occasional yellow perch. We enjoyed fishing this week with Johnny Lewis, Ralph Turner, Mike McCorkle, Levi Johnston, Mike Johnston and Libby Johnston, all of Evans, and Marion Taylor, Seth Godowns and Lisa Godowns, all of Martinez. We all wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Check out our Facebook page for up-to-date pictures.

Clarks Hill Herring Hut, (Capt. Bradd Sasser) (864) 333-2000 – The falling lake is leaving a lot more exposed shoreline and several local fishermen have been walking the banks and catching some fish. Nice catches of crappies, white perch and catfish. Crappies are being caught on small shiners and also on crappie jigs whose hooks are tipped with shiners. The white perch are being caught on medium minnows fished on or close to the bottom. All the catfish are being caught off points with flat bottoms in 18 to 20 feet of water on cut herring or stink baits being cast out and allowed to settle on the bottom.

Rod holders are a must to keep fish from dragging rods and reels into the water. The Savannah River below Thurmond Dam is producing some nice crappies and occasional good batch of yellow perch, using small shiners and hybrid pink worms. As it turns colder, the fishing ought to heat up. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – Merry Christmas to all my friends.

Check out my Web site www.acestriperguide.com.

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) – Cold weather has not stopped trout from becoming active, especially during the midday hours. Both the Lake Blue Ridge tail water and the delayed harvest section of the Toccoa River. The trout have been eating a number of different patterns on the DH, from small, flashy nymphs to egg patterns and San Juan worms. On the tail water, try big stonefly nymphs and small mayfly nymphs such as pheasant tails. Dad and I wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS

Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706) 722-8263 – Military personnel, senior citizens can fish for half-price. If you’re handicapped, you can fish for free. Contact the bait and tackle shop for details.

Brickyard report: Jay and Brandy Robinson caught 85 crappies in the Ditch on minnows. Jimmy Shoehoell and Stacy Watson caught 42 crappies and six catfish on minnows and jigs in the Expressway Pond. Tommy Pitts caught six bass and a big crappie on plastic worms in the Farm Pond. Martha Palmetto and Joan Sweenis caught 12 bream, six crappies and five catfish in the Shack Pond on minnows and worms. Brandon Prickett caught nine bass and a mudfish in the Garden Pond on spinnerbaits and plugs. Doug Harper and Joe Nettles caught 100 crappies, four catfish and two bass on minnows and jigs in the Pollard Pond. Bill Edderly and Gene Price caught 64 crappies and three bass on minnows and jigs in the Ditch. David Sorrow and Gina Pitts caught 100 crappies and a bass on minnows and jigs in the King Pond. Merry Christmas to our friends and their families.

Lock and dam: Ray Smith caught four bass and six crappies on minnows. Darrell Owens caught 13 yellow perch, seven shellcrackers and six bream on worms and crickets. David Bennett caught two bass and a striper on a spinnerbait. Heath Alday and Curtis Alday caught 16 shellcrackers, eight bream, a bass and five yellow perch on worms. Jerry Skinner and his son, Aaron, caught 36 shellcrackers, 42 bream and 22 crappies on worms and minnows.

BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY

Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – The spotted sea trout bite is red hot, but the problem is there are few fishermen. Perhaps some will come to Fripp for the holidays. The redfish bite is on, too. I don’t have an offshore report because the calm seas of earlier in the week have turned rough.

Here’s wishing a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all your readers.

SAVANNAH, GA.

Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Merry Christmas to all our friends in the Augusta area.


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