Baab: Now’s the time to seek record yellow perch

If you want to have a shot at catching a state record yellow perch in the Savannah River below Thurmond Dam, this is the month to go.


Tom Lewis, of Grovetown, caught his Georgia state record, 2-pound, 9-ounce perch on Feb. 27, 2013.

Lewis, a retiree from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Thurmond Lake office, launches his boat from the ramp on the South Carolina side below the dam. His favorite perch-jerking areas are holes in the river bed six to 16 feet deep. One is within 20 feet of the concrete dam and the other is four miles downstream opposite a huge boulder on the Georgia side.

Lewis fishes live small shiners on ultralight tackle (6-pound test) and a No. 8 hook, while others prefer to use brightly colored doll flies tipped with shiners or “tuffy” minnows.

Just a reminder. Retired Army Col. Quin Herlik, is looking for one or two fishermen for a three-day, four-night trip to Sitka, Alaska on Aug. 6. They’ll be fishing from a 36-foot-long boat, and halibut and salmon will be among the species targeted. “It will be at a big discount,” he said. Anyone interested should contact Herlik at (706) 833-5166.


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 temperatures are in the mid 50s and lake is slightly stained. There are more gulls on the lake than I’ve ever seen. Sometimes they help me, other times they fool me. We are catching down line fish first thing, then going to planer boards. We’re catching 8- to 12-pound stripers. Several mornings we were catching down line fish, then the winds got too strong to switch to planer boards. We are jerking up some nice white perch and my clients really enjoy that. You can check us out on Facebook at crocketrocketguide service.

Ralph Barbee Jr., professional guide specializing in largemouth bass. (706) 831-8756 – Kathy Wade and I went out Monday. We launched at Wildwood Park, went under the Keg Creek Bridge and back as far as you can go. Folks were crappie fishing in the shallows. I threw the Yellow Fellow and caught a 2-1/2 -pound bass and she caught a big jack (chain pickerel) on same lure. We went to Grays Creek on Tuesday and caught 12 hybrids on the Yellow Fellow. She caught seven, I caught five. The fish were fairly small. We went past the White Rock and found the 1-1/2-pound hybrids busting small shad. All came on the Yellow Fellow.

Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed guide specializing in striped bass and hybrid bass. (706) 733-0124 – Water temperatures have moved into the low 60s in areas we’re fishing and the lake is clear. The warm weather has the fish confused and crappies, catfish, stripers and hybrids are full of eggs. The last two fish are still on the move. We can see the fish come and go on our fish-finder and sometimes they stay long enough for us to catch a few. Last week, Brant Sandifer and Andrew Kicklighter, from Tifton, Ga., joined Larry Freeman, of Grovetown, and I on the lake. We down-lined live herring in 48 feet of water, turning our reel handles four times so the bait fish are just off the bottom. We hooked into some big fish which would head for the sunken trees and break us off. They caught limits of hybrids and stripers, keeping just enough for a fish fry. Biggest fish weighed 5 pounds.. Check our web site at

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. Bradd – Last week’s full moon had no negative effect on the fishing, with stripers and hybrids continuing a strong bite. Down lines are still effective and are the preferred technique, but planer boards lead to larger fish. Herring and baby gizzard shad are the preferred baits. The fish are holding along the edges of creeks in 25 to 35 feet of water and also off the ends of secondary points in about the same depths. The crappie bite has been fantastic around tree tops 15 to 20 feet deep. Troll jigs around the edges or anchor and fish shiners straight down.

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Little River Guide Service, Tony Shepherd, U.S. Coast Guard licensed guide specializing in stripers and hybrids (with Captain O.G. Penner) (706) 210-3474) – The lake is holding steady at 9.6 feet below full pool. Surface temperatures are around 54 degrees in the morning, with a significant warming trend in the northern shallows by afternoon. It seems like early spring and the fish remain cooperative. Majority of bait fish are still in or over deeper water (35 to 60 feet) and a lot of predator fish are being caught in those depths. Healthy black bass are in 40 feet, large flathead catfish, white perch, big slab crappies and the mighty hybrid, in my opinion the best fighting, best tasting fish in the lake are in there, too. I have heard some good reports coming from the Murray Creek and Russell Creek areas for large stripers.

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Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083(www.flyfishingnorthgeorgiacom) ( flyfishingnorth-georgia) –The black caddis hatch is getting started on the Toccoa River tailwater. This is one of the most fun and productive times of the year to fish the Toccoa and this year the trout really seem to be active. We recommend having several different sizes and patterns of caddis dry flies. With so many bugs hatching, “matching the hatch” can be very challenging.


Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Offshore fishing for wahoo, bull dolphin and other blue water fish is heating up, when you can get out. Inshore fishing is good for redfish and spotted sea trout. High winds are still making it tough on fishermen.


Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – The sheepshead bite is still strong at the near-shore artificial reefs in less than 50 feet of water. Isolated shipwrecks also are holding large numbers and, as usual, purple-backed fiddler crabs remain the best baits.



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