Ever since last winter, anglers have been enjoying a very good bite from Thurmond Lake’s striped bass and hybrid bass. Guess what?
The bite has moved on from very good to just incredible.
Professional guide Billy Murphy: “Our clients have been limiting out all week.”
The creel limit for stripers and hybrids is 10 fish daily per person; that is, any combination of stripers and hybrids totaling 10.
Professional guide Brad Sasser: “The hybrid and striper bite has been as hot as the weather.”
Professional striper guide Dave Willard (last week): “I had to move the boat to keep from catching a limit 45 minutes into the trip.” (Catching a limit in that short of time would not have pleased his party.)
So 65 years after the lake was dammed, the fishing is better than ever, not only for those striped fish, but for crappies, largemouths and catfish. And the white perch bite hasn’t taken off yet, but when it does…look out!
Raysville Marina, (706) 595-5582 – Ken Kitchens, 16, from Gibson, Ga., caught a 4-pound catfish. Jordan and Tracy Radford of Summertown, Ga., caught five catfish on live herring. Geno “Big Mike” Bell, Augusta, caught 35 crappies around brush piles on minnows and jigs. Shane Wyatt and Caleb Johnson caught 30 shellcrackers on red worms close to the Cherokee Creek bridge. Brace Wells caught 16 crappies near Big Hart Creek on minnows. Robert Epps caught seven hybrids on herring by the mouth of Germany Creek.
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) – We’ve had a great week catching stripers, hybrids and big largemouths. Best time is early morning until 9 or 10 a.m. Tim Thomas and his wife Andria, daughter Kate and son, Luke, fished with Doug Blackburn, his wife, Kristina, his daughter, Helena, and son, Holden. We had a boatful. Everyone had a great time and we caught limits of fish up to 12 pounds. My other clients have done the same thing this week. One group had 45 fish in 45 minutes and I finally moved off the fish so they could eat their breakfast and drink some coffee. Then we went after bigger fish and caught 12-to-15-pound stripers. We released all but a couple that we were not able to revive.
Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed guide specializing in striped bass and hybrid bass. (706) 733-0124 – Surface temperatures are in the low to mid 80s and the lake is clear. The fish have been “on fire” all week. We’re fishing liv e herring just off the bottom in 20 to 40 feet of water and our clients have been limiting out all week. Ricky and Juanita Cleghorn, Sycamore, Ga., had a blast catching nice stripers and hybrids. They had so much fun that they came back three other times this week and brought other family and friends with them. Ricky brought his son, Jake, from Vidalia, Ga., and Jake’s friend, Michael McKinney, from Sycamore. Next, Ricky brought brother Alex from Youngsville, N.C. On his last trip he brought the Cleghorn Clan: wife Juanita, son Jake, the latter’s wife, Shelley, brother Alex qand grandchildren Eli, 11; Jasie, 9 and Gabe, 8, all of Vidalia. My son, Brad, and his friend, Becky Barrow, of Harlem, Ga., limited out with Becky catching three fish over 5 pounds each.
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: The hybrid and striper bite has been as hot as the weather with small fish suspended and feeding all along the lower river channel and the better fish holding beneath them. The only trick has been getting the bait past the little ones to catch the better ones. The fish are pushing up off the sides of lower channel points in 30 feet of water, feeding the first thing in the morning and once day breaks moving out to deeper water all along the edges. One thing is for sure: the fish are aggressive feeders. They are starting to stack up better for those who like to use Magnum Spoons. The bite has stayed strong through the weather systems. Largemouth bass and catfish also are to be caught on almost every hump in 25 feet of water.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807—- Fishing has been phenomenal. They’re schooling under the boat in numbers that are unbelievable. We’re moving down the lake to catch the bigger fish. The bait won’t live above Parksville, so we’re taking advantage of the oxygenation system at Modoc downstream. All my big fish are coming between 10 and 12 noon which means my parties get to stay on the water longer and get their money’s worth. Jarrett Newton, Nathaniel Rutland, Jim Smith and Freddie Herter, all of Savannah, had a great time catching a fast and furious limit. I stopped and asked them if they wanted to go after bigger fish and they declined. Andy Brooks and Spencer Nichols, Chris Carver, Jackson Savage enjoyed a wonderful day, catching a mix of hybrids and stripers. Matt Sykes, Savannah, and Griff Donaldson, Statesboro, had a great day snatching up 4- to 6-pound hybrids and stripers up to 12 pounds.
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 Toccoa River is back on a steady generation schedule, the water is much colder and the fishing has been great. We’ve definitely started to see much better fishing in the mornings (as is always the case on the Toccoa this time of year). Some of the recent overcast days have meant for good fishing well into the afternoons.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, John Byars, (706 722-8263) —- Last Friday night’s bass tournament was won by T.R. Riley and Doug King with 11.44 pounds. They also caught the big fish of 5.10 pounds. Jimmy and Joseph Thompson were second with 9.08 pounds.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 —- Jack crevalle have shown up and so have the tarpon. Our charter captains are catching a little bit of everything inshore. The artificial reefs, located in depths from 45 to 60 feet, are holding Spanish mackerel, a few bluefish, little tunny and other biters. Trolling Nos. 0 and 00 (very tiny) Clark Spoons behind trolling weights or Nos. 1, 2 or 3 planers had led to a solid bite. As is usual this time of the year, the bottom bite is great and the fish are the usual suspects: red snapper, black sea bass, trigger fish, grouper et al.